A group calling itself the Philadelphia Independent Veterans Association is calling on voters to drop their support for David Oh, a Republican candidate for City Council at-large, due to the misleading claims he made about his military record this year and in campaigns in 2003 and 2007. Ten members of the new group gathered this afternoon outside the Municipal Services Building across the street from City Hall to criticize Oh.
Joe Eastman, who organized the group, accused Oh of embellishing his claims of being a Special Forces Green Beret for political gain. And Eastman rejected the two full-page ads Oh published after the Daily News first reported in August about his military record. "We want to cut through the nuance, the lawyer speak and everything else," said Eastman, Philadelphia resident and U.S. Navy veteran of Operation Desert Storm.
John Murphy, a retired colonel in the U.S. Army Special Forces and Vietnam veteran, said Oh should never hold elected office. "This isn't about politics," said Murphy, who lives in Cherry Hill. "I'm a Republican and I would have liked to seen him make it. But when he made his false claims about being a Green Beret, that just blew it for me."
Oh was assigned to the 20th Special Forces Group when it was called up to active duty during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. He was not deployed and spent that time at Fort Bragg, attempting to complete the Special Forces training. He completed the three-week Special Forces Assessment and Selection course but was not selected to continue on to the Qualification Course. He was eligible to retry the SFAS course but chose not to.
Oh, who has referred to himself as a Green Beret in three campaigns, initially apologized for "any confusion or misimpression" his military claims created for voters. He then had an attorney demand a retraction and apology from the Daily News for reporting the stories that led to his two published apologies.
Last week he ran ads in the Daily News and Inquirer touting his endorsement by the United Veterans Council of Philadelphia.