Is Senator Joni Ernst Stretching The Combat Veteran Title?

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U.S. Sen.-elect Joni Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, speaks to supporters during an election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

U.S. Sen.-elect Joni Ernst, a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa National Guard, speaks to supporters during an election night rally, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

The Republican senator from Iowa, Joni Ernst, has found herself in the limelight over her claims that she is a “combat veteran.” Ernst served in Iraq during 2003 and 2004, which was technically a combat zone at the time --- though that’s about it for her experience. Neither she, nor the transportation company she commanded, ever came under fire. Ernst’s critics are taking issue with her self description as a combat veteran, accusing her of stretching the definition in order to describe herself as the first female combat veteran in the Senate.