U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. John Bainter

When you think of recent major social changes in the military, the reforms that spring to mind are most likely gay people being able to openly serve and women being admitted to combat arms units. Those are certainly huge changes — revolutionary in scope — that have accordingly garnered exhaustive coverage by media outlets. But another revolutionary (or evolutionary, depending on how you look at it) change that the Department of Defense is pushing for is the goal to make itself, in the words of Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson, “the nation’s most progressive employer.”

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An altered photo and unverified claims of combat wounds, medals, and overseas service have landed Washington State Rep. Graham Hunt, a Republican from Orting, Washington, on a growing list of public figures accused of embellishing their military service.

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AP Photo by John Locher

In 1996, Dr. Ben Carson was already an acclaimed neurosurgeon, known for several noteworthy surgeries as the head of pediatric neurosurgery at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. He was, and is, a man of impressive accomplishments by any standard. Nevertheless, in his autobiography published that year, “Gifted Hands,” Carson felt compelled to roll a military angle into his personal story, claiming that he was offered a scholarship to West Point as a result of his work as a high school JROTC cadet. Recently, a Politico story exposed that as an exaggeration at best and a fabrication at worst. In response, Carson stood by his account, but gave himself an out, stating it was only an “informal” statement that he “could have” received a scholarship to West Point (which doesn’t offer scholarships, since it’s already free).

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