McCollum: “I thought I was still in the Army Reserve”

Posted at 4:05 PM, Sep 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 05:59:49-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - For the past 14 years, Gary McCollum, the Virginia Beach Democratic candidate for state senate, thought he was serving in the inactive Army Reserve.

It was a claim that was posted on the front page of his campaign's website.

"You might say, 'How did I think that I was still in the reserves after 2001? Well, I did not receive any notification in 2001," McCollum said.  "I have not received anything since."

McCollum says he's still waiting for the Army to confirm his 2001 discharge, but NewsChannel 3 got that information today in less than an hour.


A still from McCollum's YouTube campaign video.

According to the Army, McCollum was discharged in September of 2001.

His YouTube campaign ad says he spent eight years in the military working as an intelligence officer as an Army Ranger.

McCollum did serve his country in the Army, but today Republican veterans--including Delegate and former Navy Seal Scott Taylor--asked how this mistake could happen.

"I think it's complete BS to not know your own service record and it really upsets me," Taylor said.

McCollum is running against long-time incumbent and Navy veteran Frank Wagner.

"I think some of the statements I've read in the media bring to question the integrity of my opponent," Wagner said. "There are probably a lot of people that are going to be watching tonight, that are saying I don't believe him.  Well, I can see why someone might think that.  At the same time, I'd like them to look at my record.

The state Republican party has asked McCollum to resign from the race.

McCollum says that's not going to happen.