Republican Senate candidate Richard Mountjoy acknowledged that his campaign biography wrongly said he had served aboard the battleship Missouri during the Korean War, a newspaper reported Friday.
Mountjoy, who will challenge Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein in November’s election, did not appear on the ship’s muster rolls, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing military records.
The statement about the Missouri was on Mountjoy’s campaign Web site, alongside a photo of him as a young sailor.
“After graduating from Monrovia-Arcadia-Duarte High School, Dick joined the Navy and served during the Korean War aboard the Battleship Missouri,” said the statement, which also was featured in a film on the site.
The retired state legislator last week said his stint aboard the Missouri had been “very brief” and he served on the heavy cruiser Bremerton. He said later that he occasionally boarded the Missouri during the Korean conflict and was on the ship for “a couple of days at a time.”
Statement called 'mistake'
Mountjoy called the statement a “mistake” that was likely based on misinformation from an unknown source, dating back at least six years.
“I think it was just something that somebody picked up,” Mountjoy said. “It didn’t come from me.”
Mountjoy said he had asked his campaign staff to remove the Missouri citation from the Web site months ago and did not know why it had remained there.
The campaign removed the Missouri reference from the site late Thursday and replaced it with one about the Bremerton.
Feinstein spokesman Kam Kuwata said the Missouri flap raised enough doubts about Mountjoy’s credibility that the challenger “is not qualified to serve the people of California.”
The Missouri is best known for hosting the formal surrender of the Japanese in World War II. It was in combat late in that war and during the Korean conflict. It also served in the Persian Gulf War.
The ship is now a memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.
Mountjoy, of Monrovia, served in the Assembly and state Senate from 1978 to 2000. He lost a Republican primary race for lieutenant governor in 1998.