‘Glaring Problems’: Why Arizona State Rep. candidate Steve Slaton is accused of stolen valor

Steve Slaton is a Republican candidate for Arizona's House of Representatives, but now controversy surrounds his military service record.

Republicans in northeastern Arizona have questions for Slaton, accusing him of stolen valor.

Slaton carries an endorsement from Arizona State Senator Wendy Rogers. Neither of them will address Slaton’s claims that he's a Vietnam combat veteran.

However, several veteran groups say there’s a clear difference between military records provided by the LD-7 candidate for Arizona Rep. in Navajo County, and records obtained from the National Archives.

The Trumped Store

If you’ve driven through Show Low, chances are you’ve seen a store that proudly waves political signs with messages clear as day.

The Trumped Store.

It was once a campaign headquarters for former president Donald Trump. Now, it's a tourist destination known as a "sanctuary for conservatives."

FOX 10 Investigator Justin Lum visited the store to discuss a different topic with Slaton – his military service.

"Sorry he’s not available right now," an employee said to the FOX 10 crew.

Slaton was inside his office and would not come out to talk.

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'He called us losers on Twitter'

"This has been disrespectful to the Republican committee. This has been disrespectful to voters in Legislative District 7. We deserve an answer," said Lisa Green, chairwoman of the Navajo County Republican Committee.

She's talking about the military service records Slaton provided.

Last month, the Navajo County Republican Committee (NCRC) sent Slaton a letter, saying officials had discovered that Slaton provided an "altered DD 214 claiming combat veteran status and showing qualifications and awards."

Some of those awards official records show he never received.

Lisa Green, chairwoman of the Navajo County Republican Committee

DD Form 214, the National Archives says, is "A Report of Separation is generally issued when a service member performs active duty or at least 90 consecutive days of active duty training. The Report of Separation contains information normally needed to verify military service for benefits, retirement, employment and membership in veterans' organizations."

The NCRC unanimously voted to call for Slaton to withdraw from the race, citing a "dishonest" campaign and accusing him of canceling opportunities to speak to constituents about their concerns.

It's important to note that Slaton’s service in Korea is not being questioned. What's being questioned is his combat status in Vietnam.

"All we really wanted was to hear from Mr. Slaton, give us the details. How come the fonts don’t match on your DD 214? If you look at the formatting, the words go outside of the lines. I don’t think the government would do that," Green said.

His response to the accusations?

"He called us losers on Twitter," she said.

His campaign website says he served in the U.S. Army from June 1973 to June 1979. It also says he worked as a crew chief and co-pilot on a Cobra helicopter, serving in Vietnam and Korea.

FOX 10 obtained information through veteran organizations, like Guardians of the Green Beret and Guardian of Valor. Their information doesn't align with the information Slaton prodvided.

Retired Army Master Sergeant Jack Dona says he was asked by Republican LD-7 Senator Wendy Rogers to verify Slaton’s records.

"There are very, very serious and glaring problems with the DD Form 214 being provided by Mr. Steve Slaton and the DD Form 214 now. So many different organizations have pulled it from the national archives," Dona said.

The version pulled from the National Archives and Records Administration does not mention service in Vietnam. It does show Slaton was awarded two medals for service in Korea.

The allegedly altered DD Form 214 says Slaton was part of the AH-1G, or Cobra, helicopter repairmen's course/flightmen. The term "flightmen" is not in the remarks section of the official record released by the National Archives.

Retired Army Master Sergeant Jack Dona

"I come from an aviation background, and I’ll tell you, they don’t just turn you loose on these machines," Dona said.

On the allegedly altered DD Form 214, the fours and sevens in the remarks section do not match the fours and sevens on the rest of the form. There are also three more medals awarded to Slaton, including a Vietnam service medal.

"The Vietnam Paris Peace Accords were signed in January. They were finalized in January of ‘73. You couldn’t have a unit of 30 Cobra gunships in and out of Da Nang Air Base in 1974. It would have been an international incident," Dona said.

Slaton enlisted in the Army five months after the United States’ direct involvement in the Vietnam War ended.

The document Slaton allegedly provided says he was part of the Nixon Vietnamese Program 1974. FOX 10 couldn't find any record of a program with this name.

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‘Justin, we have no comment’

"I’d be chasing people down to show them ‘Yes, here’s what I have. I’m going to prove to you that I am who I say I am,' instead of hiding in an office," Green said.

Back at The Trumped Store, as Slaton stayed in his office, his wife Karen Slaton was asked about what was going on.

Justin: "Shouldn’t voters just get an explanation from your husband?"

Karen: "No comment."

Justin: "Does he stand behind his records?"

Karen: "Justin, we have no comment."

Justin: "Did he alter his records at all?"

Karen: "Justin, take that out of here, take this out of here."

Justin: "We’re asking for just five minutes of his time."

Karen: "Justin, out. Justin, out. Justin, out."

Justin: "… to give his side of the story."

Karen: "Out."

FOX 10 walked over to the window of Slaton's office from outside the building.

"Do you have any comment at all? Five minutes of your time. Did you alter your records? Steve, voters have questions," we asked. No reply.

Steve and Karen Slaton

For Dona, he wants the truth as his own father, a Vietnam vet, recently passed away.

"My dad did two tours in Vietnam, and you know, he never came back the same. He wasn’t the same. This kind of stolen valor, this kind of stuff, it’s an affront, it’s a slap in the face to the people who were there and suffered and then came back and suffered more, and then their family members suffered more, their children, their wives, their spouses. It’s not right," Dona said.

The allegations about Slaton misrepresenting his military service record stem from one of his opponents in the Republican primary, former Arizona Rep. Walt Blackman.

Rogers has stood by Slaton through this campaign. She has not responded to FOX 10's multiple requests for comment.