The military resume of a Bradley County Commission candidate is being questioned following claims of service and awards included in his candidacy announcement that appear to be inconsistent with U.S. Navy records.
Ellis Julian “E.J.” Laughter is running to be the Democratic nominee for the 6th District County commissioner position. In his formal announcement, published in the March 23 edition of the Cleveland Daily Banner, he listed his record of service in the United States Navy.
Laughter stated in his announcement he “was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his military service to our country. I served four years in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. I was an Explosive Ordinance (sic) Disposal Technician, 2nd Class, and attached to EOD Mobile Unit 2 at the end of my career.”
Laughter’s military record came into question when the Banner learned significant details after contact with the U.S. Navy showed inconsistencies between the official record provided by the U.S. Navy and Laughter’s statement.
Since publication of Laughter’s announcement, the Banner has received emails and calls from veterans in different parts of the country questioning the credibility of Laughter’s stated naval record.
Many of the emails came from members of the Navy community, who were emphatic when making the argument Laughter’s service could not be as he claimed.
The Banner has confirmed the authenticity of the document sent by the U.S. Navy.
According to Laughter’s publicly releasable service data from the U.S. Navy, Laughter’s military decorations do not include either the Bronze Star or Purple Heart, an award given for injuries received while engaged in actions with a hostile enemy.