Nicolas Kimaz, a Republican candidate in Florida’s 22nd Congressional District, is calling for his Republican opponent Javi Manjarres to release his discharge records amid Manjarres’ disputed claims about his time in the Air Force.
As Florida Politics previously reported, Manjarres released a mailer tying him to the Air Force, despite the Air Force’s own records showing Manjarres never completed basic training.
In subsequent comments made to the Sun-Sentinel, Manjarres explains the reason the words “U.S. Air Force” were located next to his photo on the mailer by claiming, “I don’t say I was a veteran. I don’t say I served. I always had an affinity for the Air Force. I always wanted to go back.”
It appears Manjarres is now disputing the Air Force’s claims about his record. Manjarres did not reply to a request for comment on this piece.
After our original report, Manjarres posted a photo on Facebook, which he says shows him holding the banner at his graduation.
But Robert Rubio, who works in public affairs at Lackland Air Force base, says the picture is not a graduation photo, but what’s called a “flight photo.”
“He was in a flight when he went through basic training. So all those guys in that picture are his flightmates, his wingmen.”
Rubio says these photos are taken some time before graduation. “It wasn’t taken the day of graduation. It was prior to that.”
A board reading “31 Oct 90” is also visible in the photo. According to Mike Dickerson at the Air Force Personnel Center, the organization’s records show Manjarres being separated from the Air Force in Sep. 1990.
It’s not clear whether the “31 Oct 90” refers to the day the photo was taken or perhaps the day Manajarres was set to graduate. The former would call into question the Air Force’s timeline, as the branch claims he had already been separated by that time.
But if the date is when the class was scheduled to graduate, and the photo was taken some time before that October graduation date, that could fit with the timeline given by the Air Force Personnel Center.
Manjarres also disputes that he left with the rank of “Airman Basic,” as the Air Force’s records show. A recent campaign email from Manjarres says “Javi came out of boot camp with the rank of Airman First Class (A1C).”
Florida Politics has reached out to the Air Force once again to verify their records of Manjarres’ service. We are awaiting a reply.
But Kimaz says this can all be cleared up if Manjarres simply released his discharge records.
The DD-214, or “Report of Separation,” can display an individual’s “[d]ate and place of release from active duty” as well as their “[l]ast duty assignment and rank,” according to the National Archives.
Florida Politics asked Manjarres to release a copy of his DD-214 both for this story and our previous piece, but he declined.
“If it corroborates his story, then fine,” Kimaz said. Still, he argues Manjarres should produce his DD-214 “or drop out of the race immediately.”