US Sen. Brown releases military service record

U.S. Sen. Scott Brown released his military service record Saturday documenting the more than three decades he has served in the Army National Guard.

The records include his promotions, awards and officer evaluation reports, which offer high praise of Brown's service during the Massachusetts Republican's years in the military.

An officer evaluation report from 1985 was typical, describing Brown as "a young and aggressive officer."

"He is self-motivated and learns very fast. He has the potential to be promoted to a position with greater responsibilities," the report said.

Brown, a member of the Armed Services Committee, is facing a tough re-election campaign.

His office said the documents show the reason he was passed up for a Guard promotion to lieutenant colonel in the Judge Advocate General Corps in 2003 and 2004 was due to a missing document in his file.

Brown's office described the failure to include the document — which showed that he had completed the necessary Command and General Staff Office Course — as an administrative oversight. They noted that after Brown appealed to show that he had completed the required military education, he received the promotion in 2006.

The same oversight caused the Army National Guard to place Brown into the Retired Reserve from July 2005 through December 2005, his office said.

Brown first enlisted in the Massachusetts Army National Guard in 1979.

"I am proud of my 32 years of service in the Army National Guard," he said in a statement accompanying the documents. "The Guard has profoundly impacted my life, and I credit those I have served with for inspiring me to be a better man, and a better servant of my country."

The documents did not include Brown's military medical records, which he said he plans to release when the military provides a copy.

Brown's office said he has never requested a transfer during his military service and that every transfer he received was ordered by the Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General.

The awards Brown received include a Meritorious Service Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, an Army Achievement Medal and Army Parachutist Badge.

Brown, who also serves on the Senate Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs committees, has said his service in the military has helped inform his work as an elected official.

He pointed to a recent proposal he sponsored that he said was designed to protect housing benefits for National Guard members deployed overseas.

Brown recently hosted a field hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee of Veterans Affairs to address what he said was the unprecedented claims backlog at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the difficulty that returning veterans face as they try to enter to the workforce.

Last August, Brown participated in a weeklong training session in Afghanistan, spending most of his time in Kabul, where he lived, ate and trained with other troops, according to his office. It was his first time serving in a combat zone.

He was a key vote to end the so-called "don't ask, don't tell" policy that had prevented gay soldiers from serving openly in the military.

Brown won a special election in 2010 to fill the seat held for nearly half a century by Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy until his death from brain cancer.

His chief Democratic rival this year is Harvard professor and consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren. Polls show the two locked in a tight race.

The two recently signed an agreement designed to discourage outside, third-party groups from running attack ads in the race, which could end up being the most expensive campaign in Massachusetts history.