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N.Y. congressional candidate running on combat record was a failed leader, relieved of duty, report

Jackie Gordon's military history is more colorful than her campaign ads let on.

Updated: October 20, 2020 - 2:36pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The military records of Jackie Gordon, a Democrat running for Congress in New York, show that she was the subject of two investigations during her time in the U.S. Army.

Both investigations yielded a recommendation that she be relieved of her command, the second of which was acted upon while Gordon was serving in Afghanistan. 

According to a new report from the Daily Caller, Gordon, who served as a lieutenant colonel, left her battalion in 2012 without permission to campaign for local office. The report accuses her of posing a "significant threat to the Battalion's ability to perform an incredibly stressful and sensitive wartime mission."

The website obtained an unredacted Department of Defense document "from a source with direct knowledge of an investigation into Gordon's behavior as a lieutenant colonel from December 2011," as well as a redacted DOD document showing Gordon was under investigation again in Afghanistan.

The first time it was suggested that Gordon be relieved of duty was following an investigation into a complaint she filed about "four horsemen" under her command who were allegedly causing trouble.

The investigation into the four white men under Gordon's command resulted in nobody on her base ever having heard of the "four horsemen."

"LTC Gordon's relationship with her current command team is becoming increasingly dysfunctional, causing a sensed polarization of her Battalion and impacting the Battalion's cohesiveness," reads the investigation document. "It appears that ever since the Battalion's leadership conducted their Pre-Deployment Site Survey in Afghanistan, the Battalion Commander has increasingly estranged herself from her entire command element." 

The first investigation into Gordon revealed several other allegations against the lieutenant colonel, including the attempted cover-up of the loss of a grenade launcher. 

During her time in Afghanistan, the problems reportedly persisted.

"There was a lack of discipline, a lack of leadership, a lack of mission effectiveness on the part of that commander in theater," said the source. "There was a subsequent investigation by the theater commander. She was relieved of her command while in theater and replaced because of a lack of effectiveness, lack of leadership, and because of the issues that were in theater."

Furthermore, despite campaigning on her history of military service as a combat veteran, a separate DOD source told the Caller that Gordon "never saw a day of combat" and actually refused to deploy to Iraq at one point, citing the danger of the situation. 

Gordon is running for Congress in New York's 2nd district, which encompasses the southern shore of Long Island, against Republican Andrew Garbarino. Republican Peter King is retiring after four terms. 

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