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Old War Stories Haunt Cooley

Fri., June 14, 1996

Beleaguered Oregon congressman Wes Cooley insisted again Thursday that he served in Korean War combat despite new claims to the contrary from a former Army sergeant whom Cooley thought was dead.

“I think there is some confusion here,” Cooley said. “I would like to be able to talk to the sergeant myself and see if we can’t straighten out some of the confusion.”

In Portland, The Oregonian newspaper quoted former Army Master Sgt. Clifford Lee Poppy as saying he and Cooley never served together in Korea, as the freshman Republican representative has claimed.

“Tell him he’s a liar. Tell him Sergeant Poppy said that,” said Poppy, who now lives in Phoenix.

Cooley, seeking re-election, has been trying to explain discrepancies in his background, including claims he has not been able to prove that he saw wartime duty in Korea as a member of the Army Special Forces.

He said last month that Poppy was his supervisor.

The Oregon Elections Division is investigating whether Cooley’s war claims published in 1992 and 1994 Oregon voters’ pamphlets were lies.


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