Decorated Navy pilot and Senate hopeful Osborn fires back at ‘attack on my service’


Joe Jordan | Nebraska Watchdog

Accused of running out a “fake Navy memo” to shore up his military record, GOP Senate hopeful Shane Osborn is firing back.

Mai/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Image

Osborn says the “attack on my service…is being pushed by another campaign”—he isn’t saying which one.

During an interview with KFAB radio Wednesday, Osborn defended the memo arguing it’s the unclassified version of what took place over China 13 years ago.

In 2001, the surveillance plane he was flying collided with a Chinese fighter plane. Instead of ditching his plane and risking the lives of his 23 crew members Osborn landed on a Chinese island where his team was held captive for nearly two weeks.

Although he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross some have criticized his decision to “surrender.”

But Osborn says he “was ordered” to do what he did “it was not a judgment call.”

Running for the Senate and expecting some blow-back—he’s made the China incident a critical part of his campaign and the focus of his first TV ad—Osborn has circulated an official looking Navy letterhead memo supporting his actions.

As the Omaha World-Herald first reported the memo wasn’t authorized by the Navy, instead it was written by a friend of Osborn’s who worked at the Pentagon.

Critical of the World-Herald’s slant on the story, Osborn calls the memo a “good-faith effort” to answer those attacking his record.

Osborn, Sid Dinsdale, Bart McLeay and Ben Sasse are battling for the GOP nomination.

The primary is May 13 with the winner set to take on Democrat Dave Domina in November.

Contact Joe Jordan at and listen to Joe every Monday morning at 7:40 on KFAB radio in Omaha.

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