Former Navy pilot Gabriel E. Gomez donned his aviator jacket and campaigned with veterans Thursday, pledging that, if elected to the US Senate, he would make it his top priority to get returning veterans the care they deserve.
“We need somebody down in D.C. who’s not only worn the uniform but understands what it is to go over there,” Gomez said. “It’s a promise we need to keep as a country for the men and women who have worn the uniform and sacrificed and have come back with honor.”
About a dozen veterans flanked Gomez at the World War II Veterans Memorial in South Boston, where Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Thomas J. Hudner Jr. spoke of Gomez’s fitness for office. “In this town especially, you need integrity,” Hudner said. “I can’t think of anything better than to have a person of his integrity and his capabilities to run.”
Hudner, a retired Navy captain from Concord, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1951 for crash-landing his own plane in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue his wingman whose plane had crashed in enemy territory. The pilot, who could not be freed from the wreckage, was Ensign Jesse Brown, the Navy’s first African-American aviator to fly in combat.
US Senator Scott Brown, a fellow Republican, prominently featured Hudner in a television advertisement that ran in the months leading up to his unsuccessful reelection fight against Elizabeth Warren. In that ad, Hudner endorsed Brown, telling him: “You do a great service for all the veterans in our country.”
After Thursday’s event, Gomez told reporters that while he wants to beef up resources for veterans and troops, he favors cuts to defense spending that would streamline civilian staff and eliminate redundant equipment.
Fellow Republican candidate Daniel B. Winslow spent the day campaigning in Norfolk County. A schedule for the third Republican in the race, Michael J. Sullivan, was not immediately available. Stephanie Ebbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @stephanieebbert.