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Rep. Troy Nehls Has Stopped Wearing the Combat Infantryman Badge After Accusations of Stolen Valor

The Texas Republican doubled down on wearing the badge, which the Army revoked in 2023, for weeks. He has finally taken it off. He blames the media.

Troy Nehls
Texas Republican Troy Nehls received the CIB in 2008 during a deployment to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division, but the award was rescinded in 2023. Jose Luis Magana/AP

Rep. Troy Nehls has taken off his Combat Infantryman Badge.

Why? “Because you guys are vultures,” Nehls told reporters Wednesday morning, attacking the press for reporting on his service record.

“I know what I’ve done, and I certainly don’t have to justify myself to you guys. You were probably in middle school when I was over there. So I don’t have to justify myself to you in any form or fashion. But I know the truth. And now that I don’t wear that, what are you going to talk to me about?”

NOTUS spotted the Texas Republican — who has been dogged with accusations of stolen valor for continuing to wear a military badge the Army revoked from his record last year — on Tuesday and Wednesday without the badge on his lapel. The congressman’s photo on his official X profile also changed Tuesday to one no longer depicting him wearing the pin.

A visibly aggravated Nehls did not acknowledge his ineligibility for the CIB in the halls of the Capitol Wednesday, instead saying he has “a legitimate concern” that he’s been singled out by the Army and that the review of his record is politically motivated. Nehls told NOTUS he is “part of the 0.032 %” of 101st Airborne’s veterans who have had their CIB revoked. “But nobody is going to talk about that.”

“What are you guys going to talk to me about? Nothing. The American people know just how disgusting the media are, the dishonest media,” Nehls said. Nehls and his office did not respond to NOTUS’ repeated requests for a sit-down interview.

Nehls received the CIB in 2008 during a deployment to Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne Division, but the award was rescinded in 2023 when the Pentagon audited his service record, as CBS News previously reported. Nehls served as a Civil Affairs officer during that time, an Army spokesperson confirmed to NOTUS, a role that does not qualify for the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Still, the Texas Republican continued to wear the badge and doubled down in interviews and public statements that he had earned it. Nehls has repeatedly suggested the Army is targeting him for being a supporter of Donald Trump.

Fellow supporters of Trump in his own GOP caucus, however, expressed deep frustration with Nehls for wearing the badge, as NOTUS first reported this month.

“It matters. As a former commander, it matters what you wear on your uniform,” Rep. Ryan Zinke, a retired Navy SEAL, said then. “And if you didn’t earn it, you shouldn’t wear it.”

Several others accused him of “stolen valor.”

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On Tuesday, Nehls’ office released a statement, which they said was their “final written comment” on the matter.

“According to correspondence I received from the Department of the Army, 142,596 CIBs have been awarded over the past 20 years. Of these, only 47 CIBs have been rescinded,” the statement read. “So, let me get this straight, the Department of the Army says that the 101st Airborne Division has been 99.968% correct in awarding the CIB over the past two decades?”

“Unfortunately for me, as an America First Patriot and an outspoken member of Congress, there are no lengths to which the establishment won’t go to discredit me, including my CIB, which I was awarded over 14 years ago. Nothing more needs to be said.”

John T. Seward is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow.