MIRAMAR, Fla. – Miramar Vice Mayor Maxwell Chambers is taking on his critics — many of the city’s veterans and active-duty service members who are upset over him repeatedly wearing official military attire while out on city business.
They say it’s the way the attire is being worn at several city events, as reported in our Local 10 exclusive Wednesday, that they find appropriate.
“It is insulting,” said Kevin Brady, a U.S. Navy veteran. “You don’t need to claim the status that you didn’t earn.”
But Chambers is not backing down, saying the jackets were a gift, they belong to him, and he doesn’t owe anyone an explanation.
“Bring it on. I don’t have to explain nothing to anyone,” said Chambers, who has never served in the military.
Several service members are particularly upset by the vice mayor’s jacket displaying the rank of first sergeant and a patch worn by those who served in combat.
“That’s the way it was given to me,” Chambers said. “I’ve never served in the military. I don’t know what that is.”
Chambers says the jackets were gifted to him by a National Guard unit he supported. He says he has every right to wear them and that the only people complaining are supporters of his political opponent.
“There’s veterans that gave [the jacket] to me. There’s veterans that gave me the hats,” he said. “Every veteran is entitled to their opinion.”
The images upsetting to veterans outside of Miramar as well. In Fort Lauderdale, we spoke with Russell Pellerito, who served in Vietnam. He says the images of Chambers wearing the uniform jacket give a false impression, and where he got the jacket isn’t the point.
“You didn’t’ earn the jacket. You shouldn’t be wearing the jacket,” Pellerito said. “So many people got hurt and died, and for you to wear a uniform that you never even served in ... it’s not right.”
A Florida National Guard spokesperson could not comment on these specific jackets but said, as an organization, they would not formally gift someone a piece of uniform clothing, particularly not one that had a name, rank and patches on it. Because unauthorized use of such a jacket would constitute a misdemeanor crime.