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Retired top military brass push for Romney

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Five hundred retired generals and admirals are running an ad in Monday’s editions of The Washington Times calling on the country to elect Republican Mitt Romney on Tuesday.

In plain terms the officers, who paid for the ad themselves, said they support Mr. Romney: “We, the undersigned, proudly support Governor Mitt Romney as our nation’s next president and commander-in-chief.”

The ad then goes on to list all of the officers, in alphabetical order, in four columns of print.

Click here to view the ad (PDF)

The retired admirals and generals said they decided to take this public stand to try to head off “having to live through four more years of what has been experienced since January 20th, 2009.”

The list contains a number of prominent four-star admirals and generals, including five former members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Among those is the surprising appearance of retired Army Gen. Hugh Shelton, a former JCS chairman, appointed by President Bill Clinton.

In retirement, Gen. Shelton had aligned himself with Democrats, advising former Sen. John Edwards in his 2003-04 presidential run and endorsing Hillary Clinton in her 2008 presidential campaign.

Also on the list is retired Gen. James T. Conway, whom Mr. Obama inherited as the Marine Corps commandant, and retired Gen. Michael Dugan, former Air Force chief of staff.

Gen. Dugan was fired by then-defense Secretary Dick Cheney, in the George H.W. Bush administration, for talking too freely with reporters about the air war plan for Iraq in 1991 Desert Storm.

In October 1992, Gen. Dugan showed up on a list of 21 retired generals and admirals supporting Bill Clinton for president.

The Romney list contains a number of ex-fighter pilots, such as retired Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner, who ran the 1991 air war. The fighter community is greatly concerned about the aging fleet of warplanes, tankers and cargo jets, and the lack of money in the defense budget to fully modernize the force.

The most prominent Army general is Tommy Franks, who led U.S. Central Command and devised the plan for invading Iraq in 2003. His war plan was criticized for not planning for a robust Iraqi insurgency.

Rowan Scarborough contributed to this story.

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