June 7, 2006
Summary: On his radio show, Rush Limbaugh admitted
he had aired a phone call from a purported Air Force officer in Iraq
who the military says "[d]oes not exist." The apparently phony officer,
who Limbaugh said identified himself as "Lieutenant Colonel Luke
Fitzpatrick" of the "336th Tactical Air Wing," delivered what Limbaugh
described as a "profound" and "mov[ing]" message. But despite
acknowledging that Pentagon officials and the Air Force told him they
have no record of a "Luke Fitzpatrick" or a "336th Tactical Air Wing,"
Limbaugh nonetheless continued to float the possibility that the caller
was in fact an officer in Iraq.
On the June 2 edition of his nationally syndicated radio
program, Rush Limbaugh admitted that, two days earlier, he had aired a phone
call from a purported Air Force officer in Iraq who the military says
"[d]oes not exist." The apparently phony officer, who Limbaugh said identified himself
as "Lieutenant Colonel Luke Fitzpatrick" of the "336th Tactical Air Wing" at "Tallil Air Force Base" in Iraq, delivered
what Limbaugh described as a "profound" and "mov[ing]"
message -- among other things, the caller stated that Limbaugh and fellow
conservative Sean Hannity are the "only two" radio hosts who "are allowed to
get broadcasts across" to the troops in his unit and declared that former
President Bill Clinton "castrated" the military.
Despite acknowledging that Pentagon officials, as well as the
Air Force, told him they have no record of a "Luke Fitzpatrick" or a "336th
Tactical Air Wing," and that the Air Force "asked us to stop airing or put
up any information about him," Limbaugh
nonetheless continued to float the possibility that the caller was in fact an
officer in Iraq. First,
he suggested the possibility that the caller "genuinely is a member of
the Air Force and was trying to hide his identity and using a fake name and
giving some incorrect information just to protect" himself from
retribution for speaking openly. He then appeared to question whether the
military was being truthful in denying that they had any record of a
LIMBAUGH: Then, the other option we
have is: Do we believe the military? The man did have some very pointed things to
say. The man was very -- whatever. I mean, whoever he is, he had some very,
very pointed -- like, "Let us go. Turn us loose. Let us out of the cages
and do what we came here to do." So, who do we believe here? Who do we
believe? Do we believe the military? Do we believe the
the June 2 edition of The Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: All right, kill the music. Before we get going with the rest
of the program, ladies and gentlemen, I need to inform you of something. Two
days ago, we had a
caller on this program, the last caller of the day, claiming to be Lieutenant
Colonel Luke Fitzpatrick of the 336th Tactical Air Wing based out of Tallil Air
Force Base in Baghdad.
He had called in earlier and dropped off and then called back. The screener did not bother
to get his phone number in an effort to possibly call him back because he
claimed he was calling from Baghdad.
Nevertheless, we received a call from a public affairs officer for Seymour Johnson Air Force
Base right after the program, where the 336th Tactical Air Wing was said by the
caller to be based. The public affairs officer for Seymour Johnson Air Force Base said that
Lieutenant Colonel Luke Fitzpatrick didn't exist. Does not exist. And asked us to stop airing
or put up any information about him, because they were getting calls -- this man's call was
very powerful -- and
they were getting calls about his appearance and people were wanting more
information on Lieutenant Colonel Luke Fitzpatrick.
After all this, we got hold of the
Pentagon. We called the press office of the
Air Force at the Pentagon and we -- we -- we spoke to Sergeant de Leon. Said
there was no one with the name Luke Fitzpatrick, though it might be a nickname
for him. However, he said there is no 336th Tactical Air Wing in theatre in Iraq. In fact,
the word tactical has been dropped altogether from current vernacular. The only
-- the only one he showed based at Tallil Air Force Base now was the 407th Air
Expeditionary, per his
So, the caller identifying himself as Luke
Fitzpatrick, Lieutenant Colonel, 336th Tactical Air Wing, cannot be identified by anybody in the United States
Now, there's a number of ways
to play this, ladies and gentlemen. What, Mr. Snerdly? What? Now, the
play -- we could go the
Dan Rather route. We could go the Dan Rather route and say, well,
nobody's proved that what he said was wrong and so, we're going to
by what he said. Nobody can --
nobody can find fault with what the man identifying himself as Luke
said, so, we're
going to stick with it. Nobody's been able to challenge the veracity of
his comments. They say he doesn't exist, but clearly, he was somebody.
We don't -- seriously, we don't know if he genuinely is a member of the
Air Force and was trying to hide his identity and using a fake name and giving
some incorrect information just to protect -- we have no clue. All we can tell
you is that the Air Force says, and the military says, he doesn't --
there's nobody by that name and -- and that the 336th Tactical Air Wing
based out of Tallil is not called tactical. In fact, they're not even there.
It's the 407th Air Expeditionary, per the military.
Then, the other
option we have is: Do
we believe the military? The man did have some very pointed things to say. The
man was very -- whatever. I mean, whoever he is, he had some very, very pointed
-- like let us go. Turn us loose. Let us out of the cages and do what we came
here to do.
So, who do we
believe here? Who do we believe? Do we believe the military? Do we believe the
caller? And what do we do with the message? I mean, the message that the caller
had was profound. Everybody was moved by it. So, in this case,
folks, we -- we -- we just passing on the information that -- that we're
It's -- one of the things I've
always said when I have callers on the air that I don't trust -- I think
I'm being scammed one way or the other, or even if I do believe somebody -- you
know, anybody can call a talk show and say anything, and despite the best screening techniques
that exist in modern-era broadcasting -- and they are here on this program -- a
number of people, if
you want, can get through and scam. So,
you have to be dubious about it and just in a normal -- well, not dubious. But
you have to be constantly on alert.
But I, you know, I wanted to pass this information
on to you because we did get calls from the military 'cause they were
getting calls from a lot of you in this audience. So, just to repeat what they
said: There is no Lieutenant Colonel Luke Fitzpatrick anywhere in the records
of the United States Air Force, at the Pentagon, and the identifiers he gave do
not hold up with deployments that are actually taking place in Iraq and at
Tallil Air Force Base.
Now, we move on to the rest of the
From the May 31 edition of The
Rush Limbaugh Show:
LIMBAUGH: Anyway, we have a call from Iraq from
Tallil Air Force Base. Lieutenant
Colonel Luke Fitzpatrick somehow got through. Lieutenant Colonel, this is an
honor to have you on the phone with us while you're in Iraq -- at any
time, actually. Thank you for calling.
FITZPATRICK: Good afternoon, I believe it is, your
time, Rush, and major dittos here from the sandbox.
LIMBAUGH: Well, thank you, sir. Appreciate that.
FITZPATRICK: I wanted to let you know that you and
your cohort, Mr. Hannity, are the only two that are allowed to get broadcasts
across our (inaudible) room. The rest of the liberals -- they can go listen on
their Walkmans if they so choose.
LIMBAUGH: Wait, you are -- are you,
are you free to say all this? That's cool.
FITZPATRICK: Yes, I am. Well, what
are they going to do, Rush? Send me to Iraq?
I mean, honestly. I
-- I'm here. I do want to take the time, though, to thank you and
everybody else who's back behind us for the support you have given us.
-- this is, let me stress, an all-volunteer military, so, when you take
into account all the across-the-aisle bickering as to whether or not we
be here or not be here, whether we should go home or we should stay in
force, it really is irrelevant. Every one of us -- when we signed the
papers -- we knew what was going to be asked of us in
the worst case scenario. We are here. We are the best-trained standing
military force in the world, and I only ask one of two things: Either
unlock our cage and let us do what we are trained to do better than
in the world or send us home.
LIMBAUGH: You think you're
FITZPATRICK: I'm -- I'm -- I'm a single father, Rush. I lost my
wife about 15 years
ago. I have two children,
and I volunteered to come back here because I -- I live and breathe our country. It is not
"land of the free
and home of the
brave." It is "land
of the free because of the
LIMBAUGH: A profound --
FITZPATRICK: And I think --
LIMBAUGH: -- that is -- that is a profundicy [sic], Luke.
FITZPATRICK: And -- and that is something that I think a
majority of our listeners, whether or not you sit on the left side or the right
side of the aisle -- you could pass me in the supermarket, at the gas station
paying $3 a gallon and not know whom [sic] I was, the sacrifices I've
made, nor do I want accolades for that, nor do any of my brethren -- brothers
and sisters. And this is the first major conflict where there are women in
combat fighting roles -- and you can talk all you want about Jessica Lynch and
that was not a combat role -- there are women in combat here today in Baghdad,
in Kut, in Mosul, in Basra, in Yusufia that hold the same responsibilities and
the heavy burden on our shoulders, and -- and I -- it -- it's hard to
say, Rush, but I think -- it starts to feel like Vietnamization
when we can key in to
our mainstream media -- I happen to be from northern Minnesota --
LIMBAUGH: Say, Lieutenant Colonel Fitzpatrick, do you
-- can you hang on? I'm really late on a commercial break and I have to
FITZPATRICK: Absolutely, Rush. Take
your time, please, sir.
LIMBAUGH: You can hang on. I'll be right back
to you right after this. Don't lose your train of thought there.
LIMBAUGH: And we are back with Lieutenant Colonel Luke
Fitzpatrick from Tallil Air Force Base in Iraq. You were talking about the
Vietnamization when you key in to
your -- the drive-by
media here and watch their reports on what you're doing.
FITZPATRICK: Absolutely, sir. We just -- we're a little concerned
as to the fallout, for
lack of a better term,
of the extended nature of the conflict here, and we hate to call it a conflict because, Rush, somebody shoots at me
every night. Every night on combat air patrol, regardless, we get shot at. And
you know --
LIMBAUGH: Let me tell you something, Lieutenant
Colonel. We -- we know what happened when we left Mogadishu. When we
left Somalia with victory in our hands and Clinton decided to pull
FITZPATRICK: He castrated us, Rush.
LIMBAUGH: If we quit in Iraq, we cannot imagine the -- and
so, a lot of us are sensitive to your concerns of the drive-by media. We battle
it every day here.
FITZPATRICK: As terms of the drive-by, Rush, I was
here from -- I was here originally from [Operation Desert]
Shield. I was the second unit deployed here from Shield from Seymour Johnson
Air Force Base, the 4th Fighter Wing. I was here from Shield through [Operation Desert] Storm through [Operation]
Enduring Freedom, now Operation OIF -- Iraqi Freedom. The reason I came back is
because I felt that the job was not finished. And it's not finished. Yes,
we have a standing government, but I get shot at every night. I come home with
holes in my airplane, Rush. Granted, they're not critical, but one --
LIMBAUGH: What do you fly?
FITZPATRICK: -- one day,
it may be and you will read about me on CNN and I will be that blurb
and I will
show up in that 2600-some-odd casualty figure that the -- the drive-by
media is obsessed with of how
many people have died over here because we are an all-volunteer force.
is the main reason that we called in today. I'm calling in. I just so
happened to be the mouthpiece for the squadron here, the 336th Tactical
Fighter Wing from Seymour Johnson -- the Rocketeers. We're an F15E
Squadron. We fly by night. Our motto is "Raining fire from above for
freedom that we love."
LIMBAUGH: Wow. Wow.
FITZPATRICK: And, you know, it -- it's a little-short-of-the-death-from-above
syndrome but we're here to do a job and I'm tired of being handcuffed, and the guys I command and
constantly send into battle every day -- knowing that they could not come back
and I'll have to write that letter to their significant others, to their
moms, to their dads.
LIMBAUGH: Lieutenant Colonel, I -- I hate to have to
-- I have to stop you because I'm just -- I'm out of time here but
let me just --
FITZPATRICK: That's fine, Rush.
LIMBAUGH: Thank you so much. You have made the
program today. You have brought tears to people's eyes. I've been reading
email from them about it,
and just know that
everybody in this audience, and the vast majority of the American people, love
you and support what you're doing and wish you the best and thank you.
LIMBAUGH: "Land of the free because of the
brave." We gotta get a t-shirt made with that in honor of Lieutenant
Colonel Fitzpatrick. We'll work on that. See you tomorrow, folks. Have a
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