The Herald published a letter to the editor titled, "Manatee County commission candidate Terri Wonder misconstruing her civilian connection with Army" by Neil D. Moore Sr. on Oct. 22 that is factually incorrect.
Dr. Wonder served as an Army civilian in Iraq for a year. She took the same oath to the Constitution as her military colleagues and served in a grade equivalent to a full colonel. I overlapped with this service and worked with her team for seven months in 2009 as an Air Force lieutenant colonel.
Her work helping the military build a cultural understanding of the peoples of Iraq was key to reducing violence throughout the country and saved many lives. Her services were so highly valued that upon her return home she was hired as a contractor to expand her analysis from the United States to cover both the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters of operation.
This background information, including her Superior Civilian Service Award and professional resume, have been on her campaign website, http://www.terriwonderforcommissioner.com, for over a year.
To Mr. Moore, I say thank you for your service in Vietnam. Once a Marine, always a Marine.
This statement is a challenge to live honorably both during and after service in the Corps. Now that you have been appraised of the truth, I challenge you to check your facts, then do the honorable thing and retract your incorrect statements that denigrate Dr. Wonder's service to our country. She will be glad to provide other witnesses should you choose not to take my word on the matter.
Mark Wilbanks, Disabled Veteran
Colorado Springs, Colo.