[Ed. – OK, but why the Quixotic presidential run?]
The South Carolina Republican will announce Thursday that he will retire from the Air Force Reserve, effective June 1, after serving more than three decades in the U.S. Air Force. He said his decision is sparked by the fact that he will turn 60 in July, which is the mandatory age for retirement in the service.
“One of the proudest accomplishments in my life has been my service in the United States Air Force,” Graham, a military lawyer who holds the rank of colonel, wrote in a letter to Deborah Lee James, the secretary of the Air Force. “Although I would cherish the opportunity to continue to serve, I know that the time has come for me to end my service and transfer to the retired reserves.” …
Graham’s decision also comes on the heels of his other looming announcement next Monday, when he’s expected to jump into the crowded GOP presidential contest.
Part of his pitch to voters will be his prowess on foreign policy, a view of the world he plans to tell voters was sharpened by his long service in the Air Force. Just as Republican candidates are retreating from hawkish foreign policy views, particularly over Iraq, Graham plans to promote an aggressive U.S. presence in the world and is unapologetic about the U.S.-led ouster of Saddam Hussein. …
From 1982 to 1988, Graham served on active duty in the Air Force, including a stint in Germany. He later served in the South Carolina Air National Guard for six years, including during the first Gulf War, where he helped prepare service members for deployment. He tranferred to the Air Force Reserve in 1995, the same year he took his House seat. He stayed with the reserve throughout his Senate career, which began in 2003.
“The Air Force has been one of the best things that has ever happened to me,” Graham said in a statement.