Response to Wagner demeaning our military academies

The Mango for Governor campaign issued the following statement in response to State Senator Scott Wagner’s (R-PA) demeaning and dismissive comments toward the United States Military Academy and Paul Mango’s military service on “This Week in Pennsylvania.”  

In response to a general question about the Mango Campaign, Wagner unprompted and proactively demeaned Mango’s service and dismissed Mango’s degree from the United States Military Academy (West Point) as simply a “free education.”  Put more bluntly, Wagner inferred that all who serve our nation and receive educational benefits are freeloaders. 

Veterans for Mango coalition member Brandon Rumbaugh, a combat veteran double-amputee in our War in Afghanistan, said: “Senator Wagner should be ashamed of himself. This is just another example of Senator Wagner shooting his mouth off, first he attacked Pennsylvania seniors and now he’s attacking Pennsylvania’s warriors.  His dismissive comments were demeaning towards the men and women who are committing themselves each and every day to protect our great nation.”

“While Scott Wagner was amassing his personal fortune, Paul Mango was leading men and women like me to help make our nation’s military the most powerful in the history of the World.  Senator Wagner’s comments were below the office he seeks, an insult to the National Guardsmen he hopes to command as governor, and he owes Paul Mango and all veterans in Pennsylvania an apology for his ignorant comments,” concluded Rumbaugh.

Paul Mango is a 1981 graduate from the United States Military Academy, where he was honored to be one of just a few select cadets to personally receive his diploma from President Ronald Reagan.  Mango’s graduation from West Point was shortly after President Reagan had been shot, but Reagan attended the 1981 West Point graduation because of how important the Academy and its cadets were to our nation.  This was Reagan’s second public appearance following the assassination attempt on his life.  Mango would go on to proudly serve his country as an officer in the famed 82nd Airborne Division and earned the distinction of becoming certified in Army Ranger training.  

In addition to earning his degree from West Point and service in the United States Army, Paul Mango’s wife Dawn and his daughter Hope are also proud graduates of West Point.  Hope currently serves as an Army officer in South Korea.

Brandon Rumbaugh is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2011, while serving in Afghanistan, Rumbaugh was severely wounded and had both of his legs amputated.  Rumbaugh has taken from his harrowing experience and is now a nationally recognized inspirational speaker and advocate for veterans causes. 

Learn more about Paul's priorities in supporting Pennsylvania veterans at