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The Boston Globe

Metro

Brown’s records from Guard released

Much information has been withheld

WASHINGTON - As a 24-year-old ROTC cadet in 1983, Scott P. Brown was lauded by his commander for his “soldierly bearing,’’ “impeccable appearance,’’ and a “professional competence [that] has earned him the respect of his superiors and provided a worthy example for his subordinates.’’

Yet newly released records detailing the Republican senator’s more than 30 years in uniform have been heavily excised by the National Guard to protect his privacy and do not shed light on other periods, such as when he says he was told he had to leave the service for not completing required training, then was reinstated. Nor do they reveal whether the early accolades he earned were reflected in subsequent evaluations of his performance.

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The 149 pages provided to the Globe yesterday under the Freedom of Information Act reflect a typical career in the 1980s and 1990s for a part-time infantry officer and military lawyer, moving between Guard units in Boston and Fort Devens to a headquarters outfit in Reading. That included a few trips in between to attend special courses at Fort Bragg, N.C., and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and an eight-day trip to Paraguay in 2005 to provide legal advice.

Contacted by the Globe yesterday, Brown’s office pledged to release his full military record next week to clear up any suspicions that the dozens of blacked-out pages - including officer evaluations and a report of an investigation he was involved in - include anything damaging.

Brown is locked in a tough reelection fight against Democrat and former Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren to keep the US Senate seat he won in a special election in 2010.

“Senator Brown is very proud of his military record, and in an effort to go above and beyond disclosure requirements and be fully transparent he will release a full and complete version next week,’’ said Marcie Kinzel, his communications director.

One episode not recounted in the records provided to the Globe involves the failure of Brown, then a state senator, to complete necessary coursework in 2005 to be promoted to lieutenant colonel. He was informed that he would be separated from service.

Brown previously told the Globe he appealed the decision at the time but was turned down. For several months he thought he was out of the Guard for good.

“I got a call out of the blue . . . that said, ‘Oh, by the way, you’re extended,’ ’’ Brown recalled in a Globe interview in 2009. “I say: ‘What do you mean? You guys kicked me out.’ ‘No, no, you were never kicked out, you were actually extended, and you’re going to be promoted.’ I said OK, and that was it.’’

Brown said he joined the ROTC program at Northeastern University while he was a student at Boston College Law School after being impressed by the Guard’s efforts to help Bay State citizens dig out from the Blizzard of 1978.

He described his decades of part-time military service as central to his character now. “Basic training helped to make me a totally Type A person, organized and on time,’’ he told the Globe in 2009. “It’s why I am like I am. I can bring it right back to basic training. I remember it like it was yesterday.’’

The records provided to the Globe yesterday were requested in March 2011. They recount the various assignments he had over the years - first as an infantry officer and then as a member of the judge advocate general, or JAG, corps. He never served in a war zone.

The records detail a variety of awards and ribbons he received.

The primary justification cited by the National Guard for not releasing Brown’s record in full is the law stipulating that information can be withheld when it “would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.’’

Other documents, like one described as an “investigation and adjudication history,’’ were also withheld for privacy reasons, but not necessarily because they are about Brown himself; as a military lawyer they could involve a case he worked on.

Documents discussing his security clearances, meanwhile, are protected for national security reasons. Brown’s office said all the blacked-out pages that can be legally released will be made public next week.

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