Who is Maj Gen Joe Arbuckle? Vietnam vet behind shocking letter questioning Biden's mental health and legitimacy

'We must speak out in order to be faithful to our oath to support and defend the Constitution' the retired Major said in defense of the letter that became public

                            Who is Maj Gen Joe Arbuckle? Vietnam vet behind shocking letter questioning Biden's mental health and legitimacy
Retd Maj Gen Joe Arbuckle defended the letter 124 veterans wrote against President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

Decorated Army Major Joseph Arbuckle has been slammed after signing a letter that repeated former president Donald Trump's claims about the 2020 elections being stolen from him and also called President Joe Biden's mental health into question. Major Arbuckle was one of the around 124 signatories to the controversial letter, published by a group known as 'Flag Officers 4 America' on Wednesday, May 12. 

The highly controversial letter repeats several GOP talking points, saying that the nation is in "deep peril". It also claims "our Country has taken a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government" under the Democrats. Since its publication, it has been widely trashed on social media, with many even calling for the signatories to have their pensions and medals revoked. At the front of the battle is Major Arbuckle, who hasn't just organized and signed the letter, but also defended it. It's almost unprecedented in American history, especially since Trump's own Justice Department found no cases of election fraud and several former vets and secretaries of defence have publicly backed Biden and called for the depoliticization of the military. Here's everything we know about Major Arbuckle and how he became a target for fury online.


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US Army Major General Joseph W. Arbuckle discusses the new command during a provisional standup ceremony. (US National Archives)

Who is Major Joe Arbuckle?

Born in 1946 in Lincoln, Illinois, Arbuckle enlisted in the US Army at 22. He enlisted after graduating from Western State College, but it is unclear what he studied there. He graduated from Officer Candidate School as a combat engineer and was immediately sent to Vietnam as an Infantry Lieutenant. A bio we found said he served for a year in the country, before returning back to the US. On returning, he "began a series of assignments that would make him one of the Army’s missile maintenance experts." That includes serving as an aide-de-camp and a Missile Maintenance Officer.

He was then granted his own command of Company G, Missile Maintenance at Fort Hood, Texas. This was followed by commands in Miesau and Neu Ulm in Germany, before promotions in the Maintainance and Logistics branches. From 1990 to 1992, Arbuckle played a key role as an Army Strategic Fellow in developing the “Revolution in Military Logistics (RML), which changed how the Army and wider military's logistics were managed. 

From 1995 to 1997, Arbuckle served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Ammunition, AMC, Alexandria, Virginia. Then in 1997, he assumed command of the US Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center in New Jersey. While there, he assumed a combat command during Operation Desert Thunder II. Later, he assumed command of the US Army Industrial Operations Command (IOC) at Rock Island, Illinois.

Arbuckle returned in 2000, with a variety of decorations and medals to his name. That includes a Defense Distinguished Service Medal, three Bronze Stars, six Legions of Merit, and a Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with two silver stars. Arbuckle is married and has two children another bio confirms. He currently serves as the Military Advisor to Wounded Heroes Family Adventures. 

Maj Gen Joe Arbuckle (L) presents Sgt John Shoemaker with a 4th Infantry Division coin during a Veterans Day banquet at the Alpine Lodge, Nov. 11, 2015. (4th Infantry Divison via Facebook)

Arbuckle defends letter

Despite the letter being widely panned, Arbuckle has doubled down on his defense of Trump's lies. When contacted by Politico, he said, "The situation facing our nation today is dire and we must speak out in order to be faithful to our oath to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S. against all enemies, foreign and domestic." He added, "Aside from China, many of these threats flow directly from policy positions and actions of our own government. It is critical that the threats to our national security be brought to the attention of the American people and that is the main purpose of the letter. To remain silent would be a dereliction of duty."

Social media didn't take too kindly to that explanation and within minutes there were many users who slammed Arbuckle online. "Maj. Gen. Joe Arbuckle, born in February 1946. A 75 yrs old RETIRED, non medical professional, commenting on the health of a 77 yrs old is all the rage these days" tweeted one person. Another said, "We can now update the term for "traitor" from "Benedict Arnold" to "Joe Arbuckle"." 

Another joked, "Joe Arbuckle? Isn't he Garfield's owner?"








From his response to Politico, it seems as if the criticism is unlikely to daunt the retired Major General. It's unclear if he plans to continue ramping up the lies, even as other vets and military experts have denounced the letter. 

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