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Retired Lt. General William “Jerry” Boykin, who deployed multiple times with U.S. Senate hopeful Mike Durant, announced his endorsement for his comrade just days before the Alabama primary election.

Boykin, who served as Deputy Undersecretary at the Defense Department during the George W. Bush administration, said he is confident in Durant’s ability to serve his country in a new way.

“You know, because I served with him in the military and have been in combat with him, I’ve seen him under the absolute worst of circumstances where his courage and his calm demeanor were very, very important to [not only] his own survival but also [to] the survival of the people that happened to be flying with him,” said Boykin. “So, I think that he is a very stable man who has the courage, not only physical courage but the moral courage of his convictions.”

Black Hawk Down

Boykin was referring to the operation in which Durant’s Black Hawk helicopter was shot down during the Battle of Mogadishu, Somalia. The 1993 crash led to the Army pilot being held prisoner for 11 days and nearly killed. The incident inspired the movie “Black Hawk Down.”

“During that operation, he demonstrated a great deal of courage, in terms of trying to save the lives of his fellow soldiers and trying to make a real difference,” Boykin said.

Over the years, Boykin said he has seen Durant at different events, and he said it always feels like he’s looking at a miracle.

“When I see Mike Durant, I think what a miracle it was that he survived to begin with,” said Boykin. “Because the other three members in his helicopter were killed, plus the guys that went in to rescue him were killed. And Mike, for reasons that are known only to God, Mike survived. He survived with a broken back, but he survived, and every time I see him, I just think, ‘You’re a miracle, man.'”

Boykin believes his military brother’s experiences over the years have prepared him to take on Washington.

“When you look at people that have come out of organizations like Mike Durant did, it’s not just any military unit, this is the elite aviation unit within the United States Army, and they are there for a reason,” Boykin said. “Number one, because they’re good at what they do. Number two is they are committed. And number three is because they enjoy a fellowship, brotherhood, that for the most part can only be found in the military, and I think that those things really help to shape and mold a man to be ready to step into the Senate.”

Military representation in DC

Boykin does not believe the military is represented well in Washington at this time. In fact, he said he just spoke with a member of Congress about that exact issue.

“We were talking about the imperative for us to get some more military guys, especially out of the special operations field, and try to get them into the House and Senate because they come ready,” said Boykin. “Ready to do what has to be done, and they are far less concerned about what somebody has to say about them than they are about what’s doing right for America.”

And Durant has had plenty of people saying negative things about him on the campaign trail. He has come under a different kind of fire during his run for Senate, with allegations over the Lincoln Project, his refusal to respond to a tracker, his lack of commitment to debate his opponents, claims he does not live in Alabama, and an allegation that he wants to “disarm the public” after a video-recorded speech he made at the War College.

“I don’t understand that,” said Boykin, when asked about the comment about disarming the population. “I never even asked Mike about it because I know that the way that came out is not what he believes. It’s not what’s in his heart. Look, stop to think about it. This guy is a warrior, this guy has been in combat, and he has been where the rubber meets the road. He’s not about disarming the population.”

After years in and around Washington, Boykin said there needs to be a change.

“I think that it is important that we put somebody that is not a professional politician in that seat,” said Boykin. “He is not a professional politician, and he’s going to hate every minute of it, but he’s going to do what’s right for America.”

Upon receiving this endorsement, Durant stated, “I’m proud to have the support of Lt. General Boykin. It is an honor to have the support of my brothers and sisters in the military community. For too long, career politicians in Washington have made poor decisions that have left Alabama and America behind. I am signing up for one more tour of duty to serve my country and my state again.”

Among his top three priorities, Durant has said he wants to create a strong military. He said his other two top priorities are building a southern border wall and becoming energy independent.

Durant is running for the seat of U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, who will be retiring at the end of his term, a position he has held for over 30 years.

Lillie Boddie, Katie Britt, Mo Brooks, Karla DuPriest, Durant, and Jake Schafer are all running in the Republican primary for Senate.

Lanny Jackson, Will Boyd, and Brandaun Dean are running in the Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.

Both major party primaries will be on May 24.

To connect with the author of this story, or to comment, email erica.thomas@1819news.com.

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