DES MOINES, Iowa -- Dick Rattray and Craig Baumbach found themselves standing on a stage, doing what people often do in an election year, by becoming human props. Both men served in the U.S. Marines and stood behind Governor Terry Branstad Tuesday morning as part of his "Veterans Coalition" of supporters for his re-election efforts.
Neither man wanted to talk much politics when the event ended. But both were willing to weigh in on what they see going on in the world these days. Rattray, a retired lieutenant colonel from Urbandale, said he served in the Marines from 1952-1980. "Some of the combat areas are as safe there as they are in the United States...maybe Chicago," he joked.
Rattray knows, though, that what is happening in the world with fighting in Gaza, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere shows serious troubles.
Baumbach, a retired staff sergeant from Urbandale, who said he served in the Marines from 1968-1978, agreed. "We're repeating ourselves," he said, talking about how the U.S. finds itself sending troops to the same places again and again.
Both men blame some of the instability on political leaders. "We're not getting the leadership to control everything," Rattray said.
"Even though we razz each other," Baumbach said, "The Army, Navy and the Marine Corps...We've learned to work together. We have to work together in a tough situation. And I don't see that with a lot of politicians."