When Lance Cpl Hunter Clark took to the stage at a Trump rally in Georgia at the weekend, he wiped away tears as he took credit for pulling a baby over a Kabul airport wall during the evacuation of Afghanistan.
“I am the guy that pulled the baby over the wall and it’s definitely probably one of the greatest things I’ve ever done in my entire life,” he said.
“I just want to thank all the support from all of y’all, it really means a lot. And I’m glad to be home now today. Thank you.”
However, the US marines have shot down his claims, and he is under investigation for appearing at a political event.
“Regarding the viral photo that began circulating around August 20, 2021, the marine identified in that particular image was not LCpl Clark,” Kelton Cochran, a spokesman for the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, told CNN.
During the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, video footage showed a marine who was guarding the barbed wire wall around Kabul Airport grabbing a child and lifting them up to safety.
It was a rare moment of joy amid the carnage and chaos of the American evacuation after 20 years in Afghanistan.
Introducing Lance Cpl Clark at the “Save America” event in Georgia on Saturday, former President Donald Trump said he was “honoured to be joined by one of the marines who bravely served in Kabul during the withdrawal and helped evacuate children over … the airport wall.”
“You saw him. He did a great job.”
A spokesman told the military affairs magazine Task and Purpose earlier said that Lance Cpl Clark was not the person who first grabbed hold of the baby in the most famous video, although he is part of the same Marine task force.
The marine corps is now probing whether Lance Cpl Clark broke US Defence Department rules that forbid active duty troops from speaking at any “partisan political gathering”.