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Posted at 12:00 AM ET, 06/13/2011

Jon Huntsman’s secret past — as school safety patrol officer — revealed

Jon Huntsman in New Hampshire. (Cheryl Senter/AP)
Okay, 2012 hopefuls, here’s how it goes: No matter how long you’ve been on the political scene, the minute you run for president is when all the stories come out. Everyone who knew you when has suddenly got a microphone.

Last week we got a letter from Mr. Chris Mills of St. Davids, Pa., who is ready to unlock a little-known bit of history about Jon Huntsman: The former ambassador and Utah governor’s record as a Safety Patrol Officer during the 1971-72 academic year at Bethesda’s Westbrook Elementary School.

And yes, Mills has photos. . .

The 1971-72 safety patrol officers of Westbrook Elementary School in Bethesda. Jon Huntsman is highlighted in the center row; Chris Mills is highlighted in the upper left. (Courtesy of Chris Mills)
Huntsman spent some of his early years in the D.C. suburbs when his father took a job with the Nixon administration. That, says Mills, now the director of communications at Haverford College, is when the two of them served together:

(Courtesy of Chris Mills)
“I was the force’s lieutenant. This means that I outranked our possible future Commander-in-Chief, who was a sergeant. As maintainer of records and enforcer of standards, I was the glove when the dirty work of Safety Patrol business needed to get done. . . I know where the bodies are buried. And I’m here to report that Sgt. Huntsman was an exemplary Patrol Officer: Shirttail always tucked in? Check. On time and attentive at his post? Check. A velvet hammer in preventing outbreaks of “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall” during the bus ride to and from the Spring Hill subdivision? Check.”

Hmmm. Any dirt? Their class included the son of a CIA agent who would later serve time for selling secrets to the Soviets. But “I never knew Jon to hang with” him, writes Mills. “I’m telling ya, the guy’s clean.”

Mills concluded that his old friend may soon face some big life changes if elected. “But one thing will feel very familiar: Because he serves at the pleasure of the citizenry, President Jon Huntsman will once again report to me.”

By  |  12:00 AM ET, 06/13/2011

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