Stolen Valor is No Big Deal

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Today, Chris goes into detail about stolen valor and how not many seem to give a shit. Unapologetically, we say fuck these people. Mad Duo

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Stolen Valor is No Big Fucking Deal

by Chris Hernandez

We’re losing the fight against Stolen Valor. It seems like every week we hear a new military poser story, involving a range of people from homeless bums to senior politicians. Many veterans, myself included, have personal stories of poser encounters. Web sites like Guardian of Valor and This Ain’t Hell continually expose egregious Stolen Valor cases, and aren’t likely to run out of story subjects within my lifetime.

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Here’s evidence of how bad the problem is: approximately 3,400,000 Americans served in Vietnam, off its coast or in the Vietnam Theater. But according to the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation, nearly fourteen million have lied about serving in Vietnam. “During [the year 2000] Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is 13,853,027. By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

The scope of the Stolen Valor problem is enormous. I think there are two main reasons why. First, so few Americans today know anything about military service that tricking them with unbelievable war stories is ridiculously easy. And second, fewer and fewer Americans care at all about military honor or integrity.

Military lies are easy to pull off

Last year I met an old Army buddy, Dave, for dinner. We were friends before deploying and later served in the same company in Iraq. He did two notable things in Iraq: after his convoy was ambushed and stopped one night, he ran around in the open under fire trying to get it moving again. And he – literally – dug up an Improvised Explosive Device with his bare hands during a patrol.

The IED thing deserves explanation. While patrolling Dave saw wires leading to a pile of trash beside the road. He called it out and moved up to investigate, but wasn’t certain it was an IED.

“They always told us not to waste EOD’s time with false IED reports,” Dave said. “I figured I better make sure it really was one before I called it in.”

He dug into the trash and saw the wires going into the dirt. So he dug into the dirt until he found an artillery shell. But it wasn’t connected to the wires, so he kept going until he uncovered a second one. Wires were going into this one. He finally stood and announced, “It’s an IED!”

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Random Pic of IED construction

Dave told me about it a few days later. Long before he finished the story, I interrupted him with “WHAT THE FUCK COULD YOU HAVE POSSIBLY BEEN THINKING?” I was sure some frustrated insurgent had been screaming “Allah dammit!” while watching him and furiously touching a wire to a car battery.

So last year when I met Dave for dinner, an old high school friend joined us. My high school buddy was a Navy veteran who served in the 90s. When he sat down, I introduced them.

“Joe, meet Dave. We served in Iraq together. He’s all messed up because an IED went off in his helmet. He would have been okay, but a secondary went off on the other side.”

Dave burst out laughing. I joined him. But my high school friend flinched, waited for the laughter to die and quietly asked, “Are you doing alright now?”

My high school friend is no dummy. He’s an educated, intelligent professional, and is involved in organizations and activities that support veterans. He just didn’t get our Army humor, and because he never served in Iraq he didn’t know how ridiculous the IED-in-the-helmet joke was.

A Navy veteran was that easy to trick, if that had been our intent. How easy do you suppose it is to trick someone who knows nothing of the military?

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In my neighborhood we have a fake Vietnam Medal of Honor winner. His claims are fantastically stupid; he said he was captured in Vietnam, escaped and led an American force back to the POW camp, thereby saving 85 POWs. He told me he was a Marine sniper in Russia before he deployed to Vietnam. Of course, he’s not in any database as either a POW or Medal of Honor winner. His name isn’t on the Vietnam Medal of Honor memorial that’s barely ten minutes from where we live. And his records show he served two years in the Corps and never left the United States.

He doesn’t talk to me anymore, because I rather aggressively called him out. Thirty seconds of investigation would show the man is a pathetic, lying scumbag. But I’ve encountered many other neighbors who for years have believed he’s a Vietnam War hero, because they have no idea which military stories sound real and which are obviously fake.

And even if a nonveteran suspects someone is lying, are they likely to challenge them about it?

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A few years back two fellow police officers, both Iraq veterans, arrested a young man on a felony theft warrant. The man was a former homeless crackhead who came up with a good idea: claim he had lost a leg while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. Not only did that story make him money, it convinced a PTSD support organization to get him off the street and set him up in an apartment. He got a huge USMC tattoo across his back, and even got engaged to a woman who helped him start over. Everything was great until he wore a Marine Corps Dress Blues jacket over regular clothes as a fashion accessory at a fundraiser; a real veteran saw that and started asking questions. And eventually the story unraveled.

And here’s the best part: when my friends arrested the crackhead poser, they immediately pulled his pant legs up. HE HAD TWO LEGS. Either nobody bothered to check if he actually lost a leg, or didn’t say anything when they discovered he was lying. That’s how easy it is to get away with a huge lie about military service.

Jon Stewart, usually a cynical man, recently weighed in on VA Secretary Robert McDonald’s videotaped lie about being in Special Forces (the Daily Kos, echoing much of the American public, calls this “an inconsequential fib”). On Stewart’s show he played the video of McDonald speaking to a homeless man. When McDonald asked if the man was a veteran, he said he was.

McDonald: “Army, Navy, Air Force?”

Homeless man: “Army.”

McDonald: “What unit?”

[Three guesses as to what the homeless man said…]

Homeless man (as he looks away): “Special Forces.”

McDonald: “Special Forces? What years? I was in Special Forces.”

While McDonald was a ranger, he was never in the Ranger Regiment or Special Forces. There’s no word on the homeless man’s military record, but I strongly suspect he’s a member of the 700,000-homeless-men strong 99th Special Delta Recon SEAL Division. Almost every homeless beggar was Special Forces.

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But after showing the clip, Jon Stewart looked at his audience and said, “That’s it? I’m actually kind of touched emotionally that McDonald lied to try to connect with the homeless… But once again, aren’t we missing the point here? Shouldn’t the shocking scandal on this tape not be the awkward attempt to connect with homeless Special Forces veterans, but the existence of homeless Special Forces veterans?” And his audience erupted in cheers. Because they’re willing to accept a homeless guy’s face-value claim about being former SF.

That’s how simple it is. All one has to do is throw out a bold claim about military service, with absolutely no documentation. And even Jon Stewart, who doubts anything that comes out of anyone else’s mouth, accepts the story without question.

Jon Stewart isn’t stupid. Like most of America, he just doesn’t know any better. And that’s why posers will keep stealing valor. Because people make it so damn easy.

And the public doesn’t care anyway

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This happens even within the gun industry. Some “instructors” believe military service will give them instant credibility. So they fabricate it for legitimacy and profit. Youtube fan followers and people who profit from them will even defend it after their lies are revealed. If there’s T&A involved, sometimes people who should know better will leap to their defense.

And posers aren’t reviled in popular culture the way they are among veterans. In fact, they’ve been making appearances in movies and TV shows for some time. I can think of five off the top of my head; in most, the poser was a sympathetic or likable character.

In the 1984 movie Splash, John Candy laughingly tells his movie brother Tom Hanks he “made up a story about you being in Vietnam” in order to get a client’s business. Later when Hanks meets the client (a Vietnam SF soldier), the client says, “Your brother told me about you being wounded. About the grenade going off in your helmet.” Hanks gets angry and leaves but doesn’t correct the client, and as he’s walking away Candy is behind him reinforcing the lie. I like Splash as much as anyone, and as a thirteen-year old boy I really appreciated seeing Daryl Hannah naked. But the movie treated lies about military service as a joke.

On the TV show Just Shoot Me, David Spade played a lovable rogue who somehow tricked a supermodel into marrying him. One way he won her heart was by lying about being a Desert Storm veteran. His obvious lies were accompanied by uproarious canned laughter. Stolen Valor is funny.

Somersby was released in 1993. The movie was about a Civil War deserter who assumed the identity of a dead veteran he strongly resembled (nobody knew the real veteran was dead). The deserter/poser, played by Richard Gere, was such a good-hearted man he managed to make the real veteran’s wife fall in love with him, despite her having detested her actual husband. Her husband was also wanted for murder; the poser chose to keep the fake identity even though it meant he’d be executed. He preferred to die as an “honorable” man, rather than reveal his true identity as a petty criminal and liar. Somersby made Stolen Valor the honorable option.

2003’s Mona Lisa Smile, set in 1953,came closest to condemning Stolen Valor. In that movie Julia Roberts plays a college professor, dating a fellow professor who tells students about his heroic World War II combat service in Italy. She later learns her boyfriend never left the United States during the war. Roberts leaves him because of his lies, but that’s the extent of his punishment. Mona Lisa Smile made Stolen Valor nothing more than a good reason to dump a boyfriend.

Maybe the 2012 comedy That’s My Boy did the best job of mocking Stolen Valor. In that movie, Andy Samberg’s future brother-in-law always wears a Marine-ish uniform with Army badges. He’s a complete fool, and is later exposed as a dancer falsely claiming to be a Marine in order to please his parents (and is also screwing his sister). He’s a clown, a joke… but still funny. Not quite the odious scumbag posers usually are.

But those are comedy movies and a TV show. Hollywood gives posers a pass, but that doesn’t mean the public does. Right?

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Wrong. While fortunately there are some civilian arenas where poserism isn’t tolerated (as Brian Williams just learned and Bill O’Reilly came close to learning), there are others where it’s no big deal. Including parts of our government.

Numerous political candidates from both parties have lied about military service. Usually they’re not elected. But in some cases a poser gets elected, and stays elected.

Consider Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal.

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During the Vietnam War he received five draft deferments, then managed to join the Marine Reserve in 1970. Just by coincidence, he was living in DC and already politically connected at that time (and joining the Guard or Reserve was considered an almost foolproof way to not get sent to Vietnam). He never went overseas. But during several speeches while Blumenthal was Connecticut Attorney General he either claimed he served in Vietnam or made vague references to it.

2003 [speaking about public displays of support for the troops]: “When we returned, we saw nothing like this.”

2008: “We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam.”

Between 2003 and 2008 several Connecticut newspapers ran articles stating Blumenthal served in Vietnam, which he apparently never tried to correct. And Jean Risling, chairwoman of Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial Inc., remembered Blumenthal’s words when their state Vietnam Memorial was dedicated: “He said, ‘When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms.’ It looked like he was sad to me when he said it.”

In 2010 the New York Times published an extensive story about Blumenthal’s false military claims. Blumenthal, of course, said he had “misspoken”. “On a few occasions, I have misspoken about my service and I regret that. I take full responsibility, but I will not allow anyone to take a few misplaced words and impugn my record of military service.”

Blumenthal was running for Senate that year. Certainly, the public would never elect a man who obviously lied about military service to gain votes. Especially if he joined the reserves specifically so he wouldn’t be sent to Vietnam. Right?

Blumenthal won the election. And is now a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

And then there’s Hillary “I was under sniper fire in Bosnia” Clinton.

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There is no question she blatantly lied about nonexistent sniper fire. She likely did it to convince voters she somehow understood what our troops face, in order to win votes in the 2008 presidential election. When she was challenged by others who had been in Bosnia with her, she stuck by her claim.

And she stuck by it until video surfaced, showing little girls with flowers meeting her on the tarmac. The same tarmac where she allegedly had to sprint from an airplane to an armored car because of the sniper fire.

Basically, she lied until she couldn’t lie anymore.

For a variety of reasons, Hillary wasn’t elected president. But she wasn’t exactly kicked to the streets to swap war stories with homeless Special Forces vets either. She wound up becoming our Secretary of State, and will likely be the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Even though she blatantly lied about being under fire, in a war.

She’ll probably get elected. Because most of America doesn’t give a shit if someone’s a poser.

Sometimes I think the only way a poser could really piss everyone off is by falsely claiming he’s an oppressed minority who’s pro-choice and supports gay marriage. Lie about that, and you’re pure evil. But lie about serving your country, at war? Steal my friend Dave’s bravery under fire in Iraq?

That’s just an inconsequential fib.

Mad Duo, Breach-Bang& CLEAR!

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breachbangclear.com_site_images_Chris_Hernandez_Author_BreachBangClear4Chris Hernandez Mad Duo Chris (seen here on patrol in Afghanistan) may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LIGHT writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley and Proof of Our Resolve. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog, Iron Mike Magazine, Kit Up! and Under the Radar. You can find his author page here on Tactical 16.

Chris Hernandez

Chris Hernandez may just be the crustiest member of the eeeee-LITE writin’ team here at Breach-Bang-Clear. He is a veteran of both the Marine Corps and the Army National Guard who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also a veteran police officer of two decades who spent a long (and eye-opening) deployment as part of a UN police mission in Kosovo. He is the author of White Flags & Dropped Rifles – the Real Truth About Working With the French Army and The Military Within the Military as well as the modern military fiction novels Line in the Valley, Proof of Our Resolve and Safe From the War. When he isn’t groaning about a change in the weather and snacking on Osteo Bi-Flex he writes on his own blog.


Chris Hernandez has 112 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Hernandez

80 thoughts on “Stolen Valor is No Big Deal

  • April 18, 2015 at 12:11 pm
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    you were an historian studying “units etc.” while in an armed helicopter unit in 1962… yes?

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  • April 13, 2015 at 11:54 pm
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    I served in Vietnam before any build up of forces. I returned to Vietnam again in 66 and came home in mid 68, then returned again in 71 and came home in 72. My primary mission while in country was to learn as much as possible about units etc as I am one who loves history especially the military aspects. When I see a homeless person and he tells me he was in Vietnam, my response is always, where were you in country, what as your units base camp? What specific unit where you assigned and what areas did your units operate in while you were there. Then it gets more difficult as I then ask can you tell me when you unit, Division, Brigade arrived in country. I have never,ever found one that can provide this information. That is when should I be in public ridicule the man and point out he is a LIAR. My motorcycle guys will always help a bone fide Vet, but after finding a imposter, we insure those around him know he’s a Liar, fit for the firing squad for stealing VALOR. In the event anyone asks, my first Assignment was with the First Armed Helicopter unit , United States Army Utility Tactical hHelicopter Copmpany, for short (USAUTTHC. When asked I will tell anyone the Copmmander as well, that surprises many individuals. The year was 62 to 63

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  • April 13, 2015 at 11:49 pm
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    I served in Vietnam before any build up of forces. I returned to Vietnam again in 66 and came home in mid 68, then returned again in 71 and came home in 72. My primary mission while in country was to learn as much as possible about units etc as I am one who loves history especially the military aspects. When I see a homeless person and he tells me he was in Vietnam, my response is always, where were you in country, what as your units base camp? What specific unit where you assigned and what areas did your units operate in while you were there. Then it gets more difficult as I then ask can you tell me when you unit, Division, Brigade arrived in country. I have never,ever found one that can provide this information. That is when should I be in public ridicule the man and point out he is a LIAR. My motorcycle guys will always help a bone fide Vet, but after finding a imposter, we insure those around him know he’s a Liar, fit for the firing squad for stealing VALOR.

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  • April 9, 2015 at 2:34 pm
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    I spent 22 months in Vietnam. Yes i was dumb enough to extend twice. I had good reasons for that choice. What i wanted to say is i do not understand why anyone would ever say they were in Vietnam when they weren’t. We didn’t get a really nice reception when we returned.

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  • April 8, 2015 at 12:38 am
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    Thank you to all of the military forces. For me stolen valor is reprehensible to say the least. I went into the army back in 2007, unfortunately I was given a undisclosed medical discharge due to cerossis of the liver. I’ve never let that down and I feel like I’m a poser, i have been asked if i served and i do tell them that i went into the army but was disscharged the day before graduation from basic. I will never lie about going into Afghanistan or Iraq, because it’s morally wrong.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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    This Issue with these Idiots and Stolen Valor goupies Unless We stick Together and shove this So Called Already Stolen Valor Law up into Washington Ass Until they Take this Seriously.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 7:33 pm
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    you know this idiotic bullshit with sulvillians and Stolen Valor Meatballs will not end Unless we keep pushing this issue straight into Washingtons Ass ….

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  • April 6, 2015 at 7:12 pm
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    well said brother, it’s a shame how stolen valor is look at like its nothing these days. I really think we need to lobby the government to do something about this the hell with freedom of speech rights it’s should be a crime to claim to be a veteran period

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  • April 6, 2015 at 6:46 pm
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    I am not a Veteran I was born in 1958 and when I got out of school in 76 there was a large downsizing. But my Dad is Veteran of WW2, Navy, 2 brothers of Vietnam Marines , and my son has served in Iraq and Afghanistan Air Force. And I think the idea of someone lies about services should be a legal matter.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 6:33 pm
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    1. I never served. Starting with that,

    2. Is there a way to check when and where a claimant served, for those of us without the experience/ESP to distinguish the true from the false?

    And,

    3. Do you feel comfortable with civilian non vets calling out imposters or should this be left to other vets?

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  • April 6, 2015 at 6:18 pm
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    You know, I’ve been trying to really put my finger on what may truly be wrong with the societies fabric of America and it finally came to my understanding in this article. When you all mentioned the gay, minority, pro-choice individual vs. The individual who is clearly in violation of Stolen Valor. That which is wrong is our priorities have flipped.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 5:34 pm
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    1st Inf. Division Viet Nam 69-71 our MC also requires DD214 to become a member Combat veterans motorcycle Association Chapter 19-6 upstate new York.havent run into a scumbag yet but if I do I think I would go to jail take care my brothers

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  • April 6, 2015 at 3:14 pm
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    I just wanted to thank you for this article and thank you for your service. I absolutely hate people guilty of Stolen Valor. I wish there were more I could personally do to stop it but arrivals like this are a great help.

    I have seen it many times since my service in the Army , Navy and as a Corpsman with the Marines. I really am a Vietnam Who is proud my my service . I have never fully understood why people have to lie but I guess it’s the thing to do these days — anyway Thanks

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  • April 6, 2015 at 2:37 pm
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    I have never served in the Military. I went into law enforcement after graduating high school. I am sure, that I have told a poser or two that I appreciate their service based off of seeing them wearing Veteran’s apparel, but I would rather say that to a poser than miss the opportunity to say it to a real Veteran. With that said, I hate those that steal the Valor of the men and women that sacrifice themselves so that our nation can prosper and be free. For the real warriors out there, Thank you for what you do!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 2:01 pm
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    how is the best way to check someone out that is claiming to be something they aren’t? I know of an individual that is claiming to be a jump master and a recipient of a Purple Heart. I would like to make sure my facts a straight before approaching this individual. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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    • April 18, 2015 at 11:59 am
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      BEST WAY..request he show you his DD214. That’s where the bullshit stops. GIs are instructed at separation from service to file their 214s with their county recorder. Once done, the document is in the public domain and available to all. Call your recorders office with the full name of the individual…

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  • April 6, 2015 at 1:17 pm
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    Thank you for shedding light on these posers. As a soldier myself it brings anger knowing there are people that will hop in one of these uniforms for a damn gimmick. Great men and women have died in the uniform. Personally if I ever see anyone posing as military I’m going to jail. Again thank you.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 1:07 pm
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    I forgot to mention I am retired.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm
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    The VA Secretary was a Sapper the training for is similar to Rangers. I don’t have as much trouble with his lie. He served and was awarded Sapper badge. He served honorably also. I find it repulsive when people lie about there srevice.

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    • April 18, 2015 at 11:55 am
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      SO he went to sapper training at FLW, MO.? GOOD! Does that make it OK to lie about being “Special Forces”.. that term refers specifically to the U.S Army unit we call “Green Berets”.. That shit stinks too!!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm
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    Those who boast the most are usually suspect in some fashion.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 11:52 am
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    Thanks for this article I spent 8 years in the Navy and 2 years in the army national guard and I angers me to see so many people claiming to be veterans that are not. I alway felt that serving was a responsibility. People trying to take credit for protecting our country that have not are cowards. I thank you for your service.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 11:46 am
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    This is the reason I dont hang with other vets,2 many stories that aint right.ive made other vets mad cause I dont. They get all upset when I dont want to talk about anything. All I say is 173rd, 1965 & leave it at that. The only person I really talk to is my friend who was there at the same time. I had 1 friend who I found who didnt want to talk, so I just left it alone. When I do get around someone whos lieing I will say something loud enough for other to hear. Thx for letting me vent.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 11:33 am
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    Glad someone is keeping track of this. Do you have a network setup with Canadian or British efforts? I knew of a woman (civilian) who worked as a clerk in regimental museum. On her days off she liked to walk the streets of Ottawa getting high off of salutes as walked around DND HQ. That was pre-911. She disappeared after getting caught but there needs to be a place where people can be named and shamed for future references. We might forgive but we never forget!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 11:12 am
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    I’m not so sure you treated Clinton’s claims fairly. She did land in Tusla, Bosnia on an airfield where planes were constantly being fired upon by small arms fire from the wooded area surrounding the airfield outside the perimeter of the airfield controlled by our forces.

    I flew into Tusla, twice. The first time on a C17 from Frankfurt on January 8th, 1996, and then again in mid March, by the same means and route, just a day or two before Clinton and Sinbad arrived. Both times “we” were warned of the small arms fire from the ground on approach into Tusla, and asked to move quickly away from the aircraft until we were at the end of the tarmac a half mile away. I have no doubt, given its routine nature, that Ms Clinton was told the same thing that I was. I reviewed her claim of being under fire on that landing and it merely reflects the same “reality” we were all warned about upon approach.

    I would also point out that the perimeter of the airfield was “mined”, so I doubt the crowd of admirers, including girls with flowers, were allowed anywhere near the plane, but instead waited up on the road, about a half mile from the end of the runway for her to be quickly escorted there under guard.

    I would also point out that Sinbad, who was on that flight with her, slipped a bit of a poke of humor into his routine about this same thing when he visited our camp at Lukavoc (1st Armored DISCOM) the very next day.

    So, let’s not “steal” the valor of someone who was there by down-playing the real danger she was exposed to on that trip.

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    • April 18, 2015 at 11:49 am
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      SO, it takes VALOR to fly into a major NATO airfield one time..I am sure the threat was nil at worst and well mitigated. Let’s not confuse routine shit with acts of valor!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 10:32 am
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    Keep it up we had a faker who was the Director of Christian education in a local church. He claimed to have been a Marine and also to have been a POW and also claimed to have served a hitch in the Army. One of the elders of this church asked me too check him out. I did so by contacting the Army and Marine corps personnel in DC. This scumbag was a fake for there where no record of him in either service,

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  • April 6, 2015 at 10:29 am
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    Good job Chris. Please use the term recipient rather than “winner” since there a rare no raffles held for the MOH or any other decoration or medals. I was in firefight with Leslie H. Sabo…May 10, 1970 September San Cambodia. MOH recipient. We lost eight young men…twenty six WIA…six hour firefight.

    CURRAHEE!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 10:19 am
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    Thank you for highlighting the issue. There are more stories to be told and liars to be outed. The advice is appreciated. SF

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  • April 6, 2015 at 10:12 am
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    Great article – I’d like to share this on Facebook (I found the article via another sharing it). My kids see what I share… Could you change the title to just “Stolen Valor is No Big Deal?”

    The revised title doesn’t express the frustration as well, but I’ll bet a lot of people would like to show the article to their young sons.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 9:59 am
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    I have a question for you can the commander of Afghanistan block soldiers from talking to the public this is a long story can anything be done about him pls let me know this has happened twice and he deploys them to Iraq or Afghanistan because I owe him 500$, and threatens me

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  • April 6, 2015 at 9:21 am
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    Thank you for the great and timely article … my Grandfather served in the British Army in WWI , my Father in the British Merchant Marine , my Step-Father 20 years in both the US Air Force and the US Army , my cousins both of them in the US Army , Uncles in the US Army …. even my Niece who just got married her husband served multiple tours in the Middle East as a US Marine ….. and lastly myself 20 years in the US Navy .We all may end up in Hell but we’ll stand before our creator with our comrades and shipmates 😉

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  • April 6, 2015 at 9:19 am
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    Great article…I find it funny that dirtbags have no compuction to cheat, lie, and Steal Valor, to gain acceptance or to validate a point.

    But let a real Veteran stand up and say something, we’ll be called something like Terrorist or outspoken liars.

    The government makes a bigger deal of a veteran Marine that was held in a Mexican jail for taking fire arms across the border, (still hear on the David Webb show…Active Duty Marine). Then they do about Robin Paul mocking our PTSD veterans,

    Continue on Brethren…

    Bryan

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  • April 6, 2015 at 9:03 am
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    Good day,

    I find all the incidents described here interesting and disturbing. I am merely a civilian from the viet nam era (had I served). I originally had a lengthy story that I was going to post and decided not to mainly cuz after re reading it, realized it was probably only interesting to me.

    I find those that consciously misrepresent themselves as having served just plain wrong and I attempt to always be on guard for them.

    What can i as a civilian do when I feel I have encountered a poser. I feel it is always risky for me because I don’t know the questions to ask or how to recognize some of the jargon or protocols that may be out of place. I certainly Do Not want to incorrectly assess a situation wrong. Therefore, I tend to be non confrontational, guarded and remove myself from their presence.

    Any thoughts or guidance?

    Thanks

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  • April 6, 2015 at 8:57 am
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    I’ve run into quite a few former military claiming to be more then they were. I was an army helicopter mechanic during piece time and during Desert Storm I was in the Texas Guard and darn proud of it. I’ve met quite a few vets over the years from going to numerous vet events that are vets but claiming to be more then they were. Seems like every Vietnam vet I meet was a tunnel rat or a sniper. My cousin did two tours in Nam, trying to get him to admit to it is tough.

    I’m good friends with a few Navy Seals because of an event I’m involved with. I build the memorial knives for the Chris Kyle Memorial. It’s a great event and it’s nice meeting some great American heroes.

    I build a knife called the Patriot Knife, it’s never sold by me. I build them and donate them to veteran fundraisers, first responders fundraisers or I award them to individuals that have gone above and beyond the call of duty. Since starting this my knives have raised. $70,000 for different fundraisers. Some of you may feel you deserve one or know someone that deserves one but I’m just a one man operation and I’ve spent a lot of time and my own money to build them so I can’t afford to give them to everyone.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 8:35 am
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    Great article brother. I had no idea that the number of jokers claiming to be Vietnam Veterans was so high. I can only imagine those numbers will eventually be much higher among today’s shitbag youth claiming to be OIF/OEF combat veterans who served in the sandbox and Afghanistan. I’ve even found websites offering up “replacement” military awards paperwork, specialty school graduation certificates and all

    kinds of shit without requiring a DD214 as proof of completing/earning said awards. I also hate to say that I’ve run into more actual veterans trying to bullshit me about being in combat than I have civilians falsely claiming military service. After I let them say their piece I casually throw out my 2 tours in the ‘raq as a grunt with the 82nd coupled with a few “What FOB were you at and when” questions….and they quickly start singing a different tune. I never know how to properly castrate those fucks because they are military veterans but they feel the need to BS about having been in combat. Anyway keep fighting the good fight and keep the articles coming.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 8:15 am
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    My “valor” is not something anyone can steal. We all know folks that deserved awards they never received, or received awards they didn’t deserve. Ribbons are just recognition, so really we are talking about someone timesharing praise and recognition, not valor. Plenty of military guys pretend to be other things (ball players, whatever) to pick up chicks, but people whine about fake soldiers. Read the Constitution you swore to protect and defend…if they aren’t attacking you or your property, feel free to whine as per 1A, but remember they have that right as well. Since, apparently I fall into the “these people” category of the “fuck these people” statement in the title, I’ll just ask all the folks that disagree with me to enjoy their week.

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    • April 18, 2015 at 11:41 am
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      You suffer from a recto-cranial inversion AND talk out of your ass about that which you have no insight or authority as you apparently have earned no military valorous commendations and have no personal valor to offer. This is not about The Constitution, IT IS PERSONAL!

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      • April 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm
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        You say it’s personal, but want to use the law (based in the Constitution) against these people. It is definitely personal for you, since you ran with an ad hominem attack (always an act of desperation from an inherently weak arguing position) instead of rebutting my statement. You’re just too cute! All caps and exclamation points to boot…I’m inclined to think you are a 15 year old girl, but you would have had more emojis.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 8:07 am
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    Great article on those scumbags who continue to disgrace those who have served with honor. I know a few myself and never miss the opportunity to call them out. To profit from their antics makes my blood boil. I served in the 25th Division in Nam and survived the 1968 Tet offensive. It is a sad state of affairs when the folks forget what it means to be a true veteran.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 7:57 am
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    Thank you for what you do. I am still in and serving. But these posers piss me off

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  • April 6, 2015 at 7:39 am
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    this arrival completely sums it up. This is my first time reading anything of yours but I’m impressed. As an msarng Iraq vet (albeit a very short tour right at the draw down) I take pride in it and can’t understand the posers and liars. Keep fighting the good fight, guys.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 7:27 am
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    So as a civilian who abhors those claiming to have been in combat, how do we know these posers are lying, and what can we do about it?

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  • April 6, 2015 at 6:38 am
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    interesting article, and with the ring of truth. i don’t see this problem going away in my lifetime, though. why is it that during vietnam, so many worked so hard to avoid going, immediately after so many were vilified that had gone, and now the fakers outnumber the VN vets by 4 to 1?

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  • April 6, 2015 at 6:38 am
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    To begin, I never served due to a young man’s irrational thinking. My older brother did. F Co. 51st Inf. Abne Ranger (LRP)

    RVN ’68-’69. Allowing that, posers and wannabes piss me off. You want what vets get? Enlist. Otherwise keep your damn civvies on. Pretending is for children. I lost my brother 3 years ago to cancer caused by Admiral Zumwalt’s favorite defoliant. If you need my bro’s name, email me then check him out. Saddens me that these people are that desperate for attention. Thank you guys/ladies for your service and sacrifice and Welcome Home.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 5:14 am
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    Great Article~ Keep up the good work

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  • April 6, 2015 at 3:59 am
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    I served less than a year due to my medical dischaarge as being unfit for duty, I respect those whom bravely put their lives in danger everyday to keep us safe from harm, it is a job which requires alot of selflessness and for that alone America should pass a bill against all those who defraud her, taking an oath is handing the government a blank check with the lives of those whom serve and give themselves whole heartedly and that shall be respected for without the commitment America would stand defenseless, thats of course not counting her people whom are also armed behind every strand of grass, but that of course would be the last stand, God bless America and may our heros return back home to those currently over seas and that have completed their journey.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 3:30 am
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    Stolen Valor really ticks me off- I come from a huge Military background and attempted to serve myself. I was taught massive respect for the service when I was very young, I still hold that respect today. I always will. A few years ago, I worked with a man who claimed to have almost lost his legs by IED in Desert Storm, got a Purple Heart, A Silver Star and A MOH. He was of course “a Navy SEAL”, went to basic at a “Special secret post” and the military gave him pills and surgery that fixed his leg but made a mistake and they made him 6 inches taller. Also, he was a 4th degree black belt in tae kwon do and a master in Israeli martial arts too, AND his three year old, six year old and eight year old were all black belts too. I knew he was lying out his ass when he started saying things that weren’t Naval terms, I went home and checked his name on the MOH list- wasn’t on it- nobody with his last name has ever won it. As pissed off as it all made me on the inside, his crap was entertaining and made the shift go by. I wish I could remember the jackasses’ name other than Johnson.

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  • April 6, 2015 at 2:44 am
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    Good read! Thanks for writing that up. I didn’t serve, but of course have the upmost respect and admiration for those who have. Makes my day to see a poser get busted for stealing valor!

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  • April 6, 2015 at 2:37 am
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    Where can a person go to research whether or not an individual making a claim to a stellar military career actually did what they claim to have done???

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  • March 28, 2015 at 4:32 pm
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    Great article. I’m a civ but grew up around service personnel and stolen valor makes me real hot real fast.

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    • April 6, 2015 at 9:39 am
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      Thank you for the article. As a retired Army salt, I will never give up the fight to retain the little bit of respect we, as service members, get. I will never condone the wearing of a military uniform by a scumbag, no spine having puke. I have earned, through blood, sweat, tears and pain, every piece of cloth and metal on my dress uniform. These people have no Idea what it means to have a connection to another person that was forged through stress and heartache. I will not forget, nor will I let my comrades forget, I am, and always will be, a Non-Commissioned Officer.

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  • March 12, 2015 at 7:21 am
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    About 2 years ago, in the civilian optical shop that has the VA contract, I was at the wall picking out my eyeglass frames and a motorized wheelchair pulled up next to me. It had a flag on it and several Vietnam stickers/decals.

    The occupant looked as if he’d climbed off a Rolling Thunder motorcycle — numerous pins, flags, etc.

    Says me, “Brother, welcome home — what frame do you want me to take down for you?” He was obviously not going to be able to get up there, was he?

    Says he, “I wasn’t in ‘Nam, but I was ready to go. Same thing, right ?”

    “Uh, no, not really, but what frame do you want to see?”

    “Ah, that’s OK. I’ll just stick with these (in his hand).”

    As I came out from my eye exam a while later he was still there and I couldn’t help but wonder what all the paraphernalia was all about and just how much he really needed that wheelchair. Just how far I wondered did the deceit go?

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  • March 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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    ….some frustrated insurgent had been screaming “Allah dammit!” while watching him…. That made me laugh out loud. I can just picture that.

    What is more maddening to me is the fact that truth means nothing any more. Take Hillary, for instance (please!). Nobody cares she lied out her ass. It’s not only that people don’t think it’s a big deal, our society has become one where most people don’t think the truth is a big deal, either. They say they “misspoke”. No, you lied. Period.

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  • Pingback:Stolen Valor is No Big F**king Deal | chrishernandezauthor

  • March 8, 2015 at 11:08 pm
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    I’ve been busting such dirtbags since we began a VVA chapter in Athens, OHIO back in 1980! Once we required DD214s, our membership dropped off precipitously. There is no end to their creative lies…LTG Jug Burkett, a good soul from Texas inspired me onward with his assurances and his book, “Stolen Valor”. This is not a new phenomenon I am sure. Fuckin WANNABEES everywhere. BUST THEIR ASSES!! As a once famous shooter from WV asked me some years back..”What are you doing to me”? WELL, NOT what I wanted to for damned sure!! I came out of Nam with a new body cast, a CIB and a couple “V” devices attached to the Bronze Stars next to my Purple Hearts…I take it very personal! No room for pretenders.NONE AT ALL!!

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:43 pm
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      Sullivan,

      Weaponsman.com ran a story a ways back where they talked about French posers in the 1760s. I’m sure it’s always been a problem. I’m glad your VVA chapter began requiring documentation; without it, as you know, anyone can claim to be a war hero.

      I recently spoke to a social justice warrior who’s trying to help veterans with PTSD. He asked my advice on how to better help. I told him, “Vett them all. Ask for documentation. Any real veteran can get it, and will thank you for asking.”

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      • March 20, 2015 at 8:11 pm
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        ROGER THAT MD !! Official paper on ALL of ’em. Solid advice.. keep the faith, never surrender! Thanks brother!! Sully

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      • April 6, 2015 at 1:27 pm
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        Agrred Matt. The problem is that the VA staff is not knowledgeable enough or experienced enough with understanding how the armed services work. That some people are just there for the easy money (comparable to welfare people) and staff at these hospitals have a difficult task of deciphering factual claims vs. the bs.

        Since 2008 I have been working to have my knees and back taken care of/looked at. Even went so far as to tell this lady I didnt want to file a claim until they took a look to see if anything was wrong (my knees are shot). She didnt understand why my knees are bad. I literally pulled out pictures and videos of combat patrols, load outs while I fought in An Bar in 05-06. I was a heavy dude. The point being, I had to prove to her why my back was messed up. I had to educate her and walk her through my pictures, videos and break it down. I was okay with that. Maybe the next guy to come across she’ll ask “what was your job? Do you have pictures?

        It saddened me that I was the first vet to give her proof of my injuries, of the burdens we carried. Instead, some guy who never left the wire/and or green zone is sitting at 80-100% disability while the guys who need the care are sitting on the bench.

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  • March 8, 2015 at 3:48 pm
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    I served in the military. Do you believe me?

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:40 pm
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      Maybe. Thus far, no reason to doubt the claim. If your claims became a little outlandish or fantastic, doubt would begin to grow. Claim you were a sniper in Russia before being a POW in Vietnam, I wouldn’t believe you.

      Does my skepticism somehow bother you?

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  • March 8, 2015 at 4:02 am
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    It is appalling that people dishonor & decieve so flippantly about this. I’ve heard the homeless story before. I don’t believe anything said by someone running for public offoffice.

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:37 pm
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      I generally don’t believe beggars or politicians (redundant) unless I’ve seen proof of their claims.

      Colin Powell and Jim Webb, while I don’t agree with much of what they say, are proven honest politicians. Statesmen, actually.

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  • March 7, 2015 at 5:03 pm
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    I know of a police officer that was dealing with a shitbag a while back. The shitbag was wearing woodland camo bdu’s and had a hat that said special forces, a poorly done ranger tattoo and a tattoo that said special forces. He asked him about it and the shitbag said he was an army ranger for several years. The police officer later found out that he wasn’t a ranger and that he’d never seen combat like the shitbag said he had. The police officer gave his story and pictures to a stolen valor website and they also looked into it. Now the shitbag is suing the police officer for hurt feelings.

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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      He’ll probably win.

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  • March 7, 2015 at 9:27 am
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    What happens when a poser is found to be wearing bikers colours?? Swift & savage…

    Public beatdowns,hmmmm

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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      I’m not a fan of actually beating them down (except in special cases), but savage public humiliation is always a proper punishment.

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  • March 7, 2015 at 2:38 am
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    Fuck I love you blokes. Every article is clean, clear and to the point. PLEASE keep up all the good work you do (I love the articles but the attractive women do assist in keeping me happy).

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:33 pm
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      Thank you sir. Glad to see we’re getting a little respect in (I’m guessing) the UK.

      Or is it Australia, or NZ?

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  • March 6, 2015 at 12:47 pm
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    Many of us are tired of political correctness. As a Vietnam era Navy veteran, I’m sometimes embarised that I didn’t serve in country. I served many months on station in the Gulf of Tonkin, and would never think to say anything but that. I also served in the North China Sea in North Korean waters, have campaign Rubin, but would never say I served in Korea either.

    My son, Howell A. Pugh, served two tour of duties in Afganistian as a dust off medic. We are very proud of him and protective of what he did. We all need to stop accepting at face value what others claim to be true.

    Thanks for all you do.

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:28 pm
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      Thank you for that, and thanks for your honorable service.

      Back before 9/11 I was complaining to a fellow officer and army vet about never having done anything. As he put it, “It ain’t your fault World War III didn’t break out while. Just be proud of having been ready for it.” And he was right.

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    • April 7, 2015 at 10:30 am
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      I spoke for a young man who was leaving for boot camp in a few days at his going-away party. I’d served in OIF/OEF, but I honored the young man because he had enlisted during a time of war knowing full well what would probably happen (deployment). I joined during peace-time initially for the GI Bill, and war just happened during my service. Just because you didn’t serve under direct fire doesn’t mean you didn’t nut-up and volunteer for whatever service the military decided to do with you. I’ve met people who have deployed during “combat” in Baghram, Afghanistan who attended weekly salsa-night festivities and managed to attain historic XBox reputations. But then again even those guys if called upon, would have put on their gear and gone on a convoy at a moment’s notice. Michael, you too should be very proud of your service, willingness and volunteering to go into harms way. It just wasn’t Gods or the military’s plan for you.

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  • March 6, 2015 at 10:46 am
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    Thank you for writing this.

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm
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      Thank you sir, I appreciate that.

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  • March 6, 2015 at 10:41 am
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    Thank you for taking the time to articulate the truth in this matter. And as per SOP, your word-smithing lends credence and poignance to the point.

    The beaten down cynic in me tends to accept this state of affairs as yet another symptom of our national ADD and apathy. But the stubborn bastard part that rules the roost refuses to admit defeat and reminds me that so long as even one person will listen, it is the job of every veteran to pursue this issue with absolute resolution and voracity. Every douche nozzle that seeks to bolster their poor self image with lies and half-truths diminishes the efforts and sacrifices of all those who actually did stand in the face of harm.

    And…making great effort to avoid the rant switch, I will just say this. Any public figure, bureaucrat, or (particularly) politician that will lie about such a matter deserves ZERO trust from society. They have immediately proven themselves morally and ethically defunct and absolutely unworthy of

    public responsibility.

    It is a task incumbent upon us as veterans and as a nation to not let this phenomenon become status-quo. Use whatever means are available to educate your circle of influence. Get the word out and make damned certain to remind everyone to remember these lies on election day.

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    • March 9, 2015 at 7:26 pm
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      Thanks MK. I’m really not sure how to classify poser-busting nowadays; sometimes I feel like we’re trying to stop the sun from rising in the east. It’s just an unbeatable monster.

      But there are some fights you just shouldn’t quit, even if you know you’re going to lose.

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      • April 6, 2015 at 10:57 am
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        I know it feels like an uphill battle (pun fully intended), but I’ll watch stolen valor videos all day and love watching those tools get busted every time. Keep up the good work.

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    • April 6, 2015 at 8:30 pm
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      Very good words and I feel for you brother. Although I did not get the opportunity to serve, it disgusts me to no end that these posers do what they do to steal valour from those who deserve it. Let’s keep the heat on and continue to expose these fucking assholes for who they are.

      Reply

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