Stolen Valor, a lot more prevalent than you even know

« Previous story
Next story »
Stolen Valor, a lot more prevalent than you even know

I could fill this blog with Stolen Valor every day.  Literally.  Probably 3-4 posts a day of guys busted.  But I don't, for two reasons.  One is just that after a while, it gets old.  They are all horrible people who I believe steal valor from my friends who truly acted heroically.  I didn't do anything heroic, but I did my job.  I'm proud of what I did.  I didn't do it great, but I did it when others didn't.  The second reason, and more pertinent lately, is that I am getting sued all over the country for outting these guys, and I get a lot of death threats.  Not your run of the mill type "I'm going to kill you" type stuff, I had one guy who went so far as to get the floor plans to my house, and then went into graphic detail about what he would do to me, my wife, and my then unborn daughter.  I sleep with an M4 next to my bed now, and my body armor right next to that.  It's not the way a man who returned from a war zone wants to live, but I don't have many options.

The lawsuits suck.  Thankfully I have the best employer in the world, and they take valor thieves seriously.  So, while I pay a price mentally and emotionally, and have to be hypervigiliant, I at least am not having to get a second mortgage on my house to defend myself, nor worry about all the complaints they lodge against me.  Just the same, it's tough at times.

My friend Jonn Lilyea has no such compunctions.  He's lost a lot of friends, and he's busted more people than I can even keep count of.  Just go to THIS LINK here and start scrolling.  That's Jonn's work.  Thousands of phonies busted, with help from others like Stolen Valor Facebook, Guardians of Valor and others.  Many of the phonies are now in jail, others are still pulling their scams.  Last week I spent time with Jonn in DC, and we talked about the importance of what we do, and how we wish that we didn't have to do it.  It takes time, it takes money, and it takes its toll.  But to both of us, it's also vital work.  It's basically what the Legion's preamble discusses when we recite


To preserve the memories and incidents of our associations in the Great Wars...

The corollary to preserving those memories is making sure that the fake stories are corrected.  If everyone had the Medal of Honor, the 78 or so living recipients Medals would mean much less in terms of being National Treasures (which they are to me.)  It's a simple form of economics.  If the supply is unlimited, the value of each individual Medal is that much less.  And I have friends who have received that Medal.  Ryan Pitts, a dear friend who is my personal hero.  Sal Giunta who is one of my favorite people in the world to enjoy a beer with.  And Kyle White who I had the pleasure of playing some leisurely (and poor) golf with earlier this year.  And those I've met in the past, like Peter Lemon, a recipient from Viet Nam who was a Canadian at the time and was gracious enough to spend some time talking to me.  And Hiroshi Miyamura, who sent me a copy of his book today.   And Walter Ehlers, who received his Medal on D-Day, and passed away earlier this year.  I spent a night at a bar with him, and will always cherish that memory.

Anyway, my point is that busting these guys is tough at times in terms of what we have to go through.  And it's not just a few folks doing this.  Jonn Lilyea busted 4 guys, JUST TODAY (with help from others in the cause.)  Here's a snippet from each:

Claude Odell Isaac Jr; phony Gulf War pilot

He is a pilot for these Che Bella Tours people and he claims that he was an Air Force pilot who flew in Desert Storm, so you’re in good hands. Or maybe not – the National Personnel Records Center says that he was a plumber and a helicopter mechanic for five months in the National Guard until he was placed on Inactive Reserve status for the remainder of his term – through Desert Storm. He might have gone through flight training, but it was private training and he wasn’t an Air Force pilot, according to the NRPC.

Kenneth Allen Malone; phony wounded hero

The folks at Military Phonies sent us their work on this Kenneth Malone fellow. Apparently he used to be friends with Manuel Ocasio-Reyes, one of the original Stolen Valor Act busts. In the linked story about Ocasio-Reyes, it mentions Malone as a Purple Heart recipient.

Malone is the Quartermaster of VFW Post 4412 in Hudson, Florida, and a member of the local Marine Corps League. He wears the Navy-Marine Corps Medal, which is the equivalent to the Soldiers Medal – awarded for heroism in situations not involving an armed enemy. He also thinks he’s a corporal of Marines.

It looks like he served in combat in Vietnam, he has the Combat Action Ribbon, but there are no Purple Hearts, no Navy-Marine Medal, and he was discharged as a Private First Class (E-2), not a Corporal of Marines. His VFW post is aware of his embellishments, but they’re fine with having a liar as a quartermaster.

Robert Guidi; phony POW/Special Forces postal clerk

Someone sent us their work on this Robert Guidi fellow who claims that he was Special Forces in Vietnam and yet another POW. Here is his bio from when he received recognition from his home county, Morris County, New Jersey;


Guidi Bio


Pretty impressive, eh? [....]

he National Personnel Records Center differs on his career, too. They say that he wasn’t a Master Sergeant (he was a Master Private First Class), no Purple Hearts, no Silver Star. He served as a postal clerk in an Administrative Company in the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam after a tour in Germany as a truck driver and a clerk.

George Reece; phony POW/phony SF Vietnam vet (video added)

Someone sent us their work on this George Reece fellow, who was on an Honor Flight to the Vietnam Memorial last Veterans Day. The news folks took down the story before I could screen shot it, but I found enough of the article for you to get the gist of it;

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Army veteran George Reece was just 21 years old when he spent a year in captivity in Vietnam.

He and three other soldiers were heading out to another camp when it all happened.

“We went in, found it,” Reece says. “We got captured, stayed POW for a year, we finally escaped. All of us escaped and got out.”

Not wanting to recount those traumatizing moments, he says he lost 65 pounds during that year.

Thankful to be alive, he says looking at the long list of names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial makes him so emotional, because he sees names of people he once knew so well.

Of course, the first place we look is at DPAA;


Reece POW list


No Reece was not a POW in Vietnam. So we ordered his records and he was indeed a Vietnam veteran...He was an artilleryman in Headquarters and Service Battery of the 8th Battalion, 6th Artillery which was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, not that there’s anything wrong with that. Unless you think it’s Special Forces;

One day, four different Stolen Valor guys.

Any of them might turn around and sue Jonn.  They won't win, because he has all the documentation, but do you know how difficult it is working your way through the legal system?  It's expensive, and it is tiring.

But if we don't do it, who will?

Go and click the links and look at some of these people.  Try to explain to me why whatever you did in the service isn't worthy enough of honor that you have to make things up.  Be proud of what you are, not ashamed of what you have to lie about.

People say that Stolen Valor is a victimless crime.  Tell that to the person who got bumped from a valor flight for a guy with a phony POW story.  Tell that to the people who honor these people, only to find out they lied about the whole thing.

The cost of doing nothing is too great a cost.

Posted in the burner | 48 comments
« Previous story
Next story »


* To comment without a Facebook account, please scroll to the bottom.


I served in the US Army from Jan of '67 to Dec of '69.
I'm a Vietnam ERA vet, NEVER went to Nam, closest I ever got while in was either Missouri where I took basic, or Germany where I was stationed for 2 1/2 years.
My problem is having a problem with some calling me a Vietnam vet, which I'm not, and no matter how many times I try to explain the difference to them, they still don't get it. And a lot of them are leaders in the American Legion. You would think at least they'd know the difference.
Keep up the good work you're doing Don't let the phonies deter you.

Yes, there is a difference between serving in 'nam & being a mbr of the Armed Forces at that time BUT you are as much a Viet vet as those who were in-county. notice we do not differentiate WWII vets as to whether they ever even went overseas, say to Great Britain, much less were they infantry or clerical. A Vet is a vet - you put on the uniform, went where you were told AND put yourself at risk just by training (I salute men who lost their lives in boot camp due to an accident just as I would if they were shot in Afghanistan) Tks for serving!

My older brother and I both served during Viet Nam...He in Turkey with Army Intelligence...I freezing by butt off aboard a Coast Guard Icebreaker...We are both proud of our service and would never claim to have done otherwise...These people are SCUM...

I joined an American Legion post 3 years ago. I served from 02/72 through 02/75 active duty and then 3 years in the reserves. One of the members told me that I would get the "Vietnam" patch for my
hat even though I was never in Vietnam. They called another guy over who had the "Vietnam" patch on his hat and asked him was in ever in Vietnam. He said he'd done 4 years active duty from 74 through 78 and had never left the states. He said he didn't matter since he was, "Vietnam Era." I told them that it just wasn't right and that I was not going to dishonor those who had been in Vietnam by wearing something that I didn't earn. I have never been back to an American Legion post.

Question for you. You mentioned the National Personnel Records Center in providing the records of service. I am curious how you were able to obtain this information without the veterans consent? The thought of just anyone being able to request my service records is a bit disturbing.

Part of the military records are public records... ANYONE can verify your service by writing to them and giving them as much info as possible. i.e. ssn, dob, year entered, name.

What they release is (public): NAME, DOB, YEAR ENTERED, YEAR OUT, LAST RANK, branch of service.
If they get your signed consent/release (i.e. employeer confirmation) they essentially get a full copy of your dd214.

I know it does seem a bit disturbing but FOIA request can be done with the information. I should do mine to see what all is there. Where do you go to?

we are talking about a lot more information than NAME, DOB, YEAR ENTERED, YEAR OUT, LAST RANK, branch of service being obtained. SPECOPS personnel records and finance records go "dark" while assigned so I'm wondering just how much of this information is placed into the archives after the fact. If you can gather enough information to determine who wasn't there then likewise you can determine who WAS there with enough info provided. Either way if you are not the veteran or the Next of kin with a death certificate in hand I don't think you should have access to jack. I don't like the idea of some young jihadist one day tracking down members of a unit who they think are responsible for his father, mother, etc, death through the National Personnel Records Center

SPECOPS personnel records per se don't really go dark. The information from the NPRC will still list the Special Forces Tab or something like that. What you might not be able to get is the classified portions. So, if someone received a Silver Star for Benghazi (which happened, a Marine serving with Delta) you could still find the Silver Star listed on that individuals NPRC file what you wouldn't see is the actual summary of the events, if those are clarified. Most Silver Star citations are actually already online at the Military Hall of Valor. Things like the database of SEALs are able to be verified, in fact I do it regularly, having graduated BUDs school is not classified. Now, the SEAL may have done classified things, but his becoming a SEAL itself is NOT classified. Its a trick that most phony SEALs try to use, and it's simply not accurate.

Is in need of a overhaul. Verifying service is one thing and documenting service is another. Place it all on the members DD214 and lock the rest without the express written consent of the service member or next of kin with a death certificate requiring it for benefit verification. Name, rank, and dates of service is all the public should get. And since your service number used to be your SSN that should not be given either. I'm certainly not a fan of these Stolen Valor yahoos but likewise I don't think Joe Sixpack of the street should be able to get a large portion of my life history because he thinks I'm full of crap and ask for it.

Litmus Test: If they are bragging about "being over there they are probably full of crap" - but as long as there are benefits to be had you will have dirtbags trying to get something that they are not entitled to. You will never stop it.

SSN is already locked, we don't get that.  Or at least from the NPRC.  You can get it from PIs, and we've had to do that on occasion to make sure the NPRC gets the right file, but you should file a FOIA on yourself sometime and see what is in there.  It's mostly just MOS, duty assignments and awards.  Nothing particularly useful in terms of stealing identity.  Also, sometimes they are wrong, so you can correct it.  For instance NPRC had two files on me, one from Bosnia and one from Afghanistan.  Took a while to get them to combine the files.

There is no such thing as a Classified Veteran Service record. You or anyone else can order mine. It does seem a bit weird to me as well, but that is a fact. Some information is redacted but duty assignments, schools, combat history, and many other things are released with a FOIA request with or without the veterans knowledge or consent.

You bring up a good point about being "Looked up". I would personally welcome the event, but I know most would not. Anyway, someone claiming their records are sealed is a definite sign of a poser.

Semper Fi brother.

I am certain there is a classified record. But only because I was interviewed and background checked for crypto clearance which eventually lead me to reject the clearance and operate on "need to know" level in a crypto capacity. They knew a whole lot of intimate details about my service record from boot camp, specialized training in Engineer electronic school, my volunteering for special forces and then declining to accept over the contract requirements for CAREER STATUS. I think they are called SUSPENSE RECORD or File, I had to read a few of those, of personnel that excel, you need to know about, or draw some special attention or notice or whatever the party righting them intended to cover apparently. At least that was my experience. Oh yeah, I did get emergency appointment to Acting Rank of Command Sgt Major, a special shoulder patch that was removable, it even had 3 10 yr hash marks on it. 1st sgt, a real Command Sgt Major with 30 yrs, said he "turned down Sgt of the Army twice" prior and on the day of emergency promotion "I put those there so you would know, not I, nor any other NCO can over rule any order you give, you are my/our equal in rank" I seen the same thing in the Democratic Party as a pct chairman. I told em stoutly NO. Privacy rights are absolute in my view without some security need to know and then I saw no reason the Party could or might cite as viable.

I really appreciate the fact that someone like you (and others) is working hard to expose these POS frauds that demean the accomplishments and efforts of the rest of us who actually were there! I especially admire the Marines, grunts and Berets who were out there in the bush slugging it out with Charlie while I was (relatively) safe and sound on Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon. Cheers, Ed Newbold, MSgt USAF (retired), Galloway, Ohio.

The Supreme Court ruled the Original Stolen Valor Act unconstitutional and caused the Act to be rewritten in 2012 because --- there are many guys like me who serve in very small units that received awards that do NOT appear on the DD Form 214, they were never documented. I learned this when researching my military service and discovered a half-dozen, three with Valor that were not included. I discovered these awards while researching my military unit "Official History" - I was there and part of--in the action. Be very careful when accusing others of Stealing Glory - you may be wrong! I agree, taking credit when it is not due is a crime against those honestly deserve recognition, the person may have never spent a single day in the military!

I joined the reg army when I was still in high school(still had a few months before I was 18) I had to get parents to sign paperwork to enlist. I joined because desert storm was happening and I felt it was my duty as an able bodied young man to serve my country. I joined, I took an MOS that should have at least been there, and never got to go. Now Ive never called myself a desert storm vet, but I am a vet and did try to do my duty as a citizen. Im just not sure how to take it when someone says im not a vet cause I didn't go there. I took the same chance as anyone else but my unit wasn't chosen to deploy, how is that my fault? I did do stuff with OPFOR units when stationed at FT POLK,LA but I wasn't OPFOR. I was friends with them and they let me train with them on my own time. I didn't get a slot to go to ranger school, but with the stuff I did I went through the same training and did it well. I will never be able to say I have a tab even though I worked my butt off just as they did. I wont publicly claim these accomplishments, but I know what I did and didn't do. I know I didn't see combat (which im not stupid and trying to get killed, but always wanted personally to know how I would have handled the situation). I may have curled up in a ball and cried or selflessly given my life for a fellow soldier. Ill never know, but don't say Im not a vet.

Your service makes you a veteran, Brother. If you served in time of war you are a "Such-and-such Era" veteran and if you deployed you are a "Such-and-such War" veteran. If you were in a unit that engaged in combat operations while you were assigned to it you are a combat veteran. You should be eligible to join the American Legion and I suggest you do so. I'm active in several veteran's service organizations and I get a great sense of satisfaction in helping out. Thanks for your service. Oh, and if you could have joined the Services and did not at least apply, keep your head down and your mouth shut.

I am an AIR FORCE VET(63-71) never went to vietnam stealing valor is something that is on the rise because the goverment agencies are overloaded with claimss both legit and false so scrutiny of claims,may be weak and discrepancies easily over looked.

Thank you for your hard work. For someone to claim something that they are not is sad. They obviously lack the ethics and self-esteem to claim something they are not.

Someone should put together a list of the lawyers for the Marine Corps League...VFW...AmLeg and other service areas and get those attorneys e-mails to sign them up in each state and federal district in the country. Get them on the hook to help pro bono with the defenses. most of the lawyering is marshalling the facts and if that is already put together it should not be that expensive (if it costs anything) to uncover these frauds and get representation.

Tom Mason you can have your DD-214 amended I had a few awards/medal that were awarded after I left the service USN 73-77 including a VSM. I now have a DD-215 which corrected the missing items. FYI took a few years and a congressman but I got it done.

Thanks for the word Dave! I've been back to NPRC a number of times with copies of awards for verification, each time I get an amended (attachment) 214 they leave decorations that were previous entered on the form, off of the new form. I spent 21 1/2 year of combined Regular AF and Air Reserve Forces. No Air Force Longevity award has ever appeared. Granted, this is not a major award but all the same, it should have been listed for each three years of service. I've had a few people tell me I should have checked for these decorations during my records review. When you're stationed thousands of miles from your personnel section it's a little hard to do a proper records check. I figure if I have the documents or other proof that's enough. Stolen Valor is concerned with significant awards used for personal advantage or to gain personal benefit - that's how the Stolen Valor Act of 2012 address' the issue.

I was in Nam from 1964 to 1974. I was stationed from the Delta to Hue to Chu Lai. I personally killed over 6,000 VC and NVA and received 13 Purple Hearts, 8 DSC medals and 3 Medal of Honor awards and I don't ever want to ride in coach again. That's more than any AH stolen valor person ever did. See how easy it is to top the POS phony Valor claimants. My favorite movie in which I played Lee Marvin's twin is Cat Ballou.

A current member of my local American Legion Post proudly sports a license plate on the front of his Dodge pickup. The plate is the Viet Nam campaign ribbon with the words VET CENTER printed over it. This person made a 30-yearcareer in the Army reserves, but never left the county during the Viet Nam era. He did later get deployed to Germany. Even so, he claims he is eligible to display the plate since he is a "Viet Nam era veteran." I don't think so, but am unsure how to react. The local Vet Center says he should not have received the plate since they serve only Viet Nam combat veterans, but they are also at a loss of what to do. Although these actions do not rise to the level of other stolen valor issues, but they are getting pretty close. As a legitimate recipient of the Purple Heart and the CIB from Viet Nam with the 9th Infantry Division, I am offended by this one man's attitude and actions. Please advise if there is something I can do.

I was in the AF Reserves from 1965 to 1971. I often feel guilty for not being a combat vet like some of the other guys in my Legion Post but, like the real vets, I did raise my hand and took the vow to protect this country when so many others didn't...and some went to Canada. So, my service time may not be as meaningful but I'm glad to have had the opportunity to experience some of the military life even if my time wasn't in a combat zone.

Always good to go after phony vets. But what I don't like is when you attack people who innocently defend them, they might know the truth. CalLing them names and getting on their case doesn't help the cause and it sure doesn't make you any better than the phony vet....... Stick to the problem at hand and don't get off track of what your there for.....
USMC - Nam, 3/67-3/68

i am a member of the American Legion, because Congress has said that anyone the was serving during Grenada, Lebanon and Panama can join it. I did not participate in any of those actions. My valor is for doing my job for six years and at one time belonging to the only platoon that received a perfect score on a nuclear surety inspection. The letter that the whole platoon received and my Good Conduct Medal are all that i received for doing my job and that was enough. I am proud of of my service and I too help point out stolen valor perps when i can.

We all did our part. I served with better Marines than I ever was who did their time and got out with little more than a Good Conduct Medal. I think of them often. I was proud to serve with them. I did get deployed to Beirut and I am proud to have served with you.

Semper Fi

as the man said I just did my job maybe not the best but I did it 7 years active and about 14 in the reserves I consider myself to be one of the most fortunate individuals you will ever meet. When someone thanks me for my service I say you are welcome and move on.
Will I collect my retirement at 60 you bet your behind! I earned it shot at in country or whatever I put in the time. All the guy's saying they feel guilty for never being in combat or wherever I say just be grateful and thank the guys who where

No one really cares except those of who served. Sometimes they take it too far. I did my time and got the hell out and you may ask why? Look at government today, sell outs and pocket liners. Piss on them.

I am also a veteran and read some comments with amazement. I believe if you went where you were sent and did your job, discharged honorably, enough said. Thanks to all who served.

I am also a veteran and read some comments with amazement. I believe if you went where you were sent and did your job, discharged honorably, enough said. Thanks to all who served.

I'm happy to hear that you guys do this because it is very important to separate those soldiers who actually put their ass on the line and those who only look to profit from it. Do you feel that there is a difference between wounded and compensated?-meaning you were actually wounded from combat and not disabled because your fat ass ate too many burritos and now you have diabetes and you want Uncle Sam to compensate you. I being someone who was wounded and a Purple Heart recipient think it's despicable that those who are compensated for some bullshit they brought upon themselves( I'm not talking agent orange and those diseases/agents soldiers may have been exposed to when in combat and now have a disease because of contact from that agent)-thank you

Went to Nam as and artilleryman and ended up on an FO team with the infantry. Spent almost all my time with the grunts in the mud of the Delta. My DD-214 doesn't list 2 of the medals I got for valor because my service number was typed in wrong. I have copies of the orders for both medals and they are both included in the ribbons on my old Class A uniform coat. I consider that OK since I have the orders for the medals. But I would never say I did anything that I didn't do, and I don't understand those that think telling lies makes them any better.

You can get awards/decorations recognized via the Form DD215 (Correction to DD Form 214). It's best if you still have a copy of the official orders awarding the decoration.

The Department of the Army Army Review Boards Agency is the authority for correcting Milotary records.
DD Form 149, Application for Correction of Military Record Under the Provisions of Title 10, U.S. Code, Section 1552

The VFW Post in Floida should be given 2 options; get rid of the piece of crap or lose their VFW status. To many men and woman gave the ultimate sacrafise to have shitheads get away with trying to be something that they weren't and never will be, "Honorable Men". I was a sergant in the Marine Corp during the Viet Nam era, my father served in Viet Nam. So I don't have any sympathy for a clown like this. Get rid of him or the VFW Post.

I served in the Army from 03/72 through 03/75 active duty and then 3 years in the reserves. But I wouldn't ever try to claim to be a Vietnam Vet, I'm only Vietnam Era Vet that serve in Germany on and off the border in the Fulda Gap. I missed Operation Urgent Fury in 1983 for Grenada Then in 1986 I was assigned to 7th PSYOP Group, even though it was part of Special Operations. I'd never would claim to be Special Forces even though at times we work with different groups from Special Forces. From 1988 to 1993 I deployed to Korea 5 various times. Then in 1989 we went to Panama for Operation Just Cause. But I didn't get there until after the invasion for Operation Promote Liberty. Then in 1990 - 1991 our sister group went to Operation Desert Shield/Storm for the first Gulf War so I'm only a Gulf War Era Vet. Then 1992 we had Operation Restore Hope in Somalia, but I didn't deploy there our 4th Group did. Then in 1994 only part of my unit went to Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy 9/94 – 3/95. Then 1995 my unit deployed to Bosnia for IFOR. I didn't deploy there until SFOR for Operation Joint Forge. Then in 2001, I was to deploy to Kosovo for KFOR Operation Joint Guardian. Instead I deployed for Operation Noble Eagle after 9/11. In 2003 I deployed to Iraq for Operation Iraq Liberation, later to be known as Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2004 I deployed to Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. After that I deployed back to Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Then in 2007 I retired from the Army and proud of everything I did and where I served over the years.

My dad was a 30 plus year man in WWII, et al. I followed him into service volunteering for the draft so I could be Airborne and jump into Khe Sanh and relieve the garrison. Boy did the Army see me coming, right off the turnip truck. I lasted almost 35 years myself, and saw everything there was to see. My dad never talked about his service and I had to read his records myself to realize he was a real true to life hero. He gave me some advice about discussing combat and I have always followed it. Keep your mouth shut; killing someone is nothing to brag about, especially after you get out. As for medals, I saw thousands awarded that were not deserved and just as many overlooked. It is not a fair process, it is biased and political. All the real heroes are dead; and they are not talking. I had an Army friend who I saw in uniform one day and he had a chest full of medals. I asked him how he got them and he said he just went to the PX and picked out the ones he liked and wore them. Anyone who served in the Nam era knows that is not just funny, but not that far from reality. I would see guys who I served right next to in operations and later I would see them wearing silver stars, etc, and they did exactly what I did; but they were connected, so they got a medal while others more deserving got squat. I had a purple heart and gave it to a vet who tried to off himself three times because he was denied a purple heart because he had his arm cut off in Nam by a chopper blade but they determined it was not actually under enemy fire. He could not live with the oversight. If you are looking for fair, you are not going to find it where you are looking. When folks ask me what I did in the military I say "In the rear with the gear". And I hate it when people review my military history. Find something better to do. I guess there are people who lie about being in the military at all, and that is going too far. But I never met a vet who told war stories and did not get carried away. Navy calls them "sea stories". IF you never were a vet, that is a different kettle of fish. But if you served in those times we all know how bad it sucked, so let it go, that is why they call them war "stories".

While your work has merit, it also brings the nuts out of the woodwork. As in those that are always in search of anyone to "out as a person stealing valor". I've been approached for simply wearing a cover with USAF embroider on it. Us old farts don't care for these youngsters making a scene in public. All of them wanting a video to post where they busted a stolen valor person. That's the article you should write. One that says in no uncertain terms"if you don't have the goods on someone from the VA keep your mouth shut".

We've had that conversation with several of the videograpghers on occasion.  It's why I never do video pieces of it as well.  I get some guys getting mad and wanting to get the video right there, but the margin of error when you haven't done all the research is WAY too much.

How many years did it take to go from shame to vogue being a Viet Nam Vet?


I'm proud of my 23 years of service and glad to have served with many fine men and women. I am also glad that people are called out who did not serve, but I learned long ago, don't be too too quick to judge all those that did.

During part of my career, I spent time as a recruiter and MEPS guidance counselor for a number of years. I quickly learned that many people do this by nature. Why? because 90% do not serve in Combat Arms and have no "great" war stories to tell. Even men in Combat Arms contrive "war stores" and create them and re-create themselves. Once in a while, some of the people are damaged and don't know their own truth.

It became apparent to me as a senior NCO (E-7), while I had their DD214 and sometimes other records in my hand. Fabricating a story to a man with your record in his hand is just plain stupid. Or so I once thought and learned as I went along and figured out why.

At first I was argumentative with them, throwing them out of my office. Then a junior NCO was assigned to my office that had the same problem. He was an MP working in Saigon, with dozens of combat stories of events he did not see, happening in places he did not go. He seemed to have some mental issues too. I think the stress of just being there was too much for him and changed him. It happens to some people and is not a reason to fault him or people like him. He needed treatment.

I was stuck with him (so to speak) so I just started counseling him, explaining why he didn't need to make up stories. People like me (Infantry) need people like him. It was tough but I eventually got through to him. You served when many others did not. You supported fellow soldiers and you served your country. There is no shame in that and no embellishment to your service is needed.

Civilians also need to understand that those 90% in support roles are just as important to the effort as the guys in front slinging lead back and forth. They may not have great "war stories" but don't ask them. It's not important. There is no shame in working as a supply man, truck driver, cook or mechanic. Men and women die when the trucks break down, the food stops coming and the ammo runs out. Everyone is important and every job is needed by everyone else. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and more. War or Peace...You served, you did your job to Country.

A good percentage of people with CIB's (Combat Infantryman Badges) never saw action either. A lot of my buddies call their recent CIB "Crossing Iraq Border" badges because the combat was almost non-existent and the EIB's they had before they deployed were a lot harder to earn. So not all "Combat Vets" are veterans of combat just because they were deployed in a war theater. The overall point is the same though, there is a broad spectrum of service and all who served should consider themselves defenders of our country regardless.

I like Jason B's post I just read, because he speaks truth that needs to be told. Medals go to the deserving and often to the undeserving. I've seen plenty of both. Records are good start but sometimes (even my own and many others) are missing lot's of critical information (And no, it's not easy or even possible to fix them if you wanted to). Admin guys and gals are people too and they make mistakes. Dealing with NPRC at St. Louis can be a pain. Real hero's are usually not recognized and go unknown while politics creates hero's "at will" sometimes. I couldn't count the number of Bronze Stars I've seen hanging on uniforms and office walls, just for being "there".

All the good men I know that were really deep in the sh*t don't talk about it much if at all. The man not telling any stories to anyone is usually the man with a thousand stories that both killed many men and watched his buddies die. Silence speaks volumes to me. Loud voices, not so much...I wonder about their agenda. You probably will never hear about any of it and that's fine... I've also ran across people so brain damaged that they don't know what they really did. A lot of these phony soldiers I see have some obvious mental issues too.

My Grandfather told me the same stuff happened after WW2 and my Father told me it was common after the Korean war. So temper yourself as you witch-hunt. Expose the fakes that didn't serve, but always keep in mind that you might come across somebody that can't prove what they did or when.

And I know personally as a fact that you cannot legally retrieve a military service record without a persons permission. Just read the request form, it's a violation of Federal law. Otherwise you could sell Veterans Social Security numbers right off of their DD214's to identity thieves.

A person should be outed when he/she receives a benefit from pretending to be a vet. This person should be exposed publicly as a liar and a phony. Too many are physically or psychologically unable to accept gratitude or accolades for their service. The non combat vet or Reserve member who declares himself a combat vet and recipient of various medals should just be called a phony and exposed to the person who is giving him a benefit not knowing the vet is a phony. Or you can be in the Marine Corps Reserves, running for election claiming you were in Viet Nam when you weren't and then get elected to office. Go figure

See comments above

I'm a Vietnam vet., I would never pretend I am something or did something I didn't do. Our national, State,
local governments should get behind our Military Forces!!!


Keep up the good work of flushing out these rat bastards that continue to lie about the time they may or may not have spent as US service men. I applaude you for your hard work.

Keep up the good work of flushing out these rat bastards that continue to lie about the time they may or may not have spent as US service men. I applaude you for your hard work.

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Have a tip for us? A link that should appear here? Contact us.
News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.