GB’s post, HERE, brought back some bittersweet memories…
Years ago I was with a good friend at his table at Wanenmacher’s gun show at Tulsa. I had on a Navy ballcap with a P-3 on it, and this guy wandered up, wearing a flight jacket with all kinds of pins hanging off it, (Now we didn’t wear pins, other than maybe a 2500/5000 hour Lockheed pin, and the patches were our histories of our service).
He proceeded to tell me he was a veteran, was in VP-47, and did all kinds of things that I knew the P-3s had never done. He doubled down that he was there when the Mayaguez was rescued, and ‘his’ airplane got hit by AAA from the Cambodians.
I just smiled at him and nodded occasionally, until he finally realized I wasn’t going to engage him, and he made some smart remark and wandered off down the aisle. Bill just shook his head and asked my why I didn’t call him on his BS, since Bill knew I had actually been on those missions and had told him the story, including VP-17 taking one round in the tail from a 50 BMG. on the Swift boat that was tied up alongside the Mayaguez. My answer was it wasn’t worth the hate and discontent, because he’d get irate and call me a liar.
Bill disappeared for a bit, and when he came back he was chuckling. I asked him what was up, and he said he’d talked to a couple of other folks about this guy. It wasn’t until the next day that I found out he’d told Mike Carter, a Vietnam vet Marine, and two other veterans about this guy. Apparently Mike went after him tooth and nail, and ended up getting the guy arrested for theft of the flight jacket (don’t ask me how he did that), as stolen goods.
There has been a lot of stolen valor out there, and as we continue to see, it goes on and on everyday. This guy got his comeuppance, but he was one of how many?
Those old guys sitting quietly in their rockers at the old folks homes, or in some cases still out there working, didn’t steal anything. They EARNED every medal they got. Just like William Crawford, HERE. And they didn’t and still don’t broadcast what they did, because they didn’t do it for the glory, but for those they shared the foxholes, ships, or airplanes with.