Stolen Valor…

Apparently the scheduler decided to post this yesterday morning too… sigh… Sorry about that!

Interesting article in Military Times about stolen valor and its impact…

It was a sweet assignment right up my writing alley: A narrative about the D-Day invasion to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Allied attack that marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. My newspaper, the Daily Press of Newport News, Virginia, published an open invitation for those who had taken part in the grand and awful amphibious assault to contact us and share their stories. In the military-rich Hampton Roads region, we struck gold: From the pilots who flew the paratroopers to the infantrymen who stormed the beaches, I was able to relate the entire D-Day narrative chronologically, all through veterans’ eyes.

Full article, HERE.

I have personally encountered two actual cases, oddly enough about the Mayaguez rescue, when the guy KNEW I had been there. He swore his squadron was there, and took a round through the vertical stabilizer (it was actually VP-17). My buddy asked me why I didn’t go off on him, and honestly, it was because I felt sorry for the poor bastard… He wasn’t hurting me. The other one was a supposed Vietnam Vet, 173rd Airborne, who begged at the Vietnam Memorial. He got a LOT of donations, and had his spiel down pat. I found out later from a Park Ranger, it turned out the guy had been kicked out of boot camp, and never even served, he saw an easy way to feed his habit, and made out for probably four years…

BUT, there are any number that have ripped off the VA and other military assistance groups. I find this unconscionable, and I truly hope they get prosecuted for it. And it’s not just the ‘little’ people.

Senator Blumenthal (D-CT) has also been guilty of it. Blumenthal received five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, obtaining first educational deferments, and then deferments based on his occupation. In April 1970 Blumenthal enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Reserve, and he served in units in Washington, D.C., and Connecticut from 1970 to 1976, attaining the rank of sergeant. During his 2010 Senate campaign, news reports that Blumenthal had claimed that he’d served “in Vietnam” created a controversy. Blumenthal denied having intentionally misled voters, but acknowledged having occasionally “misspoken” about his service record. He later apologized for remarks about his military service he said had not been “clear or precise”.

LBJ was another one with some ‘strange’ service… Commissioned as a LCDR, (a tad odd, with no indication of any qualifications), he was ordered to the Pacific to ‘observe operations’ from his duty station of the Undersecretary of the Navy. He ended up with a Silver Star under ‘questionable’ circumstances, just for being on an airplane that took damage. Article, HERE. And he only served a little over 7 months of ‘active duty’, before being ordered back to Congress.


Stolen Valor… — 14 Comments

  1. On Blumenthal- A relative was an academic in Connecticut, and assumed to be liberal by her colleagues, and regaled me with a story. A crowd of her colleagues started discussing Blumenthal when he was up for re-election. There were complaints, sighs, lamentations, and disheartened moanings. His fabricated Vietnam story stood out among complaints, but it was not alone. And then came “Of course, we could never vote for his Republican challenger.” Gasps of horror at the very though were loudly to be heard.

  2. You forgot about Swiftboat John Kerry, whose name is currently being tossed about as a possible savior of the Democrat Party.

    • I worked for several years with Frank Schmidt who was an engineman (snipe?) on patrol boats. He was in the same group as Kerry and said Kerry did the patrols. He also said he was the kind of condescending officer all EM would like to shoot, given a chance.

  3. Hey Old NFO;

    The Stolen valor stuff pisses me off..I explained to my wife why it aggravates me. I did the time, the basic training, went to exotic locations and did my job. I was no hero. But to have people to claim as”theirs” things that they didn’t do cheapens what I and my fellow vets did. They didn’t go through the bad experiences, the scary stuff and all the other stuff that forms the military experience of the time and our willingness to sacrifice for our country and our friends. Sorry about the rant.

    • Bob – NOT a rant – just a very valid commentary on those who ‘steal’ – a thief is still a thief regardless of what they stea. Period.

  4. Like Bob, I did my training and deployed to an exotic clime where I served competently. I was no hero and will never claim to be. The fakers generally seem to be SF or Rangers or snipers. I’ve never heard one claim to have been the company clerk of the 123rd Messkit Repair Company in Long Binh. That would be almost refreshing.

    • LOL! Well, that is pretty close to my military service, which I kept under wraps until I was VEHEMENTLY SCOLDED by a combat wounded Viet Nam vet I know. He reminded me that we all sign the blank check to Uncle Sam, payable up to and including our lives. Serving safely in the rear during peacetime or a combat role in a war zone (especially with the lack of a draft) is the luck of the draw. Be proud of and never demean your service to our country.

      So who was I? An SP4 MOS 31C20 Radio Operator/Maintainer for 173d Medical Group in the Army Reserve out of Westover AFB. I did one enlistment and then was Honorably Discharged. Our unit was the headquarters for field hospitals, MEDEVAC, etc. We even had a dental unit out of Indiana assigned to us. My entire unit was made up of paper pushers, except for the motor pool, armory, and commo. We got to do stuff other than type up multipart carbon copy forms. Our entire mission was based on the Soviet Union (who?) rolling across the Iron Curtain from east to west to conquer free Europe.

      On the left chest of my biker vest, I now proudly wear my military stuff. I have a US Flag uniform patch, US Army embroidered tape, my rank, unit crest, US Signal Corps flags, the pre-1991 94th ARCOM patch and post 1991 pin, my Expert Rifle badge, and my tiny fruit salad consisting of the Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, and the Cold War Medal. I wear the last one even though it has not been authorized for uniform wear Army wide yet (just a couple of NG units for some reason). Since my vest isn’t a uniform, I think it is just fine since I qualify time-wise. There have been congressional bills to get that changed but none have passed into law yet. I could never claim some of the stuff those stolen valor clowns claim. Congressional Medal of Honor recipient? That takes some kind of balls!

  5. TOS- Yeah, that’s truly sad…

    LL- Sigh…AGAIN??? Really?

    Bob/Jim- Yep, we went, did our time, and came home. Nothing special.

  6. My favorites are the “Vietnam era” vets, complete with Vietnam hats, buttons, etc.

    Generally they’re not lying, they’re just not telling you their “Vietnam era” service wasn’t anywhere near Vietnam.

    My favorite was the local guy who worked the “disabled vet” schtick. His “Vietnam era” was a bit more than a year stationed in Italy, and he wound up in a wheelchair after falling off a loading dock while drunk and breaking his neck.

    Yeah, sucks to be in a chair, but he was still a weasel.

  7. My favorite service record misattribution is former Senator Tom Harkin.

    His ads went from being a Naval Aviator in Vietnam to being a Vietnam era veteran and what kind of planes he flew as an aviator was never fully established while he was in office.

    I wasn’t even able to find out if he was carrier qualified.

  8. This Purple Heart recipient VN Vet says this:
    Anyone in the military, when called to combat, WILL serve.
    ‘Nuf said.
    Thank you all.

  9. Stolen Valor should have stiff penalties especially if the get money of any type.
    I lost an uncle in World War II.
    My hearing kept me out of the service