Lying, Stolen Valor and the Cost

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Stolen Valor DirtbagThree percent of the American populace has served in the military. Just three percent. Men and women have died for America. Many of our Three Percent have either made the ultimate sacrifice or have returned from a conflict with some sort of disability

Disabled Veterans
I am a disabled vet. I retired from the USAF in 2005 after 20 years and have a disability rating from the Veteran’s Administration that is relatively high. I am embarrassed at that rating when I see other disabled veterans, who are blind, missing limbs or more. I would never dare to pretend to be more than I am by even wearing another ribbon or badge on my Air Force uniform that I did not earn.

I am amazed at how some people can play dress-up, receive accolades from the military-loving public and then either run and hide or try to justify their actions when they are caught. The young man in the picture, the “CPL-SGT-1LT”, above has everything wrong with his uniform. It is not necessary to point out everything line-by-line. Maybe the young lady has been duped by him or maybe she is complicit, that is not what matters, what matters is the damage that is done.

I could go off on a tangent of calling these people dirt bags and much more, but that has already been done by countless other veterans. These pretenders are stealing each minute that they keep up the charade. It is truly pathetic.

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stolen-valor-SF-phonyThe Cost
There is a cost associated with lying like this. I have a short story to tell you to help relate the meaning of what this cost is. I have a friend who has a serious condition that has rendered him disabled. It is a private matter for him and he does not discuss it with strangers or even acquaintences, only close friends of which I am one. He was once approached by another and asked what he does for a living. My friend replied that he is disabled and the other man asked if it was military related. My friend affirmed that it was even though he has never been in the military. His thinking was that the subject would be dropped and he would not have to explain any more than that. He was wrong. The lie went deeper and my friend was truly embarrassed and then confessed the lie to me. He said that he never meant to lie, just try to avoid a delicate topic which went completely in the wrong direction. In confessing to me he said he didn’t understand why he felt such a strong desire to tell me even though he was mortified in doing so. I told him why he needed to do it, besides that fact that he is a man of God and needed to confess, he also needed to know that each time someone lies about military service, even those who have served who then wear more rank or “cool” badges, each lie does personal damage to veterans. It cheapens our sacrifice. Military service is a sacrifice, though the level of sacrifice differs between service members of each branch.

What about the DrillMaster’s Uniform?
This is a logical question and I appreciate it. My work is unusual, there isn’t a precedent of what I do: training JROTC units and other cadet programs along with first responder (police, fire and EMS) honor guard units. These roles require a uniform and I created a service uniform and wear the ACU (Army Combat Uniform) and also a blue fatigue uniform. For more information on the uniforms I wear, click here.

stolen valor thief

The Stolen Valor Act of 2013

Below is a summary of the Act, the text is here.

Stolen Valor Act of 2013 – Amends the federal criminal code to rewrite provisions relating to fraudulent claims about military service to subject to a fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both an individual who, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds himself or herself out to be a recipient of:

  • a Congressional Medal of Honor,
  • a distinguished-service cross,
  • a Navy cross,
  • an Air Force cross,
  • a silver star,
  • a Purple Heart,
  • a Combat Infantryman’s Badge,
  • a Combat Action Badge,
  • a Combat Medical Badge,
  • a Combat Action Ribbon,
  • a Combat Action Medal, or
  • any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law.

A little bit of comedic relief:

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Lying, Stolen Valor, air force, military, army, navy, marine corps, marines, coast guard, usaf, usmc, usn, uscg

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