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March 22nd, 2004


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01:16 am - DECEPTION AND CHICANERY, ARMED FORCES STYLE
Did you know that there's quite a large number of people out there who pretend to be veterans who saw overseas combat in order to get sympathy or money or hired or laid or all four?

That they often pose as POWs or Navy SEALs ("oooh!") and tell incredible stories of hardship and death, all completely fictitious, to reporters or classrooms full of wide-eyed students?

That they frequent gun shows and Army/Navy stores to find medals and accoutrements and claim to have received all kinds of nifty medals for merit and valor and whatnot, and even go so far as to apply for and receive Purple Heart license plates, which don't appear to require any kind of background check in some states?

That there are groups of actual veterans devoted to tracking down the impostors and publically shaming them on crazy investigative websites?

Well, there are. And quite a few of 'em, too.

Color me amazed.

(15 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:signsoflife
Date:March 21st, 2004 10:37 pm (UTC)
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well, that was a nice ten minutes of procrastination.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 21st, 2004 10:46 pm (UTC)
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"It takes a SEAL..."
From:oakenguy
Date:March 22nd, 2004 07:09 am (UTC)
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It's not quite this extreme, but I've noticed that of the four insane & belligerent homeless guys I've witnessed having freakouts in the subway or McDonalds, three claimed to've been Vietnam vets and 'lethal killing machines'. (The fourth one was the head of the FBI).
From:dcart
Date:March 22nd, 2004 07:40 am (UTC)
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I'd be more inclined to believe them, based on what I know about veteran's health care, particularly the mental health care. We shit on our vets. You'll probably never find me supporting a war, but I really feel for the people who get sent over there to fight them.

I've already seen a couple of stories about Vets from the current current Afghan and Iraqi wars who came home, couldn't find a job, and ended up homeless. One such story was about a woman in Boston.
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From:cheezdanish
Date:March 22nd, 2004 07:15 am (UTC)
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I knew about the posers. I didn't know that there were websites devoted to exposing 'em. Heh. Gotta show this one to my dad.
From:dcart
Date:March 22nd, 2004 07:37 am (UTC)
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I knew that there were people who faked being Congressional Medal of Honor winners and that there were groups of vets who tracked them and went after them. I'm not surprised at all that there are guys who do it for lesser medals.
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From:nathanw
Date:March 22nd, 2004 07:53 am (UTC)
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I did know, but only because a guy I knew back in Virginia was one of them. He had lots of great war stories to tell about 'Nam. Too bad he was never there - the fact became clear during his divorce.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 22nd, 2004 12:16 pm (UTC)
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"I didn't watch my buddies die face-down in the mud just so you could--"
"You never were in Vietnam."
"That's right. I didn't watch my buddies die face-down in the mud just so..."
(Deleted comment)
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From:isquiesque
Date:March 22nd, 2004 11:08 am (UTC)
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I just got the morning post, and in it there was an envelope with a Purple Heart stamp on it, and I thought, "Why, I wonder what this poser wants." Funny how quickly I can turn cynical... I am fairly amused that that was my first reaction, when he could have (a) really been wounded or (b) just used the stamp to show support. Then my mind wandered into the realm of What If Purple Hearts Didn't Have To Pay For Their Stamps and the further enticement people would have to lie! Silly.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 22nd, 2004 07:21 pm (UTC)

melq.

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I once saw a guy dressed as a pilot standing on the deck of an aircraft carrier, and I'm pretty sure he never saw anything more dangerous than a dentist's drill.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 23rd, 2004 11:01 am (UTC)

Keith

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Heck, we had a Governor that did that. Jesse "I was a NAAYYY-VEEEEE SEEEEL" Ventura.

He's never actually released his military records, but the rumors are that he was in charge of handing out towels at the gym in the Phillipines. And while he was a Frogman/UDT, he was never in the Navy Seals. After he left the military, they merged the two groups into the Seals. He seems to think that entitles him to the title Navy Seal.

Get me a fresh towel, Jesse.
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From:derspatchel
Date:March 23rd, 2004 12:13 pm (UTC)

Re: Keith

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The AuthentiSEAL site actually addresses this. Their verdict? He took the BUD/S course, he was a reserve SEAL after he was released from active duty, and since all graduates of the BUD/S course are referred to as SEALs whether they went to UDT or a SEAL team, he's a SEAL -- though I can see how it'd feel like he's a SEAL in name alone. (Wonder what he saw while in the reserve unit, though.)

Now I've written SEAL so much it has nearly lost all meaning.

From:(Anonymous)
Date:March 24th, 2004 02:25 pm (UTC)

Re: Keith

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Wow. So even the SEALs dub him "SEAL".

I'm rather surprised. Good for him. But I still wish he'd shut up about it.

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