News / USA

Fraud Hunters Unmask Military Imposters

Most wearing uniforms on July 4th have served honorably, but not all

You can be pretty sure that these Marines are legitimate.
You can be pretty sure that these Marines are legitimate.

Multimedia

Audio
Ted Landphair

If you were to attend a parade or musical celebration of the 235th anniversary of Americans’ declaration of independence today, you’d likely see lots of men and women in the uniforms of the United States military.



Almost all of them are serving their country honorably and well.  But a tiny percentage aren’t servicemen and women at all, or are wearing medals and other decorations that they did not earn. “Stolen valor,” some call such behavior.

Even prominent men and women have lied about their military service or decorations. And a good many of them have been exposed by a cadre of veterans who keep a look-out for imposters - particularly at holiday gatherings such as those on the 4th of July.

This is a medal for service in United Nations forces in the Korean War. It’s worn proudly by those who served, and perhaps disgracefully be a few who didn’t.
This is a medal for service in United Nations forces in the Korean War. It’s worn proudly by those who served, and perhaps disgracefully be a few who didn’t.

One of the most determined military fraud hunters is Larry Bailey of Mount Vernon, Virginia.  He is a retired Navy captain and SEAL. That’s the same elite Navy parachute and demolitions unit that swooped down and killed al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden in May.  

Over several years, Bailey, who regretfully concludes that military fakery is rampant, has exposed a rogues’ gallery of military masqueraders that has included corporate executives and members of Congress.

Some fakers did serve their nation honorably but could not resist dressing up their records with claims of battles they never fought, medals they never won, or tortures they never endured.

Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis claimed to have served as a platoon leader in Vietnam. Turns out, he didn't.
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joseph Ellis claimed to have served as a platoon leader in Vietnam. Turns out, he didn't.

For example, Bailey points to Joseph Ellis, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who admitted embellishing his resume by claiming to have served as a platoon leader in Vietnam. In truth, he spent the war at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, teaching history.  

And a few years ago, Los Angeles, California, Superior Court Judge Patrick Couwenberg was removed from the bench after falsely claiming to be a decorated Vietnam War veteran who worked undercover in Laos for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Bailey says men often make up heroic war stories to impress women, to puff up their job credentials or because they think it will inspire youngsters such as Boy Scouts and military recruits. He says some people have lived their falsehoods so long that they could pass lie-detector tests about their stories.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid