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"Stolen valor, I kind of get , but stolen ignominy?" Topic

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812 hits since 10 Nov 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Korvessa10 Nov 2017 2:19 p.m. PST

I understand why someone would want to steal valor, although to borrow a quote from the movie Cross of Iron: "To my mind, there is nothing more contemptible than snatching the laurels that properly belong to a man who died in action." I do suspect that many suffer from some sort of mental illness.
But have you ever heard of stolen ignominy? Part of my job is to write background reports for the judge on defendants facing a prison term. Among other things, there is a section on their military history. A few years back I did a report on a guy for residential arson (burned his girlfriend's trailer down) who claimed he served in the USMC but got a dishonorable discharge.
Now I was only ever a peace time reservist, but I know enough about military life to usually be able to tell when it is time to cry B.S. Here are some of the holes in his story:
Claimed he was USMC Special Forces sniper (That's an Army title not used in USMC)
Couldn't Tell me what country he was in (just "sand box")
Couldn't name his unit (just said "Bravo Company")
Couldn't name his 1st Drill sergeant (something burned into your brain forever)
Didn't know USMC birthday
Didn't recognize terms "PIG" or "HOG" (sniper terms)
Claimed Navy lost his records in a fire

His story was he was a sniper and missed his target and hit a child. Later back at the base, a USMC 2LT started hassling him about it so he punched out the lieutenant. He said he wasn't arrested or put in brig and he took dishonorable discharge.
I checked with the Department of the Navy and they of course had no record of him.
The only real mystery is why in the world someone would falsely claim a dishonorable?

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2017 2:26 p.m. PST

Street cred?

He wasn't arrested and "took" a dishonorable discharge? The elite of the elite?
Even I, whose closest claim on military service was being 350 in the draft lottery, would glance up from my paperwork and say "Hmmmmm???"

leidang10 Nov 2017 3:09 p.m. PST

I knew an older, non-traditional student, guy in college that had an elaborate fake military backstory that the rest of us on his dorm floor decided was designed to ingratiate himself with people that disliked the military. It involved reluctantly following orders that got innocents killed and then being dishonorably discharged when he complained about his superiors.

None of it stood up to any scrutiny or even simple questions but a certain subset of college kids ate it up and thought he was awesome for exposing the military industrial complex.

I'm sure he would never have put it on an official document or claimed it accept where he could leverage some positive cred.

Raynman Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member10 Nov 2017 3:12 p.m. PST

His story sounds like something I read in a book. I wish I remembered the title. He even stole his hard luck story.

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2017 3:15 p.m. PST

There was a US Ambassador--to Switzerland?--some years back who had on his resume that he was in the US Merchant Marine with his ship sunk in the north Atlantic at the same time his resume also had him in college.

When the whole thing came out, they had to dig up his remains and haul them out of Arlington.

Legion 410 Nov 2017 3:29 p.m. PST

Korvessa, yeah … the guy is a moron … He should get life just for being a liar and idiot. I hope the judge was not very kind to this loser.

I knew an older, non-traditional student, guy in college that had an elaborate fake military backstory
He sounds like a real loser too. As well as those that went along with his "story".

As noted, someone who served or even if is generally well read and informed at times, can see thru BS …

If you were Vet you usually can pick up on that he is a liar and loser very quickly.

Oberlindes Sol LIC10 Nov 2017 3:33 p.m. PST

If you're a bad guy, you need bad guy credentials. You need those credentials in the bad guys' environment, not in the straight world. You use the straight world to support your bad guy credentials by getting official reports to show what a bad guy you are.

Those credentials help in your interactions with the straight world, too. When you get arrested, the police know what a bad guy you are, and treat you accordingly. All of the other arrestees see that the cops are treating you like a bad guy, so they don't mess with you. They probably respect you more.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP10 Nov 2017 3:46 p.m. PST

As is said, it takes all kinds….

Korvessa10 Nov 2017 3:58 p.m. PST

He got something like 6-8 years in prison (the max)

TNE230010 Nov 2017 7:44 p.m. PST

definitely looking for street cred

Claimed Navy lost his records in a fire

there were a large number of army and air force records lost in a fire at the archives
my dad's were among them


No duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained, nor were microfilm copies produced.

my mom went nuts for about a year trying to find my dad's copies for the VA
eventually other records were found

a month after he died
I found my dad's copies in a box in the basement

john snelling10 Nov 2017 8:36 p.m. PST

LOL Inmates telling the truth! I have some stories for you about inmates.

Korvessa10 Nov 2017 10:09 p.m. PST


I know that and checked that – he didn't fit:
The losses to Federal military records collection included:
80% loss to records of U.S. Army personnel discharged November 1, 1912, to January 1, 1960[2]
75% loss to records of U.S. Air Force personnel discharged September 25, 1947, to January 1, 1964, with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.[2]
Some U.S. Army Reserve personnel who performed their initial active duty for training in the late 1950s but who received final discharge as late as 1964.

Korvessa10 Nov 2017 10:10 p.m. PST

John Snelling
28 years in probation – we should compare stories ;-)

Dn Jackson10 Nov 2017 11:10 p.m. PST

How old is he? People growing up in the 70s-80s, such as myself, were bombarded with movies where the young 2nd LT is a complete moron who gets people needlessly killed through incompetence. Sounds like he saw one too many of those movies so while he gets the dishonorable discharge he's really a good guy cause he punched out the ignorant 2nd Lt.

Legion 411 Nov 2017 7:05 a.m. PST

He got something like 6-8 years in prison (the max)
Well if that is the max … sadly … but he should of got more ! Now I'm not sure if I got this right, but if charged with felony, the criminal can't vote and loses some other things like that ?

I agree Dn Jackson. Hollywood and the media in general play to the "crowd", etc. Many movies and books reflected that for years. As well as what is taught/going on at many places of "higher learning".

But after GWI/Desert Storm and certainly after 9/11. Vets once again became less vilified, by most/many.

I've seen that come about pretty recently, with Vet Day parades and doings. Some places give Vets a free meal, etc., etc.

Even at the YMCA yesterday they had a little luncheon for us. It was all very nice. And even a little "embarrassing" almost to be bestowed with such praise. At least being directed generally towards me.

I stood in reverence, and "held my manhood cheap" with the one WWII Vet, some from Korea and many from Vietnam. I always look forward to talking to those guys. It's like a living piece history.

I think a lot of this is from the guilt of the way the military/Vets were treated during and after Vietnam. And then with the US actually being attacked by terrorists, etc. And US Forces deploying to combat the various terrorists and their supporters.

The military gained more acceptance by the general public. However of course there still are the detractors, critics, etc. And the net is full of those types. But again … they really don't matter.

The figure that I recently saw. 3% of the US population are Vets or serving. Of the 3%, 1% are still serving.

Old Wolfman13 Nov 2017 8:01 a.m. PST

I wonder if there were US Navy records there also,that got torched. I'd heard there were.

Personal logo Cacique Caribe Supporting Member of TMP13 Nov 2017 1:33 p.m. PST

Wow. Interesting. But I have seen this same situation before.

Some people's minds are crap and are only impressed by the crap they think other people do. I guess this particular guy was trying to impress someone in the cess pool.

PS. I can say "crap", right? I think there was a time when it used to get bleeped.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP16 Nov 2017 8:54 a.m. PST

The only real mystery is why in the world someone would falsely claim a dishonorable?

Because if you claim to be a dirtbag, people are less likely to question it. It's a basic elicitation technique. If you were trained to do it, you would probably do it better than this guy.

Also, know your audience. If someone is getting paid to look into your history, you need to be more careful.

Saying things that can't be verified is also a technique, however, again, you should be trained if you don't want to do it poorly.

So, WRT "the fire". It is a myth, by which I mean it really happened, however, through time and misuse it has been transformed into something bigger than it was.


I'm not saying that is the only fire that ever happened, but it is "the Big One". Facts, over time and with poor use, take on a life of their own. I actually had a VA rep tell me my records were probably lost in the "VA records fire". I was born in 1969.

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