11 March 2010

Stolen Valor?

Just a quicky post that I may update with more detail later...
When I helped move Big Bubba to California, one of his co-workers, "Chuck", helped us unload the moving van. Chuck claimed to be a Marine Veteran of Desert Storm, medically discharged due to a blown knee. (But his knee didn't seem to bother him as we unloaded the van.)
He was aware of my service and as Vets always do, we chatted and laughed about shared military experiences. Nice guy. Likeable. We spent three or so hours of hard work unloading and organizing Big Bubba's household goods.

The next night we took Chuck out to eat Mexican to thank him... even allowed him to choose the restaurant. He chose well... the food was good. But when we sat down to eat I noticed a military ribbon on his left collar... the Silver Star.
As always in these situations, alarm bells went off. I always find myself not wanting to know someone is a lying, deceptive coward, so in most cases I don't ask for details about awards. He didn't volunteer.

Now Big Bubba and other workers at his new employer have done some investigating. So far, their search to verify Chuck's award have turned up Bupkus. My alarm bells seem to have been valid.

Is there a place we can go to see who has been awarded something as prestigious as the Silver Star? I have never before had reason to pursue such a search, but being exposed to this possible poseur shows that I need to be able to investigate this sort of personality before I invest any trust in them.

I'll start pokin' around to find what I can, but any help with links to sites referencing the major awards would be appreciated.

UPDATED:
I found this site referencing Silver Star recipients. If I'm reading it right, there were only 9 Silver Stars awarded during the Persian Gulf conflict. Take a look and see if you think that's correct.
"Chuck's" name ain't on the list.
If there were just nine awards, why would he take the risk of being so easily exposed as a fraud?
How does anyone trust anything someone like this says after finding such a character flaw?
Sad.

5 comments:

The Old Man said...

He is what he is, amigo. Nobody stuck that SS on his collar, he put it there himself. I think a copy of "Stolen Valor" loaned to him by Big Bubba might make the point and give him a chance to mend his ways. Or just a copy left on BB's desk prominently.
He is what he is.
(BTW - tickled to see the "Adventures of Yogi". I think the name seems to suit him....)

jinksto said...

It's a huge alarm for me anytime that I see a military honor worn with civilian clothes unless it's a special event where you would expect to see them.

Most recipients don't want to talk about the awards much less show them off. In essence, if you've earned it you don't NEED to show it off.

There were certainly more than 9 silver stars awarded in Desert Shield/Storm though. Here's an article about 3 that aren't listed on the link you posted.
http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1755&dat=19910316&id=djAcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=BHsEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6737,207377

cj said...

There's also this site:

http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/

with a searchable data base.

Stolen valor is a crime that should not be overlooked. My first reaction would be to confront 'Chuck' but second thought says leaving the book Stolen Valor on his desk to see if it changes his ways isn't a bad option either.

cjh

camerapilot said...

Suffer fools gladly.

Rita said...

I wondered about the wearing of a medal on a civilian uniform myself, but thought maybe I missed something in your story.

Living with a war vet for nearly 20 years now would make me instantly suspicious of anyone who wears their "war stories" on their sleeves, either literally or figuratively.

And as a funny side note, the word I have to type in right now for word verification is "crook". Appropriate for the subject, huh?