Sunday, April 6, 2008

What Did You Do In The War, Daddy?

Bill Clinton is a draft dodger. George W. Bush received a deferement to the Texas Air Nation Guard. Ronald Reagan never served in the military, but he acted in a lot of military movies.

The Viet Nam War was very unpopular. Returning veterans were reviled. Some were spat on in public. From 1970 to 1980 we could not wear our uniforms in public without having a macho college prepie snatch our hat or cap and run awat with it. Our caps and ribbons were turning up as trophies in my college fraternity houses. It was not popular to be a veteran or to be on active duty. It was not until 1986 that Viet Vam veterans received a victory parade down 5th Avenue in New York.

The worm has turned. Things have changed in America. Candidates for Superior Court Judge in California, aspiring professors at the United States Military Academy at West Point are falsifying their biographies to indicate that they served in the Viet Nam War. Some are going so far as to claim military decorations for heroism and valor in the face of the enemy.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge was kicked off the bench because he repeatedly lied about being a Caltech graduate, a wounded war veteran, and a CIA operative in Laos. Another judge earlier was ousted for malingering, excessive absenteeism, and attending a Caribbean medical school while on the judicial payroll. (Los Angeles Times, 8/16/01, page B6)

A baby boomer in Mississippi has been arrested and charged with making false claims about earning military decorations and medals.

Frank Thayer from Gulfport, Mississippi has been arrested on charges that he made false verbal and written representations that he had served in the military and been awarded the Purple Heart.

A news release from U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said that 59-year-old, frank Thayer, also purchased Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals without legal authority.

An affidavit filed with the criminal complaint claims that Thayer allegedly misrepresented himself in an interview with WLOX-TV during a segment honoring veterans. The release says he later admitted he had never been in the military when interviewed by federal agents.

Thayer was released on an unsecured $25,000 bond after appearing in federal court.

A widely admired writer for Sports Illustrated, the late Pat Putnam faked his Korean War record.
His widely celebrated background as a Marine veteran and former Korean War prisoner of the Chinese — with four Purple Hearts and a Navy Cross — wasn’t true, Marine officials said Thursday, 1 May 2008.
Putnam, who died in 2005, does not exist in Marine Corps Archival Tapes, a list of Marine veterans that covers Corps history until about 1970. He also does not exist in any Marine medals databases, including one for the Navy Cross, the Corps’ second-highest military honor.
The revelation came just hours before the Boxing Writers Association of America was set to award the Pat Putnam Award at the association’s annual award dinner at the posh Millennium Biltmore Hotel Los Angeles.
Previous honorees include Muhammad Ali, honored in 2006 for his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.
Bernard Fernandez, BWAA president, said he would still honor the 2008 recipients Thursday night, but would not mention Putnam.
“He had a substantial enough career as a major, big-time successful sports writer that he didn’t have to do this,” said Fernandez, a columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News. “Being someone in his line of work, I can’t believe he didn’t think this wouldn’t come to light eventually. He had to know this would come to light, and that people would get hurt.”
Fernandez said he first learned of potential inconsistencies in Putnam’s service record earlier this week when he was called by Chuck and Mary Schantag and Doug Sterner, who run Web sites dedicated to preserving the stories of war heroes and exposing fakers.
“They checked it 17 ways to Sunday, and it came up totally bogus,” Fernandez said. “He had us all fooled. You’re talking about media people (in the association), and he had us buffaloed.”
The Schantags and Sterner began investigating Putnam’s story after Fernandez wrote in a Philadelphia Daily News column on Tuesday that Putnam — the “rawhide-tough Marine” who “came back [from Korea] with four Purple Hearts and the Navy Cross” — would be happy with the 2008 selections for the award bearing his name.
Those winners, brothers Anthony and Lamont Peterson, grew up homeless in Washington, D.C., but are now top boxers in their respective weight divisions, Fernandez’s column said.
Putnam’s background as a Marine veteran and prisoner of war has been covered in numerous publications over the years, including Sports Illustrated, the Boston Globe and several boxing Web sites.
At the time of his November 2005 death, boxing columnist Michael Katz also recalled a 1988 trip to South Korea with Putnam to cover the Olympics in which Putnam introduced him to a Korean general in charge of the country’s amateur boxer program.
“Please turn around,” Katz recalled Putnam saying, on the Web site “I want to see if I recognize you.”
Fernandez said Putnam’s story became believable, in part, because he had one lung missing and a steel rod inserted in his back “many years ago.” Putnam perpetuated the myth that the injuries were sustained in combat, rather than a car accident, Fernandez now believes.
“The proof is overwhelming,” said Fernandez, who noted the association’s “overcoming adversity” award will not carry Putnam’s name next year.
“He told a little fib 50 years ago, and look where it is now. At some point, it passed the point of no return, and he couldn’t go back.”

Michael Allan Fraser, of Oroville, California has pleaded guilty to falsely representing himself as a decorated military hero from the Vietnam War.
Mr. Fraser, 62, claimed in an interview with the Oroville Mercury-Register in2007 that he was awarded two Purple Hearts and two Bronze Stars for combat in Vietnam. He also claimed that he traveled to Vietnam with war veterans on a mission to “bury the ghosts of the past.”
A Colorado man who helped write the Stolen Valor Act, which was signed into law by President Bush in 2006, noticed problems with Fraser’s daring tale of valor.
He looked up Fraser’s record and found that he had served in the military as a veterinarian’s assistant in the Philippines.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund F. Brennan sentenced Fraser to a fine of $500 and 100 hours of community service working with veterans.

LT Paul J. Pelletier, a Navy Reserve public affairs officer, is facing a general court-martial for allegedly forging an award citation and pretending to be a lieutenant when he was not.
LT Pelletier, 42, is charged with five counts of violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice(UCMJ), including failure to obey an order or regulation, making false official statements and going absent without leave. His court-martial is set to begin May 13.
According to the charge sheet, Pelletier put himself in for a Joint Service Achievement Medal at some point between June 20 and July 20, 2006, while serving with Multi-National Force in Baghdad. He served at Camp Victory in Iraq for nine months in 2006.
The award justification “outlined achievements he had not accomplished,” the sheet said.
About the same time, he wore the rank of lieutenant when he was actually a lieutenant junior grade, the sheet said. He continued to wear the unauthorized rank, the charge sheet stated, even though he had been ordered by a captain to stop. At the time, he was still a year away from being eligible for that rank.
Specifically, he allegedly told his commander he was commissioned in November 2001 — it was really November 2003 — and made lieutenant junior grade in November 2003. He actually made O-2 in November 2005 and was selected for promotion in June 2007. Pelletier was authorized to put that rank on in December.
Pelletier later racked up a few more charges while serving at the Naval Air Facility at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., in 2007.
He is charged with being,AWOL,absent without leave for a day around the beginning of August.
A few months later, in the first week of November, he is accused of attempting to impede an investigation by “removing two pieces of documentary evidence from the preliminary inquiry officer’s investigation report.”
Also in November, he allegedly had a firearm and ammunition in his barracks room at Andrews. Doing so violates standing orders and is also illegal under the U.S. Code.
His Article 32 hearing was held Dec. 15, 2007; and, he was arraigned March 10, 2008

1 comment:

ichbinalj said...

Charlton Heston, the star of Ben-Hur, and the man who played Moses and John The Baptist, once delivered a jab at then-President Clinton, saying, "America doesn't trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don't trust you with our guns."