A member with the Military Personnel Flight takes a ribbon from a storage bin at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. US Air Force photo by Michelle Gigante.
Imagine you’re out at the local bar, knocking back a few brews with friends, when a guy walks in looking like every military surplus store in a 20-mile radius exploded on him. He’s rocking a multicam top, Marine dress bottoms with a blood stripe, a bandolier, and a drill instructor’s hat with a Ranger tab glued to it. This legendary soldier makes a beeline for the bar and wastes no time flashing his Good Conduct Medal, claiming he “Got this for performing covert ops in the Green Zone.” You detect the heavy aroma of bullshit in the air, with slight notes of stolen valor.
How do you proceed?
Like most vets, your first instinct is probably to skulldrag this fucker until his head looks like a partially spent eraser, but what if he isn’t bullshitting? Do you dare pick a fight with a Special SEAL Recon Ranger?
Say he is full of shit, and you successfully turn his insides into his outsides. Then what? You just kicked the shit out of a wimp. Now who’s the asshole? Well, still him, but now you’re going to jail … again.
Do you try to talk it out with him? Explain to him that impersonating service members and claiming awards for valor is incredibly offensive and insensitive to those who have fought, bled, and died doing so? He probably doesn’t give a shit. The dude’s just trying to get laid … or a free meal at Applebee’s.
So what’s the right move?
Those who steal valor and impersonate military service members are often either mentally ill or losers. The notion that they could actually steal something from us is insulting. Some jackass who couldn’t make it through MEPS cannot diminish your service. The most these people will ever get is a free appetizer from Applebee’s and maybe an over-the-pants hand job. Maybe.
When it comes to stolen valor, our advice is to sit back and laugh. That’s why we compiled five of the worst stolen valor attempts on the internet — so you can laugh at the videos with your vet buddies and resist the urge to fix bayonets and hunt down these idiots.
We kick things off with a trip across the pond in this clip from a British TV show where the host and former British commando Ant Middleton discovers that a candidate lied about his military service to get on the show. You’ll hear the term Walter Mitty thrown out, which is British slang for an individual who impersonates a Special Forces soldier. In the States, we just call them assholes.
Who doesn’t go Black Friday shopping with their sergeant major? Turns out, this ambulatory trash bag of mashed potatoes makes a habit out of this and was previously arrested for impersonating a fallen police officer. An Army Times inquiry found he never served in the Army. What a surprise.
How much do you want to bet that his commander’s name was Jackson, too?
Remember how colonels always run around in soft shoes, without rank, trying to get money for an Uber? Yeah, me neither. Everything seems in order here, though.
This is the gold standard of stolen valor. The fact that he didn’t rip these two guys’ heads off and shit down their necks is proof positive that he is not a sergeant major.
Eric Miller is a former Army Combat Medic from Parkersburg, West Virginia. He holds a bachelor’s degree in history and has worked with homeless populations and veteran services throughout the state. He is an avid outdoorsman and has recently become interested in woodworking.
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