A Command Level Case of Stolen Valor
Anyone who checks in at the This Ain't Hell command post on a regular basis is all too aware that the first sergeant there suffers neither fools nor phonies gladly. Well I have a guy who qualifies as both that I think is deserving of the first sarge's wrath. This phony hero's a bit different because he doesn't mis-wear a special operations uniform with multiple rows of improperly worn, unearned ribbons. He doesn't claim to have been a P.O.W. although there are some gaps in his questionable travels regarding unexplained time overseas and he takes pains to hide his history right from birth.
What he does do that is so typical of phony heroes is try to take credit for the combat exploits of others, true warriors who meet, engage and defeat the enemy while this phony is living well, thousands of miles from the hardships of the battle zone. Another trait he shares with the legions of phonies out there is the love of the camera and being in the public eye, bragging about his wartime accomplishments, awing the ignorant and uninformed.
But this phony doesn't fool us vets does he? One look and we know he never served. We hear him brag of his triumphs and we who have served know the truth of the old military adage, "True heroes don't brag." I served in units with several highly decorated soldiers, One of my sergeant majors was a WWII Medal of Honor recipient. An officer in our battalion earned the MOH in Korea. After Vietnam, my roommate at Fort Bragg, the future CSM Charles B. Morris, R.I.P., was also an MOH awardee for action with the 173rd Airborne. I was too junior to ever get close to those first two heroes but I heard from battalion NCO's that they never spoke of their valorous deeds. I can assure you that you couldn't pry anything out of Charley with a crowbar and those who tried were curtly instructed to change the subject. I did share some of his combat experiences from his nearly nightly nightmares which could become quite loud and active.
Point is, they didn't talk about it and I'll wager that most of you reading here know how true that is across the board. It made me squirm a little just writing that above paragraph because I don't care to be accused of bragging about who I knew back when. Believe me, it had nothing to do with me; I was no hero and it was nothing more than an accident of time and place that afforded me the unique opportunity to serve with real heroes. But it did teach me to listen closely when some character starts bragging about his combat exploits or what a crucial role he played in winning a fight.
By now, I'm sure you realize, I'm not talking about some pathetic wannabee out there with his beret on sideways and his medals worn upside down. No, in fact, the pathetic pretender I've been describing won't even wear a flag lapel pin. He's the less than 90 day wonder we now have sitting in our top command post, hindering our forces at every turn and quick to condemn their behaviors to assuage his lemming followers, while eagerly taking credit for their greatest accomplishments.
Democrats seem to have a different take on heroes and medals than most military folks, with their unquestioning acceptance of Kerry and his endless Purple Hearts as the classic example. Remember how Clinton, who bragged about reducing federal employment without revealing he did it through severe military force cuts, awarded pardons to all those criminals and terrorists in his last hours in office? It wouldn't surprise me if this egomaniac wannabee hero we have in the White House now will try to wangle himself a Medal of Honor for his courage and valor in the killing of Osama bin Laden. That would be a monumental, command level case of Stolen Valor.