Some years ago, I took into my home a guy whom I had believed to be a friend. He had fallen on hard times: lost his business, his wife and family, had gone through VA-sponsored rehab and was, at the time, homeless.
He was a mess, but I believed what he had told me about his Vietnam service as a SEAL and so I took him in to at least give him a home base. I got him a job with a friend who owned a nearby convenience store, even drove him to and from work on days when the weather was inclement (otherwise he used a bicycle).
Then things started to fall apart. He fell off the wagon, big-time. My friend at the convenience store had some questions about the way this guy counted out the cash drawer and wrote up the final report each evening. And our conversations about Vietnam began to get weirder and weirder...lots of things he said made less and less sense.
I called the CO at the BUDS training facility in Coronado CA, explained my situation, and he was back to me within an hour to tell me that no one with my "pal's" name had ever gone thru BUDS...the mandatory precursor for any SEAL training...ever.
So I prevailed on yet another buddy, who had some clout in these kinds of things, and I wound up getting faxed my "room-mate's" service record.
It was all a fantasy, a lie. I threw him out. I can't stand liars.
Then I started researching all of the "wannabe" vets and award-winners and became thoroughly disgusted. For years, it's been a felony to falsely represent oneself as the winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor. Now, a bill has been proposed to make it illegal to claim any military status or award falsely.
Things are looking up!
Following complaints from a congressman, the producers of "Wedding Crashers" on Monday yanked from the movie's Web site a printable Purple Heart advertised as a gimmick to pick up women and get free drinks.