It Happens All the Time
Some of you may be disappointed with this post since it isn't about gold mining. You have the right to your disappointment but since I'm the guy who's been writing and publishing this blog for nearly 10 years I reserve my own right to speak to issues that have just as much importance to me as gold mining...in fact, some of these issues are more important to me than gold. So read on if you choose to and if you don't, well...that's fine too.
I've spoken to the problem of stolen valor in the past so I won't repeat that rant here. However, for those of you who aren't familiar with that term I'll explain it. Essentially stolen valor is applied to those individuals who claim service in combat zones (Word War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.) and often claim awards for valor they didn't earn, let alone receive. This phony posturing includes claims about receiving the Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Bronze Star for Valor, multiple Purple Hearts, and so on. Some of these lowlifes also claim to be ex-Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Air Force Combat Para-Rescues, and other special operations types. The sad fact is that many of those claiming these honorable awards and specialized service NEVER even served in the U.S. military at all, or if they did they were never in combat. Why the latter feel the need to over-inflate their real service is best left to the psychologists to explain...after all, they did serve honorably (this post is essentially about one of these individuals). Those that never served and claim combat service and high-level decorations for valor are another form of pond scum altogether. Yet this shit happens all the time across the United States and perhaps in other countries as well.
(Take a long look at this fat-assed phony Marine. He's got more hardware on his chest than General MacArthur and none of it earned. Oh, and as a Marine he was a Navy SEAL too? Check the SEAL trident above his fat gut on the lower right. This doggie turd is a typical hard-core valor stealer.)
A Crock of Shit
Just recently I was at the grocery store doing my weekly thing when I spotted an older fellow (about my age) walking with a cane and wearing a baseball cap emblazoned with an embroidered rack of Vietnam ribbons (National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and the Vietnam Campaign Medal). In large golden letters above the ribbon rack were the words, "Vietnam Veteran." Well, being a Vietnam veteran myself (two combat tours...1966, 1968) I went up to him, told him I'd been there too, shook his hand, and asked when he served in Vietnam. He said 1968 and 1970. We chatted for a minute or two and then he blurted out the following: "Well, I wasn't actually in Vietnam. I was stationed in South Korea working on aircraft." To say I was taken aback some is an overstatement. I looked straight into his eyes trying to hold back my rising anger and said "Then you shouldn't be wearing that hat." He stuttered and stumbled some before replying some bullshit about President Bush (which one I don't know) issuing a proclamation that made him and anyone else serving overseas anywhere at the time "Vietnam Veterans." I shook my head and replied, "That's a crock of shit man. How can you claim to be a Vietnam veteran if you never served in Vietnam? Does that mean the guys that served in Germany or Italy at the time are Vietnam Vets too?!" He went silent. With major disgust on my face and heavy irony in my voice I said "Well, thanks for your military service anyway," and walked away trying to suppress the desire to light his ass up for real. To add insult to injury, later on I saw him get into a SUV in the parking lot. In the left rear window was a big oval sticker that said "Vietnam Veteran." This phony ass is probably claiming combat-related benefits from the Veterans Administration (V.A.) as well. Who knows?
(Any form of military service is an honorable thing. Why inflate it?)
It's Our Duty
Here's the thing. This guy did serve in the military and probably honorably too. But somewhere along the line he began confusing Vietnam Era service with actually serving in Vietnam. Somewhere deep inside him he feels he should've been there with us instead of wielding wrenches on some airstrip in Korea. So in his sick, needy little mind he decided to make his service there Vietnam service. Maybe I'm the one who's off the beam here but I never heard of any proclamation from any Prez of the U.S. making everyone who served in the military during the Vietnam era "Vietnam Veterans." All of you out there who served outside Vietnam during the war should take pride in the fact you're Vietnam Era Veterans, but God help you if you claim Vietnam service or that you're a Vietnam Veteran like this sick piece of shit did. You younger guys who served in Iraq or Afghanistan know EXACTLY what I'm talking about here and there are plenty of posturing assholes out there these days trying to impress the girlies by claiming tall tales of combat in those two shit holes as well. And you also know it's our duty to call them out and expose them.
(River patrol boat sailor manning a .50 cal in Vietnam.)
We Showed Up
Those of you who never served in the military or combat may be wondering what the big deal is and why this issue is so important to me and all those who served in combat or combat zones. The big deal is this. We were there. We showed up when others took deferments or chose to stay home where they could smoke dope and march against the war, or more currently...tap, tap, tap incessantly on their cell phones sending text messages to this chick or that one in between playing the latest shoot 'em up video game where they're digital heroes of the highest order. That's OK I guess. But if you stayed home or pushed papers across some desk in a NATO country don't be claiming you're a combat vet. And if you NEVER served and claim you're a military hero then you are the lowest of the low, dishonoring all of us who did put it all on the line...often for an ungrateful nation.
It's a Sacrifice
I've said it before and I'll say it again. I was NO hero. I was just a survivor who came home from two tours in that hell hole called Vietnam when some I knew didn't...well, that's not exactly true. They did come home. In aluminum caskets draped with American flags. I was awarded no major decorations for my service...the usual "gimme" national service and Vietnam service medals, a combat action ribbon, a unit equivalent of the Bronze Star for combat ops, and two campaign stars. But behind those ribbons and citations there is a story you don't want to hear, trust me on that. Bad things happen in wars, sometimes very bad things. Things that remain with you your entire life and that fuel some pretty painful dreams and crazy behaviors. It's a sacrifice for anyone to serve in the military at any time, anywhere...so don't get me wrong on that issue. But that sacrifice is multiplied exponentially when you are thrust into a combat zone or directly into combat...be that air, surface, or ground.
Go Ahead, Flaunt It
I WILL NEVER allow valor stealers or posturers to dishonor my service or sacrifice or that of my brothers and sisters who put their asses on the line in any number of situations or wars. It ain't gonna happen. So go ahead. Flaunt your bullshit without ever having been there or paying the price. I'll root you out eventually. If I don't, then another combat vet will.
Count on it.
(c) Jim Rocha 2017
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org