"...it's really not that important to be on a Facebook group. Get real."
In the work I do with and on the behalf of veterans, it seems like I see a constant parade of people who claim to be veterans but who never served. It absolutely astounds me how many they are, how creative they can be, and how brazen they can be to appear as a real veteran. Sometimes it's even a real veteran, but one who claims schools, awards or achievements that they did not earn. Interestingly enough, I've never had a poser pretend to be a tanker, artilleryman, cook or radio operator - they are always Rangers or SEALS and to a less extent Special Forces (Green Berets).
I'm not going to pick apart or talk specifics about how they pose because we don't want posers to learn from other posers' mistakes and gain the knowledge that will help them better fool others.
The quote at the top of this article - "...it's really not that important to be on a Facebook group. Get real." was sent to me by someone who is either a man pretending to be a Ranger veteran, or his wife pretending to be him pretending to be a Ranger veteran, or who knows. Bottom line is, someone who is not a Ranger (and it's easy to determine) claimed to be one, tried to join an online social network for Ranger veterans that has clear guidelines for who is allowed to join. Then he/she threatened me when I called them on it. We did our due diligence and established the guy's real service record, which contains a discharge with bar to re-enlistment and no Ranger tab - and possibly even a forged discharge DD214.
But the quote "really not that important to be on a Facebook group" is where I'm focusing.
The veteran community of the past relied on VFW Posts and American Legion Halls where they gathered, talked, shared. Those days are gone. In a city like Dallas when it takes 45 minutes to drive ten miles and gas is nearly four bucks a gallon, veterans aren't going to slog it over to the VFW. Especially when virtually every VFW I've set foot in (and I've been in a lot - and I'm a life member) reeks of cigarette smoke and is not a visually appealing atmosphere. I personally have never set foot in a VFW or American Legion and said, "Dude, I gotta come back here more often"!
The veteran gathering spot of today is the online social community. Facebook groups such as the US Army Ranger Association (closed, meaning one has to apply to join and be confirmed) and others have filled a badly needed gap to help overcome the isolation that a veteran feels when he or she is having difficulty finding a job, or identifying with college classmates, or communicating with family members. This isolation can grow into a giant monster that can become consuming - and it grows faster with alcohol, drugs, and VA prescriptions. This monster has claimed the lives of some of my friends.
I've had Army Rangers tell me that a Facebook group helped provide the comfort and connection to their brothers such that after one lost several buddies on the battlefield, the Facebook group - the members actually helped him process that grief by giving him an outlet to communicate and to reach out to trusted members of one of the most elite fraternities on earth.
So when a poser thinks it's not really a big deal, it is quite literally life and death. That, is a big deal.
There is another reason that I personally detest posers - actually you could probably count hundreds of thousands of those reasons, but I'll talk about four of them. Two are the hands one of my best friends left on the battlefield in Iraq. One is the eye that a friend of mine lost in Afghanistan. One is an MH-60 Pave Hawk USAF Special Operations helicopter - one that crashed in the Great Salt Lake twenty years ago killing twelve of my friends and changing my life forever.
It's a big deal. To borrow the words of the Vice-President, "It's a BIG f'ing deal". You violate our trust, you violate our sanctuary, you disrespect the men and women who laid their lives on the line to give you freedoms of which you'll never understand the true cost. Then you get offended when we expose you for the liar, fake and fraud you are.
Well, we'll keep exposing you. We will never take action to harm or threaten you physically - because we swore an oath to protect you. We will however report you to law enforcement, ask reporters to write about you, we will publish your proud poser photos, and we will ask the VA to make sure you aren't fraudulently receiving benefits. Sometimes we'll just look at you in a way that tells you, "we know".
Posers come in all shapes and sizes. They pretend to be Generals and they pretend to be heroes. Sometimes they look the part, sometimes they look homeless. There are several clues that always send up the antenna, the most well-worn one: "It's classified top secret". There are others, but as I said, not into educating posers.
This - is a poser.
More posers - this article hit the San Antonio airwaves this week.
Finally, in a hugely ironic twist of fate, remember the parade float containing wounded war veterans that was hit by a train last year? They had all received the "hunting trip of a lifetime" - except one of them was a poser. What better way to get a free deer hunting trip than make up a bunch of stories and fabricated documents? Well, his wife paid the price for his deception when she lost her leg in that accident. Now every time he looks at her the rest of their lives he has to come face to face with the outcome of his lies.
Sometimes the worst punishment is having to live with yourself.
By the way this, not a poser. And he's one of the reasons too.
Rangers Lead the Way.
- ► 2014 (96)
- ▼ May (5)
- ► 2012 (25)
- ► 2011 (58)