Man Fraudulently Claims Medal of Honor


I’m not sure if this is a new trend emerging or one that has been only recently unearthed  as background verifications have become more and more common.  Either way, it does a great disservice to those who have so bravely served our country and rightfully earned those honors.

Employers can easily verify a candidate’s military service by requesting a copy of their DD Form 214 from the National Personnel Records Center.  This document details a veteran’s military service record which includes any awards or medals he or she may have received.  As with any other previous employment information your candidate provides to you during the hiring process, you can and should verify its accuracy.

Stolen Valor

By James Dao, The New York Times – October 5, 2009

Fraudulently claiming to be a decorated war hero so infuriates veterans that they have given the deception a name: stolen valor. And since 2005, it has been against federal law, punishable by a fine and up to a year in prison.

Now, in perhaps the highest-profile case of its type this year, the government has charged a Colorado man, Richard G. Strandlof, with fraudulently claiming to have won a Purple Heart in Iraq.

Until he was unmasked this year, Mr. Strandlof was better known in Colorado as Rick Duncan, a charismatic former Marine Corps captain who had served three tours in Iraq, been wounded by a roadside bomb in Falluja and struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder.

His tale was convincing enough that Mr. Strandlof became a spokesman for Iraq veterans in Colorado, meeting with mayors, appearing with political candidates and forming a well-regarded group, Colorado Veterans Alliance.

But his story began to come apart this spring when Mr. Strandlof falsely claimed to officials at Fort Carson that he worked for a United States senator, Mark Udall. A subsequent check of records by people in the Colorado Veterans Alliance showed that he had never served in the military and had not attended the Naval Academy, as he had claimed.