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  1. #1

    Angry Chest full of lies

    borrowed from Hubby...fontman

    Chest full of lies
    Fake heroes go too far — and they get caught
    By Michelle Tan - mtan@militarytimes.com
    Posted : July 30, 2007

    He says he’s served twice in Iraq and once in Afghanistan. He says he’s got three Silver Stars and three Purple Hearts to prove it.

    This summer, former soldier Richard David McClanahan will have to prove it in federal court.

    McClanahan, 29, is charged in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of Texas with bank fraud, a felony, and two misdemeanor counts of falsely claiming military awards or decorations he didn’t earn, including those Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts and a Medal of Honor.

    Army officials say the former medic’s official records include an Army Commendation Medal and two Army Achievement Medals, but no awards for valor. His only overseas assignment, they say: a year-long tour in South Korea from 2003 through 2004.

    McClanahan was booted out of the Army after serving prison time while facing similar charges. In lieu of a court-martial, he was given a less-than-honorable discharge in 2005, said an Army official.

    And as his second wife seeks annulment from their brief marriage, she is the one pushing local authorities to bring him to justice.

    Neither McClanahan nor his attorney returned several telephone calls from Army Times seeking comment.

    Law enforcement officials and citizen watchdogs say cases such as the one against McClanahan are on the rise as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan fuel the imaginations of would-be war heroes.

    “I’ve seen an increase probably since we began the war on terrorism because it’s become fashionable to be a war hero,” said Doug Sterner, a former soldier and Vietnam veteran whose Web site, www.homeofheroes.com is dedicated to preserving the records of recipients of the nation’s highest valor awards — the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and Silver Star.

    fake war heroes once could carry out their charades largely unnoticed beyond their local communities. But the spread of high-tech communications tools, particularly the Internet, has served to expose many to the scrutiny of experts who know how to read a ribbon rack — and will marshal forces to nail those they deem phonies.

    Robin Beard, who has been married to McClanahan for six months, says his tales of heroic combat deeds were part of the charm that initially attracted her to him when they met in February 2006 in Amarillo, Texas.

    “[I thought] ‘This guy is awesome,’” she said. “I’m military stupid. I’m the first one to admit that. He also showed me other documentation that was supposed to impress me. He put Purple Heart plates on his truck. He said he had three Purple Hearts, three Silver Stars,” she said.

    But, she said, his stories quickly began to unravel, in part because she was proud of the heroic deeds he claimed and thought others should know about them.

    Early in their relationship, Beard said, the local chapter of America Supports You was organizing a banquet in Amarillo to honor the area’s military personnel.

    “I asked about it and told them my husband was a Medal of Honor nominee,” she said. “They were all over us. They got us involved, the media got involved. I had to buy a calendar just to schedule events.”

    Organizers planned to make McClanahan the banquet’s keynote speaker. But as they learned more about him from profiles and information provided by McClanahan, some of the veterans started to get suspicious, she said.

    Charlie Skipper, a retired Special Forces master sergeant who is now a civilian Army employee in Amarillo, said he was helping out with the banquet when his boss handed him a bio of McClanahan.

    Skipper called his Special Forces friends who were still on active duty, asking them if they had heard of McClanahan. They said no. Skipper said the bio he saw listed McClanahan as a Special Forces medic.

    “A civilian doesn’t look at a valor award the way that a service member does,” Skipper said. “A service member suffers for that award. For me, being in the military, I view each and every service member out there as a hero, and for someone to say that they’re nominated for a Medal of Honor or to claim Silver Stars, to me, it’s a huge crime.”

    As he continued his research, Skipper contacted Mary and Chuck Schantag, who run the POW Network, a Skidmore, Mo., nonprofit organization that works to expose phony heroes. Mary Schantag said they requested and received redacted copies of McClanahan’s Army records from Army Human Resources Command, Army Special Operations Command and Navy Personnel Command that indicated McClanahan’s claims were not legitimate.

    Mary Schantag said there has not been a day in the last four or five years that the POW Network has not received a report about a suspected phony.

    “If they don’t go overboard they’ll never get caught,” she said. “That’s where they trip themselves up. They’ve got to add the Rambo story ... and they’ve never been in combat.”

    The FBI receives an average of 15 tips a week alerting them to military phonies, said Mike Sanborn, a special agent in the Washington, D.C., field office who is the case agent who handles or is involved in all the FBI’s cases relating to the Stolen Valor Act. The recent federal legislation is intended to curb the trend by expanding the prohibition against wearing, manufacturing or selling military decorations or medals without legal authorization and outlaws “falsely representing oneself as having been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces or any of the service medals or badges.”

    Louis Lowell McGuinn, also a former soldier, was arraigned June 13 in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York for allegedly wearing awards and decorations he didn’t earn, according to court documents.

    McGuinn is accused of claiming to be a lieutenant colonel who had earned a Distinguished Service Cross, a Silver Star and three Purple Hearts.

    The U.S. attorney’s office said in court documents that McGuinn was discharged from the Army in 1968 as a private, and that he changed his name and date of birth to reinvent himself. The U.S. attorney’s office also said McGuinn told at least one security company that he was a Special Forces lieutenant colonel in order to get a job as a security consultant, and he was seen and photographed at social functions wearing decorations he didn’t earn.

    McGuinn “absolutely” pleaded not guilty, said his attorney, Xavier Donaldson.

    “We are actively and diligently defending him,” he said. “We feel very strongly about our side of the case and we’re just really anxious to put our side of the story on. We look forward to doing that.”

    Attorneys in the McGuinn case will be back in court Aug. 17 to argue motions, Donaldson said.

    On June 21, the FBI in Los Angeles announced that Augustine Hernandez, 76, of Montebello, Calif., had been charged with posing as an Army major general who had earned a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart.

    According to the FBI, Hernandez was seen and photographed wearing the rank of a two-star general and decorations he didn’t earn during a December ceremony to posthumously honor Guy Gabaldon, a Marine, with a Navy Cross for his actions during World War II.

    Members of the military community who saw Hernandez at the ceremony became suspicious of his uniform and ribbons, and they hired a private investigator to investigate the validity of Hernandez’s claims, the FBI said.

    Records obtained by the FBI show Hernandez was honorably discharged from the Army in 1954 as a private first class. The documents contained no record of valor awards, according to the FBI.

    Neither Hernandez nor his attorney could be located for comment.

    Sanborn said that most of the people he identifies will say they want to support the military by dressing like service members.

    “My response is, ‘Well, you could’ve served honorably. That’s supporting the military,’” he said. “Claiming you’re somebody you’re not cheapens the medals for the guys who earned it.”

    “There are folks at Arlington or at national cemeteries across the country — those people paid for their Purple Hearts with their lives, and these guys bought theirs on eBay with a credit card,” he said. “We’re stopping it through the public, articles in the paper and things like that. ... Don’t take anybody at face value.”

    The “stolen valor” charges against McClanahan are not the first such allegations he has faced — similar accusations led to severe punishment as a soldier.

    In April 2005, while assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas, McClanahan was ordered to report to Fort Knox, Ky., for pre-trial confinement in the regional correctional facility, said an Army official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Through his chain of command, McClanahan had been charged with claiming he had 21 awards and certificates he didn’t earn, including the Silver Star and Purple Heart, the Army official said. He also was accused of misleading his superiors about his qualifications as a medic, lying to his battalion commander and falsifying his records in order to get a promotion, Army officials said.

    But McClanahan was never convicted. In July 2005, in lieu of a court-martial, he received an other-than-honorable discharge and was busted from sergeant to private, Army officials said.

    “I thought when David got reduced in rank from E-5 to E-1 and he spent 90 days at Fort Knox, I thought he had learned his lesson,” said Veronica Garcia McClanahan, the former soldier’s first wife. They divorced in September, after eight years of marriage. They had two children together and she was with McClanahan throughout his almost 2? years in the Navy and nearly four years in the Army, she said. She said he once came home with a Purple Heart he claimed was for action in Korea that he could not talk about.

    Army officials said McClanahan joined the Navy in January 1999, and in May 2001 he requested a separation so he could join the Army. He joined on June 1, 2001, officials said, and, as a medic, eventually earned the rank of sergeant. His duty stations included Fort Rucker, Ala.; Yong San, Korea; and Fort Sam Houston and Fort Hood in Texas. Veronica McClanahan said her ex-husband was in Korea from February 2003 to February 2004. Army officials verified that McClanahan served in Korea during that time.

    After an inquiry from Army Times, officials found a number of entries on McClanahan’s DD214 that could not be verified, including an entry saying he had a Special Forces tab.

    Based on the concerns raised from the initial documents, Human Resources Command will review McClanahan’s entire DD214, said spokesman Master Sgt. Keith O’Donnell.

    “There are enough questions to question the validity of every item on the document,” O’Donnell said.

    A search by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg, N.C., produced no record of McClanahan, said Carol Darby, a spokeswoman for Army Special Operations Command. The search included all SWCS academic records for 2002-2003, including for the Special Forces Qualification Course and Special Operations Combat Medic, which McClanahan is accused of claiming to be.

    Veronica McClanahan said that when she heard a man named David McClanahan faced new charges about the valor awards he claimed, she prayed it wasn’t her ex-husband.

    “I prayed that maybe there was another David McClanahan,” she said. “I was wrong. It was him.”

    McClanahan was arraigned June 13 in Amarillo, Texas, for the charges now pending against him in federal court. He pleaded not guilty.

    The court will address any outstanding motions during a pretrial conference Aug. 2, and McClanahan’s trial could begin as early as Aug. 14, said Christy Drake, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case.

    The felony charge, which accuses McClanahan of misstating and inflating his income on a financial statement in order to get a car loan, carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million, Drake said.

    The charge of falsely claiming he had three Silver Stars, three Purple Hearts and the Legion of Merit carries up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. The final charge, falsely claiming he received a Medal of Honor, carries a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.

    “The case has raised a lot of local interest and ... there are people associated with the military who are interested in the outcome of the case,” Drake said.

    Some of that interest is driven by the Web site founded by Robin Beard, www.dramarillo.com on which she keeps a blog and updates the case against her husband. She said much of what led her to marry McClanahan she now believes turned out to be fiction. She said she feels victimized and does not want that to happen to anyone else, if she can help it.

    Her Web site features photos of McClanahan in uniform with a chest full of suspect medals.

    “Here stands a man who once had everything,” the Web page says. “A supportive family, a great future in the medical field and what once was thought to be an honorable past in the military. The tales he spun are now catching up with him in rapid succession. The truth shall prevail.”

    Ellie


  2. #2
    Squad Leader Platinum Member Zulu 36's Avatar
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    Wow, is his about to be 2d ex-wife mad at him.


  3. #3
    Someone should hold him down and tattoo a big "L" on his forehead


  4. #4
    that sucks. i still dont understand why anyone would or does **** like that. It's usually the ones who do get kicked out.

    and personally medal of honor winner was taking it a BIT too far. I have seen ONE in my whole life and it was when i was in bootcamp and our drill instructor saluted a man walking by the parade deck and then told us why he asaluted him.. and even then i didnt really get a glimpse..


  5. #5

    Angry

    Castration! that would be a fitting punishment for wannabes Cut off the balls they never used


  6. #6
    I don't know about the other services, but the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and the Air National Guard have what is called v(irtual)MPF. If anyone wearing AF blue claims to be a big hero, ask them to print out their awards and decs on vMPF...while you watch. That's where you separate the liars from those who are telling the truth.

    All I can say about these dirtbags is that they must be pretty pathetic to stoop so low. A little prison time will confirm it when they get doubled up with Bubba.


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