Posted on Jan 14, 2016
Sgt Patrick Carron
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Posted in these groups: 524395_331088503647420_191451722_n Stolen ValorRibbons_logo RibbonsRibbons-banner2 Medals
Edited 4 y ago
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LTC Board Member
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Edited 4 y ago
No it is not a crime. There was an attempt to make Stolen Valor a crime under the Stolen Valor Act signed in late 2006. The law was pretty quickly overturned by the Supreme Court in 2012 under United States v. Alvarez. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_v._Alvarez

I interpret the court's position as a desire not to persecute people because of what symbols they wear on their clothes, or to begin convicting people for lying, since lying is not a crime (and probably not the road we want to go down as a free society). As disgusting as Stolen Valor acts are, we still live in a free country. It's important to note that if somebody commits fraud with Stolen Valor then that is still a crime, since fraud is still a crime.

One argument some people have made is that one cannot impersonate a police officer, so the same should apply to military. This is only partly accurate, since police officers actually have authority over others while veterans do not. So a police officer can go to a person and detain them, tell them to go somewhere, to come somewhere, or to put them in handcuffs and in the back of their car and drive them off. Therefore if somebody impersonated a police officer it could lead to wrongful detention, not to mention making it harder for cops to do their jobs. This is not the same as somebody going around telling false war stories.
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LCDR Retired
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>1 y
Assuming that the person is no longer in a military service, I begrudgingly concur with most of the comments. HOWEVER, for one who remains on active duty to wear unearned medals or ribbons may well be an infraction of the UCMJ for 'being out of uniform'.
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MCPO Roger Collins
MCPO Roger Collins
>1 y
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SFC Greg Bruorton
SFC Greg Bruorton
2 y
Major Weiss's comments on this subject are informed and intelligent. Nevertheless, those who relish stealing the valor of the U.S. Armed Forces are ignorant and delusional. Most of those I've seen display their ignorance simply in what they wear on their plagiarized uniform. Wearing a major's oak leaf insignia and an NCO's chevrons on the sleeves does not make him a Sergeant Major--although I saw such a farce some time ago. It is really laughable, yet disconcerting to see someone exhibit such delusions of grandeur and heroism. It gets so tempting to march up and slap the silly grin off the miscreant's face.
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PO2 David Dunlap
PO2 David Dunlap
>1 y
This is only partly true, if they are using the stolen valor to defraud or get money out of people or agencies....THEY WILL ANSWER TO THE COURTS!
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SFC Observer   Controller/Trainer (Oc/T)
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Please bear in mind, it IS still a violation of the UCMJ...
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Sgt Patrick Carron
Sgt Patrick Carron
4 y
I agree. But those who have never served can wear the medals as if they earned them and are not subject to the UCMJ.
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SFC Thomas Howes
SFC Thomas Howes
4 y
Ya but I have see retirees and have wandered
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SP5 Peter Keane
SP5 Peter Keane
>1 y
SFC Thomas Howes - Where did you go ?
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PO2 David Dunlap
PO2 David Dunlap
>1 y
Sgt Patrick Carron - But they ARE subject to local courts and they frown on stolen valor!
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SGT S Sharpless
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Not a crime, no but morally wrong....yes.
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SGT Chris Hotchkiss
SGT Chris Hotchkiss
>1 y
It is a crime, and punishable as a misdemeanor, subsequent charges can become a felony and punishable by fine, or imprisonment or both.
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SSG Lance Wendling
SSG Lance Wendling
2 y
It's only a crime if it's done for monetary gain.
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PO2 David Dunlap
PO2 David Dunlap
>1 y
Yes it IS a crime if they use the stolen valor to get money out of people or organizations!!
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