Thursday, November 12, 2009

How to punish a fraud

Navycross I’ll admit right up front that I was a failure in the military. For various reasons (mainly colorblindness), I ended up working in a field where I had little aptitude. As my mistakes mounted and my confidence plummeted, I started cutting a lot of grass and doing endless stints in the honor guard. I willingly did whatever was asked of me in an attempt to make up for my inability to do my job. When I mustered out, I was grateful my ordeal ended honorably.

I met a lot of people who I came to respect while in the military. I admired them for their dedication and service… and for their aptitude. These people were fearless examples of the best our country had to offer. Occasionally, I would meet a highly decorated person. It was an honor.

My most memorable day in the military was participating in a memorial service for a highly decorated pilot. Over the course of Memorial service and subsequent reception, I came to understand why people are awarded medals and the relative rarity of awards like the Air Force Cross or the Navy Cross. Dishonoring recipients by fraudulently claiming a to have won a medal is despicable. A real hero like Chesty Puller would roll over in his grave.

burton-steven Steve Burton was arrested for unauthorized wearing of military medals or decorations.

The Marine dress blue uniform with lieutenant colonel insignia on the epaulets and a chest full of colorful ribbons may have impressed some old classmates, but one person at the reunion was suspicious, according to an FBI agent's affidavit.

Lt. Cmdr. Colleen Salonga, a U.S. Navy supply officer, recognized the Navy Cross and knew how rarely that honor is awarded, the sworn statement said. She posed with Burton for a photo, which she sent to the FBI in June…

I know this in not my normal material. When I heard the story this morning it pissed me off. I decided then to post on this nutball. He deserves the extra attention.

Burton pleaded not guilty. It’s hard to believe since they have pictures of him wearing the medals, but hey, innocent until proven guilty, right?

When they convict him, he faces a year in jail. I don’t think the punishment fits the crime. I have another idea. Have Steve Burton stand in public each weekend for the next year wearing a sandwich board which reads, “I dishonored America by wearing medal and ribbons I did not earn.”  Seems fair to me.

Technorati Tags: ,