He Said, She Said: Soldier questions wedding guest as military poser Print E-mail
Thursday, 19 November 2015
By Shaun and Pamela Collins
Special to GUIDON
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I recently attended a wedding as a guest of one of the bridesmaid. It was a big Family affair, of which I am not married into, nor really knew anyone at the event. I was just a bridesmaid’s date.

During the wedding, one of the bride’s relatives showed up in full Army Service Uniform. While I was in a suit and tie, I did take notice of his uniform and notice some irregularities with his medals and awards. The order of precedence was out of whack, as his top medal was the Kuwait Liberation Medal and the lowest medal on his rack was the Army Commendation Medal. He even had some that I couldn’t figure out what they were. He also sported a Ranger Tab and Canadian jump wings, but no U.S. jump wings. I pointed these out to my date during the reception and she said the guy was the bride’s older brother, but knew very little about him. I have been invited to another event with the same Family and I was wondering if I should mention this to anyone of what I suspect.

HE SAID:  Sadly there are far too many tiny little people who have such enormous insecurities that they feel compelled to steal respect by pretending to be something they admire.  

I personally have an uncle who served 21 years in the U.S. Army and retired as a staff sergeant. Long story short, he claimed to have three Silver Stars, three Navy Crosses, two Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts and a total of 43 medals and ribbons.  Of course I knew there was no way anyone with all of those awards would not have been promoted beyond the grade of E-6, so I requested and obtained his records, which revealed he only had eight ribbons and only one achievement award, which was an Army Commendation Medal that he received upon retirement.  

I called him on it and he hung up the phone. Needless to say, we don’t talk anymore and I have lost any respect for him that his 21 years of service may have garnered. But, to get to the specifics of your situation, you need to figure out if you want to stir up drama in someone else’s Family that may turn you into the bad guy, so I probably wouldn’t come right out and call him a liar. Rather, I would likely just strike up a conversation about seeing him in uniform and not initially disclose your military background – there are several databases for stolen valor, you can ask him about his ranger school class number, year he attended and who his black hats were … throw in a few trick questions mixing in BUDS or Q-Course phases rather than ranger phases and see how he answers them, then you can correct yourself and say, “Oh, sorry, that’s a part of SEAL or SF training not ranger school”, etc.  

People like him will talk so much that everyone will soon realize he’s not what he claims to be without you actually ever suggesting he isn’t; then you aren’t the bad guy who ruined the Family event.  

SHE SAID:  I know what I would do — find out his name and see if he is, in fact, a Soldier or simply posing as one. If he were a “poser,” I would expose him for what he is.  

It seems to me that letting this guy do what he’s doing without confronting him is nothing short of condoning it. Especially being a Soldier yourself, you should want to stop him from continuing this behavior. It sickens me to think that someone would walk around wearing a uniform and metals that he has not earned when you consider the high price authentic Soldiers have paid to don that uniform and wear those metals on their chest.  If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your fellow Soldiers.  

(Editor’s note: Shaun and Pamela Collins were both career Soldiers with a combined history of military service spanning over a half of a century. They have been where you are, so if you are facing a difficult situation, ask them. Send your question to This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it This column and other original content from Mr. and Mrs. Collins can be found at http://militarysuccessnetwork.com. The opinions expressed are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the Fort Leonard Wood Public Affairs Office or the GUIDON.)
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 02 December 2015 )