Where “Buddy” is only half a word….
Every year, the military blog This Ain’t Hell has what they call the Blue Falcon Stolen Valor Tournament, where the worst phony wannabee dipsheetz of the last year go head-to-head in a voter-driven tournament of whatever the antonym of military excellence is.
The crapulent contenders have already been boiled down to four, which include (in alphabetical order):
Daniel Bernath, a lawyer (ptui), whose recent response to being outed as a poser when his claims to be a Navy CPO were proven false, was kind of epic: he added a false claim to have been a SEAL. It’s kind of amazing anyone makes false SEAL claims, because of all the SOF orgs anywhere, the SEALs have kept the best and most definitive records, and you can always find out whether someone is a bona fide SEAL in very short order. Needless to say, Bernath has never been any closer to being a SEAL than having a real one, Don Shipley, call him out as a poser. (Most of the stuff on that uniform is phony).
Denis Chevalier, who claims to be an LTC Air Force pilot, but whose actual military record is… a little more limited. Like, 20 days in the National Guard in Texas. Hell, even previous winner John Giduck, a phony SF and Ranger officer, actually made it 58 days, almost to the end of basic training. This guy’s a bigger loser than a previous champion loser… it’s just like the Olympics, just when you feel this area of human endeavor is maxed out, along comes some guy with a record-breaking performance. It ought to be an Oscar category: “Worst performance by an actor playing a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine.” But then the actors would be PO’d at him for pretending to be an actor.
Derek Church, who parades around in an XXXL uniform with SSG stripes, an 82nd combat patch, and a variety of unearned gongs including a Ranger beret, what looks like a CIB (grrrr….), and a Ranger Regiment beret. Note the mixed ribbons and medals, and marvel at this guy’s lack of self-awareness (not to mention, fashion sense). Yep, he’s the very model of a modern combat Ranger. Don’t they all have more “Chins” than the Taipei phone book? His actually military service peaked at PFC in the National Guard, which grueling duty he didn’t complete two full years of. (NTTAWWT, the Guard we mean, for the folks that stayed in — which Church didn’t — and did a deployment — ditto).
Frank Visconi. Visconi was actually an honorably-discharged Marine Vietnam Vet. He was a supply clerk (which we’re sure you’ll agree, is a much underappreciated field of endeavor). Visconi, in later years, began claiming combat awards including the Purple Heart, about which his story has changed. He attempted to get the awards inserted in his military records but failed, and failed spectacularly: on appeal, he actually brought the case to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which shot him down, noting that the Bronze Star and Purple Heart citations he provided were determined by the appropriate authorities to be, quote, “not authentic.”
We know what you’re thinking. Because it’s what we thought: “Why can’t they all win, or is it, lose?” Well, that’s just they way life is sometimes. You only get one best friend, one worst enemy, and one Blue Falcon Stolen Valor Tournament champion for 2014. But you do get to vote for two out of the four, and soon, for one of the two finalists.
For the other three, there’s always next year. Although Rumor Control says that past winner, military impersonator John Giduck is stirring, in his mountain fastness….
Kevin was a former Special Forces weapons man (MOS 18B, before the 18 series, 11B with Skill Qualification Indicator of S). His focus was on weapons: their history, effects and employment. He started WeaponsMan.com in 2011 and operated it until he passed away in 2017. His work is being preserved here at the request of his family.