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Unhappy Camper

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Marine charged with faking war wounds for gain


SABILLASVILLE, Md. – On a sultry day in July 2008, Marine Sgt. David W. Budwah strode in his battle fatigues to the front of a picnic pavilion to tell three dozen young boys what he did during the war.
With his clear gaze, rigid posture and muscled, tattooed arms, Budwah looked every inch the hero he claimed to be. He said he was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan when a homemade grenade exploded, wounding his face and arm when he dove to shield a buddy from the blast.

"We're here to make sure of the freedom you have every day," Budwah told his audience at Camp West Mar, a wooded American Legion compound about 60 miles northwest of Washington.

But the Marines say Budwah is a liar, a fraud and a thief. They are court-martialing the 34-year-old Springhill, La., native, alleging he was never in Afghanistan, wasn't wounded and didn't earn the combat medals he wore — or the many privileges he enjoyed.

Budwah joined the Marines in October 1999 and spent nearly all of the next six years with a radio communications unit in Okinawa, Japan, according to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Va., where Budwah has been stationed since February 2006.

Phony heroes aren't unusual. Thousands of complaints pour in annually to the FBI and civilian groups about impostors flaunting store-bought medals.
Their very prevalence exposes something else — a nation so eager to embrace its war fighters, especially the wounded, that it sometimes fails to discern between the real heroes and the fakes.

"In every society in history, the warrior is glorified," said phony-hero debunker B.G. "Jug" Burkett of Plano, Texas. "The second you say you're a warrior who has performed heroically in combat, everybody perceives you differently."

Burkett, 65, a Vietnam veteran and author of the 1998 book, "Stolen Valor," said the urge to honor the wounded can cloud a person's judgment.

"I tell reporters that when you've got a guy who's vocal — 'Let me tell you how I won my Silver Star' — your antenna should go up," Burkett said. "The real guys typically don't talk about it."

Budwah's case is remarkable because he is an active-duty Marine facing military justice, not a civilian charged with wearing unearned medals. Of nearly 3,100 courts-martial last year in the four major armed services, only 27 were trials for wearing illegal decorations. Just two involved Marines.

Prosecutors say Budwah wore unauthorized medals and accepted VIP invitations to rock concerts, major-league baseball games, banquets and other events meant to fete wounded warriors.

He faked post-traumatic stress disorder in hopes of leaving service early and was sent to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, where he bluffed his way into 33 events from late July through November 2008, according to charges obtained by The Associated Press through an appeal of its Freedom of Information Act request.
Bethesda hospital spokesman Chris Walz said the staff tries to involve as many patients as possible in such activities, which range from free NFL tickets to speaking engagements like Budwah's at Camp West Mar.
The charges include making false official statements, malingering, misconduct and larceny. Budwah faces up to 31 1/2 years in prison and a dishonorable discharge if convicted on all eight counts at a trial set for Oct. 20. at Quantico.

Budwah, who declined to enter a plea at his Aug. 5 arraignment, denied wrongdoing in a brief telephone interview in April. "The allegation is not even true," he said, declining to comment further.

Defense attorney Marine Capt. Kelly Repair and prosecutor Marine Capt. Thomas Liu also have declined to comment.

Recent prosecutions of active-duty service members include Dontae L. Tazewell, a Navy hospital corpsman sentenced in January 2008 in Norfolk, Va., to two years in prison for wearing an unearned Purple Heart and other decorations. Tazewell falsely claimed he had rescued six Marines and recovered the bodies of four others in Iraq.
Prosecutors portrayed him as a failing sailor so desperate to remain in service that he fabricated the story.

Navy corpsman Robert White, got 45 days in the brig after pleading guilty in December at Great Lakes Naval Station, Ill., to wearing a Purple Heart he bought. A former girlfriend testified White obtained the medal after he was shunned by his peers for assaulting her, the Navy Times reported.

People fabricate military injuries for many reasons, including laziness, greed, sympathy and psychosis, said Loren Pankratz of Oregon Health & Science University, who wrote about PTSD impostors in his book, "Patients Who Deceive."

"A more common theme would be somebody who would represent sort of the antihero — the guy who's given his all and yet been abused and misunderstood," Pankratz said.

Burkett said others are simply con men.
Walter E. Boomer, who served as assistant commandant of the Marine Corps from 1992 to 1994, vaguely remembers meeting Budwah in November when they were guests at a Grand National Waterfowl Association benefit on Maryland's Eastern Shore. They shot at ducks, drank and dined with other VIPs and shotgun manufacturing executives.

"I accepted his story at face value," Boomer said. "Nothing that I recall would have set off alarm bells."

Budwah again managed his way to the center of attention at a September 2008 boxing event in Glen Burnie, Md. Organizer Scott Wagner said the highlight of the night was when he brought Budwah and dozens of other military hospital patients into the ring for a standing ovation.

"Were they injured or not? I don't know and I really don't care. If half of them were injured, I still feel good about it," he said.

A year after Budwah's speech to the youngsters at the American Legion camp, Spencer Shoemaker sat stunned in the family's kitchen as he read the charges against his Marine idol for the first time.

Shoemaker, then 10, was so impressed he had his picture taken with Budwah and kept a treasured newspaper clipping about the visit. He said Budwah's talk made him want to join the Marines.
"Well, it's better that I know," the boy said after a long silence. "It did tear me down, but I'll still join the Marines."

His father Michael, a construction worker, seethed at the news about Budwah.

"He scammed America," Shoemaker said. "He scammed a kid."



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090921/ap_on_re_us/us_hero_hoax
 

Unhappy Camper

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Yeah, this pisses me off a fair bit.

Mainly because of the dozens of Soldiers I know that have never been recognized for Valor or for bravery in combat.

Specifically, 4 of my very own Troops that had their combat medals 'down graded' to meet some lame quota crap that was going around during the 2003-2004 time frame.

And it is true .. most people rarely go into detail about combat missions that were so intensive that Silver and Bronze stars were awarded.

Be mindful of the saying about "he who boasts too much ...."
 

SlimSkeeter

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I can imagine that it does piss you off a bit, Prick. Makes me a bit ill, too. Hope he gets the worst penalty possible, coward that he is.
 

Negativecool

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Well, my original post was a rant about how much of a shitbag coward I thought THIS guy was:

"...'Were they injured or not? I don't know and I really don't care. If half of them were injured, I still feel good about it,' he said..."

Instead I think I'll just concur that Budwah is the shitbag coward.
 

SittinGrumpy

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"I tell reporters that when you've got a guy who's vocal — 'Let me tell you how I won my Silver Star' — your antenna should go up," Burkett said. "The real guys typically don't talk about it."
My grandfather was a WWII Vet and my father was a Vietnam Vet and I find this statement is so very true. Neither my father nor grandfather would speak of much of what they did or participated in, while in war and I have known men and women who were involved with Desert Storm in ’91 and I have friends that are serving now, very few will talk about things they have done or seen.


I agree with Senator Akaka’s statement:

"I am deeply distressed to hear that there are some individuals who would stoop so low as to masquerade as recipients of medals that our nation awards to those who have served with valor in the military. While I realize that creating a database of those who have received medals of valor would be a huge undertaking for DoD, something must be done to curb this abuse. We must protect the legacy of America's heroes."

SEN. DANIEL AKAKA, D-Hawaii, Armed Services, Veterans Affairs Chairman


The need for the Stolen Valor Act proves that this is a bigger problem then most people are aware.

My hope for this marine is that he receives the maximum punishment for his crimes and it would be AWESOME for him to have to serve his time in a military jail.
 

Unhappy Camper

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I don't think the guy needs to be locked up for 30 plus years for this.

I think he needs to be busted down to the lowest grade possible, then sent to a transition unit for 12 months, all the while it is known to his fellow Marines what he did, and then after those 12 months given dishonorable discharge.

Most likely his comrades will administer proper attitude adjustments daily and he will simply go AWOL.
 

Scarlet

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Marine charged with faking war wounds for gain
He faked post-traumatic stress disorder in hopes of leaving service early and was sent to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, where he bluffed his way into 33 events from late July through November 2008, according to charges obtained by The Associated Press through an appeal of its Freedom of Information Act request.
A tearjerking story told by journalists...pure sensationalism.
Post traumatic stress does not always stem from war. There are a lot of factors that cause it. Automatically assuming it was faked is why the system fails so many. Don't be so quick to condemn what you don't completely know or understand.
 

Klautermauffen

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I don't think the guy needs to be locked up for 30 plus years for this.

I think he needs to be busted down to the lowest grade possible, then sent to a transition unit for 12 months, all the while it is known to his fellow Marines what he did, and then after those 12 months given dishonorable discharge.

Most likely his comrades will administer proper attitude adjustments daily and he will simply go AWOL.
Yes! I was thinking the same thing. Being locked up forever and a day won't do a damn thing.

I like that ^ idea so much better. It gives me the happies :biggrin:
 

Unhappy Camper

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A tearjerking story told by journalists...pure sensationalism.
Post traumatic stress does not always stem from war. There are a lot of factors that cause it. Automatically assuming it was faked is why the system fails so many. Don't be so quick to condemn what you don't completely know or understand.

Having PTSD does not absolve one of criminal wrongdoing, nor does it activate my empathy button.

Fuck that guy, I've seen his type a hundred times, the dude that chose a military specialty that keeps him out of direct contact with the enemy often breeds a lot of fuckers that long for the "Hollywood" of combat.

There is nothing wrong with having a support MOS, the military is a team that can not operate in a combat zone without them.

The guy was tired of seeing Marine after Marine come back from combat and placed upon a pedestal. He took the only way he thought that would make him fit in with that crowd.

Well la de fucking da ... the only way to fit in with troops that have been shot at by people actively trying to kill you or with the guys that have killed other people is to ACTUALLY get shot at and/or kill another human in combat.

A chest full of medals means fuck all with out the experience behind them.
 

Scarlet

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Having PTSD does not absolve one of criminal wrongdoing, nor does it activate my empathy button.

Fuck that guy, I've seen his type a hundred times, the dude that chose a military specialty that keeps him out of direct contact with the enemy often breeds a lot of fuckers that long for the "Hollywood" of combat.

There is nothing wrong with having a support MOS, the military is a team that can not operate in a combat zone without them.

The guy was tired of seeing Marine after Marine come back from combat and placed upon a pedestal. He took the only way he thought that would make him fit in with that crowd.

Well lad de fucking da ... the only way to fit in with troops that have been shot at by people actively trying to kill you or with the guys that have killed other people is to ACTUALLY get shot at and/or kill another human in combat.

A chest full of medals means fuck all with out the experience behind them.
I understand what you are saying, but;
The media have sensationalised this.
Why are they presuming he lied about having PTSD?
How do you KNOW he fits into the pigeon hole you describe?
That he broke the law by impersonating someone else and having something he wasn't entitled to, was wrong...and yes, he should be held accountable by a court martial...but let's not prejudge him too quickly or harshly.
Allow him his day in court first.

... just saying.
 

Unhappy Camper

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I understand what you are saying, but;
The media have sensationalised this.
Why are they presuming he lied about having PTSD?
How do you KNOW he fits into the pigeon hole you describe?
That he broke the law by impersonating someone else and having something he wasn't entitled to, was wrong...and yes, he should be held accountable by a court martial...but let's not prejudge him too quickly or harshly.
Allow him his day in court first.

... just saying.

Yeah he'll get that day in court.

But he's been seen and heard on video, and he's been videoed and interviewed many times portraying his ill gotten Warrior title.

He's fucked.
 

jeepneasy

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Yeah, this pisses me off a fair bit.

Mainly because of the dozens of Soldiers I know that have never been recognized for Valor or for bravery in combat.

Specifically, 4 of my very own Troops that had their combat medals 'down graded' to meet some faggy quota crap that was going around during the 2003-2004 time frame.

And it is true .. most people rarely go into detail about combat missions that were so intensive that Silver and Bronze stars were awarded.

Be mindful of the saying about "he who boasts too much ...."
This guy makes me sick... there is really nothing I can ad without going of topic on some pissed off rant.

In my experiance those that brag the most have done the least.