Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

MILITARY: Too costly to research valor awards

Letter by Stephen Hemmert, Tacoma on Aug. 6, 2012 at 3:20 pm with 10 Comments »
August 6, 2012 3:42 pm

Re: “Military can catalog WWI bombs but not medals” (editorial, 8-6).

It would be time consuming and expensive to research all military records to create a reliable data base for valor awards. And to what extent will the database be able to verify all statements? It would be insanely difficult.

Since it is a First Amendment right to tell any falsehood, when pertinent I suggest those concerned should contact the National Archives. Under a Freedom of Information Act inquiry it is public information as to the claimed service person’s branch, dates of service, final rank, assignments, valor awards and other data.

Employers, schools and other organizations can request the service member provide a certified copy of their discharge papers. If someone is claiming a service-connected disability and received a Purple Heart, if he or she is enrolled with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs health care system, that person’s identification card will reflect that fact.

There are already consequences for claiming a monetary benefit or preference with many governmental agencies for which the applicant is not entitled. There is nothing that can be done to stop someone from exercising their constitutional right to tell falsehoods to get a free beer.

Leave a comment Comments → 10
  1. What if a liar has his or her phony war record published in a public document for personal gain ? For example, a candidate for public office having the county auditor publishing a lie in the voters pamphlet to boost their chances of electoral paid office.

    That act is illegal in the state of Oregon, but to protect their own, the Washington state legislature refuses to adopt similar laws. Dammeier slow rolled recent action into oblivion.

    Who would do such a slimy act by falsely claiming war veteran credentials ? None other than puyallups most notorious current municipal politician. Mr mayor.

  2. SandHills says:

    I wouldn’t say ALL medals – the highest, and as the Medal of Honor Society has a webpage listing anyway, maybe just the next most highest like AF/Navy Cross. The Silver Star may start being a signifocant number to track, but they didn’t hand those out to too many people either. So really the Purple Heart is the cut off, but it should be manageable.

    The issue of those claiming to be SEALs or Green Beret, well let those communities come across someone like that and, well, jusy leave it at that.

    I mean, you have to have some mental problems claiming false honor anyway, but there should be a way to run a check, especially if someone is running for public office, or gets preferential hiring by claiming a military medal of valor they never earned

  3. When in doubt ask to see the persons DD-214 which will list ALL metals and devices the person is authorized to wear.

  4. Stephen Hemmert, Tacoma where do you get your info from? I receive VA benefits and I don’t have any ID saying such other than my bank statement. Also not everything get put into your personal file in the military. I receive several qualification badges that are not listed or they are not accurate in my file.

  5. Sroldguy says:

    Veterans Identification Card (VIC)
    “The VIC will only display the Veteran’s name, picture, and special eligibility indicators – Service Connected, Purple Heart and Former POW, if applicable, on the front of the card.”

  6. Free replacement copies of DD-214’s online at:


    turn around times run 6 – 14 business days.

  7. Toocan, if you read the letter correctly, it states “IF” the veteran is enrolled in the health care system. If you are receiving compensation and NOT enrolled in the health care system, you will not have a Department of Veterans Affairs identification card. Now, Tocan, if you are receiving a service connected disability check, I suggest you head out to American Lake and take along your DD214 and photo identification (to prove who you are) and enroll. There is nothing to compel you to enroll, but, the benefits you earned by your service are there for the asking. Check it out.

    Also, even if you do not choose to use the health benefits the card will get you 10% off a Lowe’s and Home Depot year around as long as it says “service connected.”

    As to creating the data base, awards were not computerized back in the Viet Nam era. Check out the number of service personnel who served. Millions. To check the 201 files for every serviceman or woman will not be an easy task.

  8. TOOCAN, If your DD 214 does not show all of your entitled awards, there is a process to make a correction. For the army, it is the Army Review Boards Agency. The other branches of service have their own boards. Since you have a computer, check it out. You can have the DD214 corrected (DD215) based on a review of the file and submitting copies of orders that maybe did not get into the file.

    The problems of many vets arise because they did not review the DD214 for accuracy when being discharged. Most of us just wanted to get home!

  9. xring, I’m still waiting for you to explain that ” Combat Service Award” you claim to have received in RVN?

  10. And for the third time ‘Combat Action Ribbon’

We welcome comments. Please keep them civil, short and to the point. ALL CAPS, spam, obscene, profane, abusive and off topic comments will be deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked. Thanks for taking part and abiding by these simple rules.

JavaScript is required to post comments.

Follow the comments on this post with RSS 2.0