Watchdogs labor to expose liars about military exploits

The Kansas City StarJuly 25, 2010 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. _ Army Capt. Joshua Howard, a physician's assistant at Fort Riley, Kan., ran across the newspaper story online about a Korean War veteran who was to be inducted into the Kansas National Guard Hall of Fame.

In the accompanying photo, the veteran wore a khaki shirt covered with ribbons and medals, black bars and stripes.

The story told how this veteran had received the military's No. 2 and 3 awards for valor _ the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star _ along with two Purple Hearts, one pinned on by Gen. Douglas MacArthur. And how he'd been a prisoner of war in Korea for 5½ months.

But the more Howard read, the more "those medals and his account of it all didn't add up," he said.

He called friends to ask about the different medals. He e-mailed the photo and story. He wanted to know.

"I work with guys here who have PTSD, soldiers who have lost legs and stuff, and they don't have these super-cool medals and badges," Howard said.

Within days, the veteran's face stared out from several websites, with other veterans questioning whether he was a real hero or a fake.

It's a question that's being asked more and more these days.

"It's an epidemic of military fakers and liars out there," said Mary Schantag of Branson, Mo., who's made it her job to expose fake POWs.

Read the complete story at kansascity.com

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