Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Playing soldier

I didn't even know it was illegal! According to the Army Times, a 76 year old California man plead guilty last week to charges of wearing a US Army uniform showing the rank of Major General without authorization and was sentenced to probation and a small fine.

Augustine Hernandez showed up at a ceremony last December to posthumously award the Navy Cross to a deceased Marine. Bystanders became suspicious of Hernandez, who was decked out with various medals and ribbons including a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart and so they hired an investigator. Although it was found that the man did serve and was honorably discharged from the Army in 1954, it was as a private first class.

I guess it's necessary to enforce these things, but I keep thinking of the Commander guy in his tight flight suit and leather jacket parading around a carrier flight deck and playing soldier. The cameras never got close enough to show whether he was wearing his silver spoon.

11 comments:

Reign of Reason said...

Yeah, impersonating a commissioned officer is a federal offense.

Imagine if this guy ran into some enlisted folks -- esp wearing that rank.

A vet should know better.

Capt. Fogg said...

What about impersonating a President?

Intellectual Insurgent said...

They hired an investigator?

Is it that serious?

Capt. Fogg said...

Evidently it's a Federal offense and Military people seem to take it very seriously. I remember a few years back when an Admiral was found to be wearing ribbons he hadn't earned, he committed suicide.

Reign of Reason said...

That's pretty extreme: killing yourself!?!?

I'm guessing the guy had self-image issues if he was wearing awards he didn't earn.

But back to the main point, impersonating an office is serious. The officer corp is given a hell of a lot of authority in the military. Wearing a uniform to a costume party is nothing -- but passing yourself off at an even with other service members is serious.

Wearing such a rank and entering into discussions with other officers could end up generating some "interesting implications"... What if this guy was talking about his opinions on military incarceration? Tribunals, etc... For better or worse the "opinion" of a Major General -- while it may not change a subordinates feelings outright -- would have an effect on subordinates.

Needless to say if he was to offer a "strong opinion" it could easily be construed as an order. I'm not saying he likely gave someone an illegal order... But he could easily get someone in trouble.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Perhaps the problem isn't the uniform, but the deity status that is granted to those who wear it.

d.K. said...

I think "reign of reason" gets it right. Wearing unearned medals is inexplicably obscene to military folks -- it's part of the culture of that profession. I've been the significant coverage of a guy impersonating a sergeant, who claimed a couple Silver Stars, purple hearts, etc. It's a big story in that community, and it makes perfect sense to me.

NeoAuteur said...

Even at that old age, the guy has no dignity whatsoever.

Capt. Fogg said...

especially not now!

d.K. said...

I meant "I've followed the coverage", not "I've been the coverage..." Sheesh - note to self: remember to read previous notes to self to proofread!

d nova said...

yeah, wearing wrong uniform or wrong ribbon's serious bizniz, killing's ok.