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Stories of American Heroes - Brought to you from the "Home of Heroes" - Pueblo, Colorado


Dishonorable conduct

Publish Date: July 27, 2005

FEW THINGS are as despicable as a person who falsely claims to have been awarded military medals for valor or wounds.

We honor those who serve us in the armed forces, and particular honor goes to those whose sacrifices are worthy of special commendation. At the top of these is the revered Medal of Honor, awarded to those heroes whose uncommon valor reflects the highest credit to their branch of service.

But there are other important medals as well: the Distinguished Service Cross, Air Force Cross, Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and, for those wounded in battle, the Purple Heart. A grateful nation distinguishes those whose actions have prompted the awarding of these honors.

Unfortunately, there are those few who would defile the very honor those medals represent by wearing copy-cat awards they have not earned. Recently Pueblo veteran Doug Sterner tipped the FBI that a man in Caseville, Mich., was fraudulently claiming to be a Medal of Honor recipient and also was wearing a bogus Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

Mr. Sterner operates the popular Web site, “Home of Heroes,” referring to Pueblo’s having been home to four living Medal of Honor recipients at one time. The Web site offers an education about the nation’s highest honor.

When Mr. Sterner learned that the Michigan man was claiming to be a Medal recipient, he knew that was false, for he is familiar with every living Medal recipient’s name. And this dishonoring of military awards has led Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., to introduce the Stolen Valor Act of 2005.

The act states that Congress finds that fraudulent claims of being awarded these medals damage the reputation and meaning of them, but that federal law enforcement officers currently are limited in their ability to prosecute these fraudulent claims. The act allows for those who make false claims of military medals to be fined or imprisoned up to six months, or both.

Rep. Salazar has not stopped with sponsoring this legislation, though. The producers of the comedy film “Wedding Crashers” operated a Web site with a printable Purple Heart advertised as a gimmick to pick up women and get free drinks Ñ a ploy used in the so-called comedy. Rep. Salazar put pressure on the filmmakers, and Monday they yanked the phony Purple Heart from the Web site.

As Rep. Salazar put it, “If any movie-goers take the advice of the ‘Wedding Crashers’ and try to use fake Purple Hearts to get girls, they may wind up picking up an FBI agent instead.” Under Rep. Salazar’s legislation, they could “crash” the federal prison complex near Florence for a half year of reflection.

This is a straightforward bill. Congress should approve and President Bush should sign it.



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James Fields (Left) regaled the audience in Chillicothe, MO, on veterans day with tales of his heroism that earned him a Navy Cross for heroism in Vietnam while serving under Lt. Col. Oliver North. The same day in St. Louis, Michael Wielbacher showed up for the Marine Corps Birthday Ball wearing the Navy Cross and Distinguished Service Medal, along with a two Silver Stars with "V", four Bronze, and more. Both were bogus heroes. Wielbacher is prosecutable but Fields is NOT (he was wearing a Navy Cross PIN, not the Medal. Both are exposed in this excellent report from the St. Louis Fox Affiliate.

Watch the Video Report of these "American Heroes"

Video Archives from Last Year's Stolen Valor Stories


Channel 13 - Pueblo


FOX 31 - Talk Show

MORE Video Reports are available in our NEWS SECTION

Note: While journalists do not endorse legislation in order to maintain impartiality, we are pleased to share with you the following congratulatory remarks by a leader in American news broadcasting: 

"I congratulate Congressman Salazar for getting on this case and I am with him all the way." 
Bob Schieffer, CBS Evening News 

Stolen Valor Act of 2005
H.R. 3352 & S. 1998



Read/Download the Policy Analysis Paper that is the basis for this legislation.

Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis

Policy Analysis

Contact Congressman Salazar

John T. Salazar (CO-3) SPONSOR
111 Members of Congress Co-Sponsoring This Bill in the House
(Sorted By State & District)

(AL-5) Robert Bud Cramer 
(AR-1) Marion Berry  
(AR-4) Mike Ross 
(AZ-7) Raul Grijalva  
(CA-1) Mike Thompson 
(CA-8) Nancy Pelosi
(CA-15 Mike Honda 
(CA-18) Dennis Cardoza 
(CA-20) Jim Costa 
(CA-29) Adam Schiff 
(CA-33) Diane Watson 
(CA-38) Grace Napolitano 
(CA-43) Joe Baca 
(CA-51) Bob Filner 
(CO-2) Mark Udall 
FL-2) Allen Boyd  
(FL-17) Kendrick Meek 
(FL-23) Alcee Hastings  
(GA-3) Jim Marshall  
(GA-12) John Barrow  
(GU)  Madeleine Bordallo
((HI-2) Ed Case  
(IA-3) Leonard Boswell 
(IL-4) Luis Gurierrez  
(IL-5) Rahm Emanuel 
(IN-7) Julia Carson  
(KS-3) Dennis Moore  
.(KY-6) Ben Chandler  
(LA-3) Charlie Melancon
(MD-4) Albert Wynn
(MD-5) Steny Hoyer  
(ME-1) Thomas Allen 
(ME-2) Michael Michaud
(MI-5) Dale Kildee
(MI-14) John Conyers
(MN-7) Colin Peterson  
(MS-4) Gene Taylor  
(NC-7) Mike McIntyre  
(ND) Earl Pomeroy  
(NJ-9) Steven Rothman
NJ-13) Robert Mendez (NM-3) Tom Udall  
(NV-1) Shelly Berkley
(NY-2) Steve Israel  
(NY-4) Carolyn McCarthy 
(NY-12 )Nydia Velazquez  
(NY-16) Jose Serrano  
(NY-22) Maurice Hinchey
(OH-6) Ted Strickland  
(OH-13) Sherrod Brown  
(OH-17) Tim Ryan  
(OK-2) Dan Boren  
(OR-5) Darlene Hooley  
(PA-17) Tim Holden  
(SD) Stephanie Herseth  
(TN-4) Lincoln Davis  
(TN-5) Jim Cooper  
(TN-6) Bart Gordon 
(TN-8) John Tanner  
(TN-9) Harold Ford  
(TX-15) Ruben Hinojosa  
(TX-16) Silvestre Reyes  
(TX-20) Charles Gonzalez
 (TX-25) Lloyd Doggett  
(TX-27) Solomon Ortiz  
(TX-28) Henry Cuellar  
(TX-29) Gene Green  
(TX-30) Eddie B. Johnson
(UT-3) Jim Matheson  
(WA-3) Brian Baird  
(WA-7) Jim McDermott
(WA-9) Adam Smith  
(WV-3) Nick Rahall  
NOTE: ALL SIX Representatives from Kentucky, including members of BOTH parties, have signed on as co-sponsors for this bill. Way to go KENTUCKY.

(AL-6) Spencer Bachus
(AZ-1) Rick Renzi
(CA-41) Jerry Lewis
(CA-44) Ken Calvert
(CO-4) Marilyn Musgrave
(CO-6) Tom Tancredo  
CO-7) Bob Beauprez
(CT-2) Rob Simmons
(IL-16) Donald Manzullo
(IN-4) Steve Buyer
(IN-5) Dan Burton
(IN-8) John Hostettler
(KY-1) Ed Whitfield 
(KY-2) Ron Lewis  
(KY3) Anne Northup  
(KY-4) Geoff Davis  
(KY-5) Harold Rogers  
(LA-5) Rodney Alexander
(MI-8) Mike Rogers
(MI-11) Thaddeus McCotter
(MN-2) John Kline  
(MO-6) Sam Graves
(NC-8) Robin Hayes
(NE-1) Jeff Fortenberry
(NE-2) Lee Terry
(NJ-4) Christopher Smith
(NJ-5) Scott Garrett
(NJ-7) Mike Ferguson
(NY-13) Vito Fossella
NY-19) Sue Kelly
(NY-24) Sherwood Boehlert
(NY-29) John Randy Kuhl  
(PA-3) Phil English  
(TN-3) Zach Wamp
(TX-2) Ted Poe 
(TX-23) Henry Bonilla
(VA-10) Frank Wolf
(WI-8) Mark Green

Kent Conrad (ND) - Sponsor
S 1998 SENATE VERSION of Stolen Valor:

(AR) Mark Pryor
(AR) Blanche Lincoln
(CO) Ken Salazar 
(CT) Joseph Lieberman
(HI) Daniel Inouye
(NE) Benjamin Nelson  
(NJ) Frank Lautenberg  
(NM) Jeff Bingaman 
(NY) Hillary Clinton
(SD) Tim Johnson  
(WV) John Rockefeller  
(WV) Robert Byrd 

(AK) Ted Stevens
CO) Wayne Allard  
(GA) Johnny Isakson  
(GA) Saxby Chambliss 
(KS) Pat Roberts
(LA) David Vitter  
(MT) Conrad Burns  
(NC) Elizabeth Dole  
(NE) Chuck Hagel
(PA) Arlen Specter
(PA) Rick Santorum  
(SD) John Thune
(WY) Thomas Craig
(WY) Michael Enzi


Other Medal of Honor and/or Veteran Related Legislation

H. Res. 297
National Medal of Honor Day

Bill of Rights

H. RES. 404
Adm. Jim Stockdale

Doug or Pam Sterner may be contacted at: (703) 461-3626 or by Email:  Pam Sterner  -  Doug Sterner

To more fully understand the depth of this problem Please Visit
The P.O.W. Network



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