Will Military Members Get Less Upgrades Due To Fakes + Poll

image from amazon.com

(Don’t forget to vote in the poll below.)

Yesterday I wrote a post about an NFL Star Duped By A Fake Marine.

DeAngelo Williams gave up (traded) his business class seat to a man that appeared to be a highly decorated Marine veteran. According to many people this man was not actually a Marine, he was an imposter. There are supposedly lots of signs that he wasn’t the real deal based on a variety of things, mainly his uniform and medals.

This made me wonder: Will people be less likely to trade their premium cabin seats to military members for fear that they might be a fake? 

People benefiting from posing as military could hurt those who served in other ways too, not just when it comes to a seat upgrade.

To get a military discounts in stores, my guess would be that an ID is usually required.

But what about those times when there is a person in uniform and a random person wants to do something nice for them? Do you trust they are military based on what they are wearing or do you ask for proof? Maybe you just don’t bother anymore after hearing about the NFL player that got duped.

After reading about the DeAngelo Williams story, I wondered if it was even illegal to wear a uniform or fraudulently claim to be military.

Online some said that it was illegal and the guy should be arrested. One comment on my post suggested that the crew should ask to see a military ID before allowing a seat swap and if the guy is a fake he should also be brought in for questioning when the plane lands.

comment from JustSaying

I decided to do some research online to find out if it’s actually illegal to make-believe you are/ were in the military.

Here is what I found out from congress.gov :

Stolen Valor Act of 2013- Amends the federal criminal code to rewrite provisions relating to fraudulent claims about military service to subject to a fine, imprisonment for not more than one year, or both an individual who, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds himself or herself out to be a recipient of:

  • a Congressional Medal of Honor,
  • a distinguished-service cross,
  • a Navy cross,
  • an Air Force cross,
  • a silver star,
  • a Purple Heart,
  • a Combat Infantryman’s Badge,
  • a Combat Action Badge,
  • a Combat Medical Badge,
  • a Combat Action Ribbon,
  • a Combat Action Medal, or
  • any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law.”

Based on the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 I am not so sure that this man (if guilty of being an imposter) broke any laws. Based on the information I’ve read- he didn’t ask for an upgrade, Williams offered it to him. On the other hand, is just putting on the uniform (and medals) in itself considered to be fraud?

Here is where I’d love to hear your opinion.

How do you feel about giving up your premium cabin seat (or giving other benefits) to those dressed in a military uniform after hearing what happened to NFL Player DeAngelo Williams?

  • While I do appreciate and respect the military, I think I'll keep my seat (71%, 29 Votes)
  • If they show an ID, I'd be happy to make the swap (10%, 4 Votes)
  • I'd have to think about it a little more and then decide (7%, 3 Votes)
  • I'm staying put (7%, 3 Votes)
  • Hell no, I don't want to get scammed (5%, 2 Votes)
  • I always give up my seat to military if my seat is better (DeAngelo Williams) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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If your answer is not included, feel free to leave another option in the comments below.

You can check out the Stolen Valor Act of 2013 here.

6 thoughts on “Will Military Members Get Less Upgrades Due To Fakes + Poll

  1. If the member of the military is flying on an international GSA Contract fare, they are most likely in a Y class. They should ask for an upgrade from the airline. The mileage amount would be very, very low. Also, the cash payment would be very low. In my opinion, the military receive so many benefits already and giving them a HIGHLY discounted upgrade to business class is beyond fair. They shouldn’t receive a free seat. This is coming from a DoD employee who has been overseas for many years.

  2. Sometimes it is quite obvious that someone is legitimately military. Once I was coming back on a MR from Anchorage and a huge passel of clean-cut 18-year-olds in BDUs boarded at once. I ended up giving up my FC seat to one of them due to some drama up front and happily kept my own exit row seat. In this case, it probably resulted in a lot of ribbing for him, though.

  3. What about those of us who don’t appreciate people who like to dress up like GI Joe with our taxpayer money and wreck havoc on foreign nations? How about that as option?

  4. As a military member from Australia, I do admire how Americans respect their military members. In Australia there is a similar law which makes it illegal to wear any medal that you’re not entitled to.

  5. I will bet you that he did indeed have one of the fake medals and therefore did break the “Stolen Valor Act” If you had a closeup of his uniform and his medals displayed, I am certain there are a few of us veterans who could tell you exactly what his medals displayed were. And think about it, it you are going to be an imposter don’t you want to be a “brave” imposter…….the odds are that most imposters are going to put one of those bravery medals on their fake uniform…….intimidating other military members is all part of the scam………..

  6. A- I don’t know much about this stuff to add or object but if a person wants to pass on their biz or 1st seat to military, I think they should be allowed.

    Sharky L- Funny! I hope he enjoyed the extra space and comfort at least.

    Stephen- I’m not sure what your opinion about the military has to do with upgrades.

    Victor- Military should be respected and thanked for the sacrifices they make! Glad to hear that Australia has this kind of law too!

    JustSaying- You are probably right.

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