Stolen Valor Act of 2013 signed into law

On June 3, President Barack Obama signed into law The American Legion-backed Stolen Valor Act of 2013, which now makes it a "federal crime for an individual to fraudulently hold oneself out to be a recipient of any of several specified military decorations or medals with the intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit."  

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the original Stolen Valor Act of 2005, deeming it unconstitutional because it was, in the justices’ opinion, too broad in scope and violated the right of free speech. The Legion passed Resolution 283 during its 2012 National Convention, calling on Congress to amend the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, to provide that the elements of fraud be incorporated into previous Stolen Valor legislation. U.S. Rep. Joe Heck, R-Nev., and the Legion worked together to draft a new Stolen Valor Act that included this legal language in effort to meet the Supreme Court’s objections to the old Stolen Valor Act.

On Jan. 15, 2013, Heck introduced H.R.258, the Stolen Valor Act of 2013. The bill also criminalized the act of lying to gain unearned veterans health-care benefits or other rewards, such as employment reserved for veterans. And on May 20, the House of Representatives passed Heck’s bill by a vote of 390 to 3. Legion Commander James E. Koutz praised the overwhelming, bipartisan vote.

"The American Legion is impressed with Congress today," he said. "Those who deliberately lie about military service, wear medals they did not earn or make claims of combat heroism they did not achieve are more than just liars. They are perpetrators of the worst kind of fraud. Their lies are an insult to all who have truly stood in harm’s way and earned their decorations. We raised this issue at our national convention, and the House acted."

On May 22, the Senate passed the legislation by unanimous consent. Senators Dean Heller, R-Nev., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., introduced the Senate companion bill (S. 210).

Both Heck and Heller rejoiced at the president’s signature. "I’m pleased that the valor and integrity of our military awards, along with the men and women who have earned them, are once again protected by law," Heck said. "It has been an incredibly rewarding process, and I thank all of those who have helped along the way in making this bill a law."

"I’m pleased that President Obama signed the Stolen Valor Act into law," Heller said. "The brave acts of the men and women in our military should be honored and protected. Thanks to the hard work of Rep. Heck and those who joined us in support of this issue, the recognition that these men and women earned will be preserved."

8 Comments

  1. If you gather 100 military veterans in a room, 10 of them served in a combat zone and 1 of those ten carried and fired weapons. The truth is they all walk around like they are Rambo when in fact 99% of them were in non-combat support positions.
  2. Pete, You are right, I know guys collecting benefits who don't have a minute of combat or less. I did have a moment of combat on guard duty with a regular SP who had a M16 and tons of bullets,i had a half clip of 20 bullets. As we surprised 4 NV soldiers setting up a mortar his gun jammed.I fired 9 bullets to kill all 4. 12 days before rotation I was volunteered to go to the Mu Gai pass to retrieve 7 Sensors missing a diplexer module that fried the technology if they were dug up and tilted 15 degrees from vertical. Getting 4 minutes of flight training on the way and completing the retrieval of the sensors the pilot took off for Ubon and handed over the stick. He said your flight training is on again, you can fly to Ubon, I'll be your navigator. With this a bullet came through the plexiglass at the bottom of the helicopter. I made it back with the help of the Marine Door Gunner,running out of fuel as I tried to land fell about 9 feet hard. Won the DFC and it was noted on my orders that it was earned. My base commander of Ubon swore me to secrecy, when I got to Loring AFB Maine Msgt Clinton E Thompson at headquarters doubted my award and seized my orders, saying "I can fix this you Son of a Bitch" 181 days later I get my DD214 And the DFC isn't showing. I asked about it and the Msgt threatened to get the SP's and have me put in jail. I took what he gave me and left. Within weeks I applied to get a government job as a radio tech at Phillips Field on Aberdeen proving ground. I was escorted off base. Found a private industry job.Fired after 14 years from that and that started a strong of firings for 40 plus years. I got my Archives Report of my service 2 years ago and now know why. It shows that I completed basic training and arrived at Tech school at Kessler AFB then there is a 3 year gap and I'm in Loring with 2 more stripes. An advanced AFSC and a DD214 that says I missed no time,Honorable discharge. I really saw combat and earned the DFC really, and I get treated like a deserter by the VA. In fact when I asked for GI Bill money to complete college, I was paid much less than other vet's $167 instead of $420.
  3. John Farmer, you are about as full of shit as about anything I have heard recently. The Stolen Valor Act is in place for liars like YOU. You are nothing but a keyboard warrior who never served in Vietnam. A "clip" that was half full. At least get some of your terminology correct. Guys like you make me want to throw up. Doc, 173rd Airborne Brigade (separate) Vietnam 1968-1969
  4. And without those Non-Combat support positions, Arlington Cemetery would be the size of Rhode Island. So Peter Hilley, get in the font leaning face position and pay homage to a Vet.
  5. I think it is a DISGRACE to those who truely fought and got wounded and earned their Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. SHAME on those who drive around with their license plate displaying a Bronze Star recipient and 40 some years later are trying to be awarded a Purple Heart based on a tiny speck they claim was a combat wound! GIVE ME A BREAK !!! I'll be dammed if he gets a Purple Heart !!!
  6. I also know of a man who lies about his service to our country. Although he served in the US army in Vietnam repairing generators, he never served in a combat situation and in the past, even bragged that he spent his free time partying and visiting whorehouses. Now, he speaks before large crowds claiming to be a decorated combat veteran. He changed his look, grew out his hair to achieve the the "biker-style" persona of a disgruntled Vietnam veteran. In a previous query, I was told that serving in a foreign war in any capacity entitled a person to the same benefits as a combat veteran. Still, I find it so offensive to watch this miserable liar disgrace the real combat survivors that have given so much for our country...including my two sons, whom have both returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, after both doing two tours of duty. I wish there was some way ton stop him.
  7. I personally know of an individual that resides in Rhode Island and tells all of his friends that he did two yours in Afganistan and was shot in the leg. His friends think of him as some kind of war hero. The fact is that he NEVER served overseas anywheres let alone two tours in Afganistan and being shot in the leg. He did in fact claim injury to his leg while serving in El Paso,Texas in the Army. However I know for a fact that he made his wife kick him in the leg repeatedly so as to claim injury while on active duty so he could get a medical discharge and receive a disability check every month from the VA. He also claimed having sleep apnea since being in the Army but he had that problem before joining the Army. He is nothing short of a fraud and a coward. If I wouldn't get in trouble for kicking his ass then I would do it in a heartbeat. I am a combat veteran that served in Vietnam while in the Marine Corps. I saw too much combat and had to bag and tag too many of my brothers to just let this SCUMBAG pass by without saying something about it.
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