Richard Strandlof epitomized American heroism. Strandlof graduated from the Naval Academy, was at the Pentagon on 9/11, deployed to Iraq with the Marines, and survived an IED attack. Except, he didn’t do any of those things, and on Friday the FBI arrested him for claiming that he had.

In a rare charge of “stolen valor”, the fake veteran was arrested for falsely claiming “military decorations or medals”. The charge can lead to up to one year of jail and a $100,000 fine.

“Doing good does not take away from the bad that he did,” he said. “Because of Rick Strandlof, the next global war on terrorism veteran that speaks in a school or talks to the media or gets involved in politics is going to be questioned.”

Ryan Gallucci, a spokesman for AMVETS, agreed.

“Strandlof’s actions dishonor the actual sacrifices of veterans,” he told CNN Monday.

“Second, by commissioning his own advocacy group, Strandlof diverted philanthropy dollars for legitimate causes within the veterans community,” Gallucci said.

“Personally, it just sickens me,” Gallucci added. “As a veteran of the war in Iraq, it’s unfathomable that someone would propagate such a lie at a time when American men and women are actually putting their lives on the line, and American families are coping with the loss of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Damn straight.

Posted by Christopher Albon in Marine Corps

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  • Shlok

    Ever read Stolen Valor?

    I met the guy at Hood a few years ago. Pretty inspiring stuff.

  • Roland Lamontagne

    Strandlof’s actions dishonor the service and sacrifices of American servicemen and women however, what he has done isn’t new. Not to diminish what Strandlof has done but, years after Vietnam it seemed that allot of would be combatants came out of the wood work, declaring themselves decorated vets or officers who directed major campigns in Nam. They wore medals of valor, purple hearts and gave lectures at schools and various veteran organizations. They dressed as non-coms and officiers were members of various social organizations, and helped others campign for office. No harm was ever intended but it did.

    As a Vietnam era veteran and the brother of a two tour in country veteran, who suffered both physical and emotional disabilities, I know how he and many others felt about fake service men. The VVA organization that we had belonged to enforced one special mandate for joining the organization. Your DD214 had to be confirmed…those offering fake documents were called out in front of members during chapter meetings and were given the option of correcting the record, and apologizing for it or face public humilation in the local paper before being reported to authories.

    Nam wasn’t a good time to be in the service. Wearing ones uniform in public could in still anger and fights. I’m yet to understand why. Years after the war, and some 50,168 plus American deaths, being a veteran of Vietnam or simply being an era vet developed a whole new stature for the service and veterans – it was okay to declare your oath and service. Showing the colors displayed ones pride in service and it’s always done with respect for others who served and serve today.

    Strandlof needs quiet time to think about his actions and how it belittles the sacrifice so many have given for this country and our way of life. No one walks into harms way wanting to be a hero, a soldier, sailor, pilot, nurse etc., accepts the risk that comes with war or conflict. We as a nation owe not only our graditude but, our sincere promise to take care of them when they return. No veteran should have to fight for benefits he has so dearly earned through his sacrifices. No veteran’s family should be disgarded after a combatant has paid the ultimate price of service because, they too have paid a high price for our freedom.

  • mr.daniel pytel

    my opinion -i think this guy has issues mental issues -low self esteem and no life -besides being a low life -instead of giving this yo yo jail time and a fine -i think the judge oughta give him what he deserves -i one year hitch in the marines/army -infantry -afghanistan -station him in a hot zone -insurgents all around etc etc . then when and if he gets back he”ll have plenty real on the job experiences to truly talk about . but if he”s ever been there “truly “and seen things -he probably wont even mention a word -even to family.and possibly come back with “real” mental issues -or to be cruel the judge can say put on your dress blues or for officers dress whites and just walk the country side in afghanistan.i figure if he walks the streets all alone and survives say for a few months -hell probbably take a few bullets that were ment for other service personel -if he survives say wearing a captains uniform “dress-stand out like a sore thumb dress”with all the medals-i figure with all the purple hearts he”d win after a few months -walking arround with that type of target on himself -and taking rounds ment for other troops of ours —-then i would call him a real veteran and a real hero and give him credit for saving the lives of others -and he sure as hell would have earned the rank and the medals he wore
    then he would be the real deal with bragging rights —-to me that would be justice :} ……………thats if he was capable of coming back physically and mentally at the end of his sentence .i know some homeless veitnam veterans on the streets that still havent completely come back yet .sad —for these real heros -i toss them a few bucks when i see them -give them a smoke -make sure they got money for some beer and thank them after shaking there hand and let them go there way -and let them have some form of peace of mind that day at least till the beer runs out .its a shame some cant get it together enough to cope to handle things 4 decades later -but who am i to judge -i havent walked a mile in there shoes .its a crying shame that many lost vets -if given the ability to -start all over would -but 2 decades of addictions-mental illness -physical neglect -and homeless living life styles -petty theft -and drug or alcohol related legal issues and the warrants -are all thats keeping these lost homeless vets from getting back to normal—america get a clue -you cant get help if your wanted by the law -so they stay away from help to stay out of jail –when jailed -jail doesnt help rehabilitate -my opinion-give each homeless mental addicted vet an option -extremely reduced time or fines -then alow them to legally mentally and physically recieve benefits for help to rehabilitate then if course/program is sucessfully completed they should be allowed to get a governors pardon and be able to start all over again .—dan -my thoughts .

  • Byron

    Flogging…repeated flogging.

  • Andy (JADAA)

    Every so often one hears about, meets or reads about someone whose story is just a little “too good to be true,” except to a (usually) young and gullible news reporter. The question then comes, how does an ordinary citizen go about verifying someone’s claims, quietly? Anyone have any tips?