DENVER, CO — The Phony Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation's leading military fakers' organization — representing fake members from all service branches — has gone on the offensive in the fight against military bloggers.
PVFW fired back with a public relations offensive, speaking with reporters and establishing a password-protected blog on their website devoted to peer-reviewed development of members' stories of their superhuman valor and heroism.
"Because of these milbloggers' relentless assault on our First Amendment-protected right to lie about brief, unglamorous or nonexistent military service," PVFW chairman Michael Spurwick told reporters, "several of our members have suffered irreparable damage to their reputations, and a few have even had their businesses and careers ruined, after being exposed as frauds. Something had to be done."
Spurwick, a former Army sergeant, who was promoted to General before retiring as a Captain, has a long and impressive career of made-up military service.
"We lost a lot of good men out there," Spurwick said. "I don't really like to talk about it."
Born in 1965, he's a veteran of every U.S. military action since his birth, from the Vietnam War to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Boasting unearned Special Forces and Ranger tabs, Spurwick served with both Delta Force and the Rangers during Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, Somalia. He's participated in every combat parachute jump since 1967, when, at just fifteen months of age, he parachuted into North Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne during Operation Junction City — as well as a top-secret high altitude, high opening jump from the International Space Station during OEF VI and a LANO (low-altitude, no-opening) jump from a B-1 bomber during OIF V.
[Editor's note: According to Spurwick's DD214, obtained by Duffel Blog through a FOIA request, he was discharged from the Army in 1986 during basic training at Fort Sill, Okla., as an E-2.]
Such astonishing derring-do is commonplace among the PVFW's members, with most having war records that would put Audie Murphy or Chesty Puller to shame.
One such member is Nick Androsky, a former Air Force C-130 loadmaster who was court-martialed for drug use, demoted from E-3 to E-1, and given a bad-conduct discharge.
He gained notoriety in PVFW circles when he arrived at an Army infantry basic-training graduation ceremony wearing an Air Force dress uniform, sporting master sergeant's stripes, a ribbon rack with over 40 medals, master pilot's wings, an Army Combat Infantryman Badge with two stars, and a number of other badges.
Completing the look was a green beret and a pair of desert-tan boots.
"We live for this," said TAH editor and actual retired Army combat infantryman Jonn Lilyea. "We're sending a message that if you steal valor, we're gonna catch you and publicly shame you like the douche-nozzle that you are."
Lilyea and other milbloggers, in Spurwick's opinion, are little more than "high-tech bullies."
"They take sadistic pleasure in trying to ruin our lives with their endless FOIA witch-hunts and bloody-shirt DD214-waving," Spurwick said, "just because we don't fit their narrow, exclusionary definitions of military service."
The PVFW blog's primary purpose is to help its members with no actual military background, who are most vulnerable to damaging attacks from the milbloggers:
"Without any firsthand experience using authentic-sounding military lingo or properly wearing a uniform, they don't know how to craft a persona that strikes that delicate balance of being ultra-awesome and yet still believable, without setting off the B.S.-meters of real veterans," says Spurwick. "Here, they can get pointers and counter-counter-fakery tips from the guys who have plenty of time in fake-service. One trick I recommend if you're about to get busted is to claim your records were classified 'above top secret' or lost in a fire. If all else fails, threaten to sue. That usually works."
Military fakery is a high-stakes game, says Spurwick: "A reputation that takes years to fabricate can be destroyed in a minute by one milblog post."