RICHFIELD, OH – On a normal Friday night at the Clearview Bar & Grill, U.S. Army Reservist Specialist Wendell Dukes had ordered his usual Rolling Rock and was minding his business. He had recently returned from deployment to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, where the harsh environment had denied him everything, from Wi-Fi to good cell reception to even a decent printer. What it never denied him however, was a sense of pride.
Dukes and his fellow administrative specialists (MOS 42L) had worked hard and earned the respect of their peers and, according to the 19 year-old soldier, “Nothing moves without orders and orders don’t move without us! You have registered mail? Good luck getting it there without our signature!”
So you can imagine Dukes’ dismay when a man he had never seen before -- walked into the bar -- and claimed to be a member of his elite unit.
“He was wearing this—well for lack of a better term, it was a costume-and said he was just back from downrange. He wore some strange medals I hadn't seen before -- crooked -- and I noted right away that not only were his ACUs freshly pressed, but the dead give away was the complete lack of a carpal tunnel brace on the forearm and no paper cuts on the fingers. It was amateur night.”
Dukes takes a swig of his Rolling Rock. His eyes now take on a far off look.
“I earned my cuts, damnit! It was then and there I knew my fellow 42Ls and I were being robbed. ”
Dukes didn’t get mad however. He decided to get even and lured the man, Mr. Ben Faquir, into a story of his many exploits -- a popular method poser hunters often use to call out phony veterans.
“It was all downhill from there,” Dukes said. “He starts off ‘So, there I was...in the shit...the coffee was gone. We were out of doughnuts.’ Anyone who’s been downrange knows full well Green Bean is almost always open and we’re hip deep in pogey bait, so there’s no excuse. I called Stolen Valor after that.”
After Dukes' tip, the FBI decided to investigate. In what was a open and shut case, Mr. Faquir was tried and sentenced to a $10,000 fine and one year’s probation. He could not be reached for comment at the time of this article.
Although this story had a happy ending, it’s still not enough for Wendell Dukes. He encourages all 42Ls not to allow their profession to be sullied by posers.
“It’s like they think they know what’s it’s like, behind the wire, when the chow hall’s out of ice cream and server lag keeps you from playing World of Warcraft. You shouldn’t let anyone think they know what that’s like. Not unless you’ve been there.”