"If you tell the truth, it becomes part of your past,
If you tell a lie it becomes part of your future"
The Australasian Military Fraud
Often called by the derogatory term "wannabe" these are men and women who may or may not have served in the armed forces, but who fraudulently misrepresent themselves as having served; often in a theatre of war by their words and actions, and by wearing of medals and other accoutrements to military service to which they have no entitlement.
In recent years there has been uncertainty about who is entitled to wear US and Vietnamese decorations. The Australian government has instituted an application and verification method for all those who believe that they are entitled to foreign awards. Those without government notification or approval must be classified as a fraud, a "wannabe."
The impostor or fraud will push the line saying that they were "given" decorations in the field. This does not legitimise the wearing of the award. Official recognition was and still is supported with documentation and the written citation. It is known that some Vietnamese Commanders "awarded" American and Australian servicemen decorations for being nice, or for a favour, not for gallantry or service rendered.
Under the Defence Act, 1903 as amended, it is a federal offence to claim to be a returned soldier, sailor or airman, subject to six months' imprisonment and a fine of up to $3300. Further it is an offence to wear a service decoration to which you are not entitled, attracting additional penalties.
Worse though, is the cost to Australia's taxpayers who are picking up the tabs to the tune of perhaps million of dollars in payments and pensions to 'veterans' who have no legitimate claim to the title.
Worse still is the insult to genuine veterans of any conflict, who find their courage, honour and valour stolen by imposters both from within and outside their ranks. We will continue to ferret out those who misrepresent their service.
There is no grey. Only black or white white
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