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Ebay promoting "Stolen Valor"

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#26 Devious6

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Posted 12 December 2009 - 11:39 AM

I'll toss my $.02 in, for what it's worth. I don't think the certificates should be sold - they are official government documents and fakes are just that...fakes. The certificates contain a description of the action/service that led to the award as it appears on the award request. WIthout that request, one can not properly fill in a blank document. Sure, you can put a name on it, but it does not replicate the original. While some of the purchasers of those listed on Ebay may be looking to replace lost certs, my guess would be that most are fakers. They fill in some bogus service or action to make themselves look good. DoD doesn't replace the certificate, I would guess, because they do not have the original awards request on hand - so even they can not duplicate the original. All they have is access to a set of orders or a DD214/215. Notably, some award requests now are also the awarding orders so, in those cases (like the AAM), it would be possible to duplicate the award. But, I still think that no one other than the government should have access to the certs.

I retired 6 years ago (where did the time go???) and my 214 does not have an embossed raised seal either.

I would also argue that trying to equate banning the sale of official documents like award certificates to uniform items is a very large stretch. These items have been sold off for sale at Army/Navy stores, etc., for decades. Anyone can wear an old uniform and no one bats an eye. An award, however, was specifically documented in a published set of orders - and wearing one that you were not authorized is a crime. Maybe I'm gullible, but I don't see the government ever caring about whether I want to sell a set of my old combat boots. ;)

In any case, as a bit of levity, here's a certificate you can duplicate if you want. I had this come across my desk when I was a Bn Cdr. I first noticed that my rank was wrong - I was a LTC not a MAJ. Then, I looked up at the top of the certificate and started to laugh. The award of the Broken Medal!

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#27 SGM (ret.)

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 09:52 AM

Well, I stand corrected. Just looked at my DD214 and my wife's, and neither has a seal - just original signatures. I did have in the same folder with mine a notarized copy with the notary’s seal. That must have been what I was thinking about.

Still, my point was that only the original copy is the "official" one for the purposes of claiming benefits, etc. and to forge a copy for the purposes of fraud is a federal crime. Also, the award certificate is not the document that authorizes the award. That either of these can be forged is not debatable: of course they can be, as can just about anything else.

That anyone "gets away" for any period of time getting unearned benefits based on a forged DD214 is a statement on the poor oversight and probable laziness of the government employees who are approving such things. But, that's nothing new or unique to these documents. People defraud the government and break the law all the time: they cheat on their taxes, they dodge their alimony and child support, they speed, and they spit on the sidewalks, the list is nearly endless.

However, all of these bad things reflect the personal behaviors of the criminals. To blame their actions on eBay or available blank forms is to absolve them of their actions and put the accountability on some inanimate object. This is the same reasoning that the anti-gun crowd uses: blame the guns and not the criminals. Do away with the objects so that you can absolve yourself of having to pass judgment and make moral decisions about the behaviors of others. This, of course, frees such like-minded people of the fear that their own actions will be judged by others and allows them to live amoral and unethical lives themselves.

But I digress...

IMO, these blank award certificates are just like the unissued awards themselves. The certificates are provided in great-whopping-big reams to unit S-1's, PAC's, and installation personal offices, just like the awards and ribbons are supplied to units.

Recently, on another thread, a Forum member posted that he has just "rescued" some outrageous number of unissued, still in the box, awards from a unit supply room that that was being cleaned up. I don't recall the exact numbers that he was talking about, but I seem to recall it was perhaps as many as a hundred or so. At the time, the consensus of the other Forum members posting was "great job!," "good score," "you're a fine fellow for saving all that history," ect. The OP even said that he would donate a few of the awards to a local VFW or something for guys who have "lost" an original award. He got even more praise for that. Finally, he did say that he might sell a few, but you know, only to other collectors and at shows, certainly not on "Evil Bay." Again, high praise all around for taking such a principled position.

OK, so now we have the issue of unissued award certificates. Same government property. Same "rescue" effort. Same "saving" of the history. Same "providing replacements to vets who've lost their originals." What's different? Suppose some of those "rescued" awards were engraved. Would the guy who saved them from the trash now be a zero instead of a hero? Suppose he wasn't the one doing the engraving but someone who had bought one of his rescued awards? Where would his culpability lie?

Of course, those same blank certificates along with a blank DD214, forged convincingly, and all added to original, unissued medals (maybe even engraved) would make for very nice groupings. That would be reprehensible, but blame the forger, not the blank documents and unissued awards nor the guy who "rescued" them from destruction and disposal.

These forms and documents are easily available: that genie is out of the bottle and can't be put back. (IIRC, the DD214 electronic copy was included with the CD ROMs of digital forms distro'ed Army-wide in the late '90's. Also, the forms are available on-line to just about any Active Duty troop who can log onto the PERSCOM pubs and forms library. Heck, as a retiree, I could get an account with very little justification.)

I think the question we need to be asking each other is how do we, the collecting community, guard ourselves against the forgeries that are certain to appear in the militaria marketplace. The Veteran's Administration can check its computer data-base (even if it doesn't do so diligently), but we are not so well resourced.

The only answer that I could submit is... knowledge. More and better information is what collectors of all generas need. Of course, there are those who have knowledge that they won't share under the excuse that to make the information public is to give the forgers what they need to get better. I personally find that attitude more than a bit self-serving, since the guys who advocate that position already have the information to protect themselves at the expense of other collectors.

But that is another discussion for another time.


#28 mvmhm

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Posted 30 December 2009 - 02:30 PM

There was a guy on eBay a few years ago selling blank DD214s....literally the "Keys to the Kingdom:...I contacted the FBI about it, and they basically told me there was nothing they could do to stop the auctions.....go figure!

Mark sends

#29 willysmb44

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Posted 01 January 2010 - 10:15 PM

I looked at some of these certificates and compared them to the ones I was given by Uncle Sam and they don't lok the ones I have which of course are correct.
I could tell right away they didn't look correct for the ones I saw on active duty, does this mean it's all a moot point then?

#30 decwriter

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Posted 02 January 2010 - 08:05 AM

Regarding the DD Form 214, we (the members) are provided copies 1 and 4 out of a total of 7 copies. The rest are sent to other governmental agencies and you can elect (or not) to have copy 6 sent to (insert state) director of veterans affairs. I typically request that the military personnel flight (USAF) person handling my 214 to sign their signature block in blue ink. We (the members) don't have the luxury to sign anymore although we are present to pick the documents up. Not only is it an offical document, but it's backed by multiple other copies, which are sent away. All 7 copies are identical, except for where they are slated to go, i.e., member-1, member-4, etc...
If they do not match, there's been some form of alteration (something wrong) and down that road we go.. The ones I'm speaking of in this post are the current automated forms which came out in 2000.

Regarding the decoration certificates, the only thing the government cares about is the actual General Order or Special Order. The numbers can be traced from lower level units all the way up to higher headquarters decorations. The write up (citation) is for the individual. Some folks get crafty and try to "borrow" the GO/SO for an actual decoration that was approved when they go down the "fake hero" road. But, with a little research, or maybe a lot, they can be discovered as a fake and be ousted.

Also, I saved a bunch of older Air Medal certificates from destruction when the new form came out. I happenstanced upon the individual ripping them in half and then throwing them in the garbage. I informed him that other than serving that I'd also been a collector since childhood. So, I asked for them and he gave them to me. I haven't replaced anyone's older (lost, detroyed, dog ate it, etc...) certificate and before I ever did, I'd put them through the ringer before I handed even one over. They would have to prove they earned an Air Medal by various means before they would receive an original certificate. Their word wouldn't be sufficient. The AM certificates are neatly tucked away in a drawer.

#31 Hobza

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Posted 09 January 2010 - 02:14 PM


#32 army.wife

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Posted 08 December 2013 - 07:41 PM

~ Hello, I am new to this forum my name is Melanie. I read what you posted (SGM ret.) and would be very appreciative if I could please speak with you regarding a matter in where I need to verify a DD214.
In your post you offered your help to anyone who might have a case of 'Stolen Valor', instructing for such individuals to go ahead and P.M. you...Though I have tried I have not been successful.
It seems that I am not able to view 'members' at all...possibly due to being a new member.
I am leaving an email so that you can reach me... hopefully I will be able to navigate better on this forum very soon.
The individual who's DD214 I am in severe question of has a history within the Army in where he was wearing a Ranger tag for many years of which he did not earn! He very likely would have continued to do so had he not been caught and IMO slapped on the wrist.
There are many questionable issues regarding his DD214, one being that HE never actually signed it anywhere...His years in service jumped from being 14years to 17years 5months, with no leave time needing to be accounted for...Though he supposedly served 2 tours overseas, there is zero time listed under foreign duty of any kind.
This is just a few issues that I have noticed. This Soldier is prior AGR and has had ample access needed to records...
There is also a situation in where he presented a letter that was to have been typed by the Army National Guard for sole purpose of to verify that he was no longer a member of the Guard... that he had been honorably discharged... yet this letter was typed on a simple piece of computer paper...cheap looking paper at that. There was no proper heading, no seal, nothing at all that would indicate that this letter came from the Army National Guard except that... what 'APPEARS' to have been the right statement typed by the right person with a typed as well signed name...though the signature appears as if it was a copy.... I'm hoping that made sense... To be quite honest... I could have typed this same letter, had I Knowledge of what to say, how to say it and who's name to attach...it appears this unprofessional!!! If you... or anyone on here would PLEASE be kind enough to help me with the questions I have presented... I would be so grateful! I personally just want to get some opinion(s) of those who would know, as I am not in the Military so am not at all experienced in this issue....
The last thing I want to do is go to the VA... cause a stir... if I am in fact mistaken.
Thank-you to all who have taken the time to read this as well to any who do respond...
Sincerely... Melanie...
[email protected]

#33 gwb123



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Posted 08 December 2013 - 08:09 PM



I am sorry to inform you but SGM ret. has not posted on this forum since August 2010.


That doesn't mean that he is not still reading the threads on here, but it is possible that he may no longer be active.


If you continue to participate on our Forum you will have Private Messaging privileges. And that would be the appropriate venue for something like this.


I believe if you search the internet you will find other individuals and organizations that will pursue Stolen Valor claims. 

#34 army.wife

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 01:46 PM

~ I would like to apolagize for posting where it did not belong!!! I will be absolutely honest...I am having a very very difficult time navigating my way around this site and forums ;(
I did attempt to 'Private Message' and kept being told that I did not have permission to my profile at this time...though within my confirmation email it was stated that I did have such permission...??
Please don't ban me from this wonderful site, as I AM ALWAYS a rule follower...I just need to get everything figured out...I am in an extreme and time crunching situation, orherwise I'd have spent longer before making the post that I did.
I have looked all over online...for such organizations. Possibly I have not searched correctly, but at this time I have been not able to find such organizations, only many 'references' to such...of course not including any specific or general names which I can go by...
If you happen to be able to point me in any direction with regard to such organizations, I would be extremely grateful!
Of course this is not the appropriate area to post details regarding my situation...but if you did want to contact me you are more than welcome and I would further explain...
It's a very, very sad as well absolutely shocking story to be honest...I truly wish that I could have an opportunity to tell my story someplace here within this site... It would truly disgust every honorable individual, who held morals of any kind...
In truth... for myself...I had SUCH a traumatic experience with an individual who has the nerve to call himself a soldier...view himself in the same light as members here...For my 'OWN' reasons...it would truly help in my tremendous healing process which I am going through... to see that what I believed in...who I believed in (Military as a whole)...for the endless selfless sacrifices in which I made...always putting the Military needs well above my own, as well those of my family's...was not in vain...that all I did, experienced, suffered through as well continue to...ment something to someone...that EVERY member of military is not, does not, nor would ever condone the experience that I personally had...
I want to know that Everything I believed in...is What I believed it to be and was worth it... as very sadly in the experience which I experienced...it was anything but...and this truly can destroy a person on levels one can't even imagine.
Again I do greatly apolagize and thank-you so very much for taking the time to read as well respond...
Have a Wonderful Holiday Experience....

#35 72psb

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 03:50 PM

Army wife,
It maybe me...but your post is disjointed and very hard to understand.
What exactly are you looking for? How can we help you.
Take a breath, be clear,and ask your question. We will do our best to help.

#36 manayunkman

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 04:38 PM

Someone close to her has been lying to her.


Or so it appears until she can prove it.

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