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Yes...he would have converted it to the CAR if he was in the Navy...but he was in the Merchant Marine. I haven't a clue what their uniform regulations are, unfortunately...

 

CIB's and CAR's are not "interchangeable".

 

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Oh, and one other thing...according to the article, he joined the Merchant Marine at the end of WW2. So when did he serve in the Coast Guard? Your article states:

 

John Arens joined the Merchant Marines at 17 at the end of World War II. He made a couple of voyages in a freighter filled with thousands of gallons of high test aviation gasoline before the shooting stopped. That was the start of a military career that would span four decades and encompass three service branches.

 

Being the fact that he was a civilian in the MM, he shouldn't have had a DD-214 at all...because DD-214s didn't start being issued until 1950.

 

So he has a document, issued in 1945 (supposedly) from an organization that wasn't issuing them stating he received awards he wasn't eligible for.

 

Dave

 

Dave,

 

I think you are misreading the article, and possibly may not be too familiar with the USMM. The 'discharge' is probably a discharge from a vessel, which was made on a Coast Guard form. Also, later on the article states that he was a mate, which means he was licensed by the USCG.

 

I see no reason to question the story or the man. As Bob Hudson said, let the apologies begin.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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Let the apologies begin... :)

 

You said it!

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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And guys, don't jump to conclusions before you have all the facts in front of you. This only reflects poorly on our hobby and our forum.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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And guys, don't jump to conclusions before you have all the facts in front of you. This only reflects poorly on our hobby and our forum.

 

RC

 

So do YOU have all of the facts? If you do, stop holding back, because the facts haven't been posted on here or on the blog page. If you have them, PLEASE post them and I will apologize.

 

Until that happens, I'm curious what I'm supposed to apologize for. As far as I can see it, I've put forward a coherent argument against what this guy is claiming. Nothing...not a thing...has been provided to prove otherwise. He appears to have self-awarded himself numerous medals that he did not earn. In every interpretation of the law, that classifies as "stolen valor". There is no "oops, I'm old" caveat that allows people to give themselves personal decorations, so that excuse is simply not viable.

 

What I want to know is how he earned his Meritorious Service Medal and his four Navy Commendation Medals. Nothing has been provided about these awards by anyone here. Can you? Until I get that information, I will go and stand by my argument that the guy is a fraud. I really don't care if he's a veteran or not. I've met far too many veterans who honorably served their country to go and somehow deify or forgive someone for falsely claiming awards they did not earn. To me, that is an insult to all veterans.

 

If anyone...ANYONE...can provide clear proof of this guy's actual awards, and can PROVE that he earned these awards, I will GLADLY publicly apologize to him as well as the original writer of the story. For me, that would be an honor.

 

Until then, sorry, I'm not going to apologize for what I've said before.

 

If anyone has a problem with my stance on this, please contact me offline and we can discuss further.

 

Dave

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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CIB's and CAR's are not "interchangeable".

 

 

I'm afraid you're wrong. Please see the below screen shot from the SECNAVINST 1650.1H. You can find the whole document at: http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/SecNavInst%201650.1H.pdf

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Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Just reading from the sidelines I don't think anybody needs to apologies, especially if so many unusual aspects of this mans career are being unanswered or glossed over.

 

It's reasonable to assume from what's been presented that some members here have a hard time accepting parts of this vets story.

 

Now is USMF the right place to discuss this is an entire different story.

 

LF

I collect items from The Battle of Iwo Jima (1945).

Top Iwo Jima Items I'm Looking For:

1) IDed 5th MarDiv Corpsman Jumper or Forest Green Coat.

2) IDed Coast Guard Navy Jumper

3) IDed CB's Sea Bee's Navy Jumper

4) IDed 147th Infantry Regiment Army Service Coat

5) IDed 32nd ID Army Service Coat (Occupation Kyushu with 5th MarDiv).

I am always looking for named and dated WWII USMC Forest Green wool alpha jackets/coats from the 5th Marine Division or other units who participated in the battle.

My Blog "Marines In Forest Green" http://marinesinfore...n.blogspot.com/

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I don't want to edit my previous post so I'm adding this one.

 

We are all collectors to one degree or another.

 

And we are all historians to one degree or another.

 

We want cold hard facts to establish everything.

 

When something is out of place questions start to fly.

 

Some of them more probing than others and some of them more judgemental than others.

 

But the fact of the matter is not everything is done the way it should be.

 

We have for the most part given WWII veterans a pass when we see uniforms with ribbon bars upside down or collar brass out of place etc.

 

I'm not qualified to say if this situation falls into that category or not but the future seems to have more of this type of question for collectors than ever before.

 

If that jacket showed up on the market with the RANGER jump wing I wouldn't know what to make of it.

 

My first impression is that badge is a souvenir sold at the flea market by surplus dealers.

 

Am I wrong ?

 

If I saw this for sale I would see if there is a name in it , ad up the parts ( that are real ) and ask for a price.

 

If it is named and the price is right I would buy it.

 

If the seller started to tell me the story the fact that the Ranger wing is wrong would cast a doubt but I would record it.

 

I would try to verify it but by the looks of it that might be hard.

 

We are collectors who question.

 

It's part of the hobby to call things into question.

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Dave,

 

I think you are misreading the article, and possibly may not be too familiar with the USMM. The 'discharge' is probably a discharge from a vessel, which was made on a Coast Guard form. Also, later on the article states that he was a mate, which means he was licensed by the USCG.

 

I see no reason to question the story or the man. As Bob Hudson said, let the apologies begin.

 

RC

 

As of the arrival of the SS ESSO BETHLEHEM in New York on September 10, 1949, he was still listed as an unlicensed AB. He was also listed with 3 years of sea time...going back to 1946.

 

I also have a hard time believing someone would mistake a Coast Guard form for a deck hand as a DD-214. Likewise, as of the end of the war, he claimed to have 17 months of sea time. According to the February 12, 1945 muster of the SS ESSO PHILADELPHIA, he signed on to the ship on October 31, 1944. That jives with his story...but not the DD-214 part. That means I have to question the author of the article, who claimed it was a Coast Guard DD-214. He is listed as a member of the crew of the SS ESSO ASHEVILLE on June 8, 1950, still an AB. He seems to disappear for a while, and then shows back up on the ESSO BERMUDA on May 4, 1953 as a Junior Third Mate. That would account for being in Korea...something I've already said earlier that I don't have an issue believing. One could safely assume that he served in the MM until 1991 (recalled out of retirement). I have no issue with that.

 

The problem I have is the awards he's wearing. I think the awards in the photo in his whites are correct (or at least plausible - and I've said that before) but I don't like the whole self-awarding of a bunch of other awards. That, to me, is extremely questionable, and those are what I'm asking for proof about.

 

Based on the MM documentation I've seen, I'm fine with his MM service (starting in 1944) and his Korean War service (whether or not he was airborne, I can't say, but the fact that he had a break in service long enough to Korea...I'm fine with that) but his postwar decorations are unfortunately more than questionable.

 

Dave

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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Now is USMF the right place to discuss this is an entire different story.

 

 

There is a fine line between saying “fraud or stolen valor” and facing “defamation of character” charges. Is this man truly a fraud? Is this truly “stolen valor”? We don’t have all of the facts. We don’t have his military records. The man in question has no way of knowing that people are calling his character into question.

 

The public forum is not the place to keep calling people's character into question. Whenever an argument is placed on the forum against what a member says, people always jump to say "take it offline to a PM". However, when discussing someone outside of the forum, they will flat out yell "stolen valor", "fraud", etc when the person has no way to defend themselves.

 

Everyone is free to decide what they want. In the scheme of things, does it really matter that much? For me, I have better things to do with my life than obsess over the military records of someone that I don’t know.

 

Just my humble opinion....Kat

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Situations like this have one important aspect to ad to the collecting hobby.

 

It shows how hard it can be to nail some things down and the limits of research even when faced with facts.

 

When we are confronted with a situation like this we have to look at it academically.

 

We can't rush to judgement or jump to conclusions because these are 2 exercises that have no profit.

 

We are also dealing with a real person with a family and friends who doesn't need to be needlessly hurt.

 

I think we have an inherent interest to correct what doesn't look right.

 

We do it with movies too.

 

But this isn't a movie.

 

Academically we need to examine the facts and make conclusions because that is what we do.

 

Making judgement calls on someone life is not what we do.

 

Separating the two is part of becoming an adult.

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"Everyone is free to decide what they want. In the scheme of things, does it really matter that much? For me, I have better things to do with my life than obsess over the military records of someone that I don't know.

 

Just my humble opinion....Kat"

 

Kat-

I understand your response, but wanted to comment about the end of your post. Does it matter? Just as it does in the case of Hillary Clinton's similar question, I have to say that it does to me. As a veteran, it galls me when someone claims to be something that he or she isn't, especially when that person is claiming personal valor. You'd be surprised how often I've heard some jerk claiming that he was Special Forces or a SEAL. They usually pile on the lies about how they killed a ton of the enemy and earned the Medal of Honor or some other valor decoration. In the case of the good Captain Arens, we have a crazy amount of anomalies in this guy's service record.

 

The comment about having better things to do than to obsess over the military records of someone that you don't know, I have to say that is what most of us in the militaria hobby do. In fact, we spent huge amounts of money to own items that once belonged to people that we didn't know. We spend hours and money researching these people, and then we spend time effort and money to display these items from people that we never met. Yeah, I obsess about it, and I can't understand why someone would claim to be something that they are not.

 

My dos centavos,

Allan

Never under-estimate the power of prayer.

 

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Kat no offense to you but did you serve in the military? I only ask because a lot of us that are on the forum did serve, I'm sure quite a few in combat.When Ex-military service members see people dressed like this I think we have the right to question their military service.If the reporter has his "214's" block out all sensitive information and post it here.For all we know those three years in the 50's he could have been a cook stationed state side.The 214 will show combat service and what awards he received.There are just way to many contradicting ribbons & badges.I would hold off on calling anybody a fraud until I see proof and have all the facts.

 

Just my humble opinion.

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ASMIC #1098

 





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For me, I have better things to do with my life than obsess over the military records of someone that I dont know.

Seems you've gotten into the wrong hobby. ;) Most of us do spend our lives obsessing about the military records of people long dead who we will never meet. That's what sets militaria collectors apart from baseball card and beanie baby collectors...we actually care about who the person was who earned the awards, wore the uniform, etc. If it wasn't for people like us who obsess about this stuff...most of it would be in a landfill by now...

 

As far as this guy is concerned, I'm happy with what I've been able to confirm about him and am not going to worry about his other awards...I simply have too many other military records of other people to spend time on (that's the basis for my book, after all...)

 

Until other evidence can be provided, I'm moving on.

 

Thanks to everyone who made this an interesting discussion!

 

Dave

Only a weak society needs government protection or intervention before it pursues its resolve to preserve the truth. Truth needs neither handcuffs nor a badge for its vindication. -Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Peace is not the absence of war, but the defense of hard-won freedom. -Anton LaGuardia


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I'm afraid you're wrong. Please see the below screen shot from the SECNAVINST 1650.1H. You can find the whole document at: http://www.marines.mil/Portals/59/Publications/SecNavInst%201650.1H.pdf

I stand corrected (at least in one direction)

So my question now is, if a CAR is earned as a Marine can that be "exchanged" for a CIB if the individual later serves in the Army?

I know of two cases where this request / inquiry was rejected.

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I believe my point was TOTALLY misunderstood.

 

The tone in this thread has gone from laughing at him, to calling him a liar, to trying to find out the facts, to just plain guessing at what is and is not true. My main point was that until we know ALL of the facts we are just guessing. If his service ends up being true, then many on here are basically guilty of “defamation of character” to someone who served our country.

 

If it was YOUR service being questioned on a public forum with you not being in the discussion to defend yourself, how would you react?

 

As to my point of “does it really matter that much”, I was speaking about this thread started on this forum. There are constantly posts of people asking if someone is a fraud. Is laughing at their expense going to stop others from posting pictures somewhere on the internet? No. Is belittling someone who doesn’t know you are even questioning his service, going to make a difference? No. If it ends up that his service is correct, will it stop others on here from still questioning? No. If it truly matters to you so much, don’t post responses on a public forum where it won’t make a bit of difference. Contact the man who wrote the article or better yet research to find out the truth. Then you have a leg to stand on. Right now, no one has proof of anything.

 

And as for “obsessing over someone that I don’t know”, I am fully aware of the enjoyment of researching an item such as a medal. I meant obsessing over someone who has an article posted on the internet. I wish people questioned more crazy things posted on the internet than just someone’s service. :)

 

And as for asking if I have served, why should that matter? Am I not entitled to an opinion because I did not serve? Isn’t that elitist thinking? Not that it matters but my family, including my father, has a LONG standing tradition of service dating back to the Revolution. I have relatives who lost their lives while serving our country. While I may not have served, I am darn well entitled to my opinion just as you are entitled to yours.

 

 

….Kat

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Kat.You MISUNDERSTOOD my question when I asked if you served.Read again why I asked.Yes you have are allowed to have an opinion.I am not going to argue with you on this forum.But others have also have a right to their opinions too.As far as the article is concerned the author is on this thread, go back and read again.

 

It's not guess that we are doing.Statements from the article do not jive with what he is wearing.Badges that he should not have, Navy parachutist badge for example.And ribbons that were issued long after his service, Outstanding Volunteer medal.

 

If my service was being questioned with out my knowledge it wouldn't bother me, because I wouldn't know if its being questioned.If I did come across it I would have PROOF of my service.

 

As for your families service, thank you.My families service also goes back to the Revolutionary War and before and I had one GGGGG-Grandfather that fought at Bunker Hill.

 

Please read the following posts, 29, 38 & 40. Please do YOUR research before you post.

 

PS, I am far from being an elitist, but I am proud of my service and get offended when people make crap up about serving.When I joined I didn't do it for discounts and free crap.I did because I wanted to serve and protect.It may sound corny but thats the facts jack.

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ASMIC #1098

 





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My name is Mary and I work for Don on a volunteer/parttime basis and I'm responsible for his spelling transgressions. I don't know a thing about the military medal placement or a lot of terminology. Mostly what I've learned is from working on the War Tales site for Don.

 

He does the interviews and I simply put them on his website. You can read about him here:

 

http://donmooreswartales.com/about-the-author/

 

First off, Don is not a "computer person". He would prefer his 1959 Underwood. It was I who brought the comments about Mr. Arens to his attention.

 

It was after the first negative comment on Don's site under Arens' page when I brought it to his attention. You've got to understand what a precarious situation we're in when we're dealing with our veterans. Since I've been working with Don, he's only pulled one story. There were red flags from the outset - yet I did learn a lesson - and that was one of the few times the man didn't have his DD-21.

 

I've taken the liberty to attach the docs below - we have other docs in Arens' file - I simply need time to scan them.

There is not much I like less and that is someone who embellishes their service history. Neither Don nor I have the time for that, and more importantly, our own credibility is at stake.

I wish you could meet and talk with Don. Rarely have I met someone who cared more about doing the right thing and treating people the right way. Take a look on his FaceBook page, which he sanctioned yet doesn't deal with, unless someone directly asks a question of him. It's merely a tool to direct traffic to his War Tales site.

 

I'm simply trying to clarify some of the points some of you have made against Mr. Arens, and even slamming Don's integrity. I'm sure I'll leave something out, and I won't be nearly as eloquent as some of you, I am not a writer.

 

Yes, a person is able to find certificates to suit any need on-line. If you knew Mr. Arens, you would know he wouldn't know how to turn on a computer much less know such a thing is possible.

 

Maybe I shouldn't post my thoughts on this, but it's something that's on my heart, and when I have a moment, as I stated earlier, I'll look in Mr. Arens' file for commendations. Don doesn't know how to scan and upload.

 

By the way, Don was commended in the Congressional Record for his series on Glenn Jenkins http://donmooreswartales.com/2013/02/25/glenn-jenkins-2/

 

Need a kidney? He'll write about it and possibly make a phone call. And in one instance - I know for a fact - bought needed meds for a young woman who couldn't afford them. She's now in a program that helps low-income people with meds.

 

And the stories go on and on.

 

Thank you for letting me put in my two cents.

 

Regards,

 

Mary Auen

Site admin for DonMooresWarTales.com

DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Historian

Cousin of Johnny Hughs who was held POW in Korea for 27 months

Great-granddaughter of a man who was captured by Union troops and died in New Orleans, and buried in a mass grave on what is now called Canal Street.

 

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p.s. I would have corrected errors in Don's post, it was emailed to me at a late hour, and I had to do a few corrections beforehand - he can't spell and spell check speaks another language for him. I couldn't figure out how to edit text on this forum and didn't have time to continue.

 

 

 

 

 

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In keeping with our site policy, I have edited the two attachments to redact personal numbers.

 

RC

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."

*Sherlock Holmes in "A Scandal in Bohemia"*

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The topic's title is "What do you think". I think this is an old gentleman who put together an odd mix of ribbons and badges that he wanted to represent his service. To those who know better, they don't add up and include things that are off the mark, souvenir badges, and commemorative ribbons that aren't worn on real uniforms. At the end of the day, the badges simply represent courses or participation and the ribbons show service. Evidence suggests he saw combat in Korea. None of the ribbons are for valor. He's not claiming to be a hero, just someone who served long and hard - and it seems he did. So what do I think? I think we should thank him for his service and forgive what seems to be a very minor transgression in wearing an odd mix that he believes represents that service.

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Mary I appreciate you taking the time to respond.I never thought Don was making any part of his story up.He was just doing a story.Thank you for providing the information you have.

 

When I first started this thread I did NOT say this man was a FRAUD.I saw the picture and thought the badges and ribbons didn't add up.After looking at the two DD-214's I'm still not a 100% sure.The one 214, on the right, shows his service in Korea.The other 214, on the left, shows no Korean War service or prior military service, section 12-D.His original 214 shows 2yrs, 0 months & 18days of service in the Army.I am assuming under his decorations the 'AOV' (Japan) is actually AO(Japan) Army of Occupation (Japan)?Maybe the 'V' was suppose to be a 'W', with Japan attachment?The one on the left is a new issued one, just like mine, DD-214 (01JUL79), so it should have had his prior service (Army & Navy) with his awards listed.

 

He did serve and I thank him and ALL that served.

 

But if we can not question uniforms or other oddities what is the purpose of this forum? I said question NOT accuse anybody of anything.

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As for the ribbons displayed, here is the row-by-row breakdown:

 

Row 1: Korean Service Medal with three bronze service stars; United Nations Service Medal (Korea); National Defense Service Medal

 

Row 2: Korean War Service Medal (Republic of Korea); Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters (should correctly display three gold stars); Korea Defense Service Medal

 

Row 3: Cold War Victory Medal (unofficial); Navy Expeditionary Medal; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation

 

Row 4: Army Overseas Service Ribbon; Unknown; Meritorious Service Medal

 

Row 5: Navy Arctic Service Ribbon, Antarctica Service Medal; Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal

 

Row 6: Southwest Asia Service Medal; Armed Forces Service Medal; Merchant Marine Expeditionary Award

 

Although Captain Arens is authorized both the Merchant Marine Atlantic War Zone Medal and Merchant Marine World War II Victory Medal, he is not wearing the ribbons for these awards. The correct ribbons for those awards are attached.

 

Shade Ruff

 

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...So what do I think? I think we should thank him for his service and forgive what seems to be a very minor transgression in wearing an odd mix that he believes represents that service.

 

12A54,

 

While I support your premise, I think the most appropriate step would be to document his earned awards and build him a ribbon rack that reflects his legitimate service to our nation - something which we all respect. Although his total ribbon count may fall, the ribbons that remain would reflect a uniquely genuine life story.

 

Shade Ruff

 

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