Stolen Valor "Ranger" meets actual Ranger. Does not fare well

There are far too many of these stories each year and they really cause me to grind my teeth. People going around claiming the status of heroes, wearing the uniforms and badges of honor granted only to those who served our nation with distinction, while having either never served or not having been awarded those honors are among the lowest types of cretins. Sadly, if we tried to cover them all here, Hot Air would have no space for any other subjects. But this one was so jarring and seems to be heading for such a satisfying result that it merits a mention.


A man wearing a US Army Ranger uniform with an impressive set of badges was spotted at a Pennsylvania shopping mall by an actual US Ranger. A number of things about the guy’s outfit didn’t look right and he was confronted in a very public way. We’ll have the video of the confrontation below, and the exchange is enough to bring a smile to your face.

Ryan Berk, an Army Ranger and Purple Heart recipient, spotted a man, Sean Yetman, wearing an Army Ranger uniform.

Berk first asks Yetman what unit he’s in.

“Where’s your combat patch at?” Berk then asks.

“I gave it to a little kid,” Yetman answers.

“Why is your flag so low on your shoulder? It should be up here,” Berk says.

“You got me on that one, bud,” Yetman responds.

“Where’d you get your three CIBs at?” Berk asks.

“Afghanistan,” Yetman says.

“All three?” Berk presses.

“All three,” Yetman affirms.

“You know you need to be in three different campaigns to get three CIBs (combat infantryman badge), right?” Berk fires back.

“Let me tell you something: If I was a phony, then I wouldn’t be wearing this uniform,” Yetman says.

“You wouldn’t? … Because you are a phony. I just called you out on about 10 different things,” Berk says.

Further research showed the Yetman never served at all. Further he had previously been convicted of impersonating a public servant. Clearly some people never learn. There are plenty of dirtbags out there who have donned a basic military uniform to play dress up or try to impress people, but to try to pull off a Ranger uniform with multiple CIBs takes a special brand of gall. This should rightly anger every soldier, veteran and, well.. pretty much everyone. But what can be done?


Yetman has gotten himself in some trouble here by drawing this much attention to himself. Many of you probably recall the Supreme Court throwing out one Stolen Valor law a few years ago, but that was only for people making claims of having served. This jerk took it several steps too far. He seems to be clearly in violation of Title 18 section 702.

Whoever, in any place within the jurisdiction of the United States or in the Canal Zone, without authority, wears the uniform or a distinctive part thereof or anything similar to a distinctive part of the uniform of any of the armed forces of the United States, Public Health Service or any auxiliary of such, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

And just by obtaining the uniform in the first place he is likely in violation of Title 18 section 704 sub-section (a).

Whoever knowingly purchases, attempts to purchase, solicits for purchase, mails, ships, imports, exports, produces blank certificates of receipt for, manufactures, sells, attempts to sell, advertises for sale, trades, barters, or exchanges for anything of value any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.


And why was Yetman wearing his phony baloney Ranger uniform and honors in a mall? Just to look impressive while picking up a few holiday gifts? Or was there perhaps some sort of sale or special going on which was only available to uniformed service members? If it was the latter, he may have run afoul of sub-section (b) too.

Whoever, with intent to obtain money, property, or other tangible benefit, fraudulently holds oneself out to be a recipient of a decoration or medal described in subsection (c)(2) or (d) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

The phrase “money, property or other tangible benefit” could include anything as minor as a free cheeseburger from Ruby Tuesdays intended for our soldiers. And while it may sound petty and vindictive, all it would take is a judge and / or prosecutor who is a veteran or is particularly sympathetic to them and they could just throw the book at him for a couple of years in the slammer. (And yes, you may call me petty and vindictive in this case.)

Here’s the video for some pre-Christmas goodness.

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