The National Coalition of Human Rights Activists (NCHRA) has received dozens of emails (NCHRA@hotmail.com) expressing anger and outrage over "stolen valor," and request the passage of the proposed "Stolen Valor Act of 2005" sponsored by Rep. John Salazar (D-Colorado). The proposed Act will make it a crime for any American citizen to falsely claim military awards and medals they have not earned nor been awarded. If found guilty, a person faces a fine and imprisonment for a violation of the act.
"My Purple Heart cost me two years of pain and struggle to regain the use of my right leg," wrote Pfc Timothy Wheeler of Toledo, Ohio. "It angers me to read of men who claim Purple Hearts when they have never been in battle and have never faced the fear of dying in combat."
Private First Class Wheeler was wounded by rifle fire in the first few days of the American invasion of Iraq. He was evaced to Ramstein Air Force Base and then sent home to Fredericksburg Virginia where he began physical rehabilitation to regain the use of his leg.
"It's personal, you know? I am insulted personally when someone claims a Purple Heart back home sitting in his arm chair watching TV when I almost died for mine."
Pfc Wheeler's email is typical of those so far received by the NCHRA. When a road mine detonated under his fuel carrier near Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base, Kuwait, Junior Lieutenant Jason E. [name withheld by his request] found himself in a field hospital awaiting evacuation to Germany.
"It was like getting kicked in the head by a mule, and then the lights went out. The next thing I knew the lights came back on and I was on the ground coughing up blood and trying to breathe." In a follow-up email Jr. Lt. Jason E. said "The fear didn't come until I was safe in bed in a German hospital. People smile when I tell them that. I guess they think I'm joking, but it's true. I earned my Purple Heart the hard way. That Hubbard [censored] should be shipped to Iraq for a summer and earn his the way I did."
The Jr. Lt. was referring to L. Ron Hubbard, the person who wrote the best seller "Dianetics" and later created Scientology and NarConon as for-profit businesses. In 1954 Hubbard started calling the Scientology self-help business a "religion" for tax-exemption status. The United States Internal Revenue Service and the United States Supreme Court consistently denied the religious status of Scientology for nearly three decades, finding Scientology to be a profit-making business. L. Ron Hubbard fraudulently claimed at various times to have been awarded from 21 to 27 military awards and medals, including two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star. The Scientology business repeats those lies in its literature and on its Internet web sites. L. Ron Hubbard never saw combat and was relieved of duty three times for incompetence.
The National Coalition of Human Rights Activists invite veterans to write and share their opinions on the proposed Stolen Valor Act. NCHRA@hotmail.com