One time back in the late 90's, I was having a conversation with someone, somewhere, and the topic of military service came up. I said I was a veteran, and so did he, proudly claiming that he served in the 82nd Airborne Division. When I asked him what his MOS was and what battalion he was in, he got a semi-glazed look in his eyes and repeated that he was in the 82nd Airborne Division. That's when the conversation took another direction; I should have kicked his ass, but then felt kind of sorry for him. As I served during the relatively uneventful mid to late 80's and never saw actual combat (although I saw it in many other forms, lol), I didn't feel a blood-brother rule was violated, so, whatever, dude.
However, service members who have actually been in combat, quite often across multiple tours, rightfully aren't nearly as lenient as me. I recently watched a slew of YouTube videos where fake veterans were being busted out by actual veterans, usually over egregious violations of Army Regulation 670-1 and/or the equivalents of the regulations of the other services, which governs the wear and appearance of uniforms, medals, etc. To the layperson, it's an undecipherable mix of metal badges, braided cords, and colored ribbons, but to the service member, any, and I mean ANY discrepancies and/or incongruities are immediately noticed. In addition to rank, a service member can tell from another at a glance where someone has been, what they have done, and whether they have been deep in the shit or not. Back in 1996, Admiral Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, a four-star admiral and the Chief of Naval Operations (Read: Commander of the Navy), committed suicide because of the controversy regarding his wearing of combat decorations that he apparently didn't earn.
The people who do this range from being infuriating to hilarious, with hilarity usually being the victor. One asshole who looked like approx. 300 lbs. of chewed gum announced in a shopping mall that he was a Tier One Delta Force Operator. Really? Are Delta Force Operators at least 150 lbs. overweight and announce who they are in shopping malls? Another one evidently took his military fashion cues from Hermann Goering, or more accurately, Curly from the Three Stooges, who in turn parodied Goering, except that at least this asshole didn't have rows of ribbons and medals on his back as well as his front. Another one told me that he took Basic Training in Nicaragua (Nicaragua?) and wound up with the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan before being demoted and sent back home. Huh?
Poseurs wearing uniforms and decorations are one thing, but poseurs who fake veteran status to benefit from it somehow are another matter, like would-be politicians or other power-seekers. What many, if not most of those types don't realize is that besides the acid test of an actual veteran's visual and verbal scrutiny, it is fairly easy to find out, thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. For example, if someone wanted to find out about my veteran status, all they need to do is to fill out the proper request forms, and several weeks (or months) later, they'll have anything that is not restricted, which, in my case, isn't much, as I wasn't a Tier One Delta Force Operator, lol.
I'm not sure if this is a crime or not, but it should be. I'd make allowances for things like Halloween costumes or even protests, common sense rules, but for someone to so completely and egregiously take credit for something that others have literally bled and died for is way beyond anything remotely resembling honor and decency. Much like many other assholes, if there is truly a Hell, then they have a very special place there.