This Pecker-Checker Had Balls
The sheer chutzpah of this Corpsman amazes me -- as does the fact that he got as far with it as he did. Excerpts from the Navy Times story:
Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (FMF) Dontae Lee Tazewell, 28, faces seven specifications of forgery and 11 specifications of wearing unauthorized ribbons and medals. Besides the Bronze Star, the unearned awards include a Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation Medal and various other medals, according to the charging documents. Tazewell allegedly told people he risked his life to save Marines in combat in Iraq five years ago, and managed to get himself promoted to E-5 based on the phony citations, prosecutors said.You see lots of stories of people trying to make up awards after they're out (or if they never were even in) but this is the first case I've heard of someone making up awards to try to avoid HYT (High Year Tenure).
According to his official Navy biography, Tazewell, who joined the Navy in June 1998, rates only a Good Conduct Medal...
...“The overall format is incorrect with regard to fonts and the like,” she said, adding that the paperwork was endorsed by a fictitious three-star general. Reading one document allegedly crafted by Tazewell, Burks said, “Lt. Gen. Harland does not exist.”
Navy prosecutor Lt. Matthew Wooten said Tazewell failed his March 2006 advancement exam and was facing separation because he hadn’t made E-5. In response, Wooten said Tazewell “conned the Navy” with “phony” citations that somehow passed through the chain of command.
The citations were so successful that Tazewell was treated to an award ceremony attended by more than 100 people in which a Navy captain lauded Tazewell by telling the audience “This is what a hero looks like.” Several military publications also wrote articles about Tazewell. Based on the awards, the Navy reviewed Tazewell’s record and advanced him to E-5.
A much more humorous, and less disgusting, case involved an E-2 my last EDMC told me about who he saw walking around on base in Groton with five rows of ribbons, headed by a Distinguished Service Medal. When my Master Chief stopped him and asked him about his "fruit salad", the Sailor cheerfully explained how he went to the Uniform Shop and picked out a pretty assortment of ribbons that he thought looked good together -- apparently no one had told him in boot camp that you actually had to earn the things.