Stolen Valor making the news everywhere
For the past week I have been sharing emails with Jaie Avila of WOAI TV in San Antonio about Stolen Valor folks in his area. And last night he broadcast the first half of his two part series. Here's a taste of one of the guys that we were discussing:
The Fake Warrior project [and a few others of us] worked with us on the case of this former marine from Pearsall, Albert Bustamante.
Pictures show him wearing the bronze star ribbon along with other insignias and badges from the Vietnam War. The problem is, Bustamante's military record shows him not joining the marines until 1976, after the Vietnam War ended. It doesn't list the medals and citations seen in the pictures.
We tracked down Bustamante at his home in Pearsall, where even his pickup truck is adorned with a Vietnam ribbon.
Bustamante admits the ribbons he's wearing in the pictures aren't his. He claims he borrowed them from a friend.
“Because of those pictures I caught a bunch of flak from all the guys that actually been there. I respect that they were there you know, I was a veteran too,” Bustamante said. “I understand how they're offended and they're upset you know.”
Bustamante admits he never fought in Vietnam, but he still insists he was awarded a bronze star, for rescuing a fellow marine in the Philippines. He claims they both shipped over on the USS Missouri. We checked and the Missouri wasn't being used by the navy at the time. It was actually a floating museum.
Bustamente originally claimed that his service on the Missouri was in rescuing Vietnamese people from Saigon. As I noted to Jaie when this first came up, his next claim will be that it was off the books.
Well, then we were sent video from Randy Travis of Fox 5 in Atlanta. I was less than shocked when this guys story fell through and his defense was......a secret mission that was off the books.