It all started when a highly decorated military officer was photographed at Annise Parker's mayoral victory party at the George R. Brown Convention Center in December.
After all, it's not every day you see a military serviceman with a chest full of so much hardware that Mr. T would be jealous. And certainly rarer for someone so decorated to be so young. And one sporting facial hair while decked out in his dress uniform? While it might not seem unusual to the untrained civilian eye, military brass would know that's seen as dishonoring the uniform.
The mystery soldier caught the eye of a local blogger who writes under the name CDR Salamander. He examined the photographs to reveal that the man was wearing a CIA patch, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, two Silver Stars, a Flying Cross, an Air Medal, two Distinguished Service Crosses, a Commander of the British Empire medal around his neck and multiple additional awards.
His verdict? This guy might as well have added a crown and said he was the King of Siam.
To quote one blogger, "This guy is such a fraud, it is not even funny. Let me start with that he portrays himself as a one-star general. Since he has an unauthorized soul-patch goatee, one could only assume he is retired... As an infantryman the first thing I noticed after his goatee was that he has a CIB with two stars on it. The CIB, or Combat Infantryman Badge, is a coveted badge awarded only to those in the Infantry for performing the job of an infantryman in combat. The CIB is awarded based on periods. The period that covered Vietnam went all the way through Somalia in 1993. The next period was from 2001 through present. For this asshat to have a CIB with two stars means he had to have served in the war in Korea in the 1950s."
Unfortunately for this fake, wearing military awards you didn't earn isn't just douchey: It's a federal crime. Starting a "Who is this man?" campaign, CDR Salamander encouraged military bloggers and Houstonians to spread the word about the stolen valor and ID the impostor. It attracted enough attention that the FBI took notice and arrested the alleged perpetrator, Michael Patrick McManus, on Friday. He could reportedly be charged under the Stolen Valor Act, sentenced to up to three years in prison and fined up to $120,000.