I swear, Katie Burford is like lightening. She sent us a link to her retraction of the Timmy Oliver fantasy at the Durango Herald, you should read the whole thing…and to her credit, Katie asked me for my DD214 and I sent her a copy. Baby steps….
EDITOR NOTE: The article has for some reason disappeared, so I got the text from a cache copy and put it below the link;
A story that appeared on Page 4A of the Herald on Sunday contained a detailed account by Timothy Oliver of his time serving in Afghanistan. Since the story ran, numerous questions have been raised about accuracy of this account.
Specifically, knowledgeable readers found reason to doubt his service in the Army’s elite Delta Force.
Oliver, when reached by phone, said he could not provide any documentation to support his account or show that he had served in the military.
“You can run a retraction with my apologies if somebody was offended,” he said.
He maintained that he had served but said any evidence of it would be classified.
“I was trying to help people out, but I can’t prove this one,” he said.
Jonn Lilyea, a retired infantry platoon sergeant, spends much of his time looking for people who provide inaccurate accounts of their military service and exposing them on his blog http://thisainthell.us/blog.
Lilyea was among more than a dozen people, many retired military, who emailed the Herald raising concerns about Oliver’s account.
Lilyea said he dedicated himself to ferreting out fakes because they are more common than many people would believe.
“With the Stolen Valor Act struck down by the Supreme Court, that leaves private citizens to protect the honor of soldiers,” he wrote in an email. “I like to think of This Ain’t Hell as the stocks and dunking chairs of the veteran internet community where we can expose the frauds and folks can come by and throw metaphorical rotten tomatoes at them.”
The Stolen Valor Act, introduced by former Colorado congressman John Salazar, made it illegal to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor and other prestigious military recognitions.
The law was struck down recently by the U.S. Supreme Court, which pointed to the First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Oliver did not claim to be the recipient of a medal.
Lilyea said the media should do a better job of policing accounts of military service. This includes asking vets to show their bona fides, such as a DD Form 214, which details service history and is issued to every member upon discharge.
Oliver, when asked for a copy of his DD Form 214, said he did not have one.
Lilyea said there is nothing offensive about asking for proof.
“I don’t mind showing my discharge – I’m proud of my service – and I’m sure most real veterans don’t mind. Only the phonies would object,” he said.
When asked to provide a copy to the Herald, he quickly sent the one-page document by email.