The Shane Ladner discussion goes on in the pages of the Atlanta Journal Constitution where reporter Bill Torpy sat down with the Ladners and their lawyer the other day. Shane & Co. are still clinging to the lie that he was awarded a Purple Heart for some secret squirrel operation in Central America;
Now, he and his lawyers say that was all a cover story. They say he actually was wounded by shrapnel during a classified drug interdiction action in Honduras in 1991.
Ladner entered the Army in 1990 and by December, records provided by his lawyers show, was in Honduras. Three months later, those records show, he was granted “top secret” classification. Another document with his name, a “classified information nondisclosure agreement,” says he can be charged criminally if he discloses such information.
“We cannot go into detail where he was or what happened when he was wounded; he cannot discuss this publicly,” said Cook. The lawyer then paused to anticipate the disbelief generated by the “can’t-tell-you” story. “Why is a kid fresh out of boot camp given top secret clearance? Because they are exposed to things not to be discussed in public. That’s the oath he took. He can’t even discuss these things with me.”
Ladner said the medal was lost when he sent it home from Central America. His lawyers also say they cannot find the citation that says he got one.
So the medal and all of the documentation has disappeared, but somehow it shows up on his DD214? It reminds me of the mysterious Bronze Star that magically appeared on Paul Rieckhoff’s DD214 which also didn’t have any supporting documents, but somehow the clerk knew to type it into his DD214, I guess using a Vulcan mind meld with the subject. The thing is that the NPRC can’t find the DD214 that Ladner is flashing around, but the VA has a copy;
We don’t sleep, we can’t eat, this just hangs over us,” said Ladner.
Ladner’s lawyers say they are still pushing to get records and have received many from both the Department of Defense and the Veterans Health Administration. The V.A. records included a copy of the newest DD214 denoting a Purple Heart but the DOD has not released that copy.
Well, yeah, the VA has a copy because Ladner gave it to them. When I filed my claim with the VA I had to give them both of my DD214s because they didn’t have one.
I spent some time with Torpy on the phone the other night and told him what you guys told me;
The report of possible fraud and later arrest has stoked widespread anger among many vets. An Internet site called “This Ain’t Hell” looks to “out” vets claiming medals they didn’t earn. Jonn Lilyea, who said he served in the Gulf War and who runs the site, said it’s implausible that a green soldier like Ladner would have been sent overseas for a covert operation. He said the anger will subside if “he and his lawyers come clean. But if they keep clinging to his story where will be no sympathy.”