Australia's increasing obsession with 'Stolen Valour' - as the USA see it

#1
There's a website downunder called ANZMI (Australia and New Zealand Military Imposters). You may very well be familiar with it.
It's purports to be a quasi-official 'name and shame' service that claims to be doing the job that the Dept of Defence isn't doing, or not nearly good enough.
The site claims to be maintained by Australian Defence Force Veterans, who share the interest of protecting the integrity of true ADF Veterans by investigating potential fraudulent Vets, whether by claiming service that is false (Walter Mitty types); those who wear medals and/or awards not earned; and claiming pensions/ allowances they're not entitled to.

Their Mission Statesment clearly describes the stringent level of investigation any individual in question is put through before they are satisfied that they have all the correct information and can be 'named and shamed'. They don't disclose their techniques, tactics and procedures*', they use in this process, nor are the names or any identifiable characteristics of the site's investigators made public (they use the term Protected Identity Status*, for - as they put it - to protect them from the sort of individuals who can 'get pretty upset and ugly when they retalise the gig is up'..

*interestingly the term 'Techniques, Tactics and Procedures' (T
&
Protected Identity Status (PID)

Nobody can doubt the intrinsically wrong morality that's associated with deliberately lying about one's service history for financial gains or to attempt to bolster a persons character for social and professional gains. Ripping off the DVA for a pension is Fraud, and like Tax Fraud or Medicare Fraud, there are dedicated public servants there to seek out those who perpetuate these crimes - and for the average citizen who has information that they feel implicates an individual, there are 24/7 fraud tip-off phone lines.

This will mean that trained professionals will examine ALL cases, with the entire body of public records at there disposal, leaving no doubt as to the guilt of those who face the courts for punishment.

ANZMI have combined those alleged to have committed criminal cases of fraud, with individuals who for myriad of reasons have exaggerated military service - like instead of acknowledging the pride they should feel after serving their minimum four-year enlistment period as a rifleman in one of the Battalions of the Royal Australian Regiment - a feat that very few men can claim to have proven the resolve and strength of character to earned the right to wear a Skippy Badge and work with without doubt some of the world's most professional, industrious and tough Infantrymen - there are still some who adopt the 'Walter Mitty' syndrome and lay claim to passing Selection to one of our SOCOMD Units, and even perhaps serving overseas with an elite unit.

(Why instead of five years service in a reservist Armoured unit, it always has to be a Trooper in the SASR, or a SGT in 2 CDO with Sniper Quals and six tours under their belt before PTSD finally got its claws into them and their career..??)

The British Army - and by nature the 'Squaddy integrity' - see little wrong with the average grunt, all kitted out on Remembrance Day, to a captive audience of naive blonds with a skinfull at some Aldershot pub, telling ridiculously tall stories about how they..

'provided sniper-over watch to an eight man SBS Recon Team who were in mortal danger from the Iraqi Mechanised Brigade in hot pursuit. But all they expected was a beer back in Poole, as it's only a job, innit..'

In other words, if a tall-tail gets you laid, what's the harm? Just don't wear gongs you've not earned, or pensions you don't deserve.

This link to an unofficial British Army Website sums up the general rules of what's acceptable and what's very much not..

Waltenkommando


I fear we're leaning too far towards the US Military's Stolen Valour bollocks. Soon we'll be awarding Purple Hearts, which in my mind, as a former grunt, rewards those for being shite by not seeing a gunfight through to the end, without waisting your SGT's time sending zero-alpha a Nine-Liner during a decent contact.


'nuff said..
 
#2
I fear we're leaning too far towards the US Military's Stolen Valour bollocks. Soon we'll be awarding Purple Hearts, which in my mind, as a former grunt, rewards those for being shite by not seeing a gunfight through to the end, without waisting your SGT's time sending zero-alpha a Nine-Liner during a decent contact.
Why remember ANZAC day since it honors those who were shite enough to get killed by Turkish bullets and bayonets then? Work shy ******* who got out of serving till the Armistice...
 
#3
I agree completely. Australia should celebrate its military triumphs, like Tobrook and Long Tan, not an embarrassing combination of poorly disciplined soldiers, incompetent Officers and a humiliating defeat.
 
#4
I agree completely. Australia should celebrate its military triumphs, like Tobrook and Long Tan, not an embarrassing combination of poorly disciplined soldiers, incompetent Officers and a humiliating defeat.
Well that's hardly going to need a whole day, is it?

Maybe you could downsize it to ANZAC hour?
 
#6
Why you interest in ANZMI? Have the exposed you as a wannabe?

I used to be an avid reader of the ANZMI Website. They exposed some very dangerous fruit-loops, like the chap who decided to take a group of unofficial cadets to East Timor during the troubles in 1999, and then sexually abuse the girls.

However most of the exposees these days are former soldiers who decide to add a State award (ie from Victoria, NSW, WA governments) to their rack or - even worse - some old codger putting up a commemorative bling. Hardly Stolen Valour; hardly crimes against Humanity.

But I do agree with the grief-fest that ANZAC day has become. I've attended three services on ANZAC Cove in Turkey and each becomes more grief-laden than its predecessors. But it is the national day of mourning and has largely displaced Remembrance Day, but fulfills the same function.
 
#7
From the point of view of an Australian who moved away 15 years ago - the Australia military seems to be aligning culturally itself with the US more and more.

I‘m starting to regularly see friends and acquaintances on Faceache getting the big „Thankyou for your service“ from random strangers.

I‘ve always seen the whole Stolen Valour thing as a more US mindset.

Maybe it‘s a result of working more and more alongside US forces in Afghan, and training areas at home.

In my time (80e abd 90s) I think we considered ourselves more aligned to the UK way of operating.
 

greyfergie

MIA
Book Reviewer
#8
From the point of view of an Australian who moved away 15 years ago - the Australia military seems to be aligning culturally itself with the US more and more.

I‘m starting to regularly see friends and acquaintances on Faceache getting the big „Thankyou for your service“ from random strangers.

I‘ve always seen the whole Stolen Valour thing as a more US mindset.

Maybe it‘s a result of working more and more alongside US forces in Afghan, and training areas at home.

In my time (80e abd 90s) I think we considered ourselves more aligned to the UK way of operating.
Quite sensible too
 
#9
I agree completely. Australia should celebrate its military triumphs, like Tobrook and Long Tan, not an embarrassing combination of poorly disciplined soldiers, incompetent Officers and a humiliating defeat.
I wouldn't call it a complete disaster. ;)
 
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#10
From the point of view of an Australian who moved away 15 years ago - the Australia military seems to be aligning culturally itself with the US more and more.

I‘m starting to regularly see friends and acquaintances on Faceache getting the big „Thankyou for your service“ from random strangers.

I‘ve always seen the whole Stolen Valour thing as a more US mindset.

Maybe it‘s a result of working more and more alongside US forces in Afghan, and training areas at home.

In my time (80e abd 90s) I think we considered ourselves more aligned to the UK way of operating.
Plastic Yankery seems to be running riot in Australia generally. Next thing you know 'diggers' will be calling themselves 'grunts'...

As for unearned 'bling', successive Australian govts & military leaders (like their US counterparts) seem to be very keen on increasing the range of medals & badges to recognise things of decreasing significance. It seems to me that a good place to start dealing with the 'stolen valour' issue is scrapping the trivial gongs & jewellery - stop patronising service personnel by trying to mollify them with shiny things instead of actually dealing with problems such as low morale, substandard pay & conditions, etc.
 
#11
Plastic Yankery seems to be running riot in Australia generally. Next thing you know 'diggers' will be calling themselves 'grunts'...

snip...

substandard pay & conditions, etc.
Infantry, at least, have called themselves grunts since the 70's, as far as I know.

And from what I hear from mates who are still in, I'm not too sure about your claim of substandard pay either - it seems that a tour or two can add up to quote a tasty little packet.
 
#12
I think that there are a number of reasons that Stolen Valour is perhaps a big thing in US and Oz.
Both countries, have until very recently, not suffered from in-country terrorist attacks, and as a consequence the military has been very much part of the community.
Open access to barracks and military wandering around in uniform has meant that the military have been part of the community.
Ex US/Oz military have always benefited from service to their country. Be it GI Education, Health Care etc.
In the last 15 years, there has been a massive moment to respect the military, remember the "Heroes Highway" in Canada, the road from Sydney to Canberra is know as the "Remembrance Highway", and each rest-spot is dedicated to a VC winner.
As a consequence of the population mindset, their military can do NO WRONG, and so sadly people are "walting it" to get a piece of the action. It happens all the time, look at the people who claimed to be in NY on 9/11.

Here in the UK, the political class did nothing to honour our military until they "jumped" on the Wotton Basset bandwagon. Before that, I don't think a single senior politician met any RAF return flights.
 
#13
Plastic Yankery seems to be running riot in Australia generally. Next thing you know 'diggers' will be calling themselves 'grunts'...

As for unearned 'bling', successive Australian govts & military leaders (like their US counterparts) seem to be very keen on increasing the range of medals & badges to recognise things of decreasing significance. It seems to me that a good place to start dealing with the 'stolen valour' issue is scrapping the trivial gongs & jewellery - stop patronising service personnel by trying to mollify them with shiny things instead of actually dealing with problems such as low morale, substandard pay & conditions, etc.
Wise words.

Oz governments, of all stripes, have bowed to vested interests over the recent years on the subject of retrospective awards.

The action at Long Tan (accounts of which are widely available on the webs) is a case in point. As a part of the wash-up for that one, several 'Imperial' awards were made, including 2 x DSOs, an MC, 2 good DCMs, 2 x MMs and a slack handful of MiDs.

Rattle on a few years and, under the Oz Own honours system and we have a plethora of retrospective awards with (seemingly) every man and his stinking dog being recognised.

One such non sequitur is the case of D Coy 6RAR. The Coy has been retrospectively awarded the S Vietnam Cross of Gallantry. The evidence for this was cited as a contemporary conversation between an Australian officer and a junior SVN Army officer, who said the he would cite the unit for the subject award.

It didn't happen.

No matter. Everyone deserves medals. Right?

Thus we now have the anomaly of a medal from a defunct national entity being retrospectively awarded by a national government that has/had no right to award the bloody thing in the first place.

Stolen valour? I would urge Oz 'veterans' to wind their necks in.
 
#14
............
Ex US/Oz military have always benefited from service to their country. Be it GI Education, Health Care etc.
In the last 15 years, there has been a massive moment to respect the military, remember the "Heroes Highway" in Canada, the road from Sydney to Canberra is know as the "Remembrance Highway", and each rest-spot is dedicated to a VC winner...................
.................Here in the UK, the political class did nothing to honour our military until they "jumped" on the Wotton Basset bandwagon. Before that, I don't think a single senior politician met any RAF return flights.
As opposed to the UK where, in the 70 and 80 I had been refused credit, refused car hire, refused insurance and barred from pubs because I was in the Army.

In the UK soldiers are a utility to be used when needed and then discarded unless there are votes for politicians involved.
 
#15
As opposed to the UK where, in the 70 and 80 I had been refused credit, refused car hire, refused insurance and barred from pubs because I was in the Army.

In the UK soldiers are a utility to be used when needed and then discarded unless there are votes for politicians involved.
Hmm. Reminded me of something I read a while ago ... plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!​

Bloody snowflakes ... :-D
 
#17
No, I have a straight forward service history in the Aus Army as an Infantry Soldier, followed by a commission in one of the Southern RAR Batallions before resigning my commission once I realised being an Officer is enormously gay.

My interest in ANZMI stems from my utter disgust at their complete lack of attention to the facts and the credibility of the sources, which they claim give a high value of credibility to the facts which they claim support the guilty individuals that are named and shamed.
I know their investigators are more
of a charlitan to the profession of investigative journalism, than any of their fraudulent ex-servicemen. I know this because I have ten years experience as a news journalist under my belt, and I have looked into a
Number of spurious cases,
Including those of two close mates of mine, who I served alongside, and can vouch for every claim that ANZMI disputes, simply because neither of them chose to dignify the demands of these bitter and vitriolic individuals, and therefore are by default hiding a fraudulent past.

Both veterans have sought legal representation to sue the investigator in question for Malicious Defamation,as well as reckless breach of their privacy.

Sure, the Website has a fair share of lunatics, but who have these guys the vested interest in identifying ex-serviceman fraud, when there are official chanels available to report fraud.

Australia should really adopt the British attitude to 'stolen valour, by treating the more fabulous delusional individuals as
a source of amusement, and only take seriously the people who falsify service records in order to abuse the system - Ie. make claims for undeserved pensions or for personal gain.

The Waltenkommando forum dedicated to the Walter Mitty types on the British Army's unofficial website - ARRSE, is a great example of how we should treat this issue, by using the dry, sardonic wit the Brits are famous for..
 
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Joshua Slocum

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
has it anything to do with the recently finished Australian War memorial, they seem to be having a grief fest every day if the pictures are anything to go by
 
#19
.... a good place to start dealing with the 'stolen valour' issue is scrapping the trivial gongs & jewellery - stop patronising service personnel by trying to mollify them with shiny things instead of actually dealing with problems such as low morale, substandard pay & conditions, etc.
Time to torch the Bayeux Tapestry?
 
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#20
You must acknowledge however, that Australian Soldiers have been awarded three time as many Victoria Crosses since WW2 than the Brits have managed..
 

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