INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A confrontation between a local veteran and a man he says was posing as a Marine has gone viral.
The incident happened outside the graduation ceremony for Noblesville High School Tuesday. Since then, the video of the confrontation has gotten more than 100,000 views online.
Marine Brandyn Skaggs, who was attending the ceremony for his younger brother, said his plan was to expose the man in uniform as a fraud in front of the man’s family, then leave it alone.
But Skaggs’ father recorded it all. And little did he realize that his fight to keep someone from stealing valor was a battle going on across the country every day.
In the video, you can hear Skaggs ask the man where he was stationed. The man answers Camp Pendleton. Skaggs follows that up by asking what unit the man served with. The man then replied, “none of your business.”
“I started to call him out and, obviously, at that point, he is a fake,” said Skaggs.
From the uniform to the medals, Skaggs, who spent four years in the U.S. Marines, said he had all the evidence he needed.
“He has the NCO trousers when he’s wearing a non-NCO jacket. (His medals) are supposed to be on the same side, they’re supposed to be in order, they’re supposed to be aligned,” said Skaggs as he pointed out how the medals weren’t in the right place.
“It bothers me and it bothers all vets really. I was just really happy to go actually say something to him,” he said.
But his family took it a step further. They posted the video on Facebook and it landed in the hands of GuardianOfValor.com, a website with a mission to expose military impostors. It also tries to expose veterans who embellish their service time or medals received.
“So for someone to pretend, like this guy did, to be something he’s not to have sacrificed blood sweat and tears to earn that uniform, it slaps these guys in the face,” said Anthony Anderson, an active member of the Army who also runs the website.
Anderson said with the help of contacts he’s made over the years his group can identify fakes through every arm of the military.
“That’s one reason our organization is here. We are not only here to out these people but to educate the public on what right looks like,” he said.
That’s exactly what Skaggs wanted with his encounter, but he also hopes it shows impostors that veterans and current service members are always watching.
“You’re going to get called out on it. You’re not going to get away with it,” he warned.
Skaggs believes the man in the video was pretending to be a Marine in order to impress his girlfriend.
He said after the confrontation, the man was nowhere to be found and Skaggs said the family thanked him for his service.
Anderson said the website currently has more than 5,000 messages and videos waiting to be analyzed. He said their Facebook page has another 3,000.