Skip to comments.Martinez native accused of dressing up as hero (Fake Marine w/ Fake Navy Cross )
Posted on 11/12/2009 1:18:32 PM PST by csvset
MARTINEZ -- A Martinez high school graduate will appear in federal court today on charges that he masqueraded as a decorated military veteran after being photographed wearing a host of fake medals, including the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart, authorities said. Steven Douglas Burton, 39, of Palm Springs was charged last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles with unauthorized wearing of military medals or decorations, a misdemeanor. Burton has never served in the military, authorities say. They say he works at a bank in Palm Springs. He is expected to enter a not-guilty plea today in a Riverside courtroom. An attorney for Burton was not immediately available for comment. Burton was caught with the help of Colleen Salonga, a fellow former classmate at Alhambra High School in Martinez who is an actual Navy commander, authorities said. Salonga saw Burton at their 20th high-school reunion last fall wearing the uniform of a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps, authorities said. The uniform displayed the Navy Cross, the Purple Heart and other medals, federal prosecutors said. Suspicious, Salonga went up to Burton and asked to take a picture with him. She turned over the photo to the FBI, authorities said. Investigators confirmed that Burton "had not been a member of any branch of the military or of any armed force and had not been awarded any such decorations, service medals or badges, including the Navy Cross and the Purple Heart," court papers said. "Mr. Burton was blogging on a Web site and claiming to have done multiple tours of duty in the Middle East, both in Afghanistan and Iraq," Assistant U.S. Attorney Joe Akrotirianakis said today. "He also claimed to have fought in Fallujah."
(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...
Shhhh.... Don’t call him a phony soldier or the Soros steno pool, Media Matters, will smear you.
I guess if you’re going to go for it, go full tilt. Man, oh, man.
What possesses people to do such things?
Chicks dig uniforms! Every UPS driver knows it.
Regret, envy, self-loathing... heck, I don’t know.
“He can’t decide if he’s enlisted or officer”
Pardon my ignorance but would it be possible for you to point out the discrepancies that are evident on the pictures?
Damn...the guy should've given me a call. I was awarded an MSM a month before I left the service, but I've never displayed it, as I did not wear my Class A's prior to the end of my service.
Of course, I would've notified the proper authorities after he took delivery.
I see stripes in the beach picture, and the article stated “wearing the uniform of a lieutenant colonel” in the second picture. I’m Army, so I don’t know Marine uniforms, though... (and I could be completely delirious, also...
In the top photo he is wearing enlisted dress blue uniform with the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant, worn on the sleeve. The enlisted dress blue uniform has red piping on it.
The bottom photo he is wearing officer dress blue uniform with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (per the article), worn on the shoulder epaulets. The officer dress blue uniform does not have red piping.
on first look, he is a Master Gunnery Sargent in the top one, and a Capt or a Col (cant make it out on the laptop) in the bottom one
you cant be enlisted AND officer
He’s wearing dress blues. Its despicable that someone would impersonate any member of the military and adorn themselves with medals but if this clown had done his homework he’d have known Marines don’t go around in dress blues all the time.
That would make a kick-ass halloween costume.
Hmm..on second thought, you might run into a real Marine. Scratch that.
Just go as a run-of-the-mill knight.
“In the top photo he is wearing enlisted dress blue uniform with the rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant, worn on the sleeve. The enlisted dress blue uniform has red piping on it.
The bottom photo he is wearing officer dress blue uniform with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (per the article), worn on the shoulder epaulets. The officer dress blue uniform does not have red piping”
Thanks for the education! You too frankenMonkey.
Marines cant define your uniforms, either, but your eyesight is just fine. :)
Notice that inhis MGySgt pic on top, his medals lack centered Navy Cross, while his fruit salad has a extra row.
I think he looked it up, I cant make out most of them, most look like “I was there” ribbons, a few atta boys, but to wear the Navy Cross, that is a sin.
I forgot what the army equivalent is, but whatever is just below MOH
He started out as a MGYSgt, then finished college, got his degree, then got his commission, then got promoted to LtCol all in 20 years. He's a mustang.
Looks like he’s also wearing a Presidential Service Badge on his right breast pocket (implying he once worked at the White House) and an Office of the SECDEF Badge on his left breast pocket (implying he once worked for the Secretary of Defense).
The man has been all over the place!
After all the publicity, can you imagine this douche-bag showing up for work?
Soon to unemployed, I think...
He’s actually consulting the president on the deployment numbers for ‘stan.
It would take almost 20 years to reach either rank through either structure - enlisted or officer. Private to MGySgt = 20 years. 2ndLt to LtCol = 20 years. And he’s only 39 years old! What a man!
The Corps recognized his natural superiority in boot camp and meritoriously promoted him to MGySgt upon graduation from PI. The rest as they say is Marine Corps history. I can't believe he only got one Navy Cross. And it is pure politics that he isn't a General by now. I hate politics. A dude this hot should be sent to Afghanistan. Just issue him a bayonet and watch the Taliban crumble before him. Actually sending there might be a good punishment: no pay due private. They gotta have some non-critical s^&t duties for him.
Great Martinez family. Her brother, if not mistaken, was in my brother’s class at Alhambra.
Distinguished Service Cross, I have a great uncle buried in France in a WW1 US cemetery that was awarded the DSC posthumously.
I lived in Contra Costa County. I grew up in El Sobrante, and lived in Walnut Creek for a few years.
“Burton ... would not come to the door, and a man who came to the door referred CNN to Burton’s lawyer. The man said he was Burton’s partner for 18 years and retired from the U.S. Air Force.”
Read most of the comments after the article. It’s odd - BDS lives on in SF, with a number of wingnuts comparing this moron to President Bush appearing in uniform on the Abraham Lincoln; another whole subset was too clueless to understand how insulting it is for people to claims the honors bestowed on our military for service to their country. A third subset thought that impersonating an officer was within his 1st amendment rights, and a fourth group of libtards took more offense at the Navy officer who turned him in than at the offense committed. If we ever are invaded, I hope they land in San Francisco first and clean out that “wretched hive of scum and villainy” before getting thrown back into the sea...YMMV
"Send him to Marine boot camp",
"make him wear a sandwich sign and uniform announcing his crime for all"
"make him work as an orderly in a VA hospital, one month for every false medal"
"send him to Afghanistan to earn his own medals"
So this idiot is actually trying to become one of "the village people" to make his "partner" happy?
But he's a sick SOB from any measure you care to take.
Looks like the bottom photo might be the one the Navy Commander asked him to pose in - that might be her to his right, almost cropped out of the frame.
I was just trying to point out how he had an uneven number of medals compared to his fruit salad
It may be correct, some are just ribbons, not medals
My late brother, who is now resting in Ft. Hudson National Cemetary (B.R. LA) a Vietnam Vet and Marine would probably bust a gut laughing at this guy. Then he would likely take pity on the poor soul and only smack him around verbally.
Not to say he should have tried in the first place, but if you are going to try to pull this off, it’s probably not a good idea to load yourself up with so many medals and awards that you look like the second coming of Audie Murphy. About the only thing this idiot didn’t try to claim was the MOH, even though he got pretty damned close by pinning on the Navy Cross. While claiming heroism you don’t have is pretty bad, I’m actually more appalled and offended by him claiming the purple heart. I just buried my dad a year or so back and I know the life long cost he bore (pain, suffering and ultimately the cancer that took his life originating in his shoulder bone(s) where he took that German bullet) that accompanied the purple heart he earned with his blood. For this jackass to claim that he was a wounded vet for some reason really sets me off.
I never served in the military, but with a dad and two brothers who were vets and who served in WWII and Vietnam respectively, I can’t stand the FAKERS!
You are correct. When not wearing the large medals, all the ribbons are over the left breast pocket as shown in the second photo. If large medals are worn, ribbons that have no matching medal are worn over the right breast pocket as shown in the first photo.
It was a great place in the 1970’s. California was truly a Golden State. The University of California, and California State University systems were the envy of the world. California, by itself, was the 5th largest economy on earth.
Lo, hath the mighty fallen.
“So this idiot is actually trying to become one of “the village people” to make his “partner” happy?”
Apparently his partner in sodomy loves a man in uniform.
RIVERSIDE, CALIF. -- A Palm Springs man who surprised former classmates at his high school reunion in Martinez when he showed up in a Marine Corps uniform has pleaded guilty to wearing military medals that he never earned.
Steven Douglas Burton, 39, entered his guilty plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Riverside to a misdemeanor count of unauthorized wearing of military medals or decorations, averting a trial that had been scheduled for January.
He will face as much as a year in prison and up to a $100,000 fine when he is sentenced March 1. He remains free on $10,000 bond.
Burton, a graduate of Alhambra High School in Martinez, never served in the military, let alone fought in Iraq or Afghanistan, as he claimed. He works at a bank in Palm Springs.
In October 2008, he showed up at his 20th high school reunion at the Concord Hilton wearing the uniform of a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps.
The uniform displayed the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and other medals. That drew the suspicion of former classmate Colleen Salonga, who is a bona fide Navy commander.
Salonga asked Burton to have his picture taken with her. She turned over the photo to the FBI.
In February 2008, Burton had posted on the Internet a picture of himself standing on a beach at Coronado Island in San Diego County, not far from a Navy training base, wearing the uniform of a Marine master gunnery sergeant.
Federal and military investigators confirmed that Burton had never been in the armed forces.
Burton's attorney, Michael DeFrank, said Wednesday, "There is little more I can say about the case, except that more will be revealed about Mr. Burton at the time of the sentencing hearing."
Burton is one of 50 to 60 people who have been charged under the Stolen Valor Act since President George W. Bush signed the law in 2006.
The act, which expanded a law that had applied only to the unauthorized wearing of the Medal of Honor, makes it illegal to wear, make, sell or falsely claim to have earned military decorations.