Skip to comments.Man who inflated his military service sentenced in Roanoke
Posted on 04/08/2010 6:14:25 PM PDT by csvset
By Mike Gangloff
A man who falsely claimed a chestful of military medals was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and was ordered to repay $11,098 in veterans benefits he shouldn't have received.
Thomas Barnhart, 59, had 21 years of legitimate Navy and Coast Guard service, including offshore duty in Vietnam. But starting in 1979, he began inflating his experience in claims for promotions and benefits, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jake Jacobsen told U.S. District Judge James Turk today in Roanoke.
Among Barnhart's lies, according to the prosecutor: he was a Navy SEAL, he received elite low-altitude parachute training, he was awarded five Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and a Vietnamese medal of honor. He also falsely claimed that a downed U.S. helicopter pilot died in his arms and that he saw other U.S. soldiers die around him.
Jacobsen, a veteran of the current Iraq war, called Barnhart's conduct "repugnant."
Barnhart wept in court and said he lied because neither the Navy nor the U.S. public appreciated his real service.
"I just can't punish myself enough," he said, sobbing. "Every day I ask forgiveness."
And what are we to do, then, with Senator Dirtbag Cambodia Kerry?
I inflated my sevice record too. I neglected to mention all the card playing and sand bag filling.
I have more respect for a buck private clerk who served his tour at some stateside supply post than for anyone who claims service or medals not earned. At least the clerk served honorably and is proud of that service.
My guess is he did it for the attention. IMO justice was served.
I still remember going home on leave as an E2. Wore my dress blues to church and could not figure out what the old guy was doing holding the door for me.
The US public didn’t appreciate his service? Well I guess selfless sacrifice wasn’t part of it.
“five Purple Hearts, three Bronze Stars, two Silver Stars and a Vietnamese medal of honor”
Well heck if you’re gonna lie you might as well go for it. I wonder if any of them are for rice in the butt.
I frequently fly as part of my job. As often as I possibly can, when I see someone in uniform, I go up to them, shake their hand and thank them for their service. It is the least that I can do.
Once I was fortunate enough to see a senior NCO return from a long tour. You could tell by the family greeting that he had been gone for some time. I took only 2 min to shake his hand but you could see in all three kids faces that dad must be someone extra special for a stranger just to walk up and say thank you.
Go to any bar at 2300. Guarantee ya that every guy there that claims to have served in Nam was either Special Ops(Kerry) or was a Navy Seal.
From my experience, apparently there were no cooks in Nam.
While it might be just typical bar talk on the one hand when you take it to the next level and start taking it seriously, it is akin to treason in my mind.
Then I don’t care what you did, you’re just a POS to me.
He might get something in the butt during his tour of duty in the hoosegow.
They also serve who only stand and wait, not inflate.
Well, he’s no Admiral Boorda.
Yeah. I met Admiral Boorda when he was the head of Bupers.
My experience is that guys who have seen $hit don't talk about it.
Elite indeed. Very few survive low altitude parachute training.
I believe you’re right. Those who were there don’t need to talk about it too much, and those who weren’t there wouldn’t understand it anyway.
You never know who you might meet. I once gave a soon to be newly minted 2nd Lieutenant, in the last days of his ROTC cadet life, the shock of his life.
He had been intensively drilling underclassmen in the dirt and the mud, and was quite a mess himself, filthy, sweaty and exhausted. And he hadn’t had anything to eat for over a day, so was pretty starved. I offered to stake him for some lunch, sitting outside of course. He at least washed some of the muck off his hands in the restroom before sitting down.
I got him a somewhat sloppy giant burrito, and he was lashing into it, when an elderly gentleman in a suit walked by. I knew him, and wanted to do the cadet a favor by introducing him.
He told me later than he didn’t hear his name, but he stood up, apologized for being such a mess, and shook the gentleman’s hand, who grinned and said “Pleased to meet you. Carry on.”
After exchanging a few pleasantries, I asked the cadet what he thought. About what?, he replied.
“About meeting a Lieutenant General who used to be on MacArthur’s staff”, I replied.
The expression on his face was priceless.
and Tom Harkin
When I was stationed in Monterey in 1985 I got to sit down talk with General Doolittle at his home in Carmel. We talked about the raid (of course)WWII and his degrees. He showed us a picture he had hanging on his wall of President Reagan awarding him his fourth star earlier in 1985.
A pretty huge moment in the life of a young buck sergeant.
It’s pretty surprising about some of the people you get to meet. While LTG Frank Sackton didn’t have a very illustrious career, he did attend the first H-bomb detonation at Eniwetok. A wild and wacky experience. He just passed away this past February, at 97.
A lot of people were enraged here when TSA staff at Sky Harbor prevented MoH recipient and WWII US Marine Fighter Ace Joe Foss from boarding a plane to give a speech to cadets at West Point, because he had his Medal of Honor with him, and it was made of metal and had pointy edges, that the TSA thought he might use it to hijack the plane. They had never seen a MoH, and had no idea what it was.
That's sad, but in a funny way. What an embarrassment for those TSA guys.
And that's pretty incredible about LTG Sackton. I wouldn't have thought anyone from the H-Bomb tests would still be around!
I’m sorry to hear about Frank Sackton. I had him as a professor at ASU 18 years ago, he was 79 then and sharp as a tack. He taught a public budgeting class (he had been comptroller of the Army) and the first thing he taught was entitlements will bankrupt this country. An amazing individual.
Here is his obit:
Some are aghast at his false boasts; I’m wondering how the dickens he managed to buffalo the VA system which had access to his genuine records.
F*** Tom Harkin.
“Wore my dress blues to church and could not figure out what the old guy was doing holding the door for me.”
That would still happen in SOME parts of the country today.
That is a good question.
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