This was sent to the Press-Enterprise and I am sending you a copy.
In Nov 14, 2012 Press-Enterprise you printed a correction about a story in the Nov. 7, edition about a Riverside man, Charles Austin Vanderburg who "CLAIMED" he had earned 18 medals, including the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and Air Force Cross for his action in Vietnam. You had to retract your article concerning this act of "STOLEN VALOR" due to the fact that his "CLAIMS" could not be substantiated, either from the National Personnel Records Center or by Mr. Vanderburg's own documentation. Note: all medals are accompanied by the citation explaining the action taken to earn the medal. What kind of journalism is this, the reporter, Jeffe Soifer wrote the story and the paper printed it. Didn't your reporter ask Mr. Vanderburg for documentation that would substantiate his "CLAIMS". Without proper documentation his "CLAM" should have raised a BIG RED FLAG and the story should not have published. This rush to print brings to question the validity of your entire paper.
A General committed suicide after it was found out that the small "V" devices on his medals were not earned. In 1996, Four-Star Admiral Jeremy Boorda, Chief of U.S. Naval Operations, decided to “Guild the Lilly” and added two tiny “V” pins to his Navy Medals. The "V" attached to medals stands for "Valor" and instantly marks the wearer as being a hero. These medals that he added the "V" device to were not as meritorious as the Silver Star or the Bronze Star. Some take honor seriously, but it is obvious that Mr. Vanderburg does not.
Although, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Stolen Valor Act of December 2006 saying it was OK to lie and the lie is protected by First Amendment right of free speech. On September 13 of this year the US House of Representative has passed a revamped Stolen Valor Act. The bill targets those who falsely claim to have earned certain major military decorations, including the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Silver Star, and the Purple Heart, or a medal signifying you served in combat. A similar bill is moving through the Senate, but has not reached a floor vote yet.
Being a Vietnam Veteran,(with verifiable service) I find Mr. Vanderburg's act, or any others person similar act, repugnant and despicable. Mr. Vanderburg's crime, and I call it a crime, not only denigrates him, but the Press-Enterprise for printing his "CLAIMS" on his word alone.
Does anyone think that Mr. Vanderburg will discard the articular or will attach the papers correction to the published articular? O no, O no, my guess is that he will cherish the articular, have a good laugh for duping the Press-Enterprise, and brandish it about with his phone medals.
Msgt USAF (Ret)