It has to be one of the strangest cases I've seen in all of my military days. A new group of soldiers had arrived as replacements to our unit in "The Contingency Zone." The NUGs (new ugly guys) were outsiders and it took them a while to work their way into the circle. Our rules were different than most units and it seemed to them they were being picked on.
But one stood out. He wore the Ranger Scroll on his right shoulder and a Ranger tab on his left. That's the kind of experience a unit loves to gain: a trained Ranger who has fought with one of the best units in the military. But there were questions. How did he not know basic information about the M240B? Why did he need more information on counter-ambush tactics? And why was he not still the SSG he claimed to have once been? Above all, why did he balk at proving his right to wear the Tab and Scroll?
Oh yeah, his records were classified "Top Secret," and his only copies were back in the states. Can you say RED FLAG! It took a week or so, but when he was sat down to access his records, prove his claims, or shut up, he admitted his lies. He wasn't a Ranger, had never been a Ranger, and probably hadn't even seen a Ranger. The most danger he had ever been in was the chance he'd tell a real Ranger of his life of danger. Had he been caught in civilian life, the max punishment would have been a year and prison and a $10,000 fine. He was recommended for UCMJ and got 14 days extra duty. WTF!?!!?
The members of the unit were ordered not to harass the liar, but eventually an NCO inquired as to how things were going, in light of his patently idiotic manner of introductions. He claimed there was a gag order on his punishment, on talking about his misdeeds, and that he felt persecuted because some thought he should be more highly punished for his "mistake." Liars have a hard time not lying, but somehow the strange case was true. Within hours he had reported the NCO for harassing him. Within 24 hours, the NCO was being counseled for his insensitive behavior.
Ironically, at about the same time the poor liar was complaining of being persecuted for his "simple mistake," a fellow Soldier was adding people to his facebook page, including the young liar, who maintained a picture of himself wearing tabs, infantry cords, and all manner of bravado on the social network. Within hours of the NCO being counseled for insensitivity, the screen shots of the liar were arriving in the leadership's email box.
In the curious case of the Ranger impostor, he was confronted by the command of his repeated lies, of his continued lie, of the fact that this was more than a simple mistake, but a long term life of deceit. And it "crushed him." He went straight to the Chaplain, then to the Shrink, because there's one sure way out of the "Contingency Zone:" Suicidal Tendencies!
He wasn't suicidal because he had committed a grievous act of Stolen Valor. It wasn't that he had claimed to be a hard-charging Airborne Ranger Infantryman rather than a Water Purification tech. It wasn't that the NCO had told him he should be proud of whatever his role in life had been even though it wasn't one of bravado, Bangalore, and booms.
He was suicidal because he had gotten caught, because it "wasn't right" that he might lose some rank. He was "being picked on" because despite the fact that no one was saying anything to him about his lies, by order of the Command, they still knew and they were completely correct in believing he should be in the hospital recovering from the book that should have smacked him from across the Commanders desk.
He was suicidal because despite the punishment being complete for the first offense of wearing a Tab and Scroll he had not earned, the Facebook picture was a completely new offense which he could be prosecuted for, even if the Commander did not yet realize it. He wanted out of the Commander's Jurisdiction as quickly as he could, before the command realized he could get his just deserves, despite their previous leniency.