Sure, he stuttered on occasion. He said strange things from time to time. But Rick Duncan was passionate about veterans in the state of Colorado. He told anyone who wanted to listen that he had served in Iraq on three occasions. That gave him an unofficial license to talk to journalists, politicians, and civilians about the war.
So, many people simply ate it all up.
The only problem was that Duncan wasn’t actually a Marine, a Naval Academy graduate, or a wounded Iraq War Veteran, according to those who have looked into his background.
His name, according to the Denver Sheriff’s Department, isn’t even Rick Duncan. It’s Rick Strandlof, and as of Thursday afternoon, Strandlof remained inside a Denver County Jail cell.
He was arrested earlier in the week on an El Paso County traffic warrant. His bond has been set at $1,000.
Michelle Malkin also has some videos of Strandlof’s destructive play-acting.
A slander on the name of the good men and women who actually have served in uniform. And a clear case of people believing what they wanted to see. No better than the “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV” guy.
Congressman Jared Polis … duped by Strandlof.
Congressional candidate Hal Bidlack … duped by Strandlof.
News media … duped by Strandlof.
At least Polis and fellow Colorado Democrat, U.S. Senator Mark Udall, were shamed into disavowing the man once he has been proven to be a complete fraud. What else could you say? The damage has been done. The lie has already circumnavigated the globe. Life goes on for the politicians….
Journalists can shrug their shoulders, too. Anyone could have missed the need to fact-check. Somehow, though, I suspect if it were someone claiming to be a recovering homosexual appearing with Republican candidates and filming TV ads against gay marriage, there would be a lot more assiduous digging to expose the person as a fraud. It’s a lesson about the filters of bias.
I’m most curious, though, to hear what real veterans think about this story, and the reaction to uncovering the truth about Rick Strandlof.
I’m a vet, (USN 1983-87 Active, 1989-92 Active Reserve) who finds this story just another repetition of the Jesse Macbeth and Micah Wright stories. It became obvious long ago that most those who populate the anti-war left fall under the, “You can fool some of the people all of the time” part of the old saying.
All you have to do is say what they want to hear with the claim of military service and they will proclaim you a “hero” with unassailable “moral courage”. It’s obviously ridiculously easy to do.
Doug Sterner says
I was the guy who outed McBeth. I was NOT involved in the outing of Duncan, but was contacted immediately after the story broke by several reporters and have gone on record on this case as well. This is not a problem the Democrats have…it is a bi-partisan, NATIONAL problem. Before we “R”s point fingers at the Dems, let me make you aware of other similar cases:
1) Edward Teagartner was the keynote speaker for a GOP event in Ohio last year on behalf of John McCain because Teagartner was purported a former POW. His speech bore that out, but the GOP chair was sure red-faced when we had to tell him Teagartner was a phony.
2) Senator Arlen Specter introduced legislation last year to upgrade the Silver Star awarded to Terry Calandra, also purportedly a DSC recipient, to the Medal of Honor. It was very embarassing we I had to tell him not only did Calandra not get the DSC, the Silver Star he was trying to get upgraded was a phony.
3) Three weeks ago a Deputy Sheriff in Arkansas was fired after it was learned the Silver Star on his resume was faked. The investigation into his fraud began after I became aware of a news story of Arkansas Republican Congressman Boozman presenting the guy 16 medals at a Veterans Day event last year.
4) Last September a Nevada Republican Congressman successfully pushed through the U.S. House a bill to name a Las Vegas Post Officer for WWII Normandy Invasion Silver Star hero Irving Schwarts. In embarassment, he had to jerk that bill out of the Senate when we told him Schwartz did not get the Silver Star and did not arrive in Europe until six months after D-Day.
I could go on and one…Dems and Reps…making the same mistake. To politicize this is to ignore the real problem, the shabby manner DoD has of keeping a record of our REAL heroes so the phonies are quickly outed. And don’t tell me they need to check DD-214s…I can show you scores of DD-214s for highly decorated combat heroes who got Purple Heart License Plates, even VA benefits…all bogus and many for individuals who never even served in the military.
Doug, thanks for adding a more complete perspective to the story. Your comment was very enlightening!
Doug Sterner says
Thanks Ben. I’ve got legislation before the current Congress to FIX this. I’m proud to say that ALL SEVEN Colorado MCs are co-sponsors. You can find more on that legislation at http://www.homeofheroes.com/rollofvalor
Let me add my thanks for expanding on that. I confess to getting hot under the collar about the anti-war left using vets for political gain and I let that color my comments more than I should have.
Anyone who lies about their service (either about having served or receiving commendations) are among the lowest of the low.