Restoring Valor: One Couple's Mission to Expose Fraudulent War Heroes and Protect America's Military Awards System

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Overview

Stolen valor occurs when a person lies about receiving military decorations that he or she has in fact never earned. It has become a major societal problem that has been discussed numerous times in the news and, most recently, by the US Supreme Court. According to The New York Times, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid disability benefits to more than six hundred people falsely claiming to have been POWs in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. The number of stolen valor cases reported to the FBI has tripled in ...

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Restoring Valor: One Couple's Mission to Expose Fraudulent War Heroes and Protect America's Military Awards System

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Overview

Stolen valor occurs when a person lies about receiving military decorations that he or she has in fact never earned. It has become a major societal problem that has been discussed numerous times in the news and, most recently, by the US Supreme Court. According to The New York Times, the Department of Veterans Affairs paid disability benefits to more than six hundred people falsely claiming to have been POWs in the Vietnam and Persian Gulf wars. The number of stolen valor cases reported to the FBI has tripled in the last decade. In fact, more imposters lie about earning high military declarations for battlefield bravery than the actual number of real-life hero recipients. These imposters trade on tales and the trappings of military valor to secure privileges such as career advancements and even unearned veterans’ benefits.

Because officially recognized valor is a calling card of trust and courage, many of these imposters “steal” it to invade the lives of people and institutions, for personal gain and often with criminal results. In Restoring Valor, Doug Sterner provides riveting case studies of the stolen valor imposters he’s investigated and exposed, and the serious crimes — including murder — they’ve committed. He chronicles the evolution of stolen valor from the inception of the republic to today. Sterner demonstrates why the federal law he and his wife Pam helped to enact, called the Stolen Valor Act, is necessary.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
12/09/2013
Married veterans’ advocates Doug and Pam Sterner worked tirelessly for years lobbying Congress to enact a bill making it illegal to lie about one’s military service and awards. That hard work paid off in December 2006 when the Stolen Valor Act was signed into law. After several legal challenges, however, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional in June 2012 on First Amendment grounds. Congress immediately took up a revised version of the statute, which President Obama signed into law on June 13, 2013. The new Stolen Valor Act narrows the law’s focus by making it a federal crime to misrepresent one’s military service only “with the intent to obtain anything of value.” In an accessible account filled with reconstructed dialogue, the authors detail how their work honoring Medal of Honor recipients morphed into a deep involvement in the “wannabe” issue in the late 1990s. The self-proclaimed “fraud busters” expose men who have falsely claimed they earned high military decorations, including the Medal of Honor. The authors also include appendices on how to ferret out fraudsters as well as navigate the potentially daunting maze of official records. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
In praise of Doug Sterner:

“[Doug Sterner] is a decorated Vietnam veteran who has made it his work in recent years to ensure that service members get the recognition they deserve and expose those who falsely claim acts of heroism under fire. Rather than wait for the government to act, Doug Sterner has.” —CBS News

In praise of Restoring Valor:

“We, as a nation, place a high degree of trust in those who proudly don America’s military decorations. When an individual lies about receiving medals that were not, in fact, earned, we feel the utmost betrayal. Restoring Valor, offers a compelling and thorough account of this phenomenon known as ‘stolen valor.’” —Senator Bob Dole

“An eye-opening must-read for every veteran. Restoring Valor not only identifies the reasons for enacting the Stolen Valor Act but also demonstrates why every veteran service organization needs to safeguard their ranks as well as their community against false claims of military service and valor.” —Mark L. Donald, Navy Cross recipient, former board member for the Legion of Valor, and department commander for the Military Order of Purple Heart

“All of America needs to read this important information and learn from it.”
—Sergeant First Class Sammy L. Davis, US Army (Ret.), Medal of Honor, Vietnam

“This book is a must-read for all veterans! It is an outstanding chronicle of the extraordinary work done by the Sterners to protect our heroic veterans’ valorous actions. Less than 1 percent of Americans ever serve in our armed forces. Nearly everyone wishes they had. There are a lot of wannabe heroes in the 99 percent who never served. Thank you, Pam and Doug, for your tireless efforts in outing many of these phony heroes.” —Brigadier General John C. “Doc” Bahnsen, US Army (Ret.)

“Terrific read. Stories of stolen valor you won’t believe, and those who hunt them down and participated in writing legislation to restore dignity to all those who have truly served in combat.” —Peter C. Lemon, recipient, Congressional Medal of Honor

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781626365513
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 2/4/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 218,711
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Doug Sterner is a Vietnam veteran and two-time Bronze Star recipient. He has been a frequent guest on news shows such as Anderson Cooper and is the media’s “go-to” person for the Stolen Valor Act. He is the founder of the Hall of Heroes website and curator of the Hall of Valor data base on Militarytimes.com. Pam Sterner is a graduate of Colorado State University, where, as a student in 2004, she authored the study that became the framework for the Stolen Valor Act. They live in Pueblo, Colorado.

Michael Mink is a free-lance writer who has written more than five-hundred nationally published articles and has co-authored two previous books.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2014

    This book tells a story that should not have occurred. It has b

    This book tells a story that should not have occurred. It has been many years in the making and finally some sense of accomplishment has been made. Every household and school should have a copy of this book. Thank you Pam and Doug for your dedication to this project

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