Friendly Advice for Aspiring Military Posers


This was published yesterday on



Folks, our nation is in the grip of a serious crisis. We’ve seen evidence of this crisis many times in the last few months. This isn’t something we can ignore. People are hurting, and we have to do something about it.

The crisis? Military posers keep screwing up their tales of imaginary heroism, getting caught in stupid lies, and publicly shaming themselves. It’s honestly embarrassing. Posers are supposed to be master manipulators, but they aren’t acting like evil masterminds lately. They seem more like Gary Coleman in an ill-fitting Mister T costume.

In a story about fake Medal of Honor recipients, Andy Rooney said it best. “They often seem more pathetic than criminal.” These guys are just pathetic. And I think they can do better.

So work with me, people. We can’t let eager, semi-honest, kindhearted posers suffer needless abuse at the hands of actual veterans (like the “EOD Ranger Master Sergeant” who got busted by a real Ranger at a California college). It’s time for us to step in, give these poor posers a few important tips, and help them live their American Dream of stealing other people’s valor.

You might be saying to yourself, “Well of course I want to help posers! Who wouldn’t? But gee, why would Chris suddenly decide to speak out about this?”

Fair question. While I’ve long been a tireless advocate for our poser population, I’ve generally kept quiet about it (you know, the whole “don’t brag about your charity” thing). But a few days ago I stopped at a gas station, in my Army uniform. The clerk, who was wearing hipster clothes and had long messy hair and a beard, asked if I was in the National Guard. I said yes.

He told me he was an active duty Marine. But he didn’t know his MOS. And the work he did was so secret, he didn’t even know what unit he was assigned to.

As he told me his story, I wondered, “How could America have failed so miserably? Has our educational system sunk so low, posers aren’t even able to make up decent lies about their nonexistent military service?” I mean, if he had told me even a halfway believable story, it would have restored my faith. He could have claimed an IED went off in his helmet during the Battle of Fallujah off the coast of Afghanistan in 2012, and I would have bought it. But claiming to be an active duty Marine, while dressed like a hipster? Who would believe that nonsense?


Read the rest at

4452_1084593231917_5914735_n (2)
Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for, Iron Mike magazine and has published two military fiction novels, Proof of Our Resolve and Line in the Valley, through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at or on his Facebook page (

16 Responses to “Friendly Advice for Aspiring Military Posers”

  1. 1 Don Davis

    Chris: As a “media” type, I had a “hero” try to tell me he had been awarded the “nation’s highest decoration’. Never said MOH. Described the action in GREAT detail! The story was not about this guy’s military life, but curiosity and great skepticism made me do a little research, which led to discovery that…… he was a liar. We ended up not doing the original story about him to boot.

    • That guy wasn’t Paul Schroeder, was it?

      I’ll never forget the story about the alleged “Delta Force veteran” who was so crippled by PTSD he just sits in his mobile home playing with toy guns. The guy was absolutely full of shit, but the journalist was trying to be sympathetic to vets.

      Also, did you write the story about the guy being a liar?

  2. I think you have an article just explaining what all the fruit salad he’s wear is for those of us in the dark.

    stay safe……

  3. 5 jdb

    Where did you get that picture? The story behind it is worth a thousand words.

    • That guy was extensively reported on by the web site This Ain’t Hell ( Master Sergeant Soup Sandwich did actually show up to an infantry basic graduation at Benning. I recently found out a friend of mine from Afghanistan later was assigned as cadre at Benning, and it was one of his unit’s graduation ceremonies that this guy showed up at. Check out the pictures on TAH’s site, the guy actually had a green beret also.

      And allegedly the dude died in February. Don’t know if that’s true or not.

  4. 7 Joe in PNG

    Vets too can jump on the Poser bandwagon. Nothing adds excitement to stories about an ordinary military career like claiming awards and rank one never earned, or part in battles one was never at! One can go from POG to hardcore door-kicking SF badass in mere minutes by Just Lying!

    As a bonus, the Just Lie method can hook you into that sweet disability money, even if you’ve never been anywhere near a combat zone, or even outside the USA. Just claim PTSD, and watch the money roll in.

    (In truth, it is sad to vets with otherwise honarable service become SV Posers)

    • Joe,

      You’re absolutely right. Some of the saddest poser cases are guys who actually did honorably serve, then decided they needed to hero up their background. That’s one of the reasons I’m always clear about my non-cool guy military resume. I’m just a regular Joe, nothing special, and I’m damn proud of it.

  5. 9 CBI

    Hmm. I thought the picture might be from a Halloween party. Would even the dumbest civilian be duped????

  6. 11 Bob

    Hey Chris;

    The best way to spot a poser, is to listen to them and all posers are always the tip of the spear….SealForceReconArmyRangerSpecialForces or something along that line. You will never see a poser say” well I drove a truck down MSR Grape or worked in the mailroom” or some thing like that.

  7. 13 Vendetta

    Funny stuff, Chris.

    I’d recommend a look through some of the archives on the blog The Last Psychiatrist if you’re interested in the root causes of this sort of fuckery. TLP centere most of his articles around hammering on narcissism.

    To make a long and interesting story short, people like these poseurs never developed a “natural” self-identity. They have no real sense of self, and as a consequence, they can’t feel guilt: guilt is the product of your inner self casting judgment on your actions. So since they have no personal identity, they make one up, and they do that by copying someone else. Making up a character. It can be anything – devoted husband, hipster musician, suave womanizer…Special Forces veteran. The identity can be anything, as long as it gets people paying attention. People, and society in general, pay a lot of attention to the military and to veterans. No wonder they’re a popular choice for narcissists.

    But because it is a put-on and it’s not intrinsic or genuine, narcissists require the validation of others – they need other people to recognize and acknowledge them as the character they’re playing so it will feel like who they really are. Hence why poseur veterans seem to be drawn to the real thing – what better source of validation can there be than a real soldier?

    Punching these tools in the face is a well-deserved response, but of course, it’s unlikely to fix them. They need hardcore psychiatric help. Puncturing a narcissist’s chosen identity will obviously put them into a crisis and a rage, but they’ll just end up choosing another identity, or likely as not, go right back to the charade and find someone else they can con.

    Because again, narcissists can’t feel guilt. That punch will hurt, and in that moment your scorn and rejection of their fake identity will be a shock to their system. But a narcissist can feel only shame, not guilt. You feel shame when other people are casting judgement on you, guilt when you are judging yourself.

    So as long as someone is calling him out on it, and other people are pointing and staring and seeing through the facade, the military poseur narcissist will feel ashamed. But the second those eyes are off of him, the second he’s with a new group of people, the shame goes away.

    When he goes to sleep at night, he doesn’t feel any self-loathing; he had no self to loathe, after all. Who he does loathe is you, the one who exposed his charade, as well as the other people who saw it happen. He does not blame himself for committing a shameful act; he blames you and everyone else for rejecting what he decided he was.

    Don’t expect him to feel any empathy for you or anyone else who’s served or had someone close to them in the armed forces. He’s not capable of it. The narcissist’s own sense of himself is an artificial construct; he can hardly understand anybody else when he doesn’t even know who he really is. The narcissist lives his life as a movie in which he is the lead actor; all those around him are merely extras and props, extensions of his own act – as well as the audience of his performance. He understands and cares about only one thing from you: whether you’ve bought it or not, whether he’s convinced you he is who he says he is. Anything you feel aside from that is meaningless to him.

    Obviously, these people are not easy to fix, since their character (‘character’) flaws run so deep. But that’s a problem for them, their psychiatrist, and whoever’s paying the bill on that one. As for you, the true veteran, you have every right to defend the respect and the honor you’ve earned by exposing these narcissistic frauds for what they are: losers living a lie to indulge their own personality defects.

    In other words, take a look at The Last Psychiatrist’s work if you have the time to. It’s very enlightening.

    • 14 Joe in PNG

      One interesting thing about most posers is the response to being outed. Most will double down on their fakery, often alternating threats and excuses. Check out This Ain’t Hell for some good examples.

      • 15 Vendetta

        Good reading on there. Case in point. The narcissist is simply incapable of getting that “holy shit, I’m being an asshole” feeling that makes ordinary people apologize and change their behavior. All he gets is “holy shit, this guy is being an asshole” when someone calls him out.

        Doubling down is a response to that rage he feels towards you (and not himself). And it’s a common response because its a lot easier than coming up with a whole new persona from scratch.

        Another thing: narcissists’ identities aren’t always chosen to make people admire them. Some of these guys who double down on their fakery after being exposed are actually choosing to fabricate the identity of the military poseur (as opposed to fabricating the identity of the military veteran). Meaning, they’re actually trying to be seen as a faker rather than the real thing.

        Why? Because the obvious faker everyone sees through still gets his own brand of attention. It gets people to shout and spit at him…but the narcissist is just as fine with being the guy everyone hates as opposed to the one everybody admires…because either way, they’re still validating his chosen identity.

    • That’s interesting, Vendetta. What I’m getting from reading both your comments is that these rotten bastids just ain’t gonna go away. They get off on the attention, even the bad attention, and hold themselves responsible for none of it.

      Now I’m depressed…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: