By Brett Gillin
The unfortunate truth these days is that so many people are looking for any way to gain popularity or credibility. What seems to be happening more often now than ever is men and women claiming to be veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces for personal or financial gain. Or sometimes, for both. Popular Military recently caught up with a retired veteran who took it upon himself to expose a man who he claims is impersonating a veteran.
The man behind this video is Todd Harris. Mr. Harris is a retired Chief Warrant Officer (CW3). Mr. Harris spent 22 ½ years in the military. During that time, he spent 17 years with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, so he knows what he’s talking about.
Popular Military reached out to Mr. Harris to get some more information about his confrontation with the man from the video. As Mr. Harris explained to us, the story actually began quite a bit before the events of the video.
Mr. Harris explains that he frequently visits the Christiana Mall in Newark Delaware. During these visits, Mr. Harris noticed something strange happening at one of the concessions stands between stores. A man working one of these concession stands would frequently talk about how he used to be “Black Ops” and how he used to jump out of airplanes.
Just about any veteran can tell you a few things right off the bat: Insiders rarely, if ever, refer to “Black Ops,” instead using the official “Special Operations” designation. But more to the point, Special Ops soldiers tend to have a few things in common. One of them being never bragging about their time in Special Operations.
Having spent a huge amount of time around Delta Force and other Special Operations during his time serving, Mr. Harris suspected something wasn’t right about the man.
“I know those guys don’t walk around, they don’t boast about it, they don’t talk about it,” Harris told Popular Military. “And the other thing is, you’re in extremely good physical condition. Even after you’ve gotten out, you keep yourself in good physical condition.”
Mr. Harris explained that over the months of him visiting the mall, he walked by the man at least 20 times and heard him make these claims over and over again. Finally, he’d had enough and decided he had to confront the man.
The day before the events in the video, Mr. Harris walked up to the man to purchase a pillow from his concession. Mr. Harris mentioned that he had a bad neck from his time jumping out of airplanes. He was careful not to mention anything about being in the military, but the man immediately began talking about his time in Black Ops.
Mr. Harris listened to the man talk about his supposed time in the military, jumping out of planes for Black Ops. The more he listened, the less Mr. Harris believed anything that came out of the man’s mouth. That night, Mr. Harris went home and ran the conversation through his head a few times.
“My blood started boiling, and I said to myself ‘I’m going to go talk to this guy again,” Mr. Harris told us. So, Mr. Harris went back and recorded the video and posted it onto YouTube. In the video, you can hear for yourself how the man stumbles around his story, not able to provide any concrete timelines of events to back up the claims he was making. In the end, the man asks to be left alone, which Mr. Harris does, but he vows to not drop his efforts to expose the Stolen Valor.
As of the writing of this article, Mr. Harris has not yet contacted the man’s employer to confront him about the Stolen Valor claims, but he plans to do so in the near future.
“The bottom line is they don’t need someone like that representing their company and out there pretending to be somebody who was active duty military that never even saw a green suit.”