Stolen valor has been a problem for a long time, but any military veteran can usually figure out if somebody is lying about their credentials with a few basic questions about the service. But, one of the latest cases of stolen valor doesn’t take a military expert to point out, basically, anybody could spot it — as long as they’re not color blind.
Papotia Reginald Wright lived in Brooklyn and claimed that he was a decorated Army veteran and a Green Beret, he even had the medals to prove it. Unfortunately for Wright, he only had a black beret and his lies were easily picked up. His impressive resume even allowed him the ability to get onto the field where the New York Giants play. But veteran watchdog group “Guardians of the Green Beret” pointed out that Wright’s history isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Through a Freedom of Information Act request, they were able to get documents showing that the war hero never actually was a Green Beret. The team went on to discover that almost all of the awards Wright claims to have earned were never handed out.
A member of the watchdog group told The New York Post, “We took one look at that and knew he was messed up–it was comical.” His wife also made up a tall tale, lying about being a major in the Army with him. The Guardians of the Green Beret say that’s not true either, and said that “his wife never served a day in the military — period.”
When The Post emailed him, Wright offered a bizarre explanation, saying that he never claimed to be one of the elite service members and that he only wore the uniform because “it was the uniform of the day.” Documents showed that Wright actually was in the Army but that he never got beyond the rank of specialist.
Wright ran the website 8thspecialforcesregiment.com where he boasted about his military history, but that site has since been taken down.
In 2013, Congress passed the “Stolen Valor Act,” which makes it illegal for somebody to pretend to be an officer of the military.