Phony Vet Shaming Backfires when Target Turns out to be Real Vietnam Vet

A Vietnam veteran was confronted at the Charlotte airport last Saturday by a fellow brother-in-arms who thought the man was a phony.

Former Marine Jack Hughes, 66, said he was completely caught off guard by the encounter.

“All of a sudden he jumps up and he’s got a camera in my face screaming ‘your medals are crooked. You’re a fake. You’re not a marine,'” Hughes told WBTV. “He kept screaming at me, telling me I was nothing, that everything I had was fake. I was a fake and phony.”

Hughes, who lives in Gastonia, was returning from St. Louis where he participated in a Veterans Day program at his grand daughter’s school. He was dressed in a suit jacket, with his military medals and ribbons proudly on display, including his purple heart.

The man with the camera was with a group of friends, and one of them “grabbed me by my jacket and told me ‘I’m an active duty Marine’ and he jerked it like that – jerked the buttons off of it.”

Hughes felt compelled to pull out his VA card and prove his military record.

“I took out my ID right then from the V.A and tried to show it to him,” Hughes said. “I said look at this. Look at my ID.Look at my V.A card. Look at what it says here.”

According to Hughes, the men eventually realized they had made a mistake. The apologized, but Hughes said it was rather insincere.

Police were called to the scene, but no one was arrested. Charlotte Mecklenburg Police told WBTV that Hughes wasn’t physically injured and none of his ribbons were missing and that the only way to press charges would be for Hughes to obtain a warrant.

Meanwhile, Hughes is emotionally distraught at the way he was treated.

“All the veterans – they need support. They don’t need these gangsters going out trying to hurt people,” he said. “If there’s something wrong, a veteran should help a vet.”

Hughes added, “If my medals were a little crooked he should have come up to me and said hey buddy, can I help you straighten these out.”

{ 50 comments… add one }
  • Michael Galey June 30, 2017, 11:50 pm

    Jack first of all welcome home brother I wish that I was there as a two tour Vietnam vet 70-71 PBR’s and CVA-63 WestPac 71-72 I would have gone full blown gonzo on those poges. I retired in the Army Reserves as SGT 19E and when those chair warmers want to prove their “Expertise” they would regret ever barking at a true warrior. Chaplain District 4 WA VFW 239

  • Don Butterbaugh November 30, 2015, 12:54 pm

    I remember coming back and being confronted by a Lovely long Haired girl in the airport in SF. She spit in my face and called me terrible names just because I was in uniform. Her boy friend was a long Haired freak with Sandals and beard. He was laughing and pushed me too damn far, I started to retaliate and a Calif. High Way Patrol cop told me to move on. It was like they had a right to spit in my face without me being able to do anything about it. Now we have clowns (REMF:s undoubtedly) who want to do the same to us. Viet Nam Vets never seem to get any recognition. I am glad the kids coming back are recognized for their efforts and sacrifices, but when are we going to be recognized? The first time some one touches me like that again or spits in my face again will be Most Sorrowful.

  • Annoyinglylongname November 30, 2015, 10:57 am

    Who cares what modern veterans think? I can’t understand the logic in someone claiming stolen valor from the modern marine corps when we know with the Obama administration in charge that the next commandant of the Marine Corp will be the schmuck who invites Caitlin Jenner to the Marine Corp Ball and will receive the Medal of Honor for doing so.

  • Randy L November 30, 2015, 4:47 am

    I’m not a vet, but I sure do respect every vet with all of my heart. To all who served, Thank you! Jack, wear those medals proudly, it will let guys like me know who to respect.

  • Mike Froelich November 29, 2015, 7:31 pm

    Jack: I am also a Vietnam Vet, living north of Winston-Salem, NC. If you are ever this way I would be honored to shake your hand and WELCOME YOU HOME brother.

  • Matthew Colabella November 28, 2015, 3:28 am

    typical actions for the scum of charlotte. god bless

  • Michael Stuart November 28, 2015, 12:29 am

    Hey Jack; Semper Fi brother! Yeah my DI’s called them shitbirds too. I was with 3/1 in Nam 69-70. Glad you made it home bro. Sorry for what you went through with those pogey bait candy asses.

  • Michael Stuart November 28, 2015, 12:28 am

    Hey Jack; Semper Fi brother! Yeah my DI’s called them shitbirds too. I was with 3/1 in Nam 69-70. Glad you made it home bro. Sorry for what you went through with those pogey bait candy asses.

  • Tom Abbott Sr (of three) 6217th Combat support, USAF Danang 65 - 66 November 27, 2015, 11:35 pm

    Wee Willy!
    Your comments made me shake, they were so upsetting to me. I took them very personal. as I’m sure many of my brothers did. Maybe Wee Willy should serve in-country someplace, if so he just might find out how expendable he really is.

    Jack, I only wish I, and a couple other veterans had been close enough to witness the catastrophic misrepresentation of manhood by those “shit-bird” punks! in uniform. I’m pretty sure the outcome would have been “more” newsworthy.

    Jack, I’m sure the circumstance were “very” frustrating at the time, but I wish you had filed charges, so there Commander would have been informed as to what “jerks” he had under his command. If they were under my command, the shit-birds would be cleaning lateens the rest of there enlistment!

  • Larry Greenly November 27, 2015, 11:23 pm

    Mr Hughes

    I am sorry that jerks like that exist. I have faced the same sort of confrontation. It is humiliating, embarrassing to say the least. As a proud retired member of the USAF, I had to rely on training and discipline to get me past the incident. Thank you for your service, sacrifice and the courage to serve, when so many ran.

  • Charles November 27, 2015, 9:38 pm

    I have seen these videos online claiming stolen valor BS. These guys are scum bags I don’t know a single vet. that believes his service makes him better or more deserving than the civilians they fought to protect. I have a friend named Gary A Vietnam vet. and he shared some of the things that happened with me things he saw. Some still bring tears to my eyes. It all so hurt me to hear how he was treated after he came home. After seeing some of the videos online I knew things like this would happen and it just pisses me off to hear it.

    Former Airman USAF

  • d November 27, 2015, 9:22 pm

    Willy dude I think you need to serve your country then tell me the wife of a disabled veteran and fellow veterans that they are fakes. Get a life go visit a va hospital you just might think twice about what you say and as for the Mormons that attacked Jack total looters and are a disgrace to the uniform.

  • Paul S. November 27, 2015, 3:10 pm

    Thank you for your service Jack,
    I haven’t worn my medals and have not spoke about my time in the service in over 35 years because of a similar incident that happened to me, not to mention the numerous other times I’ve been insulted for serving my country. I am moved beyond words and cannot describe the hurt I feel in my heart for you. I guess the combat never ends, even when you come home. I want to thank you for your bravery, for wearing your medals, when I could not, you have my deepest respect. It now seems that attitudes have changed and veterans are getting treated a little better, perhaps we will be included.

  • NavyVet66 November 27, 2015, 1:38 pm

    I won’t waste my time responding to Willy. I want to thank my brother Jack for his service to our great country. I served in country 67-69 on PBR’s. I remember how we were treated by the scumbags of the late 60’s on our return home. Semper Fi
    to all my brothers!

  • Johnnie Mack November 27, 2015, 1:33 pm

    Semper Fi Jack
    Don’t let those punk’s get you down. I share your pain my Brother. Jack thank you for your service and WELCOME HOME BROTHER. CPL, U.S.M.C. 1965 – 1969 survivor 1968 TET OFFENSIVE, PTSD 100% disabled Vet.

  • Jim November 27, 2015, 1:02 pm

    Thank you for your service, Jack.

    I’m sorry you were put through this by a self-rightus A.. Hole.

    That moron deserves a dope slam. If he hand any balls at all he would make his appology in public. But like the sniveling snot he propably is he has crawled back under his rock.

  • paul November 27, 2015, 10:11 am

    May of the vets of those dark days in the US were draftees or decided to enlist because they were going anyway. You were a true hero, doing a job that many thought we had no business doing. For some asshat to say you are phoney or who wants to judge you because you don’t have the fit look of a current marine is just wrong. He should be given some work with vets instead of leave the next few months by his CO.

    Thank you for your service.

  • An ol salty dog November 27, 2015, 10:04 am

    Stepping on vets everywhere while looking for the one that isnt.

  • Greg November 27, 2015, 9:19 am

    As soon as hands were put upon the man….it’s a special thing because it’s considered a senior assault. Should have nailed anyone laying a hand upon him. Punks are punks, in uniforms or out of them. Army 9th Infantry non-REMF.

  • Sonny Reeves November 27, 2015, 8:37 am

    As a USMC Viet Nam Vet I am ashamed of these punks attitude toward you. If it were possible that their company level SNCOs could know what they did I am sure justice would be handed out. I am a 40% Service Connected and do not wear any indication of my service because of the trauma I/we suffered when we returned to CONUS in 69. Maybe I should. Please get over this and move on, our lives are too short to deal with idiots and haters. Semper Fi!

  • Bryan November 27, 2015, 8:35 am

    They feel “manly” enough to publicly shame you but can’t even muster a decent apology??? Yellow belly pussies.

  • Mick November 27, 2015, 8:20 am

    What an absolute those ‘shitbirds’ were to this Marine hero !!

  • Rogue November 27, 2015, 8:05 am

    Sorry to hear a real Vet was mistreated. A couple of years ago I met a guy looking for a handout saying he was a Vietnam Vet. I had served my stint in the Corps about the time the Vietnam war ended. This guy asking for the handout didn’t look to be more than 40, so doing the simple math in my head I knew he was not a Vietnam Vet. I didn’t confront him but I left the scene with certain doubt about him which made me wonder about many on the street corners stating they were vets reallly were? At the end of the Viet Nam war there was no Parade, no glory given our soldiers but thankfully in recent years people have come around to show more appreciation for our vets. One thing for sure, our Vets never failed us though our government may have at times. Semper Fi.

    • Dan M November 27, 2015, 1:04 pm

      I think that beggar may have been a drummer boy! Anyway Thanks for your service! and to all who served! Remember Clint Eastwood saying” A veteran is someone who wrote a Blank check to the US Government for up to and including his life”
      Semper Fi! (3rd MarDiv 66-68)

  • Chad J. November 27, 2015, 7:36 am

    Here in New Mexico, the media, the crooked DA, crooked Judges and even some defense lawyers in collusion with them, employ this kind of tactic to force even defendants accused of even chicken-sh_ t charges of sending an ex 11 love letters over an 8 month period, to take the stand so they can grill him/her. There have even been false accusations of an accused person, again of a very MINOR non-violent charge, being in the Witness Protection Program to force the accused to take the stand and open him up for other grilling. If people have a suspicion, they should contact the VA Regional Office and register their concerns in writing- but this kind of ambush is dangerous, not only for those falsely accused, but for the idiots that act like this poor man’s harassers- they are opening themselves up to civil lawsuits which could break them financially. On closing the statement made on Channel 13, KRQE News (CBS affiliate) by then FBI S.A.C. Thomas C. McClenaghan on January 20, 2009: “New Mexico is the Capital of Corruption of the United States. I have NEVER seen anything like it in all of my years at the FBI. Corruption is PERVASIVE at EVERY level of government”.

  • Robert Jennings November 27, 2015, 6:57 am

    my dad is a Vietnam Veteran 64-66 1st infantry 7th artillery 105 Howitzers. thank you for your service. very kind regards Rob

  • Kevin November 27, 2015, 6:28 am

    Thank you for your selfless sacrifice to your country. These individuals had no right to stop you,why they did this to a fellow service member now brings a heavy heart with all veterans in my opinion. I proudly served 1987-1995 USN on board USS COCHRANE DDG21. Had I witnessed this I wouldn’t of allowed the treatment you had to be part of unwillingly. These so called veterans should hang their heads in shame.

  • Darryl November 27, 2015, 4:46 am

    sorry for this happening to you sir. i wasn’t in the military but have respect for those that have and it’s yet another sad day when something like this happens. i live by thinking what goes around comes around and will think that these guy will get whats coming to them. i have always said that before any lazy person gets any thing from the government a veteran should not have to want for anything be it a place to live, food, real health care, transportation or what ever it is they may need. vet’s first everyone else second.

    thanks you for your service and welcome home. God Bless and Peace be with you.

  • Dave H November 27, 2015, 4:21 am

    A photo of those ‘marones’, and i didn’t misspell it, should be sent to the Commandant along with a report as to what happened. That kind of behavior would be dealt with.

    • willy November 27, 2015, 9:12 am

      Awww, quit your bitching and whining. You veterans have become like a bunch of girls crying for special treatment. You’re not special. Just be proud of what you did and hang with your own kind. You do not deserve any more respect than anyone else.

      • praharin November 27, 2015, 10:09 am

        Are you sure you replied to the right post? Dave didn’t seem to ask for special treatment. However, we veterans are special, in the most literal sense of the word. Less than 10% of the US population are veterans, and most of them now are volunteers. Your condescending attitude reeks of jealousy.

        • Mikey November 27, 2015, 11:46 am

          You are a real piece of work. If the veterans had not served this country ignorant folks like you might not have the freedom to make such ignorant public statements. I am a ‘Nam river boat veteran that knows the fear that a “kid” faces when his ass is on the line defending the rights of folks like you. Let us know if you ever do do something for mankind. WE WILL THANK YOU.

          Crawl back in you hole pud.

      • hdfinder47 November 27, 2015, 10:10 am

        Real hard a$$ hiding behind a keyboard, huh? Go upstairs and get some chocolate milk from mommy, then come back down to your basement domain and show us how tough you are on the internet again. Wimp.

        • JOE CHENEY November 27, 2015, 4:42 pm


      • Judi November 27, 2015, 10:54 am

        You’re an idiot. Go crawl back under the rock you came out from under… with the rest of the slime.

        And to Jack and the vets who’ve posted here: Thank you so very much for your service to our country!

      • kawa1 November 27, 2015, 11:32 am

        Awwww, Willy, are you still sleeping with your hands in your jammies again?????? Remember mommy told you not to do that because you get upset when nothing “Big” happens….
        Welcome home Jack.

      • Andrew N. November 27, 2015, 11:39 am

        Willy-At least you are named correctly, since “willy” is slang for a DICK! You sound like the rest of the Libtards who think freedom is free. It’s not. People in the military risk their lives on a regular basis, and don’t ask much in return. A little respect from ass-bags like you would be a start. Respect is earned, not given, and anyone who has served has EARNED that respect. Now go cry to your boyfriend, or maybe join a “Elect Hillary” group in your area, but stay out of conversations you don’t understand. Semper Fi Jack Hughes. USN 1979-1992, now 100% Disabled Vet

      • Jeff November 27, 2015, 2:26 pm

        Go back to the Diaper Brigade, wee Willy.

      • larry liss November 27, 2015, 2:46 pm

        21 year army vet retired now a police officer
        i was told by my annual certification instructor that 10 minutes of combat in the army will be more action than a police officer will see in 30 years .you are a silly child who pisses in his pants. i know your type

      • john November 27, 2015, 5:08 pm

        who in the hell are you? i am betting that you are a total subhuman scum bag. send your address so that you have to own up to your insipid, rude and unamerican comments. i am a combat vet with 101st airborne and i have determined that instead of a brain, your mispiped colon has put shit where your brains should be.

      • derral henderson November 27, 2015, 5:59 pm

        You are just like the fool we have in the white house..You have no clue what we veterans have done for people like you…And I’m wondering why we are pertecting you ass now, and did when I was in country……Anyway screw you …Nam 68/69

      • GotShot1 November 27, 2015, 6:18 pm

        REALLY –You POS — you’ve obliviously never have given any service or had a family member do so. Even the guys that signed up to be cooks didn’t know if they would be in a Hot Zone. We all had the understanding that we were signing up for
        ANYTHING/ANYWHERE/ANYTIME. As Jack said– I’d just prefer that you said thank you.
        We’re not asking for MORE RESPECT —- just some.
        Gotshot1– Germany 3/35th Bravo Battery Peden 1982 (8 Inch SP)—- TDY Korea 82-83
        ps—- Jinro sojou Hell Yeah

      • derralh November 27, 2015, 6:23 pm

        willy or dick what ever you go by screw you, and everyone like you Nam 68/69

      • GradyPhilpott November 27, 2015, 10:04 pm


        You’re an ass. I don’t ask for any special treatment, but I certainly do deserve more respect than some punk who’s never done anything in his pathetic life for anyone but his own lousy self and who avoids any effort to show gratitude toward those who’ve served and in some cases given the full measure for the freedom our nation enjoys. I’d firmly place you in that category. You’re just a sponge.

  • James E Bailey November 27, 2015, 3:33 am

    Thank you for your service, Jack. Unfortunately you ran into assholes with no respect.
    11th Armored Cavalry, 1st Bn., 7th Army, Germany (1959-1962)

  • USproudVET November 27, 2015, 3:21 am

    I am a 100% disabled Army vet. I have had the same thing happen to myself from other “soldier’s”. They too, were less than honest with their apology after learning they had made a major FUBAR! There are those military “shitbirds” out there that think they walk on water and all they do is tarnish the image for all other veterans. We just have to let it go when it happens and chalk it up to good old “human nature”.
    Thank you for your service, Mr. Hughes! The majority of American’s appreciate your sacrifice and service, brother!

  • Bill November 27, 2015, 2:27 am

    He should have ignored the rat bastard and went on his way… If the dirty rotten skumbag laid a hand on you, press charges on the turd and put him in jail……

  • SGT (Ret) Mike Galey November 23, 2015, 11:35 pm

    Jack Huges, I’ve been there 1970-1971 Navy PBRs and WestPac 1971-1972 USS Kitty Hawk (CVA/CV-63) hang in there leather neck remember you don’t need to prove anything to those shit-birds. Semper Fi and welcome home my brother.

  • frank romo November 21, 2015, 4:18 pm

    Thanks for your service Mr Huges, you did your time in hell, now tell these REMF’s to pound salt.
    USAF Combat Photographer
    Frank Romo
    Phu Cat AB
    Det 16 600 Photo

  • Tom G November 20, 2015, 6:52 pm

    Like my drill instructors used to say,” 10 percent of Marines are shit birds” Unfortunately this poor fellow met a few from that category. Semper fi Jack Huges !

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