to offer vet database bill
Compilation would allow for identifying heroes and thwarting
John Salazar, D-Colo., will introduce legislation next week to
create a federal database containing the names of all military
personnel and veterans who have been awarded military decorations
authorized by Congress.
The database would allow the public to identify anyone who has
been awarded the military's highest decorations, from the Medal of
Honor and the military crosses, to the Purple Heart, which is
awarded to military personnel wounded in combat.
is being joined in sponsoring the legislation by Rep. Pat Murphy,
D-Pa., and a veteran of the Iraq War.
database would be the second part of a legislative effort Salazar
started in 2005 with the Stolen Valor Act, which makes it a crime
to falsely claim to have been awarded military decorations,
particularly the Medal of Honor and the Navy Cross, Distinguished
Service Cross or the Air Force Cross. Both the Stolen Valor Act,
which President Bush signed last December, and the new
legislation, called the Military Valor Roll of Honor, originated
with Doug and Pam Sterner, a Pueblo couple who began lobbying for
the Stolen Valor Act after learning of the number of people who
are caught each year pretending to be military heroes and claiming
military decorations they were never awarded.
recently, Sterner said the Stolen Valor Act has been used to
identify imposters who falsely have filed claims for benefits from
the Veterans Administration. A week ago, federal prosecutors filed
charges against five men in Seattle who allegedly made false
claims for benefits from the VA, as well as false claims to
this week, charges were filed against a water board director in
Claremont, Calif., who falsely claimed to have received the Medal
"We need to get some congressional hearings on this and then
the public would recognize the extent of the problem and the
benefit of correcting it," Sterner told The Pueblo Chieftain
earlier this week.
In announcing the new legislation, Salazar said, "Having a
readily accessible and public database will not only give the
tools to law enforcement to prosecute fraudulent claims, but will
properly recognize those who have been honored with these
said the comprehensive database would give the public the chance
to identify true heroes and thwart imposters. "This will
cover all the military decorations authorized by Congress,"
Sterner said Friday. "If you were awarded a Bronze Star,
it'll be there in the database."