Checking Military Credentials

Hey all,

I don’t mean to sound jerky or paranoid, but I’ve been hanging out recently with a guy who’s been telling me a lot of stories about his military days and the honors he ecrued (sp?) in them. A lot of these stories seem a bit, well, over-the-top. I know he was -in- the military, but I’m wondering if there’s some way to check out the nature of some of his supposed awards he received (other than asking to see the damn things)? I figure awards would be something that would be relatively easy to look up the recipients of, or am I mistaken?

This site will check out whether people who claim to be Navy SEALS are truthful. lists all Medal of Honor recipients.

Nah, he’s never gone -that- far over the top. cmoh is way too easy to check up on.

The easiest way is to look at his DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge From Active Duty). This is a standard form used by all branches of the military that lists specialties, decorations and military education. Everyone who leaves active duty receives one.
Unfortunately you would have to ask him for it since it’s not the type of thing you would hang on the wall.

The only award I can think of that you can look up recipients of is the Medal of Honor. You can find it at

And on preview I see that Mr. Moto has beat me to it.

Convict has it spot on. What you can do, short of asking him for the DD214 (Certificate of Discharge and Release from Active Duty) is to pay attention to the stuff he says. After that, check the web for the units he says he was in. If those units have never been, say, in Vietnam and he swears he’s gotten a bunch of awards for his service in Vietnam, you’ve caught him out.

BTW, the spelling you seek is accrued.

DD-214s are public records - try the county clerk’s office where he was discharged. Onyl the veteran can file a waiver to have it removed from public record.

NIT33: Instead of asking you for a cite for that assertion, I’ll just go ahead and set you straight.

DD Forms 214 are not public records. They are a part of an individual’s service record, and as such, are protected by the Privacy Act.

Some (many, even) Service Members have elected to have their DD214 entered into their county’s public records. That’s a choice voluntarily made by the Service Member concerned.

If you want to know more than you ever did before about the form, to inlcude its preparation and distribution, you can access the Navy’s relevant instruction at:

From that link, I quote from Enclosure (1):

If you can recall specific stories with enough details, we have quite the range of military folks here, past and present, who could chime in with “that sounds kosher” or “No friggin way” with some degree of reliability.

When he is telling sea stories, ask specifics. What unit? What Operation? What dates? Stammering and “If I told you I’d have to kill you” replies can raise the BS flag sometimes.

UncleBill beat me to it. Bring some of those stories here, and let the countless military dopers on the board attempt to verify/debunk them. I would also suggest asking specifics about the medals in questions. Such as, what does it look like. Someone with a pretty senior medal would most probably know its description immediately.