If you are a veteran who served honorably, BEWARE. You may eventually become a target for character assassination like Vietnam Era veteran Wayne Hayden and others. All over America, organized groups of former military turned Stolen Valor exposers are on the hunt. Knowingly and willfully publishing embellished and fabricated stories of alleged stolen valor. Their rumor mill is well funded and vindictive. Last week I wrote a story describing one of these attacks. This follow up will reveal facts I purposely withheld. More articles will follow.
In my prior article, detailing the alleged harassment and patterned cyber stalking of a disabled Colorado veteran, I attempted to impeach a group of former and active duty military for their organized effort to destroy a man who refused to submit to extortion. He is not the only one.
The article provided Wayne Hayden’s military service records and refuted false claims—published for over a year—of Hayden’s service embellishment. The military records provided showed Hayden completed Basic Training, was stationed for a time at Ft. McClellan, served in an artillery unit in Korea, received high marks and was honorably discharged for his service to our nation. However, the “Military Phonies” blog—and others who operate businesses and blogs financially dependent on donations and advertising revenue from those who support hunting alleged Stolen Valor claims—refuse to clear his name.
After reviewing Hayden’s service records, and my story, government and military sources have confirmed Wayne Hayden has not violated the Stolen Valor Act, the charges leveled against him by “Military Phonies” and other Stolen Valor Mafia have no credibility and no investigation of his foundation or Hayden is justified. According to existing statutes, committing an act of stolen valor must include false claims of, or embellishment of, military service and/or honors for financial benefit. Hayden has done neither.
The one remaining Stolen Valor Mafia claim disputing Hayden’s Nuclear Biological and Chemical weapons training while stationed in Korea is currently being investigated, at Hayden’s request, by the Department of Defense. Like many veterans, Hayden’s service record is not complete. This is a common problem for our veterans, especially Vietnam and Vietnam Era veterans. Requests for corrections are often slow to come.
One must ask why the Stolen Valor Mafia continues to level more manufactured and defamatory allegations to support their claims against Hayden. Let us take a closer look.
As told to me by Wayne Hayden, a year ago an active duty Army soldier, Eric Skinner (E6), with alleged ties to the “Military Phonies” blog and Military poser Facebook page, volunteered to participate in a Facebook group administered by Mr. Hayden for his private Colorado foundation, “Saving our Soldiers.”
According to Hayden, a man named Walter Mooney contacted Hayden and suggested an Army Major named Eric Skinner was interested in helping Hayden with his foundation’s work. After being contacted by Skinner and having a Facebook conversation, Hayden welcomed Skinner (actually not a Major) to his foundations Facebook group. Skinner claimed to want to help with Hayden’s efforts to assist veterans in trouble. However, nothing could have been further from the truth.
Before long, Eric Skinner began vilifying any member of the group who disagreed with his desire to grow the foundation into an IRS not-for-profit. Any individual who disagreed with this active duty soldier’s plan was scrutinized, excoriated and eventually ejected from the group. Those ejected would be replaced by men of impeccable character recommended by Skinner. Ultimately, Hayden himself would fall victim to Skinner’s Army-honed hunting skills. Skinner would falsely accuse Hayden of supporting and defending an alleged sex offender (a man Hayden did not know and did not bring into the group), of making false claims of serving as an Army helicopter pilot and embellishing his service record. This led to Hayden being forced from his own group.
In response Hayden contacted Skinner’s CO and registered a complaint. The Army issued a “no contact order” for Eric Skinner. To those who do not know, a non-contact order is similar to a civilian “protective order.” It prohibits the party implicated in alleged acts of violence, harassment, tormenting or stalking, from contacting the complaining party or their friends and family by mail, phone or in person. In military cases, it may also require the active duty subject of this order, to surrender their right to carry a firearm off base. In fairness, as a veteran receiving VA care, Hayden by extension, is required to abide by the Uniform code of Military Justice and avoid contact with Skinner as well.
Skinner, now in charge and prohibited from contact with Hayden, shut the Facebook page for “Saving our Soldiers” down and Stolen Valor websites and blogs coincidentally began posting and publishing alleged “evidence” (provided in part by Skinner) of Hayden’s confirmed military service embellishment.
After my January 24, 2014 article published, I sent it to Eric Skinner via a Facebook private message. In turn Skinner contacted me via Facebook privately. I advised him to remain silent. I recommended that he refrain from communicating with me without benefit of counsel. At no time did Skinner request an off the record conversation. Instead of taking my advice, Skinner defended his military service record, begged me to remove his name from the article and provided what he claimed was proof of Hayden’s confirmed guilt, bad character and lies. Eventually, Skinner demanded a retraction, threatened legal action and excoriated me as a hack. I have the complete Facebook private message conversation on file.
It can be found here.
As proof of his allegations of Hayden’s service embellishment, Skinner sent me an unsolicited excerpt from a Facebook communication with veteran Wayne Hayden. Noticeably absent from this conversation are the comments that preceded and followed the four lines Skinner offered as evidence of Hayden’s embellishment. Having a suspicious nature, I questioned the authenticity of this evidence and asked Skinner to provide the entire conversation. It was at this moment that Skinner chose to except my advice and remain silent.
This is the Facebook conversation Skinner provided to me. It has been republished by countless stolen valor mafia sites and blogs for the better part of a year.
To back up his allegations, Skinner also included a screen print of Hayden’s Facebook profile showing Hayden as having listed “Helicopters” on his list of Army accomplishments.
According to Hayden, this conversation is contextually misleading. Hayden admits to the unintentional and potentially misleading addition of “Helicopters” in his profile. He claims it was an innocent and poorly worded inclusion to his profile. He admits that when questioned by Skinner about this profile detail, he clarified the misunderstanding with Skinner in the very same incomplete Facebook communication sent to me by Skinner. After recognizing the problem, Hayden immediately changed his Facebook profile to “Helicopter School,” which still remains today. Moreover, this profile detail was included to document Hayden’s participation in an Army correspondence school course required to pursue a Helicopters pilot’s license after Hayden’s discharge. According to Hayden, he never represented himself as an Army Helicopter pilot to anyone and Eric Skinner allegations are lies.
It bears mentioning, this unverifiable Facebook page excerpt, provided by a member of our active duty Army, with an obvious axe to grind, is regularly cited, promoted and defended by some Stolen Valor movement leaders (veterans Jonn Lilyea of blog “This Ain’t Hell” and his attorney, Mark Seavey, “war reporter,” “New Media Manager for the American Legion” and writer for Legion blog “The Burn Pit”) as proof of Wayne Hayden’s service embellishment.
I have also been attacked as a lying yellow journalist by dozens of Stolen Valor Mafia affiliates on Freedomoutpost.com, Facebook and a variety of blogs. Many of the Mafia’s comments—as well as Skinner’s—suggest this was a coordinated attack designed to influence me to pull the story. To this writer, this appears to be purposeful attack designed to hide something more insidious, but then again, I am just a hack, right?
From all accounts, the questionable evidence provided to me by Eric Skinner supports Hayden’s claims of unfair, purposeful and dishonest targeting by Stolen Valor groups; groups with confirmed allies at the Department of the Army and the American Legion, America’s largest Veteran’s service Organization. I will let you judge for yourself. It’s getting “Curiouser and Curiouser.”
My next article will explore the business of Stolen Valor organizations, its players, agenda and the honored and decorated veterans they have attacked. You will be enraged.Don't forget to Like Freedom Outpost on Facebook and Twitter, and follow our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.