Shopper 'Outed' as 'Fake' Soldier in Viral Video

Philadelphia man peppered with questions about his uniform
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2014 5:40 PM CST

An ugly encounter between a decorated US military veteran and a guy wearing camouflage fatigues has spawned a viral video—and may lead to federal charges, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Ryan Berk, a Purple Heart recipient who served with the 101st Airborne Division in Afghanistan, noticed the shopper wearing fatigues at Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Pa., on Black Friday. Recording video on his cell phone, Berk walked up and pretended his son was interested in meeting a bona fide US Army soldier. Then Berk asked about apparent inconsistencies in the man's uniform, including a US flag patch low on his arm and a highly unusual collection of three Combat Infantryman Badges. (The Military Times lists the inconsistencies and identifies the alleged impersonator as Sean Yetman.)

Berk eventually pulled back for a wide shot and said, "Here it is, guys: stolen valor at its finest! He is full of s--t wearing a United States Army uniform." Berk urged him to admit he's "a phony," told him he's breaking the law, and then really got mad: "I've worn that f--in' uniform, and I've had friends get killed in Afghanistan wearing that f--in' uniform!" The video, which has been viewed more than 2.3 million times as of this writing, has inspired a Pennsylvania congressman to seek a federal investigation, the Bucks County Courier Times reports. Wearing a US military uniform is protected by free speech, the Inquirer notes, but is illegal if the wearer claims unearned awards or lies to get a discount. A veteran who runs the Guardian of Valor website says US military impersonators have become more common lately. See the video here. (Read more uniforms stories.)

We use cookies. By Clicking "OK" or any content on this site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. Read more in our privacy policy.
Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.