US Veteran? maybe not!


Grimsby Lincoln News

Curtis Roush is alleged to have worn medals, including the U.S. Purple Heart and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal, despite not earning them. Roush was a Smithville Legion member, but is no longer on the executive.

Curtis Roush is alleged to have worn medals, including the U.S. Purple Heart and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medal, despite not earning them. Roush was a Smithville Legion member, but is no longer on the executive.

SMITHVILLE — A Smithville Legion executive member is expressing deep remorse as an investigation takes place over medals he wore that he didn’t earn.

Curtis Roush has resigned from his position as first vice president of the branch and volunteered to not enter any Royal Canadian Legion branch after it was discovered he likely didn’t earn two United States Navy medals he was pictured wearing.

“They’re probably right,” Roush said when asked about allegations he wore the Navy’s Purple Heart and U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medals, despite not earning them.

“It’s something I deeply regret,” he said. “There are a lot of people there (at the Legion) that I respect.”

The local branch sent out letters to ordinary members – those who served for the Canadian military – in early December informing those members that Roush had been removed from his position and suspended while investigators look into whether or not he wore medals that he did not earn. Doing so can be a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada. Roush was a First Vice President of the branch.

While Roush isn’t denying he wore the medals, he did say he doesn’t believe he broke the law.

In 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a law that made it a misdemeanor to wear medals one didn’t earn. The court ruled the law was a violation of the First Amendment for free speech. “I’m not saying what I did was right or wrong,” Roush said. “In a lot of ways it probably wasn’t.”

Stolen Valour Canada, with the help of its United States counterparts, conducted a review of all available records after being tipped off about Roush. Stolen Valour is a non-profit organization made up of veteran volunteers who aim to expose military imposters.

“Our findings indicate that Roush appears to be wearing medals, awards, military insignia and accouterments without meeting the legal requirements or having the qualifying service,” said the Stolen Valour Canada research team in an email.

Brent O’Connor, president of the Smithville Legion, declined comment.

“Until we know everything that’s going on, no comment,” he said, adding the branch is taking a step back while Stolen Valour conducts its review.

According to Stolen Valour’s review, Roush is shown wearing what it calls “a most unique group of U.S. medals and insignia on his Legion uniform.”

Among them include a U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Medals, which is the second-highest award for heroism in a non-combat situation. It was awarded to U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1944 for rescuing three shipmates who were blown overboard near the Solomon Islands during the Second World War.

According to the organization’s review Roush is also seen wearing a U.S. Purple Heart Medal, given to individuals wounded in combat, and claimed to be a recipient of the US Navy Cross, the second highest award for heroism in combat.

“There’s absolutely no record of him ever being awarded these medals. This could be due to a series of administrative errors or, it could indicated that Roush has manufactured and/or embellished his claimed military service,” the research team said.

Roush said he was in the U.S. Naval Reserves in 1967 and 1968 before receiving a medical discharge. Roush provided the News with a copy of his discharge, dated July 1, 1969. The document refers to an honourable discharge, and recommendation for re-enlistment.

In a letter to the Smithville Legion executive, Roush offered his sincerest apologies to the branch.

“I have deep respect for those who have fallen, those who have served, and for those who are still serving in the military,” he writes.

He also said a house fire in 1982 makes it difficult him to provide supporting documentation as a reservist.

 “Please let it be known that under no circumstances was any malice intended on my part. I have never had any intention to obtain any sort of gain or benefit in this regard.”

Roush said the medals have since been destroyed.

“I have deep respect for those who have fallen, those who have served, and for those who are still serving in the military,” he writes.

Stolen Valour Canada said it was unable to find any information after performing a “quick look” for any active duty service.

“Unfortunately, without Roush’s social security number, the ‘quick look’ return is not conclusive evidence that he did/didn’t serve in the USN,” the research team said.

Stolen Valour’s American counterparts are currently conducting a Freedom of Access Information request to receive information. The research team said American military members’ records are accessible through Freedom of Information requests, and should clarify the situation. The research team said it could take a couple of weeks.

“However, given the lack of evidence supporting his claims, the inconsistencies apparent in his medals and insignia and, the obviously false claim of being a Navy Cross recipient, indicate to us he’s at least an embellisher if not a full blown military imposter,” the team said.

A Smithville Legion member who spoke to the Grimsby Lincoln News on the condition of anonymity, found out about the letter over the weekend of Dec. 3.

According to the letter, Roush “has been removed from his position on the executive and suspended from the branch for wearing medals he did not earn.” The source didn’t know Roush very well, saying he was a relatively recent addition to the local branch, joining sometime in the past couple of years. Roush said he was a former member of the Beamsville Legion, and joined Smithville in the past two to three years.

The source was unhappy the local branch only sent letters to the ordinary members. “I think it’s something important the community needs to hear,” the source said.

Advertisements

About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
This entry was posted in veterans and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s