No time for fake sergeants: Marine guarding California school lied about service record

| January 4, 2013 | Reply
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Screen capture of a Facebook meme about former Marine Craig Pusley guarding a California school. Not only is Pusley not facing disciplinary charges from the Marine Corps for wearing fatigues in public instead of a dress uniform, the ex-Marine lied about his rank and service record.

Jan. 4, 2013 screen capture of a circulating Facebook meme (and photo stolen from The Associated Press) which claims former Marine Craig Pusley is facing military discipline and a hefty fine for wearing fatigues instead of a dress uniform while “standing guard” outside his son’s California elementary school in December 2012. Pusley can’t face military discipline because he’s not actually in the military anymore. School officials asked the tattoo artist (an ex-Marine) to leave after it was revealed he’d been lying to both them and the public about his reserve enlistment status, rank and military service record.

I noticed this meme circulating on Facebook today after several of my friends shared it:

5 yrs in Prison??? $10,000.00 fine????/ Shame!!!! He needs to be applauded!! Make this go viral!! Share!!!

This is messed up

Valley marine calls himself to duty at an Elementary school. Sgt. Craig Pusley wears his desert camo fatigues…no weapons…just him. Took it upon himself to go to the nearby school and stand watch outside. The school loved it. The principal thanked him. No breaks…just his heart felt need to do this. His reward? Marine Corp Reservists says he violated protocol bt wearing his fatigues and not his dress uniform in public. Facing $10,000 fine and 5 years in prison. Also getting a “dishonorable” stamp on his “honorable” discharge. He served 2 tours in iraq, in Baghdad and Ramadi. One in Helmand province of Afghanistan before leaving active duty.

Now he is writing a letter to the President apoligizing for his actions.

WAKE UP! This man is a wonderful outstanding brave hero in my book and to think for a second that his heart felt need to go stand in front of his little neighborhood school was wrong. Screw you! The President should be sending him a Thank you letter.

So I salute you Sgt. Craig Pusley. Thank you!

This is something I would like to see go viral. Let’s stand up and say Thank you to this man who didn’t think twice…he followed his heart and there is no crime in doing that.

The only salute this guy deserves is an upraised middle finger.

What’s really “messed up” is this story’s completely bogus; former Marine Craig Pusley is actually a disgrace to his borrowed uniform.

You see, “Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley” is actually former Pfc. Craig Pusley. The former private first class served approximately nine months in the Marine Corps (July 17, 2007 to April 8, 2008), all of it spent at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

Not only did he never deploy, Marine Corps Times writer Dan Lamothe reports Pusley never even finished military occupational specialty (MOS) school — where soldiers receive training in a vocational specialty — before an unauthorized absence caused him to wash out of the service.

Pusley is a veteran, but not a soldier — he’s a tattoo artist who borrowed somebody else’s uniform and put his old name tapes on it. Standing guard outside his son’s California elementary school is the most action this liar has ever seen.

Marine Corps records prove Pusley lied when telling the Modesto Bee and other media outlets he was a reserve sergeant who’d served two tours in Iraq (in Baghdad and Ramadi) and one tour in the Helmand province of Afghanistan while on active duty. On top of lying about his enlistment status, rank and service record (plus lying about being wounded in combat), Pusley even lied about his age — he told The Bee and other outlets he was 28, while he told the Marine Corps Times he’s 25.

While Pusley’s symbolic action outside the school appeared laudable, what’s not laudable is the fact he seems to be a pathological liar. Why did he lie? What was his motivation? We may never know. Once school officials found out about it, however, the superintendent asked him to leave and he did so without incident.

“I cannot emphasize how sorry I am that all of this has happened,” Pusley told the Marine Corps Times. “These were not my intentions. This was never supposed to happen.” He tried to blame a reporter for misquoting him, but that’s a little hard to get away with (outside politics, anyway) when there’s video of you lying all over the Internet (entertaining video, at that; be sure to watch it).

He told Lamothe he dreamed of becoming a Marine since childhood, but I guess somewhere along the line he missed the parts of the Marine Corps’ core values mentioning honor (“A U.S. Marine must never lie”) and courage (“Simply stated, courage is honor in action”). As Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett, the top enlisted Marine, said after the incident, “The uniform doesn’t make the man. It’s your character that defines you.”

“I think it came from a place of good,” one teacher at the school told McClatchy Newspapers. Pusley himself may have summed it up best, though, when he told a television reporter, “You’re either born to be a Marine or not.”

Clearly, he was not.

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Category: Reality Bytes

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I'm a Mid-South photojournalist, Kentucky writer and digital media consultant (or eNinja™). Circle me on Google Plus at, follow me on Twitter at @surattb and Instagram me at @BillySuratt. Got a news tip or suggestion about some journalism that needs committed? Email (discretion is always guaranteed).