Could This Marine Protesting In Utah Be A Case Of Stolen Valor?

Someone wearing a United States Marine Dress Blue Uniform has been photographed protesting the death of George Floyd in front of the Utah Capitol Building with tape over his mouth with the message “I can’t breathe.” The Marine has been identified as Todd Winn.

I have no problem with anyone peacefully protesting but when it comes to our military men and women in uniform kneeling before protesters or wearing their Dress Blues to highlight a political statement I have a problem with that and in my opinion it is inappropriate!

That aside looking at the pictures of this Marine’s uniform and the row of medals he has displayed on his chest raise even more serious questions as to whether this person is even a Marine and if he is a Marine has he actually earned all the medals on his chest? Could this be another case of stolen valor?

I am a Sergeant of Marines who has been out of uniform for over 30 years now so hopefully there are some younger Marines more current on these things but there are several things that have caught my attention that causes me to question this person’s validity… Here they are:

1. He is a Lance Corporal displaying 2 Purple Hearts… Not impossible but for a L/Cpl with under four years of service, but it raises suspicion.

2. The second medal from the right on is chest appears to be an Iraq Campaign Medal with two stars… Each star would represent an additional award. I suppose it’s possible a L/Cpl with 4 years or less time in service could have done 3 tours in Iraq but again, that really raises my suspicion if I have properly identified the medal. If I am wrong hopefully someone will help us out here. 🙂

3. For those wondering how I know he has 4 years or less time in service it’s because he has no hash-mark. (a slanted patch on the lower sleeve)

Even if I am wrong about the questions of stolen valor, our military men and women have no business using their uniform to make political statements. When we raise out hand to defend this great nation we do so regardless of which party in in control and it is our responsibility to protect the rights of the citizens to protest peacefully as much and as long as possible… We don’t do this by getting involved with their cause… The cause is not important, some may agree with certain causes and some may disagree with certain causes but regardless of your individual personal belief in the cause, we all believe you have a right to peacefully assemble and advocate for that cause.

If an active or retired military member wants to protest for a particular cause, fine, that’s a right they have too, but don’t wear your uniform and don’t do it while you are providing security for citizens of all opinions to express themselves… Professionalism… It’s important!

Please share your thoughts in the comments and if you have anything to add or correct in regard to my observations about his uniform and medals displayed please do… I acknowledge I’m not real familiar with some of the current awards.


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