The Associated Press reports that Jesse Bernard Johnston III, 26, (right) was assigned in February to the Corps Support Airplane Company at the Fort Worth Naval Air Station. He was allowed to join as a sergeant, but he wasn't qualified to hold that rank, according to military records obtained by the AP.
His only military experience, the records show, was attending part of a 12-week Marine officer candidate course for college students in 2004. But he didn't graduate and, therefore, "was never considered a Marine," said a Marine Corps personnel officer.
Nevertheless, Johnston dressed up like one, attending functions where people shook his hand and commented on the medals he wore.
This case, wrote the AP's Danny Robbins "comes just months after the Army drew criticism for failing to flag the suspicious activities of the Army psychiatrist now charged with killing 13 and wounding dozens of others at Fort Hood."
"While the soldier never deployed overseas," Robbins added, "some say the case demonstrates how easily someone could pose as a member of the U.S. military."
The traditional memorial of boots, helmet and rifle (left) were displayed this week at a service for Petty Officer 3rd Class Zarian A. Wood, 29, who died Sunday in Afghanistan after a roadside bomb exploded while he was on patrol.
-- Bill Miller