Imposter Tricks Army to Become an Officer

26-year-old with no experience put in position to lead troops
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 21, 2010 9:34 AM CDT
This undated photo shows Jesse Bernard Johnston III, 26, wearing a Marine dress uniform with ribbons and medals even though records show he never served in the Marine Corps.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A Texas man with no military experience managed to trick the Army into letting him enter a reserve unit as a noncommissioned officer earlier this year, putting an untrained soldier in a leadership position in a time of war, an AP investigation has found. Jesse Bernard Johnston III, 26, joined the Army reserve as a sergeant, even though records show he hadn't been to boot camp, much less acquired any service time. He was never deployed overseas, but his Fort Worth unit, the Corps Support Airplane Company, has been deployed in Iraq.

Johnston's only qualification was a 12-week Marine officer candidate course for college students, taken in 2004. But he didn't complete the course's final six weeks, a Marine spokesman said. "He was never considered a Marine." The army is currently investigating the matter. "This just raises some incredibly significant issues," says one Republican congressman who's pushing to create a single database for all military records.

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