Pentagon Finally Pulls Captain's Prank Portrait

Fake painting was smuggled in, hung on wall for a year
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2012 3:54 PM CDT
Updated Apr 21, 2012 7:00 PM CDT
Pentagon Finally Pulls Captain's Prank Portrait

(Newser) – For almost a year, a portrait hung on the Pentagon wall commemorating Ensign Chuck Hord, "lost at sea" in 1908. Seems that no one noticed that the turn-of-the-century sailor had blow-dried hair, or that what appeared to be an oil painting was actually a stylized photograph. Indeed, "Chuck Hord" never even existed: The portrait was a snapshot of Capt. Tuck Hord, a 53-year-old Navy retiree living in Virginia, the Wall Street Journal reports. The formal photo was taken in 1982 at the request of Hord's parents. From there, it gets weird.

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After a 2004 party at Hord's home, a military buddy snuck out with a 3-foot copy of the image, which he hung in Hord's Pentagon office. When visitors commented on its aged appearance, a Canadian officer decided to play a prank: He had it engraved with Hord's name—misspelled by the jeweler as "Chuck"—and the "lost at sea" caption. Early one morning in July 2011, he hung it in a hallowed Pentagon hallway, where no one took much notice. But the hairstyle tipped off Journal reporters, whose questions prompted Pentagon suspicion; now, the portrait has been removed. Hord is disappointed: "This was going to put me in perpetuity in the Pentagon," he says. (Read more Pentagon stories.)

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