Marine fakers and the Marine who took them down


By the end of this week, this picture had circulated widely, and all I could think of was Chuck Schantag, a retired Marine infantryman whose mission was to expose people like this.

This  “Marine-SEAL-EOD master gunnery sergeant,” a man of fantasy who has not yet been identified by name, has been called plenty of names by those who’ve sen the picture. Troops, supporters of troops and probably even some hippies are incensed.

He’s wearing almost every ribbon in the inventory including World War II, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan, plus a Navy Cross, a SEAL trident, the EOD “crab,” an aiguillette, marksmanship badges, an aviator badge, etc., etc.

Thousands of impostors like this have been exposed by P.O.W. Network, a web site launched in 1989 by Chuck Schantag and the woman he would marry four years later, Mary.

For years, Chuck and Mary and their vast  network of countless vigilant supporters, have dug up pictures, documents, videos and other evidence against posers and then posted it all on the site:

P.O.W. Network and the fight against stolen valor are still going strong, but Chuck is gone. He died Feb. 23  in his “man cave” near Branson, Mo., where he and some buddies planned to make hamburgers with a steer they had butchered.

“It’s a pigsty hunting camp where they’d go out and chase armadillos, come back, reload and go out again,” Mary told me a few days after Chuck’s death.

Charles “Chuck” Patrick Schantag, Jr. served in Vietnam and was there during the Tet offensive in 1968. He was a Purple Heart recipient. He was 64 when he died.

Fakers angered Chuck, Mary said, because they claimed what his buddies earned “and some didn’t make it back, they didn’t have a chance to survive and raise their own families.”

Mary said talked to Chuck on the phone about 30 minutes before he collapsed of a heart attack while sitting at the table with his friends.

“The last thing we said to each other was ‘I love you.'”

Mary and Chuck Schantag


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  1. Doug Sterner on

    We can never repay Chuch for his service, not only in uniform but his life-time of efforts to preserve the integrity of his beloved Corps after his honorable discharge. The best we can do is remember his first love…Mary…in our thoughts and prayers. Despite her loss and grief, she is still continuing that important work.

  2. I’ve had family members from multiple wars who proudly served. My sincerest thanks and appreciation go out to Chuck and Mary for such dedication to honor.

    My condolences to Mary and hopes that she takes peace in the final words they had together.

  3. Sempre Gumby. I actively do my best to expose fakers. People that failed out of boot or in their first 180 days and never knew what it is to be a member of the military. I am a sailor, but I have worn woodlands and deserts my entire career. I’ve been through hell and I will not stand by while some poser claims glory. If you’d been there, you wouldn’t brag about it.

  4. Mary, Chuck and have been in our prayers. He will be greatly missed but not forgotten. Please email me your address as I would like to send condolences. God bless, Mark

  5. Roberto Bouret on

    .. “and probably even some hippies are incensed.”… Well, this old hippy is not incensed. Actually I’m busting a gut laughing. This reminds me of “el Coronel” who used to direct traffic at the corner of Fortaleza and Cristo streets, and also over by “Patio de Sam” next to Plaza San José. After I finish laughing, then comes the sad realization that I live in a world where grown men are still rapt in awe of all these silly trinkets they sow on their coats!

  6. How could someone do that to the Marine Corps, there are to many people who think that they can get away with that crap. You disgrace all of the men and women in the armed forces. Shame on you. I am grateful that men like Charles exposed the imposters and brought them to justice. May you Rest In Peace.

  7. RIP Charles. Mary, my prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family. Thank for the great work you have done.

  8. Chuck Brewer on

    Guys! This a-hole only has THREE hashmarks and he’s a Sergeant Major? Yeah, right. And there is one thing that gives him away. What is it do you say? Why, just look at his buckle. No self respecting Marine would screw up his military alignment the way this jerk has. Nuff said!

    Semper Fi all you legitimate Brothers and Sisters. OOHRAH!!

    Charles (Chuck) Brewer, Sergeant of Marines, Vietnam 1969-1970, Honorary lifetime member USMC Combat Helicopter Assoc. (, Co-Founded Adopt-A-Shop-with Corporal Wally Beddoe, Excellent Marine, retired Webmaster USMC Combat Helicopter Assoc.,My MOS 6511 Aviation Ordnance, IYAOYAS, Door Gunner HMM-263 1970, and all around Good Marine. Love the Corps, can’t stand Posers!!

  9. Chase Ford on

    Chuck was a man who stood for something..most people don’t stand for anything..and that is why America is in the shape its in today. ASVEI was organized to stand up for what is right regarding the treatment of our veterans..and serves no other purpose than that. Men like Chuck understand why.

  10. Too bad he doesn’t know the 1/8th of an inch rule with badges and ribbons, well the distance between a Ribbon and Badge must be… He makes my uniform look like crap too.. Hope they find this guy even though its from April 6th,2012.. Just saying.

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