Stolen Valor an issue?

Just curious if any members here cosplaying as a Joe ever ran into issues with someone griping about stolen valor for wearing military insignias or uniforms? Is anyone hesitant to do a character due to this perception?

Only wear the costumes at cons, never had issue. People dress in some really tasteless things at cons and it’s not an issue… for some folks at least. I think it’s important that we as Finest don’t be wearing our costumes outside in public or in social settings away from a convention/cosplay event. I know of one person who was walking around in full costume in public and was getting thanks for his service and offered special treatment, and he accepted it. That right there was stolen valor and very wrong of him.

Any time I ever have to leave an event and still have a costume on for any reason, I remove any insignia from my outfit. I take off any patches that may be velcrod on, remove any actual service pins, and so on. But I typically try to always have a change of shirt or clothing on hand for these situations.

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I was worried about Keel Haul, since he is the closest I have to real life (3 star admiral, a rack, wings, scrambled egg hat, etc). The worst problem I had was being mistaken for Freddie Mercury at Retro Con one year. LOL. It’s the main reason I make the Joe patches, so we don’t have this problem.


No, no one has ever said anything to me at an event. I’ll occasionally get a “Thank you for your Service” from a kid which I reply “I’m a pretend soldier, the real heroes are in the military branches”.

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My son does Footloose and Flint, and sometimes people think he is active duty or a veteran. He quickly points to the Joe patches and the fake weapons. My Breaker outfit and laser rifle is obviously not actual military! No one has ever called either of us out for stolen valor. But we only wear the Joe gear for events- comic cons, charitable events, photoshoots, etc.
Additionally, no one has accused us of stolen valor when we have done WWII reenacting.

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i would skip the CIB, purple heart, medal of honor, and stuff like that.

even when i did ww2 i wore a EIB and other ribbons not related to combat specific awards.

Hm… i have an idea for this too. But i have never had an issue on stolen valor. However being addressed as a two star General, as active. No. Again i proudly wear my uncle and father’s ribbons on Hawk’s jacket to commemorate them. I never take them as mine.
But never got any complaints.

Never had an issue with it. One time had to take a shuttle bus from a parking lot to the main con area as Shipwreck and the bus driver thanked me for my service. It was a little awkward. But that was the only instance of anything I had in a Joe costume.

I got mistaken for being a NASCAR driver once when wearing a TIE Fighter Pilot suit, so it is easy to get misidentified when wearing something that is near to what a citizen understands it to be.

This is an excellent topic. As a personal preference I have never and am not ever going to wear ribbons or medals with any costume I do.

I know of cases where an imposter was trying to act like a badass and when called out claimed he was just honoring the troops. I have had veterans misrepresent their service because they didn’t feel bad ass enough.

What we, and other military based fandoms, don’t do is claim anything we have done as actual service. I have seen fans wear military ribbons, a few I earned myself after 20 years in the Navy, and I asked about it and there was such an earnest desire to respect the source, and they were not trying to get a discount at Hooters.

Just don’t be a douche and say you are something you are not. I fully admitted to not being a NASCAR fan.

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