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Old 04-23-2004, 06:53 AM
thedrifter thedrifter is offline
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Cool Phony Marine crashes funeral

Phony Marine crashes funeral
By Eugene Mulero, Daily Record

Walter K. Carlson has never served in the military, but that didn't stop him from wearing a Marine dress uniform decorated with two dozen medals at a funeral for a Morris County Marine officer on Wednesday.

That is the charge filed against the Summit man by the FBI.

Carlson, 58, was summoned to appear today at 2:30 p.m. at U.S. District Court in Newark before Judge Ronald J. Hedges on charges of illegally wearing military awards at the funeral of Marine Lt. John Thomas "J.T." Wroblewski at Our Lady of the Mountain Church in Washington Township. Wroblewski, 25, who grew up in Jefferson, is Morris County's first fatality in the Iraq war. He will be buried today at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

FBI agent Thomas A. Cottone, who was at the funeral, said that Carlson was at the funeral wearing a Marine Corps dress uniform with 24 medals. The uniform bore insignias indicating rank of captain.

"When I saw him wearing those medals, I knew right away what he was doing," said Cottone, who specializes in apprehending people who illegally wear military awards, particularly Congressional Medals of Honor.

Cottone, a parishioner at Our Lady of the Mountain Church, said Carlson first claimed to have earned the medals but later admitted that he had never served in the military.

"I know about 90 percent of all highly decorated officers in the state, and I didn't recognize him," Cottone said.

According to Carlson, who spoke with the Daily Record by phone Thursday, he attended the funeral to personally feel respected and also to honor Wroblewski. He admitted to dressing up as a Marine on almost a dozen other times prior to the funeral. Carlson said he had attended Veterans Day and Memorial Day events in Morris County.

"I did this for myself, nobody else. I always wanted to be in the Marines. I knew one day I would get caught," Carlson said, from his home during the phone interview. "Growing up I was picked on."

Carlson said he never had a psychiatric evaluation, but takes medication for his diabetes. He has lived in Summit almost all his life and works in Dover.

Carlson said a friend who is a veteran gave him access to a military store where he could purchase Marine uniforms and medals.

Agent Cottone explained that common reasons why people decide to impersonate military officers is to impress others, financial gain or because they always wanted to be in the military.

"People who wear these medals falsely do a great disservice to those who earned them. Many Marines have died to serve our country and rightly earn their awards posthumously," Cottone said.

Cottone was made an honorary Marine by the Commandant of the Corps for his work. Cottone is also the FBI's national case agent for investigations into illegal wearing of military awards, he said.

Walter K. Carlson, center, attends the funeral for Marine Lt. John Thomas "J.T." Wroblewski. Directly in front of Carlson are Wroblewski's parents, Shawn and John Walter Wroblewski. Dawn Benko / Daily Record

SSgt. Roger A.
One Proud Marine
Once A Marine............Always A Marine.............
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:06 AM
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Bill Farnie Bill Farnie is offline
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I'm so glad this jackass was exposed for the jerk that he is.
Good job agent Thomas A. Cottone

506th Infantry "Stands Alone"

It is well that war is so terrible, or we should get too fond of it. General Robert E. Lee
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