At first, Johnson offered very few details. When asked about it, he said, "I don't talk much about it. I never do. It's something that's past. Let it be." I can only assume that he followed up by adjusting his Aviators and turning toward a sunset. However, these generalities eventually turned into specifics like wading through rice paddies, dealing with Agent Orange, and "killing a girl and her little brother because they were in the line of fire." Nothing like accidental child murder to hone those fastballs!
Pitcher Roger Clemens felt so inspired that he decided to get Johnson a custom motorcycle helmet with his unit logo on it as a birthday gift. Clemens checked around, but couldn't find which unit his manager served under, so he called Johnson's wife. Since they apparently never talked Full Metal Jacket at the dinner table, she told Clemens that it never happened. Word spread, and soon the media got wind of the sweet smell of bullshit in the morning.
It turned out Johnson had indeed served in the Marine Corps, but he was stationed in California and never saw combat. After a drawn-out and very public shaming, Johnson was fired from the Blue Jays in 1999, and his career hasn't recovered in the two decades since. He found work managing a team in Mexico, where reportedly one cheeky sports agent asked whether he was "telling his players he fought at the Alamo."
While we're on the subject ...
Related: A Terrifying True Fable That Will Make You Never Lie Again
A Bunch Of Soldiers Staged A Fake Battle So They'd Look Heroic
India's Gurkha soldiers are regarded as one of the most badass military regiments in the world. They carry massive curved knives called kukri, and their motto is "Better to die than be a coward," which is something I've only said when walking back to a buffet. Sometimes, though, proving your bravery on the battlefield can be tricky, what with the whole potentially dying thing.
That's likely why one group of Gurkhas decided it was easier to just stage an elaborate battle -- all the credit, none of the risk. So in 2003, a battalion from the 5 Gurkha Rifles Regiment claimed they fought off Pakistani troops on the 21,000-foot Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir. They even had video footage of the dramatic encounter, during which they supposedly killed 52 opposing soldiers and blew up bunkers. Obviously, commanders were impressed. They had displayed superhuman skills, the kind of stuff you only see when you've been playing a new Call Of Duty for two weeks and your friend only got their copy this afternoon.
The lie was exposed after a major who had, incredibly, gotten wounded during the fake battle, blew the whistle on it. A commander also became suspicious of the abnormally high level of kills reported. Of course, there was also the fact that Pakistani forces didn't seem bothered by, or even aware of, their spectacular defeat, and that some of the footage was missing a common feature of battle: gunshots.
After an investigation, the country's defense ministry found that Indian soldiers were pretending to be dead Pakistani troops. The same officials also admitted that military operations based on inflated or false information is kind of a common thing. It's just that most don't go as far as to choreograph an action scene to back up their claim. Maybe in the future, soldiers on the ground will fight entire wars this way, just faking for the cameras until their leaders decide to negotiate a truce.
Devin Pacholik is a Canadian writer known for being a decorated astronaut, sexy neurosurgeon and completely honest guy from Saskatchewan. He has a website or you can follow him on Twitter.
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