Over the past decade or two....a number of folks noticed guys standing around and talking up their Silver Star that they won in Vietnam, or the Medal of Honor they won in Afghanistan. A problem developed when folks learned that the guy was a cook in the Army and usually never got past New Jersey for his one and only assignment.
So Congress got called and thought they could make up a law to actually take folks to court, when they falsely claimed medals of valor. You could still claim various Good Conduct Medals, but that didn't really matter.
The Supreme Court got involved, and decided that Congress had passed an illegal law, and that it was OK for an American to lie about medals of valor. Call it free speech or whatever, but they had the right to lie.
So this week, the Pentagon finally stepped into the mess and said that they would start a database to make folks happy. They had been fighting this for a decade....mostly saying that it would have a cost associated with it, pose issues with the Privacy Act, and be fairly inaccurate (the 1973 fire out in St Louis at the National Personnel Records building destroyed the bulk of records collected before 1973). It's best to say that the Pentagon has decided to bend over backwards, and do something has fairly limited value.
Some military unit will be assigned the task now of writing this online database, with probably forty contractors helping to fill up the data and eventually it'll whittle itself down to five guys (my humble opinion). The war in Afghanistan is wrapping up and I doubt if we award more than two hundred medals of valor now on average each year.
The problem here....if you think about this long enough....is if you claim various medals from Vietnam....you will likely get away with it because there just isn't alot of info around to populate that database. The Pentagon is doing this service for a future situation, and eventually all of these liars from the Vietnam War will pass on. That's the best that they can do.....considering the situation.
As for how you will use this database? Well...when Randy down at the VFW says he won four Silver Stars....and you don't see his name in the database....you can go and call Randy a jack-ass liar in front of the guys. You don't need some dimwit Congressman or Senator to help you.....just plain shout them out at the VFW.