Photos of 25-year-old Craig Pusley guarding the Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, while wearing his uniform, have circled the globe. The man was standing guard outside the California school following the Newtown, Connecticut shooting.
He claimed he was a former Marine; however, he has been exposed as a fraud. He presented himself as a former sergeant, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
It turns out that Pusley did graduate from boot camp at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, which means he is a “basic Marine,” but was never deployed, nor did he attend military occupational specialty school.
He allegedly fractured his femur during boot camp, and was assigned to the recruit depot for a while. Those who pass through training but do not earn a Military Occupational Specialty job designation are awarded the standard 8000 MOS.
According to the Navy Times, he claims his statement was blown out of proportion and that he never supplied reporters with fake information.
“There’s a lot of fabrication to this story that didn’t come out of my mouth,” Pusley said.
However, he did confess to borrowing a uniform from a friend, not aware that it still had the insignia of a sergeant on it. He replaced the name tags on it with his own.
“I feel horrible about this. [...] My intention was for the kids. I don’t understand why everyone has to find a negative in every situation,” he says.
“I cannot emphasize enough how deeply sorry I am that all of this has happened. [...] These were not my intentions. This was never supposed to happen,” Pusley adds.
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett explains that Marines are not allowed to wear the uniform when they are not on duty, as they are breaking regulations.
“This is not the right thing. Not the right time. And not the right place. [...] The uniform doesn’t make the man. It’s your character that defines you,” Barrett states.