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Marine Captain Called Out After Falsely Accusing Classmate Of Lying About Her Service Record

Marine soldier
Brownie Harris/Getty Images

*The following article contains discussion of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Whether it ends up being the place where we work for the rest of our lives or not, most of us have some work experience that we’re particularly proud of.

But for a field like the military, some will be really proud of the work they did, while others would prefer to keep it in the past, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.

While working with a classmate on a project, Redditor WhatKindOf__ was surprised to discover she shared military experience with him.

But when she couldn’t give any specific details about her experience, the Original Poster (OP) began to suspect she was fabricating her time in the military for attention.

He asked the sub:

“AITA for falsely accusing a veteran of stolen valor, when she couldn’t give any details about her service?”

The OP overheard one of his classmate’s comments about her experience.

“I (34 Male) served as a Captain in the Marine Corps. I have left the service, and right now, I am doing an MBA.”

“One of my classmates (31 Female), who we’ll call ‘J,’ is very gentle, very soft-spoken, and unassuming.”

“J and I were working together on a case study once, and I started opening up to her about my military service and all the lessons that I’ve learned from the Corps.”

“J enthusiastically told me, ‘That’s so cool! I was a Surface Warfare Officer in the Navy!'”

The classmate’s claims seemed unbelievable. 

“I immediately felt suspicious about this claim. As I said, J is very demure, and she doesn’t really have the bravado that is required in the military environment (at least, I feel like a certain amount of bravado is required).”

“I still humored her and began asking about the details of her military experience, like where she deployed, what courses she went through, what ship she served on, etc., etc.”

“Suddenly, J got all tight-lipped, and she couldn’t say anything specific about military life.”

“She kept making excuses along the lines of, ‘It just wasn’t a good period of my life,’ and ‘I’d rather not talk about it.'”

“Eventually, I felt like I had done enough snooping around, and I bluntly told her that she was bulls**tting and that I’d rather not work with a phony.”

The OP soon discovered he was wrong.

“I talked about this experience with my friend, M, at our school’s veterans organization.”

“I told M to be wary of anything J says.”

“M responded by telling me that J did serve, he’s seen her paperwork and ID and everything, and that, in fact, one of her MBA recommendation letters was written by a retired rear admiral (O-8) who held J in high regard.”


The OP wanted a fresh start with his classmate.

“The next time I met J before our class started, I tried to act chummy towards her and make up for accusing her of being a liar.”

“She laughed in my face and told me to, ‘Pound sand, Poolee’ (Get away from me, trainee.)”

“And for those of you who don’t know, yes, she was being derisive here.”


Fellow Redditors weighed in:

  • NTA: Not the A**hole
  • YTA: You’re the A**hole
  • ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
  • NAH: No A**holes Here

Some immediately criticized the OP for making such grand assumptions.

“This is 100% because she’s a woman.” – MarianneTheMom

“Bro, the navy is f**king with my mental health so f**king bad, I wouldn’t wanna talk about it to an inflated ego crayon eater, either.”

“This guy gives ‘tell me how hard it was, so I can tell you how much worse the marines were!’ energy.” – mavvie_p

“OP, YTA. My dad was in the Marines, and even if he didn’t believe someone, he’d never ever behave as you did. You are an embarrassment, and your post reeks of sexism.” – TimeBomb666

“Of course, it’s because she’s a woman. A generally reserved FEMALE lacks the testosterone-soaked manly manliness absolutely essential for military service.”

“I’m sorry, I meant ‘bravado.'”

“As another woman who served, f**k off. Sir.” – drrj

“Let’s see if we can find one way in which the OP was not the AH.”

“I will fabricate details that OP ‘left out,’ so it looks like he’s not the a**hole.”

“Let’s see… so, he did interrogate her on her military service, repeatedly ignored her when she told him repeatedly she didn’t want to talk about it (while also calling it ‘humoring her’), then publicly called her a liar because she was too ‘demure’ and ‘softspoken’ for his taste.”

“…ehr.. granted, this is not an easy one.”


“OP left out the fact that the person in question is, in fact, a talking cat. He didn’t know the army accepted cats. He left this out because it felt impolite to mention it. He didn’t want to sound prejudiced against cats.”

“Obviously, YTA, OP.” – LinusV1

“I’m stuck on the fact that he is STILL using the word ‘humored,’ despite writing with FULL HINDSIGHT, knowing she literally is a vet.”

“Humoring someone is what you do when you have already decided they’re lying. Which he clearly did the second she told him.”

“Also that he not only made the judgment for himself but ran around to advise all of the other males who work with her that she’s basically a deceptive valor-stealing piece of s**t, with absolutely zero bases, and actively attempting to create a hostile environment where she is not welcomed.”

“No f**king way this dude would have heard another man say, ‘I don’t like to talk about it,’ and been like, ‘Oh, he didn’t even serve. I better go tell everyone.'”

“Dude turned what I’m sure she initially felt was a neat conversation with someone who has things in common into a high-pressure suspect interrogation. Zero benefits of the doubt.”

“And the sheer audacity to then try and act as nothing happened and retroactively trying to have that neat conversation as if he didn’t just try to ruin her life… and to come here still wondering if he was the a**hole…”

“I tried to act chummy towards her and make up for accusing her of being a liar.”

“You know how you begin to make up for accusing someone of being a liar? You apologize for accusing them of being a liar.” – krambulaga

“Of course, YTA and you already know this.”

“You interrogated her because she didn’t fit your misogynistic views of what a service person should be.”

“She literally said this was a bad time in her life, and you tried to force it.”

“100% AH.” – Leah_Dephine

“Female veteran here, YTA big time. I can typically spot a male vet a mile off just by the way they walk and carry themselves, but female vets seem just to become invisible after we get out because we go back to dressing normally and abandon military hairstyles as soon as possible!”

“She possibly can not tell you about her deployments and stuff because it may be classified. Even if that is not the case, she does not owe you the details of her enlistment. Not everyone who was in the military had a ‘ra ra, go team America’ experience!”

“I was lucky to get through my service without being sexually assaulted, but it really struck me when I was getting ready to deploy that the biggest danger I would face was the men I would be deployed with. They seriously issued me a huge knife and told me to take it with me when I went to shower and whatnot!”

“Most of the guys I served with were excellent dudes, but there were plenty of sexists and creeps. Plenty of dudes didn’t think women deserved to be there and discounted our service.”

“Also, I often find that the people who talk the most s**t about their service are often inflating their history to fluff their egos, and the more reserved people who rarely mention their service are the ones who are more legit…” – Slamantha3121

Others found it funny that the OP was angry about how he was being treated now.


“Without any evidence, you accused her of something terrible. You were wrong. Why on earth would she want to be ‘chummy’ with someone like you?”

“You seriously think anyone reasonable would think SHE is the a**hole here?”

“Her derisive comment was still more polite than you deserved.” – madelinegumbo

“My spidey senses tell me that any ‘apology’ he gives will sound something like this:”

“‘Oops. Sorry you were offended by my accusations. But you have to understand that you’re such a meek and mild woman and wouldn’t talk to me about it, that I had no choice but to accuse you and then try to damage your reputation with my unfounded claims. So really, this is still all your fault, and I’m the innocent one here.'”

“All said while trying to pat her head condescendingly.” – SayerSong

“Gotta love the ‘tried to act chummy to make up for not believing her.'”

“Not apologized, not even ‘was friendly,’ but tried to act chummy. Corporal Bro over here isn’t even sorry. He’s just annoyed he was wrong.” – activelyresting

“He never once says he apologized, just that he tried to be chummy. Did he accuse her of something, call her a liar, and then not apologize and expect anything from her?” – geezlouise911

“He’s got the audacity to ask if he was the A**hole. As an officer in the Marine Corps, it’s no concept that some people didn’t have a good time or don’t f**kin like to talk about what they did in the service.” – Whoops_Sorry_Mom

“I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if OP reminded her of some a**hole who sexually harassed or assaulted her while she was in the service.”

“He’s obviously sexist and he strikes me as exactly the kind of entitled a**hole who would do something like that. Look how he thinks it’s OK to act ‘chummy’ with her after he called her a liar to her face and slandered her to his friends.” – Veteris71

“You obviously know you were wrong and acted like an arrogant jerk.”

“Instead of acting ‘chummy,’ how about you sincerely apologize to her and ask for forgiveness? Be humble and see where that takes you in life.”

“YTA.” – No_Education_4771

The subReddit was disgusted by how the OP handled this situation and, even more so, how he attempted to resolve it by acting like everything was fine. He made a serious accusation and was wrong. Surely the military would have taught him that an apology was in order.

If you or someone you know experienced sexual assault, help is out there. 

You can reach the RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline by calling 1-800-656-4673, use their Live Chat tool:, or visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.

In Canada, help is available through the Ending Violence Association of Canada website.

International resources can be found through the Rape Crisis Network Europe website.

Written by McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan has been a part of the George Takei family since 2019 when she wrote some of her favorite early pieces: Sesame Street introducing its first character who lived in foster care and Bruce Willis delivering a not-so-Die-Hard opening pitch at a Phillies game. She's gone on to write nearly 3,000 viral and trending stories for George Takei, Comic Sands, Percolately, and ÜberFacts. With an unstoppable love for the written word, she's also an avid reader, poet, and indie novelist.