Man charged with impersonating a Marine faces prison time

Sunday, October 15, 2006

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Springfield man accused of illegally wearing a U.S. Marine Corps uniform and medals conducted himself in an "unconscionable" manner, a federal prosecutor said.

Michael Paul Bramlett, 34, made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court on Friday. He was indicted June 23 on two misdemeanor counts and faces up to one year in prison without parole and a fine of up to $10,000 if convicted.

"Particularly at a time when America's brave men and women in uniform are putting their very lives on the line in defense of freedom and democracy overseas ... [Bramlett's] actions, which have brought dishonor to himself, are an affront to the courageous soldiers who don the uniform every day," federal prosecutor Bradley Schlozman said in a statement.

Bramlett served in the Navy for three months in 1989 but never served in the Marines.

But prosecutors allege he appeared publicly last December wearing a Marine Corps uniform as well as decorations, medals, badges and ribbons of the armed forces without authorization.

Frank Atkinson, who served in the Navy and was attached to a Marine unit during Vietnam, said Bramlett wore the uniform and decorations at several Marine Corps League events during that time.

"Originally he came in to the installation dinner that we had about year ago, and he showed up wearing dress blues as a Marine Corps captain," Atkinson said. "He was wearing ribbons and everything like that."

He said Bramlett wore a Silver Star and several Purple Hearts and told of being wounded in Iraq by an improvised explosive device.

"I questioned it, because he didn't have any combat action ribbons," Atkinson said. "It just didn't jive, so everyone started asking questions."

Atkinson said the "dead giveaway" was when Bramlett arrived at a funeral service a few days later in full uniform with his sword on the wrong side.

Members of the Marine Corps League took pictures and forwarded the information to the FBI office in Springfield.

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