Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Marine impersonator sentenced to tend graves

The Associated Press
Posted : Tuesday Jul 31, 2007 6:58:37 EDT

TACOMA, Wash. — A Puyallup man who posed as a decorated Marine Corps captain for two years will tend graves at the Tahoma Military Cemetery in Kent as part of 500 hours of community service, a federal judge has decided.

In April, Reggie L. Buddle, 59, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to unlawful wearing of U.S. military medals and decorations.

At Monday’s sentencing hearing, Buddle told U.S. Magistrate Judge Kelly J. Arnold he was ashamed of his conduct.

Media attention to the case has been part of Buddle’s punishment, Assistant U.S. Attorney Ron Friedman told the court in his sentencing memo.

“Mr. Buddle has been appropriately made to answer before a great many people, and he has been shunned by a great many others. This is its own form of punishment,” Friedman said.

Buddle posed as a Marine Corps captain in 2005 and 2006, wearing a uniform with medals awarded for extraordinary contribution to national defense and heroism in combat. Buddle once gave the opening prayer for the Washington state Senate in February 2006 and posed as a chaplain and reverend, officiating and presiding at weddings, baptisms and funerals of service members.

Buddle never served in the Marines. He bought the uniform at a military surplus store. The medals belonged to his brother, a Marine who died in Vietnam.

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