William Morrone had wanted to be a Soldier from the time he could remember; so at 17, with his mother’s signature, he enlisted in the Army. But his “soldiering” career was cut short by some youthful indiscretions that got him a dishonorable discharge a couple of years later.
Once you’re kicked out of the Army, they don’t want you back. William Morrone knew that. So, he “borrowed” his brother Gerald’s name and identity and re-enlisted. That was 25 years ago.
The lie caught up with him.
At a court martial, yesterday at Fort Bragg, N.C., William Morrone was convicted of “fraudulent enlistment, making false statements, and for using his brother’s social security number throughout his military career.”
The prosecutor wanted the harshest punishment possible. Besides an extended prison sentence, the prosecutor recommended busting William Morrone back to a private, dishonorable discharge and to terminate his pay and benefits.
The judge had a different opinion. He sentenced Morrone to a two rank demotion, from Sergeant Major to Sergeant First Class and asked the Army to “assist with his retirement”.
Gerald Morrone, the brother whose identity had been stolen, testified in his brother’s defense, even though the false identity issue had caused problems in his own marriage.
In his own defense, William Morrone said, “I put the boots on. I buried my Soldiers.”
There was also evidence that William Morrone had tried in the past to rectify the identify issue with the Army and got nowhere with the paperwork. The Army made it perfectly clear they wanted William Morrone to be a Soldier.
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