Of Patches, Poseurs, And Wannabes
An overlooked issue in airsoft and reenactment is the use of unit patches of real world military units. Sometimes we feel honoured to wear these patches as they denote units which have seen history through one of the hardest ways of making it: war. Reenactments and costumes are one way of preserving the memory of these units.
However, some people tend to abuse such patches, pretending to be members of the units when in fact they never were, and worse, they never served in the military at all. Either with an objective for monetary gain or just for kicks, these people give disrespect to these units and in fact ruin reputations if used for fraudulent activities. In some cases, medals such as the Purple Heart claims, are also used to generate sympathy as in the case of a National Guard member in America's Got Talent when there were was no record that he was injured in combat and awarded such medal.
Anyway, no one's stopping anyone from wearing unit patches as long as they are accorded the respect they deserve. You can use the patch on your loadout if you're putting together a loadout of a unit you admire, or to reenact an event for history education purposes/commemoration, or you are part of a war movie being made. But to claim that you have served with the unit, when in fact you did not, that will be the worst offense you will do since you're fooling everyone. But as Bob Marley said "You can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time." With the use of the internet, some concerned individuals are now going after fraudsters and poseurs and expose them online.
There have been instances of airsoft players doing such, and one such person even posting at YouTube claiming to be, until those who have knowledge started questioning the person (YouTube video has been removed).
It also does a big disservice to the airsoft community, since many consider players to be a bunch of wannabes, rather than being considered as hobbyists who give due recognition to units by dressing up like them.
When you buy that unit patch, think twice before wearing it. If you're up to no good, better not wear it. Just stick to some funny morale patches.