A Vietnam veteran and two-time recipient of the Purple Heart was in the Charlotte, NC airport with his wife after returning from a St. Louis Veterans Day program when he was met with an unexpected and unwanted greeting.
66-year-old Jack Hughes said that upon landing at Charlotte Douglas Int’l Airport, he was assaulted by a group of Marines.
“All of a sudden (a man) jumps up and he’s got a camera in my face screaming, ‘Your medals are crooked. You’re a fake. You’re not a Marine,’” an emotional Hughes told WBTV. “He kept screaming at me, telling me I was nothing, that everything I had was fake. I was a fake and phony.”
Hughes said the man was with a group of friends, and one of the other men “grabbed me by my jacket and told me, ‘I’m an active duty Marine,’ and he jerked it like that – jerked the buttons off of it.”
The Vietnam veteran said he tried to prove his military duty to the men who were claiming to be active duty Marines, but they kept verbally and physically assaulting him.
“I took out my ID right then from the VA and tried to show it to him,” Hughes said. “I said, ‘Look at this. Look at my ID. Look at my VA card. Look at what it says here.’”
The Vietnam veteran said the men were recording the encounter and taunting him with people watching, but no one stepped up to help him.
Hughes said police finally intervened. He wanted the man who he said assaulted him arrested, but officers said it was a simple assault, which is a misdemeanor.
Hughes told the Charlotte Observer, “All the veterans, they need support. They don’t need these gangsters going out trying to hurt people,” he said. “If there’s something wrong, a veteran should help a vet. If my medals were a little crooked he should have come up to me and said, ‘Hey buddy, can I help you straighten these out?’”
Hughes said the man, who did most of the yelling, eventually realized he had made a mistake.
“He looked at me like, ‘God, I’m such a fool,’” Hughes said. “... I said, ‘You can shove it buddy ... How many other people have you done this way?’”
Video from WSOC in Charlotte, NC.
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