Comment by Christopher Mulrooney
I was browsing news on Yahoo Website when I came across this article below which is making me wonder about this subject’s story. Something has me puzzled about this Retired Colonel. I am also curious if the writer of this article below actually did any vetting of the retired colonel to see if his story adds up and just not taking someone word for it. With so many people claiming to be what they are not hence Stolen Valor, they should do some actual reporting and fact checking to see if this person is actually a Veteran and carry the Rank he claims. I am curious because of the status of this Full Bird Colonel with Security Clearances and retirement pay for a 0-6 with over 30 years of service is living out of his van, I am sure with a divorce he could have some Financial hardship, but to be so broke he has to live in a van?
Yes, there is a major problem of major unemployment with today’s newest Veterans coming out of the service now, with unemployment recent veterans being higher then civilian unemployment, which is a major shame, us veterans do have a lot to offer in today’s work force. Take a moment and read the article below and make a comment, can you also question this story? I could be wrong and this whole story could be factual, but my issue is with reporters who don’t vet their sources and just because Supposedly Veteran with Uniform tells a story doesn’t always mean its true. With many of our Stolen Valor suspects many reporters write articles about them and their story then to have to write an retraction when it comes out the story is all a lie.
He spent 30 years in the U.S. military, earned three graduate degrees and eventually worked his way to the Pentagon before retiring — but today, former Air Force Col. Robert Freniere, 59, is living out of his van, filling out job applications on public computers in libraries.
Freniere’s story stands in stark contrast to common beliefs about unemployed, homeless veterans being made up of former soldiers from the rank-and-file. But an in-depth profile of Freniere by The Philadelphia Inquirer shows that problems affecting veterans don’t discriminate based on chain of command; they go up to the top brass.
How could this have happened? The answer is complex and representative of what veterans face when they attempt to re-enter civilian life.
After retiring, it took Freniere a year to get a job with a defense contractor. When that work dried up, it was hard to find a civilian job that complemented his background in intelligence. A divorce, the costs of two kids’ college expenses and struggles with dyslexia left Freniere calling his van his home.
According to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, some 58,000 vets face life on the street each day, and “over the course of a year, approximately twice that many experience homelessness,” the organization says. “Only 7% of the general population can claim veteran status, but nearly 13% of the homeless adult population are veterans.”
Unemployment is an even bigger problem. The rate among veterans who have served since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon stands at 10 percent, or 246,000 out of work. For those under age 25, the rate increases dramatically to 30 percent.
But Freniere isn’t giving up.
“I’m a military guy. I’m mission-oriented,” he told the Inquirer. “I’ve got a lot of good experience. I’ve got two beautiful sons. I’ve got a van. I don’t know how long it’s going to hold up, but I’ve got it. I’ve got a lot of things to be thankful for.”