MADISON, Wis. – A historian for the Wisconsin American Legion resigned after the organization said he embellished his military service.
Howard "Gordy" Clewell stepped down last week from the Wisconsin American Legion.
Clewell's wife, Laurel Clewell, is state commander of Wisconsin's American Legion. She told WISC-TV her husband lied to her about his service and that she had no idea he did not serve in Vietnam.
In a statement, she told the station her husband "had built a stellar veteran career on a foundation of lies — that he had not only fought in Vietnam in Special Forces but that he had received medals for his heroics."
Gordy Clewell served in the U.S. Army but not in Vietnam. His wife said he was a caseworker in Germany.
"He has dishonored so many veterans. To me, that's just despicable," Laurel Clewell told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel . She said her husband moved out of their home and that she plans to initiate divorce proceedings.
Pictures submitted to Legion officials showed him wearing a hat displaying a Special Forces pin, a Ranger tab and other pins. A 2015 Wisconsin law makes it a misdemeanor to claim military service or honors for personal gain.
Gordy Clewell did not immediately reply to a phone message from The Associated Press on Monday.
Amber Nikolai, state adjutant of the Wisconsin American Legion, said Gordy Clewell admitted "his misrepresentations and apologized" when he submitted his resignation as historian and canceled his Legion membership last week. Nikolai also said his military service met the eligibility requirements for American Legion membership.
"Unfortunately, Mr. Clewell embellished his military service and was caught," Nikolai said.