The claims of a dedicated member of the Occupy Buffalo movement that he saw combat in Iraq and Afghanistan are not supported by Army records.There are other discrepancies like the locations Simmance lists as places he served. For example, his claim that he served in the Valley of Efah in Afghanistan is belied by the fact that the Valley of Efah is where David slew Goliath; that battle did not take place in Afghanistan.
Christopher M. Simmance has told several media outlets, including The Buffalo News, that he served as many as three tours of duty in those war zones and that he was severely injured in Afghanistan.
Service records obtained from the Army, however, show he was stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., for three years and he left the active-duty Army in January 2001 -- before the 9/11 terror attacks.
Simmance insists his Army records are incomplete. He told The News he stands by his claims of seeing combat.
"Everything I've told you is completely true; I've got nothing to hide," Simmance said in one of three interviews.
People close to Simmance told The News they initially believed his claims of wartime deployments but they grew disenchanted when they discovered he was exaggerating his military service.
"I cannot confirm any of what he said," Denise Simmance, his mother, told The News.
These exaggerations haven't just caused problems for Simmance at Occupy Buffalo:
Christopher's mother gave an interview to a News columnist in November 2008 in which she shared details of Simmance's experiences in Iraq, including the horrific task of pulling body parts out of the rubble of a bombed home. Now, she doesn't believe any of it.A leader of the Occupy Buffalo movement has a mental illness? Really?
When she challenged him on his assertions, Christopher Simmance became defensive.
"Our relationship is severely damaged," his mother said.
Denise Simmance said she believes his need to exaggerate his service stems from a mental illness, and she worries for him.
h/t Weasel Zippers