Anthony Kolat Jr. met with a newspaper reporter at an Eat ’n’ Park Diner and shared stories and photographs of his time in the Marines. The newspaper was all too happy to publish the accounts as Mr. Kolat relayed to them. Fact-checking appeared to have taken a second seat to getting the article printed so reporter Sean Barron (has departed the publication) and The Vindicator ran with the story.
There were only two real problems with the story: One is that apart from there being no record of a Purple Heart in Kolat’s military records, a Purple Heart is awarded for wounds received in combat and not given “for trying to find as many people as possible” and two, that according to the National Archives, Anthony Kolat never even served in Beirut, Lebanon. To underscore this even more, Kolat was released from active duty on 21 August 1982 and the Marines of the 32nd MAU landed in Beirut, Lebanon to help with the PLO evacuation on 25 August 1982. This was four days after Kolat was released from active duty and well over a year before the 23 Oct 1983 bombing of the Marine Barracks.
Efforts by Beirut Veterans to contact the reporter, the newspaper and place comments at the bottom of the article have not met with success. In fact, many comments were removed that pointed out inaccuracies in the story. The current people to contact appear to be:
Betty Jagnow (Publisher) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Brown (General Manager) – email@example.com