Thingish Things

Pentagon Portraits and Probes

Written By: William F. B. O'Reilly - Apr• 21•12

Two Pentagon stories worth noting, one potentially scandalous, one downright hysterical.  We’ll start with the light one.

It was discovered this week that Pentagon pranksters hung the portrait of an ensign friend in a hallway of the edifice over the brass placard description: “Ensign Chuck Hord. USNA circa 1898. Lost at sea 1908.” It went unnoticed for seven months. The man actually portrayed  is the very-much-alive U.S. Navy Capt. Eldridge “Tuck” Hord III whose parents commissioned the portrait of him in the 1980’s shortly after his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy.  The portrait became a running joke among Hord’s friends, who snuck it onto a Defense Department headquarter wall last year.  The thing that finally gave them up was Hord’s decidedly 1980’s dry-look haircut. (Note: I will never reveal it on these pages, but an American university is proudly displaying a prominent — and totally bogus — artifact today courtesy of my father. Please don’t ask.)

Now for the bad Pentagon story:

USA Today is reporting that one of its journalists probing Pentagon practices has become the subject of an online smear campaign that includes the creation of fake Twitter, Facebook, and Wikipedia accounts. A fake website under the reporter’s name also was created. The false sites disappeared as quickly as they appeared as soon as USA Today confronted a Pentagon spokesman about them. The Defense Department is now looking into the activities hired “contractors.” We should all keep an eye on this story. It has the potential to be a big one. 

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