FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A soldier who used his brother’s identification to join the Army 25 years ago has been demoted after a court-martial at Fort Bragg.
Sgt. Maj. William Anthony Morrone Jr. was convicted Wednesday of fraudulent enlistment and making false official statements, The Fayetteville Observer reported.
Prosecutors said Morrone used his brother Gerald’s name and Social Security number throughout his 25-year military career.
William Morrone said he used his brother’s identity in 1988 because he could not get back into the Army after getting a less-than-honorable discharge in the early 1980s.
William Morrone said he loved the Army.
“It’s the best thing in the world. It really is,” Morrone said, choking up. “So I came back in.”
The military judge demoted Morrone to sergeant first class.
Morrone has spent much of his 25 years at Fort Bragg, though he served in the first Gulf War and later in the Iraq war zone.
Military prosecutors had asked that he be demoted to private, given a dishonorable discharge, have his pay and benefits terminated and be sentenced to prison.
Gerald Morrone of Wake Forest, testified Wednesday morning that he learned in 1989 that William Morrone had used his name to rejoin the Army.
Gerald Morrone said he asked his brother to resolve the identification matter, but he received about seven notices from the Internal Revenue Service over the years about William’s income from the Army.
The IRS questions were resolved with letters or phone calls explaining that he had never served in the Army, Gerald Morrone said.
Gerald’s wife, Jamie, was troubled by the identity theft. She said her name was on an IRS letter several years ago regarding William’s military income. She said she contacted law enforcement to report the identity theft.