By Dan Merica
Another case of stolen valor?
After over 50 years of reported service, the U.S. Navy said Wednesday that Cap’n Crunch, one of the Navy’s most recognizable captains, has no record of service with the military branch.
A number of blogs noticed this week that the jolly, cereal selling caricature who has graced the front of Cap’n Crunch boxes since 1963 was actually wearing a commander’s uniform, the rank below a captain. The U.S. Navy uses bars on a uniform’s cuff to signify the rank of the person wearing the uniform. Cap’n Crunch’s uniform has only three bars – the sign of a commander – not four bars – the sign of a captain.
Blogs like Gawker and Consumerist recognized the missing bar and labeled Cap’n Crunch a liar.
“In other words, the Cap'n is nothing but a lousy Commander,” Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker wrote. “Our entire cereal-eating lives could be based on a lie because of one little yellow stripe,” wrote Mary Beth Quirk of Consumerist.
The U.S. Navy played along, tweeting that Cap’n Crunch “appears to wear #USNavy commander rank.”
“We take it quite seriously,” said Lt. Commander Chris Servello, spokesman for the U.S. Navy, with a laugh. “We looked into this, we looked into our rolls to see if one Captain Crunch or Cap’n Crunch ever served in the Navy. And we had no record of that, so we passed that along to NCIS to see what action needed to taken next.”
With his record and valor being challenged, the captain (can we even call him that anymore?) did what any other captain would do – took to Twitter.
“Regarding today's rumors... of course I'm a Cap'n! It's the Crunch – not the clothes – that make a man. #PaidMyDues,” @RealCapnCrunch tweeted on June 14.
“All rumors, friends – I run an entire vessel with my crew! Case closed. #OfficialCapn,” he tweeted earlier this week.
And last night, Cap’n Crunch called for his supporters to stand with him.
“All hands on deck @USNavy, @ColbertReport Nation & Crunch Nation: I shall not rest until the truthiness comes out… stand by. #CrunchJustice,” he tweeted.
His defense, however, appeared to be broadsided by the overwhelming outrage people expressed about being duped.
Cap’n Crunch’s full name is Horatio Magellan Crunch, according to his official bio with the Quaker Oats Company. Jay Ward, the creator of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right and George of the Jungle, created him in 1963.
Hailing from Crunch Island, Cap’n Crunch lives and commands the boat S.S. Guppy, according to his bio. Although Cap’n Crunch started as cereal box character, he and his nemesis Jean LaFoote starred in his own animated series, “The Mystery of Crunch Island.” According to his bio, the captain has been lost at sea since 1985.
After saying they take this case very seriously, the Navy said this may be another case of “stolen valor,” where someone wears medals or a uniform that they have not earned. The punishment for impersonating a military officer: six months in jail.
No word, yet, on why Cap’n Crunch’s eyebrows are on his captains hat.