Argument

An expert's point of view on a current event.

Navy Responds to Crunch Scandal

Confirms that 'captain' is an imposter.

By , a defense writer.
597382_cpt2.jpg
597382_cpt2.jpg

The U.S. Navy has confirmed the shocking news that Cap'n Crunch, the legendary explorer of many an uncharted cereal bowl, is a fraud.

After 50 years of purporting to be a naval captain, the imposter was finally unmasked yesterday by an alert fan on culinary site Foodbeast, who pointed out that Crunch is wearing the wrist stripes of a U.S. Navy commander rather than a captain. The scandal quickly blossomed, even garnering Gawker coverage.

"You are correct that Cap'n Crunch appears to be wearing the rank of a U.S. Navy commander," Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, a U.S. Navy spokeswoman, tells Foreign Policy. "Oddly, our personnel records do not show a 'Cap'n Crunch' who currently serves or has served in the Navy."

The U.S. Navy has confirmed the shocking news that Cap’n Crunch, the legendary explorer of many an uncharted cereal bowl, is a fraud.

After 50 years of purporting to be a naval captain, the imposter was finally unmasked yesterday by an alert fan on culinary site Foodbeast, who pointed out that Crunch is wearing the wrist stripes of a U.S. Navy commander rather than a captain. The scandal quickly blossomed, even garnering Gawker coverage.

"You are correct that Cap’n Crunch appears to be wearing the rank of a U.S. Navy commander," Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty, a U.S. Navy spokeswoman, tells Foreign Policy. "Oddly, our personnel records do not show a ‘Cap’n Crunch’ who currently serves or has served in the Navy."

On his popular Twitter feed, Crunch is replying with hip-hop broadsides: "They see me crunchin’, they hatin’, milk soakin’, they tryna catch me crunchin’ soggy." Crunch also states that "regarding today’s rumors… of course I’m a Cap’n! It’s the Crunch — not the clothes — that make a man."

While Crunch’s supporters point out that, as a shipmaster, he is entitled to be called "captain," it is not clear why that allows him to wear the uniform of a U.S. naval officer. The Foodbeast writer noted that he could be wearing the three yellow stripes of a French capitaine de frégate (captain of frigates), though there is no record of Crunch speaking French. Indeed, the French insignia actually consists of five stripes (three yellow and two white), while Crunch’s insignia appears more similar to the rank of frigate captain in the German and Portugese navies, though again there is no indication of affiliation with those nations.

This raises the question of whether Crunch is guilty of violating the Stolen Valor Act, a 2005 law that was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2011, but a new version of which was signed by President Obama earlier this month. However, the law cracks down on those who attempt to profit by wearing medals to which they are not entitled. Despite elaborate gold braid on his shoulders, Crunch does not appear to be wearing any decorations.

What is remarkable is how long the discrepancies in the now-disgraced Crunch’s story have gone unnoticed. The master of the S.S. Guppy was purportedly born in 1963 on Crunch Island in the Sea of Milk, a region long considered a hazardous zone by nutritionists. (Though, honestly, who knows what to believe anymore.)

Crunch appears ready to go down with his ship, even hoisting Shakespeare: "So much fuss about my name. O, be some other name. What’s in a name? That which we call Cap’n Crunch, by any other name would taste as sweet."

Michael Peck is a defense writer. He is a contributor to Forbes Defense, editor of Uncommon Defense, and senior analyst for Wikistrat. Twitter: @Mipeck1

More from Foreign Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a commission on military-technical cooperation with foreign states in 2017.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a commission on military-technical cooperation with foreign states in 2017.

What’s the Harm in Talking to Russia? A Lot, Actually.

Diplomacy is neither intrinsically moral nor always strategically wise.

Officers with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wait outside an apartment in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.
Officers with the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) wait outside an apartment in Kharkiv oblast, Ukraine.

Ukraine Has a Secret Resistance Operating Behind Russian Lines

Modern-day Ukrainian partisans are quietly working to undermine the occupation.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as they visit the landmark Brandenburg Gate illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Berlin on May 9, 2022.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron wave as they visit the landmark Brandenburg Gate illuminated in the colors of the Ukrainian flag in Berlin on May 9, 2022.

The Franco-German Motor Is on Fire

The war in Ukraine has turned Europe’s most powerful countries against each other like hardly ever before.

U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an executive order on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.
U.S. President Joe Biden holds a semiconductor during his remarks before signing an executive order on the economy in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

How the U.S.-Chinese Technology War Is Changing the World

Washington’s crackdown on technology access is creating a new kind of global conflict.