A North Idaho woman's tales of battlefield heroics in Iraq may be too heroic to be true.
According to this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press, Christina Axtman was profiled in a front-page Veteran's Day feature in which, among other things, she told the reporter that she shot a woman armed with a bomb and a baby strapped to her chest, and was seriously injured when a Humvee she was driving struck an improvised explosive device.
Following publication of the story, the Shoshone News-Press—which also ran the story as part of the newspaper chain that owns the Press—started receiving tips from readers in the area of Axtman's hometown of Mullan that the 31-year-old wasn't all she was claiming to be. After checking with military officials, the News-Press found that Axtman served in the Idaho Army National Guard from April 2003-September 2003, and was discharged after suffering broken ribs in a training accident. She was never deployed, and the closest she ever got to Iraq was Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.
National Guard officials told the paper that if Axtman "subsequently enlisted in the active-duty U.S. Army, we have no record of it."
According to the Press, Axtman is sticking to her story.