Military stories from past to present, both wars.

Going down the Poser Rabbit hole

February 13th, 2014 Posted in Military

Going down the Poser Rabbit hole


As you can tell, these last few years I have pulled away from writing short stories and been concentrating on busting posers.  Nothing makes me want to eviscerate a human being more then to see these clowns claiming to be something  they aren’t.    They do it to scam money, rape women, get attention for a business or election or just pretend they are someone.

If you want to be associated with the military, well why not just join?  I work for the Marine Corps Recruiting Command and would be happy to get you onto the yellow footsteps if you can make it past the selection process.

The past six years, I have seen a remarkable increase in Stolen Valor cases and it seems that a day doesn’t go by without  Jonn and Mark over at “This Ain’t Hell” exposing a new case.  You would think with this thing called the “Internet”, folks would realize how fast their lies can be exposed.  Since it’s tough to prosecute under the Stolen Valor laws (mainly theft of services will get you) we have pretty much been blessed by the courts to “out” them to the public.  They can threaten court but the truth wins out every time.

Now down to business on busting a poser.  Over the years in my past life, I did a stint as a Private Investigator and repo man.  Skip tracing was an important part of tracking down a person or car you wanted to steal back for the bank.  That was the research side of things which is about 98% of the job.

1.  Trust but Verify!  You will find poser’s everyday all around you.  I have met them at Charity Balls in uniform and even sat next to one in the Cockpit of my commercial aircraft.  Hell, I had a man turn in his Nephew for posing.  If they claim to be a Marine, I can drill down in about 6 questions to find out the truth.  If they are from another service, it takes longer.  As you can tell, being a Marine, that is my specialty, other services I have to pass on to the Subject Matter Experts out there (SME’s) listed later.

Let’s say you meet someone that makes you go “Really? You were a (Insert here Marine? SEAL? Special Forces? PJ? Delta?”  Best thing is to play dumb and let them spew their madness to you and trust me they will especially if they think you are clueless about the subject.  They will begin telling you all sorts of crazy stories.  See no one was ever just a Cook in Vietnam or a truck driver or KC 130 pilot (man they are the best pilots too), they were LRRPS with the Rangers or Marine Recon killing the Cong in spades thus receiving their Silver Star or Navy Cross.  The younger guys in this generation may have spent five years in Afghanistan and Iraq but can’t talk about it due to the PTSD they have from their service.  With so many guys/gals having served there, they figure they can hide in the masses.  Some go on to make PTSD video’s or act as prop for the Democratic party of Colorado.  These two examples were not even in the Military.

You will want to get their names and take photos (good close ups of the medals and their face) of them especially if they are wearing the uniform with the bling on it.   If you want to expose them, suck up to their ego and say something like “Do you have a card? Would you be willing to talk to our 6th grade Sunday school class about serving our country?”  They love to talk and with the card you now have a phone number and email.  If you are crafty, you can load their info into your phone and say something like “what’s your birthday? I would love our kids to drop you a birthday card.”  Then take a photo of them and put that in the contact file.  Remember, the more information you can gather on the subject, the better it is later on.

I have a fake Facebook account and email set up to friend these guys.  That way I can grab their photos from Facebook, twitter etc.  A great program to take screen shots is MW Snap3 and is one of the best things since sliced bread.  You need to gather evidence before they can delete the accounts or photo’s.

I was at the SkyBall when I met Gunny PJ James, who was an actual Marine in Vietnam but somehow as the Navajo Indian code talker Marine Escort, inflated his distinguished career as this Recon Code talker.  I let him tell me how he was a POW captured on a Patrol and had to use the body of his dead best friend to float down a river to escape the ole Viet Cong.  It must have really been bloated and smelly to allow him to use it as a raft.  Loved that one!  Anyway, I spoke to him and played up to his ego and then asked if I could take a photo of him with our XO (we were all in Uniform) but when I shot the photo, I zoomed in on him and his rack.  I mentioned that we would like to fly him out to be a guest speaker to our Young Marines and that is where I got his card.  From there a Cpl at work who is a ribbon chaser helped me identify all his medals.

Ok, let’s use him as the test case.  The first thing I do for a Marine is to check Marine on line (MOL) locator to see if there is anyone there with that name and rank.  Then I check facebook and Together we served.  If they are claiming the senior awards like the Silver Star, I check Doug Sterner’s outstanding project and this is pretty complete but there is always the chance that your subject is not here.  I can tell you that if the person says “I got that medal on a secret mission that is still classified, red star clusters should be going off right away. (Google Andrew Diabo, fake Marine for another incredible story of a Canadian posing as a US Marine and stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars.)

Now Google is your next best friend.  Start with the subjects name and work different combinations and include different things like + USMC, SEAL, etc.  it will take you hours to stumble onto a trail and one piece of info will open up another avenue to pursue.  Sometimes it takes you down a rabbit hole and you have to back up only to jump down another.  Google images are great too.  Gunny James was photographed in Washington DC and the Washington Post ran a caption saying “Vietnam POW, retired Gunny PJ James” and there he was on a float in NYC for a Veterans Day parade.

Recently I needed to track down a guy and he was using Google plus which he had set up a profile with photo along with the car dealership he worked out of.  He was very surprised when I called him and asked “How did you track me down at work?” Well I sort of lost it and replied “it’s called the internet you dipship.”

Now you need to get a FOIA done on the turd.  The boys at “This Ain’t hell” wrote a great piece on how to do this.  I clipped them all together for your reference in one long piece here at the Sandgram.  To get the FOIA, you need their full name, DOB and if able, SSN number.  If you are really series about this, you can subscribe to those data mining sites for a fee and that will dig up a lot about your perp but some of it is outdated.  I would try getting a FOIA done from the info listed above first.  If you hit the wall, you can contact the greats out there who are death on Posers.

First of all, the ultimate guide on Stolen Valor comes from the work of Jugg Burkett ( who was trying to raise money for a Vietnam memorial for our Dallas Vets and he was running into fake Vets all around.  I would HIGHLY recommend reading his book.  He is the Granddaddy of this movement and I’m proud to call him a friend.

Folks like Mary Schantag and her late husband Chuck, who started the POW Network do incredible work tracking folks down and posting them on her site.  Now she continues this labor of love exposing folks over at  If you have all the info on a perp, she can do expedited FOIA’s since they know her really well at the NPRC but make sure it’s worth her time.  Tracking down “I heard he said he was Special Forces” isn’t the type of case that is worth the work.

If you come across a Fake Navy SEAL, Don Shipley is your Senior Chief who makes the greatest video’s on Youtube as his outs his guys.  (This is a rabbit hole of video’s that I highly recommend you watch.  You will laugh at what he does with his wife Diane cracks me up as his comic relief)  Here is one he did on a guy who approached me to get special consideration for his son to attend a Marine Leadership camp.  He flames him hard…

His site is listed below.

If you find a Fake Air Force PJ, let me know, I have a connection for those guys who maintains their class lists all the way back to when the Green Feet became the tattoo of choice for those guys.

Scotty over at  always comes up with some great cases where he showcases them for the world to see and well worth the time to read over.

There is a site on Facebook that is pretty popular exposing wannabes as well,  Flame them all in public…

Now, for my two ultimate hero’s for busting Poser’s, Jonn Lilyea and Mark Seavey who write over at “This Ain’t Hell” ( ) and expose guys almost daily.  What you don’t realize is the amount of work that goes into researching someone before they flame them.  I might spend a month on a guy before I post anything.  I want to make sure I have all my facts straight.  They also spend an inordinate amount of time collecting photographs from social media and records on a SV turd before it goes live.  Oh by the way, Mark Seavey is now my attorney if you ever want to make a fuss over being butthurt from our exposure.

They also have a Stolen Valor match off that is coming up soon, so keep tuned in and help vote for the worst offenders of 2014.

We have all sorts of tools, resources and manpower to do this and it’s a love that we all have to protect our Military friends both fallen and alive and I could probably do this full time if I could get paid to do it.

I urge you to do your research before you post something to the net, because when the crowd sourcing happens a post goes viral, if you made a mistake, that is one hard thing to erase from the net.  On the other hand, since we can’t charge them with crimes, letting the public see their lies in action is about the only way to have them change their ways by public condemnation.

I hope that this helps, feel free to add your comments on your experiences with posers and I’ll incorporate them to this post.  Here are some posers you might like to read as you go down that Poser rabbit hole.

Semper Fi,




Tags: , , , , , ,