Info request on probable phony

| April 24, 2012

Mary at POW Network is asking if there’s anyone out there who has served in one of the following units in 2009;

1/4 Cav Iraq
1/9 Cav
27th Cav
Bulldog Company
Black Jack Command Team
Deuce Four Legionaires
Artic Wolves Brigade of the 1st Stryker Btigade Combat Team
25th INF Div

The person she’s looking at also claims that his Stryker vehicle was hit by RPG March 7 2009 – injuring all 5 “of his squad.” He “returned to American for medical treatment.”

He also claims that he went on 66 foot patrols. If you served in one of those units, you’d remember the guy even if you don’t remember his name – he’s 82 years old. Yeah, I know.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (207)

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  1. Ex-PH2 says:

    I followed the link attached to Mr. Leeds’ name, epic publishing, and it seems he is not only looking for attention, but also for sales of his books, too.

    How about that? And on Christmas Day, too.

    I can only say “Gee whiz, if I had known I could re-up after the age of 60, I’d have gone downtown and raised my right hand.”

    He was born in 1926, which made him 14 when WWII broke out. He claims he had five discharges. So how did he get back in?

    In reference to his shipboard story, the coasties are not the Merchant Marine. The USS General M. C. Meigs (AP-116) was a General John Pope class troop transport of the P2-S2-R2 type. She was a fast troop ship that transported troops for the United States during World War II and the Korean War. The ship was named after General Montgomery Cunningham Meigs, the Quartermaster General of the United States Army during the United States Civil War.

    General M. C. Meigs was launched on 13 March 1944 under a Maritime Commission contract by the Federal Shipbuilding & Drydock Company of Kearny, New Jersey; she was acquired by the Navy on 2 June 1944, and commissioned at Bayonne, New Jersey the next day with Captain George W. McKean, USCG, in command. A fast troop carrier, she was capable of 21 knots (24 mph; 39 km/h) with 5200 troops on board. She was one of several of this class of transports that was manned by United States Coast Guard personnel.

    After two round-trip, troop-carrying voyages between Newport News, Virginia, and Naples, Italy General Meigs departed for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she was visited by Brazilian President Getúlio Vargas, and embarked 5,200 troops of the Brazilian Expeditionary Force, the first Brazilian troops to be carried by an American transport. She carried these troops to Italy, where they participated in the Italian campaign. At Naples, she embarked troops, civilians, and 460 German prisoners of war for transportation to the United States, collecting additional troops at Bizerte, Tunisia, and at Oran, French Morocco.

    General Meigs made two similar round-trip voyages from the United States to Italy and North Africa via Brazil, carrying thousands of American and Brazilian troops to Europe for the remaining drive against Nazi Germany, and returning several thousand others to the United States and Brazil. She later deployed troops to Panama and Puerto Rico and to Le Havre, France. From Le Havre, Naples, Marseilles, Karachi, and Nagoya, she made six more trips carrying homebound troops for New York and Brazil.

    On 4 March 1946, she was decommissioned at San Francisco for transfer to the American President Lines as a passenger ship in the Pacific.

    Nope, no runs in any part of the Pacific for the USS General S. C. Meigs during WWII.

    For the Korean War, after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in 1950, General Meigs was assigned to the Military Sea Transportation Service. Manned by a civilian crew, she made 19 cruises to the Far East carrying thousands of American troops from the West Coast to ports in Japan and South Korea. Following the uncertain armistice on 27 July 1953, she continued to support American readiness in the Far East with troop-rotation cruises during the remainder of 1953 and through 1954.

    Meigs Field in Chicago was named after General Meigs. It looks like the only time the Meigs was in the Pacific was the 1950s.

    In regard to an airborne command for Israel, there is only the IDF’s reference:

    The IDF Paratroopers Brigade, Hativat HaTzanhanim, also known as the 35th Brigade, was created in the mid-1950s when commando Unit 101 was merged with the 890th Battalion. If you speak Hebrew (you don’t have to, though) you can probably connect with them.

    Notable commanders include Ariel Sharon, Rafael Eitan, and Moshe Ya’alon.

    I saw nothing about a 1st Israeli Airborn brigade. I’m sure the IDF could confirm his story. They keep excellent records.

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    And here’s the Navy’s archival information about the Meigs, including the ship’s citations:

  3. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    “I was 17 years old and worked in the Engine Room on the S.S. General Meigs. I also manned a 20 MM Oerlikon cannon when dodging Japanese torpedo planes and submarines. For your edification, the Merchan Marines suffered the highest number of fatalities of any American service. . Even more than the Marine Corp! You can check this out by checking with the U.S. Coast Guard. My ASN is: 16163082.”

    The kernel of truth? I can’t find it. As Ex-PH2 points out, during WWII, the USS General Meigs was operated by the Coast Guard and was never in the Pacific. As for the Merchant Marines suffering “the highest number of fatalities of any American service” during WWII, that is flat-out wrong. The assertion stems from the proportionality casualty figures that are themselves greatly disputed and claimed ONLY by some Merchant seamen who made some comparatively good money for their service.

  4. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    So, okay, the guy is full of crud and may have been a civilian in Iraq. That’s easy enough to establish. He would have to have nad a meaningful prpose there and he would have had to sign a gazillion documents. Fax machines work. Oh, I also could not find an American Theatre ribbon that was issued by the Merchant Marine during WWII.

  5. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    “As for my various names, I used different names depending on the occasion.” Bwahahahahahahahaha.

  6. Virtual Insanity says:


    –“Records burned”
    –Isreali 1st airborne thing doesn’t quite jibe
    –SS Meigs thing doesn’t jibe.

    Again, see why we may not be totally on board with the story so far, Mr. Leeds?

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    Yes, and you see, Navy ships are never referred to as S.S. anything. The reference is USS, which means United States Ship, or more properly USNS.

    The Titanic was RMS Titanic. Royal Mail Steamer/Ship.

    And then there is the NSB designation, which stands for Titanic-class Space Naval Starbase.

    S.S. is a steamship designation, as in the S.S. Blowhard.

  8. Ex-PH2 says:

    And while I’m at it, what was his rate when he was in the engine room? Was he a soldier or a sailor? You don’t just go down to the engine room on a ship and start monkeying around, now do you?

    So what was he? END? ENG, maybe? That took training and experience, even in WWII, and I don’t believe the Navy would put some 17YO kid in the engine room with no training.

  9. Ex-PH2 says:

    As for a recording by Orson Welles of a Christmas story about a dog, the only Christmas story he ever recorded was “A Christmas Carol” which was edited together in 1980 from several broadcasts he made in the 1930s, by Mark 56 Records. No mention anywhere of a recording of a story about a dog.

  10. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @59. The ships for troop transport, I read, all had a Coast Guard contingent that included the captain and those who manned the guns. And the USS General Meigs was a troop transport. Like I said earlier, there’s always a kernel of truth from which the stalk of BS grows. It’s there somewhere.

  11. Hack Stone says:


    I always thought that the fire was in 1973. It must have been a slow burning fire, smoldering until it burst into massive flames ten years later.

    And as previously stated, with this guy making appearances at every major military event in the last 67 years, he is the Forrest Gump of the Armed Forces.

  12. Green Thumb says:


    Know this man?

    Carl John Pequignot?

    Serve together?

  13. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    That cap assault in cmt 49 was rough. If he didn’t close with proper lettering, I would have guessed he just forgot the Caps Lock button was on. But, he didn’t. He was shouting all over the place. Caught a little spittle on my monitor and didn’t like it at all.

  14. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @62. The fictional Forrest Gump was an honest man.

  15. Ex-PH2 says:

    AirCav, that infamous fire was in 1972, not 1963.

    This guy just makes it too easy. He doesn’t even refer to SOCAFRICA correctly. Does he think no one will contact SOCAFRICA to follow-up on his story?

    So lame.

  16. Hack Stone says:

    From his website:

    “Having all the information is important in making a decision on who you will chose to represent you. Please use the articles below to become better acquainted with Robert X. Leeds and how he plans on helping not only the residents of Nevada’s District 4, but all Americans.”

    And below the statement, zero articles. Maybe the articles were written in invisible ink.

  17. Hack Stone says:

    Ex-PH2@66, wikipedia says the fire was July 12, 1973. If it’s on the internet, it has to be true.

  18. Ex-PH2 says:

    Hack, the fire was either 1972 or 1973. I forget which year, but it was definitely NOT in 1963.

    @61, yes, they were troop transports that were all manned by the Coast Guard, but for some reaons Leeds thinks that the coasties were the Merchant Marine. And he says he WORKED in the engine room. I doubt that seriously, if he was a soldier.

    And I’ve been to Chanute. It was up near Rantoul, closed up in 1993. It was rather small, about the size that NAS Glenview used to be. There were only nine hangars on the base. There were no ‘rows and rows of typists’ there. Even if there was more than one clerical worker doing discharges and other paper work, the typewriters the military used were bought in bulk, all from one manufacturer per contract, and all had the same type fonts and sizes on the striker keys. My best guess on typewriters was either Remington, Royal Underwood, or Smith Corona.

    Gee, and I thought I had an over-active imagination.

    There are more holes in this than a whack-a-mole board.

  19. Ex-PH2 says:

    Hack, I had to go dig up my journal about the St.Louis fire. It was 1973, you’re right. Sorry about that.

  20. Rollo Nelson says:

    Leeds, it’s not up to any of us to prove you weren’t somewhere. It’s up to you to prove that you were there. You are the one making extraordinary claims, not any of us. When you are in a hole, stop digging. Your head is so far up your ass right now it doubles for a rectal thermometer.

  21. streetsweeper says:

    Total USMS KIA for WWII are estimated @ 9,300. Mr Leeds, please answer the following questions to the best of your knowledge.
    #1- Where did you take gunnery training?
    #2- Home port of your ship?
    #3- Did you serve in the Pacific AND Atlantic war zones? Which class (Liberty or Victory)and ships name?
    #4- Were you awarded the following: A)Pacific Theater Ribbon? B)Honorable Service Button? C)Merchant Marine Service Emblem?
    #5- Which US Army medals were you awarded?

  22. CRITICS:
    It was the S.S. General Meigs that was berthed in Panama City, Florida to be outfitted with its guns. We had one 3 inch and one 5 inch cannons and I think there were 2 20mm Oerlikon cannons on each side of the ship. I am quite sure that only the 3″ and 5″ cannons were manned by Coast Guard or Navy personnel! I know because they trained the civilian crew to load and fire the Oerlikons. I worked as a “wiper” in the Engine Room, although I had worked on SS Put-In-Bay excurshion boat during the previous summer and had ratings for “Coal Passer, Oiler, Bar Keeper” plus a Maritime Passport. The SS General Meigs was a special Liberty ship and was built with a very broad beam to accomodate carrying aircraft. We carried P-38’s and cargo below deck and P-63 Blackwidows on deck. On our trial run, the 5 incher broke loose and we had to return to Panama City where they re-installed it.
    The Merchant Marines did not issue “theater ribbons.” Our theater ribbons were issued by the War Shipping Administration. I was awarded the American War Zone Bar for taking the Meigs from Panama City, Fla. down through the Panama Canal, and up to Oakland Army Base where they loaded the cargo and planes. Our Chief Engineer’s name was Delcamp. We rendezvoused with a huge invasion fleet at Eniwetok or Okinawa)abut were ordered to take our cargo to Biak, New Guinea

  23. Ex-PH2 says:

    This is the actual gun armament of the USS General M. C. Meigs AP-116:

    four single 5″/38 dual purpose gun mounts
    sixteen 1.1″ guns replaced by twenty single 20mm AA gun mounts

  24. CRITICS:
    I accidentally interrupted the above answer. I understand that after our trip, the SS General Meigs was converted to a troop carrier and manned by the Navy. That would have been about August, 1945.
    I apologize placing the St. Louis fire in 1963 instead of 1973. The results were the same. It took 2½ years for the military to peice together bits of my service record so I could obtain medical treatment.
    The War shipping administration awarded me the American War Zone Bar and the Pacific War Zone Bar. When I returned from the South Pacific, I was about a month past my 3-months Leave of Absence and was ordered to Ft. Sheridan in Illinois where they decided that because I had been in the Reserves, I was awarded the Army American Theater and Pacific Theater ribbons. I was sent to Keesler Air Field in Mississipi. From there I was transferred to Chanute Air Field. Because they didn’t need any more pilots, everyone in my squadron was given a choice of a discharge (and being drafted) or reenlisting. I took the discharge, and went out in the world to slay dragons. Thousands of men were being discharged “For convenience of the government”. I believe the discharging was done in a huge hanger with several rows of typists. Each row typed in certain information. My final review was by a 2nd Lieutenent who said my two awards issued for service overseas while in the Army Airforce Reserves was not valid and he just crossed the awards out (I believe he also took away my good conduct medal and sharpshooters medal. I was young and at that time they didn’t mean that much to me so I never complaineda. (He did let me keep the Vicory Medal.)
    Get one thing straight, I have not served in 2 branches of the military, the Marines and the Navy. Of all my associations with the military, I hold the Marines in my highest esteem. I tried to embed with the 10th Mountain Division but they were still stateside, so I went with the 1/4 Cavalry. I possess documents showing I was to be transferred to the 10th Mountain Division on April 1st. I was blown up on March 7th whild serving with the Artic Wolves of the 1st Stryker Brigade. Contact the commanding officer, Col. Bataglio for confirmation.
    If all youu critics could get together and give me a mailing address, I would be happy to send you copies of my embedding and travel orders plus a hundred photographs of me on patrol in Iraq while I was still a “young” 83 years old!
    (By the way, the Commanding General of the MNFI (Multi National Force Iraq) ran a complete background check on my claims and approved my embedding. What is the TRUE motivation of this gutter enquiry?
    Robert X. Leeds
    1405 Ten Palms Court
    Las Vegas, NV 89117 (That’s rxl(seven eleven)

    I do not recall meeting a Carl John Pequignot. The rocket explosion wiped out my entire short-term memory so I have to rely on any notes I salvaged. I may hor may not have met him.
    Robert X. Leeds

  26. Hack Stone says:

    “What is the TRUE motivation of this gutter enquiry?”

    Allow me to take the liberty of answering. An overwhelming majorityof the participants are military veterans. Some had some very distinguished careers. Others, such as myself (22 years in the marine Corps as a comm guy), had what would be considered boring careers. Regardless of the character of our service, we answered the call and served our country. One of the leadership traits in the Marine Corps is INTEGRITY. Integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness or accuracy of one’s actions. This is an open forum, welcoming all, to include non-veterans. The only rule is NBSP, the No Bull Shit Policy. If you lie, you get called out. People that lie about their military service, whether through embellishment, or complete fabrication, are insult to those that have served, and more so the memory of those who have died in service to America. The motivaion for “stolen valor” usually falls under gaining money under false pretenses, to impress women, political gain, and/or mental imbalance. I suspect that you fall under the last two catgories.

    As for your story, we find it incredible. By incredible, we mean that it is beyond belief. I’m no military expert, and i know that the military is ometimes cumbersome, but I find it extremely hard to believe that your discharge paperwork would be passed down the line for multiple administrative personnel to make multiple entries. As for your embedding in Iraq, exactly why were you embedded? Were you a reporter? A special envoy for the State Department. Despite the plots to low budget movies, people don’t just “show up’ in Iraq. Where and when was your pr-embedding screening/training performed? I ask, since I have seen multiple news segments of reporters being embedded having to go through military training prior to being embedded. And don’t give me any line about you already being qualified from WWII. If I were to embed (not going to happen), I would have to go through some remedial training, as a majority of the equipment that I used on active duty has all been upgraded.

    So, if you can provide some intel to this board of how and why you were embedded, and where you received your pre-deployment training, that should remove the heat from you.

  27. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Comment 44–“When I was discharged from the Merchant Marines, I was awarded the American Theater and Pacific Theater ribbons.”

    Comment 73–“The Merchant Marines did not issue “theater ribbons.” Our theater ribbons were issued by the War Shipping Administration.”

    Okay, I did my Googling exercise and I found no such ribbons. The War Shipping Administration (WSA) was created as an emergency (war) agency by Executive Order of FDR to oversee all aspects of merchant shipping EXCEPT shipbuilding. The WSA was disbanded in 1946 and the duties assumed by it during war were returned to the pre-war US Maritime Commission operating under the Merchant Marine Act of 1936.

    There was no “American Theatre” ribbon. There was, however, an authorized Merchant Marine Atlantic War Zone Medal but this Leeds does not claim. What he does claim didn’t exist.

  28. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Leeds has some service of some sort but exactly what I can’t tell. I do believe it is likely that he served in the Merchant Marines. When the BS comes, the kernel of truth usually gets hit hard and repeated ad nauseum. Everything else remains dubious.

  29. NHSparky says:

    IOW, until an FOIA comes back on him (under whatever name he used then) pretty much everything he’s claiming is pure unadulterated 24 karat bullshit.

  30. Hack Stone says:

    I think that he may have been embedded with “LtCol” Warryck-Reagan lee Wolf, AKA The Lesbian Pirate. They both seem to have stellar careers as teenagers, which segued into distinguished military careers.

    As an aside, I apologize for spellinhg errors in post #77, particularly spelling Marine in lower case. Hack Stone Publishing, Inc. regrets the error.

  31. Ex-PH2 says:

    The ship was the USS General M. C. Meigs AP-116, NOT the SS General Meigs. She was built by Federal Shipping and Dry Dock Company at Kearney, NJ. Ship classification is General John Pope type, P2-S2-R2 troop transport. Commissioned June 3, 1944. The Coast Guard’s record of the Meigs clearly shows nothing but round trip passages from the United States to Europe, Africa, and South America, embarcking (pickin up) and deploying troops.

    The Meigs was never used as a cargo ship, was not a liberty ship and was decommissioned in 1946. There is nothing in the ship’s record about carrying airplanes of any kind above or delow decks, nor is there room on the topside decks to carry even one plane.

    Considering that the wingspan of one twin-twail Lockheed P38 Lightning fighter is 52 feet and the beam (deck) width of the Pope class transport ships was 75ft 6 inches at its widest point, this is a ridiculous claim.

    The Bell P-63 was called Kingcobra, not Blackwidow. It was a single engine small fighter, mostly used by the Soviet Union.

    The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was a large, twin-tailed multi-engine fighter like the Lightning, almost as large as a medium-sized bomber, and was specifically designed for night fighting. As with the Lockheed design, Northrop’s design gave this plane too wide a wingspan for a troop transport ship.

    There is, in fact, no liberty ship or aircraft carrier or box transport ship listed at any of the shipyards building said ships under the name General M. C. Meigs, who was the Quartermaster of the Navy during the Civil War. Nothing. Nada.

    The only ship named for General M. C. Meigs is the troop transport of the same name.

    I think this guy is quoting his own book. I don’t know where else he could be getting this stuff,

    Gee whiz, fellas — if I’m going to write an historical novel involving specific items and/or events, I do at least go to the trouble of doing my research to be accurate. And if I produce fiction, I specify that it’s fiction.

  32. Ex-PH2 says:

    I couldn’t even find a liberty or box transpor ship with a name that vaguely resembles Meigs.

    The thing is, if you tell yourself these stories long enough, you start to believe them. They loom large in your legend. Gollum thought the Ring was his Precious-s-s-s-s (gollum!gollum!) because he ‘found’ it on his birthday. It was his birthday present and Deagol wouldn’t just give it to him, would he? Precious-s-s-s-s!

  33. USMCE8Ret says:

    …but…but…the USS General M. C. Meigs (SS General Meigs) was RECONFIGURED (yeah, that’s it…) RECONFIGURED… both below and above deck to accomodate the transport of the airplanes. This information has been omitted because it was CLASSIFIED!

    And I’m married to Morgan Fairchild.

  34. Ex-PH2 says:

    @84 – Yeah, and I was shooting rounds with the Jyrines in Saigon during Tet.

    This is a link to the WWII awards issue by the U.S. Merchant Marine commission:

    There’s a list of how many were actually awarded. There is also a list of USMM ships who were designated Gallant Ships, which is a specific honorific for wartime action.

  35. USMCE8Ret says:

    I remember you!!! We were both stationed at the Navy base in “Big Lai”.

  36. HMCS(FMF) Ret says:

    Wow… this has to be one that gets into the next “Ballduster” tournament – with a first round bye….

  37. Virtual Insanity says:

    Jonn–e-mailed you @admin.

  38. Ex-PH2 says:

    @87 — Precious-s-s-s-s-s-ssssss!

  39. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Virtual Insanity emailed LTC Rawlinson and got this response;

    From: Rawlinson, James S LTC USARMY (US)
    Sent: Wednesday, December 26, 2012 4:53 AM
    Subject: Re: checking bona fides (UNCLASSIFIED)

    Thanks. It’s absolutely true. His vehicle was hit by an IED and it damaged his hearing, but he insisted on remaining embedded with us. Real tough guy. Hope this helps.
    Sent from my Blackberry

  40. Virtual Insanity says:

    To be clear, I only asked Rawlinson to verify Leeds’ stories of being embedded and injured in Iraq as an 83-year-old.

  41. O-4E says:


    I just emailed LTC James Rawlinson to see what he has to say.


    There is no “Col. Bataglio” in the entire DoD database.

  42. I don’t know where you get your information from, but fools know the wings are removed from the planes when shipped by boat. The bodies and wings are covered with a black plastic (I believe it was called cosmoline?). In May, 1945 we docked in Manila Harbor on our return trip from Biak, New Guinea and received the news that Gerany had surrendered about that time. My ship WAS the SS General Meigs and except for the Navy or Coast Guard men that manned the 3″” & 5″ cannons, the Captain, Chief Engineer and every other crewman was a civilian. I still have the large, decorated Equator Crossing certificated signed by every member of the crew. Please don’t tell me the ship never went to the South Pacific. My name, as a crew member of this journey was verified by the United States Coasst Guard when they issued me an official Military Discharge. For verification I suggest you write to: COMMANDING OFFICER, USCG-National Maritime Center (NMC-421), ATTN: Correspondence Section, 100 Forbges Drive, Martinsburg, WV 25404 (Megan Stewart, Archives Technician (2F).

  43. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Okay, if all of this checks out, somebody has to call Hollywood. Also, we’ll need to get in touch with Dos Equis and let them know that their most interesting man in the world is a punk.

  44. OWB says:

    Sure it carried airplanes – model airplanes maybe?

    Are we certain that this is not part of yet another online scam? After all, with referances to things like the “American Air Force,” ya just gotta wonder.

    But thanks ever so much for including me in your list of whatever that was in your silly post above which was an obvious attempt to bring attention upon yourself. No actual factual material, just the old “look at me” delusional behavior. Good for a laugh but little else.

  45. Ex-PH2 says:

    Where is Gerany? Is that in the Caucusus?

    Ships built by J. A. Jones Construction Company, Panama City, Florida Z-EC2-S-C5 Type For Boxed Aircraft

    Nowhere on any of the lists of ships built in Panama City, Florida does the name General Meigs appear.

    In October 1945 the transport joined the “Magic Carpet” fleet and during the next four months brought combat veterans back to the United States from France, India and Japan. Arriving in San Francisco in late January 1946, General M. C. Meigs was decommissioned there in early March and transferred to the War Shipping Administration.

    My source is the US Navy’s historical records.

    This is an aerial shot of the USS General M. C. Meigs, taken in 1944. It clearly shows there is no deck space for any kind of airplane, winged or unwinged. Whatever ship you were on, it was NOT the Meigs.

  46. Ex-PH2 says:

    And for your information, Operation Magic Carpet did NOT start until October 1945.

  47. Joe Williams says:

    Please explain how you had aquired 3 months leave as a cadet? Normal is30days per year. Joe

  48. HMCS(FMF) Ret says:

    Info from Wikipedia and the USCG historical websites on the USS General M. C. Megis:

    FYI – the Megis was at sea in the Atlantic when Germany surrendered in May 1945. Her only cruise to the Pacific in WWII was in December 1945, arriving in Nagoya in January 1946. She was built as a General Pope Class transport (AP) – ships originally designed as passenger liners, but could be converted to troop ships if needed.

  49. Ex-PH2 says:

    Here’s another shot of the USS General M. C. Meigs, off the coast of Virginia after leaving Hampton Roads, shot in July, 1944: