Navy recruiter charged for wearing DFC

| June 27, 2012

Art sends us a link to The Tennessean which reports that a Navy recruiter, Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (NAC) Grady Wayne Nations, has been charged by the Navy for wearing an unauthorized medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross, presenting forged orders for the medal and then lying about whether he was authorized to wear the DFC;

Sources tell the Navy Times that Nations could face from 2 to 12 years in prison if convicted.

Nations was notified of the charges June 8, said Cmdr. Alvin Plexico, spokesman for Navy Recruiting Command. No trial date has been set.

“While I do not want to speak to this specific case, I can tell you that any sailor who would wear a medal he did not earn brings discredit upon himself and dishonors his fellow shipmates,” Plexico said.

The Navy Times says;

Not only did Nations allegedly submit the forged DFC certificate to his superiors, they apparently approved it and sent it on to Navy Personnel Command, where it was included in his permanent service record.

That’s why I question some people’s stuff in their FOIAs. Sometimes it just doesn’t sound right. *cough*Whittgenfeld*cough*

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (81)

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  1. AndyN says:

    Is that how they teach sailors how to salute? I think I’d assume that somebody who salutes like a high school marching band drum major didn’t earn any of the stuff he’s wearing on his uniform.

  2. NHSparky says:

    Andy–nope. And recruiters lying? Impossibru!

  3. Art says:

    He aint saluting – he just “checked his 6” after being told he was “invited” to be the guest of honor at his court martial.

  4. Hondo says:

    Well, he has balls – but not much in the way of brains. Did he really think that no one would ever notice his DFC “certificate” had been signed by USAF officials who last held their positions in the late 1960s?

  5. NHSparky says:

    Hondo–nobody EVER accused airedales of being smart. Teddy is a surface nuke and I’m sure could tell far better stories than I could of how they’d fuck with them.

  6. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    OK … let me be clear on this one. This future former Sailor is an absolute embarrassment to the US Navy. Guilty as charged … the evidence is overwhelmingly suggesting that he not only did this, but this behavior has been going on for years. As far as his other endeavours, there is probably fraud to some extent as well. This person needs to go NOW! PERIOD!

  7. Art says:

    “Nations would tell anyone who asked that his DFC was classified, awarded to him by the Air Force for action taken during a classified mission while he was on temporary duty with the Air Force in the Persian Gulf.”

  8. Joe Williams says:

    Discharged with a DD

  9. NHSparky says:

    A Navy Reserve recruiter and wannabe country music star

    Another fucking Poe. Jesus.

  10. Ex-PH2 says:

    No, that is not how we’re taught to salute. It’s not even a Brit salute. He must have some smudges on his glove.

    A recruiter? Well, I hope he at least has to spend some time cleaning heads and chipping paint off bulkheads while he contemplates his reduction to E-1.

  11. Dave Thul says:

    They need to make a nice public example out of this one. Wearing the medal is one strike, forging the paperwork is another, and lying about both is the third strike.

    And prison time isn’t public enough. Put him in leg irons and a bright orange jump suit and make him speak to basic training units about what happens when you steal valor.

  12. Tman says:

    Like a broken record…

  13. NHSparky says:

    SJ–we know. Covered him a year ago. One of the top 2-3 threads of all time here.

  14. SJ says:

    NHSparky: and I missed all the fun for all these years? Dang. Thanks.

  15. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Soup still brings in 300 hits/day here.

  16. Beretverde says:

    @11 You said it all!

  17. Ex-PH2 says:

    I read that Navy Times article. At the bottom, it says he’s released music on a DIY music website, with a blurb claiming that he opened in concerts for Tammy Wynette and for George Jones, among other people. I think her last concert was 1995. She died in April 1998. I believe George Jones is currently on tour or planning one. I’m sure he could confirm or refute this guy’s claims.
    This individual is about as despicable as you can get. The fakers area annoying, and when they profit from their cons, yes, it is criminal, but this jerk is active duty and should know better.
    I think keelhauling would be too good for him.

  18. NHSparky says:

    PH2–no it wouldn’t. Keelhauling would be perfectly acceptable.

    As long as it was on an aircraft carrier.

  19. Ex-PH2 says:

    With barnacles? I’m up for it.

  20. Instinct says:

    I would personally supervise the keelhauling of this piece of shit as long as it was done on the Abe Lincoln since it’s one of the largest (and longest) we have.

  21. NHSparky says:

    I’m still wondering why nobody called him on his bullshit considering that 1–AO’s are known as “BB stackers” and typically aren’t flight crew (something Tim can verify) and 2–going back to previous statement he has EAWS (Enlisted Air Warfare Specialist) wings but no Aircrew wings, and 3–the DFC can only be awarded for, “Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”

    Yeah, not seeing it either. And did a search. Of the 20 most recent Navy recipients of the DFC, it goes back to 1983. Exactly ZERO of them were awarded to enlisted personnel.

  22. Enigma 4 You says:

    Im not defending this POS but looking at the Full Dress Blues with gloves and cravat my guess would be this was taken at a Ceremonial event such as a KIA funeral, it looks as if he is in the process of rendering a slow salute.

  23. Enigma 4 You says:

    I just read the Navy Times article on him

    “He was on active duty for special work at the Navy Operational Support Center in Nashville as a military funeral honors coordinator when some of the alleged offenses took place.”

    So this POS represented the Navy at KIA and Vet funerals, Never have I seen anyone more deserving of an ass kicking. No doubt he wanted to add bling to his blues.

  24. NHSparky says:

    Not sure that’s appropriate. Even when covered, the only time Navy/Marines will salute indoors is when under arms.

  25. Enigma 4 You says:

    Under Normal circumstances you would be correct, however Funeral Details are different. The Salute is not only being rendered to the dead, but to the family as well.

    I have attended many KIA and Vet funerals of all branches. (Im also in the PGR) The order of service varies only slightly between branches. Many of the honors rendered are not seen by most of the funeral guest.

    Navy personnel will also render a hand salute when part of a mixed service detail or when attending a Funeral for a member of another branch of service in uniform and the order of “Hand Salute” is given

  26. Retired Chief (SW/AW) says:

    Wow. This would never have been included into anyone’s record while I was on active duty had the original document’s and citation not been presented. I suspect this was not put into his record by the personnel who controlled the records. Either this P.O.S. did it himself or someone high up the chain of command did it or ordered someone to do it. Either way, this is unbelievable. I have a feeling that someone else might be involved in this scam. Let’s see if he how well he can “SING”.

  27. Steadfast&Loyal says:

    He also forged the Coast Guard Special Operations Ribbon….which I didn’t know existed.

    Makes you really wonder how many there are out there on Active Duty right now.

  28. AverageNCO says:

    I know I sound like a broken record here…but I again highly recommend everyone read B.G. Burkett’s book “Stolen Valor.” Many of the guys he exposed were able to scam the system and get their bogus awards/decs put into their official records. Sometimes it only takes one records clerk lacking attention to detail and/or integrity to get a fraudulent medal into a personnel file.

  29. 679Prig says:

    “Soup still brings 300 hits/day here”

    I teach military classes, and Soup is part of my curriculum. The students love him….

  30. Thor says:


    I would urge y’all to wait until the Courts Martial is concluded. I happen to know someone who DID serve with the man and verified that he was awarded this medal. He was attached to VRC-40 as a Naval Aircrewman. He EAOSed sometime in 1994 and the re-entered the Navy sometime after Sept 11th, 2001. He is highly regarded by my friend and several others. I really don’t want to say much more until things are over & done with.

    Don’t ANY of y’all find it odd that this was published pre-Courts Martial and NOT AFTER he had been convicted? He had been offered a plea deal, but is willing to take this to Courts Martial because he states that he DID earn that award. Just for the record, he was transferred into VRC-40 from a VP squadron.

    While I was at HM-14, we had several AOs in our squadron. Over half of them were aircrew.

    I’m not real fond of his “salute”, but having served on Funeral details, this isn’t uncommon, at least in my experience. I’m inclined to think that the photo was a photo op taken indoors.

  31. Chevy says:

    Simply incredible

  32. Hondo says:

    Thor: even if he actually was awarded the medal, that doesn’t explain the forged cert. I seriously doubt the USAF was still using DFC certificates signed in the late 1960s in 1991.

  33. Bobo says:

    Thor, you’re right, we’ll have to wait until all of the evidence is played out, but I would really love to hear how he was awarded a medal in the 1990s by a general who last served in the 1960s.

  34. Open Channel D says:

    34 posts and nobody notes the fact that CDR Alvin “Flex” Plexico is the PR hack for Navy Recruiting?

    The legend that is Flex Plexico, perhaps the greatest name in all of US naval history, is apparent.

  35. Thor says:

    I, too, question the signatures. I’d dearly love to see the citation. I would be VERY interested in vetting out the signatures. We need to keep in mind that the Navy Times isn’t the most accurate in reporting. Of course, that all hinges on the info the reporter was given, too.

    Poor reporting by the Navy Times, BTW. Petty Officer Nations is 45, NOT 43. It makes me wonder what other things that were “conveniently” made up to make a story.

  36. Enigma 4 You says:

    I have spoken with two people that I trust and that served served with him during this time frame. Both say that his character is above reproach. One insist that the award of the DFC is valid, the other had first hand knowledge that an entire air crew was given the DFC.

    Nations had gotten out and was called back to Duty again not an uncommon thing. It would seem that his service record was lost (Again not uncommon) and that it was recreated at the time of his re-enlistment.

    Nations requested a Court Martial.

    It would seem that there is more here than meets the eye at first glance. I think in this case judgement needs to be withheld until more of the facts are known. Even if Nations is found innocent at this point, the damage to his character and career are permanent.

  37. NHSparky says:

    I happen to know someone who DID serve with the man and verified that he was awarded this medal.

    Then explain why it does NOT appear in any public records. Again, as I stated previously, in the last 30 years only 20 DFC’s have been awarded Navy-wide, and none of them to enlisted. Even if he was “attached” to an AF squadron, his award would still read “United States Navy” somewhere on it.

    Even with the P-3 that nearly went down off China in 2001, only the pilot (Lt. Osborn) received a DFC.

  38. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ NH … how did the person you know verify the award? This story is not sizing up! As a custodian of Naval History and Tradition I have never heard of this guy before. And I know the community and the achievement of our Sailors QUITE well.

  39. NHSparky says:

    I was quoting the previous poster, Master Chief.

    Like I said, for WWII and Korea the awards for the DFC might be a bit fuzzy, but from Vietnam on they’ve been kept up VERY well.

    And when someone claims an award/medal which has been given out so infrequently in the past quarter-century, that’s just asshattery of a stupid level.

    But as I said before, nobody ever claimed airedales were smart.

  40. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    NH .. sorry … I am sometimes not the quick!

  41. NHSparky says:

    Hey, you’re a khaki. It happens…a lot…

  42. Hondo says:

    Can’t find the Gulf War era version of SECNAVINS 1650.1, and current ones aren’t clear on this point. But the Army won’t award Army decorations to members of other services w/o concurrence of that service (peacetime or wartime). That was policy during the Gulf War, and is still the case today.

    The DFC is a service decoration – e.g., it’s an Army decoration when awarded by the Army, a Navy decoration when awarded by the Navy, etc . . . . The current USAF awards reg says much the same.

    Anyone know what USAF policy regarding sister-service concurrence for awards was during the Gulf War? Or if Navy personnel are authorized to receive sister-service decorations without DON concurrence?

  43. milpride says:

    Thor, I agree with you on waiting. I have not seen him in a while, but I served with him. Talked to him a few times I needed the guard. He was in charge of the honor guard and changed them to a team sharp enough to make anyone proud. (yes, it looks like he is still bringing up the salute) I know first hand that he would go well beyond what was expected of him in that position. For example, when he heard the Army would not send a detail to perform honors for a vet because it to too far for them, he got volunteers from the honor guard and one from the Army to drive close to a 1,000 miles each way to render military funerals honors. They did it on their own dime and were not paid. He put together fun raisers for a widow of a fallen shipmate. He organized around the clock watch next to the casket for KIA sailors (also not paid). Put on a fundraiser to pay for and ship thousands of pounds of care packages to deployed sailors. I would bet there are many things I do not know about. When it come to character, I know few people that have as much. From my digging, this stuff was brought about by a Lieutenant that joined the guard and wanted to change things to how he viewed it should be done, which was different than the Arlington standard the guard uses. This came from someone close to the guard. The Lieutenant also is the one that called the press and even some the Nation’s music contacts. The officer went at him on a personal bases and went public to do it. Where I come from, we would have handled this at a much lower level and only moved up the chain when needed. The press should not have even known yet. The Lieutenant was right to call him out on this, but for his approach he should get slapped up side the head….HARD. Know a Capt. that described the then Lt jg as weasel of the year. Playing this out in public is shameful as him wearing those medals if not entitled. They both embarrass the Navy. I am waiting to see why Nations asked for a court martial. Wonder if he has a card to play or if he deserves to look through some bars.

  44. Navy Chief Retired (SW/AW) says:


    I’m sure he and his supporters feel he has been railroaded. Some folks will never admit to being wrong or the truth. He is one of these type of people who constantly want to be in the spotlight.

    I guess all of his stolen medals made him think he was great. He thought it was his birthright to wear a DFC as it seems his father was the one that earned it. Dishonorable discharge. He will never (legally) wear the uniform which he disgraced again. Good riddance.

    Navy Times got this one right. It’s not over yet. I tell you, there was a good reason that these “O’s” and “E’s” had to go to the Times to get something done.

  45. Hondo says:

    Navy Chief Retired (SW/AW): source, please? Not finding this on any of the normal news sources.

  46. Thor says:

    As I was told, he was convicted of “Fraud”. IMO, that leaves a LOT of wiggle room for BOTH parties. As far as I know, he never intended on frauding anybody. I don’t believe that he used this for his own benefit. Also, slight difference, but I was told a BCD, not a DD. I’m told that he intends to appeal the ruling. (All of this through a personal friend & former shipmate of his). A key witness was not called to testify on his behalf. The saddest fact is that when these papers were submitted to BUPERS, nothing was caught at that point. A decent Personnelman would have caught this mistake and corrected it or at least called attention to it. Really? Who is to blame? It was on his DD-214 at one point.All of this arose in preparation for the Chief’s exam. My question is why did personnel drop the ball and who’s going to catch “it” for their own screw up?

    Now, the Navy is also going after his former CO.

    To say the least, I’m OK with whatever happens, although I did/do feel that he was being railroaded. To read about this trial before it had even begun in the Navy Times is simply abhorrent to me. I’m getting pretty tired of court cases being tried in the press, period.

    milpride, I pretty much agree with you.

  47. Navy Wave says:

    Let me tell you all about who AO1 Nations is and what he has done for the Navy, Our Sailors, our heroes KIA, and America.

    He joined the Navy went thru boot camp, then to AO school & on to Air Crew school.

    His first ACTIVE Duty station was VP11 in Brunswick, he moved on to VRC-40 Norfolk. To clarify when he arrived at VRC-40 in 1990. He was an A03, Load Master Air Crew and had his Jump Certificate when he arrived.

    After arriving at VRC-40 and before Desert Shield started, the squadron started doing “experiments”, training exercises with the Air Force, Army Paratroopers, and other various members of the military. (This is the classified information that has been mentioned)

    On one of the exercises, a paratrooper jumped from the C2, his parachute opened too soon and got caught on the Cargo door ramp.
    PO Nations risked his own life, without a moments hesitation, to go out onto the cargo door, where he grabbed the parachute and pulled the paratrooper back on board the aircraft.
    His award for saving the live of another military member at the time, was a BZ and “Atta Boy” given by the Skipper during Quarters.

    Without getting into to much information after that incident VRC-40 decided to train with the Navy Special Ops forces.

    There is “classified” information that no one will ever know about that happened in VRC-40 from 1990 on.

    In 1994 after PO Nations enlistment was up he went on to seek his dream to be a country music singer in Nashville.
    Although there was no medals that was suppose to be awarded for these “missions” there was medals awarded later in 1995. Those that was still in the Navy received their medals.

    PO Nations had succeeded in the Country Music Business where he had won an award for the Best Upcoming Star of Country Music. The biography that everyone refers to was not written by Nations but by his PR Woman.

    After Sept 11th, the Navy asked him to come back to serve. He had a choice to join the military or keep on with his rising music career. He chose to serve his country once again and put his career on hold.
    Anything after this time you can read in the comments left by milpride on how outstanding he is as a Sailor, a man and a teacher for those that work for and with him.

    PO Nations decided to go before a court martial because he was innocent of his charges, which were as follows: AO1 Nations was charged with “intentionally trying to fraud the government”. He thought when they heard what was happening that he would surely be acquitted.

    PO Nations was told by one of his former CMC and Skipper to get his package together for Chief. He brought in all paperwork that was sent to him when he was out of the Navy, it was submitted to BUPERS for them to go thru to see what he had actually been awarded while he was in VRC-40 since he had gotten out in 1994. He did not believe the DFC was valid but was told to send it in anyway and Personnel would catch the mistake if there was one.

    When BUPERS returned his DD214 the DFC had been awarded to him. He was told at that time to wear it or he would be out of uniform.
    There had been several rumors after leaving VRC-40 that a couple of people had received the DFC, no one knew who had or had not actually received it.

    When PO Nations went to his court martial he did not say that he knew for sure that he was awarded the DFC and when he was told by his Skipper at the Recruiting Command to take it off he did so.
    There were other Ribbons, medals that his Skipper at the Recruiting Command said he didn’t earn. However he had several people to testify that he had in fact earned those medals.

    The one person that could have testified for PO Nations about the sensitive information from VRC-40 his lawyer would not let testify.

    PO Nations received a BCD and his Skipper at the Recruiting Command is in fact going after his former Commander now that had the balls to actually testify on his behalf!

    I can assure anyone that this is a witch hunt, it should have been handled at a much lower level and when he was told to remove the DFC that he DID actually earn by saving the life of a fellow military member, as an Active Duty Flight Crew member during training operations, he took it off.

    AO1 Nations is an exemplary Sailor! What everyone should be mad about is that a man that has given up his life and music career; he is being railroaded by someone that doesn’t like him because of nothing more than jealousy.

    The article in the Navy Times was totally inaccurate and had already crucified PO Nations. It was a losing battle before it ever went to court martial because of that article.

    PO Nations is appealing the decision of court martial and if there is any honor left in today’s Navy the BCD will be overturned and he can finish his career in peace!

  48. Hondo says:

    Navy Wave: wearing a decoration for valor that one does not rate and which is fraudulent is one of the cardinal sins in the military. They are one of the “Awshits” that wipe out all previous “Attaboys” – and then some.

    I don’t care how good a Sailor this guy was. If he didn’t rate the medal, he committed a greivous offense against both military law and culture in wearing same without authority. The fact that he was previously a “good guy” is irrelevant.

    He was convicted at courts-martial of doing precisely that. He made his own bed; he can now sleep in it.

  49. NHSparky says:

    Wave–concur with Hondo. If this guy is/was as shit-hot squared-away as you claim, then he KNEW wearing shit you don’t rate is a BIG no-no.

    Doing something out of ignorance is one issue. Doing it even when you know it’s wrong is a whole ‘nuther level of asshattery for which there is NO excuse.

    And if there’s any doubt:

    At the time of the alleged DFC award, Nations was a third class petty officer at Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 40 in Norfolk, Va. The certificate cites action that took place Nov. 11, 1991, and says the award was approved Dec. 30, 1991.

    There is no mention in Nations’ service record that indicates he deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1991, or ever, during his nearly four years at VRC-40, according to NPC.

    His records show two Sea Service Deployment Ribbons, both awarded during a previous assignment to Patrol Squadron 11 in Brunswick, Maine.

    Only one detachment from VRC-40 was deployed to the Gulf during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. That detachment deployed with the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt at the end of December 1990, three months after Nations reported to the squadron.