I’m sure you all know Paul Rieckhoff, the Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. Paul and I have been sparring since they published their first “non-partisan” scorecard before the last Presidential election that was scored so that then-Senator Obama was a better friend of veterans than Senator McCain, you know, the veteran in the race. So there may be some personal bias in this particular bit of reportage, and I’ll readily admit to it.
But, anyway, I found this article taken from Rieckhoff’s alma mater newspaper at Amherst College, but here’s a screen shot of the part where he’s telling the reporter that he was going to Special Forces in the last paragraph of this shot;
Yeah, that’s no problem, really, and here’s the picture that accompanied the article;
Notice the Special Forces unit patch on his left shoulder, which would mean that he was assigned to a Special Forces unit, right? Well, I have a copy of all of his assignment orders and none of them assign him to a Special Forces unit…anywhere. Now stay with me. His orders indicate that he was assigned to A Co. of the 105th Infantry Battalion in Leeds, NY when that interview was done in April, 2004 and published in the summer. His next assignment was to A Co. 108th Infantry Battalion, the orders were dated January 2005 and effective November 2004 two months after the interview.
In this picture, Paul is wearing a Bronze Star Medal;
Actually, his BSM is on his DD214, but, unlike his other awards, I couldn’t find his citation or orders for the medal and it doesn’t show up in his 2-1, which doesn’t mean anything, really, because, unless you ride those clerks, stuff doesn’t get put in;
But, it makes me wonder how the BSM got on his DD214 without it being in his 2-1. It also doesn’t appear on his Report of Separation and Record of Service (NGB-22) which is dated June 30, 2010;
Now I did find his end-of-tour award for his service in Iraq. It was an Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) and for service from April 2003 to January 2004 – the dates that match his deployment dates to Iraq according to his DD214. It seems strange to me that he’d get an ARCOM and a BSM for Merit for the same combat tour.
But, see this is all questions, and I don’t like unanswered questions. And since I don’t like doing anything behind anyone’s back, I sent all of my questions along with the accumulated documentation to Paul and asked him about the discrepancies I found and asked him to fill in the blanks.
He promptly replied, but his letter only made me have more unanswered questions;
He said in the letter that he intended to go to 19th SFG, but after talking with the commander they both decided that he shouldn’t. So who sews a unit patch on their uniform before they’re even assigned to the unit? I don’t think I ever changed patches until I signed in to a unit. Maybe that’s just me, though.
The DD214 does clearly say he has a Bronze Star Medal, but how did he get it? I asked him for orders, but he sent me the DD214 that I already had and then he claimed he never received the citation, but he doesn’t mention the orders. So did someone call him and tell him he had one, and he just pinned it on? And how did it get on his DD214 without orders or a citation? And he physically signed his DD214, so they didn’t have him digitally sign it from a distance. He was right there in the room with the clerk.
In his letter, he writes; “Since the photo in question, I have not worn or claimed the BSM—as you have noted.” Yeah, that’s the only photo I could find of him with the BSM, so if he’s so sure that he earned a BSM, why did he stop wearing it after that picture? See what I mean by more questions?
And, oh, yeah, if you want to get on my good side, Paul, you probably shouldn’t threaten me with lawyers in the first paragraph. Or the last paragraph. Or any of the paragraphs in between. Here at TAH we operate within the limits of the law and everything that we accumulated was done within those limits. I got the records from the usual source – Mary at POW Network. She’ll verify that. And there is no grand conspiracy against you, Paul, just little old me and my ten nimble fingers. And, oh, my lawyer.
Now, I don’t understand why Rieckhoff felt a need to dress up for his school newspaper. He has a CIB, a combat patch and a perfectly honorable combat tour in Iraq. I admire him for his service, but the rest of this stuff that he’s done since he’s come back kind of overshadows that stuff he did in Iraq.