James R. Albertson: Lyin’ from the grave

| November 14, 2012

Mary sends us links to the obituaries of James R. Albertson who told his family wild-ass stories about being a POW in Vietnam. She says that after checking the various POW lists, he doesn’t appear on any of them;

Dad was taken prisoner, and he was beaten so badly prior to arriving at his first camp that he has no recollection of what occurred after the Viet Cong surrounded him. He woke to find that many of the others had urinated on him, and in his open wounds. From there they forced him to do things like play Russian roulette, they shot others as he watched… they pried off his finger nails with bamboo sticks. They put him in the Chinese water torcher [sic] table…. and to describe some of his more difficult collections:

Further along his time as a POW, they placed him and 6 others in a bamboo cage that was submerged in a river. Only about 6 inches of air separated them from the top of the cage. The cage was tall enough that you could not stand on the bottom. Your only choices were to swim or hang on to the bamboo door on top. Their cage was guarded 24/7, and if you started to hang onto the top of the cage they would take the butt of their AK-47s and smash your fingers until you let go. Dad said one of them had a finger cut off because he was too weak to let go, and the soldier’s constant beating on his hand caused his finger to be amputated. Then after the first few guys died (which they did not remove bodies from the cage) the mice started showing up and taking bites at those dead and undead in the cage. Dad was the only one to make it out alive. He was able to use some of the dead to help stand so he didn’t have to tread water. They were in that cage for about 2 weeks he said. Their feeding time consisted of rice being thrown into the water for them.

Sounds to me like he watched too many Vietnam movies. A cursory search for those five Purple Hearts he claims he had turned up nothing, not that it means anything since databases aren’t complete, but, you’d think with five of them, one would show up;

So that throws his two Bronze Star Medals “for bravery” into question, too.

Of course, his son says that POW Network calling out his father is because his missions in Vietnam were all classified. Ho-hum. What could possibly be classified about being a POW? The enemy had him, they knew they had him, so how would it be a secret?

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (65)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    49 MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) Says: Any questions?

    I have many questions!! None you can answer, the fact that you never met my father, just those you claim are like him. The memories of my father are wonderful, and hearing ANYONE call him a POS is wrong, especially if you never met him. He was a good man, despite what you all think of him. Opinions are like assholes……I accidently came across this site, I shouldn’t have opened up this can but it’s way to late. All I am saying is that I have no mis conception about who my father was, in my heart I know what the truth here is. Whatmy problem is …he is being called names by people who didn’t know him personally, he was NOT a POS, my dad didn’t profit from claiming to be a POW, and the fact I am sure none of you have ever told a lie before REALLY?????????

    As far as my grandpa, he was not in the major leagues, he was from what I recall (I could be wrong) signed in the minors, but never played. He chose a different path.

  2. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Were it not for comments 49 and 51, I would understand why you have raised this matter again publicly. You say that you “I shouldn’t have opened up this can but it’s way to late.” It wasn’t too late. That was the midpoint in your writing when you wrote that line. You could have deleted it or not hit the Submit Comment button. Now, go away or incur the wrath of those you annoy.

  3. PintoNag says:

    @51 “Opinions are like assholes…”

    WHAT opinion? If you have any proof of what your father says he did, then post it. Otherwise, the only opinion being put forward here is YOURS.

  4. JBS says:

    @51, So you’re saying he never claimed VA disability / compensation for POW status? You might want to look into that.

  5. Hondo says:

    Anonymous: I don’t give a hoot in hell if your father profited financially from his false claims of Vietnam POW status or not.

    POWs held by Japan, North Korea, and North Vietnam were treated like animals. They were beaten, abused, tortured, starved, you name it. They experienced a level of abuse that few on Americans can comprehend – let alone have experienced. Yet the vast majority remained faithful for their nation. Except for those few pathetic individuals who voluntarily defected (Garwood and possibly a few others) or collaborated with their captors, these men deserve nothing but respect and honor from the rest of us.

    Your father falsely claimed to have been among that august group. That is reprehensible, pathetic, and inexcusable behavior. Whether he profited financially is irrelevant to me. Through his lies, he stole honor and respect belonging to far better men than himself. That is what makes him a lying POS.

    Deny reality if you want. Reality doesn’t change because you find it objectionable. And official records prove that reality is far different from what your father falsely claimed.

  6. Hondo says:

    Addendum: for what it’s worth, according to Baseball-Reference.com, there is no record of anyone with the last name “Albertson” who ever played for a Yankees minor-league affiliate, either:


  7. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @51 I am assuming you are having a bad day today thinking about your dad…I was trying to be gentle in post 47 in my reply.

    However, what I did not say is that in my experience men who lie about their service lie about other things as well. And if they will tell a lie to a loved one, they will tell worse lies to others. A story of such detail is not born of a moment of poor judgment but is a calculated tale of deception designed to curry favor, sympathy, business, or some measure of respect. It is designed to fill some emptiness in their lives real or imagined.

    Why tell you a lie about what his service was like? You would not have thought less of him if he told you he worked as a medical assistant in Greece during the Vietnam war right? You would have assumed he did his duty and was lucky to avoid combat so he could be alive to be your dad. That’s what always baffles me about this stuff, why do they do it when they have honorable service?

    I served from 1978-1984, I never saw a shot fired in anger during my service. I was discharged honorably. I don’t even consider myself a real veteran as a consequence of my peacetime service. My service seems pale in comparison to those here who did risk life and limb in the service of our nation. I would not under any circumstance disrespect these people with a pretense. Those who do are, unfortunately, not quality people. That is the truth of it. Again, I am truly sorry for your loss, and I am sorry you find yourself at this point today. But these people did nothing wrong, that is a fact.

    That you can not understand their sense of outrage, is not a reflection of them but of your not understanding your father’s motivation for telling lies.

    Find some way to move past this, dwelling on it doesn’t change it and doesn’t make it better.

  8. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    @ 51 Anonymous Daughter of Valor Thief

    I did not call your Disgraced and Dishonored Valor Thief father any names (such as POS) as you mentioned above!

    However, I did notice that you wrote, “opinions are like assholes.”

    Interesting in the context written … that is name calling … is it not?

    I might recommend that you learn the art of polite conversation and or employ other debate methods as you are attempting to joust with people with much more experience and expertise in the area of ferretting out POSER, VALOR THIEVES and the like!

    So any questions with substrance or are you going to continue the needless incoherent blatherings?

  9. Hondo says:

    MCPO: that was probably directed at me. And I stand by that assessment.

    I have no respect for or tolerance of those who falsely claim to be Japanese, NK/Chinese, or Vietnam POWs. Anyone who willfully makes or made such a false claim in my book is indeed deserving of being labeled a lying POS. That’s true whether or not they’re on this side of the dirt.

    Someone has to speak up for the POWs who didn’t make it back from captivity; for those who did; and for the tens of thousands who were killed vice being captured. They are the ones who are being stolen from in cases like this. And most of them can’t (or won’t) speak up for themselves.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well I am sorry to have offended anyone, it was a shock to see these things posted, like I said above I came across this site by accident.

    As far as the baseball thing, I said I could be wrong about the minors…

    Again sorry to offend any veteran or POW

  11. ItAllFades says:

    @56 She did say that he signed, but never played. That would explain BR.com not having a record of him. A lot of people sign with Major League teams and then choose to go to college, or play other sports.

  12. ItAllFades says:

    Instead of going to the minor leagues.

  13. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    @60 I’m not offended by your comments. Most of the folks here have a tough skin, they also assume everyone else does and don’t much care if they don’t. Thin skinned folks will have a tough time at this site.

    It’s your dad, I get it.

    And I get that you were shocked to read all this and how it affects the folks who actually did the things your dad said he did.

    You have my deepest sympathy for your loss, I mean that. I also meant it when I said I hope you find a way to move beyond this. Best of luck to you.

  14. reply_to_anonymous_daughter says:

    @61- The son’s story (@30) stated he played for the Yankees and the obit referenced @50 stated that he was ‘former professional baseball player.’

    Melvin “Mel” Robert Albertson, 80 years old, of Hot Springs Village, …founded Jim and Mel’s Golf Cars 24 years ago. He retired as vice president of sales with Indian Head Mills prior to moving to Hot Springs Village. He was also a former professional baseball player. Mel was a pilot in the United States Navy Air Corp during World War II. He graduated from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, OH where he was a member of SAE Fraternity.

  15. Hondo says:

    Dunno about that, ItAllFades. One of those named “Alberston” on the list is shown as having been “drafted in the 7th round” in 1970 but never playing in the minors.

    However, it’s possible the records 30 years earlier weren’t very complete. So it’s possible you’re correct.

    But based on the info in comment 64, I don’t think so. Signing without ever playing doesn’t exactly equate to actually being a “professional baseball player”.