We got emails last night from a bunch of folks who were pretty upset about one of the members of their unit in Afghanistan who was embellishing his record in order to build a myth around himself. Apparently, golf blog Bunkers Paradise wrote an article entitled Punk Lewis – A Combat Hero Turned Golfer. In the article, they wrote about the incident that took Lewis out of the war;
Punk Lewis was injured on August 31st, 2009 in Logar Providence in Afghanistan. While conducting combat operations, insurgents launched a complex attack against the squad Lewis was in. During the ambush multiple rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s) struck the patrol, causing Lewis several injuries. The wounds included Traumatic Brain Injury, dislocated jaw, nerve damage in his right arm, lower and upper spine damage, and short term memory loss. Due to these injuries, the United States Army decided to medically retire Punk Lewis from the service. Lewis was awarded a Purple Heart, Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Two Army Commendation Medals, Army Achievement Medal and a Good Conduct Medal.
According to witnesses to the incident, what really happened was that an Afghanistan National Army soldier accidentally discharged his RPG rocket launcher and Lewis, along with several others, were caught in the back blast area (when the rocket motor ignites and sends a stream of burning gases and fuel out the back of the tube behind the gunner). Witnesses tell me that there were three other people between the RPG and Lewis who were not injured. From one email;
This guy, Specialist Victor Lindbergh Lewis, was in my unit when we deployed to Afghanistan in 2009. We were in 3rd Platoon, B Company, 1-32 IN and attached by orders to 3-71 CAV (B Troop 3-71 CAV went with our Battalion to Kunar and our company went with the CAV to Logar). At the time he was the Platoon RTO but on Facebook he claims he was a scout/sniper (he attended a week long designated marksman course at Fort Drum). On top of claiming to be a scout/sniper he has somehow managed to be awarded THREE Purple Hearts, obtain an 80% disability rating but play golf nearly everyday since going to WTB/WTU back in 2010.
On a patrol in Charkh District, Logar Province, Afghanistan in late August 2009 he claims he was back blasted by an RPG which caused spinal damage, PTSD, mTBI and a bunch of other problems. However, there were at least 3 other Soldiers between him and the ANA firing the RPG, none of those Soldiers were injured and he himself said he was fine. He managed to get CASEVAC [casualty evacuation] from Charkh all the way back to Bagram and then from there back to the states. Once in the states he continued to have different problems pop up (back injury, shoulder injury, nerve damage here or there, etc…) and finally was transferred to [Warrior Transition Unit/Warrior Transition Battalion].
Every Soldier who served with him and knew him are in a RAGE about his Stolen Valor. He is shamelessly trying to secure all the free goodies and benefits he can and taking away from the REAL wounded Soldiers from our platoon.
Apparently, he was calling himself a scout/sniper on his Facebook page but after the kerfuffle in the comments of the Bunkers Paradise article, he’s removed all of that stuff. While on the subject, you can read the comments at the article and see him get called out by members of his former unit. One young lady in particular is quite exercised.
According to emails we received, Lewis was in the same platoon as SSG Brandon “the Bullet Magnet” Camacho who has the dubious honor of earning five Purple Heart medals in as many years. That seems to be the source of much of their ire.
You can also see Punk Lewis’ comment in which he announces to his compadres that he “fixed” his Facebook profile.
ADDED: Since Lewis and his editor at Bunkers Paradise want to play stupid games, here’s their stupid prize. A screen shot of his Twitter conversation in which he claims he went to sniper school and has 3 Purple Hearts (thanks to SSG S for the screen shot;