Punk Lewis pulls a “Tim Poe”

| January 5, 2013 | 129 Comments

Punk-Lewis-5

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;

_Punk_Lewis Tweets

Category: Phony soldiers

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  1. Dbie says:

    Ass of the John Kerry version.

  2. Old Trooper says:

    Wow; he’s arguing with those that were there with him. That’s not gonna get him anywhere fast.

  3. USMCE8Ret says:

    And this “Punk” says he was in marketing for 10 years prior to serving in the Army, but now (because of his injuries), he can’t return to that line of work because of them? What gives? I would think that playing golf would just be the opposite for someone with the injuries he claims to have.

    I don’t subscribe to Facebook, so someone will have to fill me in on the rest.

  4. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    “Before the service, I was employed in the advertising and marketing profession for 10 years. However, due to my injuries, I can no longer return to that profession.”

    Well, there you go. He was a professional bullshitter BEFORE he joined the amateur ranks. I cannot imagine a worse thing than to have those you served with turn their backs on you. He must be a real piece of work.

  5. Green Thumb says:

    Punk is his real name?

    Associated with WWP according to the article.

    No suprise there.

  6. OWB says:

    Sounds like he actually HAS returned to his prior service occupation – just rewards coming from different sources.

  7. Marsha says:

    I just will never understand why? It is no less honorable to scrub toilets for your country than it is to honestly receive a Purple Heart. Service is sacrifice, and sacrifice is service. Be proud of who you are! And thank you ALL for your service.

  8. Steelbreeze says:

    Am I the only one wondering how you manage an ND on an RPG?

  9. Hill_2259 says:

    I was down range with this loser.

    The ANA we were attached to were not the brightest (if there are any bright ones). The RPG gunner didn’t “ND” he just failed to check if the back blast area was clear.

    The Soldiers who were caught in the back blast were UNERVED but otherwise unhurt. Yeah it sucks to have a rapidly expanding gas ball hit you from 5 – 25 meters away but the REAL Soldiers shook it off and kept fighting. Even Lewis shook it off and kept performing his duties as RTO…. at least until he could weasel his way onto a CASEVAC.

    The fact that he has shameleslly plugged his golf career, merchandies and hyped his story at the expense of a platoon who has seen REAL heroes and valor just irks us. He could have lived out his days telling the story of how he got backblasted by an RPG but continued sending up SITREPS and trying to get support for our TIC and not one of us would have said something because he had at least EARNED that much. But the moment he started living this fantasy at WTU/WTB of the “multiple wounds” god dang “hero” at the expense of our Platoons real heros…. yeah. Cross that line and your dog food pal.

    He is a fraud…. and I hope he suffers the fullest punishment and shame possible for the valor he stole from those who secured Charkh in 2009.

  10. Maggie Goff says:

    The comments on the Bunkers Paradise article must have been removed. I don’t see any.

  11. RandomNCO says:

    He looks like the type of guy who would pull shit like this. Why is it, that every Infantry platoon always has at least one moron like this?

  12. USMCE8Ret says:

    Just once, I’d like to hear of a platoon leader outlining the ethics of a team environment, and address the “poser” issue well in advance to his squad/platoon mates. We presume some sort of cohesion exists within a unit that eats, sleeps and fights together, but like #11 said, there always seems to be one guy in every platoon.

    Not quite sure what that would sound like since there are so many leadership styles out there, but I can’t help but wonder what they would sound like.

  13. rb325th says:

    Anyone who does not believe that there are numerous others like this assclown out there who learned how to play the system for every disability dime they can get, plus their SSDI… master manipulators and along the line they tell a few tall tales.
    WTF? I was nothing more than a “peace time” soldier, no heroics, no scout/sniper, SF/Ranger tabs, no spaceshuttle door gunner time…. I got my scars from my time in. I by rights could have done the 100% Unemployability and gone on Social Security as well. Not thumping my chest about it, but why the fuck do so many men and woman come out of the Military wit hthat as their goal…
    I digress, but not by much here. This guys lies are bad enough, but he was in a WTU for 3 years milking his supposed injuries suffered in an “attack” which wasn’t an attack at all… that no one else apparently sustained any great injuries from despite their closer proximity to it… dirtbag! They are many and all the same!

  14. SSG S says:

    I am another one of his platoon mates, and I was there and a witness to when Lewis was hit by the back blast. He and the 2 other soldiers that were also hit by the same back blast, were stunned initially but basically shrugged it off and continued the mission. Lewis then snaked his way onto the Casevac bird, and just prior to getting onto the Blackhawk he said “Im riding this train all the way!” He is a scum bag to the fullest and I hope he gets all that is coming to him. And I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens!

  15. Concerded Nurse says:

    After reading all these post about this Individual, I come to one conclusion. Sounds like he got Injured by the ANA from the back blast of an RPG. The back blast of an RPG is still an explosion. I work in a TBI clinic and see these types of Injury’s a lot. Because he was in a firefight or a TIC as you call it, he was still Injured in combat. If he was Injured in combat with TBI symptoms they most likely will get worse in the next few months before they get better. And sometimes they never get better. Short term memory loss is a serious injury and if it dosen’t get treated or get better within a year or two, most likely it will not get better. Whiplash or a neck Injury is a common Injury I see all the time as well. It can effect the spine in the neck and cause nerve damage. I dont know any of you but from some of your comments about this Individual you agree to his Injuries. Even agree he got Injured. TBI, concussive syndrome, headaches are a Army disqualifier now. Ringing in the ears after an explosion is common also and It could last for a few days to weeks. Sounds like this person got Medevaced for medical reasons and someone has to ok this person to do so. If this Individual really spent 3 years getting medical treatment, It must have been pretty serious or they would not keep you that long. If the doctors determined disqualifying then an MEB would be started if not you would be released back to your unit or ETS. I think it is a matter of facts here and TBI is a condition that you can get awarded the Purple Heart medal now in WTB. Just because no one else got hurt during this dosent necessarily mean this Individual didn’t. Everyone is different and if he did serve with most of you, discrediting him in my opinion is the wrong thing to do after reading most of your posts. Some agree he go hurt and others not so sure. If you accompanied him to these places he got treatment from then you would no better. I just don’t see the point in bashing him if you did not go to the clinics and see the tests the doctor had ran. -Concerned Nurse

  16. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @15. You had me going until you wrote that “discrediting him in my opinion is the wrong thing to do after reading most of your posts.” Maybe you should read ALL of the posted comments. Whether or not he was seriously injured is one thing BUT how he claims to have been injured is quite another. You don’t say whether you are a military nurse. If you are then you should recognize that when a soldier’s former team speaks ill of him, there is something amiss with him, not them.

  17. SSG S says:

    @ Concerned Nurse….here’s the issues…first and foremost Lewis is claiming to have been awarded 3 purple hearts, he did not EVER receive or was ever put in for 3 purple hearts. He is claiming to have been a sniper, he was never a sniper nor did he ever attend sniper school. He was in fact a RTO (radio telephone operator) nothing more. The night when he was “injured” he made several statements to several people that he would “ride this train to the end.” When our platoon returned from Afghanistan, lewis came back to Fort Drum and hung out with us for a few nights. He was 100% fine, and never showed any type of injury, TBI symptoms, PTSD or anything. This was almost 5 months after that night. I’ve seen soldiers with all of the above ailments. All lewis wanted to do was go out and get drunk and try to sleep with married and random women. While he was drunk, he made several comments saying how he was “taking the army for everything he can get” and he was going to “get 100% disability guaranteed.” Also, while we were deployed all lewis did was complain about how he wanted to get out of there and so on and so forth. This was his chance to get out. Perhaps he suffered TBI, but then why didn’t the 2 soldiers in front of him, that absorbed more of the back-blast have any type of TBI?? Before we ever deployed, Lewis also mentioned many times how he had hurt his back BEFORE he had joined the Army. Now, how could a person with severe nerve damage and spinal and neck injuries play professional level golf but not be able to return to marketing due to “injuries sustained in afghanistan” I know lewis on a personal level, and I can tell you that he is a pretty low human being, had at least 1 maybe 2 failed marriages due to he cheating, I also witnessed him try and sleep with a married soldier’s wife, while the soldier was deployed. Lewis was also a complete alcoholic, and routinely drank whole bottles of jack daniels nightly.

  18. Army Medic says:

    @Concerned Nurse, accidental injury by friendly fire is in fact NOT a Purple Heart qualifying injury. Also, please note he was CASEVAC, not MEDEVAC, meaning a convoy happened to be going to Shank, which is the next level of care (where I was at), and they put him on that convoy to get checked out by a doc because he was probably complaining of headaches or something. It’s very easy to BS a TBI injury. Even to a medical professional.

  19. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @15. Concerned Nurse: I’ll say one other thing. Your compassion is commendable and you are most likely in the right line of work, but the nature of the issues those who knew him have described go to character and integrity, not medicine.

  20. Just an Old Dog says:

    Sounds like “concerned nurse” is Punk Lewis playing dress-up or someone who he conned into defending him. TBIs are very real, no one doubts that, But like the old “bad back”claims they are one of the things that it seems that if a person spends enough time claiming they have the symptoms the Army has little choice but to grant them a pension. My questions are these. Is there an MRI or other evidence showing their was damage to the brain? If this individual constantly made public claims that he was “taking the Army for a ride” and lied about his awards and MOS, as well as having the judgement and morals of an Alley cat why should he be given the benefit of the doubt. I see way too many of this guys ilk overtaxing the VA system with false claims, taking bread from the mouth of those that are truly injured.

  21. SSG Richard Thayer says:

    Here is were he said he had three purple hearts and was a sniper, than claimed the reporter made it up. This is from his twitter account. I was a Platoon Sergeant in his company. Put him on blast at facebook. Punk Lewis and on twitter at @PunkLewisPGA

  22. Nik says:

    I’d be curious to find what kind of injuries he sustained that stopped him from working in marketing. It appears that he can stand and walk, he can move and talk, he can think and manipulate his hands. He can seemingly make coherent sentences in the English language. How precisely is he unable to work in marketing?

  23. Thomas says:

    One time, on the M-16 qual range, one of my hearing protection plugs came loose and I “endured” live fire without hearing protection. Can I now clame diability and will that prevent me from perfoming my duties as a writer? Damn, why didn’t I think of that sooner? Oh, I know why-cause I was a REAL Soldier, and I understand it comes with the occupation. I think there are quite a few of us who have had close-calls in the service. As a LE MP, I-along with my partners-had many. None of us, at least that I know of, are claiming to be heroes or award recipients. We were just doing our jobs.

  24. Kenneth Johnson says:

    Those that were with him need to start a petition to the white house. Its time to get the rewards back from dishonorable vets.

  25. Mike Wyvill says:

    The blog has an ‘update’. They are claiming the 3 purple hearts was a typo on their part. While that MAY be true this Punk is/was claiming it.

  26. Jake Hogan II says:

    Ok #15, you claim to be a nurse, well I am a nurse, and for some reason I find it exceptionally hard to believe that any nurse worth a shit would misspell “know” with “no”. That’s not even a misspelling is it, just two completely different words. But if that was an “honest” mistake, I’m afraid to know how insanely difficult nursing school was for you. Or the ridicule you face daily from your managers. My guess is you know this Punk Lewis and you’re trying to cover for him.

  27. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @22. “How precisely is he unable to work in marketing?”

    I’m guessing that his claimed 10-year advertising and marketing career was actually billboard work–you know, up the ladder, paste the sheets, and down the ladder.

  28. Nurse Corps Major at Ft Jackson says:

    What I’ve most often seen is guys who were hurt yet got up shook it off and “drove on with the mission”. They didnt go to the TMC, didnt get checked out by medic or PA. So they have no documented record verifying “On XYZ date in Suchsuch province SSG Smith suffered blah blah while on patrol with Kilo company etc
    So who are these guys?
    For the most part rightly or wrongly I got variations on this: the unit needed me, I didnt trust my subordinates to carry on in my absence etc. I had a patient who allegedly accidently shot himself. He was encouraged to go to Landstuhl hospital. But nooooooo!!! He didnt want to relinquish command Even though the orthopod doc warned him about the possibility of osteomyelitis (inflammation, infection of the leg bone) and risk for AMPUTATION.

    As for this man “Punk” Lewis all I can say is if he was a shammer/scammer fraudster prior to his injury it is unlikely the injury made him be an entirely different person. That having been said Pvt Joe Dirtbag can and often does suffer real injuries. What is really in need of greater scrutiny is a disability evaluation system which encourages exaggerated claims. And WTB soldiers do confer and discuss their ailments and learn which injuries get a bigger percentage rating.
    The amazing thing is state worker’s comp systems would follow up and downgrade the settlement if a man claimed bad back/limp etc and yet engaged in activities contrary to his claims, yet our Pentagon cannot or will not do something for fear of attacks from American Legion, VFW etc

  29. Jonn Lilyea says:

    #21, SSG Richard Thayer, since I’m blocked from his Twitter account, could you or someone else get a screen shot of the claim of 3 Purple Hearts.

    To screen shoot, hit the “PrntScr” key, open “Paint” (Start->Accessories->Paint) and then paste (Control + V) the screenshot into Paint and save it as a .jpg and email it to me at jonn(at)thisainthell(dot)us.

  30. Who Cares says:

    Give every kid who played High School football and suffered a concussion a purple heart as well.

  31. SSG S says:

    @29, Jonn Lilyea…..I have a copy of the screen shot…emailing it to you now.

  32. SSGFred says:

    What’s sad is that unfortunately with the TBI, PTSD and the good ole neck and back injury there is going to be plenty of fakes going around. My first taste of these kind was back when I was first in, a guy was off loading duffel bags from a truck, next thing you know he is milking a profile, taking into account this guy was like 19 years old and could dance the night away after he was “injured”, I saw this guys picture recently, it was on the Vets wall in my town, he never deployed, yet he was like the first to post his picture….. The doctors are so quick to “diagnose” these problems, it is making it simple for these losers to draw on

  33. raul duke says:

    I was hit a vbied in June 2006 and a catastrophic IED hit that blew our truck in half and flipped it, leaving my close friend and driver KIA in Jan 2007. I did not file until i was drinking 2 handles of whiskey a week, abusing pain pills, and borderline suicidal. i got my VA comp after i lost practically everything in my life. I stopped doing WWP events last year because for every legit guy and girl, you have 2 fucksticks claiming PTS and sandinvagina. WWP needs to vet these fuckers who take their money and reap the financial generosity of donors.

  34. raul duke says:

    Punk Lewis made up a story and “marketed” himself into a lucrative career doing jack shit. I would like to see WWP tell us honestly how many Wounded Warrior Project events this guy took. Everytime WWP NYC gets free spots for SCUBA training, i wonder who gets the slots? What are the qualifying guidelines to be a WWP Alumni, and what is the vetting process? How much money did Punk cost WWP?

  35. Green Thumb says:

    @33 and 34.

    I have been saying that for years. No one listens.

    Its kind of like Lance Armstrong. If you dont like Lance, then you dont support cancer treatment/research.

    If you dont like WWP, then you dont support wounded Vets.

    WWP is a sham. They started out the right way, and then went for the money and power.

    I am a formewr alumni and I have nothing to do with them.

    They dont “vet” guys because they need the numbers.I even brought this to their attention before at an event with respect to a few individuals.

    They could care less.

  36. boyd132 says:

    http://www.tylerpaper.com/article/20101012/NEWS01/10120316/-1/RSS01
    Here is the link to another event where he scammed a whole town.

  37. Jonn Lilyea says:

    Lewis was hit by two rocket-propelled grenades, causing him to lose consciousness for 30 minutes.

    It seems that one of the eye witnesses would have mentioned that.

  38. SJ says:

    Re Green Thumb. Well shit. I gave some $ to WWP because I thought it was worthy. Before I had done USO. Awhile back I asked here how one could find the real worthy charities, esp for Service members. I don’t like the Red Cross because they have mega highly paid bureaucracy and real estate in DC. Plus here on the Outer Banks, they show up late and leave early yet the Salvation Army is Point and the last to leave (I haven’t needed them but my hard working fishermen neighbors do get hammered). And, they certainly don’t have a highly paid bureaucracy.

  39. Green Thumb says:

    @38.

    Used to fish alot around Buxton and Hatteras.

  40. Green Thumb says:

    I just read the added facebook/tweets.

    This guy wants a club/putter for his comabt service.

    I am sure WWP will hook him up.

    Fuck this guy.

    He needs that club inserted deep into his two-hole. Somebody email the PGA. Have an odd feeling that “Punk” will be forgotten, quick.

  41. Ramsey1-32 says:

    @boyd I emailed the tyler paper just hoping they will review some of this. Wow, this POS is so out of line. I served with Victor Lewis and many other of the responders here. Alot of bad things happened to good people while in the fine province of logar in 2009. And to claim he was a sniper? WTF. I remember the day he was “hit by two rpgs” or whatever else he claimed, and i also remember the two other soldiers that were in between him and the improperly placed backblast from the ANA RPG. They both were dazed one far worse than i ever saw of any injury Lewis may have suffered. His EVAC was just a taxi ride to start his vacation of such a rough and depressing life full of debilitating symptoms while golfing and getting free drinks while telling war stories. What a waste of military training.

  42. O-4E says:

    Two of our Battalions just got back from A-stan. This was the 4th deployment for both these Battalions.

    I remember the day they left. I was standing at the window of my office doing the final coordination for the bus movement to the airfield. I remember the overwhelming pride I felt looking out of the window, light snow coming down, watching those young warriors joking and smoking preparing to board the busses and depart. Where do we find such men (and women)?

    Fast forward 5 months. Neither unit had suffered any serious casualties…then BAM!!! A triple IED strike on a patrol. One of the gunners, a young Specialist, lost both arms at the shoulder.

    Fast forward 4 months. I was at the airfield for the return of the units. Once again coordinating busses and trucks to bring the units home. And who shows up?

    That young Specialist. Now with two kick ass prostetics. You would be amazed at how advanced those things are now. But I digress.

    I remember the pride I felt seeing that young man, who had his buddy drive him all the way from Walter Reed back home to meet his mates when they arrived. He wanted close the loop on that tragedy. He understood that it wasn’t just him that suffered a loss that day.

    Where do we find such men?

    And then you have guys like Punk Lewis

    I joined the Army 24 years ago in order to be around my childhood heroes everyday

    I will retire now in less than a year and the one thing I will miss is being around my childhood heroes everyday

  43. MedicLH says:

    @#15: “Sounds like this person got Medevaced for medical reasons and someone has to okay this person to do so.”

    First of all, it’s concerned, not “concerded.” Secondly, I made the call to MEDEVAC him. I DID. You sound like you don’t understand how MEDEVAC/CASEVAC works in combat. You are usually given one chance with a narrow timeframe to get patients sent out. You fill every seat because chances are you will not get another evacuation vehicle for awhile. If I had a patient with a possible head injury and only vague symptoms (headache, tinnitus), I sent them out if I could- whether or not I thought they had a valid medical reason to go. I made a call like that the night of this incident as the senior medic. Until you understand medicine and evacuation as it pertains to combat, you should probably keep your righteous opinions to yourself.

  44. SSG Richard Thayer says:

    I have just finished informing wounded warrior project of this and if I forgot to mention it, all of his sponsors. I have also received a reply from Stolen Valor, that they are putting together a story for this “punk” thank you to everyone for your help and support and especially those that got the ball rolling.

  45. OWB says:

    @ #43, O-4E: Thank you. For your service, of course, your part in the big picture, but mostly, at the moment, for finding the words to express what so many of us would like to say.

  46. USMCE8Ret says:

    @#43 – Childhood heroes, indeed.

  47. Joe Williams says:

    MedicLH,was it suggested that CASEVAC out? In Nam I was a helo crew chief.A lot of Medivac missions(routine or emgrency) Yes you have only a small timeline to get the medcases out. time and space available were limited.Two standing in front of Punk were not Evac were they? Joe

  48. SFC Holland says:

    As a soldier who is in the WTU right now, and also medevaced from Afghanistan last month, I will tell you I feel like a fraud everyday, because I look at my injuries and then I look at the other soldiers in formation and see real wounded warriors and real heroes, and I feel like a shit bag. I also see alot of soldiers that are gaming the system too. I have a back injury and PTSD, 2 of the things that are most commonly faked, and even though in my case it is pretty easy to see broken screws and crushed discs in the MRI, it doesn’t make me feel any better. As far as becoming a WWP alumni, they have an office set up at Landshtul, and you walk in and hand them your medevac paperwork, and they sign you up right there. It took five minutes. I guess what I am saying is that a legit guy would probably not be screaming look at me and gimme all my free stuff, but would be a little more humbled/ashamed. I know that’s what I have been feeling.

  49. Hondo says:

    Godspeed, SFC Holland.

    If you need someone to chat with (to blow off steam or whatever) from time to time, let us know.

  50. USMCE8Ret says:

    @49 – Don’t get disillusioned because of the nonsense of a few others. If you can look at yourself in the mirror each day and know you’re doing things the honest and honorable way, you’ll be OK.

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