Donald Atkinson; phony Ranger in Oregon, IL

| June 22, 2013

Someone found this article in which local businessman, Donald Atkinson, in Oregon, Illinois claimed to be an Army Ranger. I’m guessing that he figures it will drum him up some more business;


I guess he is a Ranger if you think that the Army training program for a Heavy Vehicle driver at Fort Dix, is as grueling as Ranger School;

Donald Atkinson FOIA

His FOIA says the he was discharged in November of 1974, the 1st Ranger Battalion wasn’t activated until August 1974 at Fort Benning, GA, then they moved to Fort Stewart, GA. According to Atkinson’s records, he was at Fort Carson, CO that month;

Atkinson assignments

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (14)

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  1. Green Thumb says:

    Par for the course.


  2. Kurt says:

    He might have been a truck driver for a transportation company that supported B/75th that was at Ft Carson in the early 70s, before moving to Lewis and forming the basis of 2nd Batt. Ranger by association, I guess!

  3. Comrades in Arms:

    Let’s not be too quick to pass judgement on this guy, until we learn a few more facts, for it might just be a case of poor newspaper reporting.

    Years ago, I was encouraged to submit my information to Brigham Young University, which was publishing a new history book, “SAINTS AT WAR: KOREA AND VIET NAM”.

    When it was printed, I was horrified to see that the book said I was an Army Ranger in Viet Nam!

    I immediately called them on the phone, and the correction was sent to the printers, where somebody actually got to yell, “Stop the presses!”.

    The mistake was due to me serving a full time mission for The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, working as a ranger patrolling a cattle ranch.

    I did think it odd that the folks publishing that book never bothered to come to the ranch and ask me questions, face to face, or request verification of any information that I was submitting for their book.

    If you read the book, you’ll note it’s rife with misspelled locations and erroneous military terminology, because they were in a HURRY to publish the book, and the work was being done by students who didn’t know anything about the subject.

    The same thing happened when Turner Publishing printed the “101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION ‘SCREAMING EAGLES'” history book, by Colonel Robert E. Jones.

    They obviously didn’t bother to follow up on submitted materials (such as my own), and nobody did any editing or correcting of the numerous misspellings, nor was there any effort at verifying stories.

    But, it’s mox nix.

    Both books are now out of print, and I’m just tee totally flabbergasted to actually be very briefly mentioned in two (02) obscure history books!


    Who would ever of thunk it?

    I wish my folks were alive to see it.

    Thank you.

    John Robert Mallernee
    Armed Forces Retirement Home
    Gulfport, Mississippi 39507

  4. Green Thumb says:


    Good point, sir.

    However it would seem that the article has been out for a while. It could have been corrected.

    And considering the type, message and “ethical nature” of the article, would assume that they would have “run it by” him first.

    This is a small town, not “Hard Copy”.

  5. OWB says:

    Well, John, the odds are great that the story published in a small, local newspaper is based upon a face to face interview. This clown has lived in this community for less than a decade, so local legends being reported by third parties are unlikely.

    Whatever. Atkinson needs to be hammered, just like every other elaborator.

  6. Beretverde says:

    63 Charlie…Truck Driver… NOT Ranger! Leg Ranger-Nope not that either.

    Fuck him and his “Palace.”

  7. As an example of a newspaper reporter fouling everything up, I refer you to this newspaper article about my stepmother, who was one of the very first women to enlist in the United States Army:

    As you can see from the article and the reader’s comments, the reporter personally interviewed her, spent a lot of time with her, and STILL made mistakes in the published report!

    I’m only hesitant about this guy claiming to be an Army Ranger because, from what little I can see of that newspaper report, he didn’t claim it,

    It was the small town newspaper reporter who wrote it.

    Of course, we can only see part of the article, so maybe in the part we can’t see, he did say that.

    But, it could be that, as Kurt pointed out in his post, he told the reporter he drove a truck in support of the 75th Rangers, and the reporter, not knowing anything about the Army, somehow turned it around.

    Obituary writers are constantly confusing a “Bronze Service Star” with the “Bronze Star Medal”, and/or a “Silver Service Star” with a “Silver Star Medal”.

    Shucks, when I went to register my pickup truck, the gal told me they were all out of “Bronze Star Medal” license plates, and offered to issue me a “Silver Star Medal” license plate!

    But, I told her to special order my “Bronze Star Medal” license plate, and explained to her (or tried to) the difference.

  8. BCousins says:

    He may have meant to say he once drove out to the range.

  9. BCousins says:

    @ 3 and 7 – Both good examples of careless reporting. Back in the late 80’s when I was on the Army Staff in the Pentagon I was interviewed by telephone by a magazine reporter. I made notes of our conversation and sent a report up the chain. He probably took poor notes and after interviewing several people got his facts mixed up and attributed things to me that I did not say. Ended up with me being “interviewed’ by a 3-star that I still remember and it wasn’t fun.
    However, I believe in this case the subject probably made a false claim.

  10. Sparks says:

    Now, now…Ft. Dix can be hot and humid. Changing a truck tire in the summer can almost be as tough as a Ranger carrying ruck 20 or 30 clicks. Well…maybe not. Maybe he was just a poor victim of bad reporting. Yea, right. Don’t believe that one for a minute.

  11. The reason I’m suspicious about whether or not he really did identify himself as an Army Ranger, is because I’ve seen nothing but a single reference to it in that small town newspaper report.

    As you well know, when these imposters get a chance to show off, they REALLY show off!

    So, if he’s a poser, and is showing off, where are all the photographs, statements, exhibits, paraphenalia, and/or any other hard evidence, such as uniform, decorations, badges, tabs, accoutrements, battlefield souvenirs, et cetera?

    This guy appears to be rather unusually low key.

    That’s why I’m looking at this with a grain of salt, preferring to wait and see if there’s more to this story.

  12. MSGRetired says:

    Its the Math, that seems to be the common trait these morons have. That and Geography is a big second !

  13. Joe Williams says:

    Yes, it is a small town and he could called his new buddy for a correction. No correction equals POSer. Joe

  14. TAHROCKS says:

    Those poor unsuspecting and trusting people at Serenity Hospice.

    Shame on Mr. Atkinson. Why lie? If he wanted a Ranger Tab he should have gone out and earned one!