James Ingram; Blue Ridge Tactical phony

| July 21, 2013

James Ingram

Someone sent us this story about James Ingram who runs a business called Brave Tactical Outfitters. The I’s and me’s in this article isn’t me, but rather a former real deal Ranger who took time out of his busy life to hunt this dude down;

On or about 23 DEC 2012 it had been brought to my attention via the U.S. Army Ranger Association (USARA) Facebook page that there was another imposter at work. Lately, we have discovered about 2-3/week across the country. James Ingram came to my attention because he was close by and I’d been in Blue Ridge just a few days prior visiting clients (Dermatologists) and prospecting.

On 24 December I had some spare time and decided to drive to Blue Ridge to visit Ingram’s place of business and confront him about claiming to be a Ranger. His business was closed. So, I contacted some acquaintances that I know in the local law enforcement community. They knew of Ingram and one even had his cell phone number. They called him immediately on my behalf and had him call me. Ingram agreed to meet with me at the local McDonald’s; a public place chosen because it would be mutual ground.

When he arrived, he was obviously distraught. He asked that we move to his place of business for this meeting. He had some anticipation about what was about to occur and I think he didn’t want to be embarrassed in the McDonald’s. I followed him to his place of business. I was not threatening in any way and don’t fear others, typically. So, the venue didn’t matter much. I’m a leader and can get what I want by peaceful negotiations in almost any situation. I was wearing a Ranger sweatshirt commonly issued to Ranger instructors. It’s black and has a very large Ranger tab across the front.

Not much was said initially when we arrived at his business. We met in the studio next to the store. A table was already out and he placed two chairs on either side of it. I sat down and he started talking. I listened intently.

He began a very long diatribe about his childhood, his personal life, his professional life, etc. He shared with me some documents that documented some of the military training he’d completed. None of them were a Ranger certificate or an SF Q-course graduation certificate. His speech lasted almost 10 minutes uninterrupted. The latter half of it was a very long, tearful, sobbing apology for pretending to be a Special Forces soldier/veteran. It ended with something like, “Well, what do you want me to do? What do you want from me? How can I make this right?”

I was embarrassed for him. My response was very direct. I recommended that he stop lying to people about being in the Special Forces. I recommended that he publicly apologize and try to right things with the Special Forces community. I also told him, “I didn’t come here to find out if you were ever in the Special Forces. I’m a Ranger. I want to see a Ranger School Graduation Certificate or a DD-214 stating that you completed Ranger School.”

His response was, “Well, I don’t have it. It’s not here. It’s at home.”

I stood up and said, “Well, let’s go” and moved towards the door with the intent of getting in my car and following him to his house to see this documentation.

He immediately broke down again with another tearful, sobbing diatribe about not being a Ranger, either. He was pathetic and I thought helping him with his problems would be the best way to handle this. I started counseling him at that point. He wasn’t the first imposter and he certainly won’t be the last. He was a human being.

There was nothing I could do to him or his business legally. Assaulting him right then and there wasn’t going to be productive and I didn’t want to have bloodied knuckles over Christmas. His behavior was despicable, but it wasn’t illegal and it was Christmas, after all. I fought for his right to lie, even, when I swore to defend the 1st Amendment and the rest of our Constitution.

He said he’d come clean. He said he’d tell his business associates and the public the truth. He then started flattering me and trying to build some friendly relationship when he realized that I wasn’t going to deliver the violent beat down he probably thought he deserved.

He gave me a tour of his store. He had a bunch of framed photos hanging of some operators in various training scenarios. I asked him if he knew them. He didn’t. It was conspicuous to me that none of their faces were visible. They looked like some images I’d seen on the Internet. I think he hung them there as an insinuation to his patrons that they might be pictures of him. I imagined how many times he’d pointed at the pictures and told people they were images of him at work in his military career. It was becoming very apparent to me that I shouldn’t believe a single word that came from this guy’s mouth. I even wondered if his name was James Ingram and if we were on somebody else’s property.

I didn’t speak much the whole time I was there. Ingram did most of the talking. How was I supposed to have a conversation with a guy that seems to make up everything he says?

On the way out, I bought a battle-axe he had displayed in his case. It was a gesture of good will. Plus, good, sharp battle-axes are always good to have around in case one runs out of ammunition or needs to be quiet while conducting an assault. This particular battle-axe was one of the best I’d ever seen. Merry Christmas, self.

When I got home I updated the other Rangers on the Facebook page. Some of them were also updating their friends on the SF page. I told them about our confrontation and that we need to give Ingram a chance to rectify this situation on his own. Some of them wanted immediate justice of some kind and had no answer to the questions, “What law is he breaking? What do you think the police are going to do about it?”

We waited. We checked his web page and the picture and the claims disappeared. It was looking like he might have learned a lesson.

Larry Zabel got my contact information from Facebook or somewhere via a mutual contact or something. He called me and we met a few days later in Ellijay. He said he wanted to take the Ingram to court. He had a legitimate claim and I recommended that he take him to court, but I wondered openly what he thought he might gain from such an effort. Larry asked me to testify if and when he got a court date. I said I would, if I could.

As the Junior Vice Commander of my VFW Post 12002, I get frequent updates on legislation affecting veterans. The Stolen Valor Act had been shot down by the Supreme Court on the grounds that it violated the 1st Amendment. I concur.

Another version had been introduced and was signed into law. It specifically listed claims that were in violation of that law. Claiming to be a Ranger or a Special Forces troop was NOT enumerated on that list. It’s very coincidental that the day after President Barrack Hussein Obama signed that into law is the day that I got a call from Jamie Ritchie stating that James Ingram was back to his old ways and that Jamie had left the business. Barrack Hussein Obama gave James Ingram the green light, it seemed, and he’d relapsed. Let’s bring the heat.

I notified the Rangers who notified the SF community. I happened to be at Fort Benning when Jamie Ritchie called. So, I drove over the Ranger Training Brigade HQ and met with the S-1 in charge of validating graduates’ claims and invalidating those of imposters. They have a vault there containing files with the names of every soldier that has ever attended Ranger School and every Ranger that has ever graduated. James Ingram was not one of them, but we knew that already.

I shared the points of contact (POC’s) for the Ranger in charge of looking up all those claims with Jamie Ritchie. Jamie notified the local media.

Coincidentally, James Ingram called the next night pleading pathetically with me, again. I told him that I don’t care so much about him that I’m concerned about what is going on with Brave Tactical, his business, which is founded on false premises. I told him I didn’t believe a word he said. I told him he needed to be true to James Ingram before anybody is ever going to start to believe anything he said. The call lasted over 40 minutes.

During that call he’d admitted to having a Ranger tab tattooed on his arm. He said he’d get it covered up and come clean about everything, again. I don’t believe anything he says. He also told me about getting marriage counseling and seeing a psychologist for his condition(s). One of the conditions he’d admitted to was being a compulsive liar. He told me it stemmed from being a neglected orphan living on the street as a kid or something. The tales never stop coming out of his mouth.

It is of my opinion that James Ingram is a compulsive liar and can’t even help himself. I hold so little regard for the profession of psychology that I will argue that I am as qualified to make that claim as anybody is. James Ingram is a compulsive liar and I’m proud to say that I have no certificate hanging on my wall that says I wasted several years and tens of thousands of dollars to be able to say that. He’s a compulsive liar. Does anybody need a degree to realize that?

So, I guess you can be anything you want as long as you can afford the tab and the tattoo. James thinks that because the Stolen Valor Act doesn’t cover calling yourself a Ranger or Special Forces that he can get away with it, but I talked on the phone with the gentleman who wrote this statement and he says that Ingram didn’t earn a CIB either. That is punishable under the new Stolen Valor Act and since it’s for a tangible benefit (teaching weapons training) he’s vulnerable. 18 USC 704(d), the section of the US Code which is affected by the SVA reads;

(d) Enhanced Penalty for Offenses Involving Certain Other Medals.—

(1) In general.— If a decoration or medal involved in an offense described in subsection (a) is a distinguished-service cross awarded under section 3742 of title 10, a Navy cross awarded under section 6242 of title 10, an Air Force cross awarded under section 8742 of section [1] 10, a silver star awarded under section 3746, 6244, or 8746 of title 10, a Purple Heart awarded under section 1129 of title 10, a combat badge, or any replacement or duplicate medal for such medal as authorized by law, in lieu of the punishment provided in the applicable subsection, the offender shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both.

(2) Combat badge defined.— In this subsection, the term “combat badge” means a Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Combat Action Ribbon, or Combat Action Medal.

According to the gentleman who wrote the article, Ingram can’t prove any of those badges he’s wearing. Ingram told him that he was an infantryman in the 82d Airborne Division but that he’s never deployed. I find it difficult to believe that there is an infantryman who hasn’t been deployed in the last 12 years what with all of the opportunities.

But Ingram wants to be famous, so let’s help him out in that regard.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (71)

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  1. ChipNASA says:

    Maybe he can hook up with John “Shoveling Shit” Giduck and open a new business…. (P)oser (H)and-to-Hand (A)ttack (G)lobal (S)ystems.


  2. Nik says:

    I feel bad for the good, honest folks who lost a job. I feel bad for the Marine who is probably going to lose money. I feel….exultant over the POS Ingram being caught out. Well done to the Operator who got the ball rolling.

  3. Kinda old ET1 says:

    @52 Perfect “marriage”.

  4. martinjmpr says:

    @17 & 43: Seems like the fake warrior stuff is quite common among the “tactical” trainers and outfitter companies popping up all over the place. Makes sense, given that “credibility” (i.e. experience) is really their only stock in trade (besides the thousands of dollars worth of BLACKHAWK! gear they sell.)

    What I find interesting though is the business model, which appears to be “training” middle-aged wannabes in skills they will never actually have to use like tracking, room clearing, counter-sniper, CQB, etc. It’s both humorous and a little sad that there are so many men out there who crave an authentic experience of danger that they’d shell out big bucks for this kind of thing (as opposed to, you know, actually joining the military which would require too much of a commitment of time and effort.)

    OTOH, I guess it’s no different from bungee jumping, whitewater rafting or any other kind of “extreme” recreation. As long as nobody’s breaking the law, how they make money is their business.

    Given that their clientele are, by and large, people who don’t actually need the “skills” being taught, it probably doesn’t matter to the student if the instructor is an actual Ranger/SF/Delta/ForceRecon/Ninja/Assasin, what matters is that the client thinks the instructor is the real deal.

    The purchased “authenticity” is kind of like Tinkerbell – it exists as long as you believe in it. As long as the client believes the instructor is a Steely Eyed Killer, the “experience” is of value to him and he got his money’s worth.

  5. MGySgtRet. says:

    @48, you are right NHSparky, he will be running his con again at a location yet to be determined. POS.

  6. Smitty says:

    hahahahah love seeing posers go out of business

    so would REMF military supply be were ya go to get all the good gear that never made it to the infantry guys? Fobbit tactical would be useful for figuring out all the good ways to dodge patrols

  7. TSO says:

    Actually guys, you are somewhat off on this one. Yes, they are closing down. As noted elsewhere, the actual owner is a former marine. I have a mutual friend who is telling me
    1) dude is pissed.
    2) he is currently overseas (in a contractor role)
    3) would rather shut down than have this shitdick running things.

  8. NHSparky says:

    TSO–why would he let “this shitdick” anywhere near his business? Did he not check this guy out before letting him anywhere near the controls, so to speak?

    Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for the Marine co-owner who has to shut his business down, but only to a point when he doesn’t vet who he allows to be the face of his business or a partner.

  9. O-4E says:

    @58 TSO

    But SV is a victimless crime right? 😉

  10. LebbenB says:

    @55. It’s sort of like those Boot Camp or Basic Training programs some guys run – bring in a few former DS/DI’s and let them heap verbal abuse on paying customers who want the “experience” of military life with out the concurrent commitment.

  11. martinjmpr says:

    @59: I agree. When credibility and experience are the products you are selling, it’s pretty negligent to simply “assume” that someone has the qualifications they claim, particularly when verification is as simple as asking for a copy of a DD-214 and not accepting “my dog ate it” as an excuse for why the prospective employee doesn’t have it.

    Don’t have a copy of your 214? Hit the road, I don’t care how many tattoos you have or how much of the lingo you can speak. You’re either a professional or you’re not and if you are a professional, you’re going to have the paper to back it up.

  12. Combat Historian says:

    I’m still not sure if Ingram had ever served in the armed forces and embellished big-time or if he was a total civilian who never served and completely fabricated a military career background. There was info here somewhere that he had served peacetime with 82d ABN DIV, but that was never confirmed. So has Ingram ever served in the U.S. armed forces at all?

  13. Well done TAH, well done. (We must have just grazed him….)
    Team Sergeant

  14. @O-4E,
    Back story, this dirtbag repeatedly lied to an active duty 10th Group guy in Dec 2012. 10th Gp guy sends me an email, we get all the details and tell this guy he needs to apologize to all his patrons in the newspaper. He does so in an ad that cannot be googled. We then make him famous 02 Jan 2013.
    Sorry John, I thought I sent you this one long ago…..

  15. Virtual Insanity says:

    Wow. Left a smoking black hole in the internet.

  16. Hondo says:

    Team Sergeant: we might not be done with “good ole’ Jimmy-boy” Ingram. We’re trying to get enough info for a FOIA request “hit” at NPRC to get an extract of his records.

    What we get back from NPRC on a records “hit” will be public record info, suitable for posting here publicly. When that’s done, it will be available for anyone who wants to search for it – just in case “Jimmy-boy” here pulls the same stunt again at some point in the future.

    I understand you might have some additional info about the guy, and that one or two of the folks here might have your contact info. If that’s correct, mind if I e-mail you to discuss?

  17. Daniel says:

    It is a damn shame that you had to act like such a professional.
    I understand the first amendment, and also the complex psycho-social dwarfism it causes within our democracy.
    I appreciate your patriotism and the ability to graduate a higher level of thinking into the equation.

  18. Steven Cornelius says:

    I do happen to know that Larry Zabel who contacted the writer of the article claims or did claim SF and Ranger. I confronted him at his own house with a Sheriff present while guarding his ex wife and her daughter from him. I took a picture of him and he asked why? I told him I had never photographed an EPIC FAIL before! Needless to say I was told to go sit in my car by the Sheriff. Sometimes posers try to put the smoke on everyone else to keep it off themselves. Be careful where you tread in the Blue Ridge because it is a nest of posers wanting to tag onto the Training Bde in Dalonega thinking no one will know better and claim Ranger or SF. I used to like it there but the winters were too rough so AZ is for me.
    I asked very pointed questions at my doctor yesterday of his lab tech claiming Rasp and getting hurt from 82nd ABN. Only a description of the Rasp Training Dept and what happens there saved him from certain destruction. I do hope this get straightened out and the poser outed. Do not have mercy on these people because they are sucking off the teat of the vets who served and do need the recognition.
    Steve Cornelius Original C Co 2/75th Inf Rangers 75-76

  19. neal says:

    I want to get a name verified. An aquaintence. Been enjoyiny Don Shipley’s site and as a non-military man i loathe fellow citizens stealing from men who earned it with blood,sweat and tears. Life and limb. Mind and body.