Richard Allen Simpson; embellishing a perfectly good record

| August 27, 2013

Richard Allen Simpson

Remember this guy? We talked about him a few weeks ago. Average NCO got his FOIA, and he does indeed have Vietnam service in an artillery unit, but as a light vehicle driver, not as a cannoncocker. It looks from his records, that he spent 24 months in Vietnam and 30 years total in the Tennessee National Guard and rocketed up to E-5. But, what don’t see is any service in the 82d Airborne Division or in any airborne unit, although it looks like he graduated from Jump School. There’s a citation for his Bronze Star, but it looks like, in his picture that he added a second award. He’s also wearing medals from Desert Storm, but there’s no record of them, so he may have been activated for Desert Storm, but he never deployed, so he awarded himself some medals. He claimed, in a newspaper interview, that he did serve in Desert Storm. Anyway here’s his FOIA;

Richard Allen Simpson FOIA

His Bronze Star;

Richard Simpson BSM

His 2-1;

Richard Simpson 2-1

Here he is wearing a CIB;


Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (40)

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  1. Combat Historian says:

    For God’s sake, wear what you are entitled to and be proud of it. This bullshit embellishment is just way too much, and among folks who should know waaaay better…

  2. rb325th says:

    Why in the hell do they do it?? Honestly, there just is not f’ing reason to embellish an honorable record like the one he owns. Dumb, just fucking dumb.

  3. Hondo says:

    There’s theoretically a chance he did serve in the Gulf and received a 2nd BSM, but his unit screwed up his OMPF (some USAR and ARNG units were notoriously bad about that). But I’d rather doubt that’s the case. A deployment and a BSM would also be documented on his DD214 created when he was released from active duty in May 1991. I very seriously doubt NPRC would have missed that, particularly as they found his BSM from Vietnam. I’d have to see proof to buy a “missing from my records” claim.

    His FOIA shows him with a possible break in service from 1985-1990. I’m guessing he was one of the IRR recalls during the latter part of the Gulf War buildup. I’m also guessing he ended up staying stateside, but has been “rocking the lie” about deploying ever since he was released from active duty. Or maybe starting after 9-11, when it became “extra cool” to be in the military or a vet again. That’s consistent with the article Jonn linked about the guy.

    I’m speculating, so I could of course be wrong on some or all of the above.

  4. Bobo says:

    WTF is he doing wearing his Army BDUs, complete with Army tape and unit patch, as part of a VVA color guard?

  5. OIF '06-'07-'08 says:

    What is up with these turkeys who wear these get ups like this? Awards and decorations belong on dress type uniforms, not combat uniforms, and thirty years in the guard and retires as an E5, WOW!!!!!

  6. Ex-PH2 says:

    This is just plain sad.

  7. Green Thumb says:

    Dude undoubtedly spends a lot of time at his local Army-Navy store.

  8. 68W58 says:

    Hondo-196th FA Bde (headquartered in Chattanooga-which fits with where he lives and the Times-Free Press aspect) and one of its subordinate battalions did go to Desert Storm/Desert Shield, so it is possible that he did take part in that campaign. The FA Bde eventually became 230th Sustainment Brigade and I know some people there in the one shop, do you think they will be able to look back at old records and see if this guy was with the unit during that time? If so, I will make some calls.

  9. ByrdMan says:

    A legit Vietnam veteran with a bronze star who goes and discredits his service by adding lies.




  10. AverageNCO says:

    @8 So even if his unit did deploy, are we to understand that he went from spending 5 years on IRR being Joe Citizen in his 40’s, then was activated in December of 1990, and in-country in time for the start of operations, and back home by May? It seems to me those dates of activation indicate someone who was activated to support operations back stateside when the rest of the unit deployed. Also, according to the article, he spent “a year in Iraq,”, where did the reporter get that info? Finally, the very first thing that raised an eyebrow for me was the upside-down KLM. It seems to me, if he had been awarded the medal, he’d know how to wear it. And what about the CIB? It seems he knew he wasn’t authorized to wear it, since he traded it in for the Artillery badge. If Mr. Simpson can prove us wrong, I’ll gladly eat crow. But all signs point to someone fabricating extra stuff on an honorable career for no good reason.

  11. LostOnThemInterwebs says:

    Quick question, I don’t recognize that red device with what appears to me are flags crossing it, what is that device for I don’t think I’ve seen it before so I can’t even start googling it

  12. 68W58 says:

    AverageNCO-I’m not saying he’s isn’t a liar, I just think I might be able to confirm or debunk one part of his story (BTW-the FA Bde was only activated for a few months for that conflict, so it is possible, but I know people who went with them then and I want to know whether this guy is lying about that).

  13. Bobo says:

    Lost, it’s a bootleg badge for artillerymen who served in combat. it was never authorized, and one of several that came about for different branches who were butt sore that the Infantry had a badge buy they didn’t.

  14. rb325th says:

    If he had gone to DS/DS, he would have had additional Active Duty Time and an addition AD Discharge/214 which should have shown on his FOIA files released. Now I am sure the fine folks down there did their due dilligence, but there is always that possibility that they missed something… Kind of doubtful, but there is also the possibility he could have gone.

  15. rb325th says:

    @12, if you know people who deployed with that Unit ask. I am sure they would remember an old timer Nam Vet who deployed with them.

  16. 68W58 says:

    rb325th-I can ask those people when I see them (probably at drill), what I asked Hondo (who is a one shop guru) is whether or not the people who work in the one shop of the unit that the FA Bde became will be able to look and see what this guy’s status is. If he thinks so, I will call one of them and have them look, otherwise I won’t waste their time.

    BTW-don’t think it was all that uncommon to have Vietnam vets deploy with guard units, I knew several when I was with 278th Cav in 04-05 and at least one when I was with the engineers in 09-10. Some of those guys stuck around a good long time until they were eligible for retired pay.

  17. AverageNCO says:

    Apologies if I seemed to be barking back, not my intent. And you’re right about Vietnam Vets in Desert Storm. In the book “Stolen Valor”, B.G. Burkett makes a great argument that it’s wrong to portray Vietnam vets as broken souls, because so many of them were in senior leadership positions in Desert Storm and helped win the war. I joined in 1993, and many of the senior doctors I worked with had both Vietnam and Desert Storm service medals. Even if this guy did serve, for goodness sakes, if you’re going to wear a uniform with the U.S. Army tape, have your shit straight. I also am amused by the line in the article from the former Ranger who said he doesn’t like hanging around other Vietnam Vets who served in support positions and then show up at Veteran’s events wearing cammo and black berets……I wonder if he was talking about anyone in particular.

  18. OEF_Veteran says:

    While it may seem crazy to have served for 30 years in the National Guard and never gotten above E-5 it’s not really so unusual. I’ve known troops who did 20+ and retired E-3 and E-4. The E-3 was allowed to stay in so he could retire after pissing hot. He had maybe 18 months left so they dropped him in rank and allowed him to retire. Of course this doesn’t happen too much anymore.

  19. 68W58 says:

    AverageNCO-no worries. His stuff is jacked up and it does look like he is wearing some stuff that he may not have earned, that’s enough to make him a poser.

  20. Jonn Lilyea says:

    There are four Vietnam service medals in the top picture and two in his records. No Southwest Asia Service medal, but the Saudi Defense medal and Kuwait Liberation Medal are there. No Overseas Ribbon, yet there it is on the uniform. Those are novelty jump wings. And I thought only hippies put their ribbons on BDUs, FFS.

    #17, I thought the same thing reading the article.

  21. Hondo says:

    rb325th: his FOIA reply above indeed shows active duty from 9 Dec 1990 to 30 May 1991. My guess is that’s a mobilization for the Gulf War. However, the same FOIA reply does not show a SWASM or either KLM, or a 2nd BSM. And the cert provided for his BSM as part of the FOIA reply is from Vietnam, not SWA.

    His active duty in 1990-1991 was a period in excess of 120 days, so he should have received a DD214 for that period (that’s also indicated by the fact that his FOIA reply shows that period of active duty). Thus any BSM he received during that period of active duty would almost certainly be listed on that DD214; other documentation for same should also be present in his OPMF at NPRC (orders, certificate).

    Since the SWASM was instituted by EO 12754 in mid-Mar 1991, had he actually deployed to SWA during the Gulf War that should also be on his May 1991 DD214 – as should his dates of deployment. The KLMs probably would not be, as I believe DoD didn’t accept them until some time well after he was discharged in May 1991.

    Bottom line: unless his unit screwed up his records royally AND the folks preparing his DD214 hosed him at the same time, it looks like he never deployed to SWA.

    Damn shame. He apparently served quite honorably in Vietnam, but I guess he decided that wasn’t enough.

    — break —

    68W58: yes, if you know anyone from his former unit who might be able to verify this guy’s claims, please contact them. There’s theoretically a chance he’s mostly telling the truth (well, except about the “year in Iraq” stuff; that’s obviously BS). But I for one just ain’t buying it without some kind of verification; until then, I stand by my guess that he was mobilized but served stateside. There are just too many holes in his story when compared to his records.

  22. BCousins says:

    Well he is wearing the Transportation Regimental Crest on the left side of his right pocket flap so I would say he probably earned that as a light vehicle operator. The rest of it, not so sure. Not saying it happened to him but I knew a guy in RVN who was tight with the battalion S-1 clerk and got his name added to a Bronze Star for service list. He was caught when the awards came in and the clerk wasn’t there to set it aside. Not saying that is how he got his but for service awards, junior EM usually got an ARCOM first.

  23. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Is he saying he’s a self inflicted amnesiac? He can’t remember the names of anyone he served with during Vietnam?

    It all seems a bit odd…

  24. 68W58 says:

    Hondo-I put a call in and we’ll see what my friends can come up with.

    Per his 2-1 he was C battery, 1-181 FA. The 181 did mobilize to Desert Storm in 1991 (you can see the top of his 196th FA Bde patch in the second picture). It’s pretty clear he has embellished his story somewhat and someone needs to beat him severely about the head and shoulders with 670-1, but he may be a legit Desert Storm veteran.

  25. BCousins says:

    I just went back and read as much of the article as I could stand. The reporter says that Simpson claims a year service in Iraq. Anyone who was there may have spent a few days in Iraq or Kuwait and a few months in Saudi. No one spent a year in Iraq during Desert Storm. Any Army personnel in Desert Shield were in Saudi waiting for the war to start, not Iraq.

  26. Don H says:

    According to, the 196th Field Artillery Brigade deployed on 2 February 1991. So, just to nitpick, he’s wearing three service stars on his Southwest Asia Service Medal, but would have been entitled to–at most–2. It also appears that he is wearing multiple devices on his Army Service Ribbon, which is just downright dumb–I beleive it’s the only Army award with NO devices authorized for it. I did run into a number of Vietnam vets when I was in Desert Storm–and even a physician who had deployed with the 1st Cavalry Division in World War II (enlisted who later went to medical school, and got age extensions). My boss in OIF in 2007-08 was also a Vietnam vet. He had been an enlisted medic in Vietnam, then went to college and medical school. But the way his ribbons are so dorked up, I call poser. And that’s without even looking at his unit awards, which is a whole other story.

  27. David says:

    Looking at other articles in the paper, this ain’t the Times – Masonic car washes etc. The reporter just hired on last fall as a lawyer, which suggests she was not a real serious journalist in 2009 just working her way to go to grad school. I suspect she would believe most anything told her. (Kinda cute, though.)

  28. Hondo says:

    68W58: I’m not convinced he was in C-1/181 FA during the Gulf War.

    He was indeed in C-181 FA – but according to the 2-1 extract above, only until 840601. At that point, he was apparently transferred to another organization (the duty position is blacked out on the 2-1 extract above). See the last entry, which reads “from C Btry 1-181st FA BN, Chatt, Tn” (emphasis added)

    NPRC’s reply also lists nothing for the period 28 Mar 1985 to 8 Dec 1990, not even inactive service. I’m guessing that’s either because he had a break in service then and had no military connection (but “re-upped” on 9 Dec 1990), or because he was in the IRR without a unit assignment other than AR-PERSCOM.

    Even if he later rejoined C-1/181st FA, the fact that his former (and perhaps current) unit deployed doesn’t necessarily mean he did. He could easily have been a last-minute augmentee who was found to be med unqualified and thus provided rear det support, or a unit member detailed to stay behind and do same.

    Not sure if the unit would have a deployment roster in its files after 22 years. However, documentation of that sort – or verification by someone who served with him in-theater – is what we’d need to know whether or not he was there.

  29. Don H says:

    The background oval he’s wearing behind his jump wings is for the 27th Engineer Battalion. Although the battalion was in Vietnam, it wasn’t airborne at the time, and was certainly never part of the 82nd. At the time he was serving in Vietnam, it was part of an Engineer Group supporting the 101st.

  30. Hondo says:

    Jonn: I think that’s the SWASM he’s wearing between his two KLMs. I’m not positive.

    He probably technically rates the OSR. HRC has now made that retroactive for Vietnam vets who served 12+ mo in-country, provided they have qualifying service after it was created. He’s got service after it was instituted in 1981, so he’d rate the OSR. Same for the ASR.

  31. Don H says:


    I suspect that the best place to find a deployment roster would probably be the Tennessee Military Department, most likely their historian would have a copy (or a unit history, etc) if anybody does.

  32. Hondo says:

    Don M: thanks. Might just contact them.

  33. ItAllFades says:

    Fucking wannabe POG.

  34. beretverde says:

    An honorable service for most…turned into a lie to impress all. What a pathetic loser.

  35. FatCircles0311 says:

    What a dickbutt POG.

    I guess he got tired of just saying he was a truck driver and needed more street cred.

    What the hell is a drivers badge and why does it have a bar to go with it?

  36. Hondo says:

    FatCircles0311: the Army has a “Driver and Mechanic Badge”. The bar below it indicates type of vehicle (ambhibious, wheeled, tracked, motorcycle, special equipment) or that the badge was awarded for performance of duty as a mechanic. It dates to World War II (1942).

    Specific criteria are contained in AR 600-8-2, para 8-31.

    Yeah, I kinda think it’s overkill too. And I was Army.

  37. The Fonz says:

    Even-though it is obvious he is embellishing, is he entitled to a second National Defense Service Medal for the active duty from 19901209 to 19910530, which is not listed on his FOIA?

  38. Hondo says:

    The Fonz: he indeed should be, since he served on active duty during the Gulf War. However, since it’s a service medal (and thus no orders are published to award it) there’s a very good chance it’s not documented in his records. NPRC might thus not have included it on their reply.

    It appears that the NDSM was not formally authorized for the Gulf War until EO 12776 was released in Oct 1991. The second award thus may not be documented in his file at NPRC.

    The delay in authorizing the NDSM for the Gulf War period was actually the shortest all four NDSM periods. The NDSM for the Korea period wasn’t authorized until Apr 1953; for the Vietnam period, until Jan 1966; and for the GWOT period, until March 2003.

  39. The Fonz says:

    Thanks for that historical lesson. I never quite understood completely why we received the NDSM at the end of our basic training and to make things even worse (or funny). I never knew the NDSM was an actual medal until some ten plus years later – after I left active duty. For some strange reason, I thought (believed) the NDSM was just a ribbon like the ASR. Silly me….

  40. Don H says:

    The NDSM was actually authorized to everyone for service during Desert Storm (and, apparently, the Global War On Terror), mobilized or not. Because they wanted to be inclusive–which was a different criteria than used for previous awards of the NDSM. Then they had to come up with the “M” Device for the Armed Forces Reserve Medal to show who was actually called up to serve on active duty. And then different colored hourglasses, because now you can get the AFRM with M Device without ten years of service, and you get a bronze hourglass when you hit ten years.

    In the pictures above, Simpson appears to be wearing an Oak Leaf Cluster on his NDSM. That was authorized during Vietnam, but was later changed to a Bronze Service Star. It was made pretty clear to us during and after Desert Storm what teh appropriate device was; the fact he’s wearing an OLC would indicate to me that he wasn’t a very good NCO. But that’s just me . . .