Larry the Liar Fitgerald, Reaper 6 BS

| October 15, 2013

Team Sergeant at Professional Soldiers sends us his research on Larry FitzGerald who is supposed to be the subject of Andrew Rafkin’s book “Reaper 6“;

A Top Secret Story of Unparalleled Heroism… Staff Sergeant Larry FitzGerald, aka “Reaper 6,” of the U.S. Army Special Forces, led a special Black Ops team deployed to Vietnam in 1965. He reported to only two men: General Westmoreland and General Abrams, who were in command of the U.S. Armed Forces. His first assignment-a suicidal mission to assassinate four enemy generals in Laos who were planning the 1967 Tet invasion-was never disclosed to the media or the public. General Westmoreland stated that Sergeant FitzGerald deserved the Medal of Honor, and nine additional Purple Hearts, but unfortunately, most of his missions were conducted across the fence of South Vietnam, in Cambodia, Laos, and North Vietnam. In fact, all of his missions were classified, clandestine, and denied. They have not been disclosed until now. Reaper 6 is the only biography of this extraordinary soldier’s life, capturing the very sights, sounds, and smells of the Vietnam War. Today, Larry is the proverbial “last man standing” of 89 souls who went where lesser soldiers shouldn’t dare.

Well, according to the FOIA, all that BS is true, except for the service dates, FitzGerald’s rank, and instead of being special forces, he was an MP;

Larry Fitzgerald FOIA

Larry Fitzgerald 2-1

Yeah, he was in Vietnam and had an honorable career and then shit all over himself for a couple of bucks. Mr. Rafkin has been told that his “true story” is total horseshit and doesn’t seem to care, the folks at PS figured that the TAH crowd could convince him to care. Two people involved in this stolen valor case – one making up a story, and another selling his tripe to the masses knowing it’s false.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (84)

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  1. Steve1114 says:

    So sad… Why do people have to do this? I spent time today with my father and uncle. My dad served in the Air Force from 66-70. My uncle served in the Army from 57-61. The only exciting thing I ever heard from either was from my uncle. And that exciting thing was that Elvis was stationed in Germany during the period he was. They never had to make up BS like this… Maybe that’s why I get so mad when I see it.

  2. Sean says:

    An MP with 5 Air medals? that’s a bit odd isn’t it?

  3. oldav8r says:

    This book is getting completely trashed on Amazon. Including references(links?) to TAH.

  4. BCousins says:

    “…capturing the very sights, sounds, and smells of the Vietnam War”. The story does indeed capture the smells of Viet Nam and they were super pungent and pervasive. This is the biggest crock of BS I have encountered in quite some time and it stinks. The author was either
    1. complicit and knew it was BS
    2. is now too embarrassed to admit he was duped
    3. or believes the stink will go away and his book will sell anyway.
    I am betting it is all 3. He knew it, is embarrassed and believes it will go away.
    I had to clean the coffee off my chin and keyboard after reading a review that said:
    “FitzGerald apparently made a big impression on his superiors during basic training, as he was selected to go on to “advanced individual training” afterwards. Welcome to the world of Black Ops”.
    Yeh, I also made such a good impression in basic that I was chosen to attend AIT…as did every other enlisted soldier in the US Army. WTF?

  5. OWB says:

    Isn’t this just too special?

    Maybe not.

  6. Hondo says:

    Sean: his DA 2-1 shows his duty assignment to have been “Door Gunner” from 8 Feb to 5 Dec 1968 (if I’m deciphering the handwriting correctly) with what appears to be an Air Cav unit. That was during Tet and the Tet Counteroffensive. He’d have had plenty of opportunity to fly enough missions to get a few Air Medals under those conditions.

    In a way, I think the guy got kinda screwed. His DA 2-1 says he was working as an 11B (Door Gunner was coded 11B) for almost 10 months. I’m wondering why his unit didn’t (a) OJT him as an 11B, (b) grant him the 11B SMOS, and (c) award him the CIB. Dunno if that would be 100% legit or not, but it would be at least as legit as several other cases I’ve seen who served in Vietnam and were awarded a CIB. I’d have no problem with an 11B door gunner who’d been in a number of firefights getting the CIB – and if the guy was a door gunner in Vietnam during Tet, you can bet he got shot at from time to time.

    He’s still a LSoS regarding his other claims, though. Jonn’s right: honorable if short career, and he had to go fornicate Fido by lying through his teeth.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    He was a door gunner. What’s so lowly about that?

  8. Hondo says:

    Ex-PH2: nothing. It’s a rather important and high-risk job at times, actually.

    The quotes were intended to show that was the exact title of the duty description on his DA 2-1, not to belittle anyone.

  9. Ex-PH2 says:

    Hondo, I was asking about Larry the Liar’s attitude toward being a door gunner.

    The VietCong were notorious for shooting straight up through the floors of helicopters. Anything in the air was a target. How anyone who was a door gunner over there (for anything besides the space shuttle and the Klingons) can think that was a less than important job, and has to embellish what he did with a large ring of baloney sausage, is beyond me.

  10. Hondo says:

    Ex-PH2: fair enough. Thought you might have misinterpreted my quotes around the duty description. Glad to see I was wrong.

    Yeah, door gunners in Vietnam pretty much had to have huevos grandes de piedra. They indeed got shot at – a lot – while standing exposed in the door and shooting at folks on the ground who they often couldn’t see, but who could see them damn well.

    Best friend’s dad and a former next-door neighbor were both Army Aviators in Vietnam. Things got pretty hairy at times.

  11. SGT Ted says:

    MP….SF…Its got 2 letters, right?

  12. Cacti35 says:

    I’ll see your Reaper 6 and raise you a Spooky 8.

  13. George says:

    VN Service medal with 4 service stars? Is this possible in a single year in VN?

    I was going to ask about the Air Medals, but I see that’s been addressed.

  14. George says:

    And wikipedia to the rescue. I never knew there were 30 individual campaigns during the Vietnam War.

  15. 1AirCav69 says:

    I’m confused. No air crewman wings? 3/5 Cav was not part of the 1st Air Cav unless they were attached. That’s possible. He could have volunteered to go Door Gunner from the MP’s, that’s real possible considering they were also after us grunts to come out of the field to be door gunners. I also know guys that extended to be door gunners to get the 30 day leave and a drop on their ETS but since he was a draftee, he should have been able to do a 12 month tour after MP school, which was at Gordon, and got his drop. He went from Nam to Hood as an 11E Machine Gunner. Real confusing but all possible for sure except why he got an 11B to be an air crewman. I’m not questioning his record as some clerk might have just shoved 11B in there instead of looking it up but of course the secret squirrel crap is sickening and that anyone would believe it without checking it out is an ass.

  16. OWB says:

    A couple of the toughest vets I know were door gunners. No shame there at all. Many action filled days of fun for them.

  17. 1AirCav69 says:

    @ George I was a grunt and got 4 stars and 2 Air Medals. The 1st Cav generally, not always, kept records of our assaults and awarded our Air Medals. I didn’t get both with the Cav though but the 4 stars are for sure for my time there. I also did a TDY stint with the 128th Assault Helo Co. which got me my other AM. If he was a door gunner, 6 AM’s is probably standard.

    @10 PH2. The little sumbitches shot up through floors, through wind screens and through the sides. There was no place to hide. Believe me. As a rule, we couldn’t wait to get the hell off those things. Except for going home after work, you wouldn’t believe the amount of us that said, “Volunteer to be a door gunner? You’re outta your mind.” They needed them because they got their asses shot off in bunches.

  18. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The character of one’s service as Honorable is no promise, let alone a guarantee, that the remainder of one’s life will be honorably spent. In this instance, the fictitious hero of a non-fiction book evidently saw service in VN with the 3/5 Cav, the Black Knights. And Rafkin is, according to his Amazon profile, a Navy Veteran who served in VN also. So there you go. A really GOOD read regarding this book can be found in the Amazon customer reviews. Ouch! They ain’t gonna help sales.

  19. Ex-PH2 says:

    @18 1AirCav69, I know.

    I heard it first hand from a Huey pilot whose personal experience include a live round coming right up through the floor of the cockpit and continuing through the roof. I thought he was exaggerating, until he showed me the burn scar on the inside of his knee. Went right through his pants. And how it missed damaging the rotors is beyond me, but he said the VC also frequently aimed at the choppers’ carburetors, to disable them and drop them out of the sky.

  20. Hack.Stone says:

    It’s a shame that Mystery Science Theater 3000 never did books.

  21. Poohbah, Lord High Everything Else says:

    @20, Hueys don’t have carbs. They have turboshaft engines, not reciprocating.

    How it missed damaging the rotor: look at the area of the rotor disc (area swept by the blades. Look at the area of the blades. Blade area is much smaller than the total disc; you’d have to be REALLY unlucky for a bullet traveling vertically to hit a blade.

  22. Mr Wolf says:

    Special missions to assassinate generals?

    This is straight out of the book “The Five Fingers”. Look it up. (a great book btw)

    Door gunners- I would have traded my LTC rank for E-5 just to be a door gunner in Iraq on Little Birds. I watched those guys patrol the skies over Baghdad- seriously, I would have given up my house and all material possessions for that opportunity.

    That would have been more fun than a free Ferrari and a day at Nürburgring.

  23. Ex-PH2 says:

    Poohbah, I stand corrected. It’s been a while, you know.

  24. God freakin’ dang it…NOBODY, NOT EVEN THE PUBLISHER, EDITOR, OR AUTHOR THOUGHT TO INDEPENDENTLY CHECK HIS MILITARY RECORDS!!!! Seriously, if you’re going to throw the amount of time and money required to write and publish a book into a business endeavor, wouldn’t you at least check up? It’s public information for anyone who asks, for crying out loud! We can’t be the only ones who know about the poser phenomenon, or at least believe someone might lie about their service for money. And the worst part is, the guy could have written a terrific book based solely on his own experiences and those of his close friends. Many people don’t know about the perils door gunners faced, and there aren’t too many books about them (books about secret squirrel Vietnam commandos, on the other hand, are about a dime a dozen these days, no disrespect to those guys). I would have bought it and read it in a flash, as would many others. Instead, he chooses to be enshrined for eternity on every poser busting group website there is. Jackass…

  25. Oldav8r says:

    In ’67 while operating on yankee station, a pilot in one of the fighter squadrons who had a buddy in an aircav unit; had a chance to ride on a mission in a Huey. He came back with eyes like saucers and said “never again – NFW. those guys are crazy!”

    I tend to agree. I was perfectly glad to move faster than the speed of heat and come back to the boat at night.

  26. RandyB says:

    Don’t be too quick to blame the publisher. Outskirts Press is a self-publishing house. They can’t verify the content. (I’ve self-published myself, although mine is obviously fiction of the SF variety.)

    It’s entirely the fault of the fake and the sad-sack writer.

    Has anybody kept track of his sales? The rank on the Kindle edition is currently #26,015. That’s a handful of ebooks a day. His paperback rank looks like he hasn’t sold any in a while, although none of that’s unusual for a book published last February.

    I’d be really upset if this was boosting his sales.

  27. AbnGramps says:

    OK, I read all the reviews on Amazon. My wife is gone for a week and I have waaaay too much time on my hands (great Styxx song). That being said, I noticed something kind of strange about a majority of the five star reviews. They all kind of sound as if they were written by either the same person or a group of people writing from the same script. If he did honorably serve in VN, then his distortion of the what he did is a shame.

  28. 3/17 air cav says:

    @7…… Flew as a door gunner with 3/17 air cav. Shows in my file 11b2f. I suppose the f stands for flight. As far as being shot from beneath. We as gunners and crew chiefs, had a 2’x2′ woppie cushion we sat on in the gunners well. Supposed to be bullet proof. Luckily. Never had to find out. Just remembered being scared to death about the possibility of being shot in the family jewels

  29. 3/17 air cav says:

    @16….. I beat the bush with the 2/12 1st cav div. airmobile. Then flew as a door gunner with 3/17 air cav for about five months. Have no air medals no crewmember wings. Although it shows in my file I flew as a door gunner. A lot of those clerks at the time were just plain lazy. I suppose I could put in for air crew wings since it shows it in my file. The way I always looked at it flying was dangerous, but at least I had a cot to sleep on at night with a fan and a little Sanyo refer for my beer and sodas. To my mind it beat the hell out of going outside the wire for seven to ten days as a grunt

  30. Beretverde says:

    He is just a run of the mill, money making con artist, who is a liar and is a “Stolen Valor Thief.”

    If he has an SF tattoo… he then is a “REAL DEAL PHONY.”

  31. Li Right says:

    I posted the following on –

    You guys that gave this trash 5 Stars, have you read the latest comments?

    Staff Sergeant Larry FitzGerald: Fake, phony, fraud, liar.

    Author: Andrew J. Rafkin, what did you know about FitzGerald and when did you know it? Perhaps it’s time for you to admit that your book is NOT non-fiction.

    As my question at the top notes; “You guys that gave this trash 5 Stars, have you read the latest comments?” Have you learned anything….at all?

    Viet Nam: been there, done that 1967 – 1968. “I” Troop, 3/11th ACR.

  32. 1AirCav69 says:

    @30 Believe me, I thought about it a bunch! Thanks for doing both. I was 2/8. I knew 2 12th guys…one was John Baca, we met at the Wall and the other, I can’t think of his name, but when I had to have the first of a few operations he replaced me at the Vet Center until I recovered. John Baca saved his life the night John got the MOH. Air Cav! Buddy.

    @32 Love the 11th ACR. We named our MOPH Chapter after one of it’s CO’s who we all loved. Col. Jimmy Leach. Jimmy took over after Patton’s son. Jimmy served under his father from Normandy to Berlin. Also, the 11th saved my whole company in Cambodia. Luckily I wasn’t there but they would have all died if it wasn’t for the 11th ACR.

    Honor and Courage!

  33. NHSparky says:

    Why, for the love of Christ?

    EOM, nothing follows.

  34. Li Right says:

    @33 1AirCav69

    You just made my day, week, month and year. Thank you – first beer in on me!

  35. Casey says:

    @32: well done!

    Everyone should go over there and click “Yes” on all the 1-star reviews as having helped them, and “No” on all the 5-star. Yes, you can rate ratings. 🙂

    Just ran into this while researching something else: a local Ranger salutes while receiving his Purple Heart in the hospital. They thought he was unconscious.

    BZ Josh Hargis.

  36. 3/17 air cav says:

    @1staircav69…….your right, as a grunt, could no wait to get out of those Huey’s. Remember my 1st ca flying out with doors open, legs dangling out; not strapped in. Thought for sure I was going to fall out. Once I started flying, I always remembered those days as a grunt. Whenever we flew a ash and trash mission if a grunt was looking for a lift, I made every effort to get him aboard. I’m sure I pissed off some higher ranking rear area guys. Since the pilots usually let me pick.

  37. RandyB says:

    I don’t understand who’s still buying this.

    His Amazon rank on the ebook is now #21,323. I posted last night that it was #26,015. In other words, he’s doing a tiny bit better now.

    Granted, he might have done that having only sold two ebooks since I posted that last night, but that’s still two books too many.

  38. RandyB says:

    @36: “Everyone should go over there and click “Yes” on all the 1-star reviews as having helped them, and “No” on all the 5-star. Yes, you can rate ratings. :)”

    Done! Good idea!

    It’s interesting to see the older reviews that were written before he was exposed.

  39. RandyB says:

    For what it’s worth, if you want to see this book, you can download the free sample by clicking over to the ebook edition:

    Just be absolutely certain that you click the “Send sample now” button, and not the “Buy” button!

    Authors never see how many people get the sample, so there’s no credit for that. Just be sure to have a place to puke handy.

  40. LebbenB says:

    I’ll wager FitzGerald will eventually try to save his rep by saying the book “…isn’t about me, it’s about some “Bro’s” who ran missions like that. I did it to honor them.” or some such horse shit.

  41. Ex-PH2 says:

    I don’t think I’ll read this, because the reviews trashing it are enough for me, never mind the comments here.

    If this guy had written up his bio as what he was – a door gunner – I’d be interested in that. That would have some hair to it, but I’ve yet to meet anyone who admits to being a door gunner over there, never mind wanting to talk about it. Even the one tunnel rat I met 22 years ago did not wish to relay what he went through.

    And a small piece of advice for people who seem to think that history doesn’t require research: it does. It requires meticulous research. If you don’t do that, people know you’re just a BS artist trying to con them…

    Does this guy make anyone besides me think of Tim Poe, he of the ‘caught the PTSD’ fame?

  42. Poetrooper says:

    If you follow Jonn’s link to and read the comments you will see one from a guy with the handle Airborne Lawyer, who says he knows Fitzgerald personally (Same Legion post)and has apparently swallowed Larry’s lying lock, stock and barrel. Let’s hope that if Larry lawyers up to go after his critics, he picks this gullible turkey to represent him.

    When I was in Nam in 65-66 with the 327th Abn Infantry, the aviation units were constantly seeking volunteers for doorgunner slots. Anyone who had a few heliborne assaults into hot LZ’s under his belt considered anyone who’d volunteer for that job to be totally frickin’ crazy. And that was in spite of the almost Air Force level bennies some of the aviation units enjoyed back at base camp. So they didn’t get any long lines of volunteers.

    Towards the end of my tour, some of the boldest Huey pilots I flew with were baby-faced, junior WO’s fresh out of Camp Wolters who appeared to be barely out of puberty and flew those birds balls-to-the-wall. So crazy doorgunners were in good company.

  43. Ex-PH2 says:

    Poetrooper, the guy posting as ‘Airborne Lawyer’ quoted a review on Amazon. It wasn’t his post, just a copy.

    Geez, it’s almost worth it to write up the ‘sea stories’ from door gunners, if I can track them down.

    What are ‘sea stories’ (Navy term) from Marines and Army? Anyone?

  44. rb325th says:

    @43, that man was quoting from a Review. It was not the user with the name Airbornelawer making the claims he knew fitzgerald or that he is the Legion with him. He was providing that as a source forthose wishing to contact the Legion about the scumbag

  45. 3/17 air cav says:

    @43…… While flying with the air cav as a door gunner, we had wo show up. He told me he had seved one tour in Vietnam previously. Continued to tell me he had re-upped for flight school. I asked him if he was crazy? Looking back on it maybe we were both crazy. His name was David Meyer. He lasted six weeks. Took a rpg in Cambodia. I have his sidearm to this day. R.I.P Mr. Meyer I think of you often

  46. Jas says:

    Just wondering and asking to those who served during that time period:

    He’s got 2 years active duty and 4 years in the reserves. VCM with 4 campaign stars and air medals.

    Is it normal to be discharged as an PFC after all that?

    What I don’t get: Starting out as a MP, apparently changing to door gunner in the heat of war, flying numerous campaigns and missions, getting wounded, fighting on…

    This already sounds like a hell of an interesting story to read – why gamble that for some lousy SF stories??

  47. 3/17 air cav says:

    @47…… From my experience, being discharged as a PFC is pretty low speed. I spent 11months 12 days in the nam. Usually rank comes a little faster in a combat zone. I arrived in country as a PVT E-2 was promoted to PFC upon arriving in country. Left the Nam as a SGT. E-5 11 months later I’m sure other nam vets can tell a similar story

  48. Hondo says:

    jas: not quite old enough, but served not that long after and knew some folks who did serve there. I’ll give this one a shot.

    The VCM is normal for a tour in Vietnam. The 4 campaign stars are tied to when that tour occurred. By my reckoning, he should actually have 5 based on when he was there, but maybe I’m reading his arrival date wrong.

    Air medals seem consistent with 10 mo as a door gunner during Tet and afterwards.

    PFC at 2 years seems a touch low (I’d have guessed SP4), but could mean nothing. Perhaps he wasn’t “the sharpest tool in the shed” and just didn’t get selected to pin on SP4. Or maybe he was fond of raising Cain when he had the chance to go to Saigon/other civilized places and ended up losing a stripe one or more times. In that era, according to some of the NCOs I served with a few years later it wasn’t all that uncommon for someone to be a SP4 multiple times – and unlike today, it wasn’t a career-killer. (smile)

  49. Hondo says:

    Didn’t see your reply before posting my, 3/17 Air Cav. Am I close, or did I “blow it” above? Just curious for some feedback.