James Craig; phony POW

| October 1, 2014

James Craig

Mary sends us her work on James Ron Craig who was featured in the Arkansas Harrison Daily Times;

Being shot down over Cambodia and spending 18 days in captivity has a way of changing a man.

“That’s when I started to believe in something greater than myself,” James “Ron” Craig said.

Craig was honored on August 19 by the presentation of medals he earned during his service in the Vietnam War. Doing the honor was Steve Gray, the military representative of Sen. John Boozman, and it came during a meeting of the Disabled American Veterans.

In addition to his Purple Heart, Craig was presented with the Vietnam Campaign Medal; the Cross of Gallantry; the Vietnam Service Medal; the National Defense Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Bronze Star; and the Combat Infantry Badge, as well as his marksman bar.

“It’s 46 years later, but it’s great,” Craig said.

Craig admitted during the event to having flashbacks of Vietnam. They included memories of the Tet offensive, which occurred in early 1968. He turned 21 during Tet, Craig said, but there were times when he thought he would never see that birthday.

His service with Company D 2nd Battalion 7th Air Cavalry also included flying several missions in a gun ship helicopter. One of those missions ended in his being shot down along with seven other Americans. Craig managed to escape from his captors, but he later learned that his mother had been sent a letter informing her he was missing in action.

Yeah, well, he wasn’t a POW. According to DPMO, the only Craig listed is Phillip Charles Craig, a Navy O-3 from Oneida, NY whose remains were brought home in 1986.

Craig was indeed in D Co. 2/7 Cav, in fact he was in the company when John Noble Holcomb earned his Medal of Honor posthumously as a member of D 2/7 Cav. But, Mr Craig didn’t earn a Purple Heart, either;

James Craig Assignments

James Craig FOIA

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (38)

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  1. Doc Savage says:

    If the people presenting these “honors” would put a fraction of the effort into researching these bullshit stories as they did using it as a damn PR political grandstanding opportunity, there would be far fewer of these posers jumping up to be recognized.

  2. Steadfast&Loyal says:

    In attention?

    Holy fuck! How do you go so far as to get the medals and NOT have done a records check. Jeezus.

    I mean…Boozman and his people take a shit right? Don’t they complete the paperwork?

  3. GDContractor says:

    “In addition to his Purple Heart, Craig was presented with…”

    Are they referring to the PHM that IS NOT listed on his DD-214? Where have I seen this before? I wonder what kind of license plates he has on his car/truck/motorcycle?

    • GDContractor says:

      28JAN1969 – enroute to CONUS (from RVN presumably)
      30JAN1969 – Discharge date
      Legit?
      A grand total of 1 year and 7 months enlistment?

      • CLAW131 says:

        GD,Legit? Sure. Two year draftee,you pick back up that extra 24 hours by flying back over the International Date Line to CONUS,remaining time on enlistment precludes further assignment(5 months till ETS),processed out as an Overseas Returnee,(24-36 Hour time frame).It could happen.When I returned from RVN we were in and out of Fort Lewis in less that 12 hours.

        • GDContractor says:

          CLAW131 – Thanks for setting me straight. I didn’t know the Army could process anything that fast. I appreciate the lesson and, just for the record, it was not my intention to denigrate Mr. Craig’s length of service. As Ronaldus Maximus said, “Trust but verify”.

        • David says:

          Small correction – when you fly from the typical Asian destination to the western US, that 24 hours you supposedly pick up is lost on the long flight. The net result is that you get on the plane one evening, fly for 11-15 hours, and land the afternoon of the same day. You do not take off on the 24th and arrive the 23rd. Done that lap ‘way too many times.

      • Nigel Brooks says:

        Yes that could be legit. In Vietnam they had a policy of early outs. For a two year draftee, you’d have 4 months basic and ait, some leave, then a 12 month deployment to Vietnam. By the time you were ready to return to Conus their might only be a few months left on you term of service. In it’s infinite wisdom, the Army decided that rather than spend the money to transfer an individual to another duty location for only a few months, it was more economical to offer an “early out”.

        • ChiefV says:

          This is true, if you have less than 6 months remaining upon DEROS, you can get an early out. Cost the feds to much to keep you, plus your attitude is not conducive to moral.

  4. Bobo says:

    It looks like the only thing that Boozman’s rep “awarded” him that isn’t in his 2-1 is the ARCOM. I don’t see a PH or POW Medal tacked onto the stuff being handed to him.

    • Bobo says:

      Never mind, I just saw the ARCOM on the second pass of the FOIA. I’ve gotten to used to seeing them listed in order of precedence on the paperwork.

      So, he might be shooting his mouth off to reporters about a PH and his time as a POW, but the stuff that the guy in the flight suit handed him match the FOIA results.

      • CLAW131 says:

        Bobo, Sir, I had thought (very gingerly) about letting you know that the ARCOM was listed on the FOIA. This man,IMO,was good to go up until the point of taking credit for the PH/POW Medals. The story was believable to me up until the part where it claimed he lost his job back in 1969 Wyoming to a Vietnamese. That whole thing is BS and is just a sympathy grabber.

        • Bobo says:

          I’m an Infantryman. Part of my job is to accept criticism when I screw up. Not a problem.

          I’d say that, for an E-4 11B to walk out of Vietnam with that much stuff on his chest after only a year, he was a better than average grunt. He flushed all of it as soon as he started talking about getting captured and a wounded.

  5. ChipNASA says:

    Fuck this lying piece of shit.
    This shithead has a fucking AIR MEDAL. I was in 23 years and I didn’t even get close to that. 2 MSMs but yea. Whatever

    That’s it. Fuck It.
    I’m going to start lying my ass off right now.

    (slew and nsf-brain alert)
    “There I was Banging Hilary Clinton because Bill wouldn’t do it and, well, you could say, I was taking one for the team. She promised me the stars, the Moon, a Humanitarian Service Medal, for being a Great American, Aerial Achievement Medal for, well you know,(something, something about a swing and a broken chandelier), the Prisoner of War Medal, because I was a Prisoner of her Love, a Silver Star Awarded for “Gallantry in action”, because I gave her “some kind of action”, and finally, an Antarctica Service Medal cause she’s one cold bitch.

    Promises promises….I never saw anything. You know it’s not in my records cause it was Top Sekret and only SHE knows about it. Not even Bill knew so you couldn’t even ask him.

    Hush hush and all that.

    Maybe I can ask someone to represent me and get my a pretty plaque for my office wall.

    • mr. sharkman says:

      That’s the most brilliant possible VA benefits-related lie/scam/etc. that I have ever heard of.

      The second you mention giving Hillary Clinton the Big Pink Torpedo, there’s not a dude in the world that wouldn’t rate you 100% disabled for a number of reasons.

      Have you ever considered a career as a horror fiction writer? 🙂

    • CLAW131 says:

      Chip,Now I’m not defending him but if he was a member of the Troop “Blues” Platoon, he would be eligible for an Air Medal as a regular and frequent member of an Assault Team. Anyway, I have a few extra Air Medals(6) on my records,I’ll be more than happy to send you one.

      • CLAW131 says:

        Forget my reference to him being a “Blues” Platoon member. Further research reveals that D Troop was not an Air troop. The Air Medal might have been awarded for being a frequent flier on Combat Assaults with the troop or maybe later when he was assigned to HHC,3rd Bde,1st CAV. Either way,it is a single Air Medal and not indicative of flying multiple missions on a helicopter gunship.

    • Steadfast&Loyal says:

      There it is. The best thing I’ll read all day.

      Only you’re missing the Purple Heart for whatever wounds you received and VA compensation for the very real case of PTSD you’d get.

      Bravo. Bravo

    • streetsweeper says:

      Just for you ChipUSA…the theme song you need to go with your Hillary story. “Promises, Promises” Loved it, bruh.

      [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBupia9oidU&w=560&h=315%5D

    • Hondo says:

      Cold, eh? Hope you were wearing yer “Mickey Mouse . . . er, boots”, ChipNASA.

      I’ll just leave this here . . .

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo34VhfcetU

      (smile)

    • OC says:

      Chip,
      an effing MOH to you for bangin’ that cold hearted bitch.
      Talk about above and beyond……

      OC

  6. Dave Hardin says:

    Another ‘Gullible Phuk” award. I will drop one in the mail to both Sen Boozman and Steve Grey.

  7. SJ says:

    Wonder if Mr (rank unk) Gray (the guy wearing his manly man flight suit complete with The Patch) is pissed at being part of this?

    • Club Manager says:

      Dave, don’t know why Steve is wearing his flight suit but he is retired Air Force and was on flight status.

  8. Club Manager says:

    Retired AF Lt. Col. Steve Gray is a friend and a good guy. When he obtains and presents these medals it is with some sort of documentation. He has obtained medals for two associates of mine. I will take this action item to see what I can do about forcing the phony to return the medals. I don’t blame Steve.

    • MrBill says:

      Gray may have done everything right. The medals in the photo are all reflected in Craig’s records. My question is, where did the phrase “in addition to his Purple Heart” come from? Was a PH presented to Craig separately? Or did Craig tell the reporter that he already had a PH, in addition to the medals that were presented to him by Gray?

  9. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    CIB and an Air Medal….earned honorably during service in Vietnam.

    Mr. Craig should be extremely proud of that, and left it at that. He did more in 19 months than many do in 3 or more times that length of service. He did it in a war that killed 11 times as many people as the 12 years of our current GWOT, in a war that created a large conflict and anti-veteran sentiment here in the states.

    Difficult action in a difficult time.

    There was nothing wrong with his record until he told something that was perhaps inaccurate at best…and something else at worst.

  10. Green Thumb says:

    I believe this clown just worked this for attention.

    Arkansas is catching up.

  11. Hondo says:

    For completeness, here’s a link to DPMO’s Vietnam POW/MIA Accounted-For List. Personnel on this list returned, either alive or in a box.

    As Jonn noted above, there is no “James Craig” on this list.

    http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/vietnam/reports/documents/pmsea_acc_p_name.pdf

    Here’s the DPMO Vietnam POW Escapee list. It includes every US POW (civilian and military) who escaped enemy captivity in SEA and returned to US control. There were only 37.

    http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/vietnam/reports/pmsea_escapee.pdf

    There’s only one last name beginning with the letter “C” on that list.
    That last name isn’t “Craig”.

    It’s entirely possible Craig got shot down and had to E&E to link up with US forces elsewhere. But I’m simply not buying his claim that he was ever a POW.

  12. streetsweeper says:

    F’ng A! D 2/7 Cav, bronze star, air medal, CIB? No P/H for being stupid and POW?? Is this guy trying to be a fucking joke?? Whadda fuck were you thinking? Firing a letter off to US 7th Cav Association…*face palm* Let ’em burn him out…hehe.

  13. RazorbackStrong says:

    Dang. Some of my peeps from AR are really making those of who try not to be lying shitbags look bad. This dude, fake PH plates, fake NG guy…it pisses me off. Now I think all the guys w the black Military hats that don’t carry themselves military are FOS.

  14. Joe Williams says:

    First a question for the Army rotorheads. When you earn your Air Medal are also awarded the Combat Enlisted Air Wings? One Air Medal suggests that he flew for one month or less. Our (most) squadrons allowed our shop and support Marines to fly gunner for their wings and Air Medal. Joe

    • ArmyATC says:

      There’s no such thing as “Combat Enlisted Air Wings” in the Army. You can be awarded what’s now called the Aviation Badge, but guys who are pulled in as door gunners usually won’t get it. You have to be on flight status for award or school trained in a aviation MOS.

    • CLAW131 says:

      Joe,I’ll try my best to answer your question,but the waters may end up being muddier than when we started. First, in Vietnam the Air Medal was awarded by some commands to personnel who were not flight rated. It was awarded at times just for being a Infantry “frequent flier” on combat assaults,or for being a RTO to a Brigade Commander who flew from unit to unit and kept radio comms with his ground units on frequencies that were not plugged into the helicopter radios. Or for being an Artillery Forward Observer that circled the battlefield in a helicopter. There were many ways to be awarded an Air Medal that didn’t involve a time frame or number of missions,etc. The award of the Army Aircraft Crew Member Badge (flight wings)was either on a temporary or permanent basis and was based on duty position and flight status. Not all aviation maintenance personnel (ground crews and hangar teams)even though being school trained,were awarded a set of wings.I hope I didn’t confuse the issue too much. At different times and with different commands(or even individual commanders)the playing field was not the same across the board.

      • CLAW131 says:

        And I might add the following. We had men in my Assault Helicopter Company at Phu Bai that were crew chiefs and door gunners that never went to aviation maintenance school. They were 11B Infantrymen who learned/earned the job strictly through on the job training and their own abilities. They received Air Medals and Aircrew Badges instead of Combat Infantry Badges.