Faustino Raquiza; phony hero

| August 29, 2017 | 87 Comments

Here’s another one from AverageNCO and this is one is still alive for the time being. Faustino Raquiza says that he was in Vietnam with the 11th Light Infantry Brigade of the Americal Division. He also claims that he was with the 174th Attack Helicopter Company.

He told a local news station that he had two Silver Star Medals, too.

[Andy] Perry and U.S. Army Sgt. Faustino Raquiza both received silver stars for their roles in Vietnam. Raquiza was awarded two silver stars.

“The silver star doesn’t mean anything to me,” said Raquiza.

“I know people make it a big deal -third highest ranking star in the United States military, but I rather be understood; understood for what I’m going through and not patronized. It’s hurtful.”

The Army doesn’t remember his career like Raquiza remembers it;

Yeah, well, maybe the Silver Star Doesn’t mean anything to him because he just bought it and pinned it on his shirt. I’m not sure how a Combat Infantryman Badge got in his records, because according to the records, he was a switchboard operator in a signal battalion for the time he was in Vietnam (July 1969- May 1970). You have to be an infantryman, trained, and in an infantry unit in order to be awarded the CIB, he was none of that.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (87)

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  1. 1610desig says:

    Yeah, Faust baby, “it’s hurtful” when you’re running your two stroke powered jawbone complaining about all the attention you’re getting..

  2. Claw says:

    The Sharks are circling the carcass as we speak.

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Faustino? For a moment there, I thought he was Italian.

    How did a CIB slip into his records… Hmmm… it could have slipped in there with a couple of Abe Lincoln’s or something, maybe?

  4. Sgt K says:

    Everybody wants to be infantry until it’s time to do infantry shit.

  5. Bobo says:

    Another switchboard operator with a CIB. JuST lIkE AnoThEr fRienD oF OUrS.

  6. sj says:

    Hey, a switchboard shelter can get hot if the AC fails.

  7. O-4E says:

    This jogged my memory

    This question is for you old Vietnam types

    Was the CIB ever awarded to individuals in other MOS aside from Infantry during that time period? Say Combat Engineer?

    I can of course research it on my own but maybe someone here knows definitively to get me started

    Much thanks

    • Hondo says:

      See below. Short answer: yes. How often? Unknown.

      • Poetrooper says:

        O-4E, I was awarded the CIB with a primary MOS of 54E which was a battalion CBR NCO. However I was serving at the time as a fire team leader in a rifle platoon. Upon reporting in to my assigned unit, 2d/327th Abn Infantry, I found my CBR slot filled and rather than return me to replacement detachment, the Bn Commander assigned me to Bravo Company in my secondary infantry MOS. Coincidentally, it was the same company I had served in as a command RTO five years earlier back at Fort Campbell.

        Also coincidentally, on the day I and several other NFG’s in my platoon were awarded the CIB, we were no closer than a couple of kilometers to the fighting but because elements of our company did come under fire at another location, we all were on the orders. We did subsequently engage the enemy but not that week.

        Conceivably, had I been returned stateside for illness in that interim, I could legitimately hold the CIB without ever having heard a shot fired in anger.

    • rgr769 says:

      In Nov. or Dec. 1970 I tried to get a CIB awarded to my Arty. forward observer’s RTO. The RTO had repeatedly walked point for a recon squad I created for my line company. He was there, up front when we encountered enemy fire. Everyone thought he deserved a CIB, like my infantry RTO’s. S-1 said no because he was attached from the Arty. battery and was an artilleryman, not an infantryman. I know anecdotal evidence doesn’t prove much, but it is called a Combat “Infantry” Badge. If every non-infantryman who was in a firefight received a CIB, I think I would have heard about it. I know I never saw any non-infantry officers wearing them; never saw an aircrewman or pilot wearing one. (Yes, I know there were many officers with CIB’s that went to flight school, but they earned their CIB’s as infantrymen, just like 3/17 Cav did.)

  8. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    I fought off sugar ants while I was working 40 meters on my Drake R7 short wave radio DXing RTTY 45 baud/170 shift traffic. Do I qualify for the CIB????. Sugar ants are one of the insects one has to put up with when living in south Florida.

  9. JimV says:

    I was climbing a pole at Fort Gordon, slipped and got splinters in my arms. Purple Heart?

  10. Green Thumb says:

    Just another old, gnarly shitbag.

    I bet his family is proud.

  11. Hondo says:

    Yeah, well, maybe the Silver Star Doesn’t mean anything to him because he just bought it and pinned it on his shirt.

    Bingo.

    FWIW: apparently USARV had some “local supplements” to AR 672-5 during Vietnam that DA didn’t slap down. Those supplements allowed award of the CIB to selected non-Infantry personnel. I haven’t ever been able to get my hands on a copy of the USARV supplement, but ABCMR decisions indicate that non-Infantry personnel accompanying Infantry units in combat could be awarded the CIB. Not saying that’s “as it should have been” – but it apparently was authorized by USARV and allowed by DA.

    We’ve seen some rather “interesting” CIB awards from Vietnam in FOIAs. Besides this guy (not assigned to any Inf unit as far as I can tell), we’ve also seen a few other non-Infantry folks sporting CIBs from Vietnam – including one cook – who wouldn’t rate one under today’s criteria.

    From the above, I suspect that many units played it “fast and loose” with even USARV’s relaxed local CIB criteria during the Vietnam War.

    • Skyjumper says:

      Hondo, I’ve listed a few sites where there is more detailed info on the awarding of the CIB. There are some exceptions to the “must be 11B to be awarded the CIB” rule.

      The exceptions can be long winded, so I won’t post them all here, but will briefly post one or two.

      A officer (Colonel or lower) during Viet Of The Nam whose branch was other than Infantry, but under appropriate orders, who commanded a line unit (brigade, regiment, or smaller) for at least 30 consecutive days can receive the CIB. So, most likely there were CIB’s awarded to individuals in RVn.

      https://books.google.com/books?id=KwA7AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA431&lpg=PA431&dq=Was+the+CIB+ever+awarded+to+individuals+in+other+MOS+aside+from+Infantry+during+vietnam&source=bl&ots=fkfBFoGGVM&sig=EgqHVk3hrllCBksl6LaaNrsVF1c&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiMgKTIz_zVAhUL2oMKHfxqB6AQ6AEIWzAJ#v=onepage&q=Was%20the%20CIB%20ever%20awarded%20to%20individuals%20in%20other%20MOS%20aside%20from%20Infantry%20during%20vietnam&f=false

      Another:

      https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Combat%20Infantry%20Badge%20CIB

      Last one, I promise: 😉

      https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/Combat%20Infantry%20Badge%20CIB

      • Skyjumper says:

        Okay, I don’t know what happened with the last two site addresses, but when I copied them, even though they had different info, the addresses are the same. Hmmmmm.

      • Hondo says:

        That’s a different exception than the USARV one I referenced, Skyjumper. That one’s still listed in the current award reg (AR 600-8-22). There were also other exceptions regarding the CIB for SEA that remain in today’s award reg.

        However, USARV had some other exceptions for the CIB that DA apparently either approved or allowed (even during Vietnam, local supplements to the award reg technically required DA approval). Those were the ones I was referring to above. They do not appear in either the current award reg nor did they appear in the Vietnam-era award reg I was able to locate (AR 672-5-1 from that time frame). That reg was not incomplete, but the partial copy I was able to find contained the DA criteria for the CIB during the Vietnam war period.

        As I said above: I haven’t been able to find a copy of the USARV Reg supplementing 672-5-1 during Vietnam. However, I have seen ABCMR decisions that clearly reference the relaxed USARV criteria for the CIB, and which indicated what I noted above: at least some non-infantry personnel assigned to infantry units and accompanying them in combat were allowed to be awarded the CIB. The ACBMR generally does its homework and “gets things right” when it comes to preisely what the Army regulations at a given point in time actually said. That’s necessary given their job.

        Not saying that’s right or wrong – but it was what USARV authorized and DA apparently allowed to happen.

    • Poetrooper says:

      Hondo, at the Battle of Trung Luong I was at the base camp manning the rear area TOC with a couple other NCO’s and the BN Exec when the fit hit the shan and the forward units began taking casualties against a much larger NVA regiment. The Exec quickly ordered cooks and other rear area personnel onto returning choppers and into the fight.

      The battalion was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for the subsequent battle so I would hope those cooks and others were awarded the CIB. They damned sure earned it.

    • timactual says:

      My Inf. company in Germany had a number of non-infantry types serving as riflemen, etc. We had pole linemen, ordnance clerks, an MP sergeant, and a few others. I assume that if the festivities ever started they would have been eligible for a CIB. I also assume that the same ‘flexibility’ of duty assignments applied in RVN.

      I also note that every inf. company had personnel without Inf. MOS assigned. The company senior RTO, for example, had a 31X(?) MOS. The artillery FO usually brought along an RTO with an artillery MOS. I have no problem with non-Inf. types receiving the CIB as long as they get as muddy and bloody as the Inf.

      • Yef says:

        No.
        They should get a CAB.
        The CIB is not about who gets muddy or bloddy.

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        It was interesting in RVN how you couldn’t always assume what somebody was doing based on their job title. There was a time when I thought MPs had it relatively easy. That was until I met one who was on the crew of a V100 armored car running security for convoys. My general impression of a V100 back then was that in case of a road ambush, it might as well have had a big sign saying, “SHOOT ME FIRST!!!”

      • Hondo says:

        Under the current AR 600-8-22, if a person is (1) assigned to an Infantry or SF unit of Brigade/Regimental or smaller size; (2) holds an Infantry or SF MOS/officer specialty; and (3) is assigned the duties of an Infantryman or SF soldier, they are eligible to receive the CIB if they are engaged in ground combat. Take away any of those, and the answer is no – they’re instead eligible for a CAB. See para 8-6b. of AR 600-8-22 for details.

        Best I can recall those criteria have been constant since at least the mid-1980s. I’m pretty sure they’ve been constant since shortly after the end of the Vietnam War, but I can only speak to them back to the mid-1980s from personal knowledge.

        If the individuals you referenced had a secondary 11-series MOS and were assigned against an Infantry MTOE slot, they would have been eligible to receive a CIB. If not – sorry. Since 2005, they’ve been eligible for the CAB instead.

        An interesting point is that Infantry personnel assigned to Division or larger HQs and non-Infantry units are NOT eligible to receive the CIB. They get the CAB instead if they meet CAB criteria. And yes – it’s possible for one individual with an Infantry MOS to have both. I believe one of our occasional commenters falls into that category.

  12. AnotherPat says:

    On this site, he stated he was in Vietnam from July 1969 to December 1971 and while in country, volunteered to be a Door Gunner:

    https://vvmf.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/warriors-their-stories/

    “I served in Vietnam (7/69-12/71) when I was 20 with the 11th Light Infantry brigade, 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. After being in-country for 2 months, doorgunners were needed on Hueys, I volunteered with the 174th AHC Dolphins (slicks). Three months later, I moved to a door gunner position with 174th AHC Sharks (gunship). We supported the 11th infantry in Chu Lai and Quang Tri, the same unit I served and wanted to support. I regret my part of what I had to do but, I do not regret serving in Vietnam. After leaving Vietnam I was reassigned and served out my remaining time in Frankfurt, Germany. Bless those that did not make it make home. Sadly, Vietnam Vets are yet to be welcomed home by the public nor the government as a whole.” – Faustino Raquiza, served October 1968- October 1971 in the Army.

  13. rgr769 says:

    I’ll believe he has a CIB when I see a certified copy of the General Order awarding it to him. Remember, back then we carried our original 201 file with us. All he needed was access to a typewriter and he could add a CIB to form 20 before he turned it in to the admin clerk who processed him out of the Army in Oakland. Even if he did serve as a door gunner, that doesn’t get him a CIB. I rode with a lot of door gunners in Hueys and LOH’s in RVN (I have 3 Air Medals) I never saw one sporting a CIB. So, I call bullshit on this valor thief. Any aircrew with a CIB didn’t get it for riding in a helicopter that took fire from the enemy.

    • rgr769 says:

      I must make one correction. His assignments log shows he out-processed at Ft. Dix, NJ. We should all note he lied about having served in Germany, when that record shows otherwise.

      • rgr769 says:

        I re-read the doc. He apparently served I another signal unit after return to conus, so it could have been in stationed in Europe.

        • Claw says:

          Sir, he served his last year in the Army with the 3rd Armored Division’s Signal Battalion. (A,143 Sig)

          To me, his 2-1 assignments read that after a 60 day (possibly additional emergency/or AWOL?) leave in CONUS after Vietnam, he went on over to Germany without having had a follow on stateside assignment.

  14. 3/17 Air Cav says:

    I was one of those door gunners that did have a CIB. I was a 11B with the 1st Cav before flying with the Air Cav.

    As for his statement about volunteering to fly as a door gunner. It would be.
    very unlikely that they would take commo guy to fly as a door gunner. Usually they would come from a infantry outfit like myself.

    • rgr769 says:

      I agree. We had several people in infantry companies I commanded that volunteered to join AVN units to serve as door gunners. One of them bragged to us how preferable sleeping in a cot with two or three hots every day was, compared to humping a ruck in the jungle for days on end, eating nothing but C-rats.

      • 3/17 Air Cav says:

        After leaving the bush, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven! My hooch had a bed, Sanyo fan, stereo, Sanyo refer, black light and posters. I got to shower everyday and was somewhat safe at night.

        • rgr769 says:

          I had all that stuff in Da Nang, except for the black light and posters, when I was in the rear with all the gear. But then I came closest to “buying the farm” when flying.

    • Claw says:

      Volunteer Wire Dog Door Gunner equals reversed, rusted in gas pistons on the M60s.

      Big Time No Go on a Combat Assault insertion.

      You only get one chance and it’s back to the Comm Center Switchboard and the First Sergeant’s shit details for you, Raquiza.

  15. sj says:

    Good to see you back here 3/17.

  16. Skippy says:

    I have a question…
    why is it so many posers from this era have claims concerning Helo’s ????

    • Claw says:

      Cause we helo aircrew guys always got the most roundeye trim./smile

      Don’t believe it? Just ask 3/17, Joe Williams or Perry Gaskill.

      That’s the truth and I’m sticking to it.

    • 3/17 Air Cav says:

      Skippy……..most if not all of the fakers and phonys have no idea what we did after we took off. Most were stuck at one place for their tour. I’m sure our job looked glamorous. In most cases, aircrews wore a flight suit, had a sidearm strapped on and left the base camp on a daily basis. I’m sure in their minds it was kind of like playing cowboys and Indians.

  17. Perry Gaskill says:

    Faustino’s signal MOS might sound REMFy, but it would have depended on his assignment. When I was in Binh Dinh Province, there were tiny OPs placed at high points which sometimes contained a comm van that had been airlifted in. They apparently formed a chain for radio relay running roughly parallel to highway QL-1. Typically, such OPs might also have a couple of mortar tubes for fire support, and a dozen or so 11Bs for perimeter security.

    Given the nature of things, duty there wouldn’t have been like assaulting the Citadel of Hue, but it wouldn’t have been same-same as playing grab ass with the bar girls in Saigon either.

    • Hondo says:

      His assignments in Vietnam were with the 523d Signal Battalion as a Switchboard Operator and a Tactical Circuit Controller, PG. I seriously doubt he’d have been assigned to an isolated mountaintop radio relay as a switchboard operator; my understanding is that most larger switchboards were at either HQs or other key locations.

      As a Tactical Circuit Controller, I’d guess that’s also doubtful. But if the isolated site was big enough to have multiple systems at the site requiring cross-connection, maybe.

      Maybe sj could offer an opinion here?

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        You might be right, Hondo. I was giving Faustino the benefit of the doubt based on the “Rad Relay 31M20 and Tact Cir 31N20” entry on Page 1 of the DD-214. Also, the second page indicates that something happened to Faustino in Mar of ’70 when he started being carried on the books as a switchboard operator after eight months of doing 31N20 stuff.

      • SSG Kane says:

        Not report comment damn it…

        Relay stations require multiple systems in order to work. If I remember right, the PRC-77 needed three, (my foggy memory also wants to say five) all connected by a random collection of cables, power supplies, and other crap. The SINCGARS has this down to two (not including all the devices you can attach to them).

        As for him being on a hilltop in the jungles, I don’t know. It sounds like it would have been in the relm of possibility, but the rest of his dates don’t really jive.

        Please note, I was not in Vietnam, but was the assigned RTO (I was an E-3 with a high GT score) in my reserve unit back in the 90’s, and our 1SG was adamant that we all be cross trained on commo. His take was no one was going to die because they didn’t know how to call for help.

        • Perry Gaskill says:

          I had the opportunity to use a PRC-77 on a regular basis. It was essentially the same as a PRC-25 field radio, except the PRC-77 had a secure voice box attached to the side of it. The scramble box had its codes changed daily with a gizmo that altered the push-depth of a series of pins. IIRC, the PRC-25 and PRC-77 shared frequency spans, line-of-sight transmit ranges, etc.

          The comm vans I’m talking about were probably working with longer range freqs such as short wave and needed generator power. They might also have been literally relaying traffic such as encrypted teletype and didn’t need much in the way of operator intervention except to make sure the generator was fueled, run equipment tests, etc.

          If my details are vague here it’s because people involved with that stuff didn’t talk about it much, and it wasn’t as if you would be inclined to walk up and bang on the door of such a comm van, and ask what they were doing.

          • rgr769 says:

            One of my radio operators had to hump one of those scrambler boxes along with the PRC-77. I can’t remember the AN/whatever designation, but the damn thing didn’t work about half the time.

        • Hondo says:

          SSG K: PG is correct. The mountaintop sites he was talking about generally used very different equipment than a PRC-77. They’d probably have had Tac FM radio (PRC-77 or vehicular equivalent) also, but that usually wouldn’t have been their primary reason for being on that mountaintop.

      • sj says:

        Only reason to put stuff on a mountain top was to gain radio line of sight. It was a pain to provide security and logistics for them. I was in the boonies with the 101st and 82nd so never went on a mountain but I know that they were primarily for strategic, long haul, microwave systems of many channels and some tropo systems. They may also have had radio-navigation stuff for aircraft. They sometimes had VHF repeaters for the tactical radios (12’s/25’s/77’s) in the AO but these were range limited and just an ancillary benefit.

        I cannot imagine why switchboards would be on a hill. They are where the systems terminate, not at a relay. I guess there could be distribution system vans (Patch Panels) but I don’t know why since the mountain was a radio relay facility.

        I can’t remember what I had for lunch so I may have erred in what I wrote but its close enough for government work.

  18. Carlton G. Long says:

    Perfectly honorable service…E5 in 3 years…and he just has to crap all over it.

  19. Joseph Williams says:

    Where are the Air Medals?The grunt returned to to being a grunt. Was either in a Squadron with low A/c demands or availably of helos. A c ration fruit can fits perfectly to latch of a M-60 . No need to use the L/hand to feed the 60. Joe

    • Claw says:

      Joe, on a Huey at speed, it all depends on which side of the bird you’re shooting from as to whether or not the belt needs to be hand fed a little.

      Right side of the bird (DG side) you’re OK. Oncoming wind will help push the rounds into the receiver.

      Left side (Crew Chief’s side) different ball game altogether. Wind drag on the belt at 40/50 knots (especially when free handing rounds from a big 2000 round Mini Gun can) can actually stop the belt from feeding. Really bad wind drag on the belt when there isn’t a brass bag on the M60 to help block/deflect the wind.

      Of course, all of that is mostly solved when equipped with a serpentine feed chute from a little 200 round can, but for the all day long, big jobs we always went with the bigger 2000 round Mini Gun can of free rounds. The feed chute didn’t connect to those cans. It was free hand all the way.

    • rgr769 says:

      The fact that he has no Air Medals says it all. Even in the infantry you received an Air Medal for every 15 to 20 (I don’t recall the exact number) combat insertions by helicopter. I would assume the same is true for aircrew. I know some helo pilots/aircrew have 3 or 4 times more than I do, and I have 3 of them, most for LRRP insertions and back seat rides in OV-10 Broncos on forward air control combat missions.

      • timactual says:

        In the 1st Cav. Div. we were issued a “basic load” of decorations when we left. Everyone got an Air Medal (Airmobile, dontcha know), E4 and below received an ARCOM, and E5 and up a Bronze Star. Every swingin’ Richard, therefore, had a minimum of five ribbons when he went home.

  20. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    SILVER STAR + having no meaning to POS = LEGIT.

    Nothing further.

  21. USAFRetired says:

    A CIB, Bronze Star, and an ArCom with a tour in Vietnam not bad, so why crap all over it.

    I’ve seen a number of other non-infantry types with CIBs in these pages based on some MACV/USARV wonkiness with the basic eligibility requirement.

    If he had been a door gunner for any length of time I would expect to have seen at least one if not more Air Medals on his 214. So I discount any claims to that function.

    In 1971 at the monthly/quarterly awards parade at MCAS Beaufort SC when my father was presented his Navy Achievement Medal from his Vietnam Service, there was a Gunnery Sergeant being presented his 2nd through 44th Air Medals. He had volunteered for and been selected to be a door gunner after he had PCS into country and there was a need for them. Needless to say I was impressed.

  22. Thunderstixx says:

    Now this is no shit !!!
    So there I was, hanging out of the side door of a
    C-130 over Alaska when all of a sudden….
    (fill with whatever tale of derring-do you choose at this point)…

  23. Burma Bob says:

    I know a number of 17K/96R (ground radar operators) who got them.

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