Another phony general

| February 1, 2010


Our friends at POW Net asked if we can help them bring down this phony. He’s Michael RS Teilmann. He’s the Executive Director of the Bob Hope Hollywood USO. But there’s some funny stuff going on in his records. For example he claims he’s a general, but his records show he was discharged in 1978 as a major.


And take the list of medals in his FOIA – he shows several Republic of Vietnam service medals, but his Form 2-1 shows no foreign service;


Nor does it mention any assignments to Vietnam, or outside of California for that matter;


Apparently, this one shares with General Ballduster McSoulpatch a love for mess uniforms and foreign awards around his neck;


Now I found this quote from an article about a D-Day book;

The books’ author, Larry Collins, died in France last year, but Michael Teilmann calls himself an avid fan.

Teilmann had a long career in the army and National Guard, and achieved the rank of Brigadier General in the South Carolina State Guard.

The South Carolina State Guard is the state militia commanded by the governor, a separate entity from the SCNG. But there’s no real indicator of Teilmann’s service in South Carolina since he lives in California. Why do they need a figurehead 1-star general in South Carolina when there are more unemployed generals per square mile in South Carolina than any where else in the country?

Well, I found more documentation that he “retired” from the SCSG in 2001 and the in 2002 founded something called the 9th brigade US Army Volunteer Reserve which is a legitimate VSO and apparently does good work for veterans and service members.

Before writing this, I sought the counsel of fellow milbloggers who echoed my sentiment – this guy may have done a lot of good stuff, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that he wears medals and ribbons he didn’t earn, and he’s probably not a real general.

You’re probably wondering about the photo at the beginning – it was taken in the US Embassy in China and Teilmann was there at some sort of ceremony honoring Chinese veterans who maintained Flying Tiger airstrips during WWII, listed as an Army general. Obviously, he isn’t;

From …….
Date Sat, 11 Sep 2004 104713 -0700
Subject US Embassy, Beijing Brigadier General Teilmann

Mr. XXX,

Thank you for the attached news article and photos of Mr. Teilmann, apparently at the United States Department of State Embassy in Beijing, China, and wearing what appears to be a United States Army uniform with the rank of Brigadier General.

Mr. Teilmann is not a member of either California’s National Guard or State Military Reserve. He is retired from the Reserve of the United States Army (National Guard) as a Major. The patches on his beret and shoulder do not appear to be those of any units associated with California’s National Guard or State Military Department.

I speculate that Mr. Teilmann joined an unofficial militia (perhaps in South Carolina). I also speculate that he is using his association with the USO to impersonate a General Officer that is recognized by the United States government, in the types of activities depicted in the photographs.

If you scroll down the POW Net page on Teilmann you’ll see countless instances of his fakery, including pictures with stars and the California governor. TSO tells me that Teilmann once escorted some American Legion luminaries around the USO.

Another press release on POW Net reports that there are several guys in California that belong to this Army Volunteer Reserve who just pinned on some rank and started wearing the uniform;

In response to public appearances on federal property and at local civic events by a group known as the U.S. Army Volunteer Reserve, the Orange County Chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America today asked the FBI and California State Department of Corporations to investigate this group for wearing military uniforms and imitation decorations which are in violation of the United States Code that prescribes the regulations and penalties for wearing the uniform of a member of the armed forces. The volunteers have been appearing in Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties, and also have been distributing uniforms and rank to immigrants in Southern California that served in the former Soviet Union and Vietnam, that have never served in the U.S. armed forces.

What a malignant practice – it’s like teaching people how to steal others’ valor. Doing good work doesn’t immunize anyone from the TAH phony soldier label.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (85)

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  1. Honorably Retired says:

    ” Faux General ” Michael Teilmann and ” Commandant ” William Northrop must be related.

  2. Anonymous says:

    If this cat was in the scsg he should have went to New York after 9/11 cause some of them was sent there.So did he go there to offer his help to them poor people or what did he do? I wish I could join the army I’m 44 years old I would love to join just to be in the army not for a rank or a title but just to be in. I would love to serve my country. I think this man is just wanting a name for his self he needs his real rank taking from him and demoted to a lower rank.

  3. Anonymous 1 says:

    Below is an official Army Reserve web site.

    Although the next web site is not an official Army site, it does mention that “On 1 January 2001, he was promoted to (State-recognized) Brigadier General in the South Carolina National Guard’s Support Command, and assigned as Military Media Directorate.”

  4. Honorably Retired says:

    L.A. Times Reporter Ching-Ching Ni, July 14, 2011,0,6640892.story

    “Last year, the association itself landed in the spotlight when one member went to China and claimed to be a Chinese American general. As he received red carpet treatment and glowing profiles in the official press, Chinese officials investigated and found no such “general” in the U.S. military. He turned out to be a former martial arts champion who had taught kung fu at a Temple City studio.”

    “Gao Aidi, a Shanghai immigrant who is a major general.”
    “Jack Qin, a major general in the United States Army Volunteer Reserve Association.”

  5. Honoraly Retired says:

    Fake W.Va. Army general gets 2 years in prison

  6. Dr. Don says:

    I volunteer at the USO at LAX from 10PM to 2AM. I’m a prior service Army Captain and doctor. I know this man. To the 250 volunteers, and three USO facilities “The General” oversees, and the 80,000 annual visitors he insures are taken care of — he is “OUR” general. I’ve seen him at LAX at 08:00, and we’ve chatted togther with Marines deployees to “the sandbox” at midnight.

    Regardless of his status–Mike is MY General. He runs a great command. He loves taking care of our troops and their families.

    I don’t know the intentions of the person that started this blog. But, I I have met Mike three or four times at the USO at LAX. He is a good man. He genuinely cares for our troops and their families.

    My son is currently deployed in the Persian Gulf. I made sure he met General Mike just before he left LAX at the USO.

  7. Honoraly Retired says:

    It’s quite simple. STOLEN VALOR is just that STOLEN VALOR.

    Our young men and women in uniform (read UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES) deploy oversea’s in harms way, separated from their precious family’s during some of their lives most significant events. Many of them, young sergeants and lieutenants get maimed do to enemy action and they are medically retired with a mere pitance of a salary.

    Dr. Don, your faux general should submit when, where and how he came about becoming a general. There should be billeting/lodging receipts and wet ink signatures on militia drill logs from South Carolina. No one to date, in any position of authority has submitted sworn testimony to validate the generals great prowess, superior military acumen and exemplary military example through deed and action. He should truthfully explain “creating” faux California military style units and also confess that the various “militia’s” he affiliates with are not and have never been part of the UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.

    Til then this arm chair general is just stealing valor by parading about in his Hollywood costume.

  8. Pat says:

    What happened with him and Allen bauman the guy who became a 3star overnight?

  9. 40th Alabama says:

    REF: “Regarding Claymore’s Comments on the Gate City Guard Uniform, what was it about the uniform that displeased you… maybe we’ll undo years of tradition to please your taste.”

    As a member of the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard I was wondering what the answer to this is????

  10. Claymore: Can I direct you to Teilmann’s Service Record obtained under FOIA

    According to his very own DoD record he was an army reserve major and did not serve long enough to retire. Check it out!

    He is not and never was a General Officer in these our United States Army nor in any other component of the ARMED FORCES!

    His very own service record shows no VN service nor does his record document the awarding of half of the spaghetti he wears.

  11. Former SSG says:

    This is great; you guys are going to love this! Now Teilmann is calling himself “His Excellency, Michael R. S. Teilmann, The Count of Esson.” Check out this website. There’s even a picture of his “new” mess dress uniform as a Knight. This organization is comprised of a bunch of American Volunteer Reserve guys, and among others. The charade continues.

  12. Honoraly Retired says:

    An awe inspiring picture & resume of arm chair general and POSER Michael R.S. Teilmann.
    Curious that neither his FOIA records nor his DD214 show dates and units assigned for the joint service awards nor does it show orders ASSIGNING him to the Office of the Secretary of Defense to justify the Secretary’s badge. Just like his VN awards, more figment than provable!

  13. James Speed says:

    Look, I am the FIRST one to go after a POSER.. I’ve been busting SEAL posers for over 4 years.

    I am a Segeant in the South Carolina State Guard. And YES.. we ARE part of the South Carolina Military Department. We serve Directly under the Adjunct General. We Secure the National Guard Armories when the SCNG units are forward deployed. If we are “activated”.. we are PAID by the STATE of South Carolina at our equivalent Army Ranks.

    Our overall Commanding General is the South Carolina NATIONAL GUARD Major General. He is over the Brigadier General of the SC State Guard.

    That being said.. YES.. we DO have quite a few “Generals” who left active duty as low ranking officers and sometimes even Enlisted men (40 years prior). Depends on education whether or not someone is commissioned or not. This guy could EASILY have left the Military as a Major and rose to Brigadier General in the SC State Guard.. EASILY.

    And YES.. some ribbons are “re-purposed”.. NOT ALL .. some SC State Guard ribbons are distinct and different than AD ribbons for ANY military service.

    I can easily put this matter to rest by contacting the administrative people in Columbia. Their offices are in the same building as the SC National Guard. I’ll let you know what they say about his person.

  14. Honoraly Retired says:

    “Speed” Thanks for your boots on the ground offer to validate the true story here.

    To date, no one from Columbia has come forward to tout the military prowess, years of documented drill attendance and travel to South Carolina of this Californian.

    No one, not even the POSER can explain Teilmann’s “Uniformed” attendance at an Embassy function in China.

    Did he travel to China via military transport? Was he on DoD orders? Per Diem? How was he listed on the Secretary of State list of Dignataries. Exactly which “military” was he representing in China? Who’s uniform was he wearing again? Speed, do you just happen to travel to China with a BG uniform packed in your luggage in the event the Embassy needs someone to pretend to be a general because all the real generals are busy?

    No one from Columbia has quoted CHAPTER and VERSE that provides a legal basis for this former Army Major (not a retiree) to wear a Carolina State Defense Volunteer Brigader General Uniform in “retirement” notwithstanding wearing the uniform outside the State of South Carolina to grandstand in California!

    How many years of proven drill attendance did he spend in South Carolina to earn militia retirement?

    POSER Teilmann in conscience, should petition via an DD 149 to correct his military record to show when where and how he earned a Legion of Merit (and all of his other spaghetti not listed in his FOIA). Also missing is any proof that he was assigned at any time, in Viet Nam, under ARMED FORCES active duty orders! Visiting or volunteering even TDY orders from a parent unit, to a SecDef office in the Pentagon, does not authorize wearing of the Secretary’s Crest, you need orders assigning you TO the Office ofv the Secretary of Defense.

    The basic premise here is that at a time when young lower enlisted and junior officers are losing arms, legs, life and limb as activated National Guard and Reservists and Active Duty members of the ARMED FORCES, it is dispicable that a POSER should Steal their Valor. This is only aggravated by the fact the POSER appears to have been a commisioned officer in an ARMED FORCES Reserve Componet of the National Guard.

    These wounded warriors retire as E-5’s and 0-3’s while Teilmann parades around the world as a brigadier in his own mind.

    Perhap’s Columbia can grant each and every wounded warrior honorary general officer status and the universal privilige to wear the time honored general officer uniform of the ARMED FORCES anywhere at any time, for having given limb.

    As for re-purposing ribbons, have some honor man! There are plenty of high school drill team, civil air patrol, even ROTC ribbons one can assimilate without posing a military ribbon on an army uniform without ARMED SERVICE orders granting the award of the ribbon or medal.

    Speed, I applaud your years of busting SEAL Posers. I suspect you will finally prove either Teilmann can document his adventures or you’ll disprove his entitlement to wear uniform’s, ribbons and assert assignments for which there are no corresponding DoD, USA, AUS, USAR, CA ANG orders!

  15. Bobo says:

    @ 63 – looking at the membership requirements for The Imperial & Charitable Order of Constantine the Great & Saint Helen (

    The following are impediments for attaining membership:

    To have delinquent or criminal records.
    To be employed or follow professions or the lifestyles that could be viewed as dishonorable by generally accepted standards.

  16. Honorably Retired says:

    Dear Mr. (SCSG SGT) JAMES SPEED: RE: “BG Michael R.S. Teilmann, SCSG”

    It’s been well over a month so I assume you’ve had time and even a monthly drill or two to either BUST the mythology surrounding this California POSER and the specious award of General Officer status by the South Carolina State Guard or to his credit, find public records in South Carolina that attest to his verifyable attendance at and superior performance relating to his General Officer Status.

    #64 JAMES SPEED: “Look, I am the FIRST one to go after a POSER.. I’ve been busting SEAL posers for over 4 years.” I can easily put this matter to rest by contacting the administrative people in Columbia. Their offices are in the same building as the SC National Guard. I’ll let you know what they say about his person.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The SC state guard has been a problem more so than an asset for years. As an active duty senior officer I was a part of the effort to police these folks in the 2003-05 period. Their senior leadership falsely obtained GO car registration decals for their POVs (and their spouses’ POVs), used fake ID’s to shop and gain access to Gov’t installations, and the list goes on. I personally sent active duty MP’s under the escort of county officers to retrieve illegally obtained post decals from the POVs as they refused to return them personally. Their leadership constantly attempted to acquire the services of the army band to play at state guard fund raisers and became upset when it was refused since army bands cannot play at events charging admission fees. This particular fellow, Teilmann, couldn’t be a proper GO since he’s not aware. or doesn’t care, about the wear and appearance of the uniform. He should know the rules and if he’s not federally recognized, and a state guard GO isn’t, he’s not allowed to wear the uniform out of the state.

  18. Watkins says:

    ANONYMOU, I was an e4 In the SCSG 2BN/2BDE during this time period and remember the inspector general inquiry. Nearly all of the state guards issues stems from officer wannabes who geta hard on when they get saluted. They want to feel important so the do stupid crap. I requested personnel distribution reports for a study a couple of years ago and found a nearly 1:1 officer/enlisted ratio.I’ve done security open where 50 soldiers were participatng and Olympic 6 pulled duty because the remaining soldiers were either officers or 1SG or higher. Too many chiefs too few Indians

  19. Green Thumb says:

    I would like a coin.

    I hate to say it but poser coins are cool.

  20. RandomNCO says:

    He’s got a real shit eating grin in every picture he takes. He must be proud of all his tomfoolery.

  21. Green Thumb says:

    He looks extra fat, too.

  22. Paul says:

    Ladies & Gents,
    I have been a member of the CASMR for nigh on 10 years now, and in fact, I have actually met Gen Tileman on several occassions.

    I can help in some areas, and in others I am just as clueless as you all seem to be on some of the subjects. First, I have served as an S1 for over 6 years, and I am a former federal officer having served in the USN for almost 5 years….

    1. I can not speak for the other State Military Reserve (SMR) forces, or State Defence forces (SDF), but I know that at least 38 states maintain these forces that are constitutionally (US) organized, and I can tell you that all promotions of LTC (O5) and higher are approved by the NGB (National Guard Bureau), once signed off on by each states Adjutent General & Governor.

    The State of California does not recyle any US military medals, all of ours are specifically individual and you can find them all on line at under the State Military reserve tab. Or you can google US Army 670-1 and it states the authority for SMR’s & SDF’s to wear (AUSA) uniforms and decorations. FYI, members of the SMR’s and SDF’s can earn most awards and decorations given to members of the US Army as well, I know, I have a few. Screws alot of people up to see them alongside my Navy stuff.

    I do believe that Gen Tileman did serve as the Commanding General of the California SMR as some point in the past, before I arrived. But I may be wrong. When I did see him last, his name tag stated he was retired, SC State Military Reserve. I can not tell you what, if any decorations, he is entitled to. That would be a call for the NGB, CA-SMR HQ, and SC-SMR HQ to answer.

    Good luck.

  23. Paul says:

    OK, I am going to add that it does appear that he is wearing a completly federal uniform (black name tag & US lapels), if that is the case, he should be ranked as a Major, and have state buttons. The flash may be the SC SMR Flash, I do not know. The red thing around his neck is not a foreign decoration, he is a member of the Order of St. something or other. It is a group of well meaning service members in SoCal that pay allot of money to do good works. Some of them that don’t belong call them the red garter brigade, I guess we are all just jealous.

  24. 11BScottie says:

    55, that’s pretty funny the Chinese investigated and noted that one guy was not a real US General, but the US Couldn’t. That says something. I’m wondering if the Communist Chinese know more about our commands than we do.

  25. 11BScottie says:

    I’m pretty skeptical of all these guys in his outfit. There is one guy wearing jumpmaster wings, CIB, Silver Star, BSM w V device and purple heart. A rack that makes the “General’s” here not very noteworthy.

  26. Green Thumb says:

    I still want a coin!

  27. fm2176 says:

    #76, 11BScottie,

    It looks like McCulloch is the real deal:–s4Oug

    His Silver Star citation is here:

    I clicked the AVR link and was awestruck by the uniforms and decorations some of them were wearing. As a former TOG Soldier, I especially loved the guy wearing three medals and an Honor Guard tab, though the tab seems pretty popular with that group.

    I’ll leave the rest of my opinion to myself. This isn’t the first veterans group I’ve seen with little fashion sense. As a Recruiter I often worked with a local group that wore BDUs and a variety of patches/ribbons during public observances. Let’s just say that I felt overdressed in my blues.

  28. J.E. Endicott says:

    Late to the conversation here, and don’t know all the facts, but don’t be too quick to judge the State Guards too harshly. They are officially recognized organizations (in states which have them) and sadly have been overshadowed by some of the radical citizen militias that have similar names. State Guards are real and legit – the two largest are the Texas State Guard and the New York Naval Militia.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Teilmann left the position with the USO in the spring of 2012 and is no longer affiliated with the organization.

  30. J. Wood says:

    Michael R. S. Tielmann is my Uncle. I too have always been VERY suspicious of his ‘career’ in the Military. I have always wondered why he traveled all over the world (and why certain things would occur in those countries right after he would return home). There has always been a running joke in our family that Uncle Mike was into MUCH more than just “Public Affairs”….

  31. George Carroll says:

    Paul says:
    February 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm
    Ladies & Gents,
    I have been a member of the CASMR for nigh on 10 years now, and in fact, I have actually met Gen Tileman on several occassions.

  32. Anonymister says:

    I met Mr. Teilmann at an evening event for military officers a couple of months ago (March 2014). He was wearing a white mess uniform with one star and a large variety of decorations. He was very “hail fellow, well-met” which I suspect was enhanced by all the port he’d put away.

    I can state definitively that he was, at one time, an officer in the California State Military Reserve; I know nothing about any other groups with which he may have served.

    He also wore a neck decoration from the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John — the fake St. John order that should not be confused with the Venerable Order of St. John, which is headed by the Queen and whose decorations are authorized for wear on US military uniforms.

    The sense I got was that he has an appetite for decorations that will impress others. That’s very risky given that many folks in the military are too sharp to be taken in (or are scornful of wearing so much bling) but I suppose it manages to have the desired effect upon many casual observers. Interestingly, the highest-ranking officers at the event (admirals and generals) were wearing the *least* flashy of dress, which speaks more in their favor than it does of Teilmann.