Active duty phony

| January 30, 2012

Kevin sent us a link to a Stars & Stripes article about a Vietnam veteran serving in Afghanistan, the title was “Vietnam vet joins ‘today’s war’” and it tells the story of Staff Sergeant Larry Marquez who says he was sent to Cambodia in 1973 as a raw recruit of 17 years. He compares the environment in Cambodia to Afghanistan and difference between serving in a war now to the war he saw.

I screen shot the article, in case it gets pulled down;

Well, SSG Marquez is a year younger than I am, he’s 55 and the article says he was in Cambodia in 1973, 39 years ago. that means he was in Cambodia when he was 16 years old, the year after combat troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, so the story began to sound a little odd. So I pulled up his AKO profile;

It shows his first assignment as beginning in 1974 and he was a 13-bravo cannon cocker in the Texas National Guard. He admits in the Stars & Stripes that he was an artilleryman while serving an entire year in Cambodia. So I’m wondering why the hell they needed a howitzer in a place we weren’t even supposed to have troops? Later on in the story, the journalist says he was an infantryman. WTF?

Anyway, I was looking at his profile in AKO. The profile part is filled out by the individual, it’s not driven by Army information records. I noticed that Marquez wrote that he was a 19-Kilo “Armored Tank Commander” I suppose that’s as opposed to an Unarmored Tank Commander. The years of that assignment are 1976-1980, but that’s pretty amazing because a 19K is the Military Occupational Specialty of an M1 tanker. The M1 tank wasn’t fielded until 1982. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t field the M1 in the TXNG more than two years before the active Army got one. And I’m sure he wouldn’t have forgotten that the MOS for an M48/M60 crewmember was 19E. So I wonder if he even tells himself the truth.

So, anyway, the first thing I did was contact the author of the article with my concerns and he IMMEDIATELY attempted to contact Marquez and his unit to address my ruminations. And so I sat on this story for a few days until he got an answer back – which is what I hope someone would do for me if they found out I didn’t check all of my facts. However, after waiting for four days for an answer from S&S, today I get an email from Kuz telling me that the S&S has “no comment” to my inquiries about the results of their investigation, so screw them. I handed them this story and they can’t answer me…so much for my courtesy to them. So here is the article in all of it’s screenshot glory. I hope S&S chokes on it.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (44)

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  1. Lucky says:

    Why the fuck is it my fellow CA Soldiers keep embellishing Shit about theory careers? I have many friends in the 425 and will find out this dudes story, barring that, I will bring this shitstick up the IG chain at USACAPOC, I am so sick of people like him and Ms. Gamble giving the CA community a bad name! BTW, Ms. Gamble is trying to join the Civil Affairs Association LinkedIn group… One last observation, both this turd burglar and Gamble served in the 425, so I fully intend to ask my battle buddies what kinda Kool Aid that the 425 is serving to their rank and file!

  2. NHSparky says:

    S&S has “no comment” to my inquiries about the results of their investigation

    Meaning, “we really fucked up and don’t want to own up to the fact.”

  3. More disturbing than anything else is the apparent lack of any research and fact checking. I thought responsible journalism included doing a little homework to make sure you don’t embarrass yourself, your news agency and those impacted when bad stories go out. Editors need to hold reporters to a higher standard and when this stuff happens there should be severe enough repercussions that it is not repeated in the future.

  4. NHSparky says:

    Also, just noticed the civilian employment AKO block.

    “Nuclear specialist” at San Onofre? Really? I worked for SCE and never knew they had that job description. I work for a nuke plant now and they don’t have anything like that. Maybe I’ll call a few folks and see what he REALLY does there.

  5. Beretverde says:

    “No comment” from the Stars and Stripes? Well you got one from me… they (SS) and Marquez can bite the big bullet.

  6. NHSparky says:

    And one final kick in the nuts for Mr. Marquez (I won’t give him the respect of an NCO)

    His quote:

    “The biggest change is, the guys in Vietnam, Cambodia–they were drafted. They did a job because they had to,”

    Horse. Fucking. SHIT. Barely 25 percent of Vietnam veterans are draftees. They accounted for just over 30 percent of the deaths there. Which gives lie to the line further down in the story.

    And this story is a soup fucking sandwich–how does a guy who is listed in the story as being from El Paso work in San Clemente, CA? Or are they saying that’s where he was born?

  7. Lucky says:

    Just looked at his first name, and the line from Full Metal Jacket, “Only faggots and Sailors are called Lawrence…” Comes to mind

  8. Badger says:

    NHSparky: The job title “Nuclear Specialist”….isn’t that what Homer Simpson does? Maybe this ass-clown is just like Homer Simpson! LOL

  9. Beretverde says:

    Unit POC…

    425th Civil Affairs Battalion
    Last Updated by USACAPOC(A) on Feb 2, 2011
    6337 Balboa Blvd. Ste. 600
    Encino, CA 91316
    (818) 654-1811/1806

  10. Cacti35 says:

    Right on NHSparky, I was 17 when I joined in 1966. I got sent to Germany after Advanced Infantry Training. 6 months there and a 1049, I had my orders for RVN before my 18th birthday. My entire basic training company was RA or reserve!

  11. Lucky says:

    BTW, the 425th Civil Affairs Battalion is NOT active duty, they are a Reserve unit out of San Clemente California. I had the (SIS)pleasure of relieving them in Baghdad in 2009. Their Alpha Company was soooo ate up that I was embarrassed to call them fellow Soldiers. Their personnel SGT was the only person doing things the right way, and living by the Army Values and NCO creed. She tried to get the leadership to do things the right way and set an example, and they screwed het over, had her busted down, and there was a massive IG AND 15-6 investigation into these idiots. That unit is a Battalion sized soup sandwich!

  12. NHSparky says:

    Badger–I’ve been around nuclear power for going on 30 years now. I’ve never heard the job title, expression, position, etc., of “nuclear specialist” in all that time, either military or civilian.

    Nuclear-TRAINED, I hear a lot. But not nuclear specialist. Again, I’d be real fucking interested to find out what the clown does at SONGS. Something tells me it ain’t nearly as “high-speed, low-drag” as all that. Granted, it takes a lot to be able to qualify to work a job “inside the fence” at a power plant. They crawled up my ass doing background checks, and still do per NRC requirements.

    And is the guy SCE, or a contractor? Also makes a lot of difference. Inquiring minds want to know.

  13. teddy996 says:

    @11- my guess is he is a carpenter or something, did some work there, and had to qualify LRW to be on site. LRW could mean nuclear specialist in poser-speak.

  14. teddy996 says:

    Oops, should have been @12.

  15. STL Frank says:

    I’d cut the SSG some slack, the account strikes me as nothing more than an amazingly effective job of blowing smoke up the reporter’s butt. I can see doing that just for the fun of it.

    Mr. Kuz, on the other hand, as well as his editors, would do well to become a little more familiar with the history of the organization they are supposedly covering. No slack for them, keep their feet to the fire.

    USAF 66-74 (Korea twice. No SEA but I heard a lot of good stories!)

  16. Lucky says:

    Well considering that the entire USACAPOC force just underwent retraining on talking to reporters thanks to Ron Pauls CPL buddy, I would say the SSG deserves no slack. He is an NCO, he knows better, and there is no excuse where he is concerned. He went against his oath that he swore upon becoming an NCO, and he should be made an example of.

  17. defendUSA says:

    Nice Job, Jonn. I do the same thing that you do…I have encountered some fools and called them out using the same deduction process. Pisses me off. To no end.

  18. Radar says:

    Thought I’d read this before, but apparently not. Think the above may be a me-too to this story from 2010, which looks legit:

    Stupid friggin embellishers, I have no problem swapping stories about riding around Germany in a M113 during the 70’s with a rack of brewskies in the back.

  19. Doc Bailey says:

    I can’t believe S&S of all places got this wrong. We really need to look at our history teachers. they suck, if people forget the war ended in Jan of 73

  20. Jonn Lilyea says:

    The word on the street is that, following the call from S&S that I initiated last week, Marquez’ first sergeant confronted him on the article, holding Marquez’ ERB in his hand. Marquez went all secret squirrel on his 1st Sergeant and said he couldn’t talk about it. 1SG called BS and influenced him to admit that, no, there was no Southeast Asia duty. So the only question left to be answered is how hard they’re going to whack his manhood.

  21. NHSparky says:

    Jonn, that is what we in the nuke pipeline called “the 2.5 answer–recognizes correct answer when given.”

    He’s still a shitbag. Can’t talk about it? Since when?

  22. Doc Bailey says:

    @20: If he were involved in Secret Squirrel, he blabbed, and thus would be open to even worse UCMJ, or civil law, than if he had just lied about combat experience.

  23. Howard Witt says:

    After fully investigating Mr. Lilyea’s allegations, Stars and Stripes has published a corrective story acknowledging that we failed to check the facts on this story. Thanks for your diligence in holding us to account.
    Howard Witt
    Senior Managing Editor

  24. NHSparky says:

    The 425th’s investigation is ongoing. Marquez could face discharge from the reserves and other penalties if it is determined that he made false public statements about his military record.

    That’s some pretty serious stomping of his manhood they’re considering.

    But I still take issue with the assertions regarding draftees, etc., in the original article which SHOULD have been checked, and easily could have been.

  25. Steadfast&Loyal says:

    If his position duties are accurate:

    “He has traversed Kunar and neighboring Nangarhar province to hand out “micro-grants” of up to $5,000…”

    Then he has a lot of responsibility and making these statements is not going to go well.

  26. NHSparky says:

    Sorry, second thought–one of the bigger ones I take issue with is this line by Mr. Kuz:

    “Vietnam slowly stabilized in the decades after the war there ended in 1975.”

    Izzat so, Mr. Kuz? Tell me, were you ever privy to the re-education camps or the “new economic zones” that many of the South’s supporters were sent to after the war?

    Does the phrase “boat people” ring a bell? Anyone? Anyone? Were you aware there were still asylum seekers from Vietnam as late as 2008? Yeah, real stable.

    Were you aware of the border war between them and China in 1979?

    And far from being the only nation to have any sort of fun regarding the fall of Vietnam, perhaps you could do a Google search on “Killing Fields Cambodia” and write up a 500-word story on that.

  27. Bobby says:

    Amazing that in this day and age of information being readily available that people still think they can BS their way into anything.

    Unfortunatley in about 20-30 years or so there’s going to be a million grey haired phonies trying to say they were in Sadr City, Mosul, Kunar, Sangin, etc just as there are phones now who say they were in Hue, Khe Sahn, etc now.

    These phonies play the hero card and it takes credability from those of us who have been there. It’s only a matter of time before the general public simply ignores servicemembers.

  28. old army surplus says:

    This is mild compared to the lies John Kerry told a Congress Committee during the Viet Nam War. Nothing happened to him about his lies and he went on to become a U. S. Senator, how about that for politicians? Lying to a reporter, even if it is a S&S one does not equal lying under oath to a congressional committee. As a saving grace he is not claiming unearned awards/medals and wearing them. Just give him a good dressing down and let that be the end of it.

  29. headhunter99 says:

    Great work on following up with Stars and Stripes. I called BS the day the article was published but only posted my concerns about the shoddy journalism and historical improbability in the on-line comments section under the article on the S&S webpage. I wrongly assuming that someone at S&S at least scanned the comments and would do some basic fact checking. Although the SSG is a BS artist and has no excuses for lying to a young reporter, at least he is a BS Artist that is actually serving his country in wartime. When I read the article I was angrier at S&S than at SSG Marquez.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Hey did anyone see that he also claims to have been to both Bosnia and Russia.

  31. CJ says:

    This all falls back on the reporter.Perhaps the press misconstrued the SSG’s words. Let’s all remember the SSG is serving his country in wartime. As for the Bosnia and Russia claims,very believeable.

  32. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Doesn’t the Army have a rule that you have to have reached a certain rank in a certain number of years or you couldn’t re-enlist? I don’t remember exactly how it worked for sure but I remember an eight or nine year Corporal who finally picked up Sergeant but he couldn’t re-enlist because he couldn’t pick up Staff Sergeant in the required number of years. I mean 39 years and he was only an E-6? Let’s say he picked SSgt in 15 years, that means he couldn’t get his rocker in the next 24 years?! I realize a majority of his service is Gaurd but still!?

  33. Kevin says:

    @34 – He has 20 years of broken service.

  34. Hondo says:

    Yat Yas: on the active duty side, yes – to include Active Guard and Reserve (those are Reserve soldiers serving on active duty for the specific purpose of Reserve administration and training – much like the Navy’s TAR program). They’re called retention control points (RCPs), are set by rank, and are changed periodically based on the needs of the Army. However, if I recall correctly, there is no such requirement for USAR enlisted soldiers other than those serving as AGRs. USAR enlisted soldiers may serve until age 62 provided they remain medically qualified, able to pass PT tests, have a slot, and perform their specialty’s military duties. I believe the same is true for both Active and Reserve Warrant Officers as well.

    Rules for Army Officers are different, and vary significantly between the Active, AGR, and Reserve communities. However, there are also legal or regulatory limits on total years of commissioned service for each officer grade. These are typically 20 years (O4), 28 years (O5) and 30 years (06). The same limits apply for Active O5s and O6s. There are also statutory and/or regulatory age limits which vary by rank, Active/Reserve, and (in some cases) by specialty.

    It’s possible some of this may have changed recently, but I think this is all still current.

  35. Yat Yas 1833 says:

    Thanks Hondo. I kinds figured it would be different with the Guard, just wanted to get it straight in my mind.

  36. David Cronk says:

    My uncle was deployed to Vietnam and on a troop ship and is still RAN today. He hasn’t been deployed to Afganistan though as he is on shore these days. He would have been 15 when he enlisted I think.

  37. Marti says:

    I had the pleasure of readng your article, and appreciate your hard work and due diligence. what i did not appreciate though was your post, #11, “….BTW, the 425th Civil Affairs Battalion is NOT active duty, they are a Reserve unit out of San Clemente California.” Just a bit of history, Civil Affairs started in the Reserves! The only active duty CA unit was the 98th, where hurt SF guys went. 80% of CA are still in the Reserve, and most of Active Duty CA are being trained by reservist on MOB orders at bragg, so I really dont see the relevance. Regardless of service, or branch, we all serve side by side.


  38. EdUSMCleg says:

    @39 Marti: that is one person’s opinion, so don’t worry too much about it. This blog has numerous people who visit it, so you are bound to find someone you don’t agree with.

  39. Green Thumb says:


  40. ANCCPT says:

    @39 Marti: Don’t take it as a stab at the USAR, man. Something like 85% of AMEDD, 60% of Transport and almost all CA units are reserves. We’re one team. You’ll always get some knucklehead that disparages those of us in the reserve components, but for the most part the AD guys recognize that we bring different skillsets and, perhaps more importantly, a fresh set of eyes and perspective to the force as a whole.

  41. brian says:

    This story does read a bit odd. About the MOS though.

    Sometimes todays MOS’s overlap yesterdays…. within my own branch (FA – 13 series), 13D during the Vietnam era was for Rocket personnel, in today’s Army it’s the Fire Direction Control(Center), when I first enlisted FDC was 13E.

    Not that BS isn’t BS…

    Also remember this is the Stars & Stripes, they are not known for the best quality (the once misspelled the word helicopter wrong 5 different times (and 5 different ways) in the same article)

  42. J.E. Endicott says:

    If he was a true Vietnam veteran, he should be wearing the Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal w/1960 bar and would also automatically be entitled to the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation w/Palm. Talking big to a reporter is one thing; I wonder if this guy has the nuts to show up at a formal function in blues wearing those ribbons…if he did, it would be a UCMJ offense, possibly even court martial.