Kenneth Joseph Strafer; needless embellishment

| October 15, 2014

Kenneth Strafer 2-1

I’ve been sitting on this one for more than a year hoping that we could find new information on him to exonerate him from any charges of stolen valor. Unfortunately, no one has been able to come up with anything to clear him. Kenneth Joseph Strafer was a Vietnam veteran according to his FOIA, he retired in 1992 with 23 years of service and he was a Lieutenant Colonel when he retired. But then this article appeared in the Washingtonian last year;

Psychologist Ken Strafer—who goes by Dr. Ken—finished 26 years as an Army Special Operations officer in 2004 after shrapnel from an IED blast landed him in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Several surgeries put him back on his feet, but he decided he and his peers needed more aid than they were getting: “At night and on weekends, the professional staff would leave and we’d have minimal exposure to help.”

He claims that he went back on active duty during the war against terror, that he was promoted to a one-star general, that he was Special Forces and that he was wounded in an IED blast, but we can’t find anything to support any of that.

Kenneth Strafer FOIA

Kenneth Strafer FOIA2

Kenneth Strafer 2-1a

Kenneth Strafer 2-1 b

Kenneth Strafer ORB

He has a CIB, an EIB, Ranger Tab, and graduated from Command and General Staff College. He had an infantry company command, so, you know with all of that in his past there was certainly no reason to tell folks that he’d been promoted to a Brigadier (one-star) General or that he participated in the War Against Terror.

Another thing that makes this so difficult is that it appears that he does good work at Walter Reed, and I think that I’ve seen him there before, but the absolute needlessness for him to embellish makes him difficult to ignore. Of course, requests from us for documentation for his claims have gone unanswered.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (81)

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  1. Green Thumb says:

    I wonder who busted this guy?

    • Lucky says:

      His VFW and a few others

      • Gravel says:

        VFW or Legion?

      • John Miska says:

        He was brought to my attention by a wounded guy I personally know and trust ….
        “OIF wounded veteran”
        who posted his comments…He was brought to my attention again by a few VSO’s a couple of years later asked me to Vet some “Secret Squirrel” stories I busted on him personally and started that ball with Jonn . I am personally hurt by this guy as I too volunteer at Walter Reed and wish I had a tenth of the legitimate resume that the LTC has in his file. Mary did the leg work on him twice!!!! Recently a some of the BS splashed onto a Retired Recon Marine I know so I dropped it in front of Jonn so here it is…. I also furnished Jonn with that Marine and that wounded guys info so he could follow up with people better records of service than I.
        I look at him as an older brother who is off in his head…or that crazy Uncle that we do not talk about….but what is at issue here are his credentials as a Psychologist to deal with wounded soldiers as a peer and PTSD expert when there is no record of service that justifies his claims of service or specialized education.
        I am deeply troubled as I said and firmly believe that he might be a danger to himself or others and may be in need of serious body and fender work on his mind as only someone who is delusional would piss away such a fine record over Bullshit….
        In one opinion He should not be allowed access to returning wounded and their families no matter how great his “Charity” seems to be……

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          It sounds to me like you have some very legit concerns about him. Forget about thinking he just has a few loose nuts & bolts, it sounds like he has a stripped-out gearbox!

        • Gravel says:

          Caveat: I can’t comment to the veracity of what I was told, it comes second hand and I have no way to confirm the information.

          I was told nearly the same thing from another person … that Strafer was outed by Walter Reed personnel for pretending to be a psychologist and giving out mental-medical advice to wounded soldiers. That Walter Reed personnel felt that it came to the point that Strafer was an extreme liability.

          Again, I have no way to confirm that, so take it with a grain of salt.

          • uh1av8r says:

            As a current patient at Walter Reed/ Bethesda I have never seen or heard of this dude. Been here since 2012.

  2. rb325th says:

    Why in the hell would anyone… just makes no sense at all.

    • Dan knieter says:

      Ken Strafer and I grew up together just living a few houses apart from each other.I have know him since he was about 9 years old and remained friends and in contact until he finished college and went into the military.
      I would have to say he was a bit different then most people and seemed to have this need to show off and prove himself to be better then others.He told many lies to me and others during our childhood and those lies were never ending.He seemed that he had no control over his story telling.My personal opinion was that he was a habitual liar had had no control over that.He was a nice guy but such a story teller.
      I knew his parents and would speak to his father from time to time while Ken was in the army.The last conversation with his father Frank was about Ken being up for promotion from Captain to Major that that was in the e ally 70’s but not exactly sure.
      The last time That I had contact with Ken was around the year 2000.
      He told me that he was a full Colonel but had been promoted to Brigadier General at the time of his retirement.
      I believed him and just recently had my doubts when I saw all the articles online about his military career.Then it all came back to me about all the lies that he always told to me and others.
      Such a shame to have to lie about his military career and his alleged PhD in psychology.
      Maybe oneday he will get help and tell the truth.

    • Jarhead says:

      rb325th….the things that surprise us as we get on with life. In Dothan, Al. about eight or nine years ago, I was going into Lowe’s and the po po were escorting a former USMC LTC out the door in silver bracelets. He was knocking down nearly $3,600/mo. in retirement; but walking out the door on the wrong end of the place on a regular basis with cartloads of merchandise he told them he had paid for at the other end of the store. Felony and some cross bar time erased his retirement check. NEVER would have expected it from such a seemingly good-hearted dude. A case of who’dathunkit? I’d have trusted him with the company of my wife. I’m just happy she was not a saw or drill.

  3. USMCE8Ret says:

    Reminds me of a guy once knew. He claimed that while he was finishing school (masters program) and driving a school bus in between classes (during Gulf War I), he would fly RF-4C missions from TX to Iraq, and return – and be back in time for class on Monday morning.

    That guy was a shitbag, too.

  4. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Maybe with this posting, the explanation will come. I don’t get it, not with that record of accomplishment. Does. Not. Make. Sense. At. All.

  5. RangerX says:

    Maybe being a shrink does something to your head…

    • MustangCryppie says:

      My thought exactly.

      My sister has been a Psychiatric Nurse for 40 years. I won’t say another word, but…

  6. OWB says:

    This guy obviously has issues. Lots of them.

  7. EODJay says:

    FFS, why?!?! This guy already had the T shirt, he didn’t need to make up anything. He just shit all over a very honorable career and for what? To be discovered a liar and to be thought of as a scumbag for the rest of his life. I hope it was worth it.

  8. MrBill says:

    A record that anyone would be proud of, but it wasn’t enough for him.

  9. Gravel says:

    I personally know him. Ken Strafer. He is, or was, a member of American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Va., which was, long ago, my post.

    Strafer ran for Commander a few years ago and was defeated. He told me (and I mean me, not some he said-she said story, but actually told me) that he had been a member of Special Forces. This happened in front of a brother member that was actually a retired Special Forces Medic.

    I don’t know about other AL-Posts, but 177 had a rule that your DD-214 must be kept on file at the post if you run for office. The DD-214 that was shown to me when I asked to see it showed that he was released from enlistment and transferred to OCS. I don’t remember the dates on that 214 … I saw it seven years ago … but I do remember seeing something fishy. Something about being detailed as an officer in infantry with an 18 series MOS,

    Again, it’s been a while and I don’t remember all the particulars, but I raised a concern with the commander of that post when I saw it at the time.

  10. TacticalTrunkMonkey says:


    Why? You were already a badass, sir…why did you have to go and be OAF?

    Don’t know him, after seeing his record, he seems to be the kind of guy I would love to have a beer with and ask questions.

    I am a psych major and love talking to psychologist who have combat experience..

    But now, he is just another dirt bag, and he has my vote for the #1 seed in the championship this year

  11. Gravel says:

    Another thing. I knew he was a businessman of some sort in the Fairfax-DC area, but I never heard him claim that he was a psychologist. I’ve never heard him called, “Dr. Ken.”

  12. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Damn,… How senseless can one be?

  13. Luddite4Change says:

    In looking closely at the 2-1 and ORB I find it interesting that his Vietnam unit of assignment information is not included on either documents.

    My initial thought was that he could have been enlisted in Vietnam (in which case the tour would show without an officer duty assignment), but as he was commission in January 69 and his tour was Sep 69-Sep 70 there should be an officer unit of assignment and duty entry for the period.

    It doesn’t mean that its wrong, but I find it interesting that it is not included.

    • Gravel says:

      See my post above that I wrote about his 214. I’m almost 100% sure that the 214 that he had on file with my AL post showed him being released from enlisted to OCS.

      I’m trying to contact someone I know that had a copy scanned to see if he still has the file.

      • Gravel says:

        It is possible that what I am remembering was something like this: Honorable discharge from enlisted, sworn in enroute to OCS, with SF school (Q-Course, whatever it was called back then) as a follow on school after completing OCS.

        It was definitely a DD-214.
        It definitely showed an honorable separation/discharge.
        It definitely showed enroute OCS.
        It definitely showed something about SF.
        It definitely was not an ETS 214 … more like a re-enlistment sort of deal.

        So I’m thinking maybe he went to the Q-Course or actual SF school and did not pass. Would a school show up on your final/ETS DD214 if you didn’t pass it?

        • Hondo says:

          Gravel: his assignments during first 4 yrs of time as an officer are incomplete, but much can be inferred from what’s there in his 2-1s and ORB.

          His first 2-1 (chronologically) covers enlisted service from Apr 1968 to Jan 1969, ending with discharge to (presumably) accept a commission. The next 2-1 picks up in what appears to be Jan 1974, with his attendance at Infantry Officer Advanced Course.

          The earliest assignment on his Officer Record Brief (ORB) is his assignment starting in Jul 1971 to an Inf unit in Germany. It also says he served in Vietnam for 12 mo, but doesn’t identify the unit of assignment (that assignment isn’t listed on any of the docs Jonn posted).

          However, his ORB give a DEROS from RVN in Sep 1970. That means he arrived in Vietnam somewhere around Sep 1969. Looks like he did some stateside training (and maybe took some leave), then went to Vietnam for a year.

          Also per his ORB, his assignment in Germany was for 34 mo and ended in Sep 1973. This puts his arrival in Germany around Nov 1970. I’d guess that means he took about 60 days leave after Vietnam and then went to Germany.

          • Gravel says:

            Does a school show up on your 214 if you attended but washed out?

            I have no clue. Every school I attended I passed, so I can’t look at my 214 and tell.

            • Hondo says:

              To my knowledge, no. It might show up on the 2-1, but as far as I know only badges/tabs/school completions should be listed on a DD 214.

              The Special Forces tab dates to 1983/1984, so if he’s SF qualified that should be listed on his DD214 – and on the FOIA reply forms (NA 13164) above. However, I suppose it’s possible he would have had to apply for that to be picked up in his records and never did.

              • Luddite4Change says:

                When the SF tab was first issued in the mid-80’s there were provisions to awarded it for combat service with SF (Detachment at below) without having gone to the Q course.

                One of my former BDE commanders (later a 4 star) received his SF tab this way, but it took him literally years for HRC to process the paperwork and issue the orders. So it is conceivable that he was authorized the SF tab, but did not have it in his records at discharge.

                I find the missing officer assignments more than a little unusual. Normally combat service was one of those things that officer would ensure was correct in their files as they competed for promotion and retention.

                Its interesting to see one of these pre-Cold War draw down ORB’s, an officer with that type of assignment history wouldn’t even get close to smelling O-5 today

        • TacticalTrunkMonkey says:

          Perhaps…My chronological record in my OMPF shows me being a 2336 (EOD) however, I never completed the school. In fact, I was dropped before setting foot at the school house. (Some asshole screwed up a PFT sheet, copy and pasted someone else’s info on my name)

          • 3E9 says:

            If I remember correctly a school will show on a 214 if it was completed or if the school is considered a PCS due to the length of the course such as EOD. At least in the AF.

  14. OIF wounded veteran says:

    I first met Ken Strafer at the old Walter Reed in DC when I was recovering from wounds sustained in Iraq 2005. At first he seemed legit but over time I started questioning what he was saying and eventually figured he was full of Sh*t. He was running a non-profit called Project Enduring Pride that put on events for wounded warriors at Walter Reed. Makes me wonder about the financials of this organization. If this guy was in charge then it would not surprise me if funds were misused. He definitely liked to parade the wounded vets around at his fundraising events. He also drove around with Special Forces vanity plates. Makes me wonder how he got away with getting those? This guy is a scumbag blowhard who tried to put himself out there as some great humanitarian supporting wounded vets when in the end it was really all about himself and his ego. Why tarnish what was otherwise a very respectable military career?

    • Gravel says:

      The plates are being looked into.

      • Lucky says:

        Refresh my memory Gravel, did he ever belong to the SFA?

        • Gravel says:

          I don’t know if Strafer was or not, but pretty sure he had an SF vehicle tag.

          I only personally know of one member of Post 177 that was actually eligible to join the SFA. Gary aka Digger, who is a retired (E-8 I think) SF-Medic, who now works as a funeral director for veterans, getting them buried in National Cemeteries.

  15. MrBill says:

    He may be embellishing the “Dr.” part as well. I did a little poking around and it looks as if he has an M.S. in psychology from William and Mary, but I’ve seen nothing that indicates that he has a Ph.D, M.D., or any other type of doctorate.

    • Gravel says:

      I never heard of him referred to as a doctor. I never heard him refer to himself as a doctor. And NO ONE EVER called him Dr. Ken at our Legion post.

      In fact, this whole IED-Shrapnel-Knee thing was allegedly before I met him, and he never told that story within earshot of me.

    • Gravel says:

      And most of the time when we saw him coming in the post it was “ooooh crap, here comes Ken again” punctuated with a lot of eye-rolls and knowing glances.

    • Carolyn Bowman says:

      The Virginia Board for Psychology does not list Kenneth Joseph Strafer as a licensed Psychologist.

  16. Thunderstixx says:

    Another Walter Mitty candidate for slug of the month club…
    Dr KenIwannabe dickface…
    If he is embellishing his Psych stuff, they will get really pissed…
    Too bad they don’t get that pissed for the Valor Stolen by so many pukes on this site.
    Keep up the fire…

  17. Joe Williams says:

    This LPOS is one of those head doctors that thinks to have a trust with the Vet ,he has to make up a war record, thinking he won’t be caught because he has heard enough stories from real Vets. Sooner or later a Vet hears something he knows is not right. The relationship is broken. I know DTDT. Joe

    • Gravel says:

      I’m pretty sure he’s not a real doctor … just like certain fans of this website aren’t real CPOs.

  18. Civilwarrior says:


  19. Sam Naomi says:

    I’ve meet alot of Douthing Thomas’s in my life, but some of you guys sure take the cake. Why would anyone douth for one minute that he was’nt a Doctor with the healing power that he so much earned. I would bet my life on it that he’s as liget as a three(3) dollar bill. You know what??????????? this guy is nothing more then a shit bird. Juess many of you never heard of a Mile-or- More- Bird before, well it’s a bird that whistle out of his ass while he flying, and you can hear him a Mile or so. LoL Lol!!!!!!!!!!!
    have a nice day guys, I’am heading back to the fields, still have alot of corn to harvest.

    Sam, Where the tall corn grows

    • CWORet says:

      Green Thumb, please set your translator to ‘Giduk’ and explain this mess above.

      • OWB says:

        Not Green Thumb here, but will try to help you out, CWORet. Sam is one of our Korean War vets. He happens to live in Iowa, so uses that tag line about the tall corn. He’s been around here for quite a few years, but doesn’t post a great deal. He’s a great guy, and a revered asset around here.

        Fair warning, CWORet: If you should happen to choose not to join those of us who hold Sam as one of our most honored and honorable posters, then you can deal with the unpleasant consequences.

        • TacticalTrunkMonkey says:

          I have been here a few years, and never in my time have I read anything like his post…I am still scratching my head.

          But if you say he’s good…I’m game.
          Just provide a translation for his insight once in a while.

          • TacticalTrunkMonkey says:

            I take that back, I got the same headache and confusion when I read “Vlad the (dick) Impaler”‘s stuff.

      • Green Thumb says:

        As OWB stated, Sam comes around every so often and has good insight.

        I think he just might have been dipping in to that corn liquor that is very-so-popular out there in the Midwest.

    • Hondo says:

      CWORet, TTM: short translation. First 3 sentences are pure sarcasm (and IMO, fairly obviously so). From “You know what?????” on should be fairly obviously no-BS castigation of the guy featured above. “Shitbird” should kinda give that away, actually.

      OWB is right; Sam’s good people. If you missed them, Google (or use the site’s search to find) the KWVA stories where Jonn outed their lying past president and another guy in their senior hierarchy for background.

  20. jedipsycho (Certified Space Shuttle Door Gunner) says:

    This guy was a stud on his own merits. Why the hell did he feel the need to embellish??

  21. ChipNASA says:

    He reminds me of Fred Mertz with a bad dye job and shitty comb over.

  22. SFC Raikkonen says:

    Would it be possible that he was assigned to SF in Vietnam and just never retroactively received his tab? Many people think the tab was there from the start but it wasn’t. It didn’t come along until later.

    • John Miska says:

      Tab I was on SOCNET awhile back and they have guys there that had BTDT since “Christ was a Corporal”
      …When I asked about DR. Ken I got so many who the F&*( is that. He once tried to say he was recalled to 19th and 20th but NGB says they do not know him either….

    • Steadfast&Loyal says:

      No. There was still a course that had to be completed.

      At best he could have been a support guy. there are non-SF qualified folks assigned to the regiment…but I don’t think that applied to officer,yet I am not an expert on that.

      besides. His records would be clear. No SF qualified soldier would allow his records to be inaccurate…in fact no trooper would. we sign them upon release from duty. There are odd cases of awards be given after you have been gone…for instnace the NDSM, and the KDSM. Those dates can move and soldiers be eligible after the fact. Still one has to apply to have a review and the medals added.

      • nbcguy54 says:

        We already know that SF has cooks…

        Hey, hey, hey, it’s Alberto Grande!

      • Hondo says:

        Steadfast&Loyal: actually, no. See para 8-49.e. of AR 600-8-22 for wartime exceptions to the school requirement that are applicable to Vietnam.

        BLUF: 120 days service as an enlisted soldier or Company-grade officer with a SF ODA, SF Recon Team, SF Mobile Strike Force, or SF Special Project Unit plus earning the CIB or CMB while so assigned/attached was an automatic qual for the SF tab. (para 8-49.e.(3)). The school requirement could also be waived for personnel who “Served with a Special Forces unit during wartime and were either unable to or not required to attend a formal program of instruction but were awarded SQI ‘S’, ‘3’, or ‘5G’ by competent authority.” (para 8-49.e.(1))

        • AW2Vet says:

          Those individuals that served in war time that didn’t qualify for the flash are called candy strippers. Also, prior to the early 1980’s, there was no SF MOS.

          Last Ken also stated he was a F4 pilot among other things. The Army never had F4 jet fighters, only the Air Force, Navy and USMC. Ken even stated he was a physical therapist. This has also proven to be untrue. As for going back on AD for this war, anyone retired who was reactivated could not be promoted and didn’t have to participate in PT, but they were required to meet all the other items (height, weight etc) for being on AD. Having had worked with retiree’s called back to AD while at Walter Reed, every last one of them said the same thing.

          • Hondo says:

            Can’t comment on the Vietnam era common use of the term “candy striper”, AW2Vet. However, the term “candy striper” was still in use in the early 1980s at Fort Bragg – but at the time it had a different common definition than you describe.

            At the time, it was used by those assigned to the various SF Groups there (and, presumably, at 10th Group as well) to refer to those who were (1) assigned to an SF unit, but (2) had not attended SFQC. As I recall, all but a handful of those individuals were assigned to the Signal, Maintenance, and MI companies organic to the SF Groups. There might have been a few at JFKCMA as well.

  23. Beretverde says:

    I don’t care what he did in the past.. this guy is a f@cking nutjob.

  24. BillR says:

    It looks like he’s been rockin’ the lie since at least 2002. Check out the guest speaker from March 21, 2002 (bottom of the page):

    Oh, and he was USAF according to this little ad.

  25. Bob says:

    Having worked at the old Walter Reed with the Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2), I dealt with many retiree’s that were recalled to active duty. Part of the agreement the military made with these retiree call ups was they could not get promoted and they didn’t have to perform PT. They had to comply with all other Army regulations. There is NO WAY Ken could have been recalled to AD and promoted form 05 to 06. The rules wouldn’t allow it.

    Another problem with Ken is he told one of the member of Post 8469 (VFW) that he was a PT, but then he told me he was a Psychologist with his own private practive. He told other members of Post 8469 he had a practice at Walter Reed. Having worked first for Telebehavior Health then later with AW2, I got to know all the mental health providers that were not in the hospital. Ken stated he didn’t work in the hospital so I knew he was full of it. I wonder if he can be prosecuted under the “Stolen Valor Act” since he used these lies to raise money for his non-profit.

  26. RunPatRun says:

    And again, can’t figure out why the need to embellish an already honorable career. Self esteem, mental issues, pathological liar; perhaps all three? I met him at the VFW a while back, just in passing and not as close as Gravel to set off my BS detector.

  27. mark allen says:

    that ranger tab is more than enough because 50 percent fail or quit in the first week of ranger assessment week. and being a LTC retiree. I wish I retired an a LTC. my retirement would be so much than what is. I wouldn’t have to work so hard. to say you are retired LTC ranger is awesome. And by his records he can actually and legitimately claim that. even tho he is lying about the other stuff. I still can give him some respect because of being a ranger grad, simply because that course is extremely rigorous and over 75 percent fail that course. trust me most officers don’t retire with a ranger tab. so this is sad. because of OIF and OEF, Seals SF and Delta are the dream I can kill you with my bare hands, sniper, halo insertion, scuba combat divers, combat level combatives, hand to hand jobs to claim. that’s why so many people ( faker’s ) chose to say they are that, instead of something like I was a 92A logistics Specialist. Reason is, because 92A sounds boring

  28. Jordan Rott says: