Albert Blake Dodson, phony Vietnam Veteran

| December 11, 2014

We’ve found that the Library of Congress’ Veterans’ History Project is jam-packed with phonies trying to make their lies true. This is one of those. Albert Blake Dodson tried to convince them that he was a Vietnam veteran, even though he’d been discharged two years before combat troops were introduced to that war. He’d never left the Continental United States. We’ll never know what he told the interviewer, because apparently, they pulled his stories;

Albert Blake Dodson LOC Bio

Albert Blake Dodson FOIA

Albert Blake Dodson Assignments

We can tell from the bio that he claimed two more years of service than he actually had and that he was a sergeant in an aviation unit, when actually he was a private in an artillery unit. It looks like he was discharged early for some reason. But it’s probably the first time we have a phony who served BEFORE the Vietnam War and claimed combat in that war.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (17)

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  1. Hondo says:

    May not have been an early discharge, Jonn. I believe peacetime draftees prior to Vietnam who went Army only did 2 years active. Add a bit of extra time for some confinement (which as I recall at that time was required to be made up at the end of the enlistment), and you’d get his discharge date. That’s also consistent with his discharge as an E1 w/2+ years service.

    That may or may not be what happened, but it certainly fits.

    • RGR 4-78 says:

      It sure looks like he got shuffled around Ft. Benning a lot for a 2 year enlistment.

      • Hondo says:

        Yep. That’s also consistent with his being a “problem child”, but possibly not quite bad enough to get booted.

    • Richard says:

      I don’t know about this guy.

      At least up until 1970 draftees served 2 years.

      Early in my time in the Army, we were told that the first guy to die in Vietnam was with the Army Security Agency. LINK. I offer this to point out that the US had ground people, not SF, in RVN before 1963. I am not saying that the ASA guy was the first to die but that was the unit line in 1970.

      FWIW, RRU stood for Radio Research Unit. IIFC, there were prohibitions against having people with TS clearances in RVN if serving in their primary MOS. These guys had secondary MOS and they were TDY – for a year – from Japan or Korea. My connection with ASA was brief and my memory sucks about this stuff, most others will have better information.

      He cites the 145th CAB. According to their web site, the 145th was renamed from the 45th Transportation battalion and wasn’t activated until September 24, 1963 – about a month after this guy ETS’d – and I was in the 9th grade. Did he reenlist and deploy? Otherwise the story is missing the 7 dwarfs (in other words, it’s a faery tale).

      • Hondo says:

        While SP4 James T. Davis was an early Vietnam casualty, he was not the first “official” US military death there. As I discuss here, the first “official” US military death in Vietnam is today regarded to be TSgt Richard T. Fitzgibbon, Jr., who was murdered there on 8 June 1956.

        Even that is IMO not accurate. Nearly ten years before TSgt Fitzgibbon’s death – on 26 September 1945 – LTC A. Peter Dewey was killed by Viet Minh guerillas in an ambush between Tan Son Nhut Airfield and Saigon. He was apparently mistaken for a French soldier (Dewey spoke French, and had yelled something in French to individuals at or near the ambush site immediately before he was killed).

        LTC Dewey was the first American in uniform to die in Vietnam, and was killed by Vietnamese insurgents opposing a US ally. However, because formal US military assistance to Vietnam had not technically started Dewey is not today officially recognized as a casualty of the Vietnam War.

        • Richard says:

          Hondo, yup. My comment was aimed at two things:

          Jonn said, “even though he’d been discharged two years before combat troops were introduced to that war.” There were uniformed US troops in RVN before 1963 and ASA lore held that the first death was one of theirs.

          Trying to add to the story, not change it.

          FWIW, OSS had people in Vietnam during WW2 working with Ho Chi Minh. We agreed to support him against the Japanese and to help him against the French after the war but the US Government decided to support the French move to reclaim their colonies so we could no longer honor that promise. One wonders what might have happened if we had chosen a different path.

          • Hondo says:

            Correct. And we also lost some men in Vietnam prior to the “magic date” in 1961 that marks the beginning of the Vietnam War (as counted by recognized campaigns).

            However, this tool didn’t serve there – at least not when he claimed and under his own name. His records of service from 1961-1963 show no service in Vietnam, and have no gaps that could obscure service there. Records of any later military service would be consolidated with his records of 1961-1963 service. Further, the fact that he was discharged in 1963 (peacetime) as an E1 rather strongly argues he wouldn’t have been allowed to reenlist later that year – the Army was at that time having no problem filling its manpower vacancies thru the peacetime draft. The only way he served in Vietnam between 1963 and 1965 as he claims is if he did so fraudulently, under an alias.

            I haven’t seen anything that would indicate we actually promised to assist Ho Chi Minh against the French after World War II. However, you are definitely correct that his forces cooperated with us during World War II, and that he actively solicited our assistance against the French afterwards. Hell, he even quoted from the US Declaration of Independence when he declared Vietnam free in late 1945.

            One does wonder how things would have gone had we told the French they were on their own in Vietnam. It might have avoided our later conflict there – or not. Conceivably, France could have gone Communist after World War II had we done so – it was a near thing both there and in Italy during the late 1940s. That would have cost us Western Europe; this in turn might have emboldened China and/or the Soviets to invade both Korea and Vietnam (and Japan, for that matter) during the 1950s.

            I tend to think not – that France would have “gotten over it” and stayed free, and that we’d have been better off as a result. But we’ll never know.

    • OC says:

      Hondo, I was in ’71-’72 and got a six month early out for going to S. Korea. In that time I made it to E-4 and believe me I was just an average soldier.
      You gotta be some kind of slacker to be E-1 after 2 years.
      Either that or he got busted down more than once.


  2. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    E-1 or E-2 over two takes some serious effort. If he didn’t get the boot, he may have been AWOL–but not necessarily locked up. A two-year hitch with, for example, 10 days AWOL meant an extension of your ETS date by 10 days. Whatever his self-created predicament, he put himself out there for the world’s scrutiny by being interviewed for the Veterans’ History Project. That took serious effort too. I guess Al never learned.

  3. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    I wonder if this dingleberry will “lawer up” with someone from the PNW?

  4. GDContractor says:

    Meanwhile, not at the Library of Congress, there is an attempt to record stories of veterans and their family members and it is called the “Military Voices Initiative”. Here is their advisory group:

    Mai-Ling Garcia
    Veteran Spouse & Advocate

    Dana Morrissey
    Chief Engagement Officer, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

    Robert Patrick, U.S. Army Colonel (retired)
    Director, Veterans History Project, Library of Congress

    Paul Rieckhoff, Iraq Veteran
    Executive Director and Founder, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

    Elliott Woods, Iraq Veteran
    Award-winning independent writer and photographer

    I recognize some of them by name. What could go wrong?

  5. Mario Ortega says:

    “six month early out”

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong but my understanding was that if you put in for an extension in country, you would be able to get an early out.

    • 3/17 Air Cav says:

      Mario…… you are correct. In 1971 I extended six weeks past my twelve month tour in Vietnam. Then the Army came up with a drop program. So instead of serving 13 months 14 days in Vietnam, I served 11 months 12 days. I had to give up a year of GI bill schooling. Since I only needed one year to graduate college, that was fine by me! My total time in the Army was 1 year 5 months, and 12 days.

  6. Craig Payne says:

    Enter the Army SEPT 27 1967 Left Vietnam April 29 1969 As a E-4 Was in the Army 1 year 7 month 3 days Honorable Discharge and DAM PROUD OF IT

  7. Green Thumb says:


  8. Gunny Goodguy says:

    I don’t know why, but I feel sorry for people like this. He probably hasn’t accomplished much in his life and wanted to make himself a bit more respectable. Many years ago my dad and I were at a function and were introduced to a 2-star Marine general in full dress uniform. I was honored to meet the guy. My dad was a Marine from 1940-1964 and immediately started an indecipherable Jarhead dialogue with ‘the general’. The conversation was visibly awkward. A few minutes later, my dad told me “that idiot is no Marine”. Amazingly, my dad was correct as we read about him some months later when he was officially discovered. Sad loser….