Laurence Altenburg; Silver Star phony

| September 26, 2015

Larry Altenburg Large

Earlier this year, the Marine Corps League post 756 in Charlotte County, Florida ferreted out a phony in their ranks as reported in the Herald Tribune. His name was Laurence Altenburg and he pretended to be a Marine Corps major and he also pretended that he earned a Silver Star and a Purple Heart in Vietnam. It turns out that he was a veteran of Vietnam, but he was a sergeant, not a major, and his highest award was the Good Conduct Medal;

Altenburg FOIA

Altenburg, Laurence Assignments

It looks like he was an artilleryman in Vietnam for a year from 1967-1968. In the article, he claimed that he was promoted to Major while he was in the inactive reserves – that doesn’t happen. That’s why it’s called “inactive”. He did make it to sergeant, which is better than major anyway. But don’t worry, he didn’t do it for selfish reasons;

Altenburg said he never intended to fool anyone. His intent, he claimed, was to honor a friend, a Marine who was severely wounded in Vietnam and did get a Silver Star.

Though Altenburg said he did not know that man during that war, they met years later in New York.

Altenburg said he thinks he may have told someone about his reason for wearing the medal, at some time. But he said he can’t recall when or if it was before rumors started to go around.

I’m not sure who could really buy his explanation. Retired Marines I’ve talked to totally scoff at it. A Marine does not wear another Marine’s medals.

It is out of the question.

Good on the MCL for booting him, but, you’d think that a post commander would have been scrutinized a little more, you know, just to avoid the embarrassment if nothing else.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (35)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. sj says:

    Florida. Again.

  2. CLAW131 says:

    In the picture above, the Combat Action Action Ribbon (although legit by the FOIA) he is wearing is UPSIDE DOWN !!

    But he does have so many extra unearned ribbons on his rack that a small detail like that obviously went unnoticed.

    Blinded by the glare.

  3. Combat Historian says:

    I met MOH recipient Gary Littrell once when I was a young soldier; I think I’ll wear the MOH ribbon from now on to honor him…///

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      I was at the White House for Kyle White’s MOH ceremony, met a young fellow with a DSC. The room was full of Silver Stars & PHs. I met the Sergeant Major of the Army and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps. This could get expensive, this honor thing.

  4. GDContractor says:

    Under his logic, it’s a good thing, years later, he did not meet a Marine with a missing arm or leg…

  5. Flagwaver says:

    So, you claim things you didn’t earn to honor a friend. However, at the same time, you dishonor your actual service. Yeah, that makes sense.

  6. Club Manager says:

    Since he was a Marine, maybe he’s wearing the ribbons from his two road guards and Cadence counter?? That’s legit for phonies isn’t it.

  7. Sparks says:


  8. Kristoffer says:

    He didn’t limit himself to the SS. Look at that photo of him, he’s wearing a LoM, BSM with either oak leaf cluster or V on it, and a Purple Heart with an oak leaf cluster on it.

  9. John D says:

    Another perfectly honorable record of service

    shat on.
    I just don’t get it…..

    • Hondo says:

      Some people simply have to make others believe they’re the hero they wished they were but were not. The term for such people is “narcissistic attention whores”. This tool qualifies.

      It’s SoRt Of LiKe ClAiMiNg To Be SpEcIaL fOrCeS when you never were even assigned to a SF unit, but were trained by them.

    • OldManchu says:

      This… This is the worst part of it all for veterans who should simply be proud of their REAL service.

  10. C2Show says:

    Altenburg said he never intended to fool anyone. His intent, he claimed, was to honor a friend, a Marine who was severely wounded in Vietnam and did get a Silver Star.

    Yeah right….surprised he had the balls to answer the reporter.

  11. Joe Williams says:

    In his awards section,there is no award of the “wings” or the two Sharpshooter medals. What rank (E-type) was he claiming to jump from E-? to O-4 Major ? In the IRR no less. I want to revoke his rights to claim to be a Marine. LSOS Joe

  12. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Dear TAH Members (in good standing),

    If in my old age, I go full rertard, like the geezer above, please shoot me without any delay.

    Thank you,


  13. Jarhead says:

    What the hell was this idiot thinking? Hey asswipe, at least wear a cover that fits your head. Probably bought it on line three sizes too large, thinking his head would swell into it sooner or later. Thank God at least one MCL chapter is now checking their membership applications instead of giving everyone a pass once they pay their dues.

    Ya dumb bastard, if you think you want to honor your friends then fess up and grow up! You are a damned INSULT to every Marine who has ever served. Let me understand this: you wore ribbons and badges to “Honor” someone you did not even meet until later in life!!!!! NFW!!! The TRUTH, which you refuse to admit, is you were and always will be a genuine phony, no matter what you do from this day forward. Shame on you,stupid ass cunt. Hell, we all heard much of Chesty Puller from day one in boot camp. Does that mean we should all wear the same he EARNED, just because we knew of him??? Does the word HONOR not mean anything to you? Cannon cocker in RVN was absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Particularly if you had the misfortune to be in a unit that was infiltrated and over-run. Otherwise you don’t have a clue what fighting was all about. You are a damned disgrace to every Marine who served in ANY capacity, war time or not, and ought to have a visit by the Famous Fudge Packers (FFP) Thor and Bubba. Fuck off you old piece of shit. You are the kind who always runs his mouth with the war stories just to get attention. Bet your ‘ol lady’s really pleased with her major fucktard. Who the hell else in your family have you embarrassed by spinning your bullshit tales of guts and glory?

    • Just an Old Dog says:

      He wasn’t a cannon cocker, he was part of the Air Wing as a Anti-Aircraft missle unit.
      I imagine he got the CAR from the Airbase he was at getting hit by small arms and him manning one of the guard positions.
      LAAM = Low Altitude Anti-aircraft Missle.

      • CLAW131 says:

        C Battery, 1st LAAM was positioned on top of Hill 327 overlooking the harbor and air base at Da Nang. Smack dab in the Hai Van Pass between Phu Bai and Da Nang. Pretty tough Indian territory for the time period he was there.

        However, I don’t believe any Marine HAWK missiles were ever fired at any NVA airplanes attempting to bomb Da Nang, much like the Army HAWK outfit (6/56 ADA) the Army brought over as air base protection for the southern portion of RVN around Saigon. They never fired a HAWK in anger either, only in practice.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      God Damn It Jarhead! You keep saying everything for me and I cant even get a reach around. You keep this shit up and I will go soft.

      Kinda nice to sit back with a beer and a can of sardines swimming in hot sauce while you wordsmith. George Dickel and I have some plans now that you give me all this free time.

      Broadzilla is lurking about the house, might need ya to call and her off my ass.

      Semper Fi brother.

      • Jarhead says:

        Dave, sorry for stealing your to-be-published lines. Why else would I pay a psychic??? The door is ALWAYS open for your reach around, my brother. For me, it’s still intern work to attempt to reach your level of academic postings.No can do on reaching your other half. Nope, that would be a job for my own Poke Sallet Annie. She’s the crew chief in this garage.
        For some reason, just seeing this 3XL POS caused me to erupt. Does not surprise me you
        temporarily went intellectually AWOL.
        Thanks for the compliment. Hope you enjoyed the monkey joke about the seal.

  14. COB6 says:

    “He did make it to sergeant, which is better than major anyway.”

    Present company excepted I hope.

  15. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:


    The aforementioned comment was intended to ensure that you and others (of your persuasion) who are held in high esteem here at TAH still have a heart beat and a fully functioning diaphragm.

    Glad to see you are on the ball.



  16. JarHead Pat says:


  17. Fjardeson says:

    Another asshat that served honorably, in wartime and got shot at, that haaaaaaaad to stick on extra medals. Why? Somehow these are worse than the total phonies, they are living in a fantasy world. This guy actually served during wartime. Jeez.