James H. Bales; phony POW, phony Vietnam vet

| November 12, 2015

James H. Bales

Someone sent us this fellow, James Harold Bales, who claims to be a retired Marine First Sergeant with 21 years of service (from 1966-1987). He claims that he was a POW of the North Vietnamese for nine months in 1968 (even though he doesn’t appear on DPAA’s list of POWs). He claims SIlver Star Medals, Purple Heart Medals, that he’s paratrooper and scuba trained. Almost all of that is true, well, maybe not;

James H. Bales FOIA

James H. Bales Assignments

James H. Bales Training

He was a Reservist for 13 years – he didn’t join until about two years after ground forces were withdrawn from Vietnam. He never left the United States, he never engaged in any combat, anywhere. He does have that grueling Defensive Driving Course, though.


He’s another one who was busted by the old POW Network, but figures he can go back to his misbehavior now that the website is gone. Nope!


Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (61)

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  1. Old Nam Doc says:

    Not even the coveted NDSM or a GCM… pfffft

    • ChipNASA says:

      Slacker shitbag.

      • Mark Lauer says:

        Please, sir! I am a slacker shit bag, and I take offense at you comparing me to this obvious ass flea.

    • Animal says:

      Is it me or does it look like the “1st Sgt” pulled that Alpha blouse out of a seabag before he put it on? Because I knew a lot of 1st Sgt’s who did that.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Notice how the sleeves are finely tailored. Or did his arms shrink, because as rule, that material does not stretch over time. And those wrinkles. Those wrinkles say, “I care. I really do.” Fits time I’ve ever seen wrinkles that have wrinkles.

      • HMCS (FMF) ret. says:

        Looks like a bag of ass… don’t remember seeing any Marines looking like shit in Charlies or Alphas like this “Call of Booty – Anal Buttsekks Warrior” (Operation Wonbat Feltcher add-on pack).

        You done fucked up, Bales!

    • Peter the Bubblehead says:

      He’s got not just one NDSM, but TWO! (Middle bottom row.)

      • Peter the Bubblehead says:

        Right next to what looks like a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one BRONZE star. (Coulda sworn they give out gold stars in lieu of second award.)


      You all that shit out of order and if he wanted to be a bad ass he doesn’t even have a CAR for a Marine with that crap on he should have seen something. Dumb ASS

  2. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “Place of Entry: Fort Jackson, Caroline”

    Huh? What? Fort Jackson? Carolina? I guess that’s near that Army installation, Parris Island, East Carolina. Or is it West Carolina? Okay, we’ll just call it Carolina.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      “Place of Entry: Fort Jackson, Carolina”

    • 3E9 says:

      Possible; the SC MEPS is at Fort Jackson so he could have entered service there. I’ve never seen it listed as Carolina though; always South Carolina.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        I believe you. It looks awfully odd to see he entered the USMC at Fort Jackson. And since there are two Carolinas (excluding Suzie Carolina, of course) that “Carolina” seems quite odd too.

        • 3E9 says:

          Yeah the Carolina thing looks like someone screwed up in geography class or didn’t realize we have two. I have seen a few 214’s from over the years for every branch with Fort Jackson since that’s where MEPS is for the state. Who knows, with all the other crap this guy lied about maybe he managed to get a false set of records submitted by his reserve unit.

          • Just An Old Dog says:

            One of my DD214s has my Place of entry as Nashville Tennessee. Except for driving past it on the I-40 on 84, 86 and 88 Ive never been there.

  3. OldSarge57 says:

    You think he would at least have the sleeve length altered and the uniform pressed. Even a Reservist would know that, so he obviously wasn’t even good part time. Must have picked it up off the rack at Goodwill or something.

  4. CLAW says:

    Wait, what? Is that the Navy Cross I see as the top ribbon on his impressive poser’s rack?

  5. Bobo says:

    The ever present poser crap uniform and out of order ribbons. It gets them every time. If he’d actually earned a NAM, he’d know where it goes.

  6. Hondo says:

    For completeness: the DPAA Vietnam POW lists are found here.

    These lists include ALL POWs of the Vietnam War who DoD recognizes as having returned alive to US control, by any means. They include people held less than 24 hours.

    This j-hole isn’t on any of those lists. In fact, no one with the last name “Bales” is listed on any of those lists, to include the “unaccounted for” list.

    Screw this LSoS bastard. May he rot in hell.

    • HMCS (FMF) ret. says:

      Hondo, I bet you that since Bales is a “POW”, he is probably a connoisseur of Cream of Sum Yung Guy soup, served Hanoi Hilton style…

  7. Dave Hardin says:

    I hate these scumbags. However, that summary sheet is wrong. In fact, the dates of service listed are impossible.

    He had service prior to Dec 23,1974. He is most certainly full of shit, I just wish his prior service was tracked down.

    I hate giving these people any wiggle room.

    • TheCloser says:

      It looks like his Reserve Center started his record on 12/23/74 and he reported to MCRD, Parris Island, on 12/30/74.

  8. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Nothing says LEGIT like a Marine improperly wearing the Naval Parachutist Gold Wings.

    I say a “Day After Vet’s Day Totally LEGIT” and nominate this bug for the Blue Falcon Tourney … By the way, I can’t wait for this year!

    We have a new phony SEAL to nominate this year … I hope the rules permit us to do so!

  9. Guard Bum says:

    You guys scoff but that Def Driving Course is a M*****F****R!

    How hard is it to google military awards precedence? Good grief.


      Ya, not that hard. Better yet go to medal’s of America put in the ribbon checker and they will mount them for you and believe it or not I don’t think they verify.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Driver Improvement Course, commonly referred to as the DIC. We had to sit through a viewing of “There’s Room To Live In This Car”. Raise your hand if you had to endure that one.


    Just thing it is only the day after and we have two POS’s, how many by Friday.

  11. 3/17 Air Cav says:

    First time I’ve seen a phony dress up kit with what appears to be vintage Vietnam era aviator sun glasses. Goes real well with his ragbag uniform!

  12. Poetrooper says:

    Something I never see mentioned here in dissecting these clowns and their uniforms is the old “Gig Line” the proper alignment of shirt/blouse with belt buckle and trousers, which most posers don’t have a clue about but old first sergeants posing for a pic certainly would.

    Look at this fool’s belt buckle. Or does Corps uniform protocol not enforce the gig line? I’d find that difficult to believe.

    • spd0302 says:

      Hey Poetrooper….I got out of the Corps in 98 and I am still constantly adjusting my gig line to ensure it is squared away. This jackass is all assed out.

  13. Skippy says:

    NEXT ! ! !
    Why would one want to wash out a good service record…

  14. Just An Old Dog says:

    Looks like his MOS was 2311, Ammo Tech. Currently its an inter-service School in Redstone Arsenal Alabama.
    It appears he finished boot camp then had some OJT to get the MOS with 2nd Tanks at Camp Lejuene, then went on to do his reserve time with Ammo Co, 8th Tanks and 14th Marines (Arty) in ther reserves.
    His uniform is to tight. His left shoulder tab is popped above the collar, his shoot badges are not spaced properly, He is missing the retaining loop for his coat belt, the belts too short and his “M” buckle is crooked and not aligned.
    The precedence of his awards is 8TFU, His NAM should be higher, His Vietnam Ribbon would be lower than all the US awards and he looks like he has the wrong color star on his good cookie as well.
    Fuck this guy.

  15. Just An Old Dog says:

    Strangly enough his summary of service doesnt even list one Organized Marine Corps Reserve Medal. with 12 years he should have gotten 4.

  16. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    What a blubbernecked bucket of seagull shit!!

  17. Jarhead says:

    Some how a lot does not add up here. Had he been a tanker, his MOS would simply have been 1811, Tank Crewman. Numbers remain the same even after becoming a tank commander. When I discharged in 1969 we were still using the M-48 A 3 in RVN.
    The other problem I can’t understand, it shows his enlistment from Dec. 1974, ending in 1987. Dunno, but even in the reserves for 13 years, being discharged as a Sergeant as the record shows, means he was only an E-5. To all the Devil Dogs, not a single one of us would have ever risked wearing an unpressed uniform as he is obviously wearing. Put me down for a member of the group calling bullshit on this one.
    Can I have a current home record? Name of city will do fine. Always interesting to find media folks with a military back ground and the interest in pursuing a good story. PLEASE, D. Hardin is on my ass again!

    • GDContractor says:

      Mr. Jarhead,
      Since Dave Hardin is on your ass, I figured I would do my utmost to try to endeavor to assist.

      I found this guy’s facebook page here:
      Some of his photos are exact matches to photos that Jonn posted.

      He has a post there written by one of his friends, here:

      In which the friend states:

      This man behind me is Jim Bales. He is my personal hero. He goes to our church at the Branch. He doesn’t know it but he has helped me through this last year. He is a Marine sergeant that served in the Vietnam War. He comes from a family of a Marines and actually joined the Marines when he was only 17. He stepped on a Claymore land mine in country and was captured by the enemy. He was triaged and held as a POW for 28 months in a cage in a leech infested pond up to his chest. When he was finally brought back to America they performed more surgeries to correct was the Vietnamese doctors had done wrong. Then he went to his superiors and said, “Send me back.” They disagreed (go figure) and he became a Drill Sergeant for the next several years. Sometimes when I got down in the last few months, I would pray to God and ask for strength and then I would think about Jim as an 18 year old in that cage and so far from home wondering when he would ever see freedom and I would put on my big boy pants and face the day. Thank you, Jim, for your service. Please, excuse the photobomber…

      To which Mr. Bales (Sarge) replies

      Thanks Steve, for those kind words. Wish it was only 18 months, it was actually 28, but who’s counting I want to say a very special thanks to all who responded to your post. And l’m always there for you when you need me. ,

      Not sure if you do Facebook or not, but there are other photos there of SGT. Shitheel wearing medals in dress blues, and sporting the obligatory VN VET Baseball Cap, etc.

      It appears he lives in the Dallas area, perhaps Carrollton/Farmer’s Branch. The Church he goes to appears to be this one: http://www.thebranchchurch.org/ I will continue to research. Hope this helps the DH rash.

      • CLAW says:

        Recently promoted to First Sergeant within the last year?

        Gotta love the three Bronze Service Stars attached to his full sized POW Medal in that picture. I wonder if he thinks it means he’s been a POW on four separate occasions.

        A little late in the game, but I wonder if this clown is somehow related to that other Bales who is currently serving out a life sentence in Kansas. There is a strong facial resemblance between the two, not to mention the exact surname match.

        • GDContractor says:

          CLAW – did you check out his “photo” page on facebook? It is rich.

          Off topic – I began reading a book last night. Made me think of you Huey guys. I think you would enjoy it, if you like to read. I would not recommend junk. It is free via Kindle which is how I got it. http://www.amazon.com/Pink-Mist-John-A-Bercaw-ebook/dp/B00GT0G1EO

          • CLAW says:

            Looked that book over on Amazon. Might consider buying it.

            I especially liked the one reviewer who pointed out that the author says they used Mogas instead of Diesel to burn shit with.

            Yep, instead of Shit Burning Detail, it’s name would be Blowing Shit Up Detail.

      • Jarhead says:

        Claw, you have been a load of help in getting this ball rolling. Not just because he lied about his USMC career, but because he so severely dishonored all who have made the ultimate sacrifice in any war, current included. For starters I left an email with his church requesting a phone call. Don’t realistically expect much interest from them, especially since he has blown smoke up at least one gullible soul in public.
        IMO it’s time we all started raising hell over these phonies who served in ANY branch of the U. S. Armed Forces. Especially over the really prolific liars such as this Bales. Can we all take an interest and spend some time respecting those we knew who came home in body bags? That respect can be shown by contacting the right politicians. Start by using Google to find Members of the United States Senate Committee On Armed services. Scroll down and you will find members of both the Majority and Minority parties listed. Hopefully you can find one from your home state. The current Chairman of The Committee On Armed Services is none other than Sen. John McCain. His D. C. office phone number is listed as 202-224-2235. A letter to him would be well-received I would hope. Mail to The Honorable John McCain United States Senate 218 Russel Senate Office Building Washington, D. C. 20510-0303. I’d be willing to bet he would at least take some kind of action to publicly humiliate this POSER in an effort to assist veterans; particularly since he suffered personally what this Bales idiot lied about. If only ten of us from this site took the time to call or write Sen. McCain, I believe we would see some action. Here’s your chance to prove me wrong. Meanwhile, first thing tomorrow on my plate is contacting every damned media outlet within 50 miles of Dallas. Non-stop, no matter who says they are “going to do something” about it. No matter where you served, no matter what your MOS, no matter whether or not you were in actual combat, no matter whether you even were ever out of country or not….each and every one of us owes it to those who did not make it home as we all have. Let us please do this as a group of Concerned Veterans who strongly object to the dishonor demonstrated by Bales. Make this bastard the PUBLIC hero he always wanted to be. Give him publicity that will hopefully shame him from being seen out in public. Much thanks to Jonn for bringing this to our attention again. Surely we can show Jonn some respect and gratitude by following through with this as a connected group. S/F

  18. Green Thumb says:


  19. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Got to roll out to the Ohio river area now. It’s Friday. My money is on CLAW to be first on the WOT. I think Skippy has given up the fight.

  20. Jarhead says:

    The longer I go after these idiots through the media, I am never without amazement that so few veterans are employed in the news business. It takes some time to find out either an interested veteran or some one who takes an interest in this kind of story. The biggie, Dallas Morning News seemed not even moderately interested in the story, but did say she would “pass it on to a reporter”. A small newspaper in Carrollton however shows some promising interest in the story and will follow up on a phone conversation shortly. Many thanks to those who contributed specific location and organizations/churches where this fraud lives. More to follow.

    • GDContractor says:

      Thanks for the update Jarhead. Get some!

    • GDContractor says:

      Jarhead – I know someone at Dallas Morning News. He is going to put me in touch with a reporter that might pursue it. Will advise. OVER

      • Jarhead says:

        G D C…..Thanks for hanging in there man. It is so unfortunate that finding a reporter interested in Stolen Valor is not unlike searching for a needle in the haystack. Fortunately, just last night I found a story written by a reporter from that same newspaper; the story written in 2013 was about another Marine who received prison time for whatever it was he had done. Earlier today I called and left a message on the email for this reporter. Just a few minutes ago he returned my call. I feel certain this guy will pursue the phony James Bales after talking to Jonn. Apparently the lady I originally spoke with at the newspaper had little interest, or could find no one else interested in going after this story. Jonn can let us know when contact is made. Thanks for the effort to help. S/F

  21. Jarhead says:

    Thanks MUCH to GDC and others interested in a follow up on this story, I believe this fool is about to become famous. Will wait until after Tuesday to be certain, but it had to happen sooner or later. Jonn will have the updated info via personal email. It could NOT have been accomplished without the input from many of you. Have a great Memorial Day. S/F