Richard Lee Carr; phony POW

| June 2, 2016

Richard Lee Carr

AverageNCO found this article at the Alton Telegraph about Alton, Ill. veteran Richard Lee Carr who claims that although he was a auto mechanic in Vietnam, he was shot down and became a prisoner of war for several months until he escaped and spent weeks getting back to US forces;

Richard Carr article header

Carr, 70, was a sergeant and helicopter door gunner in the 1st Air Cavalry in Vietnam from 1967-1968. For approximately seven months of that time, he was a prisoner of war after being captured when his helicopter was shot down.

“It landed in the river and somehow I got on the wrong side,” he said. “I actually thought we were gone.”

He was able to escape, and eventually walked into a friendly military encampment. Carr said he was unsure exactly how far he traveled.

“You lay in by day and travel by night,” he said. “You’re scared to death of booby traps, so you travel by inches instead of miles.”

The irony was that he was supposed to be a wheeled-vehicle mechanic and stay on the ground.

“We had a sergeant who would take out a few of us and fire different weapons,” he said. “We thought it was fun. But when I got over there, I was classified as a multi-weapons expert.”

When he arrived in Vietnam, he was given his orders and told to get his equipment.

“They came back with a machine gun and two cans of ammunition,” Carr said, noting that he looked around at the time, somewhat confused as to who indeed was supposed to receive the gun and ammo.

The supply clerk’s answer was a shock — “You do,” Carr was told.

When he finally was on board the helicopter and test-firing the gun, he asked the pilot what the life expectancy of a door gunner was.

“Seven minutes, you’re on borrowed time,” came the reply.

“You don’t think about it,” Carr recalled. “We had gone into hot LZs (landing zones) to extract infantrymen who had been hit. Your job is to get them out as best you can.”

Well, he was busted before for the same stuff, so it was just a simple process to find the FOIA we already had. He was indeed in Vietnam from February 1967 – January 1968 as a mechanic. He spent three years on active duty and three years in the Reserves and he got out as a Private First Class, not sergeant.

Richard Carr FOIA

Richard Carr Assignments

The only DPAA listing for an Army POW named Carr is Donald Gene, an O-3 whose remains were returned late last year;


I guess it wasn’t enough that he served when most of his generation wouldn’t.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (92)

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  1. Green Thumb says:

    This turd looks like that old dude from Krull.

  2. AverageNCO says:

    I just got off the phone with the reporter so I don’t think we need to put him on blast with a million phone calls–yet. It’s a case identical from the one in Lubbock TX last fall. He was eligible to be on the honor flight…he just had to crap all over honorable service with the POW nonsense.

    • Green Thumb says:

      They should throw his ass off the honor flight.

      From 35,000 feet.

      Claiming POW status is fucking low.

      • R. L. Carr (5th degree Zordon Master) says:

        I am universe.

        The all-seeing eye of Vathrusia III.

        From 35,000 feet the beasts of Gondora will ascend and carry me through the power of Zordon.

  3. Martinjmpr says:

    While it’s easy for me to understand why a mechanic would want to “sex up” his military bio with tales of being a door gunner or SEAL or green beret or force recon or whatever, I simply do not “get” the POW thing.

    And I know I’ve said it before on these pages, ad nauseum.

    Serious question for the group: Could it be the movie “The Deer Hunter?” I know it sounds bizarre but it seems to me that was the movie that somehow made being a POW (and escaping, of course!) look – I dunno, somehow cool and awesome.

    I mean, it could be simpler, it could be just the unique status of a POW as a “Victim-Hero” that makes it such an attractive status to seek but these stories have become so common they’re almost cliche’s.

    • Green Thumb says:

      It could be Deer Hunter.

      Remember when the movie Navy SEALS came out in the late 80’s(?)?

      There was an explosion of turds. “That was me” or “that’s what we did”.

      Fake SEAL city for dudes looking for some trim.

      Me personally, I like claiming “Undercover Ice Cream Inspector”. It never really has gotten me anywhere, but I am working on it!

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        I just go with the mistletoe belt buckle at christmas time and let it work itself out as appropriate….

        I might be a heathen but I’m also an opportunist.

        • Hack Stone says:

          Precious Metals Recovery Specialist. Works every time. I was in the conference room of corporate headquarters, and when I told Elaine Ricci that is what I did in the Marine Corps, she was all over me like Chevy on a block of cheese. It was rather awkward, as we were in the conference room so that Psaul/Psalmer could give us our annual “Ethics In Government Contracting” training.

        • Casey says:

          Mistletoe in the hatband used to work, back in the day…

      • Michael says:

        After Black Hawk Down, everybody was a Ranger.

    • Sandman says:

      I’m pretty sure the ‘Missing in Action’ series of films probably didn’t help either.

    • Bruno Stachel says:


      While I certainly mean no disrespect to anyone who has ever been held as a POW, I also do not “get” the whole phony POW thing, and I do not understand why so many phonies want to claim POW status.

      I had an uncle who was a POW in WW2, and I am acquainted with two of the POWs who were shot down and captured during Operation DESERT STORM. All of them were unanimous in stating that being a POW is something that should be avoided at all costs, and that there is nothing about being a POW that is either glamorous, glorious, or heroic. None of them ever enjoyed talking about their experiences, and they certainly never bragged to anyone about being a POW. In fact, my uncle sometimes sounded somewhat ashamed for having been captured during the few times that he actually spoke about it.

      I think that we could all agree that while many POWs have done extremely heroic things while they were imprisoned (American POWs in the Hanoi Hilton for example), we can also still recognize that there is nothing inherently heroic about the actual event of being captured by the enemy. As my uncle would say, avoid it at all costs.

      As I said, I know some actual POWs, and I will always have the greatest respect for anyone who has endured the horrific experience of being held as a POW, regardless of the circumstances that led to their capture.

      But I will probably never understand why so many phonies want to falsely claim that they were POWs, as if POW status is somehow something to strive for as some sort of battlefield achievement.

      • Ncat says:

        I think the POW claimants are a particular breed of phony. They aren’t, necessarily, putting themselves forward as tough guys (SEALS, SF, Rangers, etc.) who want admiration for their meaty manhood. Rather the opposite, they’re people who want even more special snowflake status. They actually enjoy pity and the act of putting on their pious face and speaking in low tones about being “over there.”
        It’s like the guy or gal in the office who’s medical problems are always worse than yours.
        As for where they got the idea, “Deer Hunter”, “Missing in Action”,
        “Rescue Dawn”, “Bridge Over the River Kwai”, “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence.”

        • Bill M says:

          Get ready for more. I think it’s History Channel which is starting a show called Six about Seal Team Six, natch. So more inspiration coming, of the Hollysh^t variety.

          • Martinjmpr says:

            It’s been apparent for a long time that the History Channel needs to put sarcasm quotes around its name and call itself the “History” Channel.

    • Marine_7002 says:

      It’s very simple. These low life scum sucking worthless walking turd piles are attention whores. No more no less.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        No, I disagree. There is a different pathology here – it’s perfectly reasonable to desire respect or admiration.

        Even amoral shitheads who pretend to be SEAL/Ranger/Green Beret/Force Recon/Space Shuttle Door Gunners are acting reasonably (if reprehensibly) by trying to obtain (through fraud and lies) the tangible benefits that come with being recognized as a member of an elite military unit.

        OTOH, what the POW posers seem to want (as was said above) is not so much admiration as it is pity. And that is what makes them different.

        These are people who crave the particular type of pity that is accorded to victims. These people embrace their (fake) victim-hood and roll around in it.

        BTW it wouldn’t surprise me if people with this type of psychological profile also fake being victims of other well known events like 9/11, mass shootings, the OKC bombing, etc.

        • Hondo says:

          Many if not most people admire and respect those who have survived severe hardships and ordeals, Martinjmpr. I think that’s as much at work here as seeking pity.

          And I agree with Marine_7002 – regardless of the reason, many if not most of this ilk are simply attention whores. We’re merely arguing over what form of attention they’re selling their good name and integrity to obtain.

        • Kat says:

          Funny you mention 9/11, there was a women that started after 9/11, first as a hanger on, then a docent of sorts giving tours around the remains of the building and such. Then she was the LAST ONE helped out by the last man known to help others out, then her fiancé died. Well, she ends up leading a support group for survivors!!!!Find out she was a student in SPAIN at the time, people saw her in class there and came forward!! Munchausen by disaster dx perhaps? I am not part of a disaster so I make it so to have special status, a victim?

  4. IDC SARC says:


  5. nbcguy54ACTUAL says:

    Everybody wants to be a VN door-gunner….

    • 3/17 Air Cav says:

      Everybody wants to be a VN doorgunner! Yep, they do, usually after they are. Nice and safe, back home. Only thing missing from this old coots story, is being held in a bamboo cage

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        and being forced to play Russian roulette for betting purposes by his captors, until he was able to trick them into letting him play with three bullets…on that day they learned to rue their mistake I tell ya!

      • nousdefions says:

        …and swimming the dirty mile down the Mekong river.

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      I’m thoroughly convinced that the number of helicopters we lost in Vietnam wasn’t so much from NVA ground fire as it was from being overweight from all the untrained, undocumented door gunners who simply grabbed an M-60, couple cans of ammo and hopped aboard,

      • USMCMSgt(Ret) says:

        That would make the 7 minute life expectancy argument a little easier to believe.

      • 3/17 Air Cav says:

        Just……..picking up ammo from supply, plus a single M-60 from same, is NOT they way it Worked with the 1st. Cav. I’d say more but all it does is give these assholes more education

  6. sj says:

    Claw, 3/17 and I will come up with some really good no-shit stories of daring do this Saturday at the TAH-West gathering. They will be as believable as this one.

    • Green Thumb says:

      Where in the West, if I may ask?

      • sj says:

        At the stately Claw mansion in Idaho. I’ll leave it to Claw to be more specific, if desired…OPSEC etc.

        • Green Thumb says:


          I am not that far away, so to speak.

          A party just ain’t a party without the Thumb.

          • Claw says:

            Thumb, you’re more than welcome to come join us.

            So Come On Down (or up or over, whatever the case may be.)

            • Hack Stone says:

              Will we be able to teleconference in?

            • sj says:

              Can Thumb bring that infamous dog of his? I know the stately Claw manor has a huge yard but between his dog and my Lab, there would be a lot of steaming piles.

              • Claw says:

                Yep. He sure can.

                I’ve got a Claw Tootsie Roll Picker-Upper and a 32 gallon trash can for all such gifts.

                Either that or I can load up the pick-up bed and go fertilize my Brother-In-Law’s hay field.

                • 3/17 Air Cav says:

                  Claw…..careful what you say, SJ, being a officer and all could have you and I out in your yard picking up dog turds and cig. Butts! Smile

                  I’m in LaGrande planning on leaving early. Should arrive at fire base “Claw” about three. I’ll call once I’m on the road

                  • sj says:

                    The operative thing is SJ WAS an officer. I now have a 214. Plus, any successes that ole SJ had was because he knew early on to listen when an NCO said: “would the LT like for me to….”

                    I will report to the stately Claw manor when ordered. My ETA at the RV park is o/a 1400. I did a Class VI run today. SJ is a little down because of losing a dear friend and soldier. You guys will talk me out of it, I’m sure. The Lord works in mysterious ways in that I’ll be at a TAH gathering so soon after hearing about a Red Leg buddy’s passing.

                    • Hondo says:

                      Sorry to hear that, SJ. Can’t say I knew the man, but I’ll raise a glass in his memory tonight.

            • sj says:

              Who’s doing the Training Schedule? Hope its Pay Day Procedures including Command Information. No SHARP lectures I hope.

          • Claw says:

            Thumb, just E-Mail Jonn for my PII and Phone Number.

            I hereby authorize it’s release to you.

            Give me a call, we’ll work out the particulars.

            Plenty of room at Stately Claw Manor for you.

            • Hondo says:

              FWIW, Claw: the current term (well, as of a few years ago) was DONSA – “Day of No Scheduled Activities”. Seems to be much the same thing as what was formerly referred to as a “Training Holiday.”

              I guess the change in terminology was someone on the ARSTAFF’s way of “adding value”.

        • Claw says:

          One mile north of Exit 313 off of US20 as you’re driving from Idaho Falls to like Rigby or Rexburg.

          GT, if you want to come, we can go Tat-Boy Beck hunting while you’re here.

          • Green Thumb says:

            Let me check the schedule.

            I might be tied up but then again, I might not.

            I also have to check with CINCHOUSE 6.

            • Claw says:

              Hell, clear the schedule and bring the CINC6 with ya.

              It would be, like, totally Rad, Man, if you could join us.

              • sj says:

                My 6 is looking forward to this even though she is a Leg and has never been around Army grunts. Her amazing Dad was a USAF Master Sergeant but he never told her jack about his career until I came along and dragged it out of him. I’ll tell you the results Saturday.

  7. jakes says:

    He could have thought he was a POW of U.S. Forces for being drafted?

    • Claw says:

      Nope. No draft. He has a Regular Army Serial Number and did three years on active duty.

      Discharged as a Permanent PFC after three years does raise a few eyebrows, though.

      Just another Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic who learned that snorting GAA was bad for you.

      • Old 1SG, US Army (retired) says:

        Looks like he had a (P) behind his rank… Being a “promotable” PFC is almost like a sergeant, right?

        That should have at least gotten him off the door gunner duty roster…

        The dirt bag can take the greyhound to DC…

        As far a GAA, I’m sure he was pretty “handy” with it… what a jerkoff!

        • Claw says:

          Old 1SG, back in those days, I believe they had Permanent (P) and Temporary (T) enlisted ranks.

          Not exactly sure how it all worked as I came in later.

          I think it had to do with putting in enough Time In Grade/Time In Service on a rank to go from Temporary to Permanent before being eligible to compete for the next higher rank.

          I’ve seen a lot of older DD214’s with the “T” and “P” annotated on them.

  8. Hondo says:

    For completeness: the list of US personnel who escaped from enemy captivity in SEA and returned to US control is short – 37 names. It’s also publicly available.

    The same is true of those POWs from SEA who eventually were returned alive, though that list is considerably longer (684 names):

    The last name “CARR” does not appear on either list. You do the math on whether or not this guy is a LSoS.

  9. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    “It [Huey] landed in the river and somehow I got on the wrong side.” Cripes. He said only two things in that one line and they’re both f’ed up.

    • Claw says:

      That sounds like the scene from The Mummy after the boat burned up.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      He must have watched ‘Bat 21’, that scene where the helicopter with Jerry Reed in it got shot at and landed badly in the rice paddy… or something like that.

  10. Bobo says:

    Anyone know what the MOS or ASI for multi-weapons expert is?

    • Claw says:

      You’d have to ask Killer Killam on that one. He was one of those also, as in “expertise with weapons”.

      But don’t ask PV9 Gainey about it, though, cause a soldier’s MOS is just not important to him.

      • GDContractor says:

        Dang you Claw! Beat me by seconds! Wish I could be there this weekend to listen and fetch beers!

    • GDContractor says:

      Ask 1SEAC Gainey and he’ll get back to you.

      • Claw says:

        Speaking of the 1st SEAC and his buddy the 3rd SEAC, did you happen to know that the 3rd SEAC’s Wikipedia entry also claims him as having three NDSM’s?

        Only problem, though, is the 3rd SEAC didn’t enter the Army until 1982.

        So that’s three different E-9s now that claim three NDSMs.

        1st SEAC, PV9 Carrot Top, and the 3rd SEAC.

        I really am beginning to sense a pattern.

      • Todd Davis says:

        My wife and I met Joe Gainey at the reception following the change of responsibily / retirement ceremony for my good friend and former Di Bryan Battaglia last dec. seemed like a nice guy

    • USMCMSgt(Ret) says:

      For the Marine Corps, the only thing that comes close is the 0306 MOS.

  11. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Three years AD and three years in the Reserves ending up as a PFC. Perpetually mediocre or a dickstepper? Fuck him either way.

  12. USMCMSgt(Ret) says:

    I like how he claims familiarization fire was the method of being tricked into becoming a weapons expert, followed with being given a gun and two boxes of ammo when he arrived and him saying “Da fuk?”

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      It was that sharpshooter badge that clinched the deal.

      • Claw says:

        Yep, that’s why they gave him a gun.

        If he only had a Marksman Badge, he would have ended up only being an Ammo Bearer.

        • USMCMSgt(Ret) says:

          Had he been sporting an expert badge, suppose the CIA would have drafted him? Rangers? Something else (I.e. Interchange agreement with SEALS)

          • Martinjmpr says:

            They would have given him a poison dart gun, a photo of Ho Chi Minh and a suicide pill and sent him to Hanoi.

  13. Perry Gaskill says:

    It’s surprising ol’ Carr isn’t posed for the photo wearing a Stetson, and babbling “one skid low!” or some such.

    One of the ways these stories can fall apart is when what someone says doesn’t match up with who was actually doing what, where and when. According to his DD-214, Carr was supposed to be assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion of the Second Field Force from February ’67 to January ’68. At that time, the IIFF was located in Long Binh, just outside Saigon, in the III Corps area. Other than being HQ for the IIFF, Long Binh was also both a main replacement depot for troops going in country, and the site of a main stockade known as Long Binh Jail.

    Meanwhile, at the time Carr says he was doing chopper-door-gunner fu, the 1st Cav was nowhere near Long Binh, but instead up in Binh Dinh Province and the Central Highlands, both in II Corps, until it moved to Quang Tri in I Corps in early January ’68. One of the interesting dates on the Carr DD-214 is that he evidently DEROSed a day prior to the launch of Tet on January 30 of ’68.

    Carr’s claim that “You lay in by day and travel by night” also doesn’t pass the sniff test. It’s the kind of thing somebody would say who never actually had to move around at night– when the chances of getting greased by friendly fire were probably almost equal to anything the NVA was likely to do.

  14. Skippy says:

    Wish I was still in New Mexico, my neighbor would get a kick out of this story.
    He loves the one about of fake helicopter pilot running the FB page, and has said he has meet more POWs in the last 8 years then he thought possible for the entire war in Southeast Asia not bad.
    Another Ding Dong down the drain. Enjoy being Google famous

  15. SFC D says:

    Gandalf was a door gunner, who knew?

  16. charles w says:

    So they shot down his deuce and a half?

  17. ex-OS2 says:


    I bet he was James Walls door gunner. The stories they could tell….

  18. Keri VanNuland says:

    Maybe you guys could help me out… I have a son who just started his AF career (just graduated BMT) who is curious about both of his grandfathers military service. One was Army, one was Marine, both during Vietnam era but neither ever talked about their service before dying. How do I go about finding out what they did and where? I don’t think my father fought in Vietnam because pictures showed him on a tank somewhere with snow on the ground. My father in law (Marine) I wonder about because we had to wake him up with a broomstick due to swinging and yelling. I really don’t know where to get the paperwork and how to read it. Any ideas!

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      Check the “Military Records” link at the top of each page for links to the forms and the instructions to get military records of antecedents.

  19. Kevin says:

    I checked with the local Honor Flight and they said that they verify the veterans service but do not verify their claims of being a POW or receiving a high valor award.

  20. J3 says:

    Not trying to defend him – I despise and stolen valor – but do you think the old guy could just be seriously demented? My own Dad, may he rest in peace, in his last few hospital stays, I would come visit each night and he would tell me stuff about people coming to visit him ( whom I knew were dead) and being taken to a building across town for therapy ( when he had not left his room) You think???

    • AverageNCO says:

      He’s been telling this story a LONG time.

    • OWB says:

      My own father had bad, bad dementia, and in his last few years told some tall tales, too. But, near as I could verify, he was more in a time warp than actually making things up.

      Seriously interesting time when he slipped into dehydration while in the hospital awaiting surgery. There were marshals and all sorts of folks in the room with us. I just acted as if I saw them, too – in an effort to keep him as calm as possible.

      All just to say that even when suffering horrid lapses in memory, having Alzheimer’s and assorted other physical problems, he did not lie or exaggerate his own service. He may not have known what decade we were in and his personality may have taken a radical turn but the result did not include lying.

  21. R. L. Carr says:

    I escaped from the POW camp by killing a man with a bamboo shard I sharpened over a period of weeks. I karate chopped the other guard in the neck and severed his larynx from his trodium in the process. With the two guards discombobulated, I made my egress to the river where I killed a crocodile with the same shard, then rode its corpse down to safety. This is all true but top secret so they couldn’t put it in my DD214.

  22. R. L. Carr says:

    I can see through time. Just look at my eyes, but not for too long, or you will enter the 5th dimension.

  23. William T Campbell says:

    I spent my entire Viet Nam tour as a POW on a Navy ship docked in Long Beach. Thought I would never get out! Finally escaped and fled back to my wife to think of what I went through.

    J/K of course, but as a Viet Nam era veteran who never left the west coast, I am proud that I served and supported the brothers and sisters who went over there.

    • R. L. Carr says:

      I was at the Battle of Long Beach. Saw a lot of good men go down…some things you just can’t forget and those dreams of the landings on the beach will forever haunt me. The Oracle of Zanthruman and Spells of the Holy Warriors are the only things that keep me grounded. Peace be to the Zornax of the 5th Dimension.

  24. F@ckyocouch says:

    Are they holding auditions for the Dukes of Hazzard? Cause this guy is a shoo in for Uncle Jesse.

    • IDC SARC says:

      That would be an insult to Denver Pyle since he served in WWII and was wounded at Guadalcanal.