Vernon Allen Smith; phony Vietnam veteran

| July 8, 2016


The folks at Military Phony send us their work on this fellow, Vernon Allen Smith, a local celebrity in Houston, Texas. He was a “Trivia Master” with a local sports bar on Thursday nights. Unfortunately, he passed away last month. Local media celebrated his military service;

Vernon Smith claims

Vernon Smith claims2

From the Houston Chronicle;

Vernon was the squad commander of a special US Army long-range reconnaissance patrol (“LLRP”) before and after the cease fire of the Vietnam War. His unit secretly parachuted into and worked only in Laos with the objective of search and rescue for US prisoners of war (“POWs”). He took “point” almost every day and deeply cared for his men and his mission. Vernon received commendations and was honorably discharged in 1975.

Not according to the National Personnel Records Center. He enlisted in March 1972 and he was honorably discharged in February 1975. He was a mechanized infantryman, an 11D in those days and he did all of his time in Germany;

Vernon Smith FOIA

Vernon Smith Assignments

His obit said that he parachuted in Laos to look for POWs, but there is no parachute training. There are no service awards for his service in Southeast Asia. Of course, it’s possible that family told the media those stories about his military service with no prompting by Smith himself, but not likely.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (40)

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  1. Daisy Cutter says:

    There are plenty of phony POWs that can vouch for him.

    Oh yeah, BTW… FIRST!

  2. Combat Historian says:

    C’mon, this “hero” is legit; being a LRRP leader parachuting into Laos looking for MIAs was his additional duty. Every Friday night, he departed Fulda and caught a MAC hop out of Rhein Main straight to Saigon to get briefed and prepped for his LRRP missions into Laos, and by Monday morning he was back with 11th ACR carrying out his assigned mech duties. The man’s a stud, I tell you…///

    • Daisy Cutter says:

      When other people went on liberty, I volunteered for special missions. Never knowing if I’d return, the necessary and important work of recovering POWs was not just a weekend hobby for me, it was a passion. I felt a warm glow inside when I’d return on Monday to my regular job in Germany, dying to tell someone of my brush with the grim reaper. I was sworn to secrecy for no other reason than the missions could no longer be labeled “SECRET” if I violated the code of silence. So, I remained in my surreal world and took satisfaction in knowing what I did was noble. No, I couldn’t talk about it. I can’t even talk about it to this very day. Well, except for it being printed in a magazine and a local newspaper. Even then, I would ask that you eat the article once you have read it. Scrub it from the internets. I don’t like to talk about it.

      • Poetrooper says:

        And shotgun your monitors after you read this…

      • 1610desig says:

        yes, I gave up the exemplary beer, the skiing, the hiking, the loose German women (think of buxom, lactating Heidi rolling in the edelweiss…grrrr) and the drugs so I could be there for my country….and I clearly have shown excellent judgement in doing so…

      • jarhead says:

        Daisy…please stop suggesting people eat the article once they have read it. Trust me, it tastes like pure bullshit!!!!! So bad, it even smelled as I was reading it.

      • jarhead says:

        Daisy……please stop telling readers to eat the article after they have read it. Trust me, it tastes like pure bullshit!!!! Even as being read, it smelled something awful.

  3. sj says:

    Another SLurRpPer! Wonder if the 2 met during their daring do events?

    • HMCS(FMF) ret. says:

      They ‘chuted in to Hanoi looking for an original pair of Ho Chi Minh sandals… but found a guy that ran an “all you can eat” placed that served up Cream of Sum Yung Guy soup.

      QuEeFeRs loves himself some Cream of Sum Yung Guy soup…

  4. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Oh, a bogus LRRP? WTF is it with these nuthatches?

  5. Hondo says:

    So, he was a “LRRP in Vietnam”, eh? DiD hE tYpE lIkE tHiS wHeN tAlKiNg AbOuT hImSeLf?

  6. Martinjmpr says:

    Well, I’ve heard of the “Legendary Chinese Bandits” so maybe he was one of the less legendary Japanese bandits?

  7. Silentium Est Aureum says:

    Phony LRRP asshats and getting drunk in sports bars.

    I’m sensing a pattern here. Did the late Mr. Smith also have a shitty GoFundMe page asking for a half million bucks?

    • Green Thumb says:

      By the looks of him I imagine it was more along the lines of an “I will suck your ass” page.

      I doubt he even charged or solicited money.

      He probably met them in “sports” bars.

  8. USMCMSgt(Ret) says:

    I’m impressed he was able to “hit a bull’s eye at 100 yards with an open-sighted AR 15”.

    Since when did having actual parachute training or attending specialized schools become a requirement for anything? After all, we’ve read stories about mechanics and supply types being told to hop aboard helicopters, only to become door gunners through “on the job training”, right?

    We all know the military has always been fast-and-loose in the way things are done.

    As far as the absence of awards or decorations he would have received while serving in Vietnam, the truth is he “turned them down” because “he was just doing his duty”, and so on. Same goes for any combat insignia. Those are absent because “Who needs those accolades? I was a soldier… a LRRP! Bringing hate and discontent upon our enemies is WHAT WE DO!”

    FOIA? Information provided on that is incorrect because of his clandestine service with the CIA (or because some clerk screwed up his DD214.)

    C’mon folks?! Isn’t ANYONE paying attention?!

    • Hondo says:

      C’mon folks?! Isn’t ANYONE paying attention?!

      We are, aye. But we’re also a bit auld t’be a’ believin’ in Leprechauns. (smile)

  9. Hondo says:

    I also got a chuckle out of the following:

    “He later enrolled in the US Army in 1972, serving before and after the Vietnam War in a search-and-rescue unit . . . . “

    Obviously the author of that drivel was clueless regarding the dates of the Vietnam War.

  10. Chip says:

    Before I came to this site I was unaware how many phony soldiers there were. Now that I have that awareness I meet them on a regular basis where I work which is at a medical facility. Most of the people wearing items identifying themselves as veterans usually are not. They can not answer even the most basic questions correctly. What is wrong with people?

    • Hondo says:

      Simple. Whenever something can be obtained by lying, sooner or later someone will lie to get it – and likely sooner vice later. That is true for both material gains (money, property, goods/services) and intangible things (increased respect and prestige).

      The same is also true regarding avoiding consequences for misbehavior.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        Adding fuel to the fire is what has been called “the Great Divorce”, that is, the separation of the military from mainstream American life.

        It’s a bit of a soapbox issue for me but here’s my theory:

        50 years ago, military service was a common rite of passage for men (and some women) in America.

        With the advent of the all-volunteer military in the 1970’s, combined with the beating that the military’s reputation took following the Vietnam debacle, the military turned inward. Increasingly, those who raised their hands to serve turned out to be the sons and daughters of those who had served previously (and I’m no exception – my father was in the Army in the 1950’s and 60s’.)

        The result of all this has been the creation of what amounts to a military caste in the US. There are those of us who serve – and then there is everyone else.

        This means that to the average civilian -whether it’s a court judge, a newspaper reporter, or an employer, the only exposure they’ve had to the military is second hand, through movies, television, books, and other forms of pop culture.

        But pop culture is only going to focus on the most exciting and glamorous parts of military service. Nobody would watch a movie called “Black Hawk Down For Maintenance (Where’s the Avionics Mechanic?)” and nobody is going to play a video game titled “Call of Duty: Supply Room.”

        Fakers want attention. They want the glory and admiration that their actual life has denied them, so they glom onto those things that bring them the most attention: “I was a Navy SEAL/Sniper/Recon/Green Beret/Ranger/Space Shuttle Door Gunner with 500 confirmed kills.”

        And sadly, even some of those who have served, and served honorably, feel compelled to “sex up” their service stories so they match the only impression of the military that most civilians get.

        I was a kid 50 years ago so I’m not certain but I’d be willing to bet it was tougher to be a military faker because American society was, at that time, full of actual military veterans who would have been able to smell a BS story when it was being told.

        • Poetrooper says:

          Martin, this ol’ Vietnam vet sure wishes you’d have put the adjective “undeserved” before “beating”.

        • jarhead says:

          Martin….good write, good read. You know what amazes the hell out of me? Twice a year our church salutes veterans with a quick stand up and brief song or two. Plenty, if not too much for me. The church we belonged to earlier made such a big deal out of it that the posers went crazy walking around slapping each other on the back as well as greeting members sitting with a hand out…”please recognize and congratulate me”. Made me want to puke, to tell the truth. Back to my point, at this and one other church we attended, the number of veterans who stood when asked were less than 5% of all adult males. With so many troops in RVN, I had always assumed (incorrectly) that most every male wore the uniform at one time or another.
          Anyone know the percentage of males who actually served in any given war?

          • Perry Gaskill says:

            Google fu results:

            9,087,000 military personnel served on active duty during the official Vietnam era from August 5, 1964 to May 7, 1975.

            2,709,918 Americans served in uniform in Vietnam. 1/3 of those were drafted.

            Vietnam Veterans represented 9.7% of their generation.

            U.S. population in 1970 was 205.1 million

            Here’s a link with additional facts if you’re interested:


            • jarhead says:

              Thanks Perry….really an interesting read. Some might well take exception to the so-called myth: “America did not lose the war in Vietnam.” The way I recall seeing it was NVA tanks rolling directly into Saigon and we were doing our best to get the hell out of there. Somebody calls that “winning”? It’s history now and most of us have gotten over it and really don’t give a damn what the manipulators write. Would I go back under the same circumstances, knowing we’d be hot-footing it out of Saigon when the NVA tanks rolled in? Probably not, knowing the pain, suffering and losses resulting from that shit hole. The only thing that would call me back would be the eternal friendships and camaraderie. In spite of all, there are some good memories all of us share.

  11. Sparks says:

    Queer bait!

  12. Perry Gaskill says:

    Dunno. Personally, I’m not sure the evidence is clear enough to flog some dead guy based on an obituary in the Houston Chronicle.

    My own recollection of the 11D MOS was that it was a holdover from the infantry scout of World War II. Essentially a recon function separate from that of 11B and 11C. I remember having a conversation with a guy at the end of basic who was headed to 11D AIT, and what he said was that he had enlisted for the MOS because that’s what the recruiter had told him.

    It’s also apparent that the Chronicle’s source for the obit is the Bradshaw Carter funeral home who was probably paid to provide a glowing sendoff for the dearly departed. From sketchy information provided by family or whatever, Vietnam-era could have become Viet Nam vet, and infantry scout/recon could have become LRRP in Laos.

    Since Vern Smith isn’t around to defend himself, and since there’s little evidence he made a big deal out of his military service, I’d be willing to cut the man some slack.

    • Luddite4Change says:

      I believe the 11D MOS became 19D Cavalry Scout in the late 70’s early 80’s. I remember serving with guys who were re-class and were less than happy about losing the ability to earn item like the EIB as they were no longer infantry but still required the same training.

      Much like CSM Plumley as few weeks back, I’m unconvinced that Mr. Smith “stole valor” based only on a obit likely written by someone else.

      • rgr769 says:

        Someone “stole valor” on his behalf. I know from personal experience as a LRRP company commander that no LRRP’s parachuted into Laos for any reason, especially in 1971 or 1972. CCN of MACVSOG was the only unit that had US soldiers on the ground in Laos in 1971-1972,excluding those unfortunates who were shot down during Lam Son 719. Someone created this fabulist fiction about him – most likely he did.

        • Luddite4Change says:

          I know there were no units doing much of anything in Vietnam by the time he served. IIRC the last ground combat element (there is some discrepancy if it was 3/21st Inf or 1/7th Cav) left Vietnam in summer of 72.

          As for evident that he stole valor,it looks less robust at this point compared to what normally graces these pages. (That doesn’t mean that he didn’t, just that its not provable at this point. Kinda like email.)

          Is there a picture of the guy wearing stuff he didn’t earn, or publicly speaking about his exploits?

  13. The Ghost of Vernon Allen Smith says:


  14. nousdefions says:

    Of course his records say Germany. That way Charlie wouldn’t see him coming….

  15. Keepin' It Real says:

    Trying to imagine what it was like. I think something like this…


    “Germany, shit. I’m still only in Germany. Every time I think I’m going to wake up back in the jungle. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I’d wake up and there’d be nothing…

    All I could think of was getting back into the jungle.

    I’ve been here a week now. Waiting for a mission, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room I get weaker. And every minute Charlie squats in the bush he gets stronger.

    Each time I look around the walls move in a little tighter.

    Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service.

    It was a real choice mission. And when it was over, I’d never want another.”

  16. Green Thumb says:

    Another shitbag who continues to shame his family beyond the grave.

  17. Eden says:

    Just FYI, the obituary on this guy is a paid obituary written by the family, not by a staff member of the Chronicle. Evidently he’d told his lies enough that his family believed them.

    • CWP says:

      Too true. I see and hear this often from non military family members and haven’t the heart to tell them that they are spreading obvious B.S.

  18. 19D2OR4-Smitty says:

    11D was Scout, not mech infantry. It was split in the late 70s to 19D in the Armor branch.

    11M was mech infantry

  19. Richard says:

    USMCMsgt mentioned times when he augmented platoons with non-combat types. We did that in Iraq in ’04. Our platoon had lost our PL, FIST, and a Squad Leader, plus 3 more injured, and one more non-combat injury; so on a few missions we took a couple cooks that wanted some action. One cook left the Army after we got back (UA positive for weed), I lost touch with the other. Later,in ’05, in a different unit, a LRSC (decendent of LRRP) we had a few missions where we took commo wizards or mechanics as needed.

  20. Richard says: