Eric Joseph Johnson; phony wounded vet

| September 19, 2016

Eric Joseph Johnson mugshot

The folks at Military Phonies sent us their work on this fellow, Eric Joseph Johnson, who is a fairly prolific writer at Twitter and Reddit. Some of the names he’s used are “TrollingThunder”, “Problematic Johnson”, “Metalmartyr” and more recently “Martial Daww”. He claims that he served with 101st Airborne Division’s 187th Infantry Regiment (“Rakkasans”) during Operation Anaconda, a battle that was fought March 2, 2002 until about March 18th;




Yeah, well if he was in that battle, he needs to alert the Army, they thought that he was a deserter during that period. According to his records, he came off of deserter status (DFR – dropped from rolls) on March 27th, 2002. He’d been AWOL since April 4, 2001 while he was in Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning after a little more than 2 months of training. He’d never been assigned to the 101st or the 187th Regiment. He spent three months after he was apprehended at Fort Knox getting processed out of the Army and then he was out on the street.

Eric Joseph Johnson FOIA

Eric Joseph Johnson FOIA Assignments

No awards, no combat, just a brief military career interrupted by being a deserter and a prisoner.

Mr. Johnson sends this;

I see people speculating about what may cause someone to do this. I don’t know what drives other people, but I can try to explain why I did. I tend to be long winded, but I’ll attempt to make my points as quickly as possible.

I despise my rash decision in early April 2001 to slip out of Ft Benning one afternoon while on light indoor duty profile due to a foot injury. In a life full of disappointments and stupid choices, this is still the one that eats at me the most. I had joined the Army infantry for the wrong reason. My ASVAB scores were high enough that I could have had my pick of MOS. Instead, I wanted to earn the respect of my role model, someone whose respect I craved my entire life, who I had been estranged from for many years. I chose to go in to the infantry, because I was sure that would prove I was worthy of respect from this person. My recruiter promised me Airborne school, but I ended up assigned as an 11X and during boot camp was made a Bradley Dismount (I think it was 11M at the time). Since I was fairly certain that Bradleys aren’t typically deployed by air, I was disappointed. But I kept going. I wanted to fight in a war, just like my “hero” had, because I thought that would show this person that I wasn’t the complete fuckup that I had felt like I was since I was a child. While at Ft. Benning I discovered that my role model had lied to me about their entire military service and multiple combat tours. I had listened and believed and proudly spread these lies my entire life up to that point. I refused to believe it and was then provided with concrete evidence, more damning even than what is posted here about me. I was completely blindsided. Devastated doesn’t even describe how I felt. I couldn’t even wrap my head around this news, and instead of speaking to someone or trying to tough it out, I just lost my shit and left. I deeply regret that.

I walked into a recruiting office in early 2002 and said that I was AWOL and wanted to know how to go back. The recruiters called the police, I was taken to county jail, and there I waited for a week or so until I was released and handed a bus ticket to Ft Knox. After a bunch of processing and waiting around at Ft Knox, a few men called me into an office to sign paperwork. I believe there was a JAG (I may be incorrect), an E7 and an Officer who did the talking. I immediately asked if I could go back to Benning and complete OSUT. It wasn’t too long after 9/11 and like most everyone in America, I was pissed and wanted to go fight. I had mostly gotten over the rage and feelings of betrayal at that point (so I thought), and wanted to do what I promised to do. Unfortunately due to how long I was gone, the fact that I had been arrested a couple of times while I was “on the lam” (I have no clue why my deserter status never came up during those arrests), and probably just the fact that my face pissed the decision makers off, my request was firmly denied. I wonder sometimes if I had told them what happened and why I bitched out if it would have made a difference. At the time I was worried that if I told them they would somehow make life difficult for my former role model. In the meantime I had alienated everyone who gave a damn about me and I had nowhere to go. When I stepped off the bus in Ohio I didn’t know who to call or where to go. I was a mess. Within three months I was homeless. They put a notation, or a code, or something on my DD-214 that immediately told recruiters that I could not reenlist. I know that because I tried, and even asked if there was a waiver available because “I really mean it this time”. I was told that wasn’t possible. I found out a few years ago that there actually was a possibility of getting a waiver and re-evaluation, but at that point I was over 35 and too deep in my self dug scumpond of bullshit to crawl my way out of it anyway.

Now, before I continue, this isn’t a pity party I’m throwing. I was homeless because of my own choices as an adult. I was arrested multiple times because I’m an asshole. People didn’t want to be around me because I was unpredictable and mean. I’ve tried in the past to blame things that happened during my childhood for my behavior and the decisions I made later in life, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to know that I made those choices on my own. Lots of people grow up in shitty situations and don’t end up like me. I’m just trying to own it and explain how this came to be a post on and with my face plastered on it. To do so I wanted to give a bit of backstory.

Over the next five or so years after leaving the Army I moved constantly. I think that I lived in eight different states and maybe a dozen cities at the time. I was staying wherever I could and working odd jobs until I got bored and just stopped going or let my temper get the better of me and got fired. I’d inevitably alienate the few friends I had made or get dumped by whoever I was shacking up with and I’d just pack up and go somewhere else. It became routine, and I was pretty much numb to it. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I just knew that I was a scumbag who self medicated with copious amounts of alcohol that had nobody he could count on, no more than $100 bucks in my pocket at any one time, and although I wished many times that I could do so, was too cowardly to even kill myself. It was around this time that the paid blogging boom started, and with my one recognizable gift (spinning a pretty decent tale), I had steady work as long as I had access to a computer, and any library in any city had one of those.

I also discovered reddit and Facebook and Twitter and suddenly I felt like I could be someone else. I could be someone that people respected. I got to be this person I have always wished that I had turned out to be and nobody would ever be the wiser. The problem was that sometimes I’d meet people in real life that I had talked to first online. It got really dicey when it turned out that we liked each other and wanted to hang out. Now I’ve put myself into a situation where they may ask me specifics about my military service and I’d have to lie to their faces. As the years went on, the friends met other friends, and we’d all become close friends. I couldn’t tell my new friends the truth because what if they told my other friends? What about that girl that I’d been talking to? Things were going really well! That would be over in a heartbeat if she knew I had been lying to her from the second we met. So the lies stacked up.

In a pathetic and ironic turn of events, I had ended up doing the exact thing that shook me hard enough to influence my snap decision to leave the Army in the first place. It snowballed. And kept snowballing. That fucking snowball weighed 10,000 lbs and parked itself right on my shoulders. Just as I was too cowardly to kill myself, I was also too cowardly to come clean. I didn’t even know how I would begin to unravel this mess, and although I wanted to for years, I could never come up with a way to put an end to the stories without hurting people I care about and fucking up my life even more. I considered starting over again, new city, new state, no more lies. Unfortunately I had become too close to some people that I really wanted to keep in my life. I went from feeling better, doing better, staying clean(ish) and actually showering on a regular basis to feeling like a scumbag again. I became suicidal once more, and that hasn’t changed. In fact, it was my first thought when I saw this post, because at my core I’m a selfish, fucked up coward. But I can’t do that. I’ve hurt the person closest to me badly with my lies, killing myself would only make it so much worse for her. I recently heard someone compare killing oneself to a suicide bomb, devastating those closest to you with the destruction and pain spreading out from the center to everyone who cares for you. There aren’t a great many people that would be affected by my death (and some that would applaud it), but those that would be affected don’t deserve to be hurt by me yet again.

It never even occurred to me that I was doing something awful, because I never set out to hurt anyone. I rationalized it as harmless. I was being completely selfish in an attempt to make myself into someone worthy of respect, and never realized that even though I never profited from my lies, never used any of the available services (I believe there are a few, because I have an OTH Discharge instead of a Dishonorable), never put on a uniform and tried to pass myself off at a function for the real heroes… I didn’t realize that what I was doing was just as bad. As I put it to someone earlier when I was discussing this, a piece of shit that stinks less than the other pieces of shit is still a piece of shit.

I was surprised when all this came out. I couldn’t comprehend that I had done something so wrong towards vets, or why it was such a big deal compared to most of the other people I see here and at I lied to people I care about and a person that I love dearly, and that’s a really really shitty thing to do, but it just didn’t compute that what I had done was horrible enough to publicly out me, ensuring that I would be forever immortalized as a liar and a coward. I’ve had an obsessed lunatic filing changes of address to divert my mail, posting my home address online, stalking my every move online, harassing my friends and family and threatening my wife for nearly two months. That started well before these posts came out and they’ve only upped their crazy since then. So I slept on it, and I spent a few days thinking it over and eventually I figured it out. I then started writing this, and for the past month I have rewritten and edited it repeatedly while trying to find the courage to just press the “post comment” button. The experiences that I claimed as my own are deeply personal to people that have actually had them. That’s a brotherhood and a camaraderie that I didn’t earn and don’t deserve to be a part of. I used their experiences because I don’t have enough self esteem or self respect to think that people will ever have any respect for the “real” me. And about that I’m absolutely correct. I don’t even know who I am anymore, this has gone on for long enough now that the lie became a part of me. That I didn’t understand the gravity of my actions doesn’t excuse them one bit. That I didn’t understand the utter disrespect that I was showing veterans says a lot about me as a person. None of it good.

Why would someone fake part (or all) of their military service? I have no idea why anyone else does. Some undoubtedly do it for profit and recognition. I’ve read stories and posts about those people in the past and I have scoffed and called them horrible people, without having the self awareness to realize that I was just as bad. Some probably do it for the same reasons that I did, out of shame and a desire to be respected. People are strange, diverse creatures and I assume there are myriad reasons why someone would tell loved ones that they were an Army Ranger Delta SEAL Team Six Para-Recon fighter pilot with 14 deployments, 137 confirmed hand-to-hand kills and nine Silver Stars. I did it initially to play the person that I wanted to be in “real life” while online in the “make believe” world of the internet, and it got completely out of control. It was a convenient story to explain my frequent nightmares and mood swings when they were brought up by loved ones. The reason behind that are much less interesting and much more difficult to discuss. I did it hoping that people would believe I was something that I am not, someone that they would want to be friends with. I did it simply because I’m a bag of shit that doesn’t deserve any of the happiness I have “earned” with my lies.

So then, what do most people do when they get caught, I wonder? Some probably come clean pretty quickly. Many likely double down, and swear that everything they’ve said is true, hoping and praying that their friends and family will continue to believe them. They won’t. I imagine that some kill themselves, and that many just end up in a downward spiral of depression and denial that eventually ruins them. I guess it really depends on how much someone has to lose when they’re exposed, or whether or not they are able to handle the fallout and the fact that they will be forever remembered for this, no matter what else they do with the rest of their lives. I suppose that it also matters how much someone is willing to accept that this is the fault of nobody but ourselves. I have no idea what my future holds, but right now I’m not very optimistic. Any future that I try to imagine is forever tainted by my lies. Some phonies have likely built entire careers and families and circles of friends on the backs of their lies. The person that had filled my head with stories of battlefield glory and helped nudge my initial tumble down this rabbit hole certainly has, but I’ve never exposed them or even told them that I know the truth, because the result would be catastrophic and I just can’t be the one that sets those events into motion. Knowing that they’ve probably seen this post and have told others how disappointed they are in me is darkly humorous, but I will live with that and keep what I know about them quiet. In the end I have nobody to blame for this but myself.

And that’s that. I hope that I never caused any vets pain or brought up awful memories with my stories. The fact that I may have is something that I’ve only just started realizing, and that’s a hard realization. I told you that I tend to be long winded, and I apologize that this ended up so wordy. For those of you that have read all of this, hopefully it answers some of your questions. To the veterans that deserve the respect that I have so often claimed, “sorry” doesn’t even begin to cover what I owe you. I will start with that, though. I apologize to the men (and women) who legitimately serve and have served in combat deployments around the world. To those that gave their lives in service to this country, I used your selfless sacrifice which was earned and paid for in blood and stole the valor owed to you for my own selfish whims. There is no forgiveness for that, nor do I expect to be forgiven. I am truly, deeply sorry.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (133)

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  1. Doc Savage says:

    Another inductee of the “wish I had the spine to do what they did” club….

  2. PhukYoCouch says:

    Lol. “I love reddit. Has helped me through some of my roughest time.” Lol… Laugh the f@ck out loud. Damn.

  3. Ex-PH2 says:

    Hah! No gedunk medal!! Wimp, wimp, wimp!! 😛

  4. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    He says he was on the verge of suicide. I’m guessing he was also on the verge of telling the truth. Certainly he was on the verge of making good on his enlistment. He was probably on the verge of walking away from the bar fight that he says cost someone his life. This guy has been on the verge of a great many things. Hey, maybe he’s on the verge of actually following through an a thing or two.

    • Hondo says:

      One thing he’s not on the verge of is being a LSoS. He earned that title fair and square.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      On the verge? Don’t they use lawn shears to trim that?

    • Roger in Republic says:

      He has turned his life around so many times that he is screwed halfway into the ground. He ran away and hid when better men stayed and fought. He comes out to proclaim his heroism. An absolute shitbird who should be hanged from the front gate at Fort Benning.

    • Thomas Huxton says:

      nickname “Verge-il”

    • HMC Ret says:

      2/17 Air Cav: What’s that tattoo right above his shirt collar? Looks like the wings of a bat. Maybe he’s on the verge of flying away. That would be super if he did that and stopped breathing my air.

  5. IDC SARC says:


  6. Snotcrow says:

    I just saw that he went AWOL from 2/54 INF FT Benning. Once I was a little guy in 2/54 and the DS told us how far off in nomansland we were, in case we thought of going AWOL.

    The truth is that 2/54 is quite close to the highway for those who know the layout, and I didn’t until I graduated. But a few returnees from AWOL told us wild stories on how far it was (since they rarely had the most direct route).

    I remember one clown bragging about being AWOL in front of mesmerized kids that still had months to go.. until the DS showed up and dropped some truth – like when then first caught this dude he had paid for a hotel room with his star card, and I believe the hotel called him in. The second time this joker went AWOL they had no leads, but the DS tried the same hotel and the same room and the guy opened the door. That joker could be a first sergeant now.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      We had a WUSS go AWOL from my OSUT Unit in Fort Lost-in-the-Woods in the early nineties. He hopped a Greymutt bus to his Aunt and Uncle in Springfield, MO and they dropped him off in front of our barracks three days later in jeans and a white t shirt, they kicked his ass out on the curb as we were marching back in from evening chow! The little fuck even tried to file an IG Complaint over having to sign a Statement of Charges because he threw his Class A Uniform away (He snuck away from training back to the Barracks, put his Class A’s on and snuck over to the Post Bus Station). He was RFT’ed (Released From Training) Article 15’ed and thrown out a month later. Between the Statements of Charges and the Article 15’s he amassed, he left FLW four weeks later with only a Greymutt ticket and $50 in his pocket.
      AWOL Wusses? fuck ’em!

      • swormy says:

        We a guy who went AWOL during basic at Leonard Wood in 1981, his dad brought him back. His discharge came the same day we graduated.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          I wonder if we’ll one day see either your AWOL joker or mine featured on TAH someday? I used to work with a joker that tried to tell me he got booted from USMC Boot Camp for beating up a DI, I laughed right in his face the moment he told me that yarn!

          • swormy says:

            My guy cried the blues because he thought he’d graduate with the rest of us. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

            I’ve met some of those yahoo’s who came home early and tried to sell the old story about beating up a DI and getting kicked out, called them on it everytime.

            Can’t fix stupid…

            • The Stranger says:

              You can fix Stupid…if that’s the name of your dog.

              I’m here all week, try the veal and tip your waitress.

          • The Stranger says:

            Why do all of these shitbags claim to have beat up their Drill Sergeant (or DI or TI)? That is the tip off to a fraud…

    • NormanS says:

      Weird fella went AWOL on the middle weekend during AT (CA-ARNG). Absconded with his M-16A1. He was picked up in San Francisco. They never found his weapon. How hard is 15 days of AT that you want to go “over the hill”?

    • HMC Ret says:

      OK, Snotcrow, three questions, please …

      What is a STAR Card?

      What is DS?

      When caught, were the AWOL guys allowed to rejoin the unit? What repercussions were there? Any?


      • HMC Ret says:

        We got the same spiel about going AWOL from Orlando, 1968. Stuff about the Everglades and alligators and whatnot. Nope, not even close. Who knew?

      • The Stranger says:

        STAR card is a military credit card you can use at the PX and some off post establishments like hotels and car rental. The downside is if you don’t pay on time, your chain of command gets a notice and it can cause some grief.

  7. Sparks says:


  8. Thunderstixx says:

    AWOL from AIT…
    Talk about a puss…

  9. Martinjmpr says:

    So he was a piece of shit civilian who then joined the Army, became a piece of shit soldier, deserted, got booted and now he’s a piece of shit civilian again.

    There seems to be a pattern here…if only I could figure out what it is….

  10. ex-OS2 says:


  11. OldManchu says:

    Well… he sure enlisted at an opportune time in history to have all the opportunity at glory. Too bad the puss went awol while most others drove on.

  12. JimV says:

    He wants to be a wounded vet? Lots of my guy’s in the VA would prefer the opposite. I was helping to feed a paralyzed veteran Sunday evening. I’m sure he would love to trade places.

  13. lily says:

    Maybe he applied for PTSD? Wonder if he has a gofundme yet too?

  14. 3E9 says:

    What a dipshit. He lasted longer than a guy we had at McClellan that went AWOL first night at reception.

    • Snotcrow says:

      Wow.. first night huh? We didn’t have that. I had a kid that cried all the first night. It was very surprising since he was the most outspoken kid just 12 hours prior.

      First night… that is un-impressive on many levels.

      • Martinjmpr says:

        Wait, you went through basic with Bradley Manning? 😀

      • 3E9 says:

        Yeah, I don’t remember the name, but it was 13 Oct 87. Dipshit was in the bunk above mine and I got my ass chewed the next morning because he bailed. Hell, I never knew you could just leave.

        • The Stranger says:

          With apologies to The Eagles…you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.

          *Pause for awesome guitar solo*

          • HMC Ret says:

            Stranger: I get it … well, at least for me. You leave and you live with it forever. You leave a part of yourself in boot when you bail, but then drag around baggage forever because, well, you bailed.

            And, yes, The Eagles. Saw them Florida State basketball arena. Every seat taken. One of a few artists I would travel a distance to see again.

          • 3E9 says:

            With kudos to the Eagles…”I could have done so many things if I could only stop my mind from wondering what I left behind”

            Get some scotch and some tissue, one of their saddest songs IMO.

        • Daisy Cutter says:

          You can just leave?

        • Claw says:

          13 Oct 87. My Army son was in Basic Training at McClellan at that time in one of the companies of the 48th Infantry.

    • swormy says:

      I worked with a Reserve DI unit in the early 90’s. Had female recruit come in the first day wanting to be discharged for being gay.

      We told her that Clinton was trying to allow gays to openly serve and she might want to wait. She wasn’t interested and pushed for the discharge.

      Guess the Army wasn’t what she expected…

      • HMC Ret says:

        Swormy: What was the outcome?

        • swormy says:

          Our rotation ended before there was a final outcome but the paperwork was processed for the discharge. Really stupid of her.

          The wheels of the Army turn slowly, most of these discharges happen only a few weeks before graduation.

          She would have continued to train along side of her fellow trainees.

    • mr. sharkman says:

      I’ve seen plenty of ‘first day/night freak-outs’ completely recover within 48 hours and go on and do just fine for years afterwards in the military.

      I think a lot of the 1st night craziness is caused by massive mental overload. If you’ve got a guy who has never really left his home town before, always been with family and friends nearby, and so on they are often overwhelmed more than once by some truly silly ‘beliefs’ about their future ‘reality’.

      I kid you not, more than once I’ve had a (young) guy, barely holding back sobs, and when I explained to him that once he finished A-school and was working in his field, why, no he could go out and eat anyplace he damn well pleased (and could afford, ideally) duty schedule and being ashore permitting.

      In other words, sometimes when you get a young, not too emotionally tough nor mature dude it’s very easy for him to fall into the belief that the next 4 years of his life is going to be a constant mix of the worst basic training scenes in a bunch of movies all mixed together.

      One of the guys apparently had an IQ of over 160 or something, max’d everything on the ASVAB to include the crypto stuff, he was 17, signed over for early enlistment as a nuke. Rumor had it he was a threatened suicide, other recruits were f*cking with him bad, and so on.

      I get talking with him and it turns out he skipped 3 years of school – last year jr. high, 2 years high school, did junior year and tested out. Bullied the whole time, mercilessly. Had scholarships waiting from some of the top math and science programs in the nation. Parents had no idea about USNA and academy prep schools, kid was adamant about serving his country because his favorite uncle was a Submariner and told kid when he was young that he was a 1 in a trillion brain and some of the smartest guys serve on Submarines.

      Don’t want to get too specific because the community is small, but he snapped out of the initial shock, finished recruit training, crushed nuke school, finished first enlistment, USN put him back in school/OCS, apparently an outstanding Officer.

      So in my limited experience, the 1st night crazies can go either way or in-between without a lot of predictability. The almost always bad endings come from the guys who get ‘warned’ once or twice and still go so out of control they wind up removed from their recruit company.

    • mr. sharkman says:

      Another funny one.

      1st night with his actual recruit company. Kid basically hallucinates/sleep walks…several km off base. How exactly I have no idea, was not a part of the search nor the investigation. The poor recruits on fire watch when he waltzed out caught hell, but maybe the easiest and most lasting way for them to learn the necessary lessons.

      Clerk at a convenience store sees the kid in the parking lot, told the police he was either an escaped mental patient or a recruit (in the kid’s temporary case, almost the same thing 🙂 ).

      Kid was completely out of it when returned, sleeps for a few hours (under direct supervision), wakes up and has absolutely no memory of the prior night at all.

      Terribly upset when he learns he may be separated, so they have the Docs check him out a fair amount while he’s on med hold. Nothing but great reports on him during med hold, asking for work every day – ‘I’m physically fine and I’m in the Navy, right?’.

      Eventually they cleared him and he was off to Sail the Seven Seas.

      Being questioned about having no memory about what he did, one of the replies was ‘I had to have been temporarily nuts, if I’d been in an Xxxxxxx parking lot I’d have gone to get an Icee (frosted drink). I used to have one every day and I’ve been missing them more than you know.’

      He was a good one too, you can usually spot the difference based on the motivation of the individual.

  15. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Sorry-assed walking bucket of slug snot! AWOL from Basic, what a mega-WUSS loser!

  16. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Assclown has a huge case of fractured taint syndrome.

  17. Hack Stone says:

    But the question remains; is he All Points Logistics material?

    • Green Thumb says:


      The worst he ever woke up was with Phildo’s spunk in his ass.


    • SKYJUMPER says:


      I think he answered that question his ownself with this post on Reddit about a month ago:

      [–]metalmartyr -1 points 1 month ago*
      Someone can be a Republican and not be a gun toting redneck nationalist, hypocrite.
      edit – Disregard that, I suck cocks.

      Guess he never subscribed to this old saying:

      “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt”

    • Skippy says:

      Hell yes he is
      He’s a decent story teller, checked
      He has more names
      then I can count,checked
      He has magical thoughts, checked

  18. Silentium Est Aureum says:

    Everybody wants to be a hero until it’s time to do hero shit.

    Prima faciae evidence of that right there.

  19. Skippy says:

    Another TFSB Hits the ????

  20. Daisy Cutter says:

    What I find oddly ironic about these guys is that, OK, they go AWOL or UA because they figure out that the service is not for them.

    I can somewhat get that.

    But, then when they revisit the narrative years later and spice it up and make it part of their persona. That’s what makes me nauseous.

    So, I wonder if they have a need to do this because they feel inadequate from what they’ve done (or didn’t do) or they feel pressure to explain an entire block of time they were on the lam?

    I mean, folks figured they were in the service, so how better to explain a year or so away from your hometown than by saying you were off to war. Better than saying you were on the lam, I guess.

    • lily says:

      I think most of them do it for fraudulent reasons.

    • mr. sharkman says:

      Not excusing the false claims at all.

      In a very short period of time *assisting* in dealing with ‘possible entry-level separations’, I saw a lot of guys who didn’t belong there in the first place but were there because of family or ego-involved pressure.

      A few of them I really felt bad for, because they were basically good guys pressured into a situation out of respectable, almost noble reasons and motivations. ‘I swore to my grandpa when he was dying’, ‘I swore to my dad before he died’, and the guys are begging to be given another chance. Sometimes they got it, other times they didn’t but I think the really sincere ones who were separated were sometimes given a re-enlistment code that would allow they to re-enlist later with some sort of interview(s).

      It’s not talked about much, but for some people the military is oil and they are water, no matter how decent and honest they might be. Basic, simple regimentation just flips a switch in a very small # of people that otherwise are perfectly normal and productive in whatever they wind up doing.

    • Eric Johnson says:

      I responded, but the comment was too long, so the staff was nice enough to add it to the bottom of the article for me.

  21. mr. sharkman says:

    To falsely claim service with the 187th during Anaconda is a really stupid thing to do. No idea about before (not doubting it), but for certain afterwards they were a real ‘band of brothers’.

    Inserted into the middle of a pit fight and basically said ‘bring it the f*ck on’, and dished out a hell of a lot more than they took.

    I hope some day they make a decent movie about it similar to ‘We Were Soldiers’. Not saying it was ‘as epic’, but it was a hell of a fight and worthy of wide recognition.

  22. jarhead says:

    If shit were brains, it would take vultures three weeks to pick his skull clean.

  23. Starbux says:

    The fucking faggot deleted his Reddit account

  24. Barb says:

    The comments on this website are sick! Get a life!

  25. PennStation says:

    This isn’t shocking at all. Eric, you are truly a piece of shit.

  26. Jonn Lilyea says:

    The Post has been updated with a rather long explanation from Mr Johnson.

  27. MrBill says:

    “I was arrested multiple times because I’m an asshole.” Gotta give the guy credit, he owned his actions.

  28. Claw says:

    A dozen paragraphs to say “My recruiter fucked me.”, then finally “I’m truly sorry.”

    So much for his “Spidey sense.”

    Explanation and apology not accepted. Just another tale of woe in a long line of excuses for having a case of mangitis and being a ratshit deserter.

    • Eric Johnson says:

      I wasn’t trying to give the impression that I blamed my recruiter or anyone but myself. In fact, my recruiter told me several times that I could choose many different MOS options.

      • Claw says:

        You said “My Recruiter promised me Airborne school”, but instead ended up going through training as an 11M.

        Well, Dipshit, if you had stuck around long enough, you probably would have went to Airborne school.

        But, No, you “suddenly” found out during training that your “hero” had been lying to you for years and that’s what turned you into a AWOL/deserter.

        That is about the lamest excuse for desertion I’ve ever heard. And it only took you 5000 words to say it.

        • ex-OS2 says:

          My recruiter promised me exotic girls in paradise. Instead I controlled helicopters for four years Honorably, go figure.

          Claw, not to split hairs but it is 2,743 words.

          • Claw says:

            Well, just wait until he gets done posting all his comments and I bet the word total will exceed 5,000.

            The only promise my recruiter/career counselor ever gave me was that I would get a sack lunch on the bus ride from Chicago to Fort Campbell for basic training.

            That turned out good. Two bologna sandwiches and an apple.

            But would I have deserted if the apple turned out to be wormy? I don’t think so.

        • Eric Johnson says:

          The fact that I ended up an 11M was just an aside and had nothing to do with my decision to leave. I probably should have just left it out, but I tend to just spew everything out that comes to mind when I write.

          I understand that the excuse is lame, but it is what it is. Like I said, I joined the infantry for the wrong reasons, and it all went to shit from there.

    • Green Thumb says:

      Maybe the recruiter did fuck him.


  29. Daisy Cutter says:

    Eric Johnson,

    Just out of curiosity, why was it important to you to write this?

    Was it cathartic to do so? What do you hope to achieve?

    The posts never come down.

    To be frank with you, we’ve seen these types of posts before only to be followed weeks later with threats. Hate to be skeptical but often there was motive and a expected outcome. When that outcome was not met they try a different angle, sometimes involving a threat or plea from the wife or girlfriend.

    • Eric Johnson says:

      I definitely understand the skepticism. I started writing it a couple of days after the posts were published. I’ve always used writing to get my jumbled thoughts in some sort of order. I wanted to have it all laid out so that my thoughts were in order when I spoke with my wife. I didn’t know if I would ever submit it, but I wanted to get it all “written” down. Believe it or not, what is up there is about a third of what I originally typed out.

      I know that these posts never come down, and that’s a big reason why I wanted to submit it. I want people that come across this to know that I do recognize the gravity of what I’ve done. I also wanted to post it because I saw you ask why someone would do such a thing, and I was in a unique position to explain why at least one person would.

      Nobody threatened me or plead for me to do this, nobody knew it existed and I didn’t tell anyone that I was going to submit a response. My wife read it for the first time last night about five minutes before I submitted it.

      I have no illusions and no expectations of any outcome, I just wanted to explain how it happened, if not why. Was it cathartic? I suppose, in a way. It was cathartic to type it up and revisit it several times a week and make edits, to add things which I remembered while removing bits that didn’t actually matter. Going through with posting it was just my final recognition that yes, I did this terrible thing, and yes I need to own it and live with whatever consequences come of it.

      Thanks for your questions.

      • Eden says:

        From where I sit, your story has a different “feel” from most other “apologies” I’ve read. I don’t read any excuse-making (not the same thing as an explanation) in your post.

        You admit that you screwed up royally, you own it, and you ask for forgiveness, knowing that you don’t deserve it (does anyone, really?) and that you will likely never receive it from a large number of people. You also express a willingness to deal with whatever consequences come of your actions.

        I think you well realize that you now have to “walk the walk” and make good on your talk. It appears that you are taking concrete steps to deal with the issues that prompted you to screw up in the first place. Keep going with that.

        I for one am willing to put you in the “wait and see” category (I can count on one hand the number of posers/wannabes/embellishers that have made that category with me).

        • Val says:

          Well said. I agree and don’t expect to see Eric Johnson profiled here again. I would be extremely disappointed.

  30. Graybeard says:

    Eric Johnson – it appears that you are owning up to your problems.
    I hope you now find professional help. The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to quit digging. Maybe start with AlAnon, get some handle on your substance abuse and anger issues. Learn the truth that (a) we all screw up somehow, (b) none of us live up to all we want to be, and (c) as a creature made in the image of God, you don’t have to do anything to be of value.

    When we realize what being made in the image of God entails, we don’t have to make up things to make ourselves feel worthwhile.

    • Eric Johnson says:

      About two years ago I finally reached the point where I recognized that I needed to speak with someone. I have been taking medication that has helped my temper immensely, and I actually stopped drinking the first week that I started taking the Lexapro. I just… stopped. That’s when I realized that I had literally been self medicating for years. I do need to consider actually speaking to someone in addition to taking my daily medications, but I’m not quite there yet. I easily lied to everyone I knew for years but when it comes time to talk about myself or my past I completely freeze. Pathetic, I know.

      I’ll get there eventually, posting this response (thank you, thisainthell staff) feels like opening that door just a bit. I’ve never laid myself so bare before, much less to a bunch of people who already think very little of me.

      I appreciate your response, it’s kinder than I expected.

      • Graybeard says:

        Not pathetic.
        We, all of us, hate to have to admit that we failed. We don’t like to face it, so we run from it some way or another.
        Believe it or not, when we own up to our failures, it’s easier to be honest with ourselves, our family, and others. But it also hurts, and is scary, and for guys especially goes against the Hero-who-never-fails image we try to live up to.
        Unflinching honesty with ourselves – but also a proper degree of self criticism. You are not a pathetic looser until you go down and don’t get up again. A winner is the guy who gets up one time more than he gets knocked (or falls) down. Until then “pathetic” and “looser” do not apply to us.

    • Eden says:

      I agree with Graybeard 100% on this.

  31. Eric Johnson says:

    Thank you, Graybeard, seriously. That means a lot.

    • HoneyBadger says:

      Watch your squad leader get shot in the throat. Go hold pressure on it to stop the bleeding,shoot the guy who shot him. Squad Leader dosent die, but he almost does. Walk through blood after a VBIED explosion and try not to slip, step on a rib cage or jawbone and hear it snap. Drive around just waiting to get blown up. Sweat your balls off in the day and freeze your ass off at night. All things you never experienced, because you bitched out. On top of bitching out, you not only lie about the shit but then try to act like you went through it. Meanwhile, some of the people who actually went through it never made it back because they’re dead. Fuck you Eric Johnson.

  32. Not Buying It says:

    The fact that you told all of these detailed lies about being in the military leads me to believe that none of your “apology” is actually true. A real apology would have taken about 3 sentences. Instead you wrote over 2,000 words, making sure to blame other people for you going AWOL. I think you’re just a liar looking for more attention. Especially when you respond to comments with, “thank you for your questions,” as if this is your Reddit AMA. Please seek the professional help you desperately need.

    • Val says:

      He specifically said that he didn’t blame anyone else for his going AWOL and then politely thanked someone for being interested and asking questions. What an asshole! I have read many self serving apologies from phonies and this doesn’t appear to be one of them. I think it took balls to post that publicly.

      • Not Buying It says:

        No, Eric Johnson said he didn’t blame anyone for his going AWOL, but then LITERALLY blamed someone. He wrote, “Devastated doesn’t even describe how I felt. I couldn’t even wrap my head around this news, and instead of speaking to someone or trying to tough it out, I just lost my shit and left.”

        He’s still saying some external influence cause him to go AWOL. Not that he COULDN’T make it.

        You can believe what you want to believe. His record of lies speaks for itself. According to, he has a history of using alternate accounts to defend himself and create witnesses to his fake military service. He’s a liar through and through.

        Like I previously stated, Eric Johnson should seek the professional help he desperately needs.

  33. SFC D says:

    Eric Johnson, you are still an attention whore. All you did was change tactics. There is only one person responsible for your miserable life. You dug the hole, enjoy living in it. You do know where to find sympathy, don’t you?

  34. Dean says:

    I think you’re braver than you give yourself credit for. Owning up to one’s mistakes is brave. And you’re earning the respect of others. Well, mine anyway. If others feel like their “valor” is worth more than a person then they are seriously twisted. If others can’t forgive or get past issues then shame on them. You don’t need their blessing or acceptance of your apology anyway. You don’t know me from Adam but I currently live in Henderson, Nevada and if you ever need someone to talk to, or hang with or whatever, hit me up. You’re never alone out there. One of the fastest (but least desirable) ways to attain wisdom is through hardship. I’m sure I could acquire some from your experiences. I’ll be here

    • Claw says:

      Sounds to me like you’ve got a hard-on for a POS deserter.

      But thanks for trying to revive a zombie thread.

    • ex-OS2 says:

      Not going AWOL is brave.

    • Silentium Est Aureum says:

      Sockpuppet cleanup, aisle six!!!

    • Green Thumb says:

      Get lost, loser.

      I bet he will probably “hit that ass”. Or maybe he already has…

      Catch anything?

    • Dave Hardin says:

      Hey, I am emotionally really fucked up…ask anyone around here. Can I come hang out? I have to bring my service gerbil, I usually keep him in a plastic bag.

      I have been handing out safety pins to show my support for those traumatized by the election. Are you willing to join the “You are safe with me” movement?

      I would love to have someone that would “be there” when I need some emotional support. Life has been really harsh to me.

      These people on this site don’t realize I have feelings too.

    • Claw says:

      Definitely sounds like a radio call to me.

      Dean (AKA Iceman) to Eric (AKA Maverick):

      “You can ride my tail any time. Hit me up.”

    • Sandman says:

      Amazing how Dean’s writing style, and sentence structure match Johnson’s to a ‘T’. This exact same comment was left over at Military Phonies.
      Makes a person wonder,,,don’t it?

      • Eric Johnson says:

        Not that it much matters at this point, but I can assure you that Dean is not me. There’s really no point for me to come back to revive this thread after writing up that massive post admitting everything and telling everyone that ever comes across this article that I’m a bag of shit. I’m trying to move on and turn the page on this entire chapter of my life, not draw more eyes to it. I am only seeing your comment now because I just saw an email notification from weeks ago about it.

        If Dean is anyone pretending to be someone else, my guess would be that it is the person who has been harassing my wife and I since September. Or it could be someone who is sincere, that would be nice. Since I never responded to this person I guess we’ll never know.

        Oh, and I don’t write like that.

        • ex-OS2 says:

          Yet here you are.

        • OWB says:

          So, Eric – have you quit lying about the nature of your military service?

          If so, then good on ya. If not, then do so immediately.

          That’s really about all there is to it. If you can successfully do that, then you can get a handle on all the rest of your demons. Just do it, and find something constructive to do with your time.

          • Eric Johnson says:

            Yes I have. I don’t mention the military and if a discussion starts going that direction I either excuse myself or keep my fool mouth shut. It’s all too easy to fall back into the trap that I created and maintained for myself for well over a decade. As difficult as it was to come clean, it’s a relief that it’s over. I lost some friends and will always have the fear that anyone I meet can come here and find out what I’ve done, but as my wife says I’m just paying the “stupid tax”.

            I worry that my (future) children or children’s friends will come across this at some point, but I’ll deal with that when it happens. Could be a nice lesson about being truthful, I suppose.

            • ex-OS2 says:

              Yep, there are consequences for being a lying cocksucker.

              Stolen Valor is not victimless.

              • Just An Old Dog says:

                If nothing else dude has come up with the perfect explanation to keep these articles up.
                Its the ” Stupid Tax” for being a bag o’ shite.

  35. Ian says:

    Eric Johnson is using his Disqus account to lie on various websites about his military service.

    His Disqus username is “TrollingThunder”, @disqus_m0N8aMkC8J

    Here is a link to all of his Disqus profile comments:

    -23 days ago he commented (

    “Thanks for your service as well. Your experiences were a lot more diverse and exciting than mine. I was an 11B (light infantryman) and eventually I was part of a Stryker dismount. All of the things they told us about deploying to other countries and making a difference are crap. Got into a couple of hairy and decidedly not fun situations, but mostly I kept my rifle incredibly clean and learned to play Spades very well. Oh, and I got pretty good at setting up Hesco barriers. Better than filling sandbags (which we also did in our “spare time”).”

    -A year ago he commented (

    “Looks quite a bit like the adapter I wore on my Kevlar when deployed in 2002-2003, so I’m pretty sure that’s what it is.”

    -2 years ago he commented (
    “They aren’t trained to shoot in the leg or shoulder, and if someone is wounded they can still shoot back and kill you. I see this stupid comment made every time that one of these happens, and it’s an uneducated, ridiculous comment every single time. The idiot was not executed, he won a stupid prize for playing a stupid game. By the way, genius, I saw a guy get hit in the leg in Afghanistan, he bled out and died in less than five minutes.”

    -2 years ago he commented (
    I agree. I spent seven years in the infantry before joining the Collier County Sheriff’s Dept in Florida. I quit after three years because I didn’t like how prisoners were being treated in the county jail, but with that experience I can tell you that the officer with his knee on Hutcheson’s neck put all of his weight down on him. It was more than long enough to stop his blood flow through the carotid artery, which will render someone unconscious in seconds. He could’ve done all kinds of damage to that man’s neck beyond just cutting off his blood supply to his brain, but it all boils down to this: that officer is guilty of manslaughter at the very least. Any DA that isn’t a corrupt POS should be pushing for murder 2, with every officer that allowed that to happen going up as accessories.

    I quit the Sheriff’s Dept because of the abuse that I witnessed. When I tried to report it, I was essentially shunned and told that if I called for backup it may “take awhile” for help to arrive. Good police are being forced out of departments around the country and what we have left are bullies, sociopaths, and weak willed followers. This is clearly a death caused directly by the officers involved, and none of them will likely even lose their jobs. It’s sickening, and it’s never going to stop unless and until the American people get tired of it and force change. By any means necessary.