Ralph Ticcioni; phony D-Day paratrooper

| October 26, 2016


Ralph Ticcioni a Wisconsin World War II veteran has been telling folks for years about his parachute drop into Normandy on D-Day with the 82d Airborne Division. His memories are pretty vivid like they were when he told the story to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters earlier this year;

Ralph Ticciono article

Ticciono Sentinal Journal

He even had folks convinced at Defense.Gov when they interviewed him.

Ticcioni DVIDS

He fooled the Army.mil people, too, as well as the French and his surgeon;

Ticcioni Army.mil article

And the local news station;

Ticcioni WIZN article

Well, the truth is that Ralph was assigned to the 414th Signal Advanced Warning Battalion on D-Day – they ran LW (light warning) radars for small installations like hospitals, ammunition dumps and airfields. Here is their roster for April 1944. Ralph is near the top of the second page;

573rd roster 1

573rd roster 2

On June 6th, 1944, D-Day, their Morning Report says that they were still in England;

414th June 6, 1944

On July 9th, 1944, Ticcioni transferred to the 573rd Signal Air Warning Battalion.

Ticcioni MR July 9 1944

Ticcioni didn’t land with the amphibious assault and he certainly didn’t parachute into France. He didn’t get to France until much later, according to the 573rd’s helpful unit history (Word Document download) posted on line;

The concentration area for the move to the Continent was an airfield in Southern England near Chilbolton, where the 573rd arrived on 15 July 1944, which was D-Day plus 39. The mission of the battalion at Chilbolton was primarily that of completing its preparation for movement to the Continent, originally scheduled for D plus 48, some 12 days after the first echelon of the battalion arrived at Chilbolten. Due to changes in the shipping schedule the battalion was staged back until the 27th of August, which was D plus 82.

So, Ol’ Ralph got to Normandy 82 days after his imagined jump into France.

He was still with D Company of the 573rd on July 28th according to the Morning Report;

Ticciono Morning report July 28 1944

At one point, some of the members of the 573rd were trained in glider operations in anticipation of their support of the 82d Airborne Division, but that never came to pass because of Patton.

Later it was learned that these units were to have provided air control in an airborne and sea landing on the South side of the Brittany Peninsula. However, General Patton’s Third Army started its drive from the bridgehead the latter part of July, cutting off the Brittany Peninsula ahead of schedule, this terminating the need for such radar units.

When the need for the task force and airborne operation was canceled, most of the personnel reverted to their normal duties within the battalion. One LW Platoon (Lt. Mecklenburg’s ½ U Team), however, with some control personnel was placed on detached service to the 82nd Airborne Division. Here they made practice flights and continued their Airborne training, qualifying for the Airborne Glider Badge.

Ol’ Ralph did complete that training and his Report of Separation reflects that he was awarded a glider badge;

Ralph Ticciono DD214

However, he didn’t parachute into France, and a quick reading of the unit history of the 573rd doesn’t indicate that he ever participated in any combat Airborne Operations while he was in Europe. His Report of Separation doesn’t reflect any participation in the D-Day Invasion. No Arrowhead device that would indicate that he was in the assault on the Normandy beaches.

The unit history does mention that some of their units were targets of the German Luftwaffe because their mission hampered air attacks. So it wasn’t all cheese and crackers in the radar units.

I’d much rather be a parachutist than a Gliderman – intentionally crash landing an aircraft ain’t much better than doing it by accident, but, I guess it wasn’t sexy enough for Ol’ Ralph here.

Ticciono Legion of Honor

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (76)

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  1. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Ain’t no liar like a life long old fucking liar…

    Why Ralph? Why? While you are part of the greatest generation you certainly aren’t exhibiting their best qualities, humility and honor…what you did in the war was commendable, and dangerous. Your story just as it happened is an interesting an honorable story.

    You took a great big steaming shit on that honorable story with this pack of crap. I just don’t understand Ralph…I just don’t fucking understand any of it.

    • Hondo says:

      Every generation has their LSoS, VOV. Even the Greatest Generation.

      Sad. Just freaking sad.

      • Green Thumb says:

        And that is the sad part.

        Those old school glider dudes were some hardcore motherfuckers.

        No jumping here. Just cut the cord and “go!”.

    • SFC D says:

      He left that particular steaming pile of excrement for his family to clean up. Family that revered him for his contributions in WWII but now has to face the fact that grandpa wasn’t exactly what he said he was. Family that will now question and doubt everything grandpa ever did.
      I hope you can sleep at night, Ralph. Fuck you, you poser piece of shit.

    • Joe says:

      I’ll never understand the need to embellish actual service. Geez man, just be proud of what you did.

  2. ChipNASA says:

    Stupid embellishing crusty old cocksucker.
    He just took a giant shit on the greatest generation.
    I hope you’re proud of yourself.

  3. Graybeard says:

    Why do these guys do this?
    Defecate in their silver plates?


  4. OlafTheTanker says:

    Well of COURSE he was still listed on other roles, sooper sekrit squirrels are never listed on rheir actual unit roles.

    Tom Hanks personally hand picked him to drop into France, told him to leave his typewriter and bring a pencil, single handedly whipped Hitler and then had him back in time for a smoked kipper breakfast.

  5. Martinjmpr says:

    What DOES a soldier in a “light warning” unit do, anyway? I’m genuinely curious now.

    Maybe it’s because I was basically a REMF myself for most of my career (most of it I was either MI or MP) but I have to say that I would actually be more interested in hearing this guy tell stories about what he REALLY did during the war than in hearing about his imaginary exploits that were probably gleaned from watching Audie Murphy movies.

    There are tens of thousands of books out there that tell the stories of the infantrymen, tankers, paratroopers, engineers, etc who fought on the “sharp end” and many of those are quite compelling.

    But the US Army in WWII was an immense bureaucratic military machine and I find myself becoming very curious about the day-to-day life of those GI’s who DIDN’T spend the war sticking bayonets into Nazi guts.

    What was life like for the guy whose job it was to do the 1940’s equivalent of putting cover sheets on all the TPS reports (did you get that memo?) The truck mechanics and the fuel pumpers and the supply warehouse stock clerks? Those soldiers were a vital and absolutely necessary part of the war machine of WWII and it seems odd that we don’t seem to hear THEIR stories.

    I guess that’s one reason it saddens me to see someone crap all over his honorable service like this. Whatever his job was, at the time, the Army thought it was an important job. And even if he never killed a Nazi SOB, so what? His efforts and his work were a critical foundation that supported the others that did.

    • Hondo says:

      Looking at his separation document (the predecessor of the DD214 Jonn posted above), the guy participated in the liberation of France; the Ardennes campaign; the invasion of Germany; and the conquest of Bavaria (and possibly Austria and/or Czechoslovakia). He trained with the 82d, and was Glider qualified. He had one helluva story to tell. He was a freaking part of history.

      But that wasn’t enough. He had to lie and claim he was something he wasn’t, and did something he didn’t – just so he could seem even more heroic than reality.

      Sad. Just freaking sad.

      He’s now an old, old man. Shortly, he’ll have some explaining to do – to Someone who knows the truth.

      Hope he’s ready to explain himself.

      • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

        I’m sure that he will – with those young men that made the jump and never had the chance to go back home and do the things he did – watching him admit to his decades of lies.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      A friend recently lost his dad who was a truck driver in Europe during WWII. A few years prior to his passing a daughter interviewed him about his service and wrote it all down for keepsakes. My friend shared it with me. What great read. No heroics, no secret squirrel shit, just a great story about the everyday exploits of a truck driver and his partner doing their best to deliver food and supplies to the troops.
      If you haven’t done so, let a family member interview you. Let them ask questions. Give them good honest answers and let them be proud of what you did to help save the world for them.

  6. Mick says:

    Oh for God’s sake, not another one of these phony D-Day ‘heroes’.

    My great uncles and my father-in-law, who were actual WWII infantry combat veterans in North Africa, Europe or in the Pacific, are all probably spinning in their graves at about 1,000,000 RPM right now.

    I really hate Stolen Valor.

  7. John D says:

    Wonder why nobody ever claims their “Ruptured Duck”?

  8. Poetrooper says:

    From the Milwaukee Journal account:

    “Of all places, I landed on top of a barn. The barns in this area of Normandy were thatch, so it was a soft landing. My parachute was caught on a weather vane,” recalled Ticcioni, 93, of New Berlin. “I hung there for a while and got my thoughts together, got out my knife and cut myself down. I slid down into some horse manure.”

    At least he got that part right; and he’s been in the horse shit up to his eyeballs ever since he concocted that horse shit story.

    • Mick says:

      If my memory is working correctly today, it also sounds suspiciously like a scene from the movie ‘The Longest Day’.

      • USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

        Yep. His account was taken from that movie.

        He probably tells people his best friend landed on a church steeple in some French town, and has hearing problems to this day because the bells rang for 10 hours before he could break free.

        • 2/17 Air Cav says:

          I saw these comments after I wrote mine. I think we are all in agreement: the Old Bastard watched “The Longest Day” (1962) and took notes for later use.

          • Mick says:

            He may have also woven in some snippets from the “Band of Brothers” series.

          • USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

            No worries,brother. I do things on accident all the time here. I’m glad Jonn hasn’t moderated me or bounced me off TAH after all the times I’ve accidentally reported comments.

  9. 1610desig says:

    I realize he has been busted on this site, but have the various other organizations that bought into his bullshit been alerted? Would be nice to see a reporter get in his face and see all that D-Day fortitude drain down his leg…

    • Nan Chang says:

      Go to the website where the “news” article is posted and leave a comment or email the reporter.

  10. Ex-PH2 says:

    I don’t understand why getting rated as a glider pilot would not be considered something special by this guy, even if he didn’t make any of the flights. The WACO gliders carried troops and heavy cargo, required a 2-man crew, the cockpit was completely surrounded by glass and they had no protection at all from anything, including the nasty Luftwaffe pilots.

    I just don’t get it, any more than any of you do.

    • Poetrooper says:

      Ex-PH2, I believe he was a glider rider not a pilot. Glider wings were a precursor to Air Assault wings.

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        I’d agree, PT, but would point out that Ticcioni’s glider badge was apparently distinct from the wings awarded to glider pilots who were trained by the Army Air Force.

        One of the features of the Waco gliders is that they were capable of transporting disassembled mobile radar units as cargo. Ticcioni’s signals job was probably to prepare the radar for transport, ride along to the landing zone, then re-assemble and operate it somewhere once arrived.

        For Ex-PH2’s benefit, the Waco was made even more vulnerable by the fact it was constructed of a light steel-tube space frame covered in treated fabric.

        • Hondo says:

          Correct. Glider Pilots received the “Auxiliary Pilot Badge” on qualification, not the “Glider Badge”. There were 3 varieties of Auxiliary Pilot Badge: Glider Pilot, Service Pilot, and Liaison Pilot. They were distinguished by the letter superimposed on the central shield. This Wikipedia article describes the duties and provides images of the badges.


          The Glider Badge, AKA “Glider Infantry Badge”, was a completely different animal and was NOT issued to Pilots. It was issued to ground troops who’d either completed a specified course of instruction in glider assault operations, or who had actually participated in such an assault without benefit of prior instruction.


        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Yes, I know about the Waco gliders, but all US-built gliders had fabric hides. Germany built several different models, including the Messerschmit ME321, a troop transport capable of carrying up to 120 troops, for the planned invasion of Russia.


          Several countries built fleets of gliders for personnel and equipment transport. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_World_War_II_military_gliders
          The point is that they were all extremely vulnerable because they were covered with doped fabric, and only a few models carried any kind of armament for protection.

          • Martinjmpr says:

            So basically, here you are with all your combat gear on and you’re sitting in the equivalent of a box kite.

            Nope. Give me a parachute any day of the week.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Well, he did get the Glider Badge, and did complete the training. And those gliders required a two-man crew in the cockpit, as I said. They had no protection at all from any air assault and not all of them made it.

      If you scroll down the page at this link, there’s a B&W photo of two pilots in the cockpit.

      My point is that he was trained for the next step, air assault, but did not get to that part because of the ground war. So I don’t understand what inspires someone like this to spit on his own history.

  11. Sparks says:

    While this episode of stolen valor is no less shameful, it is sad to me. Not for Ralph here but for the very few of his generation remaining. Perhaps remembering my father is what bothers me about him the most. But as pointed out in comments above, it is not something new only to our generation. I have no doubt that stolen valor was alive and well after the campaigns of Alexander the Great and Caesar.

    • Hondo says:

      Try having an uncle who actually was in the 82nd, Sparks. And who damn near didn’t come back from the Ardennes alive.

      • Mick says:

        Or a father-in-law in the Black Watch who managed to survive the breakout from Tobruk.

        Or a great uncle in the 9th Armored Division who was the sole survivor of his Sherman tank crew when they got hit in the Ardennes. And then he was captured.

        Or a great uncle in the 7th Infantry Division who was badly wounded on Leyte in 1944.

        No sir, no slack or excuses for Stolen Valor, regardless of how ‘common’ it may have become, or the age/infirmity of those who engage in it. It’s unacceptable. Period.

        • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

          Or a Grandfather that went through the Hell known as Tarawa with other Marines and Sailors…

        • Ex-PH2 says:

          Or a great uncle in the Civil War who disappeared on a courier run, and another in the horse cavalry who didn’t make it back, either.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          TWO Great Great Grandfathers in the Civil War one of whom was taken POW, and a great Uncle who served in the Pacific during WWII fighting the Japanese.

        • Marine 0331 says:

          My uncle Leonard (one of my mothers older brothers) was one of two who survived a hit on his Sherman tank. Along with his Purple Heart he was awarded a bronze star but I never knew what for because he never talked about it. I believe he was the loader but not sure. My dad, who was an Army vet himself but did not see combat, would never let me ask Uncle Leonard about the war. Unc was a nice ole guy but I guess he never felt like there was a reason to talk about something so horrible that impacted his life. He preferred talking about fishing. Something pleasant.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      The thing is, how many Veterans who were his peers are left to challenge the SOB? A great service is done by spotlighting this SOB on behalf of all Veterans but most especially WW II Vets.

      • Mick says:


        I think that a lot of these WWII phonies are actually getting bolder over time with their lies because they know that there are so few actual WWII combat veterans left who could step up challenge their bullshit stories.

    • Sparks says:

      I hope you all understand I was not cutting this guy any slack at all. On the contrary. Remembering my father who was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge, gives me a disdain for him beyond words. I just wanted you to know I hold no sympathy for him due to his age. Or perhaps I misunderstood your comments.

      • Hondo says:

        I completely understood what you were saying, Sparks. Just wanted to comment that it perhaps hit a bit closer to home for me, since I knew someone well who’d actually served with the 82nd during World War II.

        He wasn’t at Normandy, though. His unit was still recovering from Anzio at the time. Another unit replaced them during D-Day.

  12. William Shrum says:

    Just another lying sack of shit! He took a perfectly honorable career and shit all over it! I wonder how long his family, or what is left of it, have been listening to this old shitbag go on about his hero missions? I too would love to see a reporter get in his face with the above records and watch him piss his pants and soil his depends!! I’m sure that will be my brother in another 15 or 20 years when maybe they will finally arrest his dead ass and put him in jail! Thank you all for your honorable service!

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      “Just another lying sack of shit! He took a perfectly honorable career and shit all over it!” Yeah, well, like others before him featured here and those that will follow, it was his record of military service to do with what he wished. He chose to crap all over it.

  13. ex-OS2 says:


  14. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    He landed on top of a barn, he says. His chute got caught on a weather vane, he says. I’m guessing he got that idea from Red Buttons, the actor who played 82nd Paratrooper John Steele whose chute got caught on a church steeple in Sainte-Mère-Église. In fact, I think he got more than that idea from “The Longest Day,” the old bastard.

  15. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Who knows? Maybe this SOB will be the last WW II Veteran left standing. Wouldn’t that be something, to have the last one a certified liar and valor thief?

    • 68W58 says:

      Heh-the book “the Last Confederate Widow” details something similar. It seems that the Confederate veteran in question married a teen girl when he was in his 80s and she only died a few years ago. So, this was a pretty fascinating tale in history geek circles, and a few of the history nerds did some digging. It seems that he had deserted from his unit in late 1864 and never returned, but that he had claimed a Confederate veteran’s pension from the state of Alabama some years later, which passed to his wife when he did in the 1930s.

      I honestly don’t blame him much for running off when he did-the war was more or less lost for the Rebels by then, but the idea that all of that attention went to a deserter )OK, it mostly went to his wife) makes me chuckle a little.

  16. Jeffro says:

    Lookee lookee gramps is a walt.

  17. OC says:

    Us kids couldn’t get Dad to say squat about his time in the Pacific during WWII. I guess I’m really glad that he was that way instead of like Ralph here.

    • David says:

      Dad landed a few days after D-Day and spent the next while sightseeing around France and southern Germany with Patton. Never said whether he was with the Ardennes force, would talk anecdotes but stayed away from personal stuff somewhat. Only verboten subject was liberating Dachau. I suspect he would not have liked this guy.

      • Mick says:

        My father-in-law wouldn’t say a word about his time in the Black Watch fighting in North Africa, other than to say that it was “bloody hot”.

        But I’ve got the feeling that if he was alive today, he’d beat this poser’s ass to a bloody pulp if he could get his hands on him.

    • DevilChief says:

      My Grandfather was a coastie. He was in the battle of the Atlantic on a can before transferring. He transferred to driving Higgins boats. We did not understand the scope and breadth of what he had done until after he died. He didn’t really talk about it much though he loved calling me a “jarhead”.

  18. Skippy says:

    Old School POS…
    Holy Crapola
    The fact he served over there during that time wasn’t good enough

  19. Skyjumper says:

    …..if Phil Monkress had a grandfather.

  20. Poetrooper says:

    I did this paraphrase of Shakespeare yesterday for the St. Crispin’s Day article but I think it really applies here with this guy:

    And valor thieves at home and now a-bed

    Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

    And forge their manhoods cheap so as to pose

    With us that fought upon Saint Crispin’s day.

  21. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    I hope that when RALPH TICCIONI passes on and gets to meet his maker, that there are some of those brave men that made the jump with the 82nd, 101st and the British 6th Airborne are there to “greet him properly”. Far too many of them gave their lives on D-Day and thereafter to help in the liberation of Europe.

    As for Ralphie-boy… took a nice long, hard shit all over his service. BTW – the Legion of Honour that he was awarded should have gone to the family of one of those MEN that gave his life on D-Day – not to a liar.

  22. Green Thumb says:

    Random schoolyard bully: “Your grandad is a shitbag poser”.

    Random schoolyard boy: “I know”.

    What a turd.

    This loser has been at this shit for a loooooong time…

  23. Deplorable B Woodman says:

    WTF is wrong with being commo? You may not always be “out front”, but as we used to say in Germany supporting the 11th ACR (yes, that long ago), “You can talk about us but you can’t talk without us”, and, “Without us, all you got is a 6 ton rolling paperweight”.

    • Graybeard says:

      Volunteered in Scouts with a guy who was commo at Anzio & afterwards.
      He only came up to my sternum, but he was more of a man than I could ever hope to be. They were out splicing wires under fire. That was definitely not anything to be ashamed of.

    • SFC D says:

      Commo isn’t “out front” but it’s not all that far back either!

    • Martinjmpr says:

      Commo is one of those thankless tasks where if you do your job right, nobody really notices but holy crap, if you don’t, everyone wants a piece of you.

      Since I spent a lot of time in the TOC (Tactical Operations Center) I can vividly recall the times I heard a COL or even a General yelling “SIGO! [signal officer] Where’s my SIGO? WHY THE HELL DON’T I HAVE COMMS?” and seeing some poor captain or major scurrying off to find out why the commander couldn’t talk to his troops.

      I also remember the signal units in 1AD and 2ID, on major exercises they always deployed about 3 – 4 days before the rest of the division and didn’t come back until 2 – 3 days later.

      They basically had 3 conditions: In the field, just came back from the field, and getting ready to go back out to the field. I think some Signal units spent more time in the field than even some infantry units.

  24. TankBoy says:

    On the same day I read about a heroic pilot passing away I have to read about this piece of shit. Nice. Good to know there were attention seeking shit birds in the greatest generation, and it’s not just ours.

  25. Sapper3307 says:

    If Bernath had a father/glider crasher.

  26. A Proud Infidel®™ says:


  27. Sj says:

    Seeing the “Morning Reports” reminds me of what a PITA they were in the ’60’s. Is that still the case? Co CO’s/1SG’s mornings were consumed with by them.

  28. Skyjumper says:

    My Dad served with the Company A, 86th Chemical Mortar Bn. in WWII.
    He served in Belgium & the Battle Of The Bulge.
    He was 1st generation German here in the states.
    He was 37 years old and stood 5’3″.
    He passed in 1990.
    He would have been 108 years old next month.
    He could have AND would have kick this posers ass!
    I am so very proud of my Dad.

    • Roger in Republic says:

      And my dad always felt like a piker because he went ashore on D+6. Even though his unit was shelled on their first night in Normandy.

  29. HT3 '83-'87 says:

    I guess not many “professional” journalists fact check nowadays…proves many/most/none ever served because a military man/woman can usually sense a bullshit story from a mile away…if it sounds to be good to true/seen it in a movie already than its probably not true.

  30. rb325th says:

    Another member of the “My Service was completely noteworthy and honorable, but I coulda been a contender… so I will just make it all up” crowd.
    I hope Generals Gavin, and Ridgeway give you a hell of a kick in the 4th point when you arrive in Heaven.

  31. desert says:

    Why do I never see my posts when I go back to the site a few days later, and NEVER A response to any of my posts? what is this….I don’t suppose I will get an answer to this either?

    • MrBill says:

      Maybe your posts just aren’t compelling enough? 😉 I dunno. Sometimes my posts get responses, sometimes they don’t. Not a big deal, IMO.

      You know, you could try posting something that’s really stupid, yet really arrogant at the same time – kind of like a certain USAR Major that most of us are familiar with. I’ll bet that’ll get you some responses!

  32. TF says:

    reminds me of the legend of two CW veterans talking of past battles…one tries to tell the story of a particular battle…only to be corrected by the other vet who was in that particular battle…finally the storyteller gives up with remark “Another story ruined by an eyewitness!”