Clarence Medeiros; phony tunnel rat

| May 26, 2017

Someone sent us their work on this Clarence Medeiros from Hawaii. He was featured in a story in West Hawaii Today about his time in the Army;

He enlisted at age 17, a natural step for someone whose male relatives had served in the armed forces.

But the U.S. Army was not going to send someone too young to vote to fight in Vietnam and stationed him outside of Washington, D.C., instead. While there he went to his commander, then the commanding general’s office, to get redeployed. Sens. Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga both made sure he wanted the transfer.

It looks like he did enlist at the age of 17, but Senator Spark Matsunaga must have visited him from the future because he didn’t get to the Senate until 1977.

Medeiros wasn’t solely a tunnel man, as he was part of a group of specialists that recovered broken tanker trucks, built defenses, destroyed those defenses and what would be a public works project in a peacetime area.

That capacity wasn’t always safe, as seen during a firefight out of an abandoned LZ, but the tunnels have a special place for him. He avoided injury through the observation that delay was dangerous. If there was a lag between the tunnel being found and the soldier going in, the North Vietnamese would turn the tunnel deadly. So, whenever a service member found a hole, he was there as soon as possible.

“They were studying us as much as we were studying them,” he said.

They would vacate the area when the Americans showed up.

Sometimes the unit would send the unit’s dog in first to check to see if there was a trap or anyone down there. But it always came down to Medeiros going down into the unlit system, checking the way ahead with a flashlight, periodically prodding the tunnel for traps with his bayonet, with a .45 caliber pistol ready.

There is one in particular that has remained in his memory.

He was called in and went down into the complete blackness only possible in a hand-dug tunnel. The tunnel seemed to go on forever, but nothing sprang up at him. No traps poisoned him, no North Vietnamese shot him. Unexpectedly, the tunnel opened into a space with two coffins that was large enough to stand up in.

Blah-blah-blah, his story goes on, of course and you can read it at the link – about his derring-do.

Well, he joined the Army in 1969, a few months later, he was in Germany in the 507th Heavy Equipment Maintenance Company as a mechanic. by the end of 1970, he was an Engineer Equipment Repairman in the 43rd Engineer Detachment, which was part of the Da Nang Support Command, he wasn’t scurrying around in tunnels, but rather grease pits. Almost a year later, he was at Fort Hood, still an Engineer Equipment Repairman and he was honorably discharged (it appears) in 1972;

Clarence claims that he was an engineer which is a 12-series MOS, the Army says he was a 62-series maintenance guy.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (38)

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  1. IDC SARC says:

    “You’re going into the devil’s ass,”

    A Satanic Proctologist!?!

  2. Sarge says:

    perfectly honorable career and he shit on it

  3. Mick says:

    I just read the linked article about this assclown’s phony derring-do in the Viet of the Nam, and my brain ripped itself in half.

    It’s appalling as to how gullible some of these reporters are when it comes to these Stolen Valor fairy tales. How can they not recognize how full of shit these posers are as soon as they open their mouths and start in with this crap?

    WTF. Just WTF.

    • IDC SARC says:

      I tried…just couldn’t force myself to read through it completely.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      “How can they not recognize how full of shit these posers are as soon as they open their mouths and start in with this crap?”
      I’m sure they don’t even bother to think about that, they’re just interested in getting a hot scoop that they think will impress their Editors.

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        Bullshit looks totally familiar to them. Why would they notice a difference?

    • FatCircles0311 says:

      I bet a large percentage of them know it’s bullshit, but they still run with it because it’s a story.

      I’m not giving these lazy fucks the benefit of the doubt any longer regarding putting their names on stolen valor. Others shouldn’t either. If they write something they own it.

  4. Ex-PH2 says:

    I knew a tunnel rat. He was about my height and I’m quite short.

    How tall is this guy, anyway?

  5. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    A bogus 12-series Engineer? I was one for real!!!

    Fuck. That. Guy. And in the absence of Ex-OS2 (I hope he’s all right and just on a vacation) I say:


  6. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    Isn’t basic fact checking a requirement for any story any more?

    I know, I know, rhetorical question…but c’mon some clown tells you that two Senators stepped into to check on a private’s request to go to Vietnam and you don’t at least check when the two Senators were in the Senate? Five minutes at and you’d know when each served in the Senate….if the first paragraph of his story contains a lie why bother with the rest?

  7. Claw says:

    Okey-Dokey, then. Learned two things from that article I didn’t know.

    1. Tunnel Rats went tunnel ratting with radios strapped to their backs.

    2. Immediate Commanders apparently could authorize frequent weekend trips out of Viet of the Nam for 18 year olds to see their brides.

    And now we know why some stories are called fiction.

  8. HT3 '83-'87 says:

    I give him a few points for originality. You don’t hear many ‘tunnel rat’ stories, so maybe he taught he could avoid the scrutiny of claiming Ranger or SF. Maybe him & Sgt. Elias chewed some of the same dirt?

  9. Dapandico says:

    He works the oil and grease tunnel at Jiffy Lube

  10. 2banana says:

    Fake engineer valor phonies…

    How come no one fakes being an army lawyer?

  11. Mick says:

    Does anyone know if there’s a motorcycle, a leather vest covered in poser bling, a doo-rag, a raging case of The PTSD, and a 1000-yard stare involved in this?

  12. Perry Gaskill says:

    Another place where Medeiros’ story doesn’t seem to fit the timeline is that he goes on at some length about being involved in the destruction of Khe Sanh just after it was abandoned. Which then leads to a harrowing escape from NVA ambush on the only road out.

    The problem is that Khe Sanh was abandoned and destroyed by Marines during Operation Charlie in early June of 1968. Medeiros didn’t enter Army basic training at Ft. Ord until August of 1969.

    • Combat Historian says:

      Medeiros was referring to the abandoning and shut-down/destruction of Khe Sanh in March 1971. The U.S. Army re-occupied the abandoned Marine combat base in Jan 1971 and used it as the main support base and launching pad for the ARVN/VNMC incursion into Laos during Opn LAM SON 719.

      U.S. Army elements based at Khe Sanh during DEWEY CANYON II (U.S. phase of LAM SON 719) were mainly from XXIV Corps HQs, 101st Abn Div aviation, 1/5 Mech Bde, 26th GSG, and USASUPCOM Da Nang support units.

      After the South Vietnamese operation into Laos ended in March 71, the U.S. Army again closed down Khe Sanh (for the last time), and moved its elements back toward the coast. Medeiros’ stories about closing down Khe Sanh and destroying its bunker defenses may be legit. His derring-do stuff about being a Tunnel Rat probably not so much…

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        Good catch. I’ll stand at least partially corrected.

        Still, Medeiros tosses out Khe Sanh, and the reporter runs with it as though it’s part of the original siege. I’d be willing to bet that for most of us who were there at the time, there was an absolutely clear distinction between Khe Sanh in ’68, and the ARVN’s Lam Son 719 operation into Laos in ’71. That Lam Son 719 was staged out of Khe Sanh was a minor factoid. It was never seen as Khe Sanh II, or whatever.

        Along with the tunnel ratting, it’s an embellishment that casts doubt about the rest of Medeiros’ narrative. IMHO.

  13. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Assclown didn’t mention that he knew Lon Duk Dong (GONG) and knows all about Cream of Sum Yung Guy soup… all of those assclowns that “served” in Viet of the Nam know about that stuff.

  14. Sparks says:

    I hope whoever wrote the article didn’t get more than a C- from their high school English Composition teacher.

  15. Green Thumb says:

    The only tunnel this turd has explored was a deep, dark and stank two-hole.

    But maybe at 17 he was working the General’s balls….?

    You never know.


  16. Skippy says:

    I have a uncle that had the dubious honor of that duty….
    many many years later he still won’t talk about it
    I’m now the keeper of his military records and momentos from back
    why in the FU&K would anybody want to brag about this ???

  17. Mark Lauer says:

    My uncle did tunnel work in Vietnam. I never knew this, of course, because he never once said anything about it.
    I only found out when his son (my cousin) told me many years after the fact.
    My uncle is still alive and well. He still doesn’t talk about the war. Doesn’t mention tunnels, or daring-do, or heroics, or anything else. That’s why I consider him a hero. He doesn’t brag.

  18. RCAF_Chairborne says:

    Im sure the closest thing to a ‘tunnel’ he ever explored, were the gloryholes at the Blue Oyster Bar.
    But seriously, he looks like some Uncle who isnt allowed near parks and schools

  19. Robert Waggoner says:

    I was a Supply Sgt for Alpha 2-27 Wolfhounds – if you think I wanted to be doing what the 11B’s and 11C’s were doing your crazy –
    My job was important and I loved keeping my soldiers taken care of but to lie and say I was a grunt – that’s just wrong —

    76Y20G5 Baby … and loved it …