Perry James; phony POW

| June 21, 2017

Gunnery Sergeant Perry “PJ” James was listed on the old POW Network website before it closed down. Here’s his entry;

He claimed that he was a POW of the Viet Cong for a brief period before he escaped. As Hondo explained, only 32 American military personnel were captured and escaped from the enemy. Perry James was not one of them.

On April 26, 2010, the National Japanese American Memorial Foundation presented their annual Award for Patriotism to the Navajo Code Talkers Association and they introduced Gunnery Sergeant Perry James with the group for some reason as a POW/MIA of the Vietnam War. You can hear his introduction at about 12:30 in the video at this link. The speaker also says that James earned the POW Medal.

As I said, he was not on the DPAA list as an escaped POW/MIA Marine, nor is he listed on the “accounted for” POWs at DPAA;

According to his records, he did earn much of what he’s wearing;

There’s no mention of any time he was missing in action while he was assigned to Headquarters and Service Company of the 13th Maintenance Battalion of the 5th Marine Division as a 2531 Voice Radio Operator while he was in Vietnam. His records are quite explicit about his participation in combat operations while assigned to a Headquarters company of a maintenance battalion. It’s possible, I suppose.

One thing jumped out at me – in November and December 1979, he supposedly attended the Basic Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia and he completed the three week course in ten days – that would have been seven actual days of training instead of the normal fifteen work days. His training lists “Airborne”, but his awards list doesn’t say anything about parachutist wings or an assignment to a unit where airborne training would be a prerequisite. There’s also no mention of dive training. So to me, that throws all of his records into question, but nothing I can prove.

I do know, however, that he wasn’t a POW nor was he ever Missing In Action.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (80)

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  1. Skidmark says:

    Yogi Bear: Boo Boo, you’ve tried to stop my brilliant ideas with common sense a thousand times. Has it ever worked?
    Boo Boo: No.
    Yogi Bear: Then… let’s go-go-go!

  2. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Another STOLEN VALOR shitbird that served honorably, but needs to embellish…

  3. fedupwithposers says:

    No fucking excuses for these bastard stealing from others.

  4. OldManchu says:

    Is he a North Korean private?

  5. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    He could have told the truth about his service and held his head high but instead he fucketh himself by lying like an assworm.

  6. MSG Eric says:

    Seeing that rack on the right and him wearing that campaign hat in a dress uniform makes my eyes hurt and I’m not even a Marine.

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      Marines assigned to DI duty do wear the campaign cover while wearing the dress blue uniform.
      However, its only worn ON the recruit depot or if off base, only when performing a duty that pertains to being a DI, such as an ROTC visit on TAD orders.
      If your are a DI that campaign cover is replaced by the regular uniform cover as soon as your ass leaves the gate.

      • Cris says:

        I never did like that when they started wearing it with the blues, just didn’t look right. I remember many years ago seeing a stupid movie about a reservist doing embassy duty in Paris and the Sgt was wearing blues with the smokie and I though that’s Hollywood for you. Who woulda thought years later it would happen for real. (wish I could remember the name of it)
        I also noticed the MSG (embassy duty)ribbon but I didn’t see it on any of the paperwork.

  7. QM1 says:

    If all of that bling and cover/dress uniform combo doesn’t leave a tell sign, then the shades in a dark room will definitely do the trick.

  8. Graybeard says:

    YGBKM – He has a record that anyone could be proud of, and he has to spit on it like that?

  9. Jeffery D Monroe says:

    Why is he wearing a DI cover with Dress Blues?
    Also I see a lot of Medals on their that are Joint Service Which are mostly for E-9 and Senior Officers. I don’t believe 1 word of any of it or his documents and why only about 17 years instead of 20?

    • IDC SARC says:

      Joint Service Comm and Achievement medals are pretty common. It’s not so much rank as much as it’s being attached to a Joint Command or operation where awarding them would actually be the norm. IME

  10. IDC SARC says:

    No dive school questionable airborne qualification, no basic amphibious reconnaissance or companion training in the realm of the reconnaissance community (like Lar V Transition, advanced recon etc)

    So apparently, a bona fide Vietnam Combat Marine that decided to needlessly embellish.

    Combat Tested D-Bag

    • OldManchu says:

      Brian Culp syndrome. Gulf war vet with CIB from 101st Airborne. Iraq war vet with reserve unit. But no….

      He has to be mr. Black Hawk Down ranger dude.

  11. HT3 '83-'87 says:

    A) His uniform is UNSAT. Either wear is properly (no shades or campaign hat with your blues) or don’t wear it all.
    B) Don’t parade around with your skirt-bait fruit salad. He should know better.
    C) Don’t claim POW when you clearly were not a POW. Those guys didn’t suffer & keep the faith so you can scoot around sucking up accolades for their misery.
    D) Now carry the fuck on

  12. USAF RET says:

    Easy to confuse; he was in the brig, according to records, from 70330 to 700731 if I am reading his assignment sheet from 67-71. Because of his advance case of Fracture Taint he is just confusing the 2.

  13. Dave Hardin says:

    He never went to Airborne School. That is entered as a “late entry” in his records. At the time he was a Career Planner. Those are who you go to when you want to re-enlist, they do all the paperwork to make sure you get fucked out of anything you might qualify for. No jump billets exist for Career Planners or anyone else that was in his unit for that matter.

    He was also an Admin Clerk (0151) at one point. His records were rebuilt sometime in 1974, my guess is a tragic coffee spill. Admin Clerks and Career Planners have access to everyones Service Record Book and the time, opportunity, and knowledge to alter any record.

    His awards are displayed wrong in the pictures. Marines do not wear ribbons and medals for the same awards at the same time. Medals above the left breast pocket and if the award only comes as a ribbon it goes to the right. (Sea Service Deployment ribbon for example…it has no medal)

    He is wearing a Navy and Marine Corps Medal. Equivalent to a Silver Star and awarded for heroic action when not directly engaged with the enemy.

    Obviously no Scuba School either…utter nonsense.

    Cover, glasses, and on and on and on, basically this guy has a very long history of embellishing his military career beyond recognition and altering his records.

    • IDC SARC says:

      “No jump billets exist for Career Planners or anyone else that was in his unit for that matter.”

      True, and not defending him, but there are HABU situations. (Hook a Brutha Up)

      When I was at 10th Marines I went to jump school (with a Marine Sergeant)because our SgtMaj sent us. It was great, but when I indoc’d at 2d Recon later as a lead sled, I paid for it. lol

      It was an ongoing event actually, he had the hookup to identify his hard chargers and throw them a bone with jump school.

      As a chief later in my career as a Recon IDC I bumped into that SgtMaj…..thanked him for the opportunity he gave me. He didn’t remember me. 🙂

      • Dave Hardin says:

        Ya, well 10th Marines has all kinds of weird shit that goes on. I did about 6 years in 1/10, 3/10, 5/10 (2nd FAG).

        FO’s spend most of their time with the grunts, TAB Btry does…not much but talk to one of them, RECON on crack.

        Spent most deployments on the MAU’s as grunts or playing in the well deck. Hard for people to get their mind around the fact that a Motor T guy in 10th Marines is often found as an Infantry Squad Leader in some country he can not pronounce.

        We aren’t called Kings of the Battle for nothing bro.

        Its just not the case with this dumbass, or that unit.

      • CB Senior says:

        Was thinking that also. He took leave just before the school.
        Non-jump type question. It states FT. Lee. Is that sub group school at FT. Benning?

      • CK Young says:

        While waiting for an advanced aircraft transition at Ft. Rucker, I called my branch manager for an Airborne School slot. Manager said “no slots, sorry. Looking at your records, you’re not eligible for that advanced aircraft.” I asked him to cite the regulation. After 15 minutes on hold, he came back and said “It’s an unwritten rule, so you’re not going to that aircraft transition, but I did find you an Airborne slot.” Recruiters and career managers… what can you say…

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      Everybody wants to wear jump wings, until it’s time to jump out of an airplane.

      • IDC SARC says:

        I think my serum testosterone just spiked a wee bit thinking about it. awww yeah.

      • Dave Hardin says:

        I understand gravity does most of the work. I still have no idea why it takes the Army weeks to teach someone how to fall.

        I fell off a 5 ton once, no practice, safety brief, or anything.

        • Jonn Lilyea says:

          That’s why it’s called the University of Gravitational Studies. We obey the laws of gravity with style.

          • Graybeard says:

            My brother tells the story of one guy that got caught in an updraft. They had to send a helo to track him – he was up for like 20 minutes.

            • After I had completed my Basic Combat Training at Fort Lewis, Washington, and my Advanced Individual Training at the United States Army Southeastern Signal School at Fort Gordon, Georgia, I was enroute to my very first permanent assignment as a Private First Class, E-3, Field Radio Relay and Carrier Equipment Repairman (MOS 31L20) at Company A, 11th Air Defense Signal Battalion, 32d Army Air Defense Command, at Kleber Kaserne in Kaiserslautern, Germany.

              As we processed in at Fort Dix, New Jersey, prior to boarding the chartered airliner at McGuire Air Force Base, New Jersey, a group of newly graduated paratroopers straight out of Jump School were boisterously having a good time.

              One of the brand new paratroopers was a real little guy, wearing a totally unauthorized black beret.

              He was a very likeable kind of guy and seemed to be regarded as a sort of pet mascot by the other paratroopers.

              One of them told the humorous story of how the little guy during a normal jump, because he weighed so little, was carried UPWARD, instead of going straight down!

              Anyway, when we arrived in Germany, the little paratrooper was no longer wearing the black beret.

        • Green Thumb says:

          I fell off the wagon once.

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Not enough money or wings bling in the world….

      • Slick Goodlin says:

        Airborne School in 10 days? No Way.
        Airborne School is structured and organized for 3 weeks.
        Classes start and finish together.
        Week 1 – Ground Week
        Week 2 – Tower Week
        Week 3 – Jump Week
        Jump Week is when you must make your 5 qualifying jumps.
        They give it a week, but weather and aircraft permitting they like to get the class jumped, graduated and shipped out by Wednesday.
        My class got 1 jump on Monday, 2 on Tuesday and 2 on Wednesday.
        If he only did 10 days of training I don’t know how he could have gotten his 5 qualifying jumps.

        • Stacy0311 says:

          Week 1-separate the men from the boys
          Week 2-separate the men from the fools
          Week 3-the fools jump.

        • rgr769 says:

          Absolutely correct; there is no abbreviated basic airborne course for Marines. The two Navy SEALs in my ranger school class were also in my THREE week jump school class before Ranger School started.

          • IDC SARC says:

            SEALs have their own Basic Airborne Course in San Diego now. None of my current students went to Benning. Teams got tired of taking 3 weeks for qualification.

            • SSG E says:

              We had some of the SEAL support folks with us at Benning (computer folks, a GM1, I forget what else) – do all the support folks do Benning?

              • IDC SARC says:

                When was this?

                Not sure what you mean by “support” folks exactly either.

                • IDC SARC says:

                  They may have been throwing a bone to the GM1….I don’t know if they sent him there to Benning as a matter of convenience or what exactly.

                  The SEALS aren’t big IME on any segregation of training (i,e, Operator vs Support)

                  They are generally glad to share. I was never a SEAL but have trained with them (as have other SARCS)when the opportunity was there including airborne operations, boat ops and refresher training. And that was while not even serving a joint command.

                  • SSG E says:

                    My class was in 2013. These were folks who were not SEALs themselves, but were assigned to work with them in some way. I don’t think any of them were HABU, they all said they needed to pass the course, or that was their career – instead of SEAL support, they’d be sent to the fleet or something. Sorry I can’t be more helpful than that, because I just don’t know Navy…

                    Interestingly, we had the four services represented – in my platoon we had one Air Force E6 (his slot was a reward), that half-dozen Navy NCOs, but the Marines were all junior enlisted, I believe in the Recon pipeline.

        • Skippy says:

          My unit had 1 slot for Airbase and one for
          Air Assault. I chose Air Assault
          I was to old and no longer crazy enough
          To do airborne. We had a Happy Spc
          That was sent to Benning and I went to Campbell
          Completely fine with me

      • Skippy says:

        Not me, Not now or ever

  14. TankBoy says:

    This is the worst kind of poser. The piece of shit that had a commendable career but decides it wasn’t good enough and has to enhance it. These are the ones that I truly despise. They should understand the wrong they commit more than anyone.

    • IDC SARC says:

      no shit he enhanced it…added shit he never earned and at least put stars on everything he actually rated. That uniform looks like a trip to the planetarium.

  15. Ex-PH2 says:

    Why is he wearing the wrong hat? Is he nuts?

    • IDC SARC says:

      There’s a lot wrong with what he’s wearing.

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      The cover he is wearing is authorized to be worn with utility, service, and dress uniforms when in the performance of duty as a Drill Instructor, Primary Marksmanship Instructor or member of the USMC competitive marksmanship unit.
      It is not worn off base or for events having nothing to do with the duties listed above.
      Perry earned the Campaign Cover while serving as a Drill Instructor.
      As a retired Marine he should know better than to wear it to an event or ceremony. His uniform is fucked up even without using that cover.

  16. Green Thumb says:


  17. OWB says:

    Probably not so honorable a career after all. He’s lying now about what he did back then, and there is absolutely no reason to think that he was anything but a liar when he served. In fact, there is quite a bit there to indicate a distinct likelihood that he embellished his records when he had the opportunity to do so.

    Disgusting piece of work, this one.

    And, as has been asked here many times, why would anyone falsely claim POW status when it is something no sane member of the military would want?

  18. Sparks says:

    Bothers me to watch the video and see him standing beside those real WWII Navajo Code Talkers.

  19. Skippy says:

    🤣 😂 🤣 😂 🤣 😂

  20. Joseph Williams says:

    This piece ofcrap on Scotty’s He claims to be to have been in Air Am. Simple Question for him ? Where is your second DD-214 ?

  21. The Old Maj says:

    I completed Airborne School in 13 days. They told us when we started jump week that the weather would determine when we graduated. As soon as everyone had five jumps we were done. We did all of our jumps in three days and got pinned the next day.

    I think the cadre had a four day weekend planned for themselves but I can’t be 100% on that.

    I don’t see ten days being feasible because there would be no jump week. But maybe? However given the rest of it it seems unlikely.

    • IDC SARC says:

      He’s also wearing gold and there’s no entry in the record for Basic wings or the USN/USMC Parachutist Gold. Getting gold is a significant reason to drink beer and celebrate and there is usually a certificate issued for it.

      In the Corps, a Marine has to actually be assigned to a jump billet to earn his gold wings, regardless of the number of jumps he might have from strap hanging until then.

  22. FatCircles0311 says:

    That shit bag was made into a meme years ago. I can’t remember the name of the meme but it was basically Gunny hypocrite.

  23. Does he speak Navajo?

    Is he a Navajo?

    A genuine Navajo would very quickly expose him as a fraud if he couldn’t speak the language.

  24. rgr769 says:

    He is just another radio mule. Except he is a REMF one who never humped one in the bush in the Viet of the Nam. He was in the rear with the gear in Headquarters and Service Company at a maintenance battalion HQ. With that assignment he never left the division base camp.

    • rgr769 says:

      I reviewed his assignments record and it appears he was assigned to the H&S Co. of the 1st Bn, 5th Marines of the 1st Marine Division. So, he was assigned as an RTO to and infantry battalion, but that does not mean he “was in the shit.” He certainly was never a POW. And since he could control what went into his records as an admin man, his awards are all suspect. As far as I am concerned, he is still in the same category as CSM Richard Barr Cayton, another fake POW exposed by POWNET.

  25. timactual says:

    Claims to be an E-7 yet commits uniform violations even an E-2 wouldn’t commit. I don’t believe a word of his record without independent confirmation.

  26. Just An Old Dog says:

    Coupla things on this guy. First, part of his time ( actually 9 months) in Viet of the Nam was with H&S 1st Bn 5th Marines as a Radio Operator.
    I’m not sure how much things changed but RTOs, while they may be attached down to company and platoon level, are always administratively attached to Hide and Slide Company.
    When a unit does an operation H&S will attach the RTO and equipment to them. USUALLY a company will work things out with the comm platoon and have the same RTOs for continuity.
    There is a definite possibility this guy saw some shit.
    Second, he was a flexible guy and filled a lot of billets, Comm, Admin, Corrections ( he was not confined he was a guard) Career Planner and Drill Instructor. He was not a Joe Shit the Ragman type of Marine, at least as far as his ability.
    Third, he had a lot going on health wise, lots of time in Hospital, on sick leave and Convalescing. Medical retirement makes sense.
    Last, I think hes another Larry Gugle. He was not only Admin but an Admin CHIEF. you noticed he had his records reconstructed. Pretty sure he added whatever he wanted. The most damning thing is that he put in two purple hearts and then put in something I have NEVER seen in a Combat Operations page. He documented receiving two Shrapnel wounds the same day… The purple heart, to my knowledge has never been awarded for separate wounds received at the same time.
    Guys an ass clown

  27. I just now watched the video, and it appears to me like he was being ignored and not permitted to speak, even when he motioned with his hand and attempted to speak.

    So, somebody must have alerted the organizers that something wasn’t quite right.

  28. John Henken says:

    In 1963 I was stationed at a Small Marine barracks in Hawaii. Sky diving was just starting so several of us decided to start a club. Our CO got behind us and thought it would be great PR for the Corps. Long story short after I was discharged I joined the Air national guard and upon checking in was getting a records check. My only award from the Corps was a good conduct ribbon. The Air Force however saw that I had 12 jumps and told me I qualified for jump wings and all other kinds of shit. Ending up with 2 rows of ribbons and jump wings made me look like a Chinese general. Our AF brothers are quick to hand out ribbons.

    • IDC SARC says:

      Oh that’s all sorts of fukkered up awarding military jump wings for hobby lobbing. I had jumped civilian prior to going to military jump school and of course recreational jumps don’t familiarize you with any aspects of military parachuting.

      I used to gt questions from Sailors periodically about how they could get wings or a bubble for their recreational activities. I never blamed them for the question, but I kinda wondered how they figured recreational and military applications were somehow identical.

      I’m sure you would have had the sense not to step into something you weren’t prepared for, but giving jump wings or a dive bubble for recreational pursuits is just amazingly wrong. 🙂

      • I remember seeing something on the Internet (a cartoon?) of a sergeant at the open door of an aircraft bellowing,

        “I don’t care how many skydiving jumps you’ve made.

        If you ain’t jumped at night while carrying a hundred pound pack and weapon, you ain’t Airborne!”

        (Because it’s been a long time, I might not have remembered that exactly right, but I reckon you guys have seen it.)

    • As I understand it, the Air Force and the Navy wear their unit awards with their individual awards, and that’s why their riband racks look so heroic.

      The Army (and the Marine Corps?) keep their unit awards separate from individual awards, i.e., individual awards are worn on the left side of the uniform, while unit awards are worn on the right side of the uniform.

      • Just An Old Dog says:

        The USMC wears both personal and unit awards together. The only reason Marines will wear awards over both pockets is if they are wearing medals and there is only a ribbon for one of their awards. Medals are worn above the wearers left breast pocket. Ribbons (for awards without a medal) are worn above the right breast pocket.

  29. Retired ITC says:

    I used to love it when folks were outed and they would respond to a thread…what happened to those good ol’ days??

  30. Michelle says:

    Wouldn’t some of these posts represent a how to guide for other posers? Assuming they scan sites constantly, for new poser listings.

    The comments are the best part, but I keep thinking about how much I learned just now reading the comments. I found a name I knew on one of these sites before. It’s devastating One thing I do wonder, as I see it constantly among those exposed, do most military men get into full uniform for photo shoots every year and display their medals on the wall with the flag and other wall filling memorabilia?

    My father and brothers and uncle served , not one of them did that. Once out they didn’t really ever wear their uniforms much . I would display my fathers medals in a frame , but if they were mine, I would not. I don’t recall them handing out pictures in full uniform either after they left or retired.

    I actually searched many of the sites for stolen valor cases after meeting one in a bar. While there I saw a profile of someone I knew who did all of those things, which I thought odd at the time as well as him giving me several poses in uniform and also in full tribal wear, which appeared to be from Sears or somewhere.

    Honestly I am sitting here thinking about one of these posers sitting on the little stool out in public at the old Sears photo department and the thought of him changing clothes and posing again just made me laugh a little!

    Anyway, thanks to those who served , and to those who do serve, I am forever in your debt.