Earned Valor Refused

| July 3, 2017

Some of you regulars here at American Thinker may know that I also post at a combat veteran-operated military website called This Ain’t Hell. Its primary mission is exposing Stolen Valor fraud, that is, going after those sleazy types who dishonestly claim military service, deeds, heroism, and awards which they did not perform or earn, and shining the bright, hot light of Internet fame on them. Since 2008, TAH has exposed more than 2,000 of these valor thieves, many of whom appear in this rogue’s gallery, a place you most surely do not want your mug to be plastered, for as they say, the Internet is forever.

Vietnam War hero Lieutenant General Hal Moore was made famous by his heroic leadership at the Battle of Ia Drang, the U.S. Army’s first major set-piece battle in that war where Moore and the legendary 7th Cavalry fought off a much larger North Vietnamese Army force. A widely acclaimed book, We Were Soldiers Once… And Young, written by Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, a war reporter present throughout the battle, made Moore famous outside the military. A movie based on that book starring Mel Gibson as Moore made the by-then-retired, three-star general an American icon. Sadly, the old warhorse left us earlier this year.

My involvement with Moore was very brief and strictly by chance. My unit, the 2d Battalion, 327th Airborne Infantry was engaged with a much larger NVA force at a hamlet called Trung Luong in June 1966. The 1st Air Cavalry Division was tapped to assist. Moore, a full colonel and brigade commander by then, led the relief force, a battalion of the 8th Cavalry Regiment. He blew through the blackout flaps of our Forward Tactical Operations Center like a tall, lean whirlwind and within minutes I found myself designated his tactical net radio operator within the TOC. For the better part of the next two days, I issued and rescinded endless streams of commands and instructions as his voice to the rifle companies except when he grabbed the handset, as he did frequently, and barked out orders himself. At the conclusion of the battle, when the enemy regiments had withdrawn from the field, he boarded his command chopper and I never saw him again. However, for the remainder of my life, much of which was spent on military installations all over the country, I have told countless listeners of this fierce colonel who embodied the image of the lean, mean Airborne Ranger infantry officer. That statue at Fort Benning could well be him.

Last week I received an email from an old Cav trooper buddy which I thought might interest readers of American Thinker but especially the valor hunters at This Ain’t Hell:

via Lt General Hal Moore’s son.

Missing award?

I had a question about Dad’s Purple Heart. As you can see from his official picture, it is not on his chest. In this letter home from Vietnam, he explains: “By the way please send me back that Purple Heart and award certificate. I cannot keep it as I feel that a minor punji stake wound in the foot is no reason. Many get it for that when so hurt, but I have my own self-respect to live with. I intend to turn them back. Although it was properly earned, I cannot wear it or keep it in conscience.”

Dad was unsuccessful in his effort to return it. Once something is awarded, it is final. But, it was his choice not to wear it out of respect for those who paid a much higher price.

As someone who saw others wounded by punji stakes and who himself once came within inches and seconds of planting his jump boots into a punji pit, I can assure you that such wounds can be no small matters, even life-threatening. Yet here was an infantry leader turning down a duly awarded Purple Heart, his nation’s oldest and most cherished award, for a legitimate injury, because he considered it too minor.

Now can you, for even a moment, imagine John Kerry possessing the honor and self-respect to do that? It would be a most fitting punishment to all Stolen Valor thieves exposed by This Ain’t Hell and other such organizations for local judges to require the perpetrators to stand in their courtrooms and eat a copy of General Moore’s award citation, printed on heavy formal presentation stock. John Kerry should have to do that, too, except while standing on the steps of the Capitol holding a wooden model Swift Boat.

Crossposted at American Thinker

Category: Who knows

Comments (84)

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  1. Jay says:

    Just goes to show the caliber of man he was. Between him and SgtMaj Plumley, heaven has gotten two certified warriors.

    Thanks for sharing Poe, that’s a good bit of info on LtGen Moore that I had never heard before.

    • The Other Whitey says:

      Slightly paraphrasing James Michener, but “Where does America get such men?”

  2. LiRight says:


    Thank you for cross-posting this excellent, well-written and informative article.

    Warm regards and respect,

    • sj says:

      ^Word^. Poet, the gent we talked about before who was at the spear tip of that battle, Luther Woods, only wore his DSC. Nothing else. Wish he were still with us to read your article.

  3. Yef says:

    Over at American Thinker, there is that guy in the comments saying he is:

    Terry L Walker
    Marine Gunner
    USMC Retired

    That sounds kind of weird to me. 34 years of service as a Marine Gunner? And what is that anyway? Machine gun gunner?
    Is CW05 a chief warrant officer 5? I can’t see a CW5 in the Army as a gunner, so I doubt that’s the way it works in the Marines. Also, how long until you are forced to retire as a CW5?

    Anyway, to the Marines in here, does that looks right?

    Just asking.

    • IDC SARC says:

      A chief warrant officer serving as an infantry weapons officer also carries the title, “Marine Gunner”, which does not replace his rank.

      However, a Marine Gunner replaces the chief warrant officer insignia on the left collar with a bursting bomb insignia.

    • Bryan Jones says:

      CWO5 is a Chief Warrant Officer 5, and a Marine Gunner is an Infantry Weapons Officer. Essentially he is a Chief Warrant Officer who is an expert in the use and deployment of infantry weapons. They actually wear a special bursting bomb insignia as well.

      • USMC steve says:

        In the Old Corps there were three MOS’s that had Gunners. One was ordnance, one was admin, and I honestly cannot remember the third one. A true Marine Gunner wears his or her insignia as described above, and a Warrant Officer of any grade is not the same as a Marine Gunner. There may not be any on duty any more.

    • MK75Gunner says:

      A Marine Corps Warrant Officer that comes up through the infantry ranks is called “Gunner” as are Navy and Coast Guard Warrant Officers that are prior enlisted Weapons ratings .

    • Forest Green says:

      The “Bursting Bomb” insignia for the Infantry CWO community was reinstated during the 90s(?), maybe earlier. A Marine Gunner is an Infantry weapons expert. I don’t know CWO5 Walker, but I know he started life as a Pvt 0311 Rifleman. No other way to become a Gunner. At some point he applied to become a Warrant Officer and made CWO5. He must have been on the ball. They can serve well past 34 years depending on several factors.

      Historically, CWO Gunners were found on BBs, CAs, etc and were experts at naval gunnery. Marines manned the the starboard forward 5 inch mount on BBs. They wore the old “Gun Pointer” or “Gun Captain” insignia on their uniform sleeve. The rank was discontinued when Marines left Surface Line ships in the 70s (or the surface line left them, I’m not sure which). Reinstituted 80s/90s to maintain Infantry Weapon expertise in the MarDivs.

      I met one of the “old” (WWII) gunners in the 80s at the Lejeune rifle range. Served more that 40 years. What a Marine!

      Scroll down to the Qualification Badges on this website.


    • MustangCryppie says:

      All the Marine CWOs that I met were called “Gunner” no matter what their specialty was in the USMC. Just the nickname that is used.

      • TDG says:

        They shouldn’t be called Gunners unless they truly are one. Avionics Officers, Personnel Officers etc are all good in their own ways, but they are no Gunners.

      • IDC SARC says:

        That’s true as well…gunner is often used informally. Nonetheless Gunner is also a real title and used when appropriate. I think it depends what part of the Marine Corps Universe one serves whether it makes a difference. I’ve heard Navy warrants including PAs called “Gunner” onboard ships.

        Similarly Bosun is a term used informally to denote many in the deck department, but on a ship there is only one Bosun.

        • Atkron says:

          That is reserved for the Squadron / Ship’s Company Ordnance Officers… I’ve had crusty old Warrants and Mustang LDO’s as the Ordnance officers in the squadrons I have been in.

      • Cris says:

        Before the “Gunner” title was re-introduced, Marine Warrant Officers were called “Gunner” but as term of endearment/respect like “Gunny” or “Top”. Once “Gunner” became official again (happened during my career 86-10)the calling of all Warrant Officers as “Gunner” ceased unless it was to the appropriate person.

        • IDC SARC says:

          Again, depends on your personal experience, I was in before and during your time frame Cris and saw it used both ways….saying something ceased Corpswide is pretty much setting yourself up for an impossible statement.

          • Cris says:

            true…I should have said it was “requested” by higher to use only towards the appropriate folks. It did take me a couple months to stop calling my Survey officer “Gunner”.

            • Cris says:

              Got to know some great Gunners when I did a stint as 81’s Plt Sgt

              • Cris says:

                And at least this conversation is pleasant compared to the Kerry one, lol

                • Just An Old Dog says:

                  I talk it you were an 0848 as well.
                  My time with 81s was the best tour of my career.
                  I was able to pull off never having to serve at battalion level, something that I never wanted to do.

            • IDC SARC says:

              Ah, see I don’t recall seeing any message or having it brought up in any meetings..but as I avoided meetings and stayed out of garrison as much as possible I certainly could have missed it.

              • Cris says:

                it may have been at the Regt or Bn level. At that time as a Sgt, my world didn’t rise above that…and Regt was stretching it.

                • IDC SARC says:

                  Yeah, we get emails all the time from the chief of protocol…they go right to my delete folder. Old habits die hard.

    • Terry Walker says:

      Yef, I’ll assure you that I am Terry L Walker, CWO5, Marine Gunner, USMC Retired, 1974-2008


      Google can be your friend. Simply try searching for my Name, Rank and Title and you will find a slew of articles that clearly indicate who I am. After Retiring, I was the Adviser to the Commanding General, for Regional Command South West Afghanistan, 2009-2013. You will also find numerous articles referencing my time in Afghanistan.


      Marine Gunners carry the MOS, 0306, and serve as Infantry Weapons Officers. Only Marine Gunners wear a busrsing bomb on their Left collar.



      Ok, that should answer the mail!

      • Jonn Lilyea says:

        Good luck getting Yef to Google anything.

      • Just An Old Dog says:

        Semper Fi Gunner!!
        I remember when they reinstated the Gunner program. I believe it was under Al Gray.
        Only the most shit hot Marines needed apply.
        Marine Gunners knew every infantry weapon system, inside and out.

        • Terry Walker says:

          Thanks! You are correct; General Al Grey brought back the Marine Gunner! I was in the 3rd class and the last group commissioned under General Grey. I was selected while forward deployed, 1st Gulf War, and was the Company Gunny, Alfa Company 1/6.
          I sure had a great career and served with the most wonderful men alive. I spent everyday, as a Marine Gunner, in a deplorable Infantry unit. The last seven years, I was the Division Gunner 2nd Marine Division!
          I sure wish I. could do it all again!

        • Poetrooper says:

          Ahem, since Gunner Walker fails to mention that I went over to American Thinker and invited him to come here to straighten you turkeys out in this nomenclature brouhaha, I shall make the notification myself. I thus can take credit for making our brash young Yef ingest a healthy portion of crow this holiday eve.

          May I also suggest that we all invite Gunner Walker to join us here as frequently as he can so that his expertise in weaponry is available when disagreements re the tools of war arise, as they tend to do, from time to time. Consider this my invite, Gunner Walker.

          As for our shoot from the hip marksman, Yef, and his fowl diet,

          Holiday crow recipes anyone?

          • Terry Walker says:

            Thanks! I do enjoy a lively conversation and I accept the invitation!

            • Poetrooper says:

              It gets real lively here at times and your pay grade won’t protect you if you screw up or piss someone off, especially Ex-PH2 our diminutive and distaff photographer’s mate who brooks no BS from anyone. She is conspicuously absent from this thread today.

              • Poetrooper says:

                Oh, and as you can see from the well thought out and beautifully constructed review below by the Construction Battalion Senior Chief, my writings are universally well-received here.


  4. CB Senior says:

    Are you fucking me. You could have left the article about General Moore and had a completely great article. To throw in the Kerry stuff is a pure Bullshit, asshole move.
    At least the fucker went unlike the Hero of the Texas Air War who is still not over Macho Grande.
    Or his hand pick 7 deferment Marksman.
    Not to mention the current deferment QUEEN in the White House.

    • Skidmark says:

      If you aren’t sure if someone is “fucking” you, man…that brown eye must be really blown out, you probably don’t even make a noise when you fart anymore I’m guessing. It’s just a “poof” followed by a horrible aroma. All kidding aside…If you feel insulted about the Kerry reference, make your argument and/or point and move on. Adding your attempted insults at the end of your comment takes any merit from your previous words IMHO.

      • CB Senior says:

        So I should lead off with the insults like you did. Got it.
        I am sorry skidmark if I insulted your make war don’t go war hero’s.

        • Usafvet509 says:

          Eat a bowl of dicks, that direct enough for you, comrade?

        • USMC steve says:

          CB, I really have no idea who you are talking about “hero of the Texas Air War” and all that?

          WTF man?

        • USMC steve says:

          Would that be like Clinton and Obama, and every single one of their minions?

          • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

            Come to think of it, didn’t “Blowjob Willie” Clinton write a letter full of disparaging remarks about the US Military while he was overseas as a Rhodes Scholar? Comrade Bernie Sanders sure didn’t serve either.

            • rgr769 says:

              BJ Willie, had signed up for ROTC so he could get the deferment for it, in case he needed. He decided he didn’t, so he wrote to the Col. PMS (head of the ROTC department) advising him he would not be doing ROTC because he “loathed” the US military. That carried through to his presidency, as demonstrated by his and the Hildabeast’s direction to the Pentagon that they did not want military officers to wear their uniforms to the White House. I think Hildy told some Col. or General, “Don’t come over here wearing those fukking uniforms.”

            • CB Senior says:

              But Kerry did and at least he went. Now we are qualifying Combat because we do not like the guy.
              Your combat was not as good as my combat because. Really?

        • Skidmark says:

          At least you got my point. Good work.
          I was joking in the 1st part Senior, hence the “kidding aside” comment. I was being sarcastic yet making a point, unfortunately you only got part of it and 50% is not a passing grade. There will be make up quiz tomorrow, if I were you I’d study up tonight on the relevance of 4 July in United States history and the men responsible. The test will be 1 essay question and 3 multiple choice…Good luck and God speed.

    • Forest Green says:

      No, its a completely great article as is. The comparison between a MAN and a simp in their post service careers is the point.

      • CB Senior says:

        Give me list of ANY person that Served in the Military and compare them to General Moore’s accomplishments and I am pretty sure most will fall short.

    • Poetrooper says:

      Ah, the irony is rich with this one. A guy who can’t even write a brief comment that makes any sense at all to readers telling me how I should have written my piece.

      MEMO TO JONN: I was not aware CB Senior is an editor here. If you will send me his email, in future I will submit my work to him for editing and rewrite prior to your posting. His indecipherable opinions are of great value to me in improving my writing skills.

      • bg2 says:

        Writing a fine article is difficult; throwing darts is usually pretty easy. This was a fine article.

      • CB Senior says:

        I guess the message was correct, because you had to attack the messenger. Too bad someone who calls themselves a writer is not cognizant of basic questioning of folly and the use of comic insults to convey a greater sense of that folly.

        MEMO TO JOHN: No thanks I do not think I could bend my back into the pretzel shapes that is required for his viewpoint.

    • OWB says:

      Seriously? You went THERE??

      Open your eyes. Your guy enlisted with no intention of getting shot at and tried mightily to get out of it when the mission of the boats changed to actually go to the Viet of the Nam after he had volunteered to serve on them stateside.

      Sure, your guy awarded himself multiple Purple Heart Medals, and found the back door away from there ASAP. Such a “hero.” Not.

      • rgr769 says:

        Kerry rec’d the first PH for getting hit with a sliver of wire from an M-79 grenade fired from the skiff he was in when there was no actual enemy contact. It was treated with a Band-Aid. Another one was for getting hit with flying rice when a RVN militia platoon transported on his swift boat detonated a rice cache in an enemy village. In the final one there was actual enemy fire, but Kerry was knocked down on his swift boat, injuring his arm, when the coxswain abruptly accelerated to get out of the kill zone of an ambush on the river. He was never actually hit with a piece of enemy ordnance fired in combat. All this is documented in detail in O’Neal’s book, written in part to refute Kerry’s Winter Soldier “testimony” before Congress before he went into politics. You know, where he testified that the US military was committing war crimes of raping, murdering and pillaging like the armies of Genghis Khan.

        • OWB says:

          Yep. And there is soooo much more. Everything from lying, falsifying records, and retribution toward those who told the truth, to simple cowardice and that sort of thing.

          He could have capitalized on his actual service except that his service was so dishonorable. Rather makes one wonder just why he enlisted in the first place. Smoke and mirrors of the leftist variety perhaps?

    • 11B-Mailclerk says:

      CB Senior, like it or not, a significantly large portion of Kerry’s former associates threw him under the boat, repeatedly and with gusto, because they found his conduct unbecoming.

      Perhaps it might -possibly- have had something to do with various shitbag moves like the Winter Soldier event, where he threw his fellow servicemen and nation under the Borchst truck, thus adhering to and giving aid and comfort to the USSR.

      He “threw away” his medals, when they were not cool, then miraculously found them again, because he threw away someone else’s medals, when service and medals were cool again. WTF?

      I consider Kerry a dispicable treasonous shitbag. Better? Got a counter argument? First rebut “Winter Soldier”.

      • Texas Nomad says:

        I think the smart point, if one were to be made, is that its completely superfluous to compare an irrelevant former politician to Hal Moore for the article to have any impact.

        Particularly when there is such a rich gallery of Stolen Valor from which to draw the comparison.

        • OWB says:

          Well, sKerry is perhaps one of the best known valor thieves extant, and certainly in a very small group that have tried to become US president.

        • Poetrooper says:

          “Particularly when there is such a rich gallery of Stolen Valor from which to draw the comparison.”

          But not a single one among them who possesses the notoriety and malevolence to draw the ire and the fire of my readers, Tex.

          And the descriptive, “irrelevant” hardly applies to a treasonous bastard who denounced his fellow warriors then had the nerve to run for president on his own phony war record only to be exposed as a phony by his own unit. Try telling the many Vietnam veterans who read here that Kerry is irrelevant. You’d have better luck
          trying to convince them that Jane Fonda meant well.

          They’ll both be irrelevant here when they cease to draw breath, then and only then, Tex.

      • rgr769 says:

        My favorite Kerry story is when he told a reporter that he had infiltrated a CIA operative into Cambodia by taking his swift boat up a river and that the man gave him his boonie hat. First MACV-SOG controlled all cross-border ops at the time, not the CIA. Second, the last thing anyone would want for a covert insert is a noisy-ass 55 foot Navy swift boat. Third, a bunch of Navy PBR guys said the rivers Kerry’s unit operated on were not navigable by a swift boat in the vicinity of the Cambodian border. Third, he said he did it on XMAS eve of 1968 when he was ordered to do so under Pres. Nixon. But, as we all know Nixon was not inaugurated until Jan. 20th, 1969.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      It’s been said that he was medically deferred while we only have RUMOR that Das Hildebeast only walked into a USMC Recruiting Office and look at her record of telling the truth! And once again, just when and where did Comrade Sanders serve?

  5. bg2 says:

    Reading that letter, I am nearly in tears.

  6. STSC(SW/SS) says:

    With a chest full of medals like that he didn’t have room to keep the Purple Heart even if he wanted to.

  7. Club Manager says:

    Memo to Yef: Do NOT, repeat do NOT, fuck with or ever question any warrant officer.



    • IDC SARC says:

      Izzat Warrant Officer Physician Assistant?

      • Claw says:

        Nah, WOPA = Warrant Officer Protection Association.

        WOPA is kinda like a red headed stepchild of the WPPA, (West Point Protection Association) otherwise known as Ring Knockers, Inc.


        • IDC SARC says:

          Ah, Roger that. Occupationally, I saw WOPA used as I mentioned. That was before they started commissioning all the PAs.

    • Claw says:

      Memo to Club Manager: The correct phrase is “I say again”, not “repeat”./smile

      Old School NCO of proper radio procedures./I say again, Smile.

      • rgr769 says:

        For the artillery uninitiated, we don’t say “repeat” on the radio because it is redleg speak for shoot the same data again. So, we use “say again” in voice radio protocols.

        • IDC SARC says:

          yeah that’s like one of the first things you learn about the radio along with turn it to stand-by, not off, to change the batteries. 🙂

        • Poetrooper says:

          I went to RTO school at Fort Campbell to serve as a command RTO in an infantry battalion. We were taught to never, ever, ever use the word “REPEAT” in a radio or field telephone transmission as it could be too easily mistaken for “RETREAT.”

          • Claw says:

            Yes Sir. Sorta the same kind of reason as to why the Army regiments never had a J (Jig/Juliett) Company.

            In the days of handwritten FRAGOs/Op Orders, it would have been way too easy to mistake a capital J for a capital I. (or vice-versa) Same thing for plotting companies on a map.

            Some leader somewhere with pointy stick whacks the map and asks – Is that Jig or Item Company? I was told one company went to the rear for a little R&R and the other company was to replace them in the line. Which is it?/ I say again, Smile.

          • Mason says:

            In the words of General Smith; “Retreat, hell! We’re not retreating, we’re just advancing in a different direction.”

    • Yef says:

      So, do you mean that every time someone says he is warrant officer I should take it at face value?

      I found very suspicious posting an extremely politically correct comment and signing off with his first, middle initial and last name, plus the term Marine Gunner which I was not familiar with.

      I have learned a lot here about the history of the rank and designation of gunner.

      To me a gunner is the guy humping the M240 or the guy that shoots a vehicle mounted weapon system. Usually E-4 or below.

      In my experience, posers like to make politically correct statements, from our military point of view, in order to receive our approval and in time uae that as a confirmation of their claims.

      You guys are saying the guy is legit and I defer to your knowledge of Marine culture.

      Maybe the dude is just an old guy that doesn’t know how dangerous it is to post so much information on teh internetz.

      • Forest Green says:

        Yef- Your good. It was an honest question. You know how it is; some times you ask and then become ground zero for the answer. I didn’t take it as questioning someone’s service.

        I do take exception though. I retired in 2008 after 30 years and don’t consider myself a “dude” or and “old guy”

    • streetsweeper says:

      You especially did not fuck with any NCO or WO/CWO that had a 95D MOS to go with his rank. More so, if they served under Moore after assuming command of the former school for wayward boys, Fort “Wild West” Ord.

      • OWB says:

        Can imagine. My Dad was one of those “other” types of CWO’s and nobody messed with him either.

  8. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    One thing is for sure and it’s that LTG Hal Moore was a steel-balled Warrior while John “Lurch” Kerry seldom did any more than the bare minimum and to this day is still a spineless quiche-eating dingleberry.

  9. IDC SARC says:

    FFS a thread that contains Sanders, Kerry and both Clintons in the presence of General Hal Moore?!?

    Pass the whiskey!

  10. Island of Misfit Toys says:

    Great story and reminds me of my father who served three tours as a forward observer and in on instance where he earned a bronze star was wounded when he go to higher ground to direct counter fire and was hit with shrapnel in the back of his leg. He never wanted and refused to wear the Purple Heart because as he saw it the medics pulled the shrapnel out and a few stitches and he was back on duty. He always said he had friends and troops under him that lost limbs and lives and he was not deserving of the award.