Vernon Sperry; phony Korean War veteran

| July 28, 2017

Someone was curious about this fellow, Vernon Sperry when he started telling tall tales about how he single-handedly drove the Chinese back above the 38th Parallel, or words to that affect. He even told his stories to the local news, back in 2009;

He calls himself “The Colonel” and claims that he was awarded five Purple Heart Medals and that he will be awarded the Medal of Honor some day. He shows folks this DD214;

He claims these awards;

Yeah, I don’t know what half of those things are either. Most of them aren’t even individual awards, the French Fourragère hasn’t been awarded to US Marines since the First World War.

Well, it turns out that Mr Sperry didn’t join the Marine Corps until a year after the Korean War ended, and it looks like he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California the whole time he was in the Marine Corps. He was an infantryman most of the time except when he had guard duties at the brig.

Sperry may have been blowed up a little on April 18, 1955 when an artillery round hit a messhall on Pendleton. His records show that he was in the hospital for a few weeks beginning April 19th – no Purple Hearts are awarded for action in the messhall in California, though;

Here’s a poem he wrote about his five Purple Hearts;

Big thanks to Bulldog at Guardian of Valor for putting a rush on this FOIA for us.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (118)

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  1. Silentium Est Aureum says:

    Nice fonts on the awards. And he assumes people can’t do math? He couldn’t have even joined until the end of 1951 at the earliest.

    Or maybe it was that Super Secret Squirrel War they had where he flew secret missions over the DMZ in his SR-71 on weekends before reporting back to Pendleton every Monday morning.

    • Jay says:

      I like how he claims he was on patrol on “Heartbreak Ridge”. I wonder if he was with Tom Highway?

      • O-4E says:

        WITH Tom Highway? He IS Tom Highway

      • Claw says:

        “I wonder if he was with Tom Highway?”

        We could always ask Stony Jackson, but we know what happened to him 17 years later.

        But it would have been pretty hard for Stony, Choozu or Highway to know about Sperry (a 17 year old Marine Private) since they were all in the Army’s 23d Infantry of the 2nd ID./smile

      • Rock says:

        See, that proves Stolen Valor right there. Everyone knows that only Stony Jackson, Choozu, and Highway survived that battle.

        Maybe this dude was The previous Recon SNCO that went ROAD…

    • Rock says:

      Well, I guess it’s time that I broke OPSEC and divulge G15 Classified information.

      I was Adm Calavicci’s assistant during the first phase of the Quantum Leap project, and I was assigned the codename “Ziggy.”

      Anyway, before Sam had his first leap, PFC Speery volunteered to try out the first leap. His leap took him to Korea….

  2. Jay says:

    That poem doesn’t even RHYME!

    Those are some….impressive….’awards’ he claims to have.

    • FuzeVT says:

      Some fakers want money,
      Some fakers want fame,
      Some fakers want women
      (Which is really quite lame.)

      Some never served,
      And served a bit,
      Some served a lot,
      And on their record doth shit.

      But here is a fact
      (And it’s certainly true)
      The problem’s their lying
      To me and to you
      And to all who will listen
      To their tales spun as true.

      I spent my time as a POG
      But I’ll shout nice and loud
      That of the service I rendered,
      I’m eminently proud.

      So to the posers I’ll say
      Guys, let military fibs be.
      Find some other thing to embellish
      And you’ll find no quarrel with me.

      But if you go gabbin’
      ‘Bout your time in the ‘Nam
      Or Iraq or the ‘Stan or the fight on the Somme,
      Just know we’ll be watchin’
      And be ready to pounce
      On TAH and Mil’ Phonies
      And you’ll get digitally trounced.

      Todd O

      I know it’s not going to make it in the Annals of Great Western Literature, but what the hell? It didn’t exist 25 minutes ago!!

  3. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Five PH’s? Must have broken his taint five times….

  4. QM1 says:

    He wrote a poem about his mythical five purple hearts? That’s a first.

  5. Claw says:

    I’m just happy he wasn’t fighting for his “county” when he went to Korea and was wounded five times./smile

    Having a hell of a time running down these county units to verify foreign service and Google-Fu just seems to draw a blank.


  6. Combat Historian says:

    Jeebus, this old punk didn’t even make it as far west as Hawaii, much less Okinawa or (gasp), Korea.

    And well after the actual war was over…

    His phony 214 is full of typos and mis-spellings, and an 0311 infantry PFC’s duties are “classified” (?).

    This douch has really earned his “metals”…

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      It’s a speshul DD, the not-widely-know DD2114(F). Another type is the DD214(FNY).

      They’re both very, very seekrit. Not many people have them, only a select few who can lie like a Persian rug.

    • NIcki says:

      COMMIDATION???????????? DAFUQ?

    • Marine Brat says:

      Look carefully- his HIGH SCHOOL education is ALSO classified. Must have been the CIA School for the Gifted. He claims he should have 27 Purple Hearts-one for each shrapnel wound received in Korea.

    • Nicki says:

      Also WTF is a “cantadate?” Is that like a hybrid between a cantaloupe and a date?

    • FuzeVT says:

      Even if EVERYTHING else was in order, the fact that “HONORABLE” looks like it was typed by a different typewriter (no doubt after he used Liquid Paper on where it said “DISHONORABLE DOUCHE”) would make me highly suspicious of this document.

  7. O-4E says:

    I like his “metals”

    What a fucking tool

  8. Doc Savage says:

    I have heard that heavy “metal” poisoning can damage ones mental and cognitive abilities.

    Mad. As. A. Hatter.

  9. Steve says:

    Man…earning a METAL must be hard work..even more than earning a medal……

  10. Thunderstixx says:

    The stoopid is strong I sense with this one…

  11. Ret_25X says:

    “ribbons and metals”????

    where do go to get me some of them “metals”?

    I’ll be tin is his favorite

    • Ret_25X says:

      because tin holds his potted meat…mmmmmmmmhhhhhmmmmm

    • Guard Bum says:

      His rifle marksmanship badge is “sterling silver” …he has me beat!

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        I’ve seen a few that were gold-plated and one with colored enameling. But those were speshulstuffs.

      • Forest Green says:

        “Back in the day”, qual badges were made of sterling; this may be the only true statement on his 214.

        • Mr. Pete says:

          I don’t think they were fully sterling, but you are correct, they did have silver content.

    • RGR 4-78 says:

      I bet he earned the iron pyrite special gold metal of excellence.

      • Ret_25X says:

        he also has the “lead star” on his NDSM as well as the coveted “aluminum plate” for Mess Hall attendance.

      • Hack Stone says:

        As long as he is not claiming to have been awarded the rarely bestowed but highly coveted Precious Metals Recovery Expert Badge, he is okay with Hack.

        BTW, was Heartbreak Ridge an Army operation? I recall at the time that the film was released, they had to alter the movie to include a line about them being in the Army after an uproar from Army Korean War veterans.

  12. Ret_25X says:

    Was that “US Navy in Yellow Sea” metal signed by Captain I.P. Daily?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      No, CPT IP only signed it on Thursdays.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      Nah, that’s I. P. Freely that signs that stuff…

      • Ret_25X says:

        that’s a lot of I.P. types in the Yellow Sea…

        I.P. Daily
        I.P. Nightly
        I.P. Freely
        I.P. Thursday

        No wonder this tool got 5 purple heart “metals”….

        He had to carry the piss bucket all day.

        “Oh piss boy”….”it’s good to be I.P.”

  13. David Dennis says:

    Can one of y’all explain Barman to me? I didn’t know that the Marines had an MOS for drinking…….

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      It’s a Secret Squirrel Specialty MOS that usually goes to BAMs.

    • Claw says:

      Not a Marine, but I read that as BAR (Browning Automatic Rifle) man without capitalizing or separating the name.

      My Father toted a BAR around for four and a half years in WWII.

      • Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

        When I was aboard the Okinawa, the small arms consisted of the BAR, M-1 Garand, M-1 carbine, Thompson .45 sub gun and colt 1911. I never asked any of the guys who stayed with the ship when she went over to south east asia if they upgraded the small arms.

        • OldCorpsTanker72 says:

          Other than the carbine, how could any of those other weapons possibly be upgraded from?

    • The Stranger says:


      But I don’t think the official nomenclature would be BAR-man. Maybe Automatic Rifleman? But I do think that the old school Soldiers and Marines would use BAR man amongst themselves.

      • Claw says:

        Well, I read it as going from a Rifleman to an A-BARMAN to an A-Barman down to just Barman as meaning the same thing all along, just different entries by a couple of different personnel clerks during the time.

        Dunno, could be wrong entirely on the meaning of Barman in Marine speak./smile

        • The Stranger says:

          Yeah, looks like honorable, if unremarkable, service. Then he had to go and shit all over it. I will never understand this.

        • The Stranger says:

          Oh, the “A” probably stood for “assistant” meaning he lugged the magazines?

          • Claw says:

            Could be. The DD214 says he was 5’9″ and 165 pounds at discharge, so he may have started as an smurfy sized assistant and worked his way up to being a full sized BAR Man before going to be a Brig Guard and then returning to be a Rifleman.

    • Forest Green says:

      The column titled “Primary Duty” explains what function you perform within the command. He is an 0311, but his primary duty was to operate the BAR. That’s why you also see “Guard”, “Rifleman”, “Messman”, etc. The difference in how those entries are made is because the clerks are inconsistent in their reporting.

      He should have an Automatic Rifle Qualification bar somewhere in his record. That particular page (Weapons Firing Record) is not shown above. There were MANY qualification bars; “Machine gun”, TSMG (that’s the Thompson SMG). Even had one for a Howitzer.

      • Forest Green says:

        Forgot to add; he’s a shit-bird (no qual bar for that).

      • Just An Old Dog says:

        Not sure when it happened but Marines stopped awarding Qualification badges for anything other than service rifle or pistol long ago. The only other marksmanship badges allowed are medals from competitive matches. A total of three badges my be worn, only two per weapon.

  14. Guard Bum says:

    Some of you guys are just jealous you never got recommended for Officer Cantadate School…

  15. Ex-PH2 says:

    My personal favorite, from the bottom of his DD214(F): Officers Cantadate School.

    Shouldn’t that be ‘cantgetadate’?

    Just askin’. I thought PNs had to pass spelling tests.

    Does ChipNASA have ‘turd-sucking feces factory’ on his list for the WOI?

    Glad it’s Friday.

  16. Graybeard says:

    I got nothing.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      It’s Friday, Graybeard. Try for firsties on the WOT.

      • Graybeard says:

        I delayed leaving for lunch, and Jonn waited until my ip address was no longer active, just so I couldn’t get near first.

        Story of my teen-aged life – couldn’t get to first.

  17. OldManchu says:

    His MOS was in MISspelling.

  18. Sandman says:

    What exactly is a ‘Navy in the Yellow Sea’ “metal”? Army guy here don’t know all of the Navy’s crazy awards,,,lol

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      The “Colonel” is probably into certain “water sports” while getting “pegged” by a 350lbs mistress named “Flo”…

      It’s Friday and I’ve had only a 1/2 cup of coffee…

      • Combat Historian says:

        Ah yes, I forgot about “The Colonel” thing. So is he a KFC Original Recipe Colonel or a Kernel from a corn on the cob ??

        • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

          Looks like he’s “extra crispy” gristle…

        • Ret_25X says:

          his squad leader said he could be anything he wanted to be. That is why he chose to be Colonel of the Urinal rather than Corporal of the Guard.

          I’m sure he got is “lead star metal” for that one.

      • Silentium Est Aureum says:

        Is that anything like, “Extra Heavy Flo?”

    • Forest Green says:

      That’s when you are assigned to sea-duty and the heads overflow.

    • jeff monroe says:

      Hi I was in the navy and army -there is no such thing and over 75%of what he claims don’t exist or been awarded since ww1-this guy must have a mental disorder.

  19. thebesig says:

    A whole bunch of medals, hung in a disorganized formation, underneath the ribbon rack, is like a big giant neon signs saying, “Phony Veteran/Embellisher.”

    Also, this clown managed to earn the “Navy Unit Commidation” ribbon. Too bad it was just a ribbon, as if it were a “metal”, it would’ve been called the “Navy Unit ‘Accommodation’ Metal”. 🙄 He also has “French Fourageres“, this must have been that time he had to forage for French food, but can’t quite spell “forager”. 🙄 this guy is so “high-speed” that he was “recommended” for Officers Cantadate School, note the plural for officer.

  20. Jonn Lilyea says:

    I have the seven page narrative that he submitted for his MOH nomination, but I didn’t want him to look like a complete fool. And I didn’t want to kill off any of your sparse brain cells.

    • Combat Historian says:

      He’s going to nominate himself for the MOH because an errant artillery round from his own division landed on the messhall during an arty range shoot at Camp Pendleton ?

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      Hopefully, whomever he submitted his “narrative” to had the common sense to file it in the round file…

      My BHG thank you, Jonn, for not posting it.

    • Sandman says:

      It’s Friday Jonn, everyone’s brain is on cruise control anyway,,throw it up!

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      I don’t think anyone could make him look more like a complete fool than he’s done already, all by his lonesome.

      From one viewpoint, it’s just stupid. From another, it’s sad that he’s coming to the end of his life looking like a clown.

    • Marine Brat says:

      So, did he nominate himself? An 1890 reform states that a soldier cannot nominate himself for an MOH. So who on EARTH would believe this tall tale and endorse it as legitimate?

  21. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Hold it, hold it. wouldn’t his grade be a Navy Admiral?? If he worked the mess hall then that would make him “Admiral Of The Vessels” (large pots and pans).

  22. ChipNASA says:

    Jesus, this guy is *SO* retarded, its guaranteed his parents dropped him on his head a few dozen times when he was a kid.
    No wonder he made it into the Marines.
    /LOL *runs* 😀

  23. Commissioner Wretched says:

    One question I always wondered about these posers:

    Is it really stolen valor when they claim to have been given an award that doesn’t even exist? Or is it just bad writing?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      He doesn’t seem much with it, so is it or isn’t it SV if he makes up awards that don’t exist? It may be he just got the names wrong.

      Yes, in a way, but it does make him look ridiculous, which is worse. The fact that he typed ‘classified’ in spaces that are NOT classified on that DD214 makes it SV.

  24. Ex-PH2 says:

    Personally, I think anyone who had to burn shitters or deal with trash on deployment deserves a metal for having the mettle to stick it out. Nobody wants that kind of job, but some poor soul has to do it.

  25. The Stranger says:

    I hereby propose that the subject of this post be renamed “Vermin”!

    Can I get a second?

  26. Green Thumb says:

    This turd is in Oz.

  27. Bobo says:

    I was shocked to see things like the Purple Heart and Good Conduct listed under metals. I was expecting to see copper, gold, and zinc.

  28. USAFRetired says:

    So after three years in the Corps he made it all the way to Private. If that is true I’m doubting the GCM as well.

  29. Mark Lauer says:

    Wow. He sure got a lot of “Metals” that so few people got they never appear in any list of military awards I have ever researched. THAT has got to be rare.
    I mean, Navy In The Yellow Sea Metal? Who can imagine that any Navy unit or individual Sailor or Marine would get a Metal for being in the sea that was off the west coast of South Korea? I mean, NOBODY was over there!
    And being awarded Unit Citations for Individual Actions? WOW, he must have been a one man Battalion!!

  30. Just An Old Dog says:

    He would have been authorized to wear the French Fourragère as a member of the 5th Marine Regiment, but it is a unit award only authorized to be worn while assigned to them (6th Marines as well).
    It is never put in a Marines award section or DD214.
    Also the PUC and other awards he mentioned are unit awards.

  31. Pineywoods NCO says:

    Damn, this former Marine is dumber than a bag of play sand…

    What a fucktard.

  32. rgr769 says:

    The only thing missing from his list of “metals” is the one for the Battle of Macho Grande. The most esteemed of all combat metals.

    • Green Thumb says:

      This turd was at he “Battle of Taco Bell” as he engaged a bunch of other shitbags muscling for handouts on Veteran’s Day.

    • Silentium Est Aureum says:

      The hell you say. Look at SV AR670-1. Battle of Hoth Metal goes above Macho Grande.

      Yes, over Macho Grande. Although I don’t think I’ll ever get over Macho Grande.

  33. Green Thumb says:

    A true serial poser.

    A relic, if you will.

    He should be put in a collection case.

    I love the longevity.

  34. Hack Stone says:

    Anyone have a link to the story of the artillery round striking the chow hall? I tried looking on Al Gore’s Amazing Internet using Bing and Google but came up empty.

    • Marine Brat says:

      Yes, search April 18, 1955. Use Marines, Pendleton, mess hall, explosion as search terms. You will see it in the archives of several papers across the country. Access to the full article will cost you, but you can see parts of the article in your search free. Basically, an infantryman picked up a “souvenir” shell on the base, carried it with him to the chow line, and it exploded, injuring 33 Marines, including Mr. Sperry. That is one of the few truths in his story.