Major General Armand Martin Hammer

| August 29, 2017 | 35 Comments

AverageNCO found this obituary on a fellow by the name of Armand Martin Hammer who passed away on June 19, 2017. The obit said this about Mr Hammer’s military career;

Major General Hammer’s military consisted of 10 years in the U.S. Marines, 22 years U.S. Army, and 3 years assigned to the Military Department of Tennessee for a total of 35 years. The General began his career as a private in the Marines, rose to the enlisted rank of Gunnery Sergeant, received a combat commission as a Second Lieutenant in Vietnam. He was awarded several decorations and commendations for service in Vietnam and while performing in every position from Private to Senior Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) to Commanding General. Primary service was in the infantry, Field Artillery, Adjutant General, Embassy Security, and Mechanized Supply specialties.

His awards include Navy Cross, Bronze Star w/v, Purple Hearts 3, Meritorious Service Medals 3, Air Medal, Army Commendation, Navy Commendation, Navy Achievement Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, Navy Unit Commendation, USMC Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Republic of Vietnam Medal, Vietnam Cross Gallantry, Army Overseas Medal, Army Service Ribbon, and several medals and commendations awarded from the reserve components. Additionally, parachute wings, rifle and pistol expert badges.

Looking at his records from the National Personnel Records Center, they support just about everything the obituary says. He was a Gunnery Sergeant when he left the Marine Corps in 1969 after 10 years – there is no mention of a “combat commission” while he was in Vietnam.

Judging by the timeline, he probably went to a National Guard OCS commissioning course to be an officer by the time he went to the Artillery Officers’ Basic Course in July 1970. Hammer was in the National Guard in January 1970 for 12 years and then into the active Army for 11 years, leaving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Artillery.

Somewhere along the line, I believe he altered his Marine Corps records. The NPRC says that he earned a Navy Cross, but there is no record of him actually being awarded that particular medal on any list. His records say that he earned a Purple Heart with two Oak Leaf clusters, an actual Purple Heart with additional awards would be a Purple Heart and two gold stars. I’m pretty sure that a Navy Unit Commendation Medal is a valor award that wouldn’t need a “V” device – that’s like putting a “V” device on a Silver Star.

While he was in Vietnam in 1967, he was an aviation supply clerk in a Headquarters & Service Company of the 12th Marine Aviation Group which was at Chu Lai in 1967 when he was there. Although it’s not impossible that he was wounded three times and earned a pile of valor awards, it’s not likely.

The obit says that he was in the Tennessee State Guard (not the National Guard) and that’s probably where he was awarded the Major General rank.

It looks like he was mobilized for Desert Storm and the Tennessee Guard sent the 196th Artillery Brigade to Desert Storm (they supported the XVIIIth Airborne Corps and the French allies) but I don’t see any awards in his records for Desert Storm.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (35)

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  1. NavCWORet says:

    A Navy Unit Commendation (NUC) is an organizational award and is presented to his entire unit. He would not get a valor device awarded with it. He could have gotten a Navy Commendation or Navy Achievement medal and had a valor award assigned, but normally they’d just put him in for the Bronze Star. His story reeks of him telling the awards clerk what to put in the record, or doing it himself.

    • Mick says:


      No such thing as a NUC with a ‘V’.

      Also, in the Naval Service (USN and USMC), multiple awards of the Purple Heart are denoted by gold stars, not Oak Leaf clusters.

      Something is just not right here; I agree that it appears that he probably manipulated/altered his records at some point.

      It’s also sad, because he didn’t need to embellish anything.

  2. Jay says:

    If you cant be a hero, make friends with Admin…it’s the next best thing.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Bribes work, too.

      I’d love to run into a PN whose sea stories have something like ‘made a bundle of cash for those additional awards’. Unfortunately, they’ll never tell us such things.

  3. Claw says:

    NDSM w/3BSS on Army FOIA.


    Way better than Joe Gainey’s measly 2 BSS’s on the NDSM.

    • Hondo says:

      Yeah, looks like the questionable awards aren’t limited to his USMC service.

      If he retired in 1992, that cannot possibly be legit. For a 2nd star on the NDSM to be legit, he’d have to have served during the Korean War NDSM period. His USMC FOIA reply says he didn’t.

      Three stars on the NDSM would require service during the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf War, and GWOT periods. He obviously didn’t if he retired in 1992; any later service in the TN State Guard isn’t qualifying service for the NDSM (and wouldn’t be reflected in his Federal records if he retired from the TN ARNG in 1992 anyway).

  4. Bobo says:

    Want to bet that the Tennessee governor appointed and promoted him in the TN State Guard based on the NC and 3 PHs?

  5. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    I wonder if he is related to the baking soda family???

    • MSG Eric says:

      I wonder if his parents hated him when he was born and gave him a name like that.

    • Combat Historian says:

      More likely possibility is that he was related to Armand Hammer, the business tycoon and philanthropist who ran Occidental Petroleum Corporation until his death in 1990. It may be because of this family connection that Armand Martin Hammer was made a general officer in the Tennessee State Guard…

      • Tim Smith says:

        Armand Hammer was a tycoon, for unknown reasons. He was a Soviet stooge and the company he ran, Occidental Petroleum, was a loser until he died when the stock shot up. The market recognized his malpractice at the helm and was glad to see him go.

        I suspect his tycoonism was due to regular payments from the Soviets since his father was a Bolshevik and Hammer was on very friendly terms with the Soviets all his life.

        He was, largely, a fraud. Read his bio. A vivid example of a person rising to high levels without ever having to actually accomplish anything.

    • Skippy says:


  6. Hondo says:

    Rather than “Armand Hammer”, perhaps “Forktongue Liar” is more accurate. Way too many questions about this guy’s decorations.

  7. Martinjmpr says:

    How can there be a Navy Cross award without a citation somewhere? Is that even possible for the 2nd highest valor award in the military?

  8. 1610desig says:

    Maybe he went to a phony Valhalla

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      You mean where they drink Kool-Aid juice from phony plastic skulls purchased from Wal Mart versus drinking real Mead from the skulls of slain enemies like Fallen Warriors do in the REAL Valhalla?

  9. Guard Bum says:

    His Guard 2-1 shows service in the USMC as a 2ndLt from 681029-691007 but that isn’t reflected n his USMC record of service. Do you suppose he showed up with tales of a battle field commission and snagged a Guard 2LT slot?

    • SSG Kane says:

      I would love to say that’s impossible…

      But I know better. We had a guy who’d served six years with 10th Mountain, one deployment to Afghanistan, and two years in the IRR. He was a DA select corporal when released from AD.

      He joined our reserve unit claiming to be a buck sergeant with multiple deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq with 75th Ranger Regiment (2 Battalion) and was scrolled but not tabbed because he fractured his back while in mountain phase at Ranger School and released from AD.

      He had all the paperwork to back it up too.

      Made SSG in a year with our company…only to be busted and get a BCD (after doing some jail time) when he ran into real rangers from 2 Batt who were on the deployments he claimed to have been on.

    • Hondo says:

      I think it’s likely he did receive a commission, and that the USMC FOIA is missing docs relating to his brief service as a USMC officer.

      The last line of his USMC enlisted record of assignments is dated 28 Oct 1968 and gives the reason for reassignment as “AccptAppt/Dis.” I’m guessing that means he was discharged on 28 Oct 1968 and was commissioned the following day. That would be consistent with the entry on his Guard 2-1 of USMC service as a 2ndLt from 29 Oct 1968 to 7 Oct 1969.

      If I recall correctly, an enlisted Marine of that era who was commissioned got a new serial number on commissioning. If NPRC searched only on serial number, that could be how they missed his officer records.

      I’d be curious to know why the USMC only kept him as an officer for about 11 months, though. I don’t think the USMC was RIFing many officers in 1969, and you’d think they’d keep a newly commissioned 2ndLt for 2 or 3 years before letting them go.

      • Guard Bum says:

        I guess what raises flags for me is that there were only 62 battlefield commissions in the Marine Corps in Viet Nam and that he was a 3072….battlefield commission of an Aviation Supply guy?

        I tried to find a list of the 62 to no avail but there are sure a lot of people claiming battlefield commissions out there when I did the Google.

  10. Rock says:

    Is he the new Wannabe Chippendale pedophile?

  11. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Tennessee ….

    Nothing more to add your Honor, no further questions for this witness.

  12. Charles says:

    COMMENT 1:

    Quote: “His story reeks of him telling the awards clerk what to put in the record, or doing it himself.”

    He WAS the S-1, for many years, as a full time active duty National Guardsman, until he retired.

    COMMENT 2:

    I don’t normally read an obituary as a definitive statement of what the service member himself claimed. Sometimes family/funeral home/veterans association etc. extrapolate or misunderstand. But a DD-214 had to be issued with his knowledge and consent.

  13. Jay Hammer says:

    Wow, I lost my dad this summer most likely due to a CVA. My dad was hospitalized in Augusta Ga after having brain surgery in 1990 or 1991. (I was a young child and can’t remember the exact timeline he was there) Glad a lot of you enjoy making funny comments about his name and what he did in relation to his service. I never had the guts to join the service or even come remotely close to combat. Hope making fun of my late father makes you guys feel better about your own short comings. I came across this page when searching my father’s name. My god, who makes fun of a person that passed away on a public forum like this. Maybe some of you will have the opportunity to read sarcastic comments about your loved ones once they pass. I sure many funny or sarcastic comments will follow. In truth, it does not make me angry, it just makes me really sad.

    • OWB says:

      Your angst is understandable. It is a pity that you and your family were put in this position by your father. It must be awful to discover that he lied about what would otherwise have been a respectable military career.

      May you make peace with it all and eventually find some comfort in what he did that was positive instead of the pain caused by the misrepresentations that he made.

      • Jay Hammer says:

        If that’s the true facts then I have to accept it. I will look more into his records and see what I can find out. My brother may be able to help as he was a JAG officer for a short time. I know my father suffered a service connected injury in combat. From the story I was told this was a gsw to the head. He was treated and later returned to active duty from my understanding. This noted injury left blood on his brain which clotted and formed a mass on his brain. This mass and a small portion of his brain was removed at eisenhower hospital. This operation was done very later in his life when they found the mass. I was young but believe this was around 1990. If you have any suggestions that I could follow up with related to retaining records I would gladly follow them. If these notations are false, I want to know it for myself. Unfortunately my knowledge is limited related to the fact that many of these denoted elements are outside my scope as I was never in the service. I work out the ER doing emergency psych consults. Besides my half brother and sister I have no other family on my paternal side. They have not completed his final tombstone as of yet and I do not want anything placed on there that has the potential of being false.

      • Jay Hammer says:

        If that’s the true facts then I have to accept them. I will look more into his records and see what I can find out. My brother may be able to help as he was a JAG officer for a short time. I know my father suffered a service connected injury in combat. From the story I was told this was a gsw to the head. He was treated and later returned to active duty from my understanding. This noted injury left blood on his brain which clotted and formed a mass on his brain. This mass and a small portion of his brain was removed at

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