Open letter to Chris Otero; ref Stolen Valor

| October 16, 2017 | 80 Comments

Chris Otero writes an article in the Havok Journal entitled “Blue On Blue: Stolen Valor Fratricide” in which he tries to make the case that stolen valor enforcement is not a worthwhile endeavor.

My encounter ended well for me but it didn’t end so well for Marine veteran Michael Deflin. This Fallujah vet couldn’t produce an active duty CAC card on request from some Air Force dude and therefore he got the crap kicked out of him. He suffered a broken leg and jaw in the process. Prior to him and his friend beating Deflin down, the USAF guy accused him of ‘Stolen Valor’.

Congratulations, we have now started conducting fratricide on our own.


Part of what makes this so laughable is that some of the loudest members of the mob are people who were FOB warriors downrange. They are the dudes you see at the PX or the Atlanta Hartsfield Airport wearing their absolutely pristine condition 400 dollar tactical packs with the ‘Major League Infidel’ patch, the always ridiculous camo cap with a subdued American flag on the velcro, and drinking a giant Monster while telling everyone who will listen about that ‘one time in Iraq, I did xxxxxx and I’m totally not making it up!’

The truth is they never left the wire on their one OIF/OEF tour – but I sure as hell hear them lying…oops, I mean exaggerating about what they have done downrange in the orderly rooms, at the PX food court, on social media, and in the customs line at Ali al Salim Air Base. Come on, guys, you don’t think we notice? You don’t think we haven’t heard multiple variations of the same story our entire career?

For many of you out there in the mob, I would say check your own shot group before you starting calling out others.

I don’t know who he’s talking about. I don’t know anyone in our community that fits that description. While I sympathize with Michael Deflin, no one I associate with confronts valor thieves in such a way.

There was a time when mine was the only blog on the social media conducting stolen valor investigations, and it was a more gentlemanly endeavor.

In fact, I can name a few dozen people who we’ve busted who are cooling their heels in prison, some with sentences measured in decades, because of our efforts and research, as well as our law enforcement contacts. We’re more responsible than most of the stolen valor vigilantes who troll airports and coffee shops on the lookout for someone trying to scam a free scone.

I don’t normally wear pins or badges in public, but if I do, I have a DD214 on my phone to show doubters. My records are posted for the whole world to see on the internet. I have been “outside the wire” on occasion. I’ve lost friends to enemy fire. Many of the people with whom I associate fit that description.

So, choke down on your shot group, Mr Otero.

Category: Stolen Valor Act

Comments (80)

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  1. Graybeard says:

    IMHO, Chris Otero’s shot group is a little outside the 10 ring.

    It always helps to identify the target before engaging the trigger.

  2. Yef says:

    Chris Otero was a Fobbit and embellished many “war stories” according to himself.

    Only a POSer and/or embellisher would defend all the endless 5th column of wanna-bees and POSers.

  3. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Truth stops being truth when no one gives a crap about the truth.

    Jonn, you do valuable work. Keep going.

  4. thebesig says:

    Originally posted by Jonn Lilyea:

    We’re more responsible than most of the stolen valor vigilantes who troll airports and coffee shops on the lookout for someone trying to scam a free scone.

    I guess some folks don’t want to sit down, go to the website listed on their receipt, and do the survey to get reduced price or free treats. 🙄 Much easier to slap a patch, rank, or other “veteran” paraphernalia on their clothing or bags. 🙄

  5. Green Thumb says:

    Poser Disposers!

  6. FatCircles0311 says:

    So edgy. Christ sounds like a vet hipster, too cool for other veterans, but yet forgets he wears military flare to impress the people he supposedly doesn’t want to impress.

    caw caw!

  7. O-4E says:

    And yet another dude whose opinion I could care less about….

  8. Wilted Willy says:

    Jonn, you do a very valuable service and I hope you continue for many years to come. I don’t know what I would do without you? Thank you!!!

  9. radar says:

    Oddly enough, they recycled that article from a year ago. Guess they’re having trouble generating content. Sad!

  10. 26Limabeans says:

    After reading the comments in the linked article I conclude the article is about
    the author.

  11. Dalton Coldiron says:

    I agree some of this stolen valor stuff has gotten out of hand. I run into phony’s all the time at the rodeo and I put them in their place.

  12. Fm2176 says:

    I appreciate sights like this one, but would be greatly displeased if someone questioned my military credentials in public using anything less than good tact. Simply put, my service is my own business. I suppose if I went around advertising it, my opinion would have to change, but I don’t advertise, often even wearing my pre-Army work jackets in a form of reverse stolen valor. “I’m just a friendly mechanic.”

    On the rare occasion I wear something denoting my service, it is usually a unit t-shirt. Of course, I’m sure my old Choppin’ Charlie shirt from 3-187 would be questioned nowadays as it has a Ranger tab on the back of it.

    In the end, posers and embellishers deserve to be shamed, but honest veterans should not have to carry anything identifying their service.

    • DOUGout says:

      I usually accept what people say about themselves at face value. Among my friends I think this is both good manners and safe, since there is little boasting. (Who wants bombastic friends?) I usually accept what people say about others but I never BELIEVE it. Again, in my circle of friends, we seldom talk about other folks, and when we do I know no one who could call our conversation “gossip.” I will not accept what people say about others in my presence if I know the remarks to be untrue. I always accept bad theology if I’m not asked to endorse it or unless my opinion is asked.

      But, when I must, of necessity, call someone on their BS, one of two questions invariably suffice: “Who told you that?” or, for ‘war stories'”Who were you with?” I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of army units, AF groups, et cetera, but “I was in the Marines” or “I was in the shit” stories always run aground on the hard truth when asked for a unit name or designation. If you were there, the answer is ready: If not the answer is lame.

      Another ace question is “What’s the MOS/NEC for that?”
      DOUG out

    • Yef says:

      Damn man, Chopin Charlie in Afghanistan 2012-2013. Chopin 22.

      And no, no more unearned Ranger tabs on the Company PT shirts. Just Chopin Charlie on the back, with the big ax and the hood.

      The youngest lieutenant still carries the ax on Company runs, and he had to pack it in his duffle for the deployment, to take it to the Afgh of the Stan.

      And yeah, Hamburger Hill week is still a thing. A range for the oldsters to shoot all our weapon systems.

  13. Sgt Fon says:

    This article was originally published in October of 2016 and reposted today i guess.

    he has his opinion and i have mine. while there are always those that IMHO could use a punch to the throat, that lasts only for a few moments. what John & Friends do on here lasts beyond forever…. but this internet fame is more like herpes or a kardashian video!

    • AnotherPat says:

      Interesting…the Michael Deflin incident took place in 2015…Facebook comments were posted in 2015 ( October)..guess Otero did not get enough feedback from his initial posting in 2015 as well as the reposting in 2016 and now he is re-reposting in 2017..or is he?

      Went to their Home page, scrolled 3 times under “Authors” and could not find a Chris Otero. Perhaps that Website is desparate in getting more attention on the Web? Or is it old “news” being recycled…and will it show up again in 2018? 🤔

      Keep up the good work, Jonn. It is obvious your TAH “Troops” support you.

      • AnotherPat says:

        Ahhh..went back to the same site…it IS a repost from 2016..Perhaps Otero initially post this on his Facebook page and not the Blog’s page…and the 2015 comments were directed to him..

        Thanks again, Jonn, for addressing this with your excellent talking points.

  14. Ex-PH2 says:

    Is this Chris Oteroa a good-lookin’ dude, or is he just another limp-wristed metrosexual who thinks he’s cool and tells his mirror image that?

    I’m greatly tempted sometimes to put my Spacefleet fatigues on, patches, badges and all, and try to find some of these characters. But that’s just me.

  15. Non Cedo Ferio says:

    You guys know how I feel about rank amateurs doing confrontations for the purpose of getting some fame visa viral video. Jonn , Anthony , Scott , and Doug are among the best and very conscience of those who would make a mockery of the type of work they do. They are quick to shut down any half assed attempt to out posers. To lump everybody who legitimately outs phoneys with these amateur clowns is simply wrong. That’s all I got. Thanks

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      Agreed, but Veteran’s Day is coming and I will be marching in America’s Parade.

      We all know what happens on Veterans Day in NYC.

      At least one will be outed live …

      Carry on.

  16. smoke-check says:

    spare me. Its Blue on blue falcon.

  17. Just An Old Dog says:

    There are dumb asses who fly off the handle and accuse real vets of SV.
    That doesn’t mean that SV should go unchecked.
    Back to the story he quoted. There was not a single witness that came forward to confirm the guys story that he got his ass stomped over stolen valor.
    There were only two known facts.

    1. He got the shit kicked out of him in a bar fight.

    2. He started a Go-Fund-Me tin cup because his injuries resulted in medical bills and missing work.

  18. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Hey Jonn,

    Great blog above.

    Tell this tool if he wants to play with the big boys, he can contact me anytime.

    He will need to check his post gen X ass attitude at the door and bring a check book and list of resources to play.

  19. MSG Eric says:

    Chris Otero? Never heard of her….

  20. DOUGout says:

    “I would say check your own shot group before you starting calling out others.”

    EXCELLENT ADVICE. Since we can only effect our own behavior in this life. Twelve-Steppers call this taking (our own) inventory, as in step four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. It is worth noting that taking this inventory of someone else’s life is not just fruitless, it is impossible. But that’s what most blogs are about, right? Boasting or pulling someone else down?

    Jonn, thankfully, makes TAH a notable exception. THANKS, Shippie.

    DOUG out

  21. Richard Cole says:

    This guy Otero sounds a lot like Douglas Dietrich claiming TAH is influencing the assault or killing of bonna fide combat veterans or taking away VA benefits by forging documents obtained via the FOIA (fratricide etc). Dietrich, a classic case for false service claims will likely use this story as an example and attack Lilyea as he has for the past year. What is Otero’s problem?

  22. lily says:

    I think I may have found a unique stolen valor phony on facebook. You can tell he photo shopped his head onto this picture of a military uniform.

    I haven’t gotten screen shot but you may want to if you’re going to bust him. I saw him on a seal team six facebook page.×250/7694b7a067671cfce365b25b95496dea.jpg

  23. HMC Ret says:

    I occasionally wear a non-reg Navy ballcap with a CPO device. I’ve seen a few called out erroneously and it ain’t pretty. Happened twice at Golden Corral and once at the mall. Apologies all around. Really, if you saw these dudes no way would you believe them to veterans. It is possible to do so with class leaving everyone happy (unless he really IS a poser). I’ve never seen anyone in the employ of GC call out someone; it’s a self-appointed critic.

  24. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    seems like this was simpler in the 1970s….the civilian world wasn’t looking to buy anyone a fucking coffee or dinner or thank you for your service, most civilians thought you were a fucking idiot for serving…I liked that better in some ways because I didn’t join to meet their, or anyone else’s, standards of living. Didn’t really have anyone faking service because service was looked down upon. I never minded snobby pricks looking down at me so I was good with it all.

    Now that we’ve taught the civilians to worship the military every jerkoff looking to get over pretends to be a steely-eyed, low drag, high speed operator….consequently you have guys like Jonn trying to keep things honest out there instead of kicking back in his retirement and just relaxing with family and friends…and now that some folks have decided that stolen valor hunting is a cool, high profile occupation you’re gonna see some folks with less professionalism than Jonn doing jerkoff moves in public.

    Not saying the old days were better, it just seemed simpler.

  25. Stephen McCartney says:

    My dilemma is that through out my career I collected unit T shirts, sweats, ball caps . When my kids showed little interest in them after 8th grade, I packed them away and the ball caps went on the garage wall. At 69 yrs old I find the clothing thinned out and not easy to wear, with he ball caps full of spider webs and wasp poop inside.Between grandkids and enlarging prostate glands I have no interest or “mojo” to even wear them.After reading TAH for years I am uncomfortable donating them to a charity because I don’t want to have a poser get them. Maybe we need a “dignified cremation” ceremony for our stuff. They do represent some great days.
    CAPT Bones USN (ret)

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