Edwin Tingstrom; phony wounded paratrooper

| December 11, 2017 | 101 Comments

Someone sent us their work on this fellow Edwin Tingstrom who claims that he was a a combat infantryman in Vietnam. As you can see from his uniform, he’s wearing a Combat Infantryman Badge, parachutist wings and a Purple Heart;

In a local news story, he told that journalist that he was special forces in Vietnam;

He signed up for the Army in April 1965, joining the 5th Special Forces Group, or the Green Berets. At the end of that year, at the age of 18, he was shipped off to Vietnam.

“It was a scary time,” he said. “When you take a small-town person and put them into something as large as war, it’s both terrifying and exhilarating. But the biggest emphasis is on terrifying.”

During his 18-month tour, the soldier had several close calls, including a serious case of malaria. Once, a mortar round exploded just 35 feet from him, leaving the infantryman with shrapnel wounds, a concussion and the loss of hearing in his right ear. More devastating, though, was losing two high school buddies from back home.

Tingstrom returned from Vietnam in May 1967 but was deployed six months later to Germany to serve on a special task force charged with drug enforcement.

In June 1974, he left the Army, partly because he’d had enough and partly because of psychological issues that have plagued him since Vietnam. The hostile reception veterans received when they came home, plus the memories of war, made transitioning back to civilian life challenging.

He told another the same thing;

Ed Tingstrom, 65, served in the Army Special Forces during the Vietnam War.

Every Memorial Day and Veterans Day, and also during funerals for members of the military, he and other volunteers comprise a color guard and march with the American flag.

The names of two of Tingstrom’s friends are inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C., and he thinks about them every day and hopes others will honor their service and sacrifice.

“People need to understand that the brave men and women who took up arms in defense of the country were there because they needed to give something back to America for all the freedoms that they have enjoyed.”

“They were there because they believed in America.”

His records show that he was in Vietnam April 1966 – March 1967. He wasn’t an infantryman or in an infantry unit, he was a clerk in a Psyop Company – not 5th Special Forces. But his records says that he was awarded a CIB. I wonder how a clerk could get a CIB. Well, I don’t really wonder.

He also never attended jump school, nor was he awarded a Purple Heart. He had a break in service and reenlisted to be an MP in Germany – an odd choice since he wants to adorn himself with infantry accoutrements.

And, oh, he’s wearing the blue infantry cord on the wrong shoulder. A real infantryman would never do that. Everyone wants to be an infantryman until it’s time to do infantry stuff. He should cough up some orders for that CIB.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (101)

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  1. Wilted Willy says:

    Another lying cocksucker! I say we drop him off over Syria and let him show us all his combat skills?

  2. A Proud Infidel®™ says:


  3. sj says:

    Wonder what the tat on his right arm is. Maybe he did jump school OJT or correspondence?

  4. Club Manager says:

    I’m on this sonovabitch with the Simi Valley VFW and AL, but a comment about his CIB. WAR STORY ALERT. I was a club warrant at Schweinfurt but have orders for the German Army Shooting Award in Bronze (which as an officer I cannot wear). One of the Bn CO’s invited me to join his troops on the border with a German unit hosting on their range. As a clerk he could have been taken on a “safe” mission or two to earn a CIB but yes, cough up the orders.

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      He can’t get a CIB without formal infantry training and assignment to an infantry battalion or SF unit. A couple of patrols, a year worth of patrols, wouldn’t qualify him.

      • John L. McCue, MS1 (SS) USN retired says:

        He was a clerk, he could type anything into his records. Both my brother Rick-Army and myself -USAF could have put anything we wanted with typed orders into our records, but we never did. Because we didn’t EARN them.

        • rgr769 says:

          Back in the olden days, in the Army one carried his original 201 personnel file with his orders to his new unit. Any clerk who had access to a typewriter with a correct font could add anything he wanted to his own Form 20 personnel record. A personnel clerk in his new unit in the states would just assume the order for his CIB didn’t make it into his file, if he even noticed it was missing. Also, when you out-process upon discharge, a personnel clerk asks you if there is anything incorrect or missing from your DD-214. If he said, “yeah, my CIB isn’t on there,” who would do the research to find the order awarding it, if our hero typed the CIB onto his Form 20.

    • Skyjumper says:

      Club Manager, just an addendum to your comment. Even if he tagged along on a “safe” mission, there is no way that he could be awarded a CIB because only 11B’s can be awarded that particular award. The CIB is MOS specific.

      As a school trained 42A (Army Administration Specialist) he would not have been authorized to wear the CIB, but I’m guessing he awarded it to himself.

      One of the few things he has right on his rack, are the three “Battle Stars” on his Vietnam Service Medal. Seeing that he served 18 months in RVN (Dec 1965 thru May 1967) he meets the following criteria for three stars.

      Vietnam Defense Campaign: 8 Mar 1965-24 Dec 1965
      Vietnam Counteroffensive:25 Dec 1965-30June1966
      Vietnam Counteroffensive Phase II:
      1 July 1966-31 May 1967

      War Story Alert! (Shamelessly borrowed from CM) 😉

      I had been in RVN a few months and we got a couple of “FNG’s” during resupply. One of them was an 11B PFC who was assigned to my platoon. He was with us a bit over a month when suddenly he was sent to the rear as ordered by the Bn Commander to serve as our company clerk due to the lack of clerks. Sort of like what happened to the Ranger clerk in the Black Hawk down movie.

      In the short time he had been in the boonies with us, we were in engaged in a number of fire fights and he was awarded the CIB. We found out later that he had removed the CIB orders from his file. When we asked him why (when we went to base camp for a couple of days stand down) he replied that he felt that he hadn’t earned the right to wear it due to him now being the company clerk while we were all still out in the boonies.

      He use to send out a couple of cases of soda (paid out of his own pocket) out to us on the resupply birds. I remember one time when he mentioned about sending out four cases of pop, and we said “four cases?—-we only got two”. He was pissed and we later found out he went over to the resupply birds and chewed out the crews’ asses for stealing the soda.

      He was a stand up guy, unlike this sorry piece of shit poser.

      • Skyjumper says:

        I was questioned a couple of times in my career why I had a CIB on my duty or dress uniforms, when at the time, I held the primary 19E MOS and later on, the 19K MOS after I transitioned to Armor (11B4P was still my secondary).

        My usual reply was to explain my transition to Armor, and if that didn’t seem enough, I told them that they were more than welcome to look at my 201 file.

  5. HT3 '83-'87 says:

    I’ve never a member of any of these veteran’s groups like VFW or American Legion, but it seems like their ranks are rife with phonies & fakers. What’s up with that shit, man?

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      I’m a life member of both VFW and AL. They’re doing their best to clean up the ranks in the age of the internet. MOPH is struggling, too, but it’s a long row to hoe.

      The problem is, when they were suffering from flagging membership in the 80s and 90s, they relaxed the standards for a bit, allowing current members to vouch for new members, and these snakes slithered in.

      Real deal vets need to step up and clean the VSOs up.

      I know the American Legion is serious about shutting these liars down. TAH is daily fare at their HQs.

      • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

        Glad to hear that, so a number of Posts ARE being serious about cleaning house after all!

      • Green Thumb says:

        Some of us do step up and get it done.

        The problem, at least our here in the Great NW, is that of our peers.

        We have a lot of OIF/OEF dudes that make excuses for these losers because they need members. Posers, embellishers, substandard discharges and such. We continue to hammer away and publicly shame them but their friends (and the media) claim it all because of the TBI and the PTSD.

        Yeah. It seems drinking buddies and drug buddies trump real Soldiers and their honorable service.

        • Brown Neck Gaitor says:

          This guy is eligible to be a member of TAL because of his service during one of the approved time periods. The FOIA verifies that.

          BUT, unless the person that verified his service when he first entered TAL is at one of the events or has seen a picture of an event AND he remembers what awards were on his DD-214 (assuming the doc was even shown) how do they police their own? Glaring uniform boo boos are easy, but stacking the bling is much harder.

          You could FOIA all the members of your post. And when PV1 Horatio Q. Birdbatch starts “no S*, there I was” someone then runs to the file cabinet and pulls out the FOIA and says, “No you weren’t. You were piloting a buffer at Ft. Dix”

          Or each “there I was” story requires a $1 in the “lying liar that tells lies” jar…

      • HT3 '83-'87 says:

        I never joined any of those organizations because being a “Cold War Warrior” was sort of looked down on by some vets that I met. “Are you really a veteran if there wasn’t a war?’ or “You lucked out by missing the first Gulf War” was some shit I heard. I guess that staring down the Russkies with nuclear Armageddon as consequence wasn’t good enough for some dudes. I get that being on a fleet oiler isn’t the tip of the spear, but our mission was extremely vital to the overall mission of “Peace through strength”. After reading about the many, many fakers and phonies I bet those guys looking down their noses at my service where just a bunch of POSers. Keep up the good work, and expose, shame, and ridicule those who dishonor themselves.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      What’s up with all that?

      The VFW and AL do not REQUIRE members to fill out an SF 180 to verify their service.

      The VFW and AL do not REQUIRE Officers of their organizations to fill out an SF 180 to verify their service.

      Because the VFW and AL lobby for many veteran causes in the halls and back rooms of Washington DC they get a pass, or at least a gentle nudge instead of the swift kick in the ass they should be getting.

      Saying they are doing their best to clean it up is being far too generous. They could have cleaned up this mess decades ago with one simple rule:

      To hold an office of any kind in the VFW or AL candidates must file a SF 180 to confirm their service.

      But what the hell, Wounded Warriors, DAV, and the VA are filled with phonies, fakes, embellishers, and far too many people who are simply full of shit.

      Support my group…All Veterans are Victims. Any money collected will got to strippers, alcohol, cigars, and Waffle House.

    • Martinjmpr says:

      I’ve never a member of any of these veteran’s groups like VFW or American Legion, but it seems like their ranks are rife with phonies & fakers. What’s up with that shit, man?

      Posers, frauds and embellishers flock to these organizations like a moth to a front porch light because being in these organizations gives them exactly what they want: Recognition, attention and admiration that they can’t get elsewhere.

      These guys are like Tinkerbell, if other people stop believing in them, they think they’ll disappear.

      In fact, I’d go even farther than that and say there’s a symbiotic relationship between the VSOs and Posers: Each one gives the other what it wants.

      The fakers, frauds, embellishers and flat out posers want LEGITIMACY more than anything else. They want to be able to parade their stolen finery in front of others (both inside and outside the organization) and since the VFW and AL are legitimate organizations, membership lends an cachet of legitimacy to the fraud’s fakery. “He must be legit, after all, he’s in the VFW!”

      So that explains why the frauds and fakers “need” the VSOs.

      But why do the VSO’s “need” the frauds and fakers? Why are they willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious BS artist who claims he was a Navy SEAL Sniper USMC Recon Green Beret Space Shuttle Door Gunner?

      Well, first, because since the self-identity of the fraud and faker is completely wrapped up in his fake biography, the fraud, faker or embellisher is likely to be the first one to step up and take charge of the honor guard, or the veterans day parade, or whatever other activity will put him in the public spotlight to show off his stolen medals and badges. This benefits the organization because these fakers are often quite willing to do a lot of work for the organization.

      And second, quite simply, is numbers. By not questioning the credentials of members, by letting members vouch for each other instead of demanding to see a legitimate DD-214, they keep their numbers (and their dues) up.

      Some of the VSO chapters are infected with fakers from the top down. They seem to have an unspoken agreement within the group: You don’t call me out on my BS stories and I won’t call you out on yours.

      But while this benefits both the fake veteran and the VSO in the short term, in the long run it simply corrupts and undermines the reputation of the VSO as a whole.

      Once these shitbags get exposed to the light, it calls into question the legitimacy of ALL members of that VSO. And once the VSO loses legitimacy in the eyes of the public, what good is it? What value does it bring? None.

      You would think that the VSOs would recognize that they are in danger of extinction if they don’t get this under control, but they don’t seem to get it.

  6. Claw says:

    Well, Damnit. I wish the NPRC wouldn’t redact the Duty MOS’s on a 2-1.

    I was really looking forward this morning to seeing 57G posted as the MOS that coincides with Duty Corporal. I get a woody whenever I see 57A or 57G posted as a duty MOS.

    But you know what will happen. Tingstrom will show up here and say this is all a case of mistaken identity cause the FOIA says United States Navy in the Branch Served block, so it must be some other guy./s

  7. Green Thumb says:

    “Everyone wants to be an infantryman until it’s time to do infantry stuff”.

    Fucking word!

    And claiming CPT no less.


  8. Combat Historian says:

    Phony blue infantry cord on the left shoulder, oh my…

  9. EODJay says:

    Simi Valley, eh? Maybe he and Jerry Foster are cuddle buddies.

  10. Dapandico says:

    Drug enforcement with Herman the German in 67?

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    Here’s an issue. Wouldn’t he know the kill radius of mortar rounds if he’d been in combat?
    He says: Once, a mortar round exploded just 35 feet from him, leaving the infantryman with shrapnel wounds….

    Umm, according to what I’ve found with a few minutes of digging, the blast/damage radius is 20 to 90 meters, or 63 to 280++ feet, depending on the size of the shell.

    So how is this person still alive if he was 35 feet from a mortar when it exploded? Must have been a dud, maybe?

    Disclaimer: never been near an exploding round, never hope to be near one, thank you!

    • EODJay says:

      Technically, it is possible to come out with just a little frag and a rung bell in that scenario. However, unless his typewriter detonated, he didn’t soak up any frag.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      …and there IS a video somewhere for every silly idea! The Exploding Typewriter!

      • EODJay says:

        There he was, no shit, deep in the Pu Nanny Valley on a top secret mission behind enemy lines. He was typing up a guard roster when Charlie started lobbing in mortars. In the heat of the moment he pulled the pin on his trusty Lillian-Rose typewriter by mistake. Soon he felt the searing pain of the L key pierce his neck.

    • TF-BA says:

      Luck, and the fact that smaller mortars are not magic life extinguishing death machines. That said they can do a whole lot of damage to soft squishy things like people, but so can falling from the roof of your house.

      Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you. The pucker factor increases substantially when the bears get bigger and bring many friends, especially of the air burst variety.

      I’m only mentioning this because you asked, fuck this guy and whatever he says.

    • OldManchu says:

      Been near (very near) an 81mm mortar round exiting the tube while my A.G. had his hand over the muzzle. That was an interesting night to say the least!

      • E4 Mafia For Life. says:

        Did you AG lose his hand/tube exploded or did the mortar not have enough time to detonate?
        I know nothing about mortars except you mix it in a bucket to stick bricks together.

        • rgr769 says:

          The mortar round would not arm until some distance from the tube. The AG likely lost some fingers and part of his hand. For example, an M79 40mm grenade round has to travel about 16 meters before it arms and will explode.

          • OldManchu says:

            The round definitely did not explode nor could have exploded in that condition. My friend (still to this day albeit half way across the country from each other) lost his index finger, most of the nerves and ability in his hand (it’s pretty scarred up to this day), broken wrist, permanent rod them rough his forearm (45 degree compound fracture), broken elbow, dislocated shoulder. Early discharge from service. Basically it tried to pull his arm off. He took a little helicopter flat spin and landed about 15 feet in front of the tube. He recovered fine overall and we still have some morbid pranks and jokes about that night to this day.

    • rgr769 says:

      It depends on the size of the mortar round. The NVA had 82mm mortars with most of their units. They were not as powerful as our 81mm mortar rounds. I was mortared twice on my tour with the 82mm variant. One of my men took a shrapnel fragment to his helmet at about 15-20 meters from the impact crater but he was in a hole with his head above ground level.

  12. FuzeVT says:

    That’s a pretty modest stack for a poser. He can’t even fake his awards right!!

  13. Bobo says:

    Why AIT twice? Did he bolo the first one?

    • SSS Kane says:

      Not report, dang it, reply…

      I did AIT twice. Didn’t bolo it either time.

      12B in 1992 and then 37F in 2007. The excuse was the length of my break in service (1995 to 2007). Reality was I should have gone to a retention recruiter rather than a recruiter from a strip mall shop.

    • SSG Kane says:

      Looking at it, it looks like he must ahve bolo’ed out of MI school and been sent “needs of the army” as a clerk. He was then assigned to the 245th PSYOP detachment…

      Which as much as I hate to say it, may have given him the legitimacy to claim “Special Forces”. Iif the 245th was considered a SF unit and he was awarded an SQI of “S” or “3” by a “competent authority” or if the 245th was considered “SF special project unit”.

      If that’s the case he should have a state from the USASOC Commander authorizing the wear of the tab. This is something he would have to have applied for, after 1983 when the tab was created and appears in AR 600-8.22, section 8-49.

      f course, that still doesn’t explain teh infantry cord on the wrong shoulder or the rank, or the Purple Heart.

  14. Martinjmpr says:

    LOL at the FOIA showing he was in the Navy. Is there anybody QC’ing these requests when they go out?

    Also note that Tingstrom is rocking captain’s bars on his uniform. Is he claiming commissioned service or is that his “rank” in the VFW/AL “color guard” or some such?

  15. USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

    He left out the part where his C.O. was Col. Mike Kirby and his platoon sergeant’s last name was Muldoon…

    …followed with how his best friend was killed when a VC trap hoisted him onto a wall of punji sticks…

    …and how he adopted and raised a Vietnamese orphan named Hamchuck.

  16. Claw says:

    Just in case any of you were wondering:

    The 20th MP Detachment operated MP Stations at Kaiserslautern, Pirmasens and Zweibrucken.

    Detachment MP Base Radio Call Signs:

    Kaiserslautern “SINGLE BRUISER” to all units.
    Pirmasens “PRIME RIVET” to all units.
    Zweibrucken “GRAINY MOTH” to all units.

    Makes one wonder whether Tingstrom was a BRUISER, a RIVET or a MOTH./smile

  17. EODJay says:

    Hmmmm, just found this newspaper article from January 1966:

    A few things don’t add up.
    1. Wasn’t he supposed to be in Vietnam eating snakes during this timeframe?
    2. The articles says that he’s going to Ft Knox to study military law.
    3. He has two AITs listed. Did he fail the first AIT and retread to clerk typist?

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      No, he went to Viet of the Nam AFTER Ft. Knox.
      You know, you can put anything you want to in a newspaper announcement, so if he sent something to the hometown fishwrapper, it was on him, not the paper.

    • Claw says:

      “going to Ft Knox to study military law.”

      Umm, No. Even if he went to Knox under the pretext of becoming an MP as a PFC, he was sent to the wrong place.

      During that time frame, the Army’s Military Police AIT was down at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

      Failed out of some type of Advanced Army Security Agency Training at Fort Devens, then was sent to Fort Knox (per the needs of the Army) for maybe some type of 71L Clerk/Typist/Admin/Personnel training, then off to Vietnam where he ended up being a clerk/typist (making/typing stencils for Cheu Hoi leaflets or the orderly room clerk) and a Generator operator, then back to the states for leave/furlough, then straight over to a strictly garrison (no field exercises) headquarters unit in Germany as an electrician, then back to the Presidio of San Francisco again as an electrician until discharged.

      So not exactly a Airborne Special Forces Infantryman who ran secret ops cutting the ears off of dead VC in between typing/filing morning reports and refilling the generators with fuel and oil.

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        Claw, Tingstrom likely attended an intel school at Devens, possibly related to order-of-battle, but was neither ASA nor MI. Apparently, psyops was sort of off in its own world. Here’s an interesting link to the history of the 24th Psyops Detachment which was a precursor to the 245th Psyops Company:


        A summary is that the 245th operated out of Nha Trang in II Corps with detachments in places like Pleiku and Qui Nhon. Mostly the units were concerned with playing head games with the VC and NVA in the form of dropped leaflets. A typical surrender leaflet might say, for example, that NVA Private Nguyen’s girlfriend back in Hanoi was getting banged like the bongos by that nasty kid Wun Hun Low who lives down the block.

        For what it’s worth, the 245th also apparently claims responsibility for getting about 6000 VC/NVA to chieu hoi. Which, when you think about it, is probably better than having them shoot at the rest of us. So there’s that.

        Everybody wants to be Rambo.

        • rgr769 says:

          Thanks for the link. I served in an Army Reserve Psyop company for 4 years in the mid to late 70’s . I can say with some authority that there is no MOS in a Psyop company or detachment that would support the award of a CIB, period. Our basic “weapons” were truck mounted printing presses and vehicle mounted loudspeakers.

      • rgr769 says:

        That is my assessment as well. I was at Devens when the ASA school was still there. He was likely too much of a dullard to complete ASA training.

      • streetsweeper says:

        So, assume he was an electrician with the ADA and not an MP. I too noticed that he didn’t have an assignment to Gordon. I went through A-4-10 Knox & Gordon. Gordon was better. Small ass world, the CO of my AIT company @ Gordon served with one of my aunts in WAC’s and they real deal knew each other. That CO’s name was Mary Clark. Later MG Mary Clark (RET) Commandant USAMP’s.

  18. lily says:

    He got the purple heart when the VC left the bubble wrap on his chair. The VC sent a hot woman to distract him and as he sat down “BOOM”. The next 3 days were spent in the hospital intensive care unit for “combat fatigue”.

    Then after returning to the office a suspected VC did an ambush on him with a stapler and he used his stapler back. That’s how he got his CIB.

    Don’t forget, he says “Though I was E5 in the regular army I would have been E9 in the Reserve” because you know he’s that’ bad ass.

  19. An Old Arty Sgt says:

    Question.. Why does his FOIA say “Branch of Service” Navy?? I thought he was Army? His 2-1s are all Army and still no Green Beret training or Purple Hearts.. Just odd.

  20. Atkron says:

    This is my surprised face…no, really.

  21. FatCircles0311 says:

    How does nobody see bullshit awards that are impossible to have and allows them to stay? Good grief.

  22. EODJay says:

    We have been remiss in our duties of providing google hits.

    Ed Tingstrom is not Special Forces qualified.
    Ed Tingstrom did not receive the Purple Heart.
    Ed Tingstrom is not a Paratrooper.
    Ed Tingstrom is a liar and a phony.

  23. Ret_25X says:

    wait a minute…you mean I did not have to actually hump my ass as an Infantryman to actually get a CIB/

    Why didn’t somebody tell me that before I busted my ass all of those years.


    As for two AITs…a lot of us did that…get hurt, get reclassified…went through it as a SSG after DS/DS at Fort Gordon…what a fun time that was. Not.

    • EODJay says:

      Yep, appears that all you needed to do was be a clerk and add it in yourself. Don’t you feel silly for doing all that training and getting shot at and whatnot?

      Also this:
      Ed Tingstrom is not Special Forces qualified.
      Ed Tingstrom did not receive the Purple Heart.
      Ed Tingstrom is not a Paratrooper.
      Ed Tingstrom is a liar and a phony.

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