San Diego media battles over Randy Voepel’s valor

| April 17, 2018 | 108 Comments

The Times of San Diego lays out the case against Randy Voepel’s claims that he earned a Combat Action Ribbon while stationed off the shores of Viet Nam;

In a phone interview Monday afternoon, Hoey said he suspects that the copy of Voepel’s discharge form — called a DD214 — is from the National Archives and may have been altered. He called on Voepel to release his own personal copy of the form.

“We counted no less than 15 errors on that DD214 — significant errors — including redactions and corrections in the areas where they are not permitted,” Hoey said. ‘We need to find the original. … Now it’s up to the press to look into that. My job is done here.”

(Herron did not respond to a request for Voepel’s version of the DD214.)

A Freedom of Information Act request by Hoey led to a document that lists Voepel as receiving the “Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device” but not the “Vietnam Campaign Medal Combat Action Ribbon.” In that DD214, COMBAT ACTION RIBBON is typed above a series of X’s, which might originally have stood for WITH DEVICE (an addendum badge).

I have never seen a legitimate DD214 that had a strike-through like the DD214 above. A clerk would be forced to start typing a new one to compensate for an error on the form.

Anyway, NBC7 consider the stolen valor allegations false;

In an email, Voepel’s Chief of Staff sent us this statement on behalf of the Assemblyman, “I am proud of my military service and my advocacy in Sacramento on behalf of veterans. Hollow political attacks are typical during campaign season. They won’t distract me from continuing to serve my constituents.”

As further proof, Voepel’s office released to NBC 7 Investigates a copy of the Assemblyman’s service discharge paperwork, called a DD-214.

Hoey and Wilske responded to the document by insisting it is phony since it is poorly typed and has several sections crossed out. Both told us they sent the DD-214 to other experts from stolen valor cases and those experts agreed with their findings. NBC 7 Investigates asked for the names of those experts but we haven’t received them yet.

I’ve also never seen a legitimate awardee of the Combat Action Ribbon wear it upside down. I’ve seen plenty of phonies wear it upside down, though;

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (108)

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  1. Mason says:

    Even if a clerk tried to correct it as they say, it would have been done in the same typeface.

    This things screams doctored.

    • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

      I seem to remember that before things went computerized, the old versions of DD-214’s were controlled documents and that if there was an error made on the document, the PN/Admin person would have to do up another one and destroy the first one (usually by shredding).

      Many of the Admin types use to work off of a photocopied DD-214 and either hand write or type in the entries, then have the individual review it to make sure everything was accurate before doing the official DD-214.

  2. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Did you ever alter or ever cause to be altered a DD 214?

    “I am proud of my military service and my advocacy in Sacramento on behalf of veterans. Hollow political attacks are typical during campaign season. They won’t distract me from continuing to serve my constituents.”

    Should I repeat the question?

    “I am proud of my military service and my advocacy in Sacramento on behalf of veterans. Hollow political attacks are typical during campaign season. They won’t distract me from continuing to serve my constituents.”

    Your responses have nothing to do with the question asked. Did you ever alter or ever cause to be altered a DD 214?

    “I am proud of my military service and my advocacy in Sacramento on behalf of veterans. Hollow political attacks are typical during campaign season. They won’t distract me from continuing to serve my constituents.”

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      I wandered off into the semantic tall grass with this, and it seems to me the logical fallacy Voepel is presenting is not actually begging the question. While it’s true there’s an attempt to evade answering the question, the real fallacy is that of appeal to authority.

      Voepel apparently wants everyone to believe his being “proud of my military service and my advocacy in Sacramento on behalf of veterans,” means the authenticity of his DD-214 should not be questioned.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        I don’t think he has any idea what he means or what devices he may or may not be using. The reasons for that are twofold. First, I would say by that pic of him that he is at least mildly retarded. Second, if he answers with the truth he is screwed, and if he answers with a lie he is screwed.

    • Rosalee Adams says:

      sounds like current hearings in Washington

  3. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    On and on and on and on with these shit birds. NBC, MSNBC, same shit.

  4. AW1Ed says:

    The lone comment from the article:

    Rob Nelson
    I was at that Midway news conference as a supporter of Larry Wilske and a witness to Randy Voepel when he got up in front of my tea Party meeting stating he was in the Brown water Navy , did 2 tours was in heavy combat and was exposed to agent Orange. This Nam combat vet has no doubt Voepel has lied about his combat experience. He didn’t mention being a radar tech on the Bucannon.

    I’d call this a testimonial from an eye witness.

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      He was referred to by ABC an alledged witness, he was at the press conference, he was breathing and even had a heart beat. Oh, and the words can out of his mouth.


      • David says:

        Standard journalistic practice… if you eviscerated him with a dull rusty bayonet in front of 1,000 witnesses and multiple cameras, your bloodsoaked grinning face would be that of the ‘alleged assailant’. We feel better now?

  5. ChipNASA says:

    Well, truth be told, he’s gathering a bigger and bigger Internet footprint about his bullshit, so, regardless what he and his defenders say, this shit isn’t going away, AND Master Chief Petty Officer Terence Hoey (MCPO NYC USN Ret. for short) dun broke it square off ALL UP IN HIS ASS.


  6. Martinjmpr says:

    That DD-214 is a soup sandwich. Now the next question is, is there a CA law that makes it a crime to knowingly submit a falsified or altered government document in order to influence an election (something like “unlawful influence of a public official?”)

    Sadly, there is no Federal law I’m aware of that makes it a crime to alter or forge a DD-214 so state law is the only foreseeable remedy (and before someone jumps in to talk about fraudulent claims I’d point out that in that instance it is the fraudulent claim that is the crime, not the altering or forging of the document.)

  7. PTBH says:

    In the article, it says “A Freedom of Information Act request by Hoey led to a document that lists Voepel as receiving the “Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device” but not the “Vietnam Campaign Medal Combat Action Ribbon.” In that DD214, COMBAT ACTION RIBBON is typed above a series of X’s, which might originally have stood for WITH DEVICE (an addendum badge).”

    The way this is worded, it makes it sound like the DD-214 was produced as a result of the FOIA request, but it was my understanding that Voepel produced that DD-214.

  8. rgr769 says:

    It is unbelievable that the Lame Stream Media can’t figure out this this DD-214 has been altered. They can’t seem to ask the question: How could he have a Combat Action Ribbon when serving on a ship that never had a combat action with the enemy? It is akin some POSer claiming to have been awarded a CIB when he never served in a combat zone, period. But since he is a D-RAT, the LSM will believe any lie that comes out of his mouth or the mouths of the suck-butts that work for him.

  9. timactual says:

    I would assume the entire crew was awarded Combat Action Ribbons.

    It seems USS Gurke has a reunion next month. A good occasion to see how many other CARs were awarded to the crew.

    • rgr1480 says:

      MCPO answered this question last week.

      MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:
      April 13, 2018 at 10:09 am

      We have the deck logs. He was not listed as being wounded or killed. So, that fixes that.

      The ship may have credit for a CAR, however that does not mean he was awarded. The Vietnam era criteria for CAR has particular qualifying factors that would certain award to only those who were directly involved in action and performed satisfactorily.

      Short answer, yes for ship and no for Voepel as it does not appear in his official service record as provided by NA.

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      No, you can not assume that.

      Example: say you are sick and incapacitated, in the brig, have an unsatisfactory performance average, you are a dirt bag, you hide in the paint locker when the shelling begins, you are a drunk, a wife beater, failed to follow orders during engagement and a lot more reasons …. well you don’t get the CAR because you don’t qualify.

      I am not saying Voepel did any of the above ….

  10. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Holy Crap.

    That was friggin’ awesome.

    TV media did not put the pieces together, but the two print media reporters are all over this.

    Read articles by Joshua Stewart, very tough and smart reporter and Ken Stone, laid back thinker. Both will come up with the whole story like we have.

    Check out my Larry’s statement and mine over at San Diego Rostra.

    NBC used creative editing to make it sound like was calling the CAR “pure fantasy” I was talking about his boat guy in the jungles of Vietnam claims.

    NBC does not know how to read service records even with records on hand they claim Voepel was on USS Buchanan for 4 years.

    NBC also needs to take notes when talking to sources, they said Wilske and Hoey called the DD-214 a phony, we did not, we said it was altered, and it was. Further, because it was altered it now needs to be authenticated.

    Attempting to explain such issues who have little or no experience is frustrating.

    So I will say it again, “it is very rare for a Navy ship to be awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and even more rare when every crew member actually receives the award”.

    Must reads are Joshua Stewart and Ken Stone articles, everything else was infotainment.

    • rgr769 says:

      What you are saying is that one cannot claim a combat action ribbon for your ship’s combat action when one was neither assigned to nor on the ship when it was engaged in combat, period. That seems pretty fundamental and obvious, but too complicated for NBC reporters.

  11. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Ken Stone article: Ken is firing on all cylinders while the local TV media stations are trying to figure out the meaning of “altered”.

    • Hack Stone says:

      Nice to see Graybeard get a shout out. Once the dust settles with this guy, maybe the reporter can look into the mysterious disappearance of Elaine Ricci.

    • 20thengbde67 says:

      Kudos to Ken Stone for looking at this objectively and actually performing some journalism. The talking twits of TV media only reinforce my belief that 99% of them are brain-dead dolts.

      • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

        We sat with talked at length face to face with Ken. He is a no BS, laid back, experienced, sincere, accomplished journalist … who is a truth seeker.

        Everyone should read his article and comment and share it.

  12. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Hey guys, in addition to U.S. Stolen Valor Act of 2013, you have to read, California Assembly Bill 153 of 2017. A wee’ ‘lil bill called the California Stolen Valor Act …. oh and Voepel supported the bill.

    Karma is a bitch …

  13. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    So, I was asked by three reporters:

    Who is paying you, who is picking up your expenses, who paid for your flight?

    Questions like that, and a very legit question to ask.

    Each time I answered the question like this:

    “The cost of not exposing Valor Thieves like Voepel is too high, that is why I do it for free”.

    And then the reporter says, you did not answer my question.

    Then I would have to simply say, “no one paid me, I bought my own lunch and purchased my own ticket ”.

  14. Do says:

    Who cares Who cares who cares who cares

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      We care. Veterans care. Partiots care. Law enforcement cares. San Diegans care. Citizens in CA 71st District care. A lot of people, groups and organizations care.

      Hope this helps!

  15. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    I have consulted my crystal ball as I travel home after watching the local SD TV stations melt down and not even see what is so apparent with respect to Voepel’s military claims.

    The print guys as I said before are truth seekers and smart … they will figure out what we here already have done.

    But the crystal ball tells me KARMA is catching up to Voepel’s dogma and we know who will win that race.

    Mason Herron will regret what he has said and written on the subject of Voepel’s military claims and service. Equally, he will regret the forgery comments and other false statements attributed to me and Larry Wilske. I suspect Herron’s youth and inexperience like Voepel’s dogma will be crushed by KARMA which materializes in many forms.

    The crystal ball tells me Voepel will regret that his name landed on the desks of MCPO (SEAL) Larry Wilske, USN (Ret.) and MCPO (SW) Terence B. Hoey, USN (Ret.).

    This story is not over until we say it is!

    Note: The crystal ball is fictitious and no dogma was actually destroyed in this post.

  16. Mason says:

    Disturbing that the media seem to be doing two things in response to an obvious forgery, even to a non-military onlooker.

    First, they give him way too much benefit of the doubt because of his position. Cause state assembly members are above reproach?

    Second, they position this as just some political gamesmanship. It’s more than a little disgusting to me that the word two master chiefs is worth less than that of a middling sailor who, by all evidence, is lying about his military service. Not some oops either. This is a pattern of unethical, and now illegal, behavior.

    Keep it up, Master Chief. At least you photograph well. 🙂

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:


      Agreed on everything with one correction.

      The DD-214 has been altered. Only a law enforcement official or certified fraud and document examiner can label that a forgery.

      I call it altered.

      “Any alteration in shaded areas renders the form void”.

      That is DD-214 101.


      • rgr769 says:

        IMHO, the DD-214N above has been doctored by someone. Every entry in legit records I have seen refers to the Vietnam Campaign Medal as: “Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device.” What someone apparently did to the document was strike out “w/60 DEVICE” and insert above it “COMBAT ACTION RIBBON” on likely a different typewriter with a different font. In any event, that CAR was added at some later point in time, in a different font. That “w/60 Device” language appears on every reference to this award I have ever seen on genuine personnel documents, including those in my records, which are from the same time frame.

  17. mr. sharkman says:


    Sharkman sends BZ.

  18. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    ANOTHER crystal clear sign that it is a YUUUUGE mistake to screw around with the USN Chief’s Mess.

  19. MAC(SW) (RET) says:

    This is a curiosity/edification based question: What was the criteria during the Vietnam War IRT an individual sailor assigned and physically present aboard a ship that was awarded the CAR that differs from the current award requirements? I’m very familiar with the current requirements but not so much with that era.

    If you can’t comment on this at this time due to the ongoing Voepel situation, I totally understand, thanks in advance!

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      The criteria is on the interwebs:

      Must have been there, engaged, assisted and performed satisfactorily.

      Again, the award to a ship and all of its crew-members is very rare, and it is even more rare the every crew member actually gets the award for many reasons (I outlined a few above).

      • IDC SARC says:

        I remember the USNS Comfort getting blanketed for a CAR in Desert Storm caused quite a gnashing of teeth from those with boots on the ground.

        • mr. sharkman says:

          And Sailors flying into the Mog for 1 day then being awarded a CAR. Total BS.

        • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

          31 one ships got it during DS, it raised holy hell in the middle ranks of the Navy.

          Again, not all crew get it. If you are a shit bag NO, if you bitched at your Chief and had low performance average NO, if you are a bed-wetter NO, if you hid in the paint locker and smoked weed NO. So don’t believe, just because the ship was awarded, every dirt bag on that ship does not get it. In addition, there are times when a crew member does nothing or little towards the fight and they my not get it and that does not mean they are a dirt bag, they just did not qualify under criteria!

      • NECCSEBEECPO says:

        Well there is this from Gulf War 30 ships got for crossing a LAT/LONG because they were in danger.

        We took Rockets almost every day for about two weeks during that period and not one CAR, because we were attached on ground with Marine units. Now 21 of us that went forward on a JTF received for taking contact and returning Fire during contact, but again attached with Marines.

        Also USS Kearsarge Dec 2005 took rockets while in port and every member of ship, most on Liberty when ship took rockets over head received the CAR. This was one of the reason for the new update of CAR, for IED’s and not IDF still not allowed.

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      By the way the Voepel situation has been going on for years … unabated. His name just came across my desk recently. So, for those who know me, that would be very bad news for any such Valor Thief.

  20. Timmy says:

    Actually, claiming FMF is full-on, “Jim Neighbors in boot camp” gay. And equally unlikely to retire at E-7.
    You must have one helluva collection of (*ahem*) short films about marines.

    Your crew has made more remarks on here about gay sex than there are valor vultures here.

    Get a room, ladies.

    • Mick says:

      “Actually, claiming FMF is full-on, “Jim Neighbors in boot camp” gay.”

      Oh really, sockpuppet?

      HMCS(FMF), IDC SARC, and our other FMF Sailors and Marines around here might just have a slightly different opinion about that.

      They should be rolling in hot here very soon.

      • IDC SARC says:

        I dunno what he’s flailing about. I loved Jim Neighbors.

      • IDC SARC says:

        I dunno what you mean by “claiming” FMF either Timmy. When a Sailor becomes FMF qualified the FMF is part of their rank. Any FMF qualified Sailor referencing his rank is correctly including the FMF designator in that rank. He’s not being pretentious, he’s simply being correct.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Whatsa matter Tiiimmmmmmmyyyyyy, where did the comments touch and hurt you, widdwe snowflake? Tell you what, your Mommy called, she said for you to be a GOOD little snowflake and you’ll get a nice warm enema before she tucks you into bed, alright widdwe Tiiiiimmmmmyyyy Snowflake?

      I wonder if Timmy isn’t Randy Voepel?

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:


      You stroll in and start to attack an Honorary US Marine Corps Corporal and mention his sexual orientation and then land another comment about “gay sex”.

      First, we don’t talk smack about Jim here.

      Second, we won’t take your sock-puppet bait!


    • mr. sharkman says:

      Going for FMF was some of the best advice I’ve ever been given. Basic common sense really, considering how often I was going to be working closely with my Glorious Sloped-Forehead, Thick Necked, Jarheaded Marine Brothers.

  21. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    For anyone who is to that Twitter thingy …

    Ken Stone one of the only real journalists in San Diego worth reading has gone after Voepel by making him Twitter famous:

  22. Daniel says:

    I read the news coverage and found these quotes:

    “The Union-Tribune obtained a summary of Voepel’s service record, including a list of commendations he received, on April 2 from public affairs at the Navy Personnel Command. Separately, the Los Angeles Times obtained a copy of Voepel’s service record on Jan. 19, 2017, from the National Personnel Records Center, a part of the National Archives.

    Both sets of records confirmed the ribbon.”

    “NBC 7 Investigates contacted the Pentagon’s Office of Navy Personnel and officials there sent us Randy Greg Voepel’s military service biography, which indicates he served on the USS Buchanan during the Vietnam War. The biography shows Voepel served four years on the guided-missile destroyer and received the Combat Action Ribbon along with seven other awards and decorations including Vietnam Cross for Gallantry.”

    Can you clarify?

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      Yes, Voepel did not serve on the USS Buchanan (DDG-14) for four years. Navy and media got that wrong.

      And we believe Navy and Media relied on historical ship references for that CAR award an not forensic examination of service records.

      The only proof that Voepel was awarded the CAR would be in Page 4 entry or similar.

      • Daniel says:

        I don’t follow — you’re saying the Department of Defense, which handles the issuing and maintaining records about commendations, is incorrect about the commendation it’s own records says Mr. Voepel received? I am confused.

        • rgr769 says:

          Can you not read the list of his assignments aboard ships? The document from his original personnel file shows he was not on the Buchanan for four years and reflects his service on her occurred after the period when the ship was fired upon. The master chief know what he is talking about. But if you want to believe the lazy LSM, go ahead. What they are telling you is not true. It is akin to me claiming a CIB for one of my companies’ combat actions when I wasn’t assigned to it.

        • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

          Oh no, you said, “the Department of Defense, which handles the issuing and maintaining records about commendations, is incorrect about the commendation it’s own records says Mr. Voepel received”.

          I deal in facts and evidence.

          The most recent document provided by DoD/Navy had errors. Errors that I have information for, such as his ships and stations. Therefore we rely on other sources that are confirmed, such as National Archives FOIA request, were his official service records resides. Our FOIA request was returned on 28 FEB 2018.

          With an altered DD-214N in hand and a claim of Combat Action Ribbon … we need to see the original DD-214N and the Page 4 entry for the award.

          Do you understand that?

          I will type slower next time so everyone can follow along!

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      Yeah, and Gallantry was spelled wrong on the DD-214N that Mason Herron provided to the press, while asking the press to keep the DD-214N confidential. I have one of the emails.

      DD-214N provided by Herron … “GALANTRY” = LEGIT.

      There were 14 other similar mistakes, alterations and clues that deems this DD-214N VOID.

      Any alteration to a DD-214 renders the form void.

      That is DD-214 101.

    • MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

      And we have a FOIA response from February 28, 2018 that says otherwise … and now an altered DD-214N.

      So let the federal authorities work it out, we already have figured it out and can not reveal TTP’s. If we did every Valor Thief would use those TTP’s and get their own CAR that they can wear upside down in photos posted on their official websites.

  23. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Some loon named John Ellis at above Facebook Page is seemingly accusing me, a “political hack” from NY, of altering the DD-214N that Mason Herron provided to the press, while asking the press to keep DD-214N confidential.

    Dear John,

    I don’t do politcs, I am a Stolen Valor Researcher & Investigator.

    The press (mulitple sources) provided the DD-214N to me.



    • rgr769 says:

      Just read his insane posts. I didn’t know the TAH gang had conspired with the FAA to murder ol’ Lawn Dart Danny, or did they murder someone else in Floriduh? I thought there was only a possibility of self-murder. Someone should advise him that accusations of a crime on social media meet the legal definition of libel per se. Uh oh, I just republished the libel.

    • IDC SARC says:

      Notice that while he figured out what direction the CAR faces…in the picture he still has the precedence…wrong

      ya just can’t fix stupid

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