William J. Gallagher; phony Vietnam CPO

| June 21, 2018 | 108 Comments

Our partners at Military Phonies share their work on this fellow, William Gallagher who claimed to be a Chief Petty Officer (E-7) and a combat veteran of the Vietnam War for his sea cadet organization.

The folks at MP say that they confronted him a few years ago and Gallagher promised to behave himself, but phonies gotta phony and he was back at it. He’s 60 years old, therefore too young to have participated in the Vietnam War. He enlisted a few weeks after the US evacuated Saigon, so he missed the war.

I don’t think he’s authorized the National Defense Service Medal, but it is in his records;

He left the Navy as an Electrician Mate (E-6) not a CPO, not a Vietnam combat veteran.

And he resigned from the sea cadets (sorry I got caught);

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (108)

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  1. Commissioner Wretched says:

    One of those fellows for whom Navy white uniforms are … shall we say … not flattering.

    Gotta crap on a great career. Good grief.

  2. IDC SARC says:

    Oh… for the love of FUKK

  3. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    I see EM1 (SN) E-6 on the FOIA, What does the (SN) stand for. It can’t be Seaman????


      I would say they screwed up,it was probably meant to read EM1(SW)

      • NHSparky says:

        Whoever filled out the FOIA was having an off day.

        Along with the PN who did his 214. No, he was NOT eligible for NDSM, and you do not get multiple rifle/pistol ribbons or medal.

        • Bobo says:

          I seem to remember, circa 1989 or so, they tracked multiple awards of the expert pistol and rifle medals. If you qualified expert, the shooter was awarded a bronze “E” device for the ribbon and the award was temporary. After qualifying expert three times, the shooter was awarded a silver “E” device for the ribbon and the award was permanent. I didn’t qualify expert until 1990, and, by then, the regulation had changed to all shooters qualifying expert were awarded the silver “E” and the award was permanent.

          • NHSparky says:

            I didn’t qualify until 1989, so sounds reasonable, but his 214 says he qualified Marksman–lowest level available.

            Guy did some good things when he was in, but it never seems to be good enough, does it?

          • NECCSEABEECPO says:

            You are correct they had to qualify and placed in record, to wear the ribbon. Around time I joined they changed over too, if you qualified you could keep wearing the ribbon without requalifyng. If shooter went higher like “S” Sharp shooter or “E” Expert then you would change.

  4. Combat Historian says:

    What’s the deal with him wearing O-4 rank insignias on his BDUs? Do the Sea Cadets permit cadres to wear some kind of artificially made-up commissioned rank, or has he taken his posering to some new higher level we’re not even aware of here?

    • David says:

      Agreed, thought I could somewhat read Navy ranks and was wondering how to get any kind of Chief from that!

    • PTBH says:

      I’m no expert, but apparently there is some alliance with the Navy for this program and they hold a organizational Sea Cadet rank that may or may not reflect their actual past military rank.

      The medals, from what I understand, are a different matter.

      • NHSparky says:

        It is a brevet rank.

        When I was in recruiting, we had a PO2 recruiter who was involved with Sea Cadets who wore the uniform of a LTjg.

        The major issue was, he did NOT hold any military commission.

      • H. William Safford says:

        Sea Cadet ranks parallel, but DO NOT REFLECT, actual us Navy rank. I retired as a YN1 (E-6) from the Navy, but hold an appointment in the US Naval Sea cadet Corps as a Lieutenant. Depending on where/when I am, I can be referred to as Lieutenant, Petty Officer, or Professor.

        When teaching, I am Professor.

        When functioning as an officer in the Sea Cadet Corps, I am Lieutenant (or sometimes Skipper)

        The rest of the time I am Petty Officer or Mister.

    • Club Manager, USA ret. says:

      It’s like the Coast Guard Auxiliary, where we wore a military insignia based on the office held, and one of the reasons after ten years I left the Auxiliary. We had pukes who maybe reached speedy four during their draft years wearing full bull eagles – and rightfully so based on the rules. I wore a silver leaf. However, when we were around the regular Coast Guard, we were supposed to wear the auxiliary insignia. The pukes refused to do so giving the rest of us a bad image with the Coasties. The same shit probably applies with this outfit.

      • sj says:

        Luckily the CG Aux I was in (Northern Virginia) was comprised almost completely of retired military. Was funny once when the VA State Guard (not National) gave us a pitch on how we could join them and pick and wear any rank we wanted. Did not go over well.

        • thebesig says:

          They’re called the Virginia Defense Force now.

        • 5JC says:

          After Hurricane Rita I saw a Texas Guard (not National) member wearing eagles directing traffic at an intersection where the power was out. He was actually doing a great job. It was so damn hilarious I took a picture. Wish I still had it.

          We have a State Guard unit nearby where I live now. They are basically custodians and groundskeepers for the Armory and keep the lights on when the unit is deployed. It is nice as it allows the unit to train and not worry about mowing the grass, police call and that kind of thing.

    • Peter the Bubblehead says:

      NSCC officer rank insignia are the same as officer insignia for the US Navy, even though the NSCC ‘Division Officers’ are really the equivalent of Boy Scout Troop Leaders. The only difference is when shoulder boards are used, there is an SNCC emblem atop the stripes instead of the Navy shield.

      The cadets that are part of the program wear insignia based on the enlisted ranks, starting at recruit and working their way up to Cadet Chief Petty Officer.

      My daughter was a member of the NSCC for several years during high school. Her Division Officers had never been part of any actual military duties prior to volunteering for Sea Cadets. And to be truthful, there was no way my daughter’s ‘CO’ would have passed the PRT.

    • Ryan Smith says:

      His Sea Cadets rank is legit he served in the program. The main issue is he claimed he was a Chief Petty Officer and wore a ton of authorized ribbons, while both in his Sea Cadet uniform and a fake US Navy Chief uniform.

  5. Skippy says:

    Way to go moron……

  6. OldManchu says:

    These cases are so much more effed up than just a straight up no service at all phony with a beard and an SF tattoo.

  7. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    He brought no discredit upon the Navy or the chiefs or the sea cadets, whatever they are. He brought discredit to the name of William Gallagher and that’s all. As for his thinking that his admiration for CPOs peompted him to claim being one, I can understand that. When I was 8, I claimed to be an astronaut.

  8. Claw says:

    Vietnam NDSM Period: 1 Jan 61 – 14 Aug 74

    And the 1st SEAC shows up to correct the record on NDSM’s in 3..2..1/smile

    • AnotherPat says:

      But, but, but Claw…everyone knows that “Gallagher” comes after “Gainey”…😉

      • Claw says:

        There must be some kind of a cosmic Karma connection between an NDSM and June 1975. Bear with me here:

        17 Jun 75 – Gallagher shows up at Great Lakes after six months in DEP to start recruit training.

        17 Jun 1975 – The 1st SEAC shows up at Fort Knox, KY after nine months in DEP to start Basic Training.

        Six days later on 23 Jun 75, after receiving a uniform issue and screening out the bed-wetters from their recruit companies, a sekrit hush-hush ceremony is held at 0001 hours under the light of the June full moon in which everyone who was in DEP is awarded the NDSM and sworn to secrecy about the circumstances surrounding the award.

        But as we all know, if the 1st SEAC does show up here, the first words out of his mouth will be “Don’t ever question my dedication to being a Sockpuppet. IS THAT CLEAR?”

        But be forewarned, if you press the 1st SEAC for a further explanation, he’ll have you reach into his right front pocket and check for his “Military Bearing.”

        • AnotherPat says:



        • Claw says:

          Well, I see I screwed that story up. Gallagher signed into DEP on 17 Jun 75 at Orlando but didn’t show up at Great Lakes until January 76.

          I thought I had a great story going, but you all catch my drift anyway.

          Mea Culpa for the inaccuracy, but I did get the part about 23 Jun 75 being a full moon, so I’ve got that going for me./smile

  9. Forest Green says:

    He lists a few degrees to starboard. Probably needs shore up his clappers so he can stand straight.

  10. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    WOW he really got around-Gator, Servlant and a tin can sailor and he has to screw up his record. Amazing, utterly F ing amazing.

  11. Skyjumper says:

    Dufus looking M’fer.

    That letter of apology isn’t worth the ink or paper that it was generated with….he’s just sorry he got busted…..again.

    Definitely likes to play dress-up.

    Wanna play dress-up stud? Then put on some black leather, chains, nipple clamps and go to Brucie’s Bath House (entrance in the rear) on “Whips & Chains” night. You will garner all the attention you seek, piglet.

  12. sbalm says:

    Not to mention all those impressionable kids he stood in front of over the years and spewed Honor, Courage and Commitment.

    Now it has to be a version of “Yeah, don’t be that guy.”

  13. JimV says:

    I would be embarrassed to wear a uniform that was that tight. 🤣

  14. Bobo says:

    I’m sure that there is an interesting story there somewhere. He went from the hospital in Portsmouth, VA to transient holding at Norfolk, to submarine school at Groton, where he failed to graduate, to the Fulton, a sub tender across the river from Groton, then discharged. Suddenly he’s back at MEPS in Boston a few months later and lasts for less than a year.

    • NHSparky says:

      Am I reading that right in that he went to Sub School as a reservist?

      • Bobo says:

        That would be a first. It looks like he had continuous periods of service, but the PRD adjustments are a little screwy. If he were a reservist, he wouldn’t have been able to be treated at Portsmouth unless the injury/illness happened while on active duty.

        He showed up to BESS just after I had graduated, and I never saw a reservist there.

        • NHSparky says:

          I think the FOIA is screwed up and that he reenlisted in 1979.

          Near as I can see, he got out in May of 85, came back in July, and either got hurt or placed on some sort of med hold/limited duty for two years between 86 and 88 after another stretch in the hospital.

          Early 80’s was before my time, but was it normal to bounce between commands every 6-12 months?

          That just seems weird.

  15. Ex-PH2 says:

    I get it. Took a while to figure it out.

    He’s a Chief EllTee CDR.

    I like to dress up in Fleet gear, too, but that’s for Sci-Fi cons and I get to explain the pink & purple polka dots on the Battle for Zandoria ribbon to the uninformed. (Hint: each dot represents clumps of dead Bad Guys.)

  16. FuzeVT says:

    So what mystifies me here is his choice (because it was a choice) of ribbons. His top ribbon is a CAR? With ever campaign ribbon known to man, he didn’t award himself some “atta boy” medals to go with them? I mean come on, if your going to fake it, you should go for some NAMs at least. Maybe a NAVCOM, MSM, bronze star – heck – why not a MSM or two to boot. I guess he was just impersonating some one with a lot of “been there, done that” just not some one that had “done that” very well.

    If you’re going to fake the funk, man, do it properly!


  17. Atkron says:

    Why do they redact his Rate on his list of assignments?

    Weird that would be considered Protected information.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Maybe he got busted?

      Or maybe the clerk thought ‘redacted’ applies to that stuff, even though it’s typed in on the summary form.

      I’d say something happened, he was about to make E-7, made a mistake and got hammered for it.

      Just guessing.

  18. Mick says:

    According to the Military Phonies link posted above, this assclown has been sashaying around and playing phony CPO dress-up with his phony CAR and phony PUC in the Norfolk, VA area.

    That’s a really great choice of a venue for posing as a phony Navy CPO with phony combat awards. Not only is Norfolk home to the largest U.S. Naval Base on the planet, it’s also swarming with Navy retirees.

    No chance of ever getting busted as a poser around there. No sirree. Nope.

    Oh well, at least there’s apparently no danger of the world running out of stupid shitheads any time soon, so we have that going for us. Which is nice.

    • Atkron says:

      It’s like the dickheads that pretend to be SEALs in the Tidewater or San Diego area.


    • AnotherPat says:

      Mick’s right…

      And surrounding Norfolk is the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard…with lots and LOTS of Panhandlers wearing camoflauge, carrying a cardboarded sign with the words “Need Help. Homeless Vet” at street corners, areas surrounding VA Hospital, shopping malls, military installations…

      And always wearing a baseball cap or boony hat with the words “VIETNAM”…

    • Ryan Smith says:

      It’s was a Navy Chief that called him out. He was actually in the Norfolk CPOA and as you can participated in a Chief pinning ceremony.

      • HMCS(FMF) ret says:

        Holy shit! He was a member of a CPOA? Who da fuq let that happen!

      • TideWater says:

        A Navy Chief from Tidewater CPOA talked with him. He raised suspicion attending the pinning ceremony wearing the wrong cover. He was seen in uniform as recent as May at a CPO retirement ceremony. Even after a second chance, he didn’t learn.

        Gallagher is not a member of the CPOA, but he is known in the area with his association with the cadets.

  19. Skyjumper says:

    Are my old eyes deceiving me, or is that a crucifix sticking out of his right ear?

  20. A. Young says:

    Sorry, I got caught, blah, blah, blah. Fucking bullshit apology. This is your 2nd time getting caught, so I don’t believe a word of your aforementioned apology.

    Also, that is not the only thing that pisses me off.

    What really infuriates me is you pissed on what was an otherwise honorable career, not once, but twice.
    You got out as an EM1, for Christ’s sake!

    I can’t see the fucking reason anyone would do that.

    I mean, FUCK!!

  21. thebesig says:

    Originally posted by Jonn Lilyea:

    He enlisted a few weeks after the US evacuated Saigon, so he missed the war.

    Since our participation in the Vietnam War, as envisioned by Vietnam War veterans, ended before April, 1973, per the peace accords, William J. Gallagher, phony Vietnam War Veteran, missed the war by 2 years. Even if he would’ve joined a couple of years earlier, he would’ve had the pleasure of being an adviser, trainer, etc., as South Vietnam’s Army was fighting it from 1973 till the Fall of Saigon.

    • David says:

      well, for a few you could stretch it to April 30, 1975 when Saigon fell. Given the earliest he could get in would be when he was what, 17? and he had to be born no earlier than mid-’57, he would have had to go in, go through all training, and have been assigned to a dwindling number of Vietnam slots… not very likely even if he HAD not waited until June.

      • 5JC says:

        14AUG74 is the official end date for NDSM for Vietnam. I think that 15May75 should be the correct date but I wasn’t there and certainly don’t make those calls.

      • thebesig says:

        Originally posted by David:

        well, for a few you could stretch it to April 30, 1975 when Saigon fell.

        I’m going by the terms of the Peace Treaty, and historic timelines regarding U.S. combat unit involvement in Vietnam. Combat units had to be out of Vietnam by the end of March, 1973. For us, with regards to full US Forces against Vietnamese engagement, March of 1973 is the end.

        After that, the South Vietnamese took over fighting the war, with us providing other support.

        Yes, they’ve extended that out to 1975, but that’s like extending the Gulf War out beyond when it actually happened. I’ve served with service members who have the Southwest Asia Campaign Medal, and Kuwait Liberation Medal, after deploying to the area long after the cease fire ending Desert Storm. The National Defense Service Medal, for that period, was also extended beyond the date of the cease fire.

        I make this distinction, as it shows that we actually won the Vietnam War, militarily, on Vietnam soil. For many people, taking it out to 1975 ignores our changing role and emphasis during that conflict. Hence, people ranting about how we militarily “lost” the Vietnam War when we didn’t.

        We won the Vietnam War militarily on Vietnamese soil, but lost it politically on the streets of the United States, and in Congress.

        • 5JC says:

          Kind of how we “won” “something” in Iraq and then it was all given to the Iranians?

          • thebesig says:

            We won the Iraq War with a straight cut victory. After we left, some of that was set back, and was on track to being a repeat of the Vietnam War… Wining militarily but losing politically.

            But, that turned around. They had to turn to the Iranians, and others, partly because we weren’t demonstrating real leadership during the last administration.

            A coalition did well, in a recent election, that’s anti Iran. So no, “it wasn’t given” to the Iranians.

  22. PTBH says:

    A reliable rumor is that they are allowing Gallagher to remain an adult leader in a reduced role.

    The message is clear – they will tolerate Stolen Valor. Not once, but several times.

    Anyone else that wears a Silver Star or Purple Heart and gets caught can merely point to Gallagher’s situation and fully expect the same treatment.

    • 1610desig says:

      A reduced role model…

    • AnotherPat says:

      I thought he wanted to resign?

      • PTBH says:

        I believe he assumed he had to but they must have wooed him back.

        Right now his title is Regional Director. That does not sound like it is in contact with the Cadets directly. Maybe they want him to stay in that role?

        From what I heard — they want to keep him and they are trying very hard to keep a lid on all of this. I have even heard stories of upper leadership threatening people with termination that let information get out about it.

  23. 26Limabeans says:

    Dumpy looking guy in every photo.
    I’m guessing he is one of those odd sizes that nothing fits.

  24. AnotherPat says:

    I thought it looked familiar.

    Take a look at the rank he is wearing on his hat in the picture (is that a SeaCadet unit?):



  25. AnotherPat says:

    Mick: Too bad Andy Fox of WAVY does not know about William James Gallagher. Or WVEC or WTKR..😉

    William James Gallagher needs to be on Ralph Northrum’s staff. They can exchange war stories.

  26. Keepin' It Real says:

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that they will now have to decommission the “LCDR WILLIAM J. GALLAGHER SNACK BAR AND LOUNGE AREA”

  27. Dave Hardin says:

    This is all much worse than most of you realize. This Sea Cadet organization has problems with integrity in my opinion.

    It is my understanding that they think threatening members with expulsion who report cases of Stolen Valor or false military claims is the way to handle things.

    “Do nothing that makes the organization look bad” kinda group thought. Instead of publicly humiliating and directly kicking out people who do these things it appears they abide by the “Keep it quiet so nobody notices” method.

    In my opinion the Sea Cadet Organization is apparently controlled by a bunch of sniveling pansy ass paper hanging SOB’s that could give a shit less about protecting the dignity and honor of those who actually do serve this nation.

    Shame on the whole organization. If this is their idea of upholding Honor and Integrity, I highly recommend parents keep their children away from them.

    • PTBH says:

      They have it all backwards — they circle the wagons around those that commit stolen valor in order to protect them and at the same time threaten to terminate those that speak up against stolen valor.

      What kind of message does this send and what kind of environment does this promote?

      • Dave Hardin says:

        It creates an atmosphere of “Do not stand up and do the right thing if it will make anyone look bad”…in my humble opinion.

        Waiting for the all too predictable “The Sea Cadet Organization does wonderful work with young people teaching them valuable skills that carry through…blah, blah, blah.

        The Organization as a whole was gutless the first go around with this pig eyed piece of shit. They decided to wallow in the shit with him…the place has a stench now. Nothing like watching people piss all over themselves.

        But hey…some people don’t seem to like me, I am beginning to think it might be something about myself…nah.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      In other words, they are employing the West Point approach to the honor code.

    • Ryan Smith says:

      There are indeed issues of integrity at the top of the Sea Cadets. As a retired Navy Chief I am sickened by the fact that there is an obvious push to cover this up from the top. I’m also a Sea Cadet Commanding Officer and I will say that 99% of the Officers just want to guide and mentor future leaders of the Navy. Just like any organization a few bad apples get through. Don’t hold William Gallagher’s shameful behavior against the Sea Cadets. I ask that you all write or email the Director of the Sea Cadets and ask for a top down investigation on this matter.

      • Dave Hardin says:

        I am afraid this organization needs a “Bottom Up” investigation. In my experience, the problems are coming from the top.

        This clown has been allowed to get away with his nonsense for years.

        Posers and embellishing loons most often cover for each other. I suggest you submit a FOIA for the official records on the entire leadership of this organization.

        Betcha find more of the same.

      • Daisy Cutter says:

        In my experience, the ones leading the charge to cover it up usually have a strange but familiar fish smell coming from their closet as well.

  28. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    Taint-grazing Sphincter Head.

  29. AnotherPat says:

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    SeaCadets, Norfolk, Virginia=Enablers.

  30. Tidewater says:

    UPDATE: All is forgiven with William Gallagher and the Sea Cadet Program allowed him to renew in the program. In the internal Magellan Sea Cadet system, Gallagher’s ID card was renewed until 4/30/2019.

    I think now is the time to make some phone calls to the base staff and pull any and all support of this program. Support should also be pulled from the mess.

  31. Green Thumb says:

    They just lost my support.

  32. Ed Glomb says:


    I am the CO of the Top Hatters Sea Cadet Unit. Let me assure this community and the Chief’s mess, that Bill gallagher is no longer part of Top hatters and the Sea Cadet Program.

    Our unit has enjoyed the support of Navy Norfolk and the Chief’s mess and I hope that continues.

    Thank you

    Ed Glomb

  33. RD says:

    There are folks in here speaking with authority about the program that do not have the actual authority to do so. Bill Gallagher was not allowed to renew within the program and has no authority or responsibilities any longer. He has completed turnover of all his responsibilities and is waiting on a financial audit to clear National Headquarters. As soon as that is complete he will be released from the program. If there are any further concerns please address them through the appropriate channels. None of the children deserve to suffer due to the deeds of one individual. Some great folks have stepped up to lean forward and run a quality program.

    • Tidewater says:

      Despite your claims of unfinished business and financial audits, Bill Gallagher REMAINS IN THE PROGRAM. HQ shows his ID card expires NEXT YEAR. This is not a misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
      Addressing through “appropriate channels” is deceptive code for keeping silent until this blows over. We can go through “appropriate” Navy channels and request they stay off the base.

      Would your civilians know a forged DD214? What measures (if any) are in place to further prevent stolen valor? How will it be addressed in the future?

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