Nathan Phillips – “Vietnam Times” Veteran

| January 21, 2019


By now you have all seen the images and read about the controversy surrounding the encounter at a rally in Washington, D.C. involving some high school students and a Native American – Nathan Phillips.

Nathan is a tribal elder and has often been put forth as a Marine Corps Vietnam veteran.

We have filed for his military records but the point of this article is that there are stories all over the place about what Phillips’ status is and to do this right takes time.

But in the media’s rush to get a story out — what “facts” rise to the surface and what did Phillips actually say about his military service?

As a good example, in this CNN newscast, Phillips states that he is a “Vietnam Times Veteran” while CNN runs the label below him quoting him as saying  “I am a Vietnam Veteran…” which is not what he said.

Then, CNN puts up the label of “Native American War Vet”…

Now, “Vietnam times” seems to be an interesting way of stating his service, but did it really mean “Vietnam era” or simply his time in Vietnam?  According to his direct quote with NewsMaven, he uses the same terminology but also extends it to “Marine Corps times” sounding like a period in his life.

Nathan Phillips: Thank you for your support. I could do some more prayers. Honestly. I’m still scared. I’m still feeling vulnerable. But I’m not gonna back down. Those young people from that school, that song was a prayer for their future and my children’s future. We’re facing critical times and we’ve got to make choices, and they’re going to be some hard choices.

I’m not a chief or anything. But I feel like at that moment it was for me to do what I’ve always said in for a long time is that I’m expendable. You know, when I was in Vietnam times and when I was in the Marine Corps times, that’s what I was. I was expendable. Expendable to corporate greed. You know, in all wars, especially the ones that are going down for the oil, you know, we’re fighting against — the pipelines. Now that we’re at a point where we’ve drawn the line, we’ve got to stand that line. All of us.

We have received a lot of questions about Nathan Phillips’ actual service but until his military records come back, the best we could do is to look for a signature in the digital reference library known as the internet.

In a article, it states that Mr. Phillips “was placed in a foster home as a child and later joined the Marines and served in Vietnam.”   However, this was not a direct quote from Nathan Phillips.  This seemed to reference a Detroit Free Press article which emphasized Phillips’ life story.

In the Detroit Free Press article, it claims Phillips is a “former Marine” and went on later to elaborate more, stating that Phillips served in the Vietnam War.

Born in Nebraska into the Omaha tribe, Phillips said he was five years old when he was “taken away from my family and put in foster care … until I was 17.”

Phillips said he grew up in an abusive home, started working on construction and lumber jobs, and then joined the Marines, serving in the Vietnam War.

He later moved to Washington, D.C., and became active with Native American issues. He’s now with the Native Youth Alliance and also does work with Native American veterans.

It is important to point out that Phillips was not quoted directly, so there’s always the possibility of an over-zealous reporter hearing “Vietnam-Times veteran” or “Vietnam-Era veteran” and assigning their own take on it.

If one were to go back further, The Warren Record (NC) published an article on February 4, 2009 titled “Drum Group Showcases Native American Culture.”  They referred to Phillips as a “Vietnam veteran” although he was not quoted directly as saying that.

In a recent article by The Arizona Daily Star on January 20, 2019, they stated that Phillips was a “Vietnam War veteran” and as before, Phillips was not quoted directly.

It has been reported several times in the media that Nathan Phillips is 63-64 years old.  That would have put him at 18 years old in 1973, so he would have graduated high school in either 1972 or 1973.  It would have been an extremely tight timeline to have him in the country of Vietnam during the War.  This alone has some people raising questions.

So, as we at TAH do the right thing and wait for all the correct facts and documentation to come in, we can watch this story play out in the media as to Nathan Phillips’ military service – what he actually claimed and what the media is claiming.

Maybe some of the TAH ninjas can find other quotes and/or piece together more information from their own experiences?

Some will be quick to claim it a case of Stolen Valor but what did Mr. Phillips actually claim?  Others may be embarrassed that they went with a story too quickly before all the facts were checked – because it was too sexy to ignore and it fit their narrative.  It will be interesting to see how some folks will backtrack.

As the old saying goes – time will tell.

Category: "Truth or fiction?"

Comments (540)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    Chief Bad Teeth is an asshole. If it turns out he was a Marine who was honorably discharged, then he will be an asshole who was honorably discharged from the USMC.

  2. 1stCavRVN11B says:

    How about checking the the supposed yellow journalist that started this whole thing?!Is he really a “Native Veteran and Army Lieutenant”? Wannabe Vietnam Vet Sen Blumenthal also had phony vets onstage vouching for him.

    Vincent Schilling

    I have to admit: I know Nathan Phillips personally … he is a Vietnam Veteran … As a Native man, and as a Native Veteran and Army Lieutenant … I am FURIOUS!!!

    • AnotherPat says:

      Vincent Schilling:

      Currently lives in VA Beach, VA.

      Claims he was Commissioned
      U.S. Army Lieutenant 1-143rd Field Artillery.

      Claims Non-commissioned time as a U.S. Army Combat Medic 91-A and U.S. Army Medical Lab Specialist 92-B:

      In this article, he said he went to the California Military Academy. He also said he served 9 years combined in Active Army and National Guard. IMHO, if he was a LT in the National Guard (probably California) for 5-6 years, then something is not right, unless National Guard promotions are different from Active Army or Army Reserves.

      You Be The Judge:

      “I served in the U.S. Army for three years as an enlisted Combat Medic as well as a Medical Lab Technician at Letterman Army Medical Center at the height of the AIDS epidemic in San Francisco. I got out of the army and re-enlisted as a cadet in the National Guard to become a Lieutenant in Field Artillery.”

      “At one point during my cadet officer training, I was targeted by the Drill Instructor TAC (Teach Advise Counsel) Officers and called out as a sloppy absent-minded cadet. This was their job, and it could have been anyone, but it was my turn. Right at the height of the targeting, there was a vote on cadets, and I was voted the worst cadet that week. Because I came up on their radar, they threatened to kick me out of the school.”

      “They had me in their office, drilling me on everything they could to get me to crack. Then they looked at my overall test scores. I was one of the highest scoring cadets. In a moment of fear, I agreed to resign….”

      “I served a total of nine years in the U.S. Army and National Guard. I often got voted in the top percentile from that day forward.”

      • Mason says:

        That does not sound like a real story.

      • Bubble Soldier says:

        1-143 FA is a unit of the CA-ARNG. I was in B Battery, 1-143 from 01MAR90 to 03FEB93, then in HHB, 1-143 from 04FEB93 to 01NOV96, when I retired. So, a little before his time. B Battery was still in Woodland, California (currently in Ventura, California) and HHB was still in Walnut Creek, California (currently in Richmond, California).

      • 1stCavRVN11B says:

        AnotherPat…from your second linked article:
        “…The celebration wasn’t over, the Battalion Commander – a four-star general walked up to me and congratulated me personally for being the best. It is a moment I will never forget.”

        Have you ever seen a four-star general as a Battalion Commander? And this Vincent Schilling made LT?

  3. GI JANE says:

    Looks like Sitting Bull Shit has the same problem as Richard Blumenthal.

  4. Lucy says:

    Omg this is such crap, he lives in the bridge road apartments in Ypsilanti Michigan and I know for a fact he’s lived in Ypsilanti since 2012 I have proof as In pictures . I don’t know how to comment here.

  5. Animal says:

    I don’t know much about Native American tribal music, but can anyone translate it or are we supposed to just take his word for it was “singing” a peaceful prayer?

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      I read an article about these drummers that show up at a lot of the protest events. They are from all over the country and different tribes. They don’t speak the same Native Language ( if they even speak one at all).
      They pretty much just make a bunch of chanting noises that don’t really translate into shit.

  6. Bruce Updyke says:

    Marine ground forces left in June 1971. He was 17 that year. If he did any time in Nam, it would have been before that. Remember… he enlisted at 17.

  7. 1stCavRVN11B says:

    Seems his Mayor thinks hes a Vietnam Veteran! What a croc of shit! How damn long has he been tooting that horn?!

    City of Ypsilanti
    Posted on: January 20, 2019
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Message form the Mayor Regarding Resident Nathan Phillips
    Nathan Phillips, an outspoken Native American with long-term ties to Ypsilanti, was the focus of a shameful act of harassment and intimidation on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    The values of Ypsilanti are Pride, Diversity and Heritage. The treatment he received at the hands of young men in DC to attend a Pro-Life march are in stark contrast to those values. As Mayor of Ypsilanti, I condemn the actions of those youth in the strongest of terms.

    Mr. Phillips has served our country as a Marine in the Vietnam war, and has worked during his life to uphold the values and lands of Native Americans in many ways and places. He should be held up as a model to our youth. Instead, these young men treated him with threats and harassment.

    As a long time resident of our town, Nathan has spoken at protests, city council, public meetings and events. He has held Powwows in our parks, is a water protector who went to Standing Rock with his daughter, and has worked with the Native Youth Alliance locally. Sadly, he was also the target of an act of racist harassment locally as well. He has always been respectful and strong in how he manifests his values. He is a valuable member of our community and I am appalled at how he was treated by these young men.

    In stark contrast to his harassers, Nathan’s response has been kind, prayerful, strong and in concert with his values and indigenous culture. He acted in the manner of a brave man in the face of threats and jeers, and he has continued that bravery in his statements and actions since then.

    Ypsilanti and I are proud of Mr. Phillips for his bravery and actions.

    Beth Bashert

    Mayor, City of Ypsilanti

    • Combat Historian says:

      Blow it out you ears, Bethy…

      • UpNorth says:

        Anyone can email Bethy the SJW Mayor of Ypsi at the email address mayor at cityofypsilanti dot com and let her know what you think of her statement. I did, and I’m breathlessly waiting on her reply./sarc

  8. PTBH says:

    FoxNews commented on their news story:

    “EDITOR’S NOTE: A previous version of this report identified Phillips as a Vietnam War veteran. That has since been found not to be the case.”

  9. AnotherPat says:

    The Mayor of Ypsilanti is praising Phillips?

    Well, I hope she honors a TRUE Vietnam Veteran who was born in Ypsilanti, Michigan…Medal of Honor Recipient LTC Charles Kettles, US Army.

    He passed away on Monday, 21 January 2019.

    “Michigan Vietnam War Hero, Medal of Honor Recipient Dies”

    Rest In Peace, Sir. Salute.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      WOW!!…Just…damn..BZ LTC Charles Kettles; Godspeed and Farewell Sir…Thank you for your service and the saving of those Troopers.

      Hand Salute rendered and a toast is raised.

      Thanks for the post and linkie AnotherPat. This one might should be up for a Valor Friday. And you wonder why we like to keep you around. Hint: It’s not just because you’re just another pretty face.

      I’ll not hold my breath waiting on Her Dishonor, the mayor, making a tribute to this Real Hero; after all The LTC Kettles is an old white dude and there is no political gain to be made from that type.

    • Combat Historian says:

      The stony silence from official Ypsilanti regarding LTC Kettles’ passing will probably be DEAFENING…

  10. Sapper3307 says:

    The Hair got the DD-214

  11. IDC SARC says:


    “I didn’t know they even needed refrigerators in Nebraska.”~ BMCS(SEAL) D. Shipley

    • Anonymous says:

      MOS 1161 Refrigerator Mech (the force recon units must’ve needed him to keep their reefer vans going or something).

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh, sorry, my bad… he got to be the stuckee as a Refrigerator Mech ’cause they needed one (MOS 1141 Electrician or so actually).

  12. AnotherPat says:

    Yep…was getting ready to post Don Shipley on Nathaniel Alan Phillips, born 22 February 1955, NOT 1954…you beat me to it!

    That makes two…first one was Jamie Morgan Kane, AKA as John Raymond Wetmore, born 27 February 1956 who claimed Vietnam status as a Navy Corpsman and now Phillips, born 22 February 1955.

    Looks as if stories out there are depicting both dudes as being born in 1954.

    Sheesh…some people..

  13. IDC SARC says:

    We already knew hew was an asshole, now we know he was a landlubbering, REMFtard, with less value than spent primer…and an asshole.

    • rgr769 says:

      As my fave USMC private would say: Surprise, surprise, SGT Carter!” I just knew Chief Shitting Bull was a POSer. At least we didn’t have to wait a month to see a FOIA response on him. I love how our recon refer ranger here got the boot as an E-1 with multiple AWOLs as a reservist who never left CONUS. Now I call that some serious “fighting for his country” in those perilous “Vietnam times.”

  14. Combat Historian says:

    Damn, Senior Chief already got the goods on this guy…

    Total fucking high-drag no-speed shitbird who got pounded out as an E-1…

    Not a recon ranger, more like a danger to reefers…

  15. Everyone should go to the Indigenous facebook page and blast his phony pic all over the place. Stolen valor crack addict look at them teeth.

  16. AnotherPat says:

    Hope the Mainstream Media picks up on Don Shipley’s video…

    Nathaniel Alan Phillips, born 22 February 1955, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserves as Nathaniel Richard Stanard. The Stanards of Lincoln, Nebraska (I have their first names, but don’t want to embarrass their family) may have took him in as either Foster Parents or adopted him.

    Standard/Phillips joined the Marine Reserves in Topeka, KS. He was on Active Duty for Training from 20 May to 3 November 1972. Yes, he was 17 years old.

    He served in the 4th Marine Division (Reserves) in Topeka, Nebraska, then went back to his Hometown and place of Birth in Lincoln, Nebraska. He then went on Active Duty at El Toro, California from 12 August 1974 to 5 May 1976.

    He was an Electrician, a Reefer Mechanic.

    He went AWOL a couple of times and left the Marines as a PVT.

    His only decoration was the Expert Rifle Badge.

    When he returned to Lincoln, he got in trouble with the law, just as his Father and Brothers.

    Just as John Raymond Wetmore, it looks as if as a youth, he lived a troubled life that carried into adulthood.

    Hopefully, Phillips will tell the truth about his Military service. I doubt Wetmore will do that.

    So sad. For his children.

    Let’s see if CNN will post the truth.

    Kudos to Don Shipley and SBalm.

    • sbalm says:

      Your research was invaluable, AnotherPat.

      A lot of people here at TAH contributed in these comments. My cup runneth over and spills onto the floor. What a wealth of experience.

      I can only thank you. It is Dave Hardin’s job to keep the talent happy.

      I have some more things to add. I’ll give them to Dave and see if we can do a followup and add a little more value.

      Will be interesting to see what CNN, Elizabeth Warren and others do in the way of correcting the record.

      • BlueCord Dad says:

        If you think the MSM and all these other lefttards are gonna suddenly see the light I have a large structure spanning a river in NYC I can let you have for cheap🤣

    • MIKE says:

      Look at medals and awards, I went thru PI in ’73 and weekend warriors didn’t even get a FIREwatch ribbon (NDSM), HE WON’T HAVE VSM, VCM, NDSM, SSDR, CAR to go with his qual badge, he’ll be bare chested

    • MarineMike says:

      Look at medals and awards, I went thru PI in ’73 and weekend warriors didn’t even get a FIREwatch ribbon (NDSM), HE WON’T HAVE VSM, VCM, NDSM, SSDR, CAR to go with his qual badge, he’ll be bare chested

  17. IDC SARC says:

    Shoot, Move, and Refrigerate baybee!

  18. IDC SARC says:

    3d times a charm 🙂

  19. Mason says:

    So confirms what we all intuit from his odd language; he was in the Marines, but was not in Vietnam and was not some spec ops warrior.

    Even went UA repeatedly, from a reserve unit. So couldn’t even do his two days a month?

    Got booted before his enlistment was up at the (as the Senior Chief puts it) “exalted rank of…Private.”

    He’s a real hero.

  20. 1SG Eazy E (RET) says:

    My Dad is a Vietnam combat vet, 2/12 Cav, 69-70. He was there for Cambodia, a week after he left my mom in Honolulu. My dads best bud, 1LT Richard Speer, was Killed in Action, in APR 1970 and got a DSC. I used to read his DSC citation on the first day of any BNCOC or ANCOC class I taught and tell the students if they knew of someone similar, to please let me know and they would be allowed to read the story before classes started. FUCK THIS LYING COCKSUCKER to claim honors HE NEVER earned.

  21. OWB says:

    Dang, folks. Is it asking too much for people to read what has already been posted before posting a comment? Some of this stuff has been said at least 10 or 40 times!


    well, a mini-rant, with a smile. A full blown rant would have been louder. Maybe with a drum beat accompaniment. And more spittle.

  22. SFC_K says:

    Elder Phillips of the Omaha Tribe claimed to be a veteran in his latest CNN interview, in addition to this lie Nathan Phillips also shamelessly continued lying about the events of that day.

    Phillips: When I was there and I was standing there and I seen that group of people in front of me and I seen the angry faces and all of that, I realized I had put myself in a really dangerous situation. Here’s a group of people who were angry at somebody else and I put myself in front of that, and all of a sudden, I’m the one whose all that anger and all that wanting to have the freedom to just rip me apart, that was scary. And I’m a Vietnam veteran and I know that mentality of “There’s enough of us. We can do this.”

    • Daisy Cutter says:

      This is a CNN transcript. A transcript is supposed to reflect accurately on what was said in the interview, but Phillips said “Vietnam times veteran” and CNN transcribed it to “Vietnam veteran.”

  23. Rusty Erpenbeck says:

    Here’s the “previous” article where the quotes were taken from:
    Dec 5, 2008 – Indian Country Today –
    Phillips also described coming back to the U.S. as a veteran of the Vietnam era. “People called me a baby killer and a hippie girl spit on me.

    And, yes, I’ve also seen his birth as 2/22/55, so he’s actually 63.

  24. CLR says:

    I guess “recon ranger” and “refrigerator mechanic” sound somewhat similar.

  25. Translation: He was told “military or jail,” went in the Marine Reserve because the Army might send him to ‘Nam and the AF and Navy wouldn’t take him, and part time technically met the judge’s order, then he wound up homeless and went active to keep a roof over his head, but he was such a soup sandwich he couldn’t even do that right.

  26. Harold E Massey says:

    I served in the USMC as a CH-46 pilot in 1968-1969. I’m 76 years old so I think I can bear some scrutiny and I have my DD214.
    In the article by Vincent Schilling, American Indian veterans honored annually at Arlington National Cemetery, the following is written, “Phillips also described coming back to the U.S. as a veteran of the Vietnam era. “People called me a baby killer and a hippie girl spit on me.” I would say that Mr Phillips did say he was a Vietnam veteran, not Vietnam era veteran. He apparently is beginning to believe his news clippings.

    • ChuckT says:

      Still says ‘Vietnam era’. Maybe he was coming back the US from Tijuana and hippie chicks had other reasons to spit on him.


    First he says he’s a Vietnam vet, then he says he served a year after Vietnam ended. And he IDs 1972-1976.

  28. James says:

    The only reason to say “Vietnam Times Veteran” is to conflate his services as in Vietnam.

  29. Eric Turner says:

    It doesn’t even matter if he actually said that he fought in Vietnam or if he just used clever verbiage and allowed people to believe it. Numerous articles, interviews, introductions, awards, etc etc where he has allowed himself to be described as and honored as a Vietnam veteran.

    Find where he has disputed that on an article that was given to him to proof-read and accept before publication. Find where he has called in to ask that a correction be made to a story. Find where he has told an audience the truth after being introduced as a Vietnam vet. He has been allowing it to go on for years and years.

    At this point, short of finding numerous proofs otherwise, Stolen Valor it most definitely is.

  30. PowerPoint Ranger says:

    A newly discovered video has him dead to rights on the Vietnam lie.

    “I’m a Vietnam Vet. I served in Marine Corps 72 to 76. I got discharged May 5, 1976. I got honorable discharge and one of the boxes shows peacetime or, what my box says is that I was **in theater**. I don’t talk much about my Vietnam times.”

    • Ann-Marie says:

      Way to go PowerPoint Ranger! That is awesome!

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        Did he actually say, “asterisk, asterisk in theater asterisk, asterisk[?]” Purported quotes from a video are not the same as watching and hearing the video. You have that?

  31. Ann-Marie says:

    I found additional video of him saying “I wasnt proud about being a War Veteran and I wasn’t wearing like…” as he motions to his upper left chest as if to indicate medals. 19 seconds later, he says “Like I said, Im just glad I got in the Marine Corps and I got out alive.”
    Statements start at 45:28 of video
    Hope this helps.
    Im a proud daughter of an actual Vietnam Veteran, and I feel like this dude is dancing on his grave right now.
    Thank you.

  32. You need to pull the record for his deceased brother to see if he has been using his brothers information/medals as the basis for some of his stories and claims.

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      “You need to” is rarely a good start to anything. You have the same power to make the request as anyone else does. Take a look under “Military Records” at the top right of this page.

      • Excellent, I hadn’t checked that tab out. I was actually surprised my post went through.

        But now that Mr. Phillips is on video saying his discharge says “in theater”, I am just really curious if he was using his brother’s record in place of his own.

  33. 1stCavRVN11B says:

    From the same news outlet that Vincent Schilling (yellow Journalist writes for). Just maybe Phillips can finally get into Vietnam working for one of the tribes he belongs to? However, he might piss off the various tribes of indigenous Yards.

    Aug 7, 2017
    Tribes Go Global: From South Korea to Vietnam, Native Casinos Are Looking Overseas to Create Destination Resorts

    Mohegan Sun plans to begin building Inspire Integrated Resort in South Korea by year end, Hard Rock confirms interest in Vietnam.

    “…Well-established U.S. tribal casino brands are spending several billion dollars, or are prepared to invest billions, to build multi-faceted casino resorts in overseas markets. As Mohegan Gaming & Entertainmentprepares to break ground in South Korea, Hard Rock International sets its sights on a beachfront resort community on the central coast of Vietnam. The Seminole Tribe of Florida assumed global ownership of the Hard Rock empire last year. Native casinos are particularly turning to Asia due to its high traffic and rise in the number of VIP gamblers…”

    “The Seminole-owned Hard Rock International hopes to develop a casino resort at the Laguna Lăng Cô beach resort in Vietnam’s Thua Thien Hue province, reported GGRAsia. Ideally situated on the central Vietnam coast, Laguna Lăng Cô currently offers both the rustic charms of nearby UNESCO World Heritage Sites,…”

    “…Hard Rock is among a short list of suitors looking to build at the Laguna Lăng Cô project on Vietnam’s serene Eastern Sea coast, according to Cheng. The Laguna Lăng Cô destination, the first and largest world-class integrated resort in Vietnam, debuted in April 2013. The holiday and second-home development, located in a unique crescent bay framed by a three-kilometer beach offering privacy and unparalleled exclusivity…”

  34. TDG says:

    Can’t find anything here on my phone; was he drafted, or did he join voluntarily?

  35. Craig says:

    On the Native Youth Alliance Facebook page there are video recordings of him saying that he is a Vietnam Veteran and that he was “in theater” and that he was glad to have gotten out of the Marines alive. He also claims that he doesn’t like to talk about his “Vietnam times”. For someone who doesn’t talk about it he sure does seem to talk about it. In fact, in interviews and biographical information he intentionally makes it sound like the Vietnam War was a defining event in his life. The reality is that he was drilling reserves in Lincoln, NE after his recruit training and was not on active duty until more than a year after the Paris Peace Accords were signed. He had multiple run-ins with civilian police, multiple U/As, never promoted, and the Marines were glad to be rid of him.