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12/10/2014 by militaryphonies
He finally admitted that he didn’t earn the DFC on Dec. 6, 2014 . Article is listed below.
This Ain’t Hell Blog ; http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=57052
|Watertown Daily News ;|
A Brownville native who claimed that feats of heroism during the Vietnam War earned him a Distinguished Flying Cross now admits the whole tale was made up.
While 71-year-old William W. Roe Jr. served in the Air Force as an airman second class during the Vietnam War, he admitted Friday he lied about his military record when he forged an application to become a member of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society in June 2013. His application included a citation for the medal.
Charles J. Sweeney Jr., president of the society based in San Diego, said Mr. Roe’s membership was revoked in November after the group exposed the citation as a fake. The citation described an aerial rescue mission in Laos on Dec. 27, 1965. The document was promptly removed from the society’s website, he said, and Mr. Roe’s name was removed from the honor roll of members who received the Distinguished Flying Cross, or DFC.
Mr. Roe said during a phone interview that he forged documents to become a member of the DFC Society and also lied about his military career to the Times, which published a feature story in September in which he claimed to have been awarded the DFC. Mr. Sweeney said he called Mr. Roe on Nov. 27 to inform him he no longer was a member of the society. Though Mr. Roe denied lying at the time, he sent the DFC Society an email Dec. 1 admitting the society had exposed the truth.
“I’m terribly embarrassed and ashamed,” said Mr. Roe, who declined to discuss the documents he forged to become a member of the society. “You’re about to put something in the paper that my family and friends are going to see, and there’s nothing I can do. … I’m 71 years old and have never done a thing like this before. It was a narcissistic thing to do. I was an Air Force intelligence guy to begin with, and there are some other things that developed from it. I’m sorry for every American in the United States that this happened.”
Under guidance from his attorney, Mr. Roe declined to discuss the specifics about his military career and the documents he forged.
CRIME RULED OUT
The DFC Society investigated whether Mr. Roe could be prosecuted under the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, Mr. Sweeney said, but it was advised by its attorney that the DFC isn’t among the military decorations covered under the law. The amended version of the law approved in 2013 makes it a crime for a person to fraudulently claim having received any of those awards with the intent of obtaining money, property or any other tangible benefit.
If the DFC was included under the law, it could have been argued that Mr. Roe sought monetary gain from lying about receiving a DFC to join the society, Mr. Sweeney said. A family member of Mr. Roe applied for a $1,000 scholarship this fall from the society, which awards four annual scholarships to college students who are descendants of its members, he said.
Mr. Sweeney said Mr. Roe’s fake story has upset pilots from across the country who’ve earned the DFC.
“Nobody’s flying a mission and looking for an award,” he said. “You’re just trying to do your job and sometimes extraordinary things happen, you overcome them, and they feel you should be awarded the DFC. When someone who didn’t merit this award claims he did, it just makes us all look bad.”
Mr. Roe, a resident of Newark, Del., who has a seasonal home in Sackets Harbor, might not have had his false account of how he received the DFC award exposed had he chosen to hide from the public limelight. But a group of pilots from across the country probed the 71-year-old’s military background after the Times published the original story. In that story, Mr. Roe claimed he flew 83 noncombat missions as a chief warrant officer for the Air Force in Vietnam. He said the Air Force had assigned him to offer flight support for Air America, an air transport company that was formed to conduct covert operations in Asia in support of U.S. policy objectives, according to the Air America website.
Mr. Roe never served for Air America, said Mr. Sweeney, who was alerted in November about Mr. Roe’s dubious history by an Air Force veteran who did extensive research. After investigating documents originally submitted by Mr. Roe to become a member of the society, Mr. Sweeney exposed several fabrications that were overlooked initially by the office manager of the society when his application was reviewed.
To become a member, applicants are required to prove they were recipients of the DFC by submitting either their discharge papers or a citation for the award, which typically is signed by a high-ranking officer. In Mr. Roe’s case, he told the Times the Air Force couldn’t track his discharge papers after his four years of service because they were classified.
But Mr. Sweeney said it didn’t take long for him to uncover Mr. Roe’s lies after he investigated the application and the citation he submitted. On his application, Mr. Roe said he flew a Skyraider A1G aircraft, but that plane was never flown by Air America, Mr. Sweeney said.
The Air America Association, which keeps records of everyone who flew for it under the CIA’s control, also informed him that Mr. Roe had never served.
Mr. Sweeney said there were also problems with the DFC citation Mr. Roe submitted. The document, which includes grammatical errors, says the medal was awarded to him on behalf of the president “for extraordinary achievement while engaged in aerial combat over the Plaines Des Jares geographical area of Laos during his second solo combat mission on 27 December 1965.
On this date, he provided sufficient fire power and continued strafing attacks after expending all ordnance on enemy positions enabling the successful extraction of a downed naval Corsair pilot.”
But the Navy never flew Corsair planes in the Vietnam War during Mr. Roe’s alleged rescue mission for which he claimed to receive the DFC, Mr. Sweeney said. The F4U Corsair was used by the Navy in World War II but not in Vietnam. And if one assumes he may have used the A-7 Corsair II, it wasn’t introduced into combat by the Navy until December 1967 — two years after Mr. Roe’s alleged mission.
Other details that normally are included in citations were left out, Mr. Sweeney said.
“Usually they list what squadron you’re with, whether it’s classified or unclassified,” he said. “It usually says what aircraft you’re flying, too.”
A fabricated letter submitted to the society by Mr. Roe, which purports to be from the Department of Veteran Affairs in St. Louis, Mo., had several problems that revealed it was fabricated, Mr. Sweeney said. In the letter, the VA says it’s releasing various declassified “personal effects” under an executive order approved by the U.S. Department of State, including his DFC citation. But the VA doesn’t store military records, Mr. Sweeney said.
“They hold your health records and might have a copy of your discharge papers if you ever applied for medical assistance,” he said. “But all records from the military are at the National Personnel Records Center. That’s in St. Louis, so maybe he thought this would cover it.”
Another glaring problem with the document is that underneath the official VA logo is the address of the VA cemetery at 2900 Sheridan Road in St. Louis, Mr. Sweeney said.
“I looked up the number for the cemetery and asked if there were any records stored at any VA facility on the cemetery grounds, and they said no. On the letterhead, there’s a blank spot under the VA logo where there would be room for something that would say the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery,” he said, adding that Mr. Roe appears to have whited out that line from the document.
Mr. Sweeney said it became obvious that Mr. Roe’s history was fictitious after he uncovered all of the problems.
“Each individual problem by itself didn’t make it wrong, but it was the accumulation of all of these errors that made it irrefutable that it was phony,” he said, adding that most of Mr. Roe’s $300 investment made in June to become a lifetime member of the society will be returned.
FACT VERSUS FICTION
Mr. Roe, a 1961 graduate of General Brown High School, was an airman second class who served as a member of the Pacific Air Forces, one of the major commands of the Air Force that guarded the 10,000-mile Bamboo Curtain in Vietnam, according to an article published Feb. 4, 1970, in the Syracuse Post-Standard. It states Mr. Roe was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal at a forward combat base in Southeast Asia for his “meritorious achievement as an intelligence specialist.”
Before Mr. Roe’s arrival in Southeast Asia, he was assigned to the 98th Strategic Aerospace Wing at Lincoln Air Force Base in Nebraska. He enlisted in the Air Force to attend flight training there after attending Cornell University in Ithaca.
Retired Air Force fighter pilot Byron E. Hukee of Bayse, Va., who conducted extensive research about Mr. Roe’s past, called Mr. Sweeney in November to alert him that Mr. Roe had created a fictitious history to become a member of the DFC Society. Mr. Hukee said he was immediately concerned when he read that Mr. Roe was a chief warrant officer in the Air Force, because they never flew planes. He became even more suspicious about Mr. Roe’s claims after learning from the newspaper article that he was a second-class airman roughly two years after he claimed to have been awarded the DFC as a chief warrant officer.
“Airman second class is one of the bottom ranks in the Air Force, and an airman did not fly airplanes,” said Mr. Hukee, 68, who earned five DFC medals and two silver stars while flying the A-1 Skyraider in a tour during the Vietnam War from 1971 to 1972, in which he flew 400 hours of combat time.
Mr. Hukee also learned that Mr. Roe’s name wasn’t among the list of Skyraider pilots who completed flight training at Hurlburt Field, an Air Force base in Florida where the vast majority of them completed training.
“About 95 percent of pilots that flew the Skyraider trained at Hurlburt Field,” he said.
He also noticed several dubious remarks made by Mr. Roe in the story published by the Times that made him doubt his authenticity. For example, “he said he does not miss flying and that flying is the most boring thing in the world. I’ve been around pilots my whole life, and I’ve never heard any pilot say anything like that,” he said.
Mr. Hukee, who is the author of the A-1 Combat Journal at Skyraider.org, said it is fortunate that Mr. Roe managed to receive credit for something he never earned by joining the DFC Society because it has exposed weaknesses in the organization’s screening process.
“One of the things I want to do is make sure the DFC Society has tighter standards, because Mr. Roe has been honored alongside other heroes, some of whom have risked their lives,” he said. “It’s a slap in the face to those of us who have won the award and those who are no longer living.”
Mr. Sweeney said the DFC Society has stiffened its policy for reviewing member applications.
“If there’s anything out of the ordinary on an application, the office manager will contact one of the board members to take a look at it,” he said.