The combined cooperation of such groups as “Military Phonies”, “I Am My Brother’s Keeper”, “The Fake Warrior Group” and many others helped in the effort to uncover an internet poster/POSer that lays claim to every modern conflict after Vietnam: MNF Lebanon in 1983, ODS in 1990-1991, Somalia 1993, Afghanistan and Iraq including both Battles of Fallujah. He also wrote of both legs being blown off in an IED explosion. His claimed awards includes the Silver Star, three Purple Hearts (3) and at least two (2) Combat Action Ribbons.
This blog will detail the evidence gathered to link ‘TPGUSMC’ to ‘TPG’ to his real name… Todd Patrick Golding. Although some information is blurred out to avoid identification of innocent relatives, the original files are preserved as evidence for the proper authorities.
This is not a classic case of a FOIA request and the results countering military service claims. In this case the identity of the person making the posts had to be uncovered. The links of TPGUSMC = TPG = Todd P. Golding takes the form of doing a proof for a math equation. If A = B and B = C then A = C. There are many avenues that were pursued and all things overwhelmingly point to Todd P. Golding. The purpose of this blog is to take people through the steps that lead to this discovery.
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Todd P. Golding maintains a unique Find a Grave contributor profile with the register number of (#47307890). There are two “TPG” Find a Grave profiles but the unique register number ties it to him. Also, the signature line that TPGUSMC uses on Veteran Benefits Network (VBN) has the same “Once a Marine Always a Marine” logo as the one TPG uses on Find a Grave.
TPG manages a memorial for Shawn P. Golding, Todd’s older brother that died as an infant in 1968. This suggests a strong emotional connection. Also, TPG added and manages a memorial for Charles Monroe “Bud” Gant, who is Golding’s father-in-law. TPG posted quite a bit on his father-in-law and more is provided in the ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY section below.
Then, as mentioned on the companion blog, when Golding was challenged about his claims a day or so later he changed the name on the Find a Grave account from “TPG” to “tgolding” but the account number of #47307890 remained the same.
Ironically, Todd Golding is president of the Northern Virginia chapter of the Sons of American Revolution (SAR), an organization that prides itself on historical accuracy. In prior years he functioned as secretary and vice president, which involved writing stories. Evaluation of the accuracy of these stories goes beyond this investigation, but the Virginia and National President of SAR may be interested in possible writing embellishments of one of its chapter presidents since he has a tendency to stretch the truth.
Todd Golding’s involvement in the Sons of American Revolution is due to him being an ancestor of Thomas White, a Revolutionary War hero and participant in The Boston Tea Party. This was confirmed to be true through genealogy research.
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While awaiting results of a FOIA request, searches of newspaper archives was critical to link Todd P. Golding to his brother’s death in Pennsylvania, Todd Golding’s birth in 1972 in Pennsylvania, him being in third grade in 1980, receiving a Boy Scout badge in 1983, and his efforts with a property tax relief for disabled veterans that places him in Winchester, Virginia.
Most of the valuable information, including the photo of Todd Golding with two legs, was found in The Winchester Star, his local newspaper in Virginia.
The critical article in The Winchester Star was on June 13, 2014 entitled “Area VA center to be investigated” by reporter Matt Armstrong. This article, provided in the Summary Sheet below, establishes Winchester resident Todd Golding as 42 years old and that he was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 1998 with a disability stemming from an accident that happened during basic training in January 1993. Being mindful that some civilian reporters may refer to simple training as basic training, most in the military would take this to mean boot camp. The FOIA request results have ultimately confirmed entry into the USMC in December 1992, but Golding’s age would preclude him from being in boot camp in 1976, Lebanon in 1983 and the first Gulf War (ODS) in 1991. Having been injured or taken sick approximately one month into boot camp; combined with being in the hospital for months would also preclude him from deploying to Somalia in 1993.
There was also some question raised as to whether Marine recruits would be on the rappelling tower during their initial phases of training. One Marine that looked at the specifics of this case speculated that it is more likely Golding fell off of an obstacle course.
The term “rappelling tower” could have been seized upon by the reporter vs. Golding using the term. However, the distinction was never corrected nor questioned as it went to print.
Golding’s discharge in 1998 (or 1993 according to the NPRC FOIA results) would also preclude him from fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq which includes both Battles of Fallujah in Golding’s claims.
This section ties TPGUSMC and tpg to Winchester, Virgina.
In this thread, people eventually refer to “Todd” and “T Golding” and “Winchester VA” as well as a city council meeting where the issue will be brought up. In addition, a reference is made to “Todd’s writings on this site and the Richmond Sunlight” (post #749). If you were then to go to the Richmond Sunlight you will see a “Todd Golding” mentioned at the top and then a shorthand version “Todd G.” later in the discussion. Again, scroll to the top to see “Todd Golding” so that you connect the two.
Richmond Sunlight Bill Discussion : HB1645: Real property tax; exemption for disabled veterans
Also, in the VBN Tax Exemption discussion “TPGUSMC” asks “VaVetsCoalition” if he has a Twitter account (Post #79). On the very next post, “VaVetsCoalition” says yes and provides the link: http://twitter.com/vavetscoalition
TPG posted about a trip to Quantico National Cemetery to bury his father-in-law. In this post, he was specific about the exact date of his father-in-law’s death – Tuesday February 24, 2009. Todd Golding’s father-in-law also died on February 24, 2009 and was also buried at Quantico National Cemetery.
Prior to knowing Todd Golding’s name, it was observed that ‘TPGUSMC’ on VBN and ‘tpg USMC (RET)’ on SAF used the exact same Photobucket account.
The account’s name included: s392.photobucket.com/user/tpgusmc/
When a researcher on our team Googled for most recent uploads to the Photobucket account for ‘TPGUSMC’, which was also used by ‘tpg’ to post to the Service Academy Forums, the Google search showed Todd P. Golding as the owner of that account. This was the first time anybody on our team saw the name “Todd P. Golding”.
This further linked Todd P. Golding to ‘TPGUSMC’ and ‘tpg’. It should be noted that this ‘recent upload’ result can’t be reproduced because Google only retains metadata in the search for a short time, and it has been months since the initial search. However, once the name Todd P. Golding surfaced, everything has pointed to him ever since.
Since Todd Golding has deleted his Photobucket account and all of its photos, they do not appear within the posts anymore. However, a simple right-click and search through the page source will reveal the unique search string of:
Also, a Google search of “tpgusmc” and “Winchester” always puts the Father’s Day article at the top of the search, even though “tpgusmc” is not found in the page.
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NOTE: Golding was approached and asked to come clean by posting on the forum an admission that his posts were not true, especially in regard to Beirut. This request was ignored, but his behavior changed abruptly. Soon after, and as of 24 Feb 2014, Golding changed his profile on SAF to reflect a disclaimer that “all of my writings are fiction”.
Also on 24 Feb 2014, Golding changed his name from “TPGUSMC” to “Creative Writer” on the VBN. However, when he is quoted it still says “TPGUSMC”.
Golding has also changed his Find a Grave profile from “TPG” to “tgolding” which helps to pinpoint him further as Todd Golding.
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There were many challenges with this case file. It was made more difficult by a lack of cooperation from the owner of Service Academy Forums. Shane Fink was approached about TPG’s postings and alerted to the fact that they were questionable in a private message (PM). Fink deleted a post mentioned in the private message (PM) that asked TPG for more information and clarity on some of his claims.
Service Academy Forum’s resident lawyer then issued the following statement in response. She claimed that “Any errors made by TPG are presumably unintentional and, based on our review, not harming or disparaging anyone.” The person making the request responded in support but pursued TPG’s identity. It was a major setback because it would have been so much more efficient time-wise to ask TPG a few respectful questions about the history he seemed to be so well versed on.
Months later, research lead to strong evidence and confirmation that TPG was not who he said he was. Again, the admins were approached via PM that informed them of what TPG was doing right on their server.
No action was taken to remove TPG’s posts and no response was given to the PM. There was no contact information on the server as to who owns it. In addition, a network solutions domain name lookup showed that the ‘ServiceAcademyForums.com’ domain had employed WHOISGUARD, INC as a protective service, so the name of the server’s owner was locked and hidden. Therefore, a Freedom of Information Act request was submitted via PM to the admins and lawyer.
Since no action was taken to remove TPG’s posts and no response was given to the PM, efforts proceeded to challenge some of TPG’s posts with academic references in an attempt to counter the claims that he made. A post was made in response to TPG claiming he was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze star for his actions on 18 April 1983.
After only a few of these posts, Shane Fink (aka “Tactical Nuke”) admonished the posting effort via PM. As stated, a few more posts were made targeting only a few of the boldest of TPG’s claims in an effort to reach a compromise with Shane Fink. The threads were soon locked, shut down and in some cases hidden. The poster was banned from further posting citing excessive PM’s to the admins although TPG was still free to post. Most of TPG’s 2,800 posts remained on the server with all the subsequent military claims of valor.
The owner/admin had appeared to be taking sides and protecting TPG.
The FOIA was never acknowledged nor acted upon. After further review of the server it appeared that military active duty personnel were administering it. Several freely admitting who they were and others being more cryptic about it, including Tactical Nuke. Since there was daily activity during the weekday, it appeared the server was functioning using at least some government resources. It was puzzling how they could ignore a FOIA request. It appears it is based on revenue generated from an advertising banner model from the likes of USAA.
Since admins/moderators log on and off frequently throughout the day it is difficult to see how this could not use government resources. If not the network or computer resources; then their time alone away from a daily responsibilities would factor into this. The money made from the server on government/military time directly affects all taxpayers.
Perhaps the most egregious transgression is the fact that Shane Fink has created an environment where people are under the false impression that they are posting anonymously, even Fink himself is under this impression. This allows for people like TPG to make outlandish and offensive claims and possibly violate Stolen Valor laws, if not commit outright fraud.
Also of note: In the process of identifying ‘Tactical Nuke’ as Shane Fink, many of his old posts were sorted through. It appears that Fink has a tendency toward sexist and racist comments, but not in his view. He was thrown off several forums due to his disrespect toward women posters and racist comments. To be fair, this was before his entry into the US Air Force Academy. However, he clearly seems to tolerate posts with racist slants to them but at the same time has zero tolerance for anyone pointing out Stolen Valor on the server that he owns and operates. Even though most all of the advertisers on Service Academy Forums were written to about the posts that remain on his forum, including stolen valor and racism, they have elected to keep supporting Shane Fink by funding his efforts.
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|This case has a companion blog entitled “Todd Patrick Golding – Blog of Shame” which lists all of his claims, shows the FOIA results and discusses how the results relate to the claims.
Click on the above button to view the companion blog.
This Ain’t Hell blog: http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=61111