James M. Gattoni II – US Navy Corpsman, Grenada, Beirut, Combat POSer, Blog of Shame


05/11/2015 by

James M. Gattoni II - phonyCLAIMS

HMC(FMF/DV) James Gattoni II USN (Ret) states that he is 100% combat disabled veteran with PTSD.
100%Gattoni - 20 year combat vetgattoni-twitter-disabled combat

HMC Gattoni has claimed two (2) Combat Action Ribbons or “a CAR with a star”.Gattoni - CAR with a StarHMC Gattoni has claimed an impressive list of assignments which also include Grenada and Beirut in 1983 as part of a Surgical Support Team on the USS Guam (LPH-9).


Beirut - I was there

HMC Gattoni claims that days after arrival in Beirut he was first on the scene at an incident where eight (8) Marines were killed and two (2) Marines were wounded.

Gattoni - first on scene

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This is where Gattoni’s story doesn’t add up. The USS Guam (LPH-9) participated in the U.S.-lead invasion of Grenada (Operation Urgent Fury) on 25 Oct 1983. If he was on the USS Guam, Gattoni could not have been in Beirut on 23 Oct 1983 as he claimed on his Twitter account provided above (i.e. below the TIME magazine cover stating “I was there.”). Giving him the benefit of the doubt, Gattoni could have been making a general statement that he was in Beirut but for those not familiar with events it appears he claims that he was there at the time of the bombing. As a Twitter post that stands on its own, it makes this claim even more suggestive.

In addition, the USS Guam (LPH-9) did travel on to Beirut, Lebanon but did not arrive until Thursday 17 Nov 1983. Although one could argue there is a highly remote possibility that HN (Hospitalman, E-3) Gattoni’s presence was so badly needed that he flew in ahead of the 22nd MAU, Gattoni himself indicates that he arrived as part of the 22nd MAU. The point is that it’s difficult to believe Gattoni was there during the bombing on 23 Oct 1983.

As far as the claim that he rendered aid to “two injured 8 dead”, the only incident that Gattoni could be referring to in regard to eight KIAs and two WIAs would have been the battle at Checkpoint 76 (CP76) involving a squad of Marines.

The problem with Gattoni’s claim of being present at CP76 to render aid is that this battle occurred on Sunday 04 Dec 1983. This was over two weeks vs. “two days after we deployed into Beirut” since the USS Guam landed in Beirut, Lebanon on 17 Nov 1983. To attribute this to a nuance of language one can say New Year’s is “days away” which is technically true if you mean 213 days away. However, most would say “weeks” or “months”.

Fog of war? Faulty memory? Nuance of language?  Maybe. Let’s now turn to official military records and documentation.

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Looking at Gattoni’s records obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)…

Focusing on claims of combat, none of Gattoni’s three DD-214’s reflect a Combat Action Ribbon (CAR), let alone his claim of two as the second award would be designated with a star. Recall Gattoni’s claim of having a “CAR with a star” (screen clip provided above).

Looking at Gattoni’s history of assignments during periods that would have provided a military award for combat, the records show:

[1] NO GRENADA / BEIRUT – Gattoni was stationed at Naval Regional Medical Center Newport Rhode Island from 29 Jun 1983 to 19 Feb 1985. Although he claims he was mobilized as part of a Surgical Support Team, sent to the USS Guam (LPH-9) and participated in the Invasion of Grenada (Urgent Fury) as well as saw combat duty in Beirut, Lebanon his records do not support such a claim. All sea service was accounted for by a cruise in 1986. Additionally, a call was placed to the Public Affairs Office at Newport Rhode Island and in spite of NAVREGMEDCTR Newport having Surgical Support Teams (now called Independent Individual Augmentees), the PAO confirmed that this would be something annotated on the orders should an individual be mobilized. A CAR for this period of time is doubtful.

[2] NO ODS – Gattoni was a student at the Naval School of Health Sciences in Portsmouth VA until 05 Sept 1990 and then went to Naval Support Facility (NSF) Thrumont MD (Camp David) until 12 Oct 1992. This period would account for Operation Desert Shield/Storm, so he would not have been awarded a CAR for ODS/S. Of note, there was one month after completion of his school before he reported to NSF Thrumont but it is common for the US Navy to grant liberal leave upon completion of a school.

[3] NO OEF – Gattoni Reported to Naval Hospital Pensacola Florida on 03 Nov 2000 and finished out his career with that command on 31 Dec 2002. This would account for the early period of the U.S. War in Afghanistan / Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) which began on 07 Oct 2001, meaning Gattoni would not have been awarded a CAR for this conflict.

Conclusion: No Combat Action Ribbons are designated under Gattoni’s awards, and his history of assignments do not allow for participation in a conflict that would’ve earned him a CAR, let alone two.

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Focusing on claims of being on the USS Guam as part of a Surgical Support Team and participating in Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada) and Multinational Forces Lebanon (Beirut), Gattoni’s official service records show that sea service in 1986 accounts for all of the member’s sea service time and therefore does not allow for any deployments in 1983.

Gattoni - sea service

Oddly, there is an entry under Block 13 for Decorations, Medals, Badges, etc. that’s somewhat hard to read but it indicates “SEA SERVICE DEPLOYMENT [SECOND]”. This is one of several inconsistencies in the medals awarded since, as stated above – all sea service was accounted for in the USS Guam 1986 Mediterranean deployment.

Gattoni - sea service deploymentConclusion: Gattoni’s official military records show no deployment to a ship or the conflicts in Grenada or Beirut in 1983. All sea service time during the 1983-86 period was accounted for three years later in 1986. Medals awarded are inconsistent with the History of Assignments.

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A member of the USS Guam surgical team on board in late 1983 was contacted and asked about this and he said that he recalls nobody by the name of “James Gattoni” on their team.

In 1983, Gattoni was a (HM-0000) “quad-zero” rated corpsman that was not trained in any specialty. Although there are allowances for slots on the team for junior rated 0000 corpsman, most corpsman are x-ray tech, surgical tech and FMF qualified.

If one were to accept the fact that Gattoni was part of a Surgical Support Team on the USS Guam in spite of several major discrepancies in Gattoni’s service record that do not support such a claim — Gattoni also said that he went ashore and worked at the BAS (Battalion Aid Station).

Gattoni - worked at BAS

According to NAVMED P-5084, the “GUIDE FOR MEDICAL PERSONNEL AUGMENTING FLEET MARINE AND AMPHIBIOUS FORCES” references BUMEDINST 6440.1 and outlines guidance for Surgical Support Team augmentees (again, this is assuming Gattoni was one). The instruction has a checklist in the appendix that mandates FMSS training for all augmentees although it’s fair to say that it does leave the door open for exceptions. It also notes the importance of orders.


SOURCE: http://archive.org/details/usnavybumedhistoryoffice?and%5B%5D=subject%3A%22Fleet%20Marine%20Force%22

According to his service records, Gattoni did not go to Field Medical Service School (FMSS) until years later – 12 Mar 1985.
Gattoni - FMSSFMSS is a course which trains and qualifies Navy corpsmen to work with USMC Fleet Marine Force (FMF) units. The emphasis is on field first aid, safety under fire, understanding Marine Corps rank, structure, chain of command and how the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps assets are integrated. Stated simply, to insert an untrained, junior rated Corpsman ashore and expect him to integrate smoothly is not entirely impossible, but unlikely.

Returning to Gattoni stating that “I made several trips into Beirut to assit at the BAS.” (posted above), Gattoni was asked numerous times which BAS he worked at on shore as well as a doctor (Medical Officer) that he worked with. After several days of repeating these simple questions with no response from him other other than statements on other matters, Gattoni finally answered the question on the BAS but never gave a name of a doctor that he worked with on shore in Beirut. However, he stated later that a “CDR Roger Dufort”, a Medical Officer (i.e. doctor), was with him on the Surgical Support Team.

Gattoni - casualties

Then, Gattoni said that he was present onshore in Beirut at an incident where he claimed that he rendered first aid to 8 Killed In Action (KIA) and 2 Wounded in Action (WIA).  Extensive interviews with Gattoni, Beirut veteran eyewitnesses, experts on the history and comparison to references in print lead to the following conclusions:

* A surgical tech on board the USS Guam at the time does not remember a “James Gattoni”.

* Gattoni was highly accurate in his description about specific wounds and physical description of the casualties, but was vague or often wrong about other details that he should’ve known.

* Several of the corpsman involved with the casualty event, including first responders, are listed by name both in print and by eyewitnesses. None of those names are “James Gattoni”. Corpsman directly involved with this specific casualty treatment say Gattoni was not there.

* Gattoni never mentioned and when asked could not give the exact name of the position where the incident occurred. Nor had he supplied a date of the incident other than “a few days after we deployed into Beirut”.

* Gattoni claims he “was a rent a doc, from the 22 MAU HQ element”, meaning he was available to fill in where needed. However, the priority would be a FMF qualified corpsman (8404) attached to the platoon, or the next choice would be extra corpsman from MSSG-24, not HQ.

Gattoni - rent a doc

* Stated simply – it’s extremely difficult to believe Gattoni was there with the answers he provided.

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HMC(FMF/DV) James Michael Gattoni USN has an impressive list of assignments, but there is room for skepticism about his claims regarding his involvement in Beirut in 1983. His sea service listing does not allow for it and his medals are not consistent with his history of assignments. Although there are no history of assignment entries nor photographs to support his claim of being awarded two Combat Action Ribbons (a CAR with a star), this claim puts him on the radar for violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2013. It is doubtful that he saw combat so this undermines his claim of being a “20 year combat veteran”.  However, this entire controversy can easily be brought to an end by Gattoni himself. A suggestion will be made in the Pearl Harbor photo below.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT: Gattoni frequently posts inflammatory statements in online group forums. This can take the form of topics on current events, politics, race, gender or military issues. This is true for many Facebook users, but Gattoni is quick to call people liars or challenge them to meet him for fistfights should they disagree with him. He doesn’t answer simple, direct questions that would quickly resolve the controversy so it puts the burden on others to either accept his claims without question or face his wrath – an extremely odd reaction to legitimate questions.

gattoni-fist fightAs far as Beirut, since he was accurate about wounds but not about the events, several have put forth a plausible theory — during some downtime while Gattoni was stationed on the USS Guam in 1986, he read some of the ship’s medical logs and/or post-mortem reports to gain this knowledge. As a corpsman, he would have been working in the ship’s medical spaces. Ship’s company medical staff could have even highlighted documents/logbooks that contained a significant part of the ship’s history in regard to receiving KIAs/WIAs.

An alternate explanation is if one were to believe all of the exceptions (i.e. lack of entry on orders, improper sea service time) that would have to occur for him to be part of a Surgical Support Team on the USS Guam in 1983 off the coast of Beirut, Gattoni may have “stretched” the truth to place himself on shore. He may have then took it even further in order to place himself as part of the incident that involved 8 KIA and 2 WIA.

James Gattoni leverages shades of grey when talking about events. Although some that do this convince themselves they are being truthful, in reality they’re still embellishing facts by allowing others to believe something that is untrue as well as allow it to continue uncorrected. Distorting facts and signaling anger when people naturally seek clarification spoils honesty in relationships.

Navy corpsman have to live with images of the dead and wounded but as professionals they learn to selectively share what they have seen or sanitize the language. When challenged on facts and asked simple questions, Gattoni instead insists on talking about blood, guts and severed body parts in the very forums where families read the posts and there’s no dignity displayed for fallen brothers. Someone that has been to Beirut knows that this is sacred ground. Here is one example on Gattoni’s own Facebook page that underscores this point — Pearl Harbor.Gattoni - Pearl Harbor

Whether this is true or not it shows disrespect for the fallen.

The uniform above is clearly a Navy Chief’s uniform. That means it would be later in his career but after he made HMC on 16 Jan 1997. We’re confident that HMC Gattoni would have photos of himself with his ribbons late in his career. Why not post a high resolution image and support the claims that are not supported in his military records?

We really want to believe HMC James Gattoni, but his military records, his stories, his explanations and his vague answers or lack of answers make it nearly impossible to accept some claims as truth.

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FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/james.gattoni
TWITTER: https://twitter.com/jamesgattoni

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gattoni-small-1 gattoni-small-2 gattoni-small-3
FOIA_Gattoni_pg1_ICON FOIA_Gattoni_pg2_ICON FOIA_Gattoni_pg3_ICON FOIA_Gattoni_pg4_ICON
FOIA_Gattoni_pg5_ICON FOIA_Gattoni_pg6_ICON FOIA_Gattoni_pg7_ICON FOIA_Gattoni_pg8_ICON

The following photos were submitted by James Gattoni as evidence that he was in Beirut in 1983. In Photo #2, Gattoni said the ship in the background is the USS New Jersey. In Photo #3, when asked if this was aboard ship, Gattoni said this was a “fellow corpsman in a bunker” and is not him in the photo. He added that “We had to go to into Beirut to have a beer. No beer on the USS Guam.”

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UPDATE:  In Oct 2017, more than two years after this blog was posted, James Gattoni updated his cover photo with a ceremony photo of him as a Chief (E-7).


Gattoni’s medals are clearly visible and he has no Combat Action Ribbon, let alone two (i.e. a “CAR with a star”) as he had claimed.



thisainthell-gattoniSOURCE: http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=59766

57 thoughts on “James M. Gattoni II – US Navy Corpsman, Grenada, Beirut, Combat POSer, Blog of Shame

  1. Al Sandrik says:

    This one hits hard…

    1. Well I was Navy ashore TAD to the 24th MAU and under fire for a few days. I would never presume to claim a CAR! I have too much respect for my brothers who actually earned one, not just sitting in a bunker through some rocket and mortar attacks.

    2. I was a civilian trained EMT who assisted with triage and treatment of the wounded aboard the USS Iwo Jima that day. Some guys like to call me “Doc” because of my assistance that day but I have always insisted I didn’t earn the title and the FMF Docs did! I have too much respect for the REAL DOCs.

    Sorry to see a Doc sink to this level on both counts. Very sorry to see indeed.

    • Al Sandrik says:

      I am going to say after looking closer at the Chief’s service record, since my comment above, it is stellar. In retrospect I hope this is all a mistake?

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        I served with him when he was called to the Guam in 1983, we were stationed in Newport Rhode Island together. We went to Hospital Corpsman School “A” in San Diego October 1982 to February 1983. His surgical team was activated after actually coming off alert status, the devastation to the medical staff was unparalleled, the enemy hit at night, the first floor was most of the medical personnel, so a double whammy. The team was called off leave, and deployed rapidly, they were gone a year I believe. Jimmy was an ardent Navy Man, volunteered for every training course there was, I haven’t seen him since 1985, but I can attest to the fact he was on the Guam, he mobilized without question.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • Al Sandrik says:

        I have a question that I posted below on the timing, why he was sent to the USS Guam (and not directly to the Root) and when/where he boarded her. I’m not calling you/or him a liar, like I said above his DD-214 is outdtanding I wish mine was as good but when and where did he join the USS Guam?

      • Al Sandrik says:

        Jim I replied below. For my part, Thank you for your efforts in detailing the Chief’s deployment to the USS Guam.

  2. Lee Benzo Sr. says:

    I would hope he was legit & not just another loser trying to benefit from our lost brothers. Seems to me right now he is the latter. This disgusts me to no end.

  3. […] team at Military Phonies send us their extensive work on this James Gattoni fellow. Mr Cattoni tells folks, anyone who will […]

  4. Jim Kennedy says:

    I served with Jimmy Gattoni, I was his roommate in Newport Rhode Island also, he was called to the Guam with our hospital surgical support team. He served on board with several others from our command, inclusive of doctors, nurses and corpsman, he is a stand-up guy. I have not seen him since 1985, although we have communicated on Facebook for the last 2 years. Jimmy tragically lost his younger brother while stationed in Newport Rhode Island, he was killed by a drunk driver I believe. He has had a tough life and has seen things many of us wish we never even knew about, let alone witness. He is a true American, a Navy Man, a “Doc”, and from what I know he served with Valor and Pride. You are tearing down a good man from my memory.

    [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

    • Jeff Hamman says:

      Jim, As stated over and over, I greatly appreciate your engagement on this issue. Can I propose a reasonable solution to all of this? If James Gattoni served in the waters off of Beirut, Lebanon in 1983 as part of MNF Lebanon, he would be eligible to join the Beirut Veterans of American organization. I’m not sure of their exact policy as I am only an associate member and am not close to the policies, but I know they require proof. I am sure this would involve a DD-214 and other supportive documents showing service on the Guam in 1983. I would submit this as a highly reasonable solution as the BVA can act as a third party arbiter. We don’t need to see the paperwork so if the BVA says they looked it over and he is good to go, then that is good enough for me and that accounts for his service on the USS Guam in 1983. The shore duty direct ground support augmentation and placement of Gattoni at the 04 Dec 1983 battle would involve more scrutiny of course. Documentation or signed officer statements need to be addressed before I would be willing to go back to about 10 witnesses (so far) that have and entirely different account of events for 04 Dec 1983, which includes books in print. Hopefully you can appreciate this position. Please, by all means encourage James Gattoni to submit the necessary paperwork to join the BVA and achieve his stated goal of “I asked these men for friendship. I guess they don’t want it.” and we can all put that part of this to rest and move forward to address the other claims. I have explained to him that I am working to obtain a roster from BUMED archives but this will take some time and don’t know if they can locate one anyway, so let’s not have that hold us up. Perhaps you can work on your end as well to get things resolved. Much appreciated and look forward to your response.

  5. Jim Kennedy says:

    Jimmy volunteered for every training course that was available, EMT, Surgical Support Team Member, ER, Ambulance Driver Certification, ICU, CPR Instructor Certified ,and much more while at New Port Rhode Island. He rose up the ranks quickly, a good kid. The record keeping at the time in the Navy left much to be desired, we were understaffed constantly this days, 3&5 day duties, 24 hours, CDR. Lee Bakalarski was the PIC of the Surgical Support Team, I believe Chip Boehem was stationed on the Guam with Jimmy, I believe we had 5-7 members called up, the team had just come off 2 years alert status, but the extent of devastation to on the ground medical in Beirut led to multiple teams being mobilized rather quickly.

    [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

    • Jeff Hamman says:

      Jim, Thank you so much for commenting on this and I admire your devotion to a friend. We would of course like to get this correct so welcome any relevant contribution you may have. A couple of questions if you don’t mind:
      1) Were you a member of the Surgical Support Team out of Newport, RI that was on board the USS Guam (LPH-9) in 1983?
      2) If ‘YES’ for question #1, did you also personally perform treatment on wounded as well as the post mortem on the casualties of 04 Dec 1983?
      3) If ‘YES’ for question #1, can you say with absolute certainty that HN James Gattoni left the ship to become part of ground operations support in Beirut just prior to and including 04 Dec 1983?
      Thanks again for your engagement on this matter and I look forward to your answers.

    • Keepin' It Real says:

      Jim, Would you think one of those classes he took was “Privacy and Confidentiality” as in Privacy Act laws? I’m thinking if not a refresher, you would have remembered that from Basic Hospital Corps School since you attended with Gattoni. If you are still in the medical field, would you consider posting information about your patients on Facebook groups? Of course not. Do the deceased give up that right? Is a medical professional that gets out of the Navy allowed to talk about confidential medical reports and mention people by name when the deceased’s family members are present in the groups? Are they not still bound to the oath taken as a medical professional? This is not an apples to oranges comparison, this is EXACTLY what James Gattoni did. You asked for people to have sympathy for what Gattoni went through with his brother adding that he has had a tough life. Is that sympathy a one way street?

      Might I add that HMC Gattoni is still subject to UCMJ to some degree since he is retired and receiving benefits. He is still bound by the Privacy Act. Darn good thing he didn’t work decedent affairs. Appears he only learned enough about that to get through the advancement exam.

    • Al Sandrik says:

      Jim Kennedy, OK but here is my confusion. James Gattoni II stated he was on the USS Guam for Urgent Fury but you seem to indicate he was mobiles after the BLT was hit. Why would he have been recalled from leave and/or sent to the Guam when he was needed to back fill the BAS in Beirut? Also how did he get to the Guam after the BLT was hit? He either boarded her in Morehead City or in the Caribbean. I just don’t understand why he would have been sent to the Guam for the trip from Grenada to Beirut when just sending him to the Root made more sense.

      Can you shed some light on that?

      • Al Sandrik says:

        I’m going to say something I have said before, I am blessed that I had officers who took the time to document my time ashore and triage get wounded after the BLT was hit. Not everyone had officers like that.

        That said, I am very curious why the Surgical Team was sent to Gusm and when?

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        I just spoke with one of my old CPO’s, he was stationed in the optician shop at the time, a Chuck Lansorrata from EENT deployed on the float from his department, he worked for another friend of mine on Facebook, Bill Dufort, message him about the deployment.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

        P.S. Chuck is dead.

      • Al Sandrik says:

        Jim, I dont need to bother the Chief. I believe you and, personally, I believe that James Gattoni deployed with a surgical team to the USS Guam in 1983. I can’t speak for anyone but myself to that. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions with respect to the deployment to the best of your ability. I stated in my second comment on this subject that The Chief’s career was stellar and hoped this was a mistake. To me I believe the Chief was aboard the Guam which was my main question after my initial reaction. Thank you.

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        Thank you. Jimmy holds a special place in my heart, I always viewed him as my little brother I never had, he was a great kid. There are things I know that I would never share here, they are personal, but, he does not deserve to be questioned about his time on the Guam, I know he was there, and I know it robbed him of his innocence, like so many others. He is my shipmate, we protect our shipmates.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • Jeff Hamman says:

        James Kennedy, you wrote: “I just spoke with one of my old CPO’s, he was stationed in the optician shop at the time, a Chuck Lansorrata from EENT deployed on the float from his department, he worked for another friend of mine on Facebook, Bill Dufort, message him about the deployment.”

        Charles August “Chuck” Lanzarotta died a few years ago. I already looked into him due to his name being tossed out before: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?n=charles-august-lanzarotta&pid=17320042

        I was given the spelling “Lanzarotta” before. Also, Gattoni told me about a CDR Roger DuFort. I asked if he was a MO (Medical Officer) vs. MSC (Medical Service Officer) and Gattoni said he was an MO (doctor for those of you reading that are outside the medical field. He also spelled it both DuFort and Dunfort. In any case, this cost me 5-6 hours of my time to verify. Although I located a Dr. named Roger Dufort, he died in the 1940’s. Now you are saying his first name is “Bill”. OK, but can you appreciate how much time this consumes?

        Additionally, I have discovered over and over with a sincere attempt to help in verification I am given half-truths, misspellings, and out right misdirection. Maybe some of this is unintentional, but there is only so much benefit of the doubt that can be given.

    • Jeff Hamman says:

      Jim Kennedy, Thanks again for your contribution. We ran every name you posted by someone that was on the Surgical Support Team on the USS Guam (LPH-9) in late 1983. He said none of them matched the roster he has. Further, he said he was on a team deployed out of North Carolina and added that there would be no reason for a team from Newport Rhode Island. He was not aware, nor did he have any knowledge of a team from Newport Rhode Island being on the USS Guam. Additionally, I can’t begin to describe to you the outrage he feels over these claims. I was not on the ship so can only take his word for it. He is a very reliable source.

      So, I’m completely puzzled.

      There is only one Lee Bakalarski in the United States. I might suggest that you or Gattoni get in touch with him and see if he either has a roster or is willing to write a letter stating that HN James Gattoni was with him on on the USS Guam, he authorized HN Gattoni to go ashore and augment ground forces, and can attest to Gattoni being there for the 04 Dec 1983 firefight as well as being back on ship for the post mortem of those Marines. I don’t want to say much on an open forum, but trust me when I say that a letter such as this will go far in clearing up any inconsistencies on Gattoni’s official service record. It may also come in handy for other challenges that may present themselves.

      I’d be happy to contact Mr. Bakalarski on HMC Gattoni’s behalf but I would think that he would want to take the lead on his own.

      To me, these are time efficient and reasonable suggestions that will avoid the back and forth with members on this board. Please consider.

      When can I look forward to your response about the BVA membership?

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        Sorry, your friend is wrong. The other names wouldn’t matter to you it appears, I tracked one other down on Facebook, and he was there, on the Guam. I don’t know what to tell you. I know the team went, don’t know what else to tell you. Good luck with your search. I stand by my words, the team that went received some very high praises from the CO ,and Senior Enlisted, Paul St. Jean was another one that went, a Dr. or two, and I do not recall their names, and Chip Boehem, not sure of his actual first name, most likely Charles. Who is your friend that knew everyone on board? And when did they serve aboard the Guam?

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • Jeff Hamman says:

        What makes you say my friend is wrong? I’m talking about on the ship. You were giving me names of people going to the ship. Now you are certain about what happened in Beirut, on the Gaum? Over and above someone that was there? I’ll run that back to him.

        What do you mean by “the other names wouldn’t matter to you it appears.”? I can only track down people I would be reasonably certain of. I don’t know what they look like or where they come from. Since the one had a unique name, he stood out and you said he was the PIC.

        The friend was part of the Surgical Team on board the USS Guam in fall-late 1983. All the docs were pretty tight too. I’ve gotten a few rosters from various times in the Root, mostly where I needed fill in.

        I have some irons in the fire and will wait for results to come back. Should be able to get more light on things as time goes by.

        What about the two CARs? I haven’t heard much about that. Where did he get them if not in Beirut?

  6. Cindi Lominac says:

    What a disgrace to those who were there! It sickens me! I lost a friend that I went to school with from 4th grade till 12th. He is missed by friends & family daily! RIP LCpl John W. Blocker!

  7. Kevin says:

    Bad record keeping? maybe but for there to be no record at all of him being there is beyond belief . no normal person is going to buy that story

    • Jim Kennedy says:

      I know he was there, I was at the celebration when he and others returned from their deployment, no reason to lie about that. They received several service commendations, and the entire team was honored by our Co and HMCM Jimmy Gill, and HMCM Miller.

      [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • Jeff Hamman says:

        Jim, As before thank you for your willingness to step forward on this issue. The blog above has emphasis on inconsistencies surrounding claims of Beirut in relation to the service record, sea service annotations, etc. Statements were made that if one were to accept that Gattoni were in Beirut, X, Y and Z would have to be true. That said, the blog also highlights Gattoni’s claim of a “CAR with a star”, meaning two awards. He has already stated after this blog was published that he did not receive a CAR in Beirut. Since you are stepping forward expressing confidence in Gattoni’s character, would you also be able to comment on the two Combat Action Ribbons (CAR) claimed?

        I realize your comments are about Beirut but they still cross over into claims that you may not be able to speak directly about … as in if Gattoni went ashore, etc. We are still scratching our collective heads over the claim of two CARs when there is no duty or history of assignment that would allow such an award. Again, can you comment on that? Thanks for any consideration you are willing to give this.

        As policy, we also welcome any comment by James Gattoni himself to clear up these questions. Can we expect James Gattoni to engage in this discussion as well?

  8. Jim Kennedy says:

    The office that maintained the records for the surgical support team had 3 team members, and they tracked all training for the entire hospital, inclusive of doctors. The hospital had several doctors without credentials, including 1 Captain, 2 Commanders, and a Lt., they were from Brazil, Ireland, and others, so it wasn’t exactly a top-notch office at tracking things. We had an HM2, Linda, can’t remember the last name, she was the clerk for the surgical team, the LPO was HM1 Dale Saurers, and they had a Lt. Hughes, he was a prior corpsman and went to OIS and was a nurse. There were 2 teams on our base, a primary which is what Gattoni served on, and a secondary unit of which I was a member, everyone did not deploy, but Gattoni did.

    [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

    • Jeff Hamman says:

      Jim, Thanks again for your engagement on this issue. Question: Did the team leave as part of the normal relief embark, were they choppered to the ship or did they fly directly to Beirut?

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        I can’t say what Jimmy did in Beirut, if he went to shore, or not, I have no clue. I remember him telling me about his experience when he returned, we did rent off base housing together in Newport. My point of him being on the surgical team, and deploying are accurate, I have no skin in the game, he deployed, and was a very young man at the time. I believe they (the team) were briefed, flown into Naples for a day, and then on to the ship, but I wouldn’t swear to that, it has been many years and beers ago. The time was volatile, like they are now, and the experience of terror was fairly new to us all, we were being trained about a possible Russian threat, then it quickly focus on Iran and the Middle-East. We all viewed many training films, nuclear, chemical and biological warfare stuff, scary, concerning for young kids like we were. I previously stated his team came off alert status, my team hadn’t had all of our training and shots yet, his team was recalled off leave, the medical staff was decimated in Beirut, so all were mobilized to man a make shift hospital ship…the Guam.

        I served with a young man (Gattoni) that saved a life at the War College, a guest of then VP Bush, that life was lost in transport when a different corpsman screwed up, it affected Jimmy. He and I ate at a small Greek Diner every Saturday when not on duty, we saved an elderly gentleman by clearing his airway, and monitoring him until civilian medical arrived on scene. I don’t know what happened with him after we went to separate commands in 1985, we lost touch until December 2013. We don’t communicate much, only online, and I haven’t seen him in 30 years. I can vouch for his character then, it was impeccable. I know the kid I knew would give you the shirt off his back, and took great pride in his work, I also know a young man that came back from deployment a very different soul in my opinion.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

  9. Wayne Kulick says:

    Just to mention, even posting a hi res pic showing his medals is not proof he earned them.

  10. Nick Mottola says:

    Jim Kennedy – so you think as a member of a medical support team, Gattoni would be ashore in Beirut on 4 Dec 1983 and just so happen to be at a checkpoint outside the main compound at the airport and be first responder along with that units Corpsman? In a position under fire? Really?? Please explain that to me as I was just some grunt combat engineer at the airport that night.

    • Jim Kennedy says:

      Nick, I don’t believe I ever said any of those things, you did. Please don’t put words in my mouth. I stated that I knew he deployed and served on the Guam in 1983. He was my former roommate.

      [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

  11. HM3 Gruba says:

    I am in awe an E3 quad zero corpsman was flown to shore from the USS Guam so he could have a beer on Sunday night. I am impressed that he was able to run from the Beer garden to the checkpoint and be first on scene (as a rent a doc) his words not mine even though as I recall the units Corpsman was on the scene. Then HN Gattoni treated the wounded and did post mortem care He was very graphic in these details. Sad thing is he had a lot of facts but they didn’t fit at all in his narrative, The awesome HN then jumped on a helo and flew out to the Guam with the casualties. Wow and he didn’t even get an NAM for all of that and according to his DD214 they did not award him a CAR even though he said he has two. I feel so stupid that all those memories off that night that I try to forget are so tremendously flawed that all of those Corpsmen that were there that night weren’t actualy there we never treated those men because Jim wisked them away on a helicopter. Silly me to think the beer garden would have been closed during a firefight. Silly me to not know about the beer runs afforded to junior corpsmen. I feel so stupid.

    • Jim Kennedy says:

      To all

      i responded truthfully, and honestly about my old shipmate Jimmy Gattoni. I’m sorry some of you are skeptics and will never be satisfied no matter how many questions I answer. I know he was deployed from Newport Naval Hospital in the Fall of 1983, he was assigned TAD orders to the Guam, a makeshift hospital ship, he may have gone ashore, I recall him telling me this upon his return to Newport. I can not and will not speculate when he was on the Guam, where the ship was, why or if he went to shore, all I know is he and others from the surgical team (primary team) were recalled off leave and within 24 hours were on their respective way to the gulf. I’m sorry you don’t believe that, I’m equally as sorry that there seems to be some record keeping errors here, but I know my friend from years ago was there, is an honest person to the best of my memory, and he served his country well. I wish you all well, I’m done here. thanks

      [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • SayWhaaat says:

        Jim, I feel it is unfair and disingenuous of you to come on this forum and sprinkle tidings of good joy and repeat over and over that Gattoni is an honorable man and then announce “I’m done here.” You offered nothing on the relevant facts in dispute. Just a foggy message about we should take Gattoni at his word. Even your story MAKES NO SENSE. First off, the bombing did not happen at night. Maybe you mean it was night time in the states, but I’ll give you that. The biggest bungle was you said they were mobilized *because* of the bombing, citing the medical staff in Beirut was wiped out. So why were they sent to the Guam off Grenada if the surgical team was so badly needed in Beirut? I know you want to help your friend, but you’ve been no help at all and seemingly now want to make an exit without backing up what you’ve said. You jumped in it both feet so don’t throw out that “I’m sorry some of you are skeptics and will never be satisfied no matter how many questions I answer.” when you really haven’t answered any. Are the questions we are asking you really unreasonable?

        Let me repeat so we are clear: If the surgical team was mobilized because of the bombing, how is it that Gattoni was already in Beirut (see his Twitter post of “I was there”)? If the Surgical Team was mobilized because of the bombing as you state, why were they sent to Grenada vs. Beirut? Makes absolutely no sense – hopefully you will agree.

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        Why not read everything I’ve written? The GUAM WAS SET UP TO BE A FLOATING HOSPITAL, that is why the surgical team was sent to the Guam, to perform needed medical support of ground troops. I merely answered that Gattoni was mobilized, believe it or not, I don’t care what you believe, I know what I know. Just go ahead and keep calling people liars, phonies and whatever, I remember my roommate was mobilized, I know he served on the Guam, and I ‘ve stated from there I do not know anything else, he was there, not me. The bombing was on October 23rd, the invasion of Grenada on October 25th, I would imagine as written in my remarks above that Gattoni was not on board until the 26th or 27th based on the timeline I vaguely remember, I have no idea where the ship was at the time, and when he got on her. I trust my shipmate, I’m sorry you don’t, he was a loyal friend and colleague, you are an unknown to me.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • SayWhaaat says:

        Nobody called you a liar or a phony, if that’s what you are implying. Frame it that way if it makes you feel better but all that I stated was that your story makes NO SENSE. *You* made the jump that you were called a liar. Sounds like you are justifying an exit. Stay the course.

        Now, you are changing your story, leaving the door open to the possibility that you actually don’t know where the ship was and how the team joined it. What’s interesting is that in an effort to come to Gattoni’s defense, you actually undermined his claim. You said they were part of a team that was called off liberty and mobilized because of the bombing. This means that Jim Gattoni was still in Newport Rhode Island and not in Beirut, Lebanon as he claimed on his Twitter post. i.e. “I was there. You’re welcome.”

        So, again… sticking strictly to FACTS that you personally can attest to: When Newport Rhode Island got news of the bombing, did you personally see James Gattoni physically present at that command and preparing to go on the USS Guam?

        It’s a simple question — no need to assign motives to it before you are able to frame your answer.

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        He was there, not during the event, but after the event of terrorism. The peacekeeping force that was there was small, the build-up afterwards quite large. Reagan brought in the battleships for shock and awe at night, they fired off the big guns. The Guam was there, the timing is unknown to me, I wasn’t. I am using my real name, you are hiding behind screen names, lots of valor in that.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • SayWhaaat says:

        Jim, So you won’t go on record as saying that you personally saw James Gattoni at the Newport RI hospital as they activated the Surgical Support Team immediately after the bombing? Instead, you misdirect with some generic history about the Guam and Beirut. I guess that answers a few questions indirectly.

        James Gattoni is a good guy in your opinion – OK, we get it. That can basically be said of almost anybody so you’re really just here as a character witness but can provide nothing relevant to the fundamental premise of this blog – that Gattoni’s claims do not match his official service record. This is a true statement, but you float a lot of things… poor record keeping, you and Gattoni were room mates, great guy, etc. in an effort to create doubt but in the end, you provide absolutely nothing relevant nor will you go on record as saying anything.

        Now you are trying to make a pivot as to whether the Guam was there or not. You will stand behind the fact that the Guam was there. Very bold statement. That’s really slamming your fist on the table and making a definitive statement but you are not fooling anyone. You completely avoided the question and wouldn’t even say you saw Gattoni at the hospital as they assembled a team to go on the Guam just after the bombing. It appears to me that you want to leave the door open for your buddy to keep spinning a story.

        You seem to be here to do some fishing. Two days of tete a tete and modifying your story when challenged but you’ve brought absolutely nothing to the table. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We’re not looking for someone that went to school with him or hear about you having dinner with him or being his room mate with him and all the great things you saw him do.

        The premise is still the same — James Gattoni made claims that are not supported by his official service record.

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        I’ll type slow, maybe you can keep up.

        1. I was stationed with Jimmy Gattoni.

        2. We went to Corps School together, and our first duty station, Newport Rhode Island, 1983 in New Port.

        3. We served on Naval Hospital Newport’s Surgical Support Team, he was Primary Team Member, I was on back-up team 2. We volunteered for this additional duty.

        4. October of 1983, I witnessed our Surgical Support Team, Primary team, leave for the Middle east and the Guam. When and where they picked up the Guam is unknown, it may have been 24-96 hours after departure from Newport. They flew out of T. F. Greene airport I believe.

        5. Jimmy and I were roommate in Newport, we took many classes together, broke bread together, and trained together.

        6. I was there the evening the surgical team, inclusive of Gattoni, returned from their TAD orders, I saw it with my eyes, where were you at this time? No modifications on my story, none, you keep trying to twist words, your cowardly action of not identifying yourself speaks volumes of your character. The Guam was there, Jimmy was there, and many other of my friends were also. Mr. Gattoni had a very honorable career in the Navy in service of his Country, he sacrificed much.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

      • SayWhaaat says:

        “it may have been”, “I believe” and “you don’t know” CHECK
        Repeat story of being a room mate, having dinner, etc. CHECK

        * Gattoni said “I was there. You’re welcome.” with a specific visual of the bombing, which was 23 Oct 1983.
        * Gattoni said he was on the USS Guam during the Grenada invasion but stayed on ship (not Middle East).

        Your statements undermine both of the above claims, although you are still not specific about what you are saying. Yet you persist with saying everyone should take Gattoni’s word without question. Do you really not see the fundamental flaw with that logic?

        Now the issue is my identity? Name calling based on your assumptions? How come you’re taking lead when you don’t seem to be able to offer much beyond you were stationed with him? Where’s Gattoni? What about his honor? You’re fishing with artificial bait.

      • Jim Kennedy says:

        First, let me be clear, if Mr. Gattoni has threatened you in anyway, report it to the authorities. I have taken part in no conversations “trashing” you, or threatening you, so before you and/or your friend libel me again, be careful. I have no need to threaten you, I have inquired about allegations you made about an individual, and a group from Newport Rhode Island, you and others, have claimed the team was not on the Guam or in Beirut, I wholeheartedly and categorically disagree with these statements.

        The surgical team had many members, not all went, some stayed behind to staff the Naval Hospital Newport Rhode Island. The Dr. in charge was Capt. Bob Dufort, the Nurse in Charge, Lt. Frank Tesar, the LPO HM1 Bill Dufort, we also had a Lt. Gary Logeman NC, the team members I recall Paul St. Jean, James Gattoni, Chip Boehem, Chuck Lanzarotta and others I can’t remember. The officer in charge of training and co-ordination was Lee Bakalarski ,and his clerk was HM2 Linda Simeneau. There were other Dr.’s and Nurses on the team, I do not recall all of their respective names.I have done some research of my own and have come up with more names, contact them if you wish, or not, up to you.

        The team from Newport Rhode Island was deployed, I verified with 2 CPO’s I served with last night, my dates are correct. I have posted on the Naval Hospital Newport Page for information on the team, I hope someone will recall and answer the call.

        In regards to Jimmy Gattoni, I have stated multiple times I have not seen him since 1985, he was very troubled after his return from service in Beirut and on the Guam. We only started communicating again in December 2013 on Facebook, and very limited and sporadic at best. He was a good guy, great roommate, and a great sailor at the time. If the situation with the cat is true, it is detestable, but it might also go to the foundation of someone suffering from PTSD, consider that before condemnation. His record of service from what I’ve seen is exemplary. In regards to combat citations and ribbons, I have no idea when and/or if he ever officially received them, this is not why I engaged here, I engaged because of the question of our team from Newport, I am quite protective of my shipmates.

        My engagement here is over, I have no need to debate anyone here about where and when I served and my recollections of shipmates and various teams they (we) served on, I know what I achieved in my career. The Jimmy Gattoni I knew was still a young man the last time I saw him, a good man and friend. I will not engage in semantics, Navy lawyering by individuals, or the twisting of my words, I again merely wished to set the record straight about Gattoni and others serving on a surgical support team in Newport Rhode Island and its ultimate deployment on Tad orders to the Guam and Beirut.

        [ADMIN] Jim K / James G. – In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

        P.S. Thanks for your work on this. You’ve been observed actively engaging with Gattoni on his page days ago although it’s been removed now. No more spoon-feeding us BS about how you can’t speak to other issues. You got more information than you gave on this page and you were afforded that courtesy. It’s time to cowboy up!

      • Jeff Hamman says:

        James Kennedy – Days ago I received a Private Message on Facebook from James M Gattoni II that stated “I’m coming for U fat man. troll.” I was then alerted by several people on Facebook that there were disparaging comments about me in a public, open conversation between you and James Gattoni on his Facebook page. Are you coming for me as well? Are you discouraging, encouraging or ignoring this behavior?

        With Gattoni’s history of violent behavior, threatening others on Facebook and viewed in the context of what has recently transpired, I view this as a threat. I reported this to Facebook and will take the necessary steps with LEO. Should I include you as well since you were openly collaborating with James Gattoni on a public facing Facebook page?

        This is very disconcerting since I remain diligent in resolving every new piece of information that you two come up with. This is my nature, and I am certainly not motivated by threats.

        So again, James Kennedy, are you part of the effort to come after me?

  12. Sum Ting Wong says:

    COME ON, FOLKS! The answer’s right in front of you and so obvious I feel guilty for spelling it out.

    The US military perfected teleportation back in the early 1980’s and Gattoni let the cat out of the bag (no pun intended… may the cat that Gattoni beat to death – “Miss Daisy” R.I.P. as well as the unnamed goose that he ran over on his way to killing Miss Daisy). In 1983, Gattoni was on super secret orders and the CIA/Department of Defense spooks used that teleportation gizmo to whisk him around to every major event that happened on this globe.

    James Kennedy, aka “Mr. Clean Up” is now tasked with cleaning up the mess and convince everybody they didn’t read what they actually read. Poor record keeping will play for a while, but when push comes to shove it will be sealed super secret orders to hide an experiment from the prying eyes of the American public.

    Gattoni is still on the gub’ment dime as part of a teleportation cell, so can be called to action any minute. Think coiled spring. Mr. Clean Up is his guardian angel or “handler” as they like to call it in the agency. He had a lot of “splainin” to do when Gattoni threatened his own mother with a knife, but the message was the same… they were in school together, roommates and Gattoni is an upstanding individual whom he personally witnessed as saving a life, so don’t believe anything else.

    Anybody else watch “A Beautiful Mind”? Remember what happened to the roommate. ‘Nuff said.

    I shouldn’t even be revealing all this but thought I would end it once and for all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been following this and it has now descended into what seems to be splitting hairs over whether Gattoni was on the USS Guam or not. What happened to the claims of two combat action ribbons, his twenty year service as a combat vet with PTSD, his being in a major battle on shore in Beirut? We’re talking Stolen Valor and possibly fraud with the VA.

    None of this is being addressed.

    “I was his room mate. I broke bread with him.” Who cares? The guy lied so it now all looks like it’s a debate whether the bottom of his shoes touched the deck of the Guam.

    Kennedy – to address your question of not using real names, I have a cat. Although I have no fear of Gattoni physically, he takes out his anger on pets, whacking his own mother’s cat with a baton and killing it. Having people fear you because you are unpredictable is different than having people respect you because you’re a Billy Bad A$$.


    This is the man you talk about having honor and you stand behind. Go for it, brother. I saw his service records, please tell me where he earned his two Combat Action Ribbons since they seemed to have left that off the record as well as his time on the Guam.

  14. Dave Hardin says:

    Jim Kennedy, first of all thank you for coming forward. Nobody is questioning if he served in the Navy. Nobody is questioning if he was a Corpsman. Nobody is questioning that he had remarkable achievements in his career. Nobody is questioning if he was stationed in Rhode Island.

    What is in question is his service in Beirut. You have offered more information in a few posts than Gattoni has offered the entire time he has been posting his claims. You appear to be honestly trying to defend the honor of someone you served with, I respect that.
    Gattoni was welcomed into a private group of Beirut Veterans, their families, and others that have a particular contribution to make. He began making posts of exceptionally graphic and disturbing content. Any attempt to verity his service in Beirut has been met with deliberate obstruction by Gattoni. His threats to assault anyone who tries to verify his claims are ridiculous.

    I think from reading your posts that you would be as alarmed as anyone else if you had read the actual claims he posted. Repeated attempts to engage Gattoni directly in a civil manner ended in threats and deliberately vague answers.

    His records that are available through a FOIA request had to be done because he refused to cooperate. Those records contradict his claims. Either the records are in error or his claims are false. My guess from all I have access to is both are probably true. He has been making false claims about his service and his records are less than accurate.

    If he indeed has service in or even in the waters off Beirut then in the interest of preserving history he should submit a DD215 and have his records corrected. The only person that is not engaged in trying to correct his actual record is Gattoni himself. This is easily done, he has been told exactly how to do it, and was offered support in getting it done. He simply signs an SF 180 has his records sent from Dept of Per Records and we correct any errors.

    His response to that effort has been to want to meet anyone that questions him to kick their ass. Maybe if you asked to read a sample of his graphic posts that started all this you would better understand the difficult position he put himself and others in.

    I hope you do not see my response as an attack on you in any way. I appreciate your input and you are the only shred of hope so far that we could actually vindicate at least part of his claims.

  15. Nelson says:

    I’m gonna put this as simply and direct as I can. I’m no MENSA member so you’ll just have to bear with me.
    Gattonni in his OWN words said he was aboard the Guam at the time of Operation Urgent Fury but ” never went ashore”
    That puts him on the Guam upon embarkation from Moorehead city in my view. At any rate-he wasn’t flown out to the MARG after it entered the Med.
    In his OWN words stated he was “first on the scene” of the incident in question on 4 Dec “two days after our arrival in Beirut”. WRONG
    We ( those of us on the ground)hit the airport on 17 Nov. according to my calculations that’s over two weeks later- not exactly two days.
    He does not recall the name of the other Doc that was supposedly with him and wrongly identified the incident as a direct hit from artillery. WRONG again.
    I am Grenada and Beirut veteran that was part of that MAU and will not sit idly by and watch some idiot use the death of 8 of my Brothers for their own aggrandizement and when called on it insult surviving Beirut veterans by saying Beirut was not combat. I was there. I know better.
    Try telling that to the 270+ Gold Star mothers and families.
    I could careless about where he ACTUALLY was or his ” stellar career”
    He crossed a line that is sacred to a lot if people and in doing so called into question his honor and/or integrity.
    As far as I’m concerned, due to these actions, they are at the very least suspect.

  16. kbw83 says:

    [ADMIN] Jim Kennedy/James Gattoni – OK, playtime is over and I need to step in. While we have left your comments on this board, we simply cannot allow you to turn this forum into a J/J Mutual Admiration Society meeting. There are people that asked direct questions and those questions have went unanswered. We know that you two are in active collaboration over all this so you need to answer direct questions or we will not allow you to post anymore. Time to man up!
    Jim K / James G- In what two conflicts did James Gattoni earn a Combat Action Ribbon?

  17. Jeff Hamman says:

    Jim Kennedy – you wrote: “I have taken part in no conversations “trashing” you, or threatening you, so before you and/or your friend libel me again, be careful.”

    “Be careful”, is that a warning? You have taken no part in conversations “trashing” me? I saw your posts. When Gattoni brought my name up stating I was a troll it was interlaced between two of your posts. You were then faced with either encouraging him, discouraging him or ignoring him. Any of those three involves responsibility on your part. I merely asked you what your position was upon seeing his post and if you were also an advocate of the threats, so please don’t tell me that I and others didn’t see or read something when it was in plain site. The most important thing is it establishes you in active collaboration on what is happening, so please don’t be coy and act like you’re not talking to him.

    You then wrote: “I have no need to threaten you, I have inquired about allegations you made about an individual, and a group from Newport Rhode Island, you and others, have claimed the team was not on the Guam or in Beirut, I wholeheartedly and categorically disagree with these statements.”

    Respectfully, repeating something over and over doesn’t make it true. The blog above states clearly that Gattoni’s records do not support a claim of him being in Grenada or Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. The sea service time does not account for it either. Awards do not match up with DD-214 and History of Assignments, even for sea service.

    You and Jim were both Hospital Corpsman. You *have* to know when it came to shots that it was ultimately the individual Marine and sailor’s responsibility to make sure they were recorded. It was the Corpsman’s job to record it, sure, but as the old saying went “If the shot’s not in the record, you didn’t get it.”

    This applies to service records as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone say they were wounded in combat and *should* have gotten the Purple Heart but someone screwed up the paperwork. That’s just a way of saying “I rate a Purple Heart but it’s not in my record.” Some take the extra step and actually pin the medal on… NO! Not how it works.

    You can attack me all you want but if the deployment is not in a man’s record, it didn’t happen. You know what I’m saying here so please don’t take me down a road of some metaphysical argument. Are you going to fight the whole world because it’s not documented? Be smart about this and do it right — get people that were there, and I am talking about a CO or SNCO, and get them to draft a letter on James Gattoni’s behalf. Get it changed. Do a DD-215 as the gentleman above suggests. I still think that joining the Beirut Veterans of America is your most efficient route if James is currently in possession of a DD-214 that properly accounts for his sea service and notes his deployment on the Guam in 1983. I take it that he doesn’t have this paperwork or he would take that route vs. round up people from the past.

    I even offered my help but what do I get? Threatened. It’s good that you are pursuing this but I need to throttle back from my offer because the information I have been provided by your team has lead to a time dump and dead ends. Then it is “Bill” vs. “Roger” and maybe there was some misspellings on others. I can appreciate it being 30+ years, so all I am saying is that it will be more efficient if you guys fine tune it first.

    As well, the person that was on the Surgical Support Team on the USS Guam is not available to me every minute of every hour. He was able to give it some time last night and the following names were run past him:

    James Gattoni, Paul St. Jean, Chip Boehem, Charles Lanzoratta, Pete Taffe, CDR Lee Bakalarski and CDR Roger DuFort (and DunFort as it was spelled both ways).

    This person did not recognize any of these names. He further added that there would be no reason for an additional Surgical Support Team to be on the USS Guam and he stated that he was not aware of one being there from Newport, Rhode Island. His team was from North Carolina. I confirmed again with him the time frame he was there to avoid any mistake.

    That’s about all I can do and all I am willing to do at this point — keep running lists by this person as they are refined. I have some request in to BUMED and some phone calls that have not been returned, but the threat cause me some pause. The thought struck me that if I am able to identify something that will help James Gattoni, I may have actually reinforced him feeling like threats are the way to go. At this point, Gattoni needs reminded that it is *his* responsibility and *his* responsibility alone to get his records in order — otherwise don’t make claims that can’t be substantiated by what’s on file at the Department of the Navy or you’ll only be met with skepticism. He should know this as a Navy Chief petty officer.

  18. Nick Mottola says:

    I was on the Guam and can add this. Before we got to Grenada nothing left the ship and nothing came aboard her. When we left the island on 2 Nov we hauled ass directly to Beirut full steam to relieve the 24th MAU. We arrived off the shore of Beirut on 17 Nov. I could be wrong but I seriously doubt this support team of medics came aboard the Guam during this time.

  19. Doc Looper says:

    just wanted to say
    1. Two corpsman were at CP-76. First ones name Doc Looper then Doc Stewart with the med-vac
    2 Does Mr Gattoni II Even know what company and platoon who was stationed at CP-76

    • Dave Hardin says:

      Semper Fi Doc, getting an answer out of Gattoni has been impossible. The only person not engaged in trying to verify his service in Beirut is Gattoni, his vague and nebulous responses are deliberate. He pumps people for information about events. I doubt you need to ask anyone what happened, but then again you were actually there. He on the other hand shows every indication that he was not.

      • SayWhaaat says:

        Dave Hardin, I believe you’ve hit the nail on the head. From where I stand it appears Gattoni and his best friend want everyone else to lay all of the history out on the table. Then, Gattoni can figure out where it’s plausible to place himself in that history.

    • Jeff Hamman says:

      Thanks for coming forward Doc Looper. Although several of us were aware of names we’ve been cautious about using the names ‘Doc Looper’ or that of ‘Doc Stewart’ because we wanted Gattoni to volunteer names on his own. The question of names of other corpsman on scene has been asked of him many times with no answer.

      Also, I spoke on the phone for over an hour with the Team Leader of Surgical Support Team #8 on the USS Guam in late 1983 out of Newport Rhode Island. He was also the Team Leader on the SST#8 on the USS New Orleans earlier in 1983. I am writing up notes and awaiting more information to come in to cross-reference what he spoke with me about, but there are two clear points that came out of that conversation:

      1) Surgical Support Team #8 out of Newport Rhode Island was activated *after* the 23 OCT 1983 bombing and the team was not on the USS Guam during the invasion of Grenada on 25 Oct 1983.

      2) Surgical Support Team #8 out of Newport Rhode Island was on board the USS Guam (not ashore in Beirut) when the casualties of 04 Dec 1983 were transferred to the ship. There was NO post mortem and the KIA went directly to the morgue. There was no procedure performed on them at all by SST#8.

      There is more to come and while I certainly want to collect more information and facts, it appears clear that two of HMC Gattoni’s claims could not have happened: 1) that Gattoni was on the Guam off Grenada during Urgent Fury and 2) that he performed post mortem on the KIA.

  20. Dave Quinn says:

    Any chance the guy legitimately has PTSD, leading to misrepresentation? Which quite frankly I could perhaps understand and show compassion for Versus those with false valor claims and no military service. I would willingly differentiate but understand others that would not.

  21. Al Sandrik says:

    Just wish I had never gotten involved. Tried to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Won’t make that mistake again. I stay out of these stolen valor things now!

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