Mark Ransford – U.S. Marine, Beirut, Injured, STA 3/8, Embellishments


12/05/2015 by militaryphonies

Mark P. Ransford - Dossier2


Mark Ransford runs a fishing charter boat service in Florida. He was asked to participate in working with Wounded Warriors.  A newspaper article claimed that he was injured while serving in Beirut, Lebanon during his service in the Marine Corps.

fishing article copy

While it is true that “injured” is a vague term and does not necessarily mean “wounded”, the article was about working with Wounded Warriors so the choice of words in the article creates an implication.

When asked about his Beirut service, Ransford claimed he was with STA 3/8 which implies he was a sniper, although there are other specialties attached with STA (Surveillance and Target Acquisition).


The organization Global Security writes in regard to 3rd Battalion / 8th Marines:table-global security


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Ransford’s FOIA results do show that he was a Marine that served honorably, but his official military records show no indication of wounds received resulting in a Purple Heart. His records list no awards or decorations that show that he deployed to Beirut. Although there were some support elements in and around Beirut after the MNF pulled out in 1984, Ransford himself stated that he was with STA 3/8. There is no record of sniper school or any other specialty that would indicate an attachment with STA, and nothing to support this claim that he was with STA Platoon H&S 3/8. 





In addition to the FOIA request and results, a member of STA 3/8 was consulted about the possibility of Ransford being in the unit around the same time frame of 1980-1981. The person contacted said there was no Mark Ransford in the unit. The contact then supplied a list of all members of STA 3/8 at that time which supported his claim that there was no Mark Ransford in STA 3/8. Although conceivable that Ransford could have joined the unit later, his official military records do not support that possibility.

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Cpl Ransford had an honorable stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. Some time was even as a recruiter. Recruiters are considered ambassadors for the services.


Mark Ransford is no doubt proud to work with Wounded Warriors as demonstrated by his support of the program with associated shirts displaying the Wounded Warrior logo.

mark ransford-wounded warrior

The question is — why would he feel the need to say he was injured/wounded in Beirut?

Someone reached out to Mark and asked about all of this inconsistency.  During that conversation Ransford stated that he was not wounded nor was he in Beirut in 1983.  He claimed that he did not know why the reporter printed those statements in the article.

Also, Ransford did not contact the reporter/newspaper in an effort to correct the statements in the article after it was printed.

Was this all a harmless oversight or was Ransford a victim of a reporter that choose to embellish the story to fit the narrative of wounded veterans helping wounded veterans?

Why post this blog about him at all? Embellished posts online, a news story making false statements, misleading claims about an injury, and claims to be in a unit he never served with have a cumulative effect.  Any one of those taken by themselves could be easily dismissed as a moment of over-exuberance on his part.  However, their totality raises a red flag.

This is hardly a case of Stolen Valor under the new act.  He doesn’t even rate a Phony stamp.  Ransford served honorably.  He provides his fishing services to other veterans that appreciate what he offers.  We hope that he continues to do exactly that… without the embellishments.  

Ransford has no reason to embellish a perfectly honorable service record that any Marine should be proud of.   

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This Ain’t Hell:

21 thoughts on “Mark Ransford – U.S. Marine, Beirut, Injured, STA 3/8, Embellishments

  1. A. Long says:

    Looked in both deployment books from 1982 and 1984, I was in H&S Comm, he was not in any of the STA platoon photo’s for the two floats. 3/8 was in Beirut also from April 84 but only as external security around the U.S. Embassy until Sept. 84.

  2. Bill Philbin says:

    I was the Platoon Commander for the STA Platoon in 3/8 from Feb 81 thru Dec 81. I can tell you that he wasn’t one of my Marines for that period. When we got back from our ’81 Med pump, I moved over to a rifle platoon in India Co., That was still my billet when we went ashore in Beirut, so I don’t know who was in the STA platoon during the Beirut deployment from 31 Oct 82 until 14 Feb 83 b/c I never had any of them attached to my platoon or in DS in the company area. As far as I know, 3/8 only went ashore in Beirut once, which was during the period of his 1st dates of service shown in the SRB. One thing I would mention is the composition of STA platoons back then, especially the STA platoon in 3/8, was still reflective of the Vietnam mission – the majority of the Marines assigned were designated as Ground Surveillance Radar operators (AN/TPS-15) or Night Vision Device operators (can’t remember the designation). The NODs back then weighed about 20 pounds and were mounted on a tripod – it was all 1st generation stuff. We also had the battalion’s issue of starlight scopes(AN/PVS-2’s), which were signed out the the rifle companies as needed. I only rated 2 or 4 scout sniper teams if I remember correctly – so either 4 or 8 Marines out of a T/O strength of 22. I’ve been retired for over 15 years now, and changed my MOS back in 84, so its been quite a while since I looked at STA platoons. My understanding is they are considered a Battalion recon these days and they are exclusively scout-snipers (I may be wrong about that), but in the 82-83 period, the sniper role was very much secondary. STA platoons were primarily about the radars and the NODs. So that fact he’s claiming to have been in STA in 82-83 doesn’t necessarily mean he’s claiming to be a sniper, unless, of course, he’s talking to guys that only know the modern organization for them. FWIW. s/f, Bill Philbin

    • kbw83 says:

      Great commentary. Appreciate your input, Bill, especially about the makeup of STA back in the early 1980’s. After Ransford said he was with STA Platoon H&S 3/8, the person he was talking with commented that he’d bet it was “a good time to be a Scout/Sniper”. Ransford never corrected him but went on to comment in a general way about Jarheads supporting each other. Each can derive his/her own meaning from that exchange. Although it is true that he never stated ‘sniper’, he allowed the implication to continue to take root after its suggestion with STA Platoon. Perhaps not as great a transgression as using the term ‘sniper’, the opportunity existed to make the distinction once the other party made clear that they believed him to be a scout/sniper.

      In addition, most snipers during Beirut were assigned to the S-2 out of H&S. Within the S-2, not all were snipers. Some were intel guys.

      Again, thanks for weighing in on this. Much appreciated.

      • Philbin William says:

        The STA platoon was T/O assigned to the H&S company and its Platoon Commander was the S-2. In reality the SSgt Plt Sgt really ran it, but the 2 was answerable to the H&S Co for it. My situation was unique – when 3/8 was staffing up for the 81 Med deployment, HQMC manpower screwed up and assigned more lieutenants to the BN than they rated. 5 or 6 of us had just finished Infantry Officer Course in Feb ’81 and were assigned to 3/8 on graduation. I checked in 2nd to last of us and by that time there were no more platoons left to hand out, but instead of reassigning me to another Bn they gave me the STA platoon. I reported to the S-2 operationally (at least in theory) and to the H&S Co Commander administratively. Anyway, the Marines assigned to STA, while they worked for the S-2, were not Intel guys, they were all 03’s – predominantly 0311’s, though I did have at least one ’51 assigned. I found my old notebook – I had 2, 2-man sniper teams, and everyone else was a sensor operator. While STA was technically OPCON to the 2 in the field, we were all grunts. When we got back from the Med in Nov 81 I went to a India company and STA reverted to the 2. By the time we were in Beirut a Lieutenant named Vidrine was the 2 – can’t remember his 1st name.

        Honestly, I’d cut this Marine slack. There could be a lot of reasons for not following up with the paper for a correction – not the least of which could be he has a life like all of us, is busy, and it just didn’t register as something important enough to put on his to do list. Also, did he even realize it was in the paper before it was brought to his attention by the guy that reached out t him? Certainly his willingness to admit it was incorrect is not consistent with the behavior of the real valor thieves out there, so I doubt he’s one.

        One last minor point – the Global Security article is incorrect in its detail on 3/8 and the Beirut deployment. Global Security is a suspect site – its run by a guy named John Pike, and it used to be called (during the Cold War) The Federation of American Scientists. They remanded themselves in the late 80’s/early 90s I believe in an effort to obscure their pedigree. FAS was basically a Soviet front organization that did their damnedest to publicize ever bit of detail they could about American weapons and defense capabilities & plans in the unclassified media. They were and are the textbook example of Lenin’s “useful idiots.” While a lot of their technical stuff is accurate, I’ve found over the years that they are prone to error as well. Their statement that 3/8 was there during the bombing is a good example of that. 2/8 went in first, in Sept of 82, followed by 3/8 in Oct, followed by 2/6 in Feb 83, followed by 1/8 in July/Aug of 83. Bombing was Oct.


        s/f, Major Bill Philbin, USMC (Ret)

      • Philbin William says:

        OK, so after I wrote that last post I read a few more posts that addressed the inconsistencies in the page 11 entries from his SBR.

        Imagine that, a lieutenant not getting all the details before reaching a conclusion, but digress………. 🙂

        So my suggestion to cut him slack is premature based on the claim he was in STA 3/8 with no corroborating documentation.

    • Irving Duffy says:

      Hey Bill, I think I remember you in Beirut- after we got back, I got stationed at the Marine Barracks in Panama. You were at Quarry Heights, right? SF

      • Philbin William says:

        I was. I was there from 85 to 88. After I got back from Beirut in 83, I got sent to 2nd Radio Bn in 2nd FSSG, and then lat moved to the 02 field in Nov of 83. Was assigned to the 6th MAB G-2 staff at Hospital Point until early 85 when I got orders to the J-2 in Panama. When were you at the Barracks? Were LtCol Timberlake the CO and Capt Schneider the Guard Officer then?

  3. Rich Noll 3/8 comm from Feb 1982 to about May of 1985 says:

    I was in A. Long’s platoon and knew Lt. Philbin as a Plt cmdr of I co 3/8. Many people can vouch for these guys.

    This other pantload………….he re-enlisted 11 days after 3/8 left Beirut that shitty winter of 1983. 3/8 was there from Halloween to Valentines day. I can get a bunch of Marines to attest to that. I do not remember that guys face at all.

    3/8 did have a company ashore to guard the British Embassy in 1984. The rest of us pissed away our money in Haifa and went stir crazy at sea.

    My question is….HITF did he get the Expeditionary Medal.

    • He was deployed during the Iran crisis with the 31st MAU.

      • Richard Torres says:

        I can attest to that i was with MSSG-37 commo and we receivced Expeditionary medal for the iran crisis.

    • Philbin William says:

      Rich, I think the medal was given to the entire MEU for the Beirut deployment.

  4. Elvis Tirado says:

    I will keep it short I was a Pvt-Cpl at 3rdBn 8thMar (BLT 3/8) in S-1/Admin including the Bn Mail Room from 1981-1984. I knew names including middles names back then. I too was in HqSvcCo & privileged to constant SRB/OQR/Unit Diary information…I knew a lot of the people but I’m sure more knew me because again I was not just admin I was in the Bn Mail Room. He doesn’t look at all familiar and absolutely no bells are rung in any combination with his name. Perhaps he can answer which Sta Plt member torched another Marine’s vehicle on Camp Gieger?

    Semper Fi – Lt, I remember when you checked in…good times!

    • Gary Lee Smith says:

      Elvis, I was the Battalion Weapons Repairman and we lived in the same squad bay with STA. I worked with them everyday. I just remember we had quite a few operations ashore that were more than Embassy guarding. We also had QRF functions that kept us on the ready. S/Fi

  5. As an Air Winger I can comment on his MOS, and dates of being assigned to east coast units during the period of Beirut deployments. He was record keeper for aircraft maintenance, in a training command for about 4 months and transferred to unit that repairs parts that are sent there after being removed at the squadron level. He was not assigned to HMM-162 during that period, as the people that are sent to reinforce the squadron to make it a composite unit are temporarily assigned to the squadron for the duration of the deployment. His record does not show that. I could dig out my cruise book to verify, but it would just reinforce what I already know. Looking at his record, he did not even deploy during that period and then went to recruiters school. His aviation MOS is not even eligible to attend Scout/Sniper school, and his record shows he clearly did not attend. Hey, I was a LIFER, you have to know how to read that stuff! Lol

  6. Paul L. Yott says:

    I do not know him. Then again, I was with H&S Co. 2/8. I was a Cook, and only way of II knew him, is if he was on Mess Duty
    The name does not ring a bell either. I did hang around a few Marines from STA Platoon, but they were all with 2/8. Wish I could be more help. Semper Fi.

  7. He was intially a Field Radio Operator (2531), Went to school in 29 Palms then went to Okinawa, while there he did a “float” with the 31st MAU. That is where he got his Expeditionary Medal and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. He attended Naval Gunfire Spotter School while deployed, which was very common for RO’s attached to Artillery Units. He transferred back to CONUS and finished his first Enlistment at Camp Pendelton in an Artillery Unit (A battery 1st Bn 11th Marines) getting out in Oct 1982. He was a Civilian for a few months and reenlisted in March of 1983 with an option for an MOS change. He served as a 6049 (Aircraft Maintence Admin Clerk ) in different organizations in the 2nd Marine Air Wing until he was selected to attend recruiters school 18 months later in Oct of 1984. There is no indication in his records that he deployed outside CONUS during that time, period. There is no TAD to as MAU mentioned in his Chrono Record or an additional award of the Sea Service Deployment record.
    He was sent to Recruiter’s School, Graduated and was assigned as a recruiter to Recruiting Sub Station Rockford Illinios in January 1985. about 4 1/2 month later he was admitted to the hospital for an illness or injury. It was only a 2 day stay from June 19th to June 21st, with no other medical facilities or transfers. He was listed as sick/ injured from July 22 until his Final Discharge as a Corporal in Dec of 1985.
    He definately was NEVER a sniper or a member of 3/8 or deployed to Beruit. In addition several red flags pop up about his service. There is no characterization on the FOIA for his second and final discharge.
    He was discharged as a Corporal, which is rare for someone who five 1/2 years of service in An MOS that isnt known foring being stagnant. In addition being a recruiter would mean he was probably at least a Sgt attending School.
    He did not finish his 3 year tour as a recruiter and it appears he was discharged before a typical enlistment woulf have been up ( in order to attend Recruiter School his EAS would have had to have been in early 1988.. since he reenlist in March of 1984 it probably would have been a 4 year Contract.
    His hospital stay was not tyypical of a long term injury, nor was he transferred to a military facility prior to his discharge. He was placed on what ammounted to light duty until he was separated.
    My educated guess is he stepped on his dick as a recruiter and had a “mental episode” which resulted in him being found unfit for duty. There probably was some disciplinary action as well.

  8. Rich Noll 3/8 comm from Feb 1982 to about May of 1985 says:

    Thank you for your info on the exp. Medal. I cherish that one the most. We sure worked for it.
    About the torched car, is true the Marine was later found not guilty and received regular pay and then some kind of “Embarrassment” Pay because he served Brig time?

  9. […] folks at Military Phonies send us their work on this Mark Ransford fellow who claimed that he was wounded at the Beirut […]

  10. LCPL Vic Elsey, 3/8 STA PLT 83-87 says:

    First, it was CPL Nial’s car that was torched… I took pics that next morning of him next to the burnt out VW Jetta. I became a member of STA along with a group of guys right out of ITC in the summer of 1983 and remained through 1987. I can assure you that Mark Ransford was never in or assigned to STA during this time period.

  11. Mark Ransford says:

    I want to clear a couple of things up as far as my name is concerned. I have and always been proud to be a Marine. To the point of trying to do as much as I can for all military veterans who served in the service. I served honorably and tried to excell as much as possible. However some simple misunderstandings our now hanging over my name that I feel is not fair. 1st of all ,while I was stationed with MAG 26 we were preparing the MAG for a fly out to the theater when equipment boxes and misc other stuff shifted and I fell off the back of the 5 ton pulling some of the load on top of me splitting my head open and severely dislocating my left shoulder. I was at Camp Lejuene hospital for hours as they tried to put my shoulder back in its socket. Later they contacted a specialist who did get it back in place but not till after the damage was done. This was in 83 or 84. Later I received orders for Recruiting duty for which I left. While on recruiting duty while training our recruits in the delay entry program my shoulder kept dislocating from its socket due to the extent of my injuries prior. So while on recruiting duty I was sent To the hospital in Rockford Ill. for surgery to hold the shoulder in place. The sacrifice would be loss of range of motion. I was sent to naval air station Great Lakes and was found not medically able and ready and was discharged with a 20% disability. To which was increased over the years and I still have limited range of motion. This being said I’m not looking for sympathy as I have thrived in life. This is just to clarify that I never told the reporter of the article I was hurt in Beruit rather during the Beruit operations. And I would like to clarify I never even new the article existed till I was contacted this past summer while on travel. Also I would like to clear up the speculation of my loss of rank. It is quite simple if any of you have been on recruiting duty you know it is quite demanding on spouses. Well here is the step on my dick part, I was working 7 days a week trying to put young Marines on deck. This came with a sacrifice of my new wife left with my newborn son and our car never to be with me again. So my wife and child only a 130 miles away I went after her and that bad choice cost me my wife and a stripe. Sorry that’s all the step on my dick story there is. I was discharged shortly after that and have not looked back since. Now to clear up the other issues of being with 3/8. I will be the first to admit I was not with 3/8. I made this mistake as when I came back from Okinawa I was stationed with 11th marines A battery. I was attached to com platoon. Part of my job was to attach with infantry platoons with a 0861 and my self. I spent from the time I came back from Okinawa till my discharge training with the H&S 3/5 not 3/8 kilo and India company doing target acquisition and call for fire with artillery units. I spent a many night on listening posts and observation posts with scout platoons. Not as a sniper but as a radio operator doing call for supportive fire. Even did some training with 3rd marines. I received 3 meritorious permotions and a Marine of the Month. I received two meritorious mast for doing jobs that ranked much higher billit’s. I am not a shit head is my point. When whoever reached out to me I thought they were from the units I trained with in my first enlistment. I wanted to include them in our fishing events we hold in so. Florida as most of what we had was service men and women from afganastan and Iraq as the wwp only send them. So a friend of mine started a different 501c and we enlisted some wealthy honorable folks to donate their time and boats to give back to all of you. Well this back fired. I am a proud man and have never used the Marines for any gain. And feel the speculation and the hurtful things posted by some of you is worse than anything you think I have done period. SEMPER FI. ( always faithful) doesn’t seem so much does it. Anyway I hope you will understand this and clear my name and pictures from your site so I don’t have to take further steps. To cease and assist.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      Last year, when your name came up to me about being in Beirut, I picked up the phone and called you. I was with BLT 3/8, I was Section Chief and later Platoon Sgt for that Arty unit. You told me then you were not in Beirut and had no Purple Heart. You told me you had not idea how the reporter got the idea that you were in Beirut.

      I will say, you seemed like a good guy who was being honest. When I seen this posted I was going to comment telling people that you were probably misquoted by the paper. Mark, I will come to the defense of any Marine brother of mine. The reason I didn’t comment was that online conversation they posted of you claiming to be in STA while in Beirut.

      I can say that you never made any false claim to me about your service. You seem like an honorable guy with honorable service. It also seems that you did give some people the impression you served in Beirut.

      I am torn here brother, I want to defend your ass. But, at the same time I believe you said some things that were not exactly true to other people. The actual service of BLT 3/8 in Beirut has been lost in the shadow of prior events. Those of us that were there have spent decades trying to correct history.

      Your post seems sincere and honest, just as you were with me when we talked. I appreciate you stepping up and setting the record straight. You said some things to other people you should not have, you clearly told someone in that online conversation you served with me during Beirut. You have admitted that is not true. You served, you earned your EGA just like the rest of us.

      Bottom line Bro, I don’t see anything in this post that is not true. My advice is to Suck it up and move on.

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