Andy Prado – Green Beret, US Army Airborne Ranger, Sniper, Silver Star, Bronze Star, 2 Purple Hearts, SGTMAJ, Blog of Shame10
Andy Prado (born Andres Prado) is a well known individual around the veterans community in the Los Angeles, California area where he currently resides. He serves as the Commander of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) of Los Angeles Chapter 5.
VETERANS HISTORY PROJECT
Prado participated in the Veterans History Project by the Library of Congress and many of his claims are documented in the interview he provided them. Among the claims:
Highest rank achieved was E-9 (Sergeant Major)
In addition to the synopsis at the Veterans History Project, Andy Prado made claims to a Silver Star, a Bronze Star and two (2) Purple Hearts on his Classmates.com profile for Belmont High School in Los Angeles, CA.
[NOTE: Prado contradicts himself on the number of months he was in a coma.
On Prado’s Instagram account, he claims he is a Green Beret and Airborne Ranger.
On the Somos Primos website, which is dedicated to Hispanic heritage and diversity issues, they featured a veterans section for Memorial Day 2010. Prado’s accomplishments are underscored here as well.
Prado displays much of his military experience on the outside of his car. At one time, he had a Purple Heart license plate.
Prado often wears civilian clothing that reflects his military service. Some clothes also reflect his claim of medals.
Various items that underscore Prado’s claims of service are posted on his Facebook and Instagram accounts. Click to see higher resolution version and read comments about significance of each item.
Before the FOIA results are presented, it is important to look at the timeline in this case.
SERVICE ENTRY DATE & HIGH SCHOOL
Prado has been consistent about claims that he was in the service from 1978 to 1999. One claim was on his Facebook account when he posted a younger photo of himself.
As in an above section, Prado also claimed the years 1978-1999 on his profile with the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
Since he was born in 1963, he would have been 15 or 16 years old when he went into the military. Not likely, but remotely plausible if there was discrepancy in his paperwork.
Prado also claims that he graduated from Belmont High School in 1978.
However, there is no Andre Prado listed in the Class of 1978 at Belmont High School in Los Angeles.
Systematic searches of Belmont High School yearbooks in Los Angeles California show a Andre Prado as a sophomore in the 1979 yearbook, a junior in the 1980 yearbook, which means he was slated for graduation in 1981. In fact, his senior photo appears in the seniors section of the 1981 Belmont High School Yearbook.
Prado has a profile where he identifies and labels himself as part of the 1981 class. In fact, in a photo that he posted as part of his Classmates.com profile, the mole is the same on the face.
The question is raised – how could Prado have entered the service in 1978?
BIRTH & NAME CHANGE
Andres Prado was born in Cuba in 1963. On March 17, 1986, Andres Prado legally changed his name to “Andre” and commonly uses the nickname “Andy”. The following document supports both of these facts.
This is important because there is a strong argument that can be made for the possibility that the name change may have lead to a false sense of security that his background was not able to be discovered. Hence, the date of entry that he is claiming for his military service with the Veterans History Project.
It is also noteworthy to point out that although the name “Andres Prado” appears on the surface to be common, it is not. It is of Cuban origin and the ability to pinpoint Andy Prado was not as difficult as it would seem.
A lot of the curiosity about the timeline inconsistencies lead to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Prado’s official military records.
It seemed plausible that someone of Prado’s notoriety, especially being awarded the Silver Star medal as the Nations third highest award, would be newsworthy. Therefore a search was conducted of several newspaper archives, which turned up the following articles.
We now know that a ground war never materialized to send Sgt. Prado up north to Iraq. It appears that he was an MP with the California National Guard from Los Angeles, so a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for Prado’s official military records was sent to the state of California and the National Personal Records Center in St. Louis, MO.
FOIA RESULTS – SELECTED
FOIA RESULTS – COMPLETE
SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION
There were some oddities with the FOIA results. A query was made to the Department of Defense Manpower Data Center but it showed no results even after a systematic search for successive years after 1984. Due to a limitation of the database, it would not show active duty before 30 Sept 1984. This database has been known to not show the active duty of reserve components. Not all of the time, but enough to not rely solely on its results. A systematic search was performed to also account for a second active duty performed but none was identified.
The FOIA from the National Archives does not list medals that would have been earned from a deployment for ODS. This may have been the responsibility of the National Guard unit as authorization guidance may have come out after being released from active duty.
Medals such as the Purple Heart, Silver Star and Bronze Star would not have been likely to be overlooked on either medal awards or the fitness/evaluation report. The periods of the reports covered the deployment, so it was strange it was not mentioned other than at the top of the report. Sgt. Prado was involved in civil duties after the bombing of the barracks in Kuwait, but it does not seem likely that he deployed north to Iraq, let alone received a Combat Infantry Badge (CIB).
Since his entry to guard duty was merely a few (7) days before the invasion of Grenada on 25 Oct 1983, it would be highly unlikely that he would have participated in Operation Urgent Fury. The training alone would have taken months. It’s a moot point, because there is no active duty time designated on Prado’s records for the time period that covers Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada 1983)… only service in the Guard.
A search of popular resources that list recipients of the Silver Star do not list a Andre/Andres/Andy Prado.
Prado’s records do not support his claim of being awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star or two (2) Purple Hearts. Apart from the Bronze Star, the claims of the SS and PHs would be in violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2013, especially if there were tangible benefits received.
It is difficult to speculate how Prado obtained Purple Heart license plates in California without proper documentation. His newest vehicle does not have the Purple Heart plates. Another oddity that is difficult to explain. Perhaps California recently required hard documentation before issuing the Purple Heart plates? Officials in California may be more knowledgeable on this.
Prado’s claimed units — 75th Rangers, Special Forces; 5th Special Forces — are not supported by his official military records.
Several of the other deployments are not supported by Prado’s military records – i.e. Panama, Somalia and Iraq.
E-5 vs. E-9
According to his official military records, Prado was discharged as a Sergeant (E-5) vs. his claim of Sergeant Major (E-9).
Although there are some oddities in regard to Prado’s FOIA results, the inconsistencies of his claims and timelines invite an incredible amount of scrutiny on his military service. If a veteran truly had all of the training, combat experience and medals that Prado claims that he does, it would benefit that veteran to straighten out all of their records.
Otherwise, this may be a clear cut case of Stolen Valor.
PHOTOS and SOCIAL MEDIA
Veterans History Project: http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/bib/loc.natlib.afc2001001.91171
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This Ain’t Hell: http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=63145
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