William J. Gallagher – US Navy Chief Petty Officer, Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Service, Blog of Shame


06/20/2018 by militaryphonies

“Perhaps this is a lesson in Humility, and most certainly one in Honor,
and Respect … lessons which I will hold close, and remember strongly
… for years to come.”  —  William Gallagher

gallagher-cpo uniform


William “Bill” Gallagher comes to us from Norfolk, VA.   He is 60 years old as of June 2018.  Bill was involved with a Naval Sea Cadet program and once served as the Commanding Officer of a local unit in Virginia.

From their website, the organization states that it is “a national youth leadership development organization that promotes interest and skill in naval disciplines while instilling strong moral character and life skills through leadership and technical programs modeled after the Navy’s professional development system.”

NOTE:  Leaders in the Sea Cadet program wear Naval rank insignia according to their standing in the program.  It does not necessarily reflect what their rank was in their prior service in the US Navy.  In the below photo, Gallagher wears the rank of a LCDR (O-4), but that would be appropriate to his responsibilities in the program.  There is a clear distinction from a Navy uniform by showing the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets patch.


Here he is at a Change of Command ceremony in 2013.  As you can see he has the uniform of a Lieutenant Commander (O-4), which again, is appropriate for the command structure for the organization he is with.

gallagher-change of command

However, the military medals are another matter.  We are not experts in the protocol for wearing military medals in these organizations, but we do gather that leaders in this program should have medals that accurately reflect a member’s time in the military.  The cadets may go by separate regulations.

The medals are small and difficult to make out, but we can see the very first one is a Combat Action Ribbon (CAR) and through an apology issued later by Gallagher, there is a medal or medals that designate service in Vietnam.


Here is a better look at the medals…


Then, there’s the matter of the uniform of a Chief (E-7), worn at a separate function.

gallagher-E-7 uniform

Apparently, there was a suspicion by his peers of Gallagher never being a Navy Chief and not being in Vietnam, as his rank and medals suggest.

This all came to the attention of Military Phony a few years ago.  His records were ordered.


gallagher-summary sheet


It was confirmed that Gallagher was never a Navy Chief, and did not serve in Vietnam.  In fact, he entered active duty too late to participate in Vietnam service.  He achieved the rank of E-6, which is something to be proud of but was one enlisted grade below E-7.

William Gallagher’s entire FOIA records are below with this NPRC FOIA link:


As we understand it, years ago there was some agreement that Gallagher would correct himself and walk a straight and narrow path, so Military Phony never published a blog on him.

Now, Gallagher has returned to again wearing the Chief’s uniform and medals.  He was called on this and issued a public apology to the organization.

gallagher-apology. . . . .



This is a tragic story and one that involves many innocent people.  His behavior was flagged a few years ago and although most people believe in second chances, it makes one wonder if it really helps or enables the behavior.

Gallagher may have not counted on a third chance, so just resigned.  It’s plausible, but to be fair we have to say that we don’t know all of the circumstances surrounding his resignation.

. . . . .


Several of the claims attributed to William Gallagher were not supported by his official military records. 

He got out as an E-6 vs. an E-7.  No CAR (Combat Action Ribbon) and no medals indicative of Vietnam service.

He apologized – but it makes one wonder if that is only because he got caught.


If William Gallagher has used any of these claims such as the rank of Chief Petty Officer or the Combat Action Ribbon to gain anything of value, including influencing the position or positions he obtained in the organization, it could put him in direct violation of the Stolen Valor Act.

An apology may not completely neutralize a violation such as this.

. . . . .


. . . . 


thisainthell-gallagherThis Ain’t Hell: http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=80068


10 thoughts on “William J. Gallagher – US Navy Chief Petty Officer, Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnam Service, Blog of Shame

  1. R Grace MEIHUIZEN says:

    The last sentence alerts me as a suicide threat…

    • He said “in the future” which would imply natural causes at some point. He also said it was a lesson he will remember “for years to come.”

  2. Ryan Smith says:

    I talked to the Sea Cadets Field Representative and he said William Gallagher has no plans to kill himself and has sought counseling. I think that Veterans who served and then embellish their record are the worst kind of posers.

  3. […] partners at Military Phonies share their work on this fellow, William Gallagher who claimed to be a Chief Petty Officer (E-7) […]

  4. Jim G says:

    His FB profile still has photos of his fat ass in the uniform of a LCDR.

    • Yes, but I think the LCDR rank is authorized in light of his standing with the Sea Cadets. He was a Commanding Officer of a unit. As long as they wear the Sea Cadet insignia it is not technically a Navy rank, per se. The CPO uniform, however, he wore to a Chief’s initiation – a separate function from his duties with the Sea Cadets.

    • R Grace MEIHUIZEN says:

      Seeing the pictures still up says…SHOVE THE APOLOGY UP YOURS…

  5. LCpl Nelson says:

    It not sure of his current status or claims he has yet to address but I for one, accept his apology.
    Most likely because I’m impressed with the fact he actually apologized.

  6. Ryan Smith says:

    I checked his Facebook profile yesterday and he still has the photo of him wearing his Sea Cadet uniform, and yes I can confirm that is authorized, but he was still showing the unauthorized USN ribbons, that tells me his apology is fake. If he was truly apologetic he would delete all photos of himself wearing fake ribbons.

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