Michael Sonny Smith; Phony Vietnam Veteran


10/15/2018 by militaryphonies

Michael Sonny Smith seems to have a lot of folks that think he is a wounded Vietnam Veteran with Valor Awards.  He even made the news papers.

Most people who have seen him around town likely know that Sonny Smith, a 35-year resident of Eureka Springs, is a veteran. But only a small number of folks know the details of his war service, and those are the members of his American Legion Post No. 9.

The full story of the Vietnam War has yet to be told by anyone, he says, and some veterans are still reluctant to share their experiences.

But for the Lovely County Citizen’s Veterans Day commemoration, Smith decided to share his story in a typed letter:

M. Sonny Smith was born in Glendale, Calif., on Aug. 20, 1950.

After being drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1968 at the age of 18, and after basic combat training, field radio mechanic school and the U.S. Army Airborne Jump School, Smith was sent to Fort Bragg, N.C., headquarters of the 82nd Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade, Combat Team. There he was assigned to the 1/505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “The Panthers.”

He arrived at Fort Bragg in November 1968. A week later, he was off to Vietnam.

Some history: In January 1968, the 3rd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division was deployed to Vietnam, where the division fought in engagements in the Mekong Delta and the Iron Triangle, and on the Cambodian border.

After almost two years in the country, the paratroopers of the 3rd Brigade rotated back to Fort Bragg, N.C. In December 1969, it was the only brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division to participate in the Vietnam conflict.

Smith was in Vietnam for 12 months and eight days, returning with his unit in December 1969. During his last four and half months in country, he got “volunteered” into becoming a helicopter door gunner, he says.

“My primary military occupational speciality (MOS) was a tactical communications, radio mechanic/operator,” he said. “One day this helicopter comes in and its radio is shot up, and they have a personnel casualty. I had to wait until they pulled the body out before I could hop in to work on the radio.

“Just as I started to open my tool box, the pilot takes off and the co-pilot threw a COMM (communications) helmet at me and says ‘Put it on and man the machine gun, you’re our new door gunner now. That dead guy they just pulled out of here was our last one.'”

Smith finished his tour of duty in Vietnam attached to the 1st Cavalry as a helicopter door gunner. Toward the end of his tour, while door gunning in a fire fight, he was hit in the leg by enemy ground fire and was later awarded the Purple Heart.

When he first got to Vietnam, while serving as a squad leader for his platoon, his platoon came under fire from an enemy bunker line to the front near the Cambodian border. Smith assaulted the hostile gun position, killing the enemy gun crew. More fighting ensued, and as a result, his platoon was able to move forward and eliminate the enemy positions. For his actions there, Smith was awarded the Bronze Star.

“The war wasn’t like what I had learned in basic training,” he says. “The war in Vietnam was the heat, the smell, the noise and the screaming. No, I don’t have nightmares about who I shot. It’s what I lost that lingers.”

What he lost, he said in an interview with the Citizen on Monday, were most of the buddies from basic training.


There have been a lot of people who questioned his claims of service so we ordered his records through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The Army does not seem to know much about his claims.  Their records do not have a Bronze Star with a Valor Device or a Purple Heart and Jump Wings.  They don’t even show him being assigned to a command where it would have even been possible to get any of those awards.

The Army seems to think he spent a few years on Active Duty years after the war in Vietnam had ended where he managed to skyrocket in rank to Private First Class.


7 thoughts on “Michael Sonny Smith; Phony Vietnam Veteran

  1. (Shaking head and sighing). “Leg. Dirty Leg. Nasty Leg. Can’t Be, Like me, AIRBORNE!” Hua. AATW. What a sad man to concoct such a military history.

  2. Michael L Maynard says:

    The guy must have been a real shitbird or stepped on his dick a few times to be discharged as a PFC. He should have easily made E-4 in three years.

  3. dennis king says:

    Man, a guy like that should be made to pay society big time. Not go to jail as he did serve but should be made to work at a VA or other military hospital around our brave men and woman who were wounded in action. He should also have to be made to go on his local news station with the newspaper article and beg for forgiveness on his lies. That is all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Michael K Lawson says:

    Not even a Good Conduct Medal…….tells you all of what you really need to know.

  5. Scott F Heino says:

    ““My primary military occupational speciality (MOS) was a tactical communications, radio mechanic/operator,” he said.”

    BWAHAHA, the ‘real’ MOS for repairing radios on Army helicopters is 35K, Avionics Mechanic, I should know I was one.

    “…before I could hop in to work on the radio.”

    Hop in to where? I assume the helicopter he’s referring to is the UH-1. All the radios, FM, VHF, UHF, in the UH-1 are outside the riding area, in the nose compartment and in a comm section in the tail-boom.

    Funny when these idiots give enough detail to show they have no idea what they speak.

    Stolen Valor, asshole!

  6. Wilted Willy says:

    I say we drop this asshole into Syria, sans parachute, and let him perform his daring do’s like he says in his history! Surely such a badass would have no problem fighting his way back home? Live by the Sword, Die by the Sword! Good luck with you mission, you lying sack of shit!!

  7. Richard E. Deubler says:

    It’s a shame these assholes come out of the cracks years down the road. Where were you when the shit was going on. So many have tried this stuff before not knowing we found a way of finding the trurh. Stolen Valor has done alot of good to put this jeanie back in the bottle.

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