Thomas Earl O’Neil – US Army Ranger, 3 Bronze Stars w/ “V”, 3 Purple Hearts, Battle of Mogadishu, Blog of Shame15
01/01/2019 by militaryphonies
Thomas Earl O’Neil comes to us from Orange, TX. He is 49 y/o as of January 2019.
O’Neil served in the Army and the high point of his military career, as posts often about on Facebook, is his participation in the Battle of Mogadishu – or Operation Gothic Serpent. According to Tom, he was boots on the ground with the 75th Ranger Regiment — 18 hours of Hell as he puts it.
People quite naturally wanted to know if the Battle of Mogadishu was like the movie Black Hawk Down.
O’Neil even claimed to serve with Master Sergeant Gordon and Sergeant First Class Shughart, the two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients for their actions in Somalia. They received their awards posthumously.
But, there was more to these postings, as Thomas O’Neil seems to struggle with painful memories of events in Somalia, and seemed to be reaching out for help.
Although people could not relate to what Tom must have gone through with bullets whizzing by his head and his buddies dying all around him, they did the next best thing and tried to show Tom support and praised him for his military service.
Thomas transitions into a questionable claim that many of the survivors have gone on to commit suicide. He even goes so far as to suggest that he is one of only a few that remain…
He also starts transitioning into asking if he can live up to their sacrifice and then into his own military awards – which consist of three (3) Bronze Stars with “V” and three (3) “Purple Stars” (later corrected to three Purple Hearts).
A larger version of the Army portrait photo allows for pinpointing the medals. Yep, there appears to be a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart if not several since it is hard to make out devices. Is that a Navy/Marine Corps Combat Action Ribbon?
O’Neil also posted about a Combat Medical Badge…
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Thomas Earl O’Neil’s military records were requested through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
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DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE MANPOWER DATA CENTER (DoDMDC)
DEPARTMENT OF ARMY FOIA REQUEST RESULTS – DD-214
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O’Neil showed up in a criminal report in Oklahoma. He had a prior address of Ft. Sill OK and appears that it probably occurred while he was still on active duty.
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DISCUSSION and SUMMARY
Although the FOIA result only showed a DD-214 and no record of assignments, there is nothing to indicate that O’Neil was an Army Ranger with the 75th.
It also seems there is nothing in the records to indicate that O’Neil was a part of the Battle of Mogadishu. This would be indicated by his awards – or lack of awards in this regard.
BRONZE STAR(s) and PURPLE HEART(s)
There are no Bronze Stars – with “V” or otherwise – in O’Neil’s official military records. Also, there are no Purple Hearts listed.
The below ribbon appears to be a Combat Action Ribbon but that is awarded to the Navy and Marine Corps, not the Army.
This may be a case of stolen valor since O’Neil is claiming he has not only one Purple Heart, but three. A claim of Combat Action Ribbon would only add to a violation of the Stolen Valor Act.
As his DD-214 states, he does have the Combat Medical Badge but doesn’t have any jump wings listed. The combat was probably in Kosovo or perhaps ODS/S.
Thomas O’Neil had perfectly honorable service that anyone should be proud of. He does not have the medals he claims he has. Don’t know how the “official” photo was staged but it seems someone should have caught the CAR and the other ribbons.
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PHOTOS and SOCIAL MEDIA
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.e.oneil.9 (now deleted)
This Ain’t Hell: https://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=83873