02/03/2020 by militaryphonies
Warren Robert Reiten comes to us from Fargo, North Dakota. At the time of this writing, February 2020, Reiten is 76 years old.
Reiten is a book author, having written the book “An American Soldier – Dreams of a Child” which is classified as fiction about the first black Army officer in the Civil War.
NOTE: The fact that Reiten is an author of this book is provided for context and background because there did not seem to be anything questionable about the book itself of the biography that Reiten has on the back cover.
Reiten fell on hard times and the Salvation Army helped him out in 2015. They made a promotional video about this effort and claimed that Reiten was “a Vietnam War veteran.”
The video can be seen at the link above, but to account for it being removed, it is provided below as well.
There are a couple of things to note about the video. There are no verbal claims, but there is a small segment where a forearm is shown with the tattoo of “Vietnam 1969 US ARMY Combat Infantry.”
Then, there is the jacket he is wearing. In one scene he is shown to have a jacket with a butterfly on the sleeve right shoulder/sleeve. This butterfly will become relevant in an interview years later that will be highlighted in a moment.
A few seconds later, as Reiten turns to leave, the emblem “VIETNAM VET” is clearly visible on the back of this same jacket.
A few years later, in 2017, Reiten did a radio interview and podcast called “American G.I. Remembers the Butterfly” for It Takes 2 with Jack and Amy.
On the podcast web page, Reiten was introduced as a Vietnam Vet…
The entire podcast interview can be found on the “It Takes 2 with Jack & Amy” site, but it is also provided in its entirety below to account for removal.
Warren claims he was a “US Army Second Lieutenant with the 2d Infantry Division from 1968-1970” (1:10-1:20), he was in Vietnam for a year “TDY on and off” (1:19-1:25), and stationed at “III (Three) Corps around South Central Highlands – Cu Chi” (1:25-1:34). Reiten confirms to the interviewer that he wrote “The Butterfly” based on upon an experience in the field (6:09-6:17).
During the podcast, Reiten explains the significance of the butterfly from a poem that he wrote.
Reiten says that he has the butterfly embroidered on several of his shirts and his leather jacket (10:03-10:13).
When video still frames from the 215 Salvation Army promotional video are combined with a photo from the 2017 podcast/article, the jacket appears to be the same one with the butterfly on the right shoulder/sleeve.
Some people questioned Reiten’s claim of Vietnam, so Military Phony was contacted.
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ACTIONS CONDUCTED BY MILITARY PHONIES
Warren Robert Reiten’s military records were ordered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
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NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER (NPRC)
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DISCUSSION and SUMMARY
LENGTH OF SERVICE
The military records that the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) provided show military service for just under two (2) years of active duty. There was no discrepancy between claims and what the records show
His final rank is listed as a 1LT (O-2) which is consistent with his claims.
There are no assignments listed for Vietnam. His OCONUS assignment is listed as Korea. There was no indication of service in Vietnam, TDY or otherwise.
There are no medals listed that would support Reiten’s claim of being in Vietnam. The criteria listed for the Vietnam Service Medal would have qualified him for the medal even if TDY.
From Wikipedia on the Vietnam Service Medal:
The Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) was awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and its contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. Members of the United States Armed Forces in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, or airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for the award.
Individuals must meet one of the following requirements:
- Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations.
- Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days aboard a U.S. naval vessel directly supporting military operations.
- Actually participating as a crewmember in one or more aerial flights into airspace above Vietnam and contiguous waters directly supporting military operations.
- Serve on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days in Vietnam or contiguous waters, except that time limit may be waived for personnel participating in actual combat operations.
- No person will be entitled to more than one award of the VSM.
- Individuals qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for reason of service in Vietnam between 1 July 1958 and 3 July 1965 (inclusive) will remain qualified for that medal. Upon request (unit personnel officer) any such individual may be awarded the VSM instead of the AFEM. In such instances, the AFEM will be deleted from the list of authorized medals in personnel records. No person will be entitled to both awards for Vietnam service.
- Service members who earned the AFEM for Operation Frequent Wind between 29 and 30 April 1975, may elect to receive the VSM instead of the AFEM. No service member may be issued both medals for service in Vietnam.
- Vietnam and contiguous waters, as used herein, is defined as an area which includes Vietnam and the water adjacent thereto with the following specified limits: from a point on the East Coast of Vietnam at the juncture of Vietnam with China southeastward to 21 degrees north latitude, 108 degrees, 15 minutes longitude; then southward to 18 degrees, north latitude, 108 degrees, 15 minutes east longitude; then southward to 17 degrees, 30 minutes north longitude, 111 degrees east longitude; then southward to 11 degrees north latitude, 111 degrees east latitude; then southward to 7 degrees north latitude, 105 degrees east latitude; then westward to 7 degrees north latitude, 103 degrees east latitude; then northward to 9 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude, 103 degrees east latitude; then northeastward to 10 degrees, 15 minutes north latitude, 104 degrees, 27 minutes east latitude; then northward to a point on the West Coast of Vietnam at the juncture of Vietnam and Cambodia.
- The VSM may be awarded posthumously.
TDY TO VIETNAM
Reiten had said in the podcast interview that he took classes in journalism. It is conceivable that he was in some kind of support role for a Public Affairs Officer but there is nothing in his record to indicate that. Instead, he highlights the claim of being with an infantry division.
His official military records show that he was primarily assigned as an MP (Military Police).
If the claims by Warren Reiten were used to leverage work, military or civilian promotions, or anything else of value, he may have been in violation of Stolen Valor laws. State laws may also apply.
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This Ain’t Hell: https://valorguardians.com/blog/?p=95084