Veteran told he’s not American, loses driver’s license

| July 5, 2024 | 49 Comments

David O’Connor was born to two American citizens in Canada. His parents moved back to the United States where O’Connor grew up and eventually joined the Navy. He also engaged in being a commercial truck driver. O’Connor had no problems obtaining a driver’s license in New York, New Hampshire, and in Vermont. However, Tennessee pulled his driver’s license saying that he was not a U.S. citizen.

From News Channel 5, Nashville

The 77-year-old had been driving for the last 61 years. He’s had driver’s licenses in New York, New Hampshire, Vermont and then eight years ago, when he moved to Tennessee, he got a license here.

But last month, Tennessee canceled O’Connor’s driver’s license.

“They told me I shouldn’t have had the license in the first place ’cause I couldn’t prove that I was a citizen,” O’Connor explained.

“It just blows my mind,” Jean O’Connor told NewsChannel 5 Investigates.

Jean is David’s wife.

“I am flabbergasted. I am outraged that, at 77 years old, he is now considered a non-citizen by the country that he has lived in his whole life,” Jean said.

It all started in early June when O’Connor went to the Driver Service Center in McMinn County to not only renew his driver’s license but get one of the new enhanced or Real IDs.

O’Connor took his birth certificate with him. It’s a Canadian birth certificate.


“Your father was a U.S. citizen?” We asked O’Connor.

“He was,” he told me.

And I asked, “Your mother was a U.S. citizen?”

“She was,” he replied.

And since both of his parents were U.S. citizens, and you can see that right there on his birth certificate, the law stated O’Connor is a U.S. citizen, too.

His American-born parents had temporarily relocated to Canada and soon after O’Connor was born, the family moved back to the U.S.

“I’ve been here for 77 years,” O’Connor said, adding, “None of this (situation) makes any sense to me.”

And no one, he said has ever questioned whether he’s really an American.

Until now.

“Now?!” Jean O’Connor exclaimed. “That’s the thing. Why now? At 77 years old? Are you kidding me? It’s unbelievable,”

Jean found it all especially unbelievable because her husband was able to join the U.S. Navy. He was just 17 when he enlisted. He served four years and was a sonar tech.

And if you look closely at his military discharge form, it asks if the person is a U.S. citizen. There’s a box for yes and a box for no. On O’Connor’s form, the “yes” box is checked.

Additional Reading:

Kraus, J. (2024, July 3). State of Tennessee tells U.S. Navy veteran he’s not an American citizen and cancels his driver’s license. News Channel 5, Nashville. Link.

Category: Veterans in the news

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Sounds like a super easy fix. He needs a US Certificate or consular report of birth abroad. He should have presented one of those when he joined the Navy. They may even still have scanned copy of it.

Last edited 7 days ago by 5JC
Hack Stone

Obviously you have never have to deal with the Department of Motor Vehicles.


Illinois and California are tied for being equally bad. Sorry…. you need to be in that line over there. The end of that line is somewhere down the street.

Old tanker

Since he has the birth certificate showing both parents were US citizens he should also be able to get a passport. That should be on the approved list for ID with the “real ID” requirements.


He will still need a US Certificate or Consular report of live overseas birth for a US Passport.


Why bother. People are streaming across the border and being given everything under the sun.

Play up the illegal part, and get money and a license. Win Win for him.


And then apply for 70 plus years of back benefits.



Hack Stone

You would think, but have you ever tried to mail something to Guam? Does the US Post Office screen out employees that know America has “territories” that do not require a Customs Declaration to ship packages?

And Hack Stone’s lovely bride Rosetta Stone had her niece living at Stately Stone Manor while she attended University of Maryland. Born in North Carolina to an American father and naturalized mother, graduated high school in a DoD sponsored high school and possessed and was granted a DoD SOFA sponsored drivers license, but that wasn’t good enough for the lady working the counter at the Maryland Vehicle Administration counter. The next year her younger brother arrives, same circumstances, and yet he was issued a Maryland drivers license no problem.


The DMV stole my SOFA drivers license when I returned to the states to get my state DL renewed. The guy asked if I had another driver’s license and I told them I had one that was valid in Europe. He asked to see it and then ran off with it. Then came back without it.

The guy told me that I couldn’t have a driver’s license from another state. I explained in very small words that Germany was a whole other country and the military wasn’t a state. He simply waved a cop over and told him to make me leave. I explained to the cop what was going on and he told me that wasn’t his lane. Never saw it again.

Last edited 7 days ago by 5JC

The cop probably didn’t know where Germany was either.


Yes, extremely stupid people abound in this nation, and they usually find jobs with the government, state or federal. That is in part because they are frequently too stupid to keep a job in the private sector.


Ah, bureaucrats– you’re responsible for their actions, never them.

Last edited 7 days ago by Anonymous

Try mailing to an APO address in the modern era… if you don’t put APO, AE or APO (at least two spaces) AE for the shorting machines, the Millenial who handles it will just Return to Sender not knowing what an APO is.


And don’t forget the Customs Form!!! Wouldn’t want the folks working in the military post office to have to steal/open packages of stuff they don’t want!


It is, but if he’s never traveled overseas and needed a passport, he may never have gotten one.


Might not be as easy as it sounds to get a copy of it…especially if his parents never filed for one…but that’s what he needs.

And as far as I can see he wasn’t told he wasn’t American, he was told he doesn’t have the proper documentation as required by law.

The fact that everyone up to this point in his life has ignored the law and given him driver’s licenses, a Social Security car, let him enlist in the military, etc without the proper documentation doesn’t and shouldn’t mean he’s exempt from the law.

What’s ridiculous isn’t that the TN DMV noticed the issue and revoked his license, it’s that he’s gotten away with it for 77 years in spite of the law.

I just looked, the requirements for a driver’s license in TN are spelled out very clearly and in the very first four bullet points right on their <a href=””>web page</a>:

  • Official Birth Certificate issued by a U.S. state, jurisdiction or territory (Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Swain’s Island, Guam) 
  • U.S. Government-issued Certified Birth Certificate
  • U.S. Certificate of Birth Abroad (DS-1350 or FS-545)
  • Report of Birth Abroad of a Citizen of the U.S. (FS-240)

BTW: My son was born in Spain while I was stationed there. His official birth certificate is in Spanish, but the “Report of birth abroad” form from the Consulate stays right with it…and we had several notarized, certified true copies made just in case.

Maybe it doesn’t occur to people who have kids while hanging out in Canada that they need to do this because it’s not so far away and they speak aboot the same language, but the law’s the same whether the kid’s born in North Minnesota or Zimbabwe.


Yup. One must satisfy the bureaucratic gods and or they will be very, very angry.


Bureaucratic gods…. See Southern border for an example. Hell, they will put you on a plane to the destination of your choice after pinky swearing you will appear in court 10 years.

What a country.

Hack Stone

With no form of identification or proof of COVID vaccination, no less.


U.S. gov’t may be fine with it, but TN sets their own rules for what fed gov’t stuff they accept.

Peter the Bubblehead

Did it occur to you that perhaps none of this was made known 77 years ago? Yeah, anyone born after 9/11 is going to know they need to jump through hoops if they were born overseas to US Citizen parents, but what was the bureaucratic attitude in 1947 – especially in regards to Canada?

Harry D

That’s assuming his parents actually completed the form in 1947.


This is a man who could have gone to Canada during the Viet Nam war but chose to enlist in the Navy instead.


At the time I do not believe those were required or a thing. Worth some research, but seeing as I’ve had coworkers younger than him run into this I’d say it’s come about more recently


I have the enhanced CDL also, its more paperwork than buying a Machinegun (class3).

Old tanker

You don’t have to wait nearly as long for the CDL to be approved though.


Illinois, in their infinite wisdom, has reduced CDL renewal from up to a year in advance from expiration date to 60 days from expiration. That’s great if you drive local. Take a day off and get it done. OTR drivers face a completely different set of logistics nightmare.

Hack Stone

Isn’t Illinois the state where for a few dollars discreetly handed to the DMV employee, an immigrant from the former USSR can be issued a CDL without having to display knowledge of state and federal driving regulations, the ability to communicate in English or the ability to demonstrate that the applicant can successfully navigate an empty tractor trailer around some orange traffic cones in an empty parking lot?


Illinois did close a branch in/ very near E. St. Louis that WAS a CDL test facility. The whole branch was closed down due to some shady shenanigans going on there. Any DMV will renew your license, but they were the only one semi close by that could do a road test or finger print for a hazmat endorsement.

A tanker endorsement automatically gives you hazmat, or used to. A much easier test and no finger prints needed.


Shady shenanigans in East St Lo? Say it ain’t so.


Tanker endorsement does not get hazmat. Any longer. Hazmat does require fingerprints.

I government’s amazing wisdom, license including CDL is good for 4 or 8 years. Hazmat endorsement is 5. So I usually drive years at a time with a seemingly expired endorsement.


Also in the government infinite wisdom, but any ticket given to you requires a retest at renewal, minus a parking ticket. A coworker had a DUI 40+ years ago, and every renewal requires a retest, minus the driving part. A seat belt ticket will get you a required retest too.


Ign’ant state bureaucrats– New Mexico is a foreign country and you need a passport to be here from Puerto Rico for ’em, too.

Hack Stone

Thanks to Joe Biden’s immigration policies, there are parts of America that resemble Third World shitholes. Thankfully, whenever Hack Stone ever has to travel through these territories, he hires the professionals at The Stunning Agency to provide security. And at the end of the journey everyone celebrates with Flaming Squirrels.

Hack Stone

Who knew that it is already on the market. You can drink it straight or with a twist of lemon.


Ah, Blue State sanctuary cities– import the Third World, become the Third World:
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Hack Stone

The clerk at the Tennessee DMV is still pissed that someone slipped him a Canadian Quarter when he got his change at Starbucks.


I worked for many years with my brother in law, Dave O’Connor. We slip seated the same truck for the first four years. He ran the south end our route and I did the north end.
We also worked for three other major regional carriers here in the northeast. In addition to a CDL a hazmat endorsement was required for all of those jobs. They happily accepted his money and his fingerprints at each renewal of the hazmat endorsement. Never know when a mans fingerprints might change. In the nearly thirty years we worked at the same companies although at different terminals he had plenty of opportunity to cause sever havoc with a trailer load of hazardous cargo. Dave is a first class American and does not deserve this crap. Give the man his license and let him get on with the rest of his life.


Boo Row Rats…”No reason, it’s policy…NEXT!”


KOB you are all heart. You would make good DMV material.


I had a Soldier with a similar birth situation, but no paperwork headaches. He told me about his first day in an American school after doing first grade in Canada. Teacher asked him if he knew the National Anthem. He promptly belted out “O Canada”.

Hack Stone

Something like this?

A Proud Infidel®™

Never underestimate the stupidity of Bureaucrats.


^^^^ this^^^^

Just An Old Dog

My last tour on the Drill Field I had a call that one of our recruits was going to get discharged because he had no visa or Green Card and was a “Mexican Citizen”.
Got to My Office and had a lilly white kid who didn’t speak a word of Spanish sitting outside.
Turns out his Parents were vacationing In Mexico City and he was Born about 3 weeks Early. Mexican Birth Certificate. They didnt bother fixing it and he got booted.

Hack Stone

That should put him at the front of the line for a DEI hire.


Consular Report of Birth Abroad is what you apply for now. I’ve had coworkers who have had to do this since they were born in another country and their birth certificate wasn’t a valid form anymore. We had to get one for our son as well. Link for how to do this.


Just tell the IRS you’re not a U.S. citizen and don’t need to pay taxes. The IRS will quickly fix your citizenship problem.