An Apology to Royston Edward Potter, Self-Acknowledged Polygamist and Reservist Extraordinaire

| May 21, 2013

Lest you forget who Royston Potter is, here he is talking about his awesome military records:

This came to the fore because he believes that the Boston Bombing was perpetrated by unknown special operators:

In a previous article, we at This Ain’t Hell have questioned the military background and credentials of Royston Edward Potter.  Due to his admitted background as a self-acknowledged polygamist who went public, was fired from his job as a police officer as a result, and even took the State of Utah to Federal court in a challenge to Utah’s bigamy laws (where he lost), we were reluctant to believe that he actually was a military retiree.

We were wrong.  We have received a reply to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC), in Saint Louis, Missouri.  They are the official repository for all records of Federal military service.  If the records aren’t there, well, there’s no record of it happening – so it probably didn’t happen in Federal military service.

We wish to state, for the record, that per information releasable under the FOIA from your official records on file at NPRC, Royston Edward Potter is indeed a retired LTC, US Army Reserve.  And his career is simply amazing.

In 28 years combined Active and Reserve Component service, according to his official military records on file at NPRC, he even received medals.  He has the Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal; the National Defense Service Medal, for serving on Active Duty after 11 September 2001; the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, for a tour in Bosnia (the same tour for which he received the National Defense Service Medal); and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Bronze Hourglass and “M-device”, also received for his tour in Bosnia (we presume the first listing for the AFRM on his FOIA reply indicates receipt of the medal for performing 10 years of qualifying Reserve Component service in a 12 year period).  He also rates the Army Reserve Components Overseas Ribbon – indicating he performed Reserve training in an overseas location, probably Japan, and the Army Service Ribbon.

That’s it.  Per his official records, Potter received absolutely no personal decorations for merit or valor whatsoever, not even an Army or Joint Achievement Medal.  All items on his massive and hugely impressive rack of six (6) total ribbons are for service vice meritorious performance or valor – what one might call “been there” badges, were one inclined to do use that term.

Yea, verily, that is correct:  Royston Edward Potter’s highest decoration is the Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal.  That is the Army Reserve and Army National Guard rough equivalent of the Good Conduct Medal for the Selected Reserve, except that officers are also eligible to receive it.  Receiving it requires nothing more than serving in a Troop Program Unit (TPU) or Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) position for either 3 or 4 consecutive years (depending on the date), provided said years qualify for Reserve Retirement and the soldier’s disciplinary record is clean.  See paragraphs 4-14 and 4-18 of AR 600-8-22 for the specific eligibility criteria.

In our experience, this may be a rare if not singular and unique achievement.  I have personally never before heard of anyone retiring after a 28-year career with no personal decorations whatsoever – not even an Achievement Medal.  And certainly not one who retired at the exalted rank of Lieutenant Colonel!

We therefore humbly beg your forgiveness, Royston Edward Potter – oh most exalted and talented retired LTC with no decorations for merit or valor and no deployments to combat or a bona fide designated combat zone.  (Bosnia was designated by Congress as a Qualified Hazardous Duty Area, to be treated as if it were a combat zone, by PL 104-117; it was never designated a Combat Zone by DoD.)

And now, we shall paean (audio here) the details of your greatness.

  • We paean your ability to serve in such an arduous, dangerous, and austere location as Fort Ord, California, as your first permanent duty assignment as a 2LT.  The Monterrey Peninsula is truly a hellish place, and we laud your ability to tolerate such a hellhole for a first PCS assignment.
  • As a budding young polygamist extremely interested in chasing tail and spreading your seed, we paean your ability to wrangle a transfer to Tooele Army Depot, UT.  The horror – such a remote and again hellish location, in country that was so immensely and uniformly hostile to your chosen way of life.
  • We  paean your ability to be involved in an incident involving a fake bomb found on Tooele Army Depot  (the article is on pages B1 and B5) less than a year before you were released from active duty (REFRAD) on completing your initial post-ROTC Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO).
  • We paean your leaving active duty after exactly completing the ADSO associated with your ROTC scholarship at BYU.
  • We  paean your ability to tolerate over 3 1/2 long and arduous years on active duty as a Military Police officer during peacetime at the above hardship duty locations in CONUS between Oct 1976 and July 1980.  And we paean your selfless service and consideration for others in allowing all personal decorations and medals awarded in the entire US Army during that period to be awarded to others, taking none for yourself.
  • We laud your desire to continue service, as evidenced by your apparent entry into a Reserve Component unit (likely National Guard) on your REFRAD.  And we paean your ability to find a unit that would overlook the fact that your very publicly-claimed status as a polygamist was at the time a crime under the laws of every state in the US.  And yes, we’re relatively sure that the guy in that photo is indeed the same person; in this photo, the individual from the above 1983 photo is compared side by side with a photo from Potter’s current web site.  Plus, there’s this from one Jeffrey Needle of the “Association of Mormon Letters”.
  • We paean you for your ability to withstand the horror of being fired from your job as a police officer – an individual responsible for enforcing the law – when it was discovered by your employer that  you were yourself openly violating Utah’s bigamy laws.
  • We paean you having the chutzpah to publicly declare that you were a polygamist – and thus a self-admitted criminal under the laws of the State of Utah – in 1983.  We further paean your decision to take the State of Utah to Federal court in a challenge of these laws.  We paean your ability to avoid prosecution for these publicly-admitted violations of the laws of the State of Utah.  And we truly paean your decision to attempt to make a buck from this losing battle with the laws of the State of Utah by writing apparently not one but two books about yourself:  your 1986 book, An Offender For a Word: The Polygamy Case of Royston Potter vs. Murray City, et. Al, and your 1996 book, I Wed Three Wives.
  • We paean your ability to find a Reserve or National Guard unit that was so clueless that it missed all of your legal troubles and did not give you the proverbial “bum’s rush”.  Or, alternatively, we paean your ability to find a unit that knew, but didn’t give a damn – or perhaps your ability to find a significant patron who provided you protection and proverbial “top cover”.
  • We paean your ability to attend resident US Command and General Staff College, even though that does not appear in your official military records as Federal active duty military service.   (Completion of the school itself is listed in your records at NPRC, however.)  We suspect we should paean you for convincing a state to send you to CGSC on state vice Federal active duty as a member of the National Guard.  We’re still waiting for an answer on that one.  Maybe the answer will be in the reply to one of several National Guard FOIAs submitted about you but for which we have not yet received a reply.
  • We paean your ability  to find what appear to be Individual Mobilization Augmentee (IMA) assignments in non-leadership staff positions at USSOUTHCOM and US Forces Japan (see the last page of the FOIA reply provided by NPRC that’s linked above).  And we laud your ability to wrangle at least one annual training tour with each.  Hey, if you want to travel and see the world – why not let Uncle Sam pay for it?   Especially since such assignments are generally duty at a major HQ, presumably in garrison and/or with non-availability and per diem, in a place that often would cost “big bucks” if you went there on your own nickel.
  • We paean your ability to talk your way into an Intel Officer staff assignment at SOUTCOM, even though the information received from NPRC linked above shows no formal military education as an Intelligence Officer.
  • We paean your ability (and luck) to have been considered and selected by the last US Army Reserve LTC board (FY 1996 APL, if we’ve done the year conversions correctly) operating under the old USAR promotion criteria of “fully qualified’ vice the “best qualified” criteria that were used the following and subsequent years.  (Follow this link, select 104th Congress, and  enter “PN924-104” – without quotes – as the search term).  Under “fully qualified” selection criteria, you really didn’t need to sweat being promoted.  You were educationally qualified (50% CGSC completion was the educational requirement, which was the normal “biggie” that prevented promotion under those criteria – and you’d completed the whole course).  So barring severe derogatory information in your file you were a virtual “shoo-in” for selection.
  • We commend your willingness to serve again on active duty after 9/11.  And we paean your volunteering for safe duty in Bosnia in late 2001 – early 2002 (see the linked FOIA response) vice at other times, with units slated for deployment to Iraq, Afghanistan , or other locations in SWA in support of either of those conflicts.
  • We paean your ability to manage to serve less than 6 months total on active duty when you went to Bosnia in 2001-2002.  And we really paean the fact that (given the time taken by pre-deployment training, post-deployment out-processing, and terminal leave) you likely served less than 5 months in-country.
  • We also paean your selfless nature in leaving Bosnia without an end-of-tour award, leaving all of those to be given to others.  Per your official records on file at NPRC, all you appear to have received for your efforts there was the AFEM awarded to all who served there 30 days or more, the NDSM for serving on active duty, and the letter “M” to put on your AFRM.  Plus pay, allowances, tax breaks, and an OER, of course.
  • We paean your ability to convince the gullible fools at InfoWars – and many naive readers of that loony-bin site – that you are some kind of “secret squirrel military expert”.  Not many persons alive could parlay a 28-year career with absolutely no documented deployments to bona fide combat (or even to any locations having active hostilities) – or even anything that appears to be truly meaningful duty – that they were some form of military “savant”.
  • We truly want to paean your literary, acting, and directing abilities.  Not many persons could write a book so incomprehensibly bad – and which makes such a bizarre interpretation of the Bible – that even Bible-thumping fundamentalists laugh at it vice getting angry, then make a movie about same that was even worse and even more laughable.  (Yes, we’re talking about The Crimson Thread.  We don’t, however, suggest you give Mohammed and the Koran the same treatment in some future book or film as you did Jesus of Nazareth and the Bible.  Muslim fundamentalists reputedly have little or no sense of humor about such things).
  • We truly paean your ability create your own YouTube channel with at least 10 regular viewers who actually think you are some type of military expert based solely on a 28-year military career that, per information received from your Federal records on-file at NPRC, had no combat-zone service whatsoever.
  •  We paean your video here, which makes claims of wartime service.  And we also paean your video here, where you claim to have provided documents to an Internet personality – specifically, a DD214 and a set of orders purporting to show an assignment to the Pentagon – as evidence that you are a highly-cleared military expert of some sort.  (We most humbly suggest that releasing PII-redacted versions of these documents would be a good idea to silence your critics.) 
  •  But most of all, we paean your ability to serve stealthily 28 years in the Army (active and reserve), apparently do nothing noteworthy, apparently receive absolutely no decorations for merit or valor, and still “work the system” to the extent that you both attended CGSC in residence and got the 20 “good” years you needed to qualify for retirement from the USAR and receive that thoroughly well deserved USAR pension.


In summary:   we oh so truly want to paean you, oh Royston Edward Potter.  We bow down before you, and beg your forgiveness. We urge all readers of this website to paean you, and we promise to paean you even more on receipt of the replies to the various National Guard FOIAs concerning you that are currently outstanding if those replies indicate that would be apropos.

Category: Politics

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FatCircles0311: personal decorations (Achievement Medals, Commendation Medals, etc . . . ) are presented for one of 3 reasons:
(1) meritorious performance over time (AKA meritorious service) – most EOT awards,
(2) outstanding achievement (can be either a single act or a short period) not involving heroism – most “impact” awards, or
(3) an act of heroism (combat or noncombat).
Above, (1) and (2) appear to be lumped together as an award for “merit” and the term “valor” used for (3).

Several awards (MOH, Service Crosses, Silver Star, Soldiers/Airman’s/Navy and Marine Corps Medal) are awarded for heroism only. The others can be awarded for any of the (3) reasons listed above, though it’s my impression that some (DSMs, LOMs, MSMs, Achievment medals) are not almost never awarded for heroic acts.

John Robert Mallernee

Comrades in Arms:

I’m sorry, but I must be missing something here.

Why are you guys all ganging up and beating up on this guy?

You say he’s a retired Light Colonel from the United States Army, with documented overseas service and a handful of awards.

So, I don’t get it.

What has he done wrong?

How has he offended anyone?

You don’t agree with his religious beliefs?

He doesn’t have enough decorations?

Did he fraudulently embellish his service record?

I just can’t quite figure out what’s going on here, why you guys are piling on?

Thank you.

John Robert Mallernee
Armed Forces Retirement Home
Gulfport, Mississippi 39507


Mr. Mallernee-he has alleged that the Boston bombing was a “false flag” carried out by members of the Armed Forces, specifically special operations. He is a loon of the first order and he deserves to be exposed lest he is taken seriously.


49 Faith+1

I keep picturing Charlie Brown on Halloween. “I spent 28 years in the Army and all I got was a rock.”

LOL-plus he was married to Peppermint Patty, Lucy and Marcie.

You Blockhead!

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Maybe this Colonel Potter was actually in collaboration with Corporal Klinger and they were the ones responsible for bringing down Colonel Blake’s aircraft.

John Robert Mallernee

#55 Veritas Omnia Vincit wrote: “Maybe this Colonel Potter was actually in collaboration with Corporal Klinger and they were the ones responsible for bringing down Colonel Blake’s aircraft.”

GOOD one!

I was waiting for somebody to connect “Colonel Potter” to the “M*A*S*H” television series!


John Robert Mallernee: he’s passing himself off today as some sort of “military expert” and “war veteran” based on his military record. His actual records of Federal military service say he’s really neither. He’s got little bona fide military experience and zero time in an area with active hostilities.

In short, he’s deceiving the gullible by claiming to be something he’s not.

His ethics are IMO also questionable, and he’s a damned hypocrite. He was a cop charged with enforcing and upholding the law while openly engaging in criminal acts (polygamy), for goodness sake.

On a personal level, I don’t care much about his religious beliefs or how he lives his life. I do care when he starts making apparently false claims about his military record to get people to believe he’s some kind of “secret squirrel military expert” when he simply isn’t anything of the sort. And hypocrisy has always bothered me.