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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Only TAH can give such an epic ‘apology’

I paean your skills at saying so much and meaning exactly the opposite


Crap, I was in Bosnia the same time that he was, but he managed to snake a gig at the NOTO HQ in Butmir, where there were all kinds of international chicks and all of the NATO countries in theater had bars. My boss would send us on mini R&R runs there once a month to “liaise” with the NATO G3 staff and the Carabinieri. My life at Eagle Base was by no means difficult, but the guys at Butmir were living large. The only ones who had it better were the guys in Hungary who would run into Bosnia on the last day of the month and return the first day of the next month to ensure that they got the combat pay and tax exempt for their entire Hungary deployment.


Even in my lackluster and shortlived career I was awarded 6 times the number of individual awards as that asshat…how in the hell he ever remained in the Military given his polygomy is beyond me. No background checks were done? Ever??


Oh…it’s not “PEE ON”….which I was SO prepared to Volunteer to take on for the TAH team.
/my bad.


Wow…is there something in the water in Utah (or Yooo-TAR as Karl Malone would say) that makes such epic douchetardery a way of life in the Beehive State? I apologize to the TAH folks from there, but still, you gotta admit you’re a bit outnumbered by assclowns like Potter.

In a perfect world, this guy would have been a 3X non-select for First Lieutenant.


He actually lives in Wyoming now I believe. Maybe MOntana, but I think it is Wyoming.


Please, no, TSO. Don’t tell me that. If I ever tire of the environs of New Hampshire, I’m going back to WY. WEST of the divide, however. The plains section of WY is okay, but nothing like living in a town where the elevation is 5X higher than the population count.


Sparky, I haven’t made it to Wyoming yet, so when you go, let me know.

My favorite states in order right now are Montana, Alaska, Arizona, New Hampshire, Iowa.

But I have yet to visit, WY, ID, OR and AR. I suspect that at least 2 of those will crack my Top 5.


I’d actually take WY over MT. I lived long enough in southeastern ID as a kid to know it’s as clannish as anyplace in Appalachia, so there’s that.

But MT has hellacious state income taxes. You’re better off with WY. Besides, get a place in Cody so you have a front row seat when the Yellowstone caldera goes off.


@9, dude, that is my favorite way to go out in an apocalypse. I’m utterly (creepily) fascinated by it.


@6 I hope it’s Wyoming. We don’t need that here.

Frankly Opinionated

Looks to me like this guy was a “DDD”, (Desk Driving Dummy).

Old Tanker

6 ribbons in 28 years talk about high drag, low speed!!! Good grief, I had 7 after 3 years….none were all that impressive but DAYUM!


I kept reading ‘pee on’, too.

An eloquent, and well-deserved untribute to a thoroughly undeserving horndog.


Gaackk! ‘undeserving’ was supposed to be ‘deserving’. My bad.


Well, damn! Could it be that even during my less-than-stellar military career, I was awarded 11 times more individual awards (5@ARCOMs, 4@AAMs, 1@ TX Medal of Merit, 1@ TX Adjutant General’s Individual Award) than this “Piecrust Colonel”?

I’m just a staff puke whose unit was not mobilized for combat. I did honorable service prepping for the “Fulda Gap Live Fire Exercise” that was cancelled in 1991.

Jeeze. Some people!


I’d like to know how long he was in Bosnia. Even a mouth breathing chimp wearing an oak leaf on his collar was going to get a JSAM out of a few months there.


Nut jobs can rise in rank…especially one weekend a month and transfers here and there.

B Woodman

TAH Legal Team
I bow to your oratory munificence. “We’re not worthy.”
So, paean => pee-on.

#5 NHSparky
Not all residents of You-tar are such epic examples of douch-baggery. Most people are decent & civilized, just want to live their own lives without gubbment interference and snoopery. But I will admit, we are, at times, unique.
As a side unique note, I dare you, without looking it up first, to properly pronounce the name of the town “Toole”.

B Woodman

#16 Maj Mike
Thx for the memories of Neurnberg, Germany and the 2ACR.


I’m a lowley SFC with 10 years less service than him and have more AAMs than he does awards. Heck I had more individual awards than him as a PFC. It baffles the mind how one could go that long without recieving one.


Tooele is pronounced ‘too-il-a. Been there and is sucks big time.


@19 – I will match your bet, and correct your spelling: Tooele

But I don’t think that correction will help anyone say it correctly. Or another You-Tar town nearby: Eureka. (You think you know how to pronounce that word… well not in You-Tar you don’t!)


so this is why I notice a pronounced gap between some postings. someone had to sit at the computer and pound out this 12 page essay and make sure to have documentation for all facts sighted. truly bulletproof writing. do you guys offer free prenups to 19 y/o joes looking to marry the local tag chasers?

Al T.

Two guys of the same rank and general back ground were with me in Iraq. Right after I got there two other USAR LTC’s were given GO level Article-15s, 15k fines and sent home. Lots of non-qualified guys at that rank who played paper games to get promoted…..

MAJMike, me too. Lots of time playing in the mud at Graf, Wildchicken and especially, Hohenfels. 1st AD here…


My excuse for lack of fruit salad was a Battalion Admin Officer who hated me, what the fuck was his problem?


Once again, great writing, but what else would/could I expect from the staff and contributors at these here pages. I also appreciated the inclusion of clickable sound clips. Perhaps they could be utilized on a more frequent basis in future posts to assist those who 1) Visit these pages regularly and 2) Are literacy impaired (e.g., Ronald Mailahn Jr.)?


B–see above. I’ve lived in Price and Helper, and just across the border in Montpelier and Dingle. My dad had a place for a while in Soda Springs. I went to prototype in Idaho Falls. I’ve also spent time in SE WY (Green River/Rock Springs area) as well as Gillette. Yeah, such is life when dad is a construction worker.

Believe me, I was not disparaging all Utahns, but you got to get the feeling sometimes that you might have a few more poser douchetools than normal for the population. Just sayin.

AW1 Tim

I grew up in Hyrum, in Cache County. Learned to never assume that a name was pronounced logically. For example, Weber State is “WEEber” go figure. And Cache is pronounced “cash” not |cash-ay”. Again, go figure.

Utah is a beautiful state but I don’t know if I could ever live back there again. My area where I grew up has been discovered and is infested with Californians now. Also, the valley is full of craptacular housing developments and as such is having some serious water & sewer problems. But hey….


Tim–you just also described Boulder, Santa Fe, Taos, Boise, Jerome, and a whole host of other places within a two day drive of CA. People to fucking nutty for CA moving on and spreading teh crazee elsewhere.

Club Manager

I spent some time on the other side of the mountain from Tooele (pronounced too-well-ah) at Dugway Proving Ground as a DAC 89′-96′ In 79′ there were chem weapons in the Tooele igloos and any jack off dumb enough to mess with anything foreign near one of them without calling in EOD should have been shot at dawn. But more to the point of how this jack off achieved the rank of LTC and held onto it became clear to me during that tour. I apologize up front and know this will catch heat but jack off is of the Mormon faith. One thing I learned (the hard way for doing my job conscientiously) is Mormon’s will protect their own despite their incompetence or short comings. So it would be a combined case of his religion and the Peter Principal while assigned to Reserve component units comprised of senior officers of his own religion. I had an incompetent GS-11 working for me and my boss, a senior Mormon leader, let me know in plain language to leave him alone. I did and my life became significantly easier until I could wrangle a transfer the hell out of there. The vast majority of Mormons I knew were great people but they take care of their own which is really not a bad thing. Suffice to say jack off was protected but not to the extent of receiving awards that competent officers receive. At least that says something positive about those protecting… Read more »

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Come on now, paean is a noun not a verb boys. Thus, you can state; “you are writing this paean to/of his awesome abilities” but not, “you will paean his awesome abilities”

I think the word you want is the old English word poupen which means to sound a horn or blow such as when a Noble enters a room…used in the following fashion:

“The horn poupen at Lord Nelson’s arrival.”


“We poupen your great contributions to the advancement of society.”

I am sorry that’s as witty as I get today….


Club Manager: I’m curious, having lived in the US SW but not in a place where the “stakes” were quite as high as in Utah. (smile) Would the fact that the Mormon Church had reportedly excommunicated him have made any difference?


VOV: au contraire, mon frère. Paean may also be used as a transitive verb (“to paean”) meaning “to praise”. See


Way to go, Kareem!

I left in ’99 an O-3 after 12 years, 10 mos and 17 days of service and even I had two ARCOMs. Seriously, what did this guy do?


I’m quite fluent in Utah-ese. Our next word is “Mantua”.

Veritas Omnia Vincit

@34 Well now based on that definition I guess you could paean or poupen Mr. Potter’s achievements to the limits of your heart’s desire….


VOV: sounds like a plan to me . . . . (smile)

Veritas Omnia Vincit

Some chili dogs washed down with a nice cold Sam Adam’s summer ale would get things off to a great start….


“And Cache is pronounced “cash” not |cash-ay””…that’s how it’s pronounced everywhere but the Army

cache [kash] Show IPA noun, verb, cached, cach·ing.
a hiding place, especially one in the ground, for ammunition, food, treasures, etc.: She hid her jewelry in a little cache in the cellar.

Native Utahan here, anyone want to take a guess how we pronounce “Koosharem”, “Duchesne”, “Kanab”, or “Hurricane”? No joke, Hurricane is pronounced differently here.


Sorry, #27 was me and not a sock-puppet.


Doo-Shayne, Ka-NAB, etc.

Sorry, but Utah pronunciations have NOTHING on MA ones. Worcester, Leominster, Athol, Barnstable, Harwich, Berlin, Leicester…and the list goes on, and on, and on…


EVERY place has it’s local quirks when it comes to oddly-pronounced place names. Try Georgia (Buena Vista, Martinez) or Alabama (Madrid). Or Louisiana.


Every one of these “awards” was for “I was alive in 2005”; fog a mirror, cast a shadow, get an ARCAM………not a single award for achievement.

When I was at OBC 28 years ago, the two LTs who sang in the Company G chorus at FT Huachuca got AAMS!


Most of the states enumerated above are lovely…sadly, unfortunately they are also inhabited (and therein lies the rub.) Lotsa nice states rined by their inhabitants.

Want to say it was red dust for Hohenfels and white for Graf and Vilseck – that sound right? Been 30 years and a few brain cells have gone south (with some help.)

B Woodman

#45 David
I can’t speak to Hohenfels, but yes, Graf was “the land of always white – mud, dust or snow”.

#28 NHSparky. Yes, we You-tar’ans do have a few REALLY REALLY odd nutjobs. And they just happen to stick out worse then the general population. Hence the perception of more then the usual.

#13 Club Manager
If this LTC Royston Potter is an out-of-the-closet polygamist, then I can guarantee that he is NOT a member of the MORMON church. He (may/may not) be a member of the Reorganized Church or some other Mormon splinter group. As soon as this douchebag was known to be a polygamist, any worthwhile Bishop of whatever Ward area he was living in would have started ex-communication proceedings. No joke. We take this shit seriously.


Being a former Marine grunt I have to ask, what are merit awards?

Club Manager

Hondo, I would venture a guess it would have depended on when they tossed his sorry ass out of that Church. And perhaps more important, who knew about it. I’ve not kept up on this particular dirt bag but have to figure he was ex-communicated. I think Woodman nailed it with his observation, but again it is the timing. But I have to respectfully disagree that polygamy would automatically get someone booted, there are Bishops, then there are Bishops. I started a rumor at Dugway (where military and civilians lived in post housing) in about 95′ that the polygamists were housed in the larger family units on the West-side of the housing area so they didn’t have to mix with the military and regular families. Needless to say it was not appreciated by some. On a serious note, there were polygamist towns between Dugway and the Nevada line that the state didn’t show much interest in.


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


FFS, I hope to God I never do anything on this Earth to deserve an apology from ya’ll.