Michael “Sonny” Smith; Fake Bronze Star, Fake Purple Heart, Fake service in Vietnam.

| October 16, 2018

The fine people over at militaryphony.com send us their case on  Sonny Smith who has been telling stories about his acts of daring-do while he was in Vietnam.

‘I Got Medals, But I’m No Hero’ – Vietnam veteran Sonny Smith finally shares his story

Most people who have seen him around town likely know that Sonny Smith, a 35-year resident of Eureka Springs, is a veteran. But only a small number of folks know the details of his war service, and those are the members of his American Legion Post No. 9.

The full story of the Vietnam War has yet to be told by anyone, he says, and some veterans are still reluctant to share their experiences.

But for the Lovely County Citizen’s Veterans Day commemoration, Smith decided to share his story in a typed letter:

M. Sonny Smith was born in Glendale, Calif., on Aug. 20, 1950.

After being drafted into the U.S. Army in August 1968 at the age of 18, and after basic combat training, field radio mechanic school and the U.S. Army Airborne Jump School, Smith was sent to Fort Bragg, N.C., headquarters of the 82nd Airborne Division, 3rd Brigade, Combat Team. There he was assigned to the 1/505 Parachute Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “The Panthers.”

He arrived at Fort Bragg in November 1968. A week later, he was off to Vietnam.

Smith was in Vietnam for 12 months and eight days, returning with his unit in December 1969. During his last four and half months in country, he got “volunteered” into becoming a helicopter door gunner, he says.

Sonny Smith, front row left, poses for a photo with members of his squad in Vietnam. Smith and the men in the top row left and right corners, were the only three who survived.

“My primary military occupational speciality (MOS) was a tactical communications, radio mechanic/operator,” he said. “One day this helicopter comes in and its radio is shot up, and they have a personnel casualty. I had to wait until they pulled the body out before I could hop in to work on the radio.

“Just as I started to open my tool box, the pilot takes off and the co-pilot threw a COMM (communications) helmet at me and says ‘Put it on and man the machine gun, you’re our new door gunner now. That dead guy they just pulled out of here was our last one.'”

Smith finished his tour of duty in Vietnam attached to the 1st Cavalry as a helicopter door gunner. Toward the end of his tour, while door gunning in a fire fight, he was hit in the leg by enemy ground fire and was later awarded the Purple Heart.

The whole story is published HERE.

His official military records tell us a different story.

The Army says he does not have a Purple Heart, Bronze Star or Jump Wings.  According to his records, he might be trying to pull a Dick.  Knock it off Sonny Smith.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (74)

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  1. Combat Historian says:

    Sonny Boy here done got himself into a world of hurt; lying about being a combat vet in a small town like Eureka Springs AR means his name is mud and he will be persona non grata…

    • Club Manager, USA ret. says:

      Hey all y’all, I was in the process of nailing this sonovabitch with the Legion Post when I noticed the article was from 2013, five years ago. Seems like Military Phonies would have exposed him locally then. Anyone know if he is still doing this stuff? I was with most of the Legion leadership in Arkansas yesterday at a DVA ceremony and they will deal with him if he is still around.

      • Club Manager, USA ret. says:

        Damn VA eyeglasses. It is 2018 and I am no him like a Democrat on fake news.

      • Zippo says:

        Who are you.. I provided the legion, and your newspaper Lovely Citizen all found info from The Govt and from the family members that outted him. Its pretty much a done deal.

  2. Combat Historian says:

    BTW, the photo purportedly of “Sonny Boy” in Viet of the Nam, is actually of a 101st Abn Div LRRP team that came from a book by one of the LRRP team members who wrote of his experience in Viet of the Nam. Sonny Boy ripped off the photo from the book and claims it as his own…

    • ex-OS2 says:

      Thank you for that, I was curious about the photo.

    • Claw says:

      Is that Linderer’s picture?

      Cause I’m thinking that’s Linderer in the front row left.

      • Combat Historian says:

        Claw, I’m fairly certain it is Linderer’s picture…

        • Dane says:

          Please.. What is name of book that photo was in.. I am the person that reported and broke all the info on this POS… Thanks

          • Claw says:

            “What is name of book”

            Sorry, can’t help you. Gary Linderer wrote five books on LRRP/Ranger operations in Vietnam. My guess is you would have to get ahold of all five and just start looking.

            Google-Fu is your friend when it comes to the names of the books.

  3. OWB says:

    What a disgusting PoS.

  4. The Stranger says:

    8 Year PFC? Oh boy…

  5. Daisy Cutter says:

    “I got medals, but I’m no hero”

    Ironically, this statement is absolutely true.

    • Mason says:

      Except he doesn’t have any medals, just a single ribbon. 😉

      • Hondo says:

        Oh, he physically has a BSM and a PH.

        Then again, Medals of America (and any number of other vendors) will sell them to pretty much anyone.

        • Daisy Cutter says:

          Exactly. He’s *got* them, he just didn’t *earn* them.

          “It’s such a fine line between clever and stupid.” — Spinal Tap

  6. Comm Center Rat says:

    So Sonny and Lil’ Dick Blumenthal both had boots on the ground in Vietnam? Yeah, and Slick Willy really “didn’t have sexual relations with that woman…” Come on Sonny, cherish your coveted Army Service Ribbon!

  7. Tallywhagger says:

    His 214 shows that he joined in December, 1975. I don’t think he was drafted in 1975. Then, he is sort of special so anything might have happened.

    Henceforth, Sonnyboy Smith will be known for the content of his character.

  8. bombstopr says:

    He is the Sgt. at Arms of the Walker-Wilson American Legion Post #9 of Eureka Springs according to this article he wrote: http://eureka.news/feelings-on-respect/. Here is their FB page. https://www.facebook.com/EurekaSprings4thOfJulyParade/posts/the-american-legion-walker-wilson-post-9-of-eureka-springs-would-like-to-thank-s/491270894283561/

    • bombstopr says:

      Sorry, that’s not the FB page of the American Legion post. This is it: https://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Legion-Post-9/244748582399774

    • Post9 says:

      I’m just finding out about a lot of these comments. I am the commander of American Legion Post 9 in Eureka Springs Arkansas. I only found out about all of this about 4 days ago. I want to apologize to everyone. Michael Sonny Smith is a liar from the word go. The lies that he is built are now starting to crash down around him. We at Post 9 do not support this at all! We are sorry to all of our fellow Veterans for any inconvenience that this man has caused! Please accept our most sincere apologies! He is no longer part of our post. Continue with the comments because everything he said is a lie! He even wrote a book. The person that turned him in 2 fake Warrior Project and to military phonies was his own brother-in-law who is a veteran himself. I have talked to this veteran myself. The stories he tells in the newspaper article are his brother-in-law stories.

  9. 26Limabeans says:

    Wasn’t there a similar guy a while back that was “commandered” to be a door gunner?
    They make the best one’s.
    Like the guy that saved the day when the pilot was hit. Jumped forward and took over the controls.

    • Just An Old Dog says:

      Forgin’ Frank Visconti claimed to have been forced to be a door gunner. He forged a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Certificate and tried to sue the USMC.
      It got tossed out of course, He claimed SSgt as well.
      He was a Supply Sergeant who did a one year tour in 65-66.

  10. M48DAT says:

    I work with and volunteer with a lot of legitimate combat vets and I truly believe that people like this have some form of mental illness.

    • OWB says:

      You are not the only one with that opinion.

      Liars gonna lie, but seriously? Someone with actual military service embellishing like this? Makes no sense at all to sane people.

    • Wilted Willy says:

      I agree with you, my pos brother is bat shit crazy!

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        The guy was a drunk and a loser. This was his opportunity to recreate himself and he took it. Of course, it’s back to square one now.

        • 26Limabeans says:

          I was hoping to hear a shocked acquaintance chime in.

          • Judy Ramsey says:

            You ask for a shocked acquaintance. I was married to this horrible person for a short time. He was put back in the army in 1979 because he was in the National Guard but stopped going to the meetings. He was sent to Ft. Bragg and then to Ft. Lewis. I divorced him because I was tired of being used as a punching bag when he was drunk. He hated the army that was his excuse for drinking or at least one of them.

  11. Skyjumper says:


    Was he Army National Guard after Basic
    (12 March 1976 thru 24 August 1976) and then served in the Guards from 25 August 1976 thru 26 June 1980? Then entered Active from 27 June 1980 thru 1 July 1983?

    Appears he was also in Korea 3 March 1982 thru
    18 May 1982.

    No GCM for three years active?
    Guessing he stepped on it somewheres along the line, hence the PFC. rank.

    Bronze Star box looks like old issue but the Purple Heart box looks like new issue.

    According to him, he earned the BS for valor.
    Soooooo, where is the “V” device?

    “……Smith assaulted the hostile gun position, killing the enemy gun crew. More fighting ensued, and as a result, his platoon was able to move forward and eliminate the enemy positions. For his actions there, Smith was awarded the Bronze Star.”

    This guy is so full of shit, somebody might just mistake him for a used colostomy bag.

    • Hondo says:

      No GCM for three years active?
      Guessing he stepped on it somewheres along the line, hence the PFC. rank.

      I’d guess you’re right.

      My theory is that he’s a ARNG soldier who signed up for 3 years active duty during the height of that “wonderful” Carter-era economic stagflation. However, the dates for his second period of active duty service indicate 3 years and 5 days – and his date of REFRAD is 1 July, which is before and not after a holiday weekend.

      Kinda looks to me like he had to make up 5 days lost time before he was discharged. But I could be wrong about that.

    • Claw says:

      Doesn’t look like he ever made it to Korea.

      The way I read the 2-1 entries is he flunked out of the additional schooling at Fort Belvoir he went TDY in route for and was returned to Fort Lewis.

      I guess that’s one way of getting out of an overseas assignment, just flunk out of school./smile

  12. 26Limabeans says:

    “The war wasn’t like what I had learned in basic training”

    What fuckin war was that Sonny?
    Damn near everything I learned in Basic came in handy while in Vietnam of the Nam.
    WTF did your DI lie to you? Did he not explain all about how Charlie gonna get ya?
    I’m pretty sure your DI was no pussy like you.

  13. MCPO NYC USN Ret. says:

    Argh … door gunner.

    The last one even …

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      That account of his was all I needed to conclude that he is nothing but absolute bullshit.
      “Just as I started to open my tool box, the pilot takes off and the co-pilot threw a COMM (communications) helmet at me and says ‘Put it on and man the machine gun, you’re our new door gunner now. That dead guy they just pulled out of here was our last one.’”

      • Mick says:

        Yup. Complete bullshit.

        Just pick up that M-60, stand out on the skid, and start blasting away at the cyclic rate. No need for any training on air-to-ground gunnery from a moving aircraft, on how not to fire through the main rotor arc during steep turns, how to not to fire towards other aircraft in the formation or in the LZ, etc.

        — sigh —

        Instant door gunner. Happens all the time.

        • Poetrooper says:

          You mean all that wasn’t included in his Refrigeration Specialist training?

          Go figure…

        • Skyjumper says:

          Yea Mick, with the “pizza box” he was awarded for his rifle qualification, he definitely would need all the help he could get. Dumb Azzzz!!

      • Mr. Pete says:

        I read shit like that and it make me sick. What crap

    • LIright47 says:

      MCPO, how are you and your family? Well, I hope.

      I EARNED my CIB, Purple Heart, BS with “V” and E-5 in 17 months the hard way.

      Yeah…I EARNED it! Godammit – I fricken EARNED it like many of us here!

      I hate these scumbags!

      To prove the aforementioned I sent my DD214/215 to Jonn – God Rest His Soul.

      • LIright47 says:

        One more thing…

        “No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.” – Calvin Coolidge

      • Duane says:

        I think the biggest difference is that most people that have earned a PH are very, very quiet about it and prefer to talk about a whole lot of other subjects instead. This assclown makes it the center point of his writings – a dead giveaway in my mind. We need some kind of meeting where the true people like you can have 5 minutes in a secure area with these posers!

  14. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    About the only part of his account that strikes me as credible is that he was a drunk.

    • OWB says:

      That, and the quote about his imaginary war not being like what he learned in basic – the real one. That probably wasn’t intended, but it bears some resemblance to the real world.

    • Debbie Freeman says:

      I lived in Eureka Spring from 1988 to 1995. I knew Sonny, and yes, he was always drunk. And mostly homeless. I’ve seen pictures of him in his Army shirts on his motorcycle. Nice bike. How does a drunk homeless guy afford such a nice bike and leather? Why, write a book about his Vietnam adventures, of course. The publisher of that book should sue for their money back.

  15. Sparks says:

    Shit stained clown.

    • LIright47 says:

      Hey, Sparks… there are some honorable Clowns out there – but this asshole ain’t one of them.


  16. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    He was in the wrong specialty to be a door gunner (Wireman)… only supply guys can be door gunners!

    Just as Frank Visconti!

  17. Claw says:

    Born on 20 Aug 1950? I’m thinking more like 20 Aug 1956 or 1957.

    But I digress. Having a birthday of 20 Aug 1950 would have yielded him Draft Lottery # 344 and most certainly he would not have been drafted and inducted in the same month he turned 18 years old.

    Wire Dog to Door Gunner to Commo Van Air Conditioning Electrician to Shit Bird. What a career progression./smile

  18. rgr769 says:

    Ooh, ooh, a wire dog cum reefer specialist fake Vietnam of the Nam combat veteran. These fake “I was there” guys always check the same boxes. They were always “in the shit” (heavy combat) in infantry units and end their fake tour as a door gunner. Someone shoul break the news to him that the only US troops over there who wore tiger stripe camp fatigues were on recon teams.

  19. sj says:

    He says he signed into the 3/82nd at Bragg in Nov ’68. That would be a good trick since the 3/82nd was in Viet of the Nam almost all of ’68, including Nov. I know. I was in the 3/82nd in ’68 and we were in VN.

    • Combat Historian says:

      He was so eager to serve with the 82d in VN that he went AWOL and stowed away on a Pan Am reppel-deppel 707 just so he can report to 3/82 in northern I Corps in person? (sarc)

      Dates and places, it gets ’em every time…

  20. Ex-PH2 says:

    Gee whiz. These story mongerers should learn that there are certain things that give away their fakey-fake stuff, especially photographs from the past in which they were not included.
    One of these things is that facial features don’t really change a lot over time, even when you gain or lose weight. You will still look like you and the ID photo with the mustache looks nothing like the guy on the left in the front row of that bunch of tiger stripes.

    I do wish they’d stop doing this. It fools no one and makes them look stupid when they’re found out. If this dorky bimp was born in 1950 and wanted to “go to war”, then he was old enough to sign up on his own, even if he didn’t get a draft notice. And even if he was born in 1953 instead, he could still have volunteered in 1971.

    What a numbskull, dull-witted twatwaffle.

    The herd does seem to be thinning out, though. Maybe the wannabes are finding out they get found out quite easily and have to retreat.

  21. HMC Ret says:

    Well, dingus, you live in a town of 2100 people where I’m thinking everyone knows everyone. Soon as two people from there read this, you’re dead meat. The news will spread like wildfire and within a month I’m thinking the vast majority of the population will know. Better slap some paint on your house cause you’re going to have to sell it and beat feet. Welcome to your newfound friend, Google. You are one dumbass.

  22. 1stCavRVN11B says:

    Yep. He had to throw in that he was attached to the 1st Cav too. What a scumbag. Try her s ass! The wannabe herd may be thinning out a bit, but they’re still many out there.

  23. Claw says:

    News Flash!!

    This tool already has a commercially produced grave stone in the IOOF Cemetery in Eureka Springs (Found on Find-A-Grave), Plot Blk 52, Lot 31.

    It lists his name, DOB of 20 Aug 1950 and blank death date.

    But it also has carved in stone:


    So, don’t really know if he is dead yet, but he sure has it all set up to take his lies to the grave.

    • Claw says:

      But what really pissed me off on this is that there is one of those round copper/brass flag holders with “Vietnam Service” stuck in the ground in front of the gravestone.

      Even though the story in the article is over five years old, “Sonny” Smith hasn’t gotten near enough love yet for riding on the backs of Vietnam vets.

      Damned Coward.

  24. stewburner says:

    For all you Nam vets, we had the moving WALL in Murrysville Pa 15668 last Wed-Sun. On Sat we did a ceremony Honoring the fallen, fired 3 volleys -Attending Westmoreland, Fayette counties VVI and the Marines. PS and of course on Sat Bill (USAF-71-Nam) was talking to ——-who directed all artillery in Vietnam, oh yes – he was up north and it was classified. This was done at the moving WALL.

    • Hondo says:

      Doesn’t surprise me one bit, stewburner.

      During the 1980s, there was a famous photo of the weeping “vet” wearing a boonie hat with his cheek pressed up against the Wall in DC. The photo was later checked – if I remember correctly, by B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley when they wrote Stolen Valor.

      If I recall correctly, the “vet” in that photo was found to have never served in the military.

  25. 5th/77th FA says:

    Hey Michael “Sonny” Smith. How does it feel to be a lying, embellishing, piece of shit, low life scumbag? Is that Google fame kicking in for you? Have all the good folks in your home town got the word by now? Cocksucker! Good to know where your future grave sit is; be easier to place the pitot tube. ESAD Bitch!

  26. Mike evans says:

    Most every one I’ve met in Eureka was with the 101st airborne. I must’ve been the only grunt in the army. So muchbullshit.

  27. AnotherPat says:

    Sheesh…Some people..You be the Judge:

    Updated Story about Michael “Sonny” Smith:

    “Stolen Valor? Local Veteran Accused of Lying About Vietnam Service”:


  28. Bugstomper says:

    This alky, coward shitbag has one of those faces that begs to be punched and shit in.