Straightening the Record

| May 21, 2019

This is an interesting story and it was a challenge for how to present it, so I’ll preface it by explaining what happened.

Military Phony had been asked to look into a news article published by The Mountaineer.  The story involved a man by the name of Billy Messer who claimed he survived alone in the jungles of Vietnam during the war by eating monkey meat and rattlesnakes.

Now, I’m not a wildlife biologist but I don’t think that rattlesnakes are indigenous to Vietnam, but then again pythons are not indigenous to Florida.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Messer claimed he was a K-9 handler while in the bush and had to shoot his own dog, a task required of all K-9 handlers, so as to not bring diseases back to the states.

Eating monkey meat and rattlesnakes may rank up there with drinking your own pee, but some of you with jungle training may be able to elaborate.

A few photos included in this article survived the article being pulled. Messer, who looks like Santa Claus, often adopts that persona around Christmas time.

In another unrelated story about county veterans, Bill Messer spoke in regard to Vietnam veterans coming home.


Anyway, Military Phony took on the case and ordered the FOIA on Bill Messer.  In the meantime, Mountaineer had pulled the story and it was no longer available on their website, but MP was able to pull it from a newspaper archive.

Still awaiting FOIA results and just this morning, the Mountaineer publishes an op-ed titled “Setting the Record Straight” which talks about inconsistencies in the story.

On one hand, the Stolen Valor community was not able to lead with the story but on the other hand – the news organization correcting their own story without being called out is not only refreshing, but how it should be.

I wish other news organizations would follow suit.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Alone in the Jungles of Vietnam

The issues highlighted to us about the original article are as follows:

” * His claims he was in the jungle alone for months at a time with just a dog, having to kill and eat monkeys and snakes.
  * His claims he was put into Special Forces the day he enlisted based just on test scores, and sent directly to Special Forces training.
  * The cliche stories of being spit on when his plane landed back in the US and of shooting a kid.
  * His award documents shown are for a PFC who was in 1st Cav, not an NCO in Special Forces.  Assuming they are legit.
  * The award in the shadow box he claims was presented by Jimmy Carter at the White House is actually a 1989 White House Christmas Ornament.  (It even says 1989 on the scroll on the bottom.)
  * His inability to actually call the other awards in his shadow box by the correct names in the video
  * Among other things.”
Although these concerns raised a few eyebrows, MP is still trying to confirm and awaiting on the NPRC results – hopefully, back today or tomorrow.



Category: Army, Viet Nam

Comments (149)

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  1. This guy could be in a Mess, er, I mean in a mess of trouble if his story is untrue.

  2. Andy11M says:

    Hmmmm, a 1st Cav patch with a SF unit crest? Yeah… And whats that large pin with what looks like the Seal of the office of the President? Doesn’t quite look like the one the Staff officers wear.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Air Medal and Silver Star.
      This guy doesn’t monkey around.

    • Steve Balm says:

      I’m informed that that item is a White House ornament. The person that told me has one exactly like it and said it is given away by the inscription.

      • Andy11M says:

        Ornament…like, a Christmas tree ornament? Well now, that’s a new one.

        • 11B-Mailclerk says:


          A White House Christmas ornament -is- a “decoration”, right? So ” decorated by the President” isn’t – totally- bogus…

          Sheeeshh…. Way to crap on honorable service.

      • ChipNASA says:

        DING DING DING You get a cookie. I have at least a dozen of them and my Christmas tree is still up (4 years running, LEDs, kids won’t let me take it down) and Yes, I still have a couple of them on the tree still, just didn’t get around to putting them back in the box.
        There’s a new one created every year.

        What a giant fucking dork. I’ll at least give him bonus points for creativity.

      • Steve Balm says:

        From what I’m told: “The award in the shadow box he claims was presented by Jimmy Carter at the White House is actually a 1989 White House Christmas Ornament. It even says 1989 on the scroll on the bottom.”

        • Hondo says:

          So, you’re saying he’s not blaming Bush (elder)? (smile)

        • Steve Balm says:

          What’s interesting is that the ornament still has the red ribbon attached for hanging it on the tree.

          Messer sure went all WalMart on the shadowbox.

          Messer - Ornament

  3. 26Limabeans says:

    There I was on Monkey Mountain…….

  4. Roh-Dog says:

    No ‘V’ device, the ‘Drill Sergeant’ aint tryin hard enuf.

    • Roh-Dog says:

      Both those check out, see DD214 above (glad I suspended nasty words) but given the other lies…
      This dude just could have stayed proud about the things HE did when most of his generation SAT AT HOME.
      Damn shame, this.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        Probably rates at least two Service Stars for the campaign periods as well as two Overseas Bars for his right sleeve.
        Damn shame to see legit service buried under such bullshit.

  5. Jay says:

    Looks like he just threw a bunch of ‘cool shit’ in a shadow box and called it a day. Neat.

  6. Jay says:

    “Memory is a tricky thing, lest we forget”??

    Really? That’s the cop out to Stolen Valor now. I MIS REMEMBERED eating monkey meat and rattlesnake in Vietnam?

    • 26Limabeans says:

      We called them rock apes. Some of them were as big as a gook. Ocassionally one would trip a flare, get tangled in the wire and roast until daybreak. Stank worse than nuoc mam. I don’t recall eating one though.

      • OldCorpsTanker72 says:

        Hey, 26 Limabeans, my brother was in L/3/26 back in ’69, and he was telling me some rock ape stories just the other day (they gave them to the locals, who did eat them). You wouldn’t have happened to have been in that same unit, would you?

  7. Honor and Courage says:

    I don’t understand people lying about there service. I’m old and I can’t gauge my own memory, but most of my war service is etched into my brain. If you can’t tell the truth you have a mental problem. All this crazy shit makes us Veteran’s look like idiots. Its bad enough that we have to put up with Hollywood, and the entertainment Industry. It looks like these stories will only continue to paint a terrible image on our service. Thanks for outing these poor old fools.

    • Twist says:

      I have a problem remembering certain details of events. My doc has informed me that that is a common symptom of my PTS. I’m positive that I would remember eating monkeys and rattlesnakes though.

    • Slow Joe says:

      Honor and Courage Harrington, so you remember everything?

      It must have been a short victorious war, for the honor of the queen, at all cost, a war of honor.

      I don’t even remember what happened on Basilisk station.

      Ok. Bad joke.
      Only exPH2 will get it.

  8. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    Have to say that the Mountaineer did the right thing and pulled the story – seems like that doesn’t happen that often, especially with the larger “fish wraps”.

    AS TO Bill Messer – well, he done DORKED THE SQUEAKHOLE!

  9. 3/10/MED/b says:

    Honor and Courage,

    Damn Skippy.


  10. Martinjmpr says:

    Maybe Messer was inspired by that old Traveling Wilbury’s song:

    Tweeter and the Monkey Man were hard up for cash
    They stayed up all night selling cocaine and hash
    To an undercover cop who had a sister named Jan
    For reasons unexplained she loved the Monkey Man

    Tweeter was a Boy Scout ‘fore she went to Vietnam
    And found out the hard way, nobody gives a damn
    They knew that they found freedom just across the Jersey line
    So they hopped into a stolen car, took Highway 99

    And the walls came down
    All the way to hell
    Never saw them when they’re standing
    Never saw them when they fell….

  11. Steve Balm says:

    The original article is now posted. Link is above at the end of the article and here as well:

  12. Daisy Cutter says:

    He shot Blackie? Say it isn’t so!

  13. Tallywhagger says:

    Tastes like chikin!

  14. Morgan Blake says:

    I got your monkey meat right here!

  15. Eden says:

    Kudos to The Mountaineer for taking it upon themselves to set the record straight. Very refreshing indeed.

    The QPs are a little more circumspect than, say, Senior Chief Shipley, but I’m sure a BOLO to the Guardians of the Green Beret would result in some “love” for Messer in their Hall of Shame.

  16. CplMajor Mike says:

    What an asshole, he’s a walking talking Hollywood movie.

  17. The Other Whitey says:

    All War Dog handlers had to shoot their own dogs, eh? Hmm, my Uncle was War Dog handler in Vietnam. He was never expected to shoot his dog. The only dog casualty he saw was killed by the same NVA machine gun burst that critically wounded the dog’s handler.

    I’m no expert, but Messer’s story has an odor to it.

    My Uncle had a lot of stories about his War Dog. Most of them were pretty funny.

    • Daisy Cutter says:

      You’d think if the dogs had to be shot, you would shoot your buddie’s dog if he shot yours. Is there some lesson to shoot your own dog?

      What about when Messer woke up and exclaimed “Three days and a wakeup! Then we go home.” only to look over and see trusty ol’ Blackie wagging his tail. Then Messer follows with “Opps, sorry… I didn’t mean you.”

    • USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

      I guess the Army didn’t have veterinarians deploy to Vietnam, so he had to kill his dog…. or something.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        Well, Uncle Greg was a Marine, so maybe that explains the discrepancy? Yeah, I thought not.

        Uncle Greg died in a traffic collision when I was in high school. For Christmas last year I did a 1/35-scale scene of him with his dog in RVN and gave it to my Mom. She put it on the mantle next to his B&W dress blues photo.

  18. Slick Goodlin says:

    “Alone in the jungles of Vietnam”

    Bullshit Indicator Checklist:

    Sole surviving male of his family….Check

    Test for best military branch suited for …..Check

    Marines, Navy, Air Force come out to select their recruits….Check

    Army Drill Sergeants personally take new recruits to Special Forces Training…Check

    Army Special Forces training at Fort Polk…Check

    Actually tortured in training…Check

    Flew in from Nam to San Francisco, spit on and called baby killer……Check

    • USMCMSgt (Ret) says:

      …and his mother was half Cherokee, but she offed herself when he was 8.

      I’m surprised he didn’t lay claim to his Cherokee heritage as a reason why he was so good at “scouting on his own” in VC jungles.

      Fuck this guy.

  19. He was trying to make a Monkey out of everyone that bought his B.S. story. This is a “Story Untold” until I heard about it today. Sounds like a 50’S song.

  20. Ex-PH2 says:

    Nobody waiting when he got home? That’s strange. I took the train to get home. My Dad was right there at the bottom of the steps when I climbed down that obnoxious train staircase. Took me out to dinner, too. I have a photo somewhere of that.

  21. GDContractor says:

    Speaking of myth verification… Anyone seen the “Sarge” video on Facebook? I’m not calling BS. Just wondering if anyone has verified his claims.

  22. Comm Center Rat says:

    From The Mountaineer news article: “About that time, the biggest, blackest drill sergeant walks out, with his hands folded behind his back, and says ‘I’m gonna be your momma. I’m gonna be your daddy. I’m gonna be your girlfriend, and I’m gonna be your lover. You might as well kiss your butt goodbye, because you’re sold as mine.'”

    I bet Messer’s DI sounded just like Lou Gossett, Jr. or Samuel L. Jackson too! LMAO

  23. GDContractor says:

    Got sepsis from throwing a urine soaked mattress out on the curb.


  24. Skyjumper says:

    I’m having a bit of a hard time believing this guy, mainly because he never talks about the
    “F*ck You Lizard” and the “Re-up bird” aka the
    Blue Eared Barbet.
    (yeah, I said bird not frog).

    Apparently he must have been stationed in the Southwest portion of Duh Nam to have seen & eaten rattlesnakes. 😉
    (Only had “two-steppers” and Cobras and a couple of odd ball snakes up in the Central Highlands)

    If his story was told on Sesame street, would it have been brought to you by the letters “P,T,S,D” and the letter “M” and the number “16”?

  25. An Old Arty Sgt says:

    Isn’t that the same story some Red Cross Volunteer in Oklahoma pulled? He was Green Beret and left in the jungle for weeks.

    This guy is just a lonely “I need to be important to everyone” type of person.. Sad sad.

  26. Morgan Blake says:

    I’d spit on him too if he shot Blackie.

  27. Mustang Major says:

    Unfortunately, as time draws closer to Memorial Day, posers start coming out of the woodwork to spread their BS in the media. I am glad the local media investigated claims Billy Messer made and corrected the story.

  28. Keepin' It Real says:

    Monkey meat is not so bad if you splash some Rufus Teague’s Touch O’ Heat BBQ sauce on it.

    Come to think of it – horse hooves would probably taste good with Rufus’ sauce on it.

    • Cameron Kingsley says:

      Really? Not A1 steak sauce?

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Monkey meat and motherfuckers was one of the rare C-rats.

      • The only great c rat was the franks and beans so the case was turned upside down and opened and you would just take any one of the meals not knowing what you got. Was done that way when I was in the ARNG. On board in the Navy, it went a little different. Your right, Ham & lima beans AKA Motherfuckers was something else on a bowel movement.

  29. Steve Balm says:


    Military Phony just provided us with the FOIA results – posted at the end of the blog.

    We’ll leave the analysis for you Army-Vietnam-Green Beret-Special Forces snake-eating, dog-shooting, monkey meat-eating, pee-drinking, jungle-trained types… and anyone else that can read records and put the puzzle together.


    • Ex-PH2 says:

      Okay: my analysis is that he did serve, has a Bronze Star, and he’s been shooting the bull for so long that he can’t get his REAl story straight, and he’s probably on the edge of senile dementia, too.

      Oh, the stories I could tell you about watching the hurtling moons of Barsoom in the company of some really pissed-off arty guys who just want to wipe the Bad Guys off the surface of Barsoom…!

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Looks like fast track Basic to Polk and then Nam. Pretty common.
      Don’t understand the lined out stuff.
      The six year commitment ending May 76 seems right for being in the file cabinet reserve.

      Quite the bullshit artist nevertheless.
      Wonder what the real story is.

  30. 5th/77th FA says:

    Anxiously awaiting the results of the FOIA on this tool. Can’t wait to have a chance to call for the FIRST Deployment of the Hemisphere of Insults having the addition of “Moose Marbles” in it.

    Bill Messer; Santa Clause isn’t real, and neither are you.

    • Steve Balm says:

      The FOIA results are in. They are posted above in the blog at the end.

      • Lthrnck1775 says:

        If i’m reading this right….

        FOIA says: Casual – ’71-’74 (3) YEARS enroute to CONUS?? That’s gotta be a record…

        • Daisy Cutter says:

          Maybe he was in a hotel room in Saigon?

          Every time, he thought he was gonna wake up back in the jungle.

          All he could think of was getting back into the jungle. He was there 3 years now. Waiting for a mission. Getting softer. Every minute he stayed in his room, he got weaker. And every minute Charlie squats in the bush…he gets stronger.

          [SOMEBODY STOP ME]

          Everyone gets everything he wants. He wanted a mission. And for his sins, they gave him one. Brought it up to him like room service – monkey meat on a platter.

          “Shoot your dog and you can return home” the orders said. Cut him like a knife.

          “Hey buddy, you gonna shut the door!”

          It was a real choice mission. And when it was over, he’d never want another.

          Blackie was the only thing that stood between Messer and all those Santa Claus gigs back home.

        • Mason says:

          The plane broke down a lot. It happens.

        • Hondo says:

          Looks like he left Vietnam on 15 Aug 71 and was released from active duty/transferred to the USAR somewhere in CONUS shortly after arrival (on 18 Aug 71, according to his FOIA summary).

          I think that early ETS was normal practice for draftees on a 2-year tour who returned to CONUS with insufficient time left on active duty to be utilized after a PCS. Looks like he had just under 6 mo when he arrived back in CONUS; maybe 6 mo was the breakpoint for that.

          Don’t know why the REFRAD/transfer to USAR line for 18 Aug 1971 is absent from his record of assignments. It should be there.

          Also: this guy seems to have a lot of “Duty Soldier” time. Perhaps one of our Vietnam-era Army readers can tell us if that’s normal – particularly during the Vietnam combat unit phase-out in 1971?

          • streetsweeper says:

            Yes. Draw down. Last combat units were out in 72 except for several cav units (he wasn’t in the 5/12th) running around the Central Highlands and some Marine outfits.

    • ChipNASA says:

      It’s posted above.

      Since we and MP have the FOIA DD-214, I’ll take this as a request for the The Hemisphere of Insults®™ .

      Do we have a Second?

      • Ex-PH2 says:

        Hold off on that. He did serve, ChipNASA. Blackie may have been his Invisible Friend – that sort of thing. He’s likely mostly a gasbag, not much more.

        • ChipNASA says:

          I saw that and yeah, I’m only kinda a little enthusiastic on this one.

          The Bronze Star and Air Medal are solid awards.

          How do you get an Air Medal if you’re infantry? Aren’t those reserved for Aircrew?

          I dunno, I’m Chairforce.

          The Christmas Ornament does give me pause 1. My panties get a little wadded over that and the rest of the stupidity however,

          2. He may be a little touched in the head so, I’m gonna hover my finger over the button

          • Hondo says:

            The Army awarded the Air Medal to a fair number of non-flight-crew personnel in Vietnam. I’d guess that airborne Command Group personnel (those providing command & control for an assault), airborne forward observers, and airborne comm relay personnel probably were the majority of such non-flight-crew awards. Courier personnel might also have been eligible if their duties required flying. The key requirement was that the individual’s duties involve participation in aerial flight, not necessarily serve as air crew.

            I guess it’s possible he was good as either an RTO or FO and managed to walk into (or wrangle) an assignment to an airborne FO or RTO position. Or maybe he got assigned air courier duties for a time while in a “Duty Soldier” billet. Dunno.

            • streetsweeper says:

              Air Medal [Army] (1968–2006)

              During the Vietnam War, the US Army awarded the Air Medal to Warrant Officer or Commissioned pilots and enlisted aircrew for actual flight time (awards were also made to infantry troops who flew on combat assault missions). This became a bureaucratic nightmare to correctly log because of the short flight time of typical helicopter flights.

              Later, an equivalent “flight hours” conversion was created and an award standard was set by individual commands. This eventually was standardized in theater to one award per every 24 “flight hours” logged.[12]

              A simplified set time was awarded depending on the type of mission, regardless of the actual flight time.[12] Administrative or VIP flights counted for 1/4 hour, regular duties (such as Visual Reconnaissance or Resupply) counted for 1/2 hour, and hazardous duties (combat assaults or extractions) counted for 1 hour.

              Pilots and aircrew could log over 1,000 “flight hours” a year and earn a 40 or higher numeral on their Air Medal ribbon.

              The “score card” system was retained after the war. This was changed on December 11, 2006 to an award for every six months of meritorious service instead of the number of flight hours.

              • rgr769 says:

                You are correct, I have three of them, awarded as an infantry officer for combat heliborne assaults and flights in combat aircraft on combat missions. Since this lying sack only spent four months with a line rifle company, I suspect both his Air Medal and Bronze Star may have been pencil whipped while he was a personnel clerk in admin units the last half of his tour.

        • 5th/77th FA says:

          My mea culpa bad. The results musta dropped/refreshed while I was reading the linkies, commenting and moving to the next thread. Didn’t go back and check after my FIRST comment.

          He’ll still a lying, embellishing POS, that, on paper, had what appeared to be honorable service. Wouldn’t want my grandchildren sitting in his lap at the mall. Wouldn’t take any of the candy he threw from the float in the parade either.


        • Ex-PH2 says:

          I think he’s either bordering on the memory loss end, or he’s told these BS stories for so long he can’t remember what he really did any more. If he can’t get name own awards correctly, then it points to memory loss, either short-term or long-term.

      • rgr769 says:

        I second the motion. He is clearly and unequivocally a lying SOS POSer.

  31. Just An Old Dog says:

    Served in Combat, received a CIB and Bronze star when many didn’t go at all.
    Why embellish?

    • Mason says:

      That’s the question. Legit combat troop in the Viet of the Nam. Air Medal and Bronze Star to show for it.

      Some of these guys I’ll never understand. I guess the real stories of combat and life in the swampy jungle wasn’t enough. I’d much rather hear real stories of life of the troops, even if they’re “boring” than some made up bullshit that wouldn’t even pass for a B-movie script.

  32. AnotherPat says:

    In thr Video dated 4 May 2019 posted below, Messer stated he had Airborne wings.

    Am I missing something?

    Great work, Steve Balm. Kudos to The Mountaineer Staff for their honesty. Integrity at its best.

    Once again, it is so sad to see someone embellish their Military service. What is sadder is that Messer may have told that story for years to his Family Members.

    Thank You again, Steve Balm.

    (Special wave to the King of Battle: hbtd/rtr, AW1Ed: gabn, Ex-PH2: cooking and Claw, the TAH Supply Daddy. Welcome back, Eden. Will post at a later date on my MIA status).

    • sbalm says:

      You’re back! I thought you got shook loose in the transition.

      Glad to see your post.

      • AnotherPat says:

        Thank You! Again, outstanding work on this as well as the team effort with The Mountaineer.

        Hopefully, they will set the example for other news media to follow.

      • 5th/77th FA says:

        Sing Praise!!!!!!!AnotherPat has Roll Tide Rolled back in. Been sending up flares looking for yo happy ass self. Was getting concerned. Besides that, them mean ol’ swabbies been trying to pick on me.

        Now if we could just find 2/17 Air Cav…God will be in his Heavens and All will be Right with The World.

        Go Army Beat Navy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • AnotherPat says:

          The King of Battle and FIRSTs!!!!

          And that is why our AW1Ed loves pickin on you…Right, Ed?

          Will post on another date and catching up with all (don’t want to keep hijacking this thread…cuz if do, our AW1Ed will start pickin on me…😉)


    • Roh-Dog says:

      His duty mos list has him serving as “11B1P”, “P” denotes Airborne qualification.
      Maybe TDY’ed to BAC at Benning enroute to Tigerland.

      • RGR 4-78 says:

        Strange that BAC was not listed in his geographical assignments.

        Also, during that time frame, it is my understanding that there were BAC’s at Bragg and several other location both CONUS AND OCONUS.

        • Hondo says:

          Even stranger that “Parachutist Badge” doesn’t appear on his listing of awards and decorations. If he was Airborne qualified, unless his badge was later revoked it should be listed there.

          My guess was he was assigned to fill an 11B1P slot (DMOS) but wasn’t jump qualified (PMOS: 11B10). I don’t think 1st Cav did many jumps while in Vietnam, so that shouldn’t have posed much of a problem.

          • rgr769 says:

            The first cav had zero jumps in the RVN. But one battalion of the 1st Cav was denominated airborne. That may be where that “P” MOS came from. He clearly was not airborne qualified as he never went to jump school. He did Basic at Bragg (no airborne school there in 1970) and went to AIT at Ft. Polk, LA (no jump school there either).

            • Hondo says:

              Well, “zero” does qualify as “not many”. (smile)

              I was pretty sure that the 1st Cav didn’t have any jumps, but wasn’t sure. So I “hedged” a bit by using the term “not many”. I figured someone with more knowledge would chime in; thanks.

              • rgr769 says:

                The 11B1P was just a duty MOS. I did some research and 1st Bn/8th Cav was the battalion in the 1st Cav division which was nominally “airborne.” There were numerous units in RVN which were originally designated airborne, as parachute operations were impractical in Vietnam. These units commonly had replacements assigned to them who were not jump qualified, as the units never jumped and no one in them was on jump status. The only units that jumped in RVN were the 173rd Airborne Brigade and some spook units, such as the strategic recon teams of MACV-SOG. Haloing into the jungle at night was usually a disaster.

            • Roh-Dog says:

              Image being a dirty, nasty leg in an Airborne unit….
              Tha, hor-ror, tha, hor-hor.

      • AnotherPat says:

        Thank You, Roh-Dog, for the feedback and info.

        I noticed the “Papa” Status as well, but was not sure if he was filling an Airborne slot (Duty MOSC) or if he did attend Airborne School…would he have not gone after AIT before heading to Vietnam?

        Was just used to seeing the School listed on other Enlisted Soldier’s Records of Assignments.

        Thank You again for the clarification!

        • Roh-Dog says:

          You and RGR bring some valid points, I tried the googlefoo with that UIC, W0GBAA, and nothing.
          We need a military historian or someone whiskey’ed enough to pretend to be one.
          From my (VERY limited) understanding of Vietnam era Infantryman training, Basic training was separate from Infantry training, in the ramp up for the surge ‘Jungle’/Infantry training was done at Polk, aka Tigerland.
          Trust me, that is a very shallow understanding.

          • rgr769 says:

            See my response above. I knew the 1st Cav had one battalion designated as airborne, and I have seen the 1st Cav patch with an airborne tab above it.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        He was Casual 22MAY70 to 18JUN70 after Polk. Probably two weeks leave before deployment early June and another week to in country process.

        maybe if he skipped the leave.

        • rgr769 says:

          It didn’t happen; he was a leg. He is also lying about being in any SF unit. Even back then, SF enlisted course took at least four to six months for the light weapons specialty. Plus, he shows a 10th Group flash in his love me box. No 10th Group unit served in the RVN. He was separated at Oakland Army base upon his return from RVN. Except for four months with a rifle company, he spent most of his time in RVN as an admin clerk. Frequently people who knew how to type got those gigs. A friend of mine was a school trained scout dog handler; he opted to be a Remington raider when the opportunity arose after only a few months in his assigned MOS. This douche was never a scout dog handler nor “alone” in the jungle. The only time he was alone was when he was under the sheets in his cot in the rear. Scout dogs and their handlers were only in the field with a rifle company or platoon; never alone. They usually only spent three to four days in the bush. Wish I had a dollar for every time one told me: “My dog is overheated, we have to go to the rear on the next bird.”

    • Eden says:

      Thanks, AnotherPat! Welcome back, yourself!

  33. AnotherPat says:

    For those who served in the Army in 1970:

    Wasn’t a 51A MOS a Construction or Utilty Worker in 1970? Was it the norm for a Soldier to be stationed in Vietnam to change Duty MOS in a one year tour? Does one stay an 11B for 6 months and then take a “breather” to do something else?

    I plead ignorance for that timeframe.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      Yes and 57A was Duty Soldier.
      Maybe he was an all around Gopher.
      We had a truck driver for a Company clerk.
      There was your primary MOS, secondary MOS and duty MOS. Duty could be neither of the two. Mine was my secondary.

      • Mustang Major says:

        In the 70’s, I was a recruiter and I remember an MOS enlistment option that a person could enlist for that had as part of the job description “wood chopper.” I was told that this was an MOS soldiers were reclassified into as opposed to enlisting for.

        Found this with an internet search:

        MOS 57A:


  34. Comm Center Rat says:

    So his shadow box accurately displays Messer’s earned CIB, BSM, Air Medal, and Good Cookie. Kudos to him for his heavy lifting in the Viet of the Nam.

    Shame on Billy though for appropriating the 5th SFG(A) patch and SF crest and “misremembering” his service as a snake (and monkey) eater in the VN jungles.

    His service was impressive enough without the embellishments and fabrications.

    • Morgan Blake says:

      As indicated in the video that AnotherPat posted – do you think Jimmy Carter himself presented the White House Christmas ornament to Messer in person?

      I think that you captured the gist of this case accurately. Messer earned some military “street cred” for what he actually accomplished – but he stretched things a bit too far and tarnished it.

  35. AnotherPat says:

    Saw pictures of his Air Medal and Bronze Star

    He displayed certificates that showed he received an Air Medal with VALOR and a BSM for Meritorious Service as a PFC.

    Perhaps he received the Air Medal with “V” as a Duty Soldier and a BSM as a PCS Award for his time in Vietnam.

    Am not posting the link to those pictures, because am pretty sure the numbers after his name on those certificates was not his Serial Number, but rather his SSN.

    The other question I have is this: He said he volunteered for Uncle Sam. If he did that, would he have not been Regular Army instead of Army of the US?

    Am also confused as why his assignment sheet shows statuses lined out after he returned to CONUS. Was that the norm?

    This is so sad to read. As others shared, a CIB. A BSM. An Air Medal with Valor. He served and had EXCELLENT on his performance while in Vietnam.

    And he did not have a clue on his Good Conduct Medal.

    Have come to the conclusion that when folks embellish, they are either covering up something…or while in theater, they wrote letters home, making up stories…and when they got home, their stories got bigger and they could not stop.

    Only Billy Vernon Messer can explain his need for embellishment. Could be subconsciense on his part,i.e. insecurity factors, mental issues, the need for attention.

    Sadly, he is not the first Soldier who served in Vietnam to do this. There are more folks such as him out there.

    Hope he can find peace in his heart and mind about his service to our country before he meets his Maker.

    • Hondo says:

      Sadly, he is not the first Soldier who served in Vietnam to do this. There are more folks such as him out there.

      You are correct, AP. We’Ve SeEn QuItE a FeW sUcH SaD CaSeS, HaVeN’t We?

      • Eden says:

        Is he still around? He must be lost and wandering without his lawer buddy, the wannabe pilot.

    • streetsweeper says:

      He was an 11P (Rifleman) Co. A, 1/8th Cav 24JUNE70 to 6DEC70. Its inked in on the 214 but that is what that line reads.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      “not his Serial Number, but rather his SSN”

      They did that back then. I have one.

      If he was drafted his service number would begin with US instead of RA for volunteers.
      His two years and out says draftee to me.
      There were early outs for RA types in Nam but his AD time is way short for that plus he did a full tour.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      It would be nice if we could find out why he was awarded the Bronze Star. Must have done something good to deserve that.

      • 26Limabeans says:

        Completing a full tour was often Merit enough but nonetheless an earned award to be proud of.

    • rgr769 says:

      There was no Air Medal with V-device for snuffy infantrymen. I don’t care what his certificates say, as they are readily available on the internet. CSM Cayton wasn’t even an admin clerk, but he had “POW” put in his official personnel record, which we all know is a lie.

  36. borderbill says:

    Is “Light Weapons Infantry Corpsman” legit? That DD214 looks weird to me.

    • rgr769 says:

      No it is not. “Corpsman” may refers to a medic. And “Light Weaponsman” is a Special Forces MOS descriptor for a solder trained in light weapons (small arms). And what you see is not a DD214; it is a summary/extract prepared by a civilian employed at the National Personnel Records Center, where this ass-pipe’s actual records are archived. We frequently see typos and other errors in these FOIA response documents.

  37. Keepin' It Real says:

    Touch my monkey

  38. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    It looks to me like Messer’s cornbread ain’t cooked all the way through and he has a few stripped gears as well!

  39. Keepin' It Real says:

    Don't Eat Me

  40. 26Limabeans says:

    I walk 47 miles of barbed wire
    I use a cobra snake for a necktie
    I got a brand new house on the roadside
    Made from rattlesnake hide……

    • Comm Center Rat says:

      “Well I’m a west coast struttin’
      One bad mother
      Got a rattlesnake suitcase
      Under my arm”

      ~ Nightrain by Guns N’ Roses

  41. I could have been a snake eater in the Navy as we were in Cologne Panama and our Marine BLT was going to go to the Army jungle survival school and the OKIE 3’S boarding and search/boarding and salvage parties were supposed to go along with the Marines. I was on the boarding and salvage party but the school for us was cancelled due to lack of onboard manpower. Nice place in Cologne with the bars and street vendors. I took a train ride to see the Miraflore locks at the canal. One of the crew members showed us a matchbox with crushed up flys inside and told us the street vendor said it was Spanish fly. True story

    • rgr769 says:

      Real “Spanish fly” is not from a fly. Supposedly it is made from the ground shells of a certain species of beetle. The organic compound is supposed to cause vaginal itching. One has to wonder how that would be an aphrodisiac.

  42. Mayhem says:

    WTF is a Light Infantry Weapons Corpsman ?