Joe Carollo – Victim or Stealing Valor?

| August 10, 2019

The Miami Community Newspapers published a story about Joe Carollo who holds office as a City Commissioner.

Carollo’s paper stated that Carollo was a veteran of the United State Marine Corps Reserve.  Joe’s time in uniform may be one of the best kept secrets in Miami.

In fact, it has gotten the attention of a bevy of investigative reporters, both in television in print. They’re all chasing down the story of whether Joe was ever a “G.I.”.

The following is well put and something we have talked about here at TAH…

Miami is filled with wannabe spies and pretend black operators who, over cafecitos and glasses of cerveza, spin fictions of service and glory.  However, old men who exaggerate their heroics do more than swap tall tales.

They steal valor.

They insult everyone who has rightfully served. They heap dishonor on the memories of those who battled. They cheapen the honor of the sons and daughters who sacrificed their youth and all too often their lives in service to our nation.

This story is set to break big in the next couple of days and Joe Carollo can get out in front of it by producing his DD 214 or equivalent documentation for any time in the Reserve.

We’ll continue to monitor.

Category: Marine Corps Poser, Marines, Stolen Valor

Comments (37)

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  1. Roh-Dog says:

    [grabs popcorn]
    Many have fallen in front of the Sword of Truth’s insatiable blade, another ‘victim’ of the Tower of Lies will soon be brought into Her reach!
    Praised be.

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    A politician lie? Say it ain’t so! Shocked am I, shocked beyond words.


    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll get another production line set up and running at the plant.

    • Inbred Redneck says:

      Yeah, ain’t it sad that we’re now surprised when one of ’em tells the truth? Politician, that is. We all know that a jarhead would never embellish about anything. Well, other than the size of his weapon or how many beers he drained in an hour.

  3. Comm Center Rat says:

    In the USMCR, Carollo might’ve met that CT politician Lil’ Dick Blumenthal when they served “over there” during those “Vietnam times.”

  4. A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

    *Making nachos and making sure there’s enough cold beer to enjoy the show with *

  5. Perry Gaskill says:

    I’d venture there’s more to the Carollo story than what’s in the column by the publisher of the Miami Community Newspapers. Publishers normally don’t write op/ed columns. They work the business side of the paper. An exception might be if somebody, such as a major advertiser, has an axe to grind.

    What’s also true under normal circumstances, call it Journalism 101, is that a reporter or editor is supposed to use due diligence before dropping a sandbag. In this instance, two of the necessary steps should have been to either call the mayor and ask him why he thinks Carollo is a former Marine, and/or to ask Carollo directly if he ever served. It also doesn’t always matter specifically what the answer is, the main thing is to show you made the effort to ask the question.

    Calling a Marine a “G.I.” and confusing police service with military service to qualify as a “veteran” should also be ringing alarm bells.

  6. Ex-PH2 says:

    He can play the “victim” card all he wants to but if he has no service, or was not a Marine, he will have brought the bad news on himself.

  7. Charles says:

    I sent a reply email to the editor stating:
    “You are doing it wrong. FIRST you get the records, and if you need instructions on how to do it right, see this:

    [Yes, that’s the top line menu from TAH on FOIA requests]

    THEN, AFTER you get the truth from the source, you publish allegations of stolen valor.”

    My reply was posted with a caveat “Will Go To Moderator Before Publishing.”

    Guess what? Apparently the moderator didn’t like it. The reply was not published.

    That’s why I’m proud to work with Military Phonies and This Ain’t Hell/Valor Guardians.

    Because we check first, publish later. Checking first means never having to say “We’re sorry.”

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      I did some casual research yesterday on the Carollo dust-up and there’s some interesting context for what might be driving it.

      As it happens, the Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, which is in Carollo’s district, is going through a process of gentrification. A lot of that is apparently being driven by a guy named Bill Fuller who is a co-owner of the real estate develop company The Barlington Group. Currently, Fuller’s company owns roughly a dozen properties, worth an estimated $100 million, on or near Calle Ocho which is Little Havana’s main drag. The properties include trendy bars, restaurants, and a boutique hotel.

      One of Carollo’s main beefs seems to be that The Barlington Group has played it fast and loose with various city codes to the extent that rents have skyrocketed, and the neighborhood now has a serious traffic problem. Fuller has acknowledged traffic and parking issues but says Barlington plans to implement shuttle buses. Sort of like Disneyland.

      I’d venture that the existing residents of Little Havana, made up of mostly conservative anti-Castro Cubans, want The Barlington Group to take its hipster show someplace else.

      It might also be pointed out that those banging the drum most loudly against Carollo seem to be the alt-weeklies Miami Community Newspapers and Miami New Times. For what it’s worth, such alt-weeklies often depend heavily on advertising for things such as trendy bars, restaurants, and boutique hotels.

      • Carollo is a FRAUD says:

        Perry, I am local and on the ground here in South Florida. Your post has zero to do with what is happening in the neighborhood and I can assure you Fuller nor any of his entities have EVER advertised in Community News or any other local media. The matter at hand is fairly simple..either Carollo served in the military or he didnt serve. Joe Carollo accepted an award from the City of Miami regarding his word that he served in the military. How is this possible for someone who has had a long (and troubled) political career that nobody would have any record of this and this is first now being claimed by him late in his career? It simply makes no sense. This is the same Joe Carollo who has been fired from working in other South Florida cities, who was arrested for beating his wife, and who was fired from the police department for putting KKK literature in african-american officers lockers. This is NOT a good man. He has a history of being both a bully and a LIAR.

        • Perry Gaskill says:

          Thanks for the onsite observation. It seems to me the record is fairly clear that Carollo is something of a loose cannon on Miami’s political scene. Still, it might be pointed out that this weblog was started by the late Jonn Lilyea, a former Army Ranger, who couldn’t stand valor thieves, but was also very careful to drop the hammer only when clear evidence existed that somebody had made false claims.

          Personally, I’m not seeing such clear evidence with Carollo. Most of what has been presented so far seems to be vague third hand hearsay. For example, there is no record of the cited military service “award” on the City of Miami website, nor have any meeting minutes been made available to support the fact such an award was ever given to him.

          Nor has Carollo apparently either confirmed or denied service and/or that he was given such an award. Also missing is any relevant and direct post-award comment from either the mayor or city manager.

          There also seem to be clear indications some of the bickering might relate to personality conflicts. I get it that some people might find Carollo obnoxious, but that alone doesn’t make him guilty of stolen valor. I’ve been hanging out on this weblog for more than five years and seen hundreds of examples of scam artists, wannabe Walter Mitty clowns, and evident fools march through the posts. Usually they leave a trail of false claims like so many moldy bread crumbs. Something which, again at least so far, doesn’t seem to be the case with Carollo.

          Also curious is the fact that the Miami Herald hasn’t apparently checked in with any work on the Carollo matter. If a city council member of a city the size of Miami is in fact falsely claiming past military service, that amounts to a significant story. It’s not hard to imagine if there was anything solid available, the Herald would be on it like a pitbull on a pork chop.

          See also my comment on the provided videos below…

          • Carollo is a FRAUD says:

            The Miami Herald has a history of never truly going after Joe Carollo. This is and has been very curious to many. Many believe, for whatever reason, Carollo has the Miami Herald in his pocket.

            I appreciate the points you have laid out and certainly respect your expertise and professionalism.

            It is important to note that if someone presented me (or any sane person) with a certificate thanking me for my service —i would immediately return it and set the record straight—Carollo has not done this.

            Lastly, this issue was a hot topic on Spanish Radio today where people called for Carollo to provide proof of his service.

            Pls see below:


            Additionally, i have no idea what to make of Joe Carollo’s tweet:


    • Charles says:

      The moderator must be a slow worker. My post appeared this morning.

      But I also looked at the two videos and saw nothing that amounted to “stolen valor.”

      “Carollo is a Fraud” seems to be on an agenda to impute a claim of military service to an elected official who simply gave a speech at a flag ceremony and was apparently mistaken for the chief of police at another.

      Perry Gaskill has accurate renderings of what was said at his post.

      1 – Carollo didn’t receive any certificate. Gort received the certificate.

      2 – “It is our duty to pay homage and to remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. So that we may live in freedom” is simply NOT a claim of prior military service.

      • Carollo is a FRAUD says:

        Charles, Carollo RECEIVED a certificate 4 weeks prior to this presentation Charles…this has not been disputed by anybody within the City administration and has in fact been proven locally.

        pls also see latest post with new video link:

  8. Carollo is a FRAUD says:

    link 1 : City Manager states that Joe Carollo told him he was a member of the marines. Carollo later accepted a certificate from the City of Miami thanking him for his service.

    link 2:

    unveiling of flag, where Commissioners from above Gort (served) and spoke as rep of the military community and where Carollo spoke and represented himself as member of the military community.

    Additionally I have been told that additional evidence has surfaced that Carollo has clearly stated he served.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      ‘pears like I may need to start up two (2) more production lines at the popcorn plant. Between the Lester Kent Brown (stain) show and the flooding in Nebraska, the inventory levels are getting low. This Carollo show may help set new sales records. Speaking of records, will be interesting to see what MP comes up with from Saint Looie. Sic ’em ninjas!

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      The first video isn’t exactly a smoking gun. It was part of a minor agenda item to recognize military service by primarily the Miami Police Department. Here’s a link explaining what was going on and why all the cops were standing around:

      Watch the first video and pay attention not only to what is being said, but also to the body language. The person doing the presentation is City Manager Emilio Gonzalez who starts out by turning to his right, then looks directly at Police Chief Jorge Colina, and acknowledges Colina’s service in the Marine Corps Reserve. Gonzalez then turns to his left and presents a certificate to city commissioner Willy Gort for serving in the National Guard. Something confusing is that Gonzalez makes an apparent verbal gaffe in calling Colina “commissioner” instead of “chief” or whatever.

      The second video seems like a non-starter for stolen valor. Carollo’s statement starts at 0:31 and he says:

      It is our duty to pay homage and to remember those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice. So that we may live in freedom.

      Politicians wave the flag like this all the time. Such is not the same as a claim of military service.

  9. Carollo is a FRAUD says:

    Perry–or anyone else…..

    video link here , Carollo himself claims to be “inactive reserve” —Perry, or anyone else–does this change anything or is this the same as “serving” ? Please excuse my ignorance here …

    • Perry Gaskill says:

      The first tweet in the comment above is interesting because Carollo is apparently claiming he was “Inactive Marine Duty Reserve.” Such a claim has a couple of problems. In the first place, it’s unlikely any Marine would refer to his service status in such a way. More common would be for somebody to say they are a member of the Marine Corps Reserve with a currently inactive duty status. This may sound like a picky point, but minor clues about how veterans can identify other real veterans are often a matter of semantics.

      Another thing to consider is that under normal circumstances, somebody can indeed be in the inactive reserve, but they first need to serve a period of active regular duty followed by active reserve duty. It’s not as if you can jump directly into inactive reserve status. What would be the point?

      What Carollo seems to be doing in the tweet quoted by Ortiz, if true, is making a solid claim of some kind of military service instead of denying he ever served in any capacity. What that means is if his claim of service is valid, it will show up as a publicly-available DD-214 record at the National Personnel Records Center. If Carollo never served, the NPRC response is likely to be “who?”

      I’m not a shrink, but the second tweet with the graphic from Carollo in the comment above might be a joke as a form of denial that any problem exists. Such a type of denial has been seen before and is sometimes followed by the claim that, “my records were destroyed in the St. Louis fire” or that old standby, “I was engaged in secret black ops and my records were ordered sealed by the President.”

      This YouTube video, submitted today, seems to be fairly clear about reinforcing Carollo’s sketchy claim of inactive service in the Marine Corps Reserve. For what it’s worth, it would be useful if there was further information on the provenance of the Al Crespo video itself. The person who introduces Carollo is City Manager Emilio Gonzalez, but there are no specific details about when and under what circumstances it took place.

  10. Carollo is a FRAUD says:

    He is back at it:

    Clearly he must find this humorous although i have no idea why…

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this?

  11. Charles says:

    A civilian who “enlists” in an armed force under the Delayed Entry Program (to actually report for basic training at a later date that might be a year away) will be placed in a Reserve “Control Group” for personnel accountability. That control group placement is technically “inactive reserve” status.


    There is technically a requirement that the enlistee actually show up and take a second oath of enlistment into the regular armed force at the time of reporting for active duty for basic training, but there is also a policy that if the enlistee backs out of the enlistment, there will be no penalty.

    So it could have been that Mr. Carollo, at some time in the past, enlisted in the USMC under the delayed entry program — placing him in the inactive reserve status he described — but for any of a number of reasons (some his “fault” or decision, some not his “fault” or decision) — he was unable to later report for full active duty.

    That would be something he might mention: “I wanted to enlist in the Corps, went as far as taking an oath into the inactive reserve, but never served on active duty as a Marine.”

    So the only documentation that a FOIA might turn up would be a DEP contract. And it is entirely possible he had every intention to report for active duty, but was disqualified by later events, such as a later arising medical condition, or a change in the Corps organization that negated what the Corps promised him (his promised school was canceled, his promised unit was inactivated, etc.).

    Since he is a public servant, I’d just ask him up front, in a non-confrontational way:

    “Hey, can you please provide a little bit more detail about your service in the “inactive Marine Corps Reserve?”

    • A Proud Infidel®™️ says:

      When I first enlisted for AD I went through MEPS the second time alongside a USCG enlistee who had gotten a DUI and Minor in Possession charges while on DEP to which the USCG’s response was a Release From Contract and a Greyhound bus ticket home. Maybe Joe Carollo had something like that happen?

      • Carollo is a FRAUD says:

        Wouldnt the answer be when asked “did you serve?” Be NO….anything else seems dishonest and unethical at best?

  12. Carollo is a FRAUD says:

    Thank u Charles. Carollo has been asked multiple times by multiple people and has failed to answer—intentionally chosen not to answer.

  13. OWB says:

    To summarize: We still won’t know whether he is stealing valor, exaggerating his “service,” or something else entirely until we see the results of a FOIA request on his military records AND somebody shows evidence that he claims other than what official records show. No legitimate investigator of stolen valor will procede further without official records.

    As others have stated – this guy may be a choir boy or scum of the earth, but neither proves that he did or did not serve in the military. Neither do documents he would likely provide.

    • Carollo is a FRAUD says:

      @OWB he himself states what he claims in one of the youtube videos posted above—he himself ,words from his own mouth— states his own position. Please take a look….

      • OWB says:

        Not arguing that point. MY point is that until an independent authority provides documentation of his actual military service (or lack thereof), there is nothing to discuss in that regard.

  14. Perry Gaskill says:

    Here’s a question: If somebody signed up for a delayed enlistment and was never inducted, would such a thing even show up on a DD-214? What I’ve seen so far with search results is that DEP contracts which are not carried out do not result in a DD-214. My own view is that the existence of a DD-214 is pretty much the common standard for defining who is a veteran.

    Here’s another more convoluted question: If memory serves, DEP is a relatively recent program. The current Marine Corps regulation, MCO P1100.72C, dates back to 2004. According to Carollo’s bio, he was born in Cuba in 1955. According to the New York Times archive:


    He was the youngest city commissioner ever elected when he took office in 1979 at the age of 24. So the reasonable window for a Carollo DEP, even if such a program existed then, would likely have been somewhere between 1974 and 1978. It might be pointed out for historical context that the years after Viet Nam and starting around 1973 saw a substantial reduction in the armed forces. Given that, and the fact that Carollo was an immigrant from communist Cuba, it makes you wonder if Carollo would have even qualified for a Marine Corps enlistment at that time.

    • ChipNASA says:

      I can’t speak to the Marines, BUT the DEP is a DOD program, not specific to each branch, although the Army now calls it the Future Soldiers Program, and each service came up with it’s own acronym for their program members.

      The reference in this .pdf file quotes ” (2013) marks the 40th anniversary of the end of the U.S.
      military draft and the move to an All-Volunteer Force (AVF)” That would assume that the DRP type program started in 1973.

      There’s another interesting reference in the article…
      ” , Army
      General Maxwell Thurman, generally credited with saving the AVF in
      the 1980s, preferred to call it the “All-Recruited Force”

      That sounds like a much later date I can personally reqpond to, as I went into the DEP USAF Program in October 1983, went to MEPS and while they were processing my documents and physical etc, I went back and officially enlisted on December 7th 1983 at MEPS (a date which will live in infamy the United States of America :D) and was forever my pay date afterwards.
      I didn’t leave for Basic until April 30th arriving “officially”, May 1st 1984 so, with all the TAH knuckleheads on here, we may be able to nail down the prior to 1983 for my enlistment.

      Also, FYI,

      “A person is called a “prospect” after speaking with a recruiter. If found to
      be generally qualified for service, he or she is known as an “applicant”
      and becomes a “DEP member” on entry to the DEP. Each service refers
      to its DEP members differently: “Future Soldiers” (Army), “Future
      Sailors” (Navy), “poolees” (Marine Corps), and “DEPers” (Air Force).
      DEP members become recruits when they access into active duty and
      ship to basic training. ”

      ChipNASA SMSgt Ret.

      • Perry Gaskill says:

        That’s interesting, Chip. I also remember back when the draft existed that both the National Guard and the various Reserves had waiting lists. IIRC, the way it worked is that somebody would sign up, then wait for an available slot to open. Unfortunately, at least from the view of most of those waiting, just being on the list didn’t exempt them from the draft.

        For what it’s worth, I started out thinking Carollo might be the target of political gaming, but I’m now leaning toward the idea that his claim of “Inactive Marine Duty Reserve” makes about as much sense as me claiming to be Kate Moss’ “inactive” boyfriend.

  15. Charles says:

    I know that the Delayed Entry Program existed in the United States Army as of May 13, 1970 when I signed up, still a senior in high school.

    I reported for active duty exactly two months later: July 13, 1970 (three days after my 18th birthday).

    At that time the Viet Nam War was still a going concern, I was “locked in” to reporting to active duty on the date scheduled. I was told that I failed to appear, men with badges and guns and not smiling would have appeared at my door.

    But I did report as I had promised to do, since I had enlisted with the specific request for “WESTPAC-RVN” and “Airborne Duty Option” (the latter from a youngster who had never even flown in an airplane before!).

    This led to three results:

    1 – Of course, I was never sent to Viet Nam. “What! He WANTS to go! WTF? No, send him to Korea.”

    2 – My Base Pay Entry Date (a key date for retirement) would forever be May 13, 1970).

    3 – I was officially a draft dodger. At no time during the 30 days following my 18th birthday, 27 of which were at Fort Polk, LA in Basic Combat Training, did I ever register with Selective Service System. By the time my command admonished me that I had never registered, as required even if on active duty, I was a Sergeant E5. So I said something like “What ya gonna do, send me to Viet Nam? I asked for it and you wouldn’t send me!

    I still don’t have a selective service number.


    • ChipNASA says:

      LOL, me too.
      I *DID* register as required like 17 1/2 or 18, whatever it was.
      I got a nasty gram at my home address later which my Mom forwarded to me.
      I returned it to them saying
      1. Yes I DID register. check your records. and
      2. If you have a problem with that you can see me or send mail to my new address,
      PSC 3711, Lackland AFB, TX…. DICKHEADS.*

      (And I actually wrote “Dickheads” and mailed it back to them. I was kinda full of myself at that age. Imagine that.)

    • Claw says:

      It’s all good, Sir. I picked up the slack by registering twice, once on my 18th birthday and then again seven and a half years later when I ETSed, after spending five years, eleven months and twenty days on active duty, but not yet having reached my 26th birthday.

      BTW, based on the info from your comment, when the SSS pulled the birthdays for your year group on 15 Aug 71, you would have gotten number 234. But No Sweat GI, the highest number ever called for induction from that year was 95./smile

  16. Carollo is a FRAUD says:

    Check is twitter account —the jerk continues to poke fun of this by tweeting out cartoon pics daily of Marines