Warren Reiten – Vietnam War “Times” Veteran

| February 3, 2020

The kind folks at Military Phony send us their work on Warren Robert Reiten.  Reiten is 76 years old at the time of this writing and lives in Fargo, North Dakota.

Warren is frequently introduced as a Vietnam War veteran.  He claims he was a U.S. Army First Lieutenant (O-2) and was stationed with the Second Infantry Division of the U.S. Army.  He said he was TDY (Temporary Duty Assignment) “on and off” to Vietnam and was with III (“Three”) Corps around the South Central Highlands / Cu Chi (pronounced “Coo Chi”).

We’ll get to all that, but let’s back up a second.

Warren is a book author and wrote a fiction book called “An American Soldier – Dreams of a Child” about the first black officer in the Civil War.

The book and the author’s biography seem legit and have nothing to do with any claims.  The only thing to note is that Reiten’s back cover bio does not include anything about Vietnam.  Make a mental note of this as we proceed.

As we all do from time to time, Reiten fell on difficult times and the Salvation Army helped him out of a pickle in 2015.  The Salvation Army then promoted Reiten’s story and the help that they gave him.

Although also on YouTube, here is the video in its entirety…


A couple of notes to keep in mind with the video.   Although no verbal claims, there is a small segment with Reiten doing voiceover that shows an arm tattoo with the implication it is Reiten’s.  You can also partially see it with his face in the frame.  It says “Vietnam 1969 US ARMY Combat Infantry

Then, there is the issue of the jacket he is wearing. In one scene he is shown to have a jacket with a butterfly on the sleeve right shoulder/sleeve. This butterfly will become important in a podcast interview a years later in 2017 that will be highlighted in a moment.

A few seconds later in the video, Reiten turns and you can clearly see “VIETNAM VET” on the back of his leather jacket.

In 2017, a few years after the Salvation Army promotional video, Reiten did a radio interview and podcast called “American G.I. Remembers the Butterfly” for It Takes 2 with Jack & Amy.

On their podcast webpage, they introduced Reiten as a Vietnam Vet.

The entire podcast interview can be found on the “It Takes 2 with Jack & Amy” site, but it is also provided in its entirety below to account for removal.

SOURCE: https://kfgo.com/podcasts/it-takes-2/939/american-gi-remembers-the-butterfly/

Warren claims he was a “US Army Second Lieutenant with the 2d Infantry Division from 1968-1970” (1:10-1:20), he was in Vietnam for a year “TDY on and off” (1:19-1:25), and stationed at “III (Three) Corps around South Central Highlands – Cu Chi” (1:25-1:34). Reiten confirms to the interviewer that he wrote: “The Butterfly” based on experience in the field (6:09-6:17).

During the podcast, Reiten explains the significance of the butterfly from a poem that he wrote.

Reiten says that he has the butterfly embroidered on several of his shirts and his leather jacket (10:03-10:13).

When video still frames from the 215 Salvation Army promotional video are combined with a photo from the 2017 podcast/article, the jacket appears to be the same one with the butterfly on the right shoulder/sleeve.

So, let’s take a look at what NPRC has to say about all of this.

All claims – rank and time in service – seem to be supported except for the service in Vietnam claim.  From all references, he should have gotten a medal or medals to indicate his service in Vietnam even if it was not unusual to omit a reference to a TDY to Vietnam in his service records.


There are no assignments listed for Vietnam. His OCONUS assignment is listed as Korea. There was no indication of service in Vietnam, TDY or otherwise.


There are no medals listed that would support Reiten’s claim of being in Vietnam. The criteria listed for the Vietnam Service Medal would have qualified him for the medal even if TDY.

Vietnam Service Medal

From Wikipedia on the Vietnam Service Medal:

Award criteria

Ribbon with silver star, denoting service in 5 campaigns.

The Vietnam Service Medal (VSM) was awarded to all members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Vietnam and its contiguous waters or airspace thereover, after 3 July 1965 through 28 March 1973. Members of the United States Armed Forces in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, or airspace thereover, during the same period and serving in direct support of operations in Vietnam are also eligible for the award.


Individuals must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days with an organization participating in or directly supporting military operations.
  • Be attached to or regularly serve for 1 or more days aboard a U.S. naval vessel directly supporting military operations.
  • Actually participating as a crewmember in one or more aerial flights into airspace above Vietnam and contiguous waters directly supporting military operations.
  • Serve on temporary duty for 30 consecutive days or 60 non-consecutive days in Vietnam or contiguous waters, except that time limit may be waived for personnel participating in actual combat operations.
  • No person will be entitled to more than one award of the VSM.
  • Individuals qualified for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (AFEM) for reason of service in Vietnam between 1 July 1958 and 3 July 1965 (inclusive) will remain qualified for that medal. Upon request (unit personnel officer) any such individual may be awarded the VSM instead of the AFEM. In such instances, the AFEM will be deleted from the list of authorized medals in personnel records. No person will be entitled to both awards for Vietnam service.
  • Service members who earned the AFEM for Operation Frequent Wind between 29 and 30 April 1975, may elect to receive the VSM instead of the AFEM. No service member may be issued both medals for service in Vietnam.
  • Vietnam and contiguous waters, as used herein, is defined as an area which includes Vietnam and the water adjacent thereto with the following specified limits: from a point on the East Coast of Vietnam at the juncture of Vietnam with China southeastward to 21 degrees north latitude, 108 degrees, 15 minutes longitude; then southward to 18 degrees, north latitude, 108 degrees, 15 minutes east longitude; then southward to 17 degrees, 30 minutes north longitude, 111 degrees east longitude; then southward to 11 degrees north latitude, 111 degrees east latitude; then southward to 7 degrees north latitude, 105 degrees east latitude; then westward to 7 degrees north latitude, 103 degrees east latitude; then northward to 9 degrees, 30 minutes north latitude, 103 degrees east latitude; then northeastward to 10 degrees, 15 minutes north latitude, 104 degrees, 27 minutes east latitude; then northward to a point on the West Coast of Vietnam at the juncture of Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • The VSM may be awarded posthumously.



Reiten had said in the podcast interview that he took classes in journalism. It is conceivable that he was in some kind of support role for a Public Affairs Officer but there is nothing in his record to indicate that. Instead, he highlights the claim of being with an infantry division.

His official military records show that he was primarily assigned as an MP (Military Police).

Then, recall that I asked you to remember that he did not mention Vietnam in his biography on the back cover of his book.

As you can see above with the first page, this book had the publishing year of 2005, so it seems like Reiten would have emphasized Vietnam just as he did in 2015 for the Salvation Army video or in 2017 for the podcast video.

Reiten is a Vietnam-era veteran because he served during the Vietnam War.  He served during a time when a lot of people didn’t or wouldn’t serve.  The fact remains, however, that Reiten’s official military records do not support a claim of serving in Vietnam, TDY “on and off” or otherwise.

Category: Army, Army Poser, Vietnam

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH B Woodman

(sigh) Too bad, an otherwise honorable service shat upon by self service lies.

A Proud Infidel®™️


5th/77th FA

‘pears like Warren Robert Reiten, embellishing, POS, phony baloney has been ‘riting some fiction about his life. Must of gotten together with another Tribal Elder from the Vietnam Times. But then again, a Military Poo leaze with edumucashun in real estate is kinda like a Combat Infantryman, isn’t it? After all, Ft Gordon GA has real estate, Ft Riley has butterflies, and Korea is in the same hemisphere as the Viet of the Nam.

Your lie rocking days are over Dippy. Here’s hoping that a real CIB 11B with a tattoo removing wire brush catches up with you. I have zero respect for the service you did do in that you used your college boi rotc to pay for your college and then skated out after less than 2 years of get over duty. The Toilet Bowl of Taunts for you, you lying, embellishing sack of sh^t.

Combat Historian

ROK duty was hot and heavy during 1968-69, 2d ID and ROKs had to deal with numerous small unit incursions and ambushes by the NKPA across the DMZ, and a number of American GIs and numerous ROK troops were KIA and WIA during this period of low/medium-intensity static war. It is a real shame that Reiten cannot be proud of his own wartime service in the ROK, and had to steal valor from the better-known conflict happening concurrently in Viet of the Nam. Very sad…


Yes, this period was sometimes called the “Second Korean War” or just “The DMZ War” and lasted from about 1967 – 1970. Essentially Kim Il Sung was trying to take advantage of the fact that Uncle Sam was heavily committed to Vietnam to see what kind of trouble he could stir up in the ROK.

Since Reiten was awarded the AFEM he probably was authorized a 2nd ID combat patch for serving in the division during this period.

When I first came in, every now and then I would see someone with a 2nd ID right sleeve patch and it confused me because it seemed like they were WAY too young to have been in the Korean War. It was then that I found out about the “DMZ War” in the late 60’s. Civilians back home barely heard about it because the 1 – 2 GI’s killed or wounded would have just been lost in the “noise” of Vietnam.

It’s too bad Reiten had to lie about his time. He could have spoken truthfully about a conflict that most Americans know almost nothing about.

Combat Historian

While attending OSUT in 1979 at Benning, the drill sergeant (SFC Pennington) leading one of the neighboring training platoons wore a 2d ID combat patch. It was from him that I learned that 2d ID veterans who served in the ROK DMZ region in 1968-69 was authorized the combat patch. As you stated, Americans don’t have a clue that a low/medium-level conflict was fought along the Korean DMZ during that period…

Keepin' It Real

I was in Cu Chi quite often – just ask Mary Jane R***********.


Is that in Poon Tang Province?

Keepin' It Real

Yes. It was two clicks north of the Queef River.

Sometimes known as the infamous “Black Triangle.”

You know what we’re doing here.

A Proud Infidel®™️

I bet he was based in Al Phuk Tup as well!

Cameron Kingsley

Was he in the battle of Ho Lee Fuk province, home of the famous G.I. savior Long Duc Dong (GONG)?


Insertions and extractions?


The warning order for those Viet of the Nam ops was: “Hey G.I., I lub you long time.”

Keepin' It Real

Many a brave soldier entered Cu Chi and many wished they hadn’t.

Some went in “full commando” with no protection and regretted that decision for years to come.


I heard there were tunnel searching ops in Cu Chi. Many a trooper entered those “tunnels” and came out needing a visit to the company medic.


Well, he did spend nearly two grueling months in Korea.

So there’s that.


And good morning to you too.


lol evil admin strikes again!

oh the humanity!


Warren Reiten did not serve in Viet Nam.
Warren Reiten did serve in Korea, but disgraced himself by later lies.
Warren Reiten needs to be proud of what he did.
Warren Reiten needs to not lie about what he did not do.

Warren Reiten is a sad old man.


In the FOIA, under Military Education, “Real Estate” is listed.

Real Estate?

Interesting that he was Commissioned in 1966, but did not attend his Basic Officer Course until 1968.

Hack Stone

That would make him a real estate novelist.

Keepin' It Real

MAJOR: We need to execute a full frontal assault on that position.

CAPTAIN: But sir, they wouldn’t budge on the percentage points without a land survey and a higher bid.

MAJOR: Darn it! We need someone trained in real estate. Tell Reiten to get his fanny up here front and center.


Oh, here we go.

The butterfly he reminisces about so vividly is an Old World Swallowtail, commonly found in North America but not widely seen, the UK, some parts of Europe and rarely in Africa.
Habitat areas are at this link: https://www.learnaboutbutterflies.com/Britain%20-%20Papilio%20machaon.htm

Papilio machaon – also known as the common swallowtail or just swallowtail butterfly, is not a Vietnamese species.

Some excellent photos of Vietnamese butterflies by a wildlife photographer at this link: https://www.richard-seaman.com/Insects/Vietnam/Butterflies/index.html

I particularly like the white dragontail, although those of you who are landlubbers may prefer the staff sergeant butterfly.

This dud can’t even get his bugs correctly.


Do you know the story of the Regal Fritillary?


It is a very rare breed of butterfly and is only found in pocketed regions.

One of the rare areas it is found is at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA due to the milkweed it feeds upon. Another tiny area is the Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia in Virginia.

Well, much of the National Guard, Army and other units are restricted in the training they can do based on the Regal Fritillary in the Fort Indiantown Gap training areas. So, a little butterfly brought the Army’s training to a screeching halt.

See small green dot in PA on this map. That is the region I am talking about.

Regal Fritillary Map


Now, that is a beautiful butterfly!! We have fritillaries around here, but not that one.

Camp Lejeune has a sanctuary for the red cockaded woodpecker, which gets along just fine with the tanks and artillery.



There are also areas of Camp Lejeune you can’t train in based on the presence of the Venus Flytrap. True!



Well, of course!

You don’t want those recruits to get captured by one of those carnivorous plants, do you? I mean, what would the CO say to their parents?

Hack Stone

Hack was at ELMACO 2nd Maintenance Battalion back in the 1980’s. If only he knew about this threat to Marines, he could have had his Little Comm Shop Of Horrors.


Ex, Jarheads and peckerwoods co-existing?

Who’da thought? 😆


(Snnrrrtttt!) It does happen, Poe. It does occasionally happen.

Comm Center Rat

“the butterflies that had just hatched hurried into the light to find love as”
― Henri Charrière, Author of Papillon


Found an August 2000 article from the Bismark (ND) Tribune where the Reporter acknowldeged Reiten was “An Army Lieutenant during the Vietnam War…after returning from the war in 1970…”

Either Reiten misinformed the Reporter in 2000 or the Reporter misunderstood what Reiten told him, but there is no mention in the article that Reiten served in Korea.


Probably said, “when I returned to the States.”


Tales of daring-do? Check.
Leather jacket with unearned bling? Check.
Doo rag and mo-ter cykill? I’d bet somewhere…
Service dog? Negative, but we may have claim to a ‘Service butterfly’!
Regardless, Warren Robert Reiten of Fargo, ND is a liar and should have stuck to the truth.


Sadly, he reminds me of so many other folks who served DURING the Vietnam War, but were sent to Korea or Germany during that timeframe yet embellished their Service by implying they served IN Vietnam.

The same goes for those who served DURING Desert Storm, but were NOT in the Sandbox, but rather in Germany (Les Brown).

So sad.


Not to excuse their behavior, but they probably get tired of explaining they did not serve in Vietnam when they say they were in during the Vietnam War.

So, the “TDY” and “cross-assigned” stories raise their ugly head.



It is so easy for one to state to a reporter “I served in Korea as a MP Officer during the Vietnam War Era”.

Or: “I served in Germany as an US Army MP in support of Desert Storm”.


There is also the possibility of sharp-penciled editors cutting, “I served in Korea as a MP Officer during the Vietnam War Era” to a more concise “I served during the Vietnam War,” which while technically true, leaves readers with a much different and less accurate impression.

Mind you, I’m not excusing this shit-bird, but having had some experience with editors unfamiliar with military service, I am sure this occurs.


True, Poetrooper.

He also could have simply said that he served as a LT in the US Army WITHOUT mentioning “Vietnam Era”.

Additionally, am pretty sure he read the newspaper article about himself and could have contacted them and requested correction on the statement “after he returned from war”…but he didn’t.

Am beginning to believe he wants folks to think he actually was Boots On The Ground in Viet of Nam based on his tattoo and jacket, perhaps to sell his book.


I ran into a Korean War vet at the restaurant out on the highway. I asked him about it, and his response was that he never got to Korea in situ, but was stationed at Okinawa on an LPH. Never made any claims of action, and I did not ask him about the bars on Okie. Nice guy, wouldn’t let me buy his coffee.

It’s easy enough to say, “No, I was not deployed to Vietnam. I was mostly on the US East Coast.” Doesn’t mean nothing exciting happened, e.g., the protest at the Pentagon in the fall of 1967, which a bunch of us could see because we lived up the hill at Quarters K.

Cameron Kingsley

Anyone remember the guy who called himself Wayward Bill? The pothead who claimed that it was his job to cut off the ears of enemy combatants so they could get an accurate count even though he was stationed in Germany the whole time. If I remember correctly, he had gotten busted for going AWOL.

Cameron Kingsley

Thanks, ninja. That’s him alright.


Haven’t heard anything about old Les lately.


He could have taken a clue from commedian George Gobel, a pilot during WWII:


Dennis - not chevy

About the butterfly – was he trying to relive the butterfly scene in “All Quiet on the Western Front”? If one is going to steal from a movie, why not make it a 90 year old movie?


Is it this one? Sometimes, those old movies need to be sent back to the theaters!



Oops! Wrong code: my bad!

Dennis - not chevy

There was an old single screen theater near where I once lived – it closed – put out of business by one of those multi-screen monstrosities. I met with the manager and tried to convince him to use it for old movies with real pop corn and dressing up to go to the show. He said a small number of companies owned so many of the old movies it wouldn’t be possible. Sad.


That is really sad. Those old movies had some wonderful scenes in them.

Hack Stone

Looks like we were both making the same post at almost the same time. Did you have a BBQ Beef Sandwich on a hoagie roll for lunch, too?

Dennis - not chevy

I’m on the left coast; too early for lunch. The Mrs packed me a lunch of ham & cheese which I ate for breakfast, but if she asks, I waited for lunch time to eat it.

Hack Stone

No one but Hack is going to comment that the butterfly story seems to be inspired by, or ripped off from, the closing scene of All Quiet On The Western Front?

Green Thumb

This clown will soon be editing he All-Points Logistics Quarterly update.

Hack Stone

If Hack isn’t careful, this guy may just swoop in and steal that highly coveted position as Director Of Media Relations for a proud but humble woman owned business that sells software to the federal government.

Cameron Kingsley

You just can’t take a hint can you?

Mustang Major

Warren Reitan’s 2005 book was published by Infinity Publications. They are a self-publisher; a publisher you pay to publish your books. You take your money and pay to have the book published, and hope you make a profit on your book sales.

I am actually working on a book that I will self-publish. The book will be called, “All the BS People Told Me and Expected Me to Believe.” It will be over 900 pages.


You may be onto something there. That would be an interesting read.

Hack Stone

Commonly referred to as a “vanity press”, if you got the cash, they have the printing press. You send them a couple thousand bucks, they’ll print up a few hundred copies, and for the next five years your wife will be bitching about those “damn boxes of books I told you that nobody would buy” blocking her from parking the car in the garage. Of course, that book will get nowhere near an editor before printing, so anyone with the misfortune of reading it will come to the conclusion that not only are you are suffering from delusions of military exploits that never happened, you are also functionally illiterate. For examples of vanity press books, please reference former a Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s “Healthy Holly” books and/or “Weekend With Rita”, by crybaby CIO Burrell, the third most hygienically challenged man in the world.


Here’s a book where the Author fell for a Phony’s story hook, line and sinker:


“Most people adapt their lives to natural cycles. Joe adapted his to a need for support, service, and defense. A soldier in World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, he earned seven Purple Hearts for wounds received, among many other medals and honors. Filled with sensational beginnings and extreme changes, Joe’s true story begins with D-Day, WW II, and goes on to dramatic experiences– serving with the 101st Airborne during World War II, liberating Nazi concentration camps, being a Nuremberg witness, serving a call to duty in Korea, standing guard in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot, and serving in Vietnam, where he was a prisoner of war and suffered extreme torture. Trimmed with historical facts and pictures, the stories of Joe’s life are tales of survival, and of what one man can do. About the Author: George S. Bockius, a thirty year employee with Lockheed Martin in Moorestown NJ, spent four years writing and many hours interviewing, recording, and researching accuracy and historical integrity of For Which it Stands. George gained his writing experience working in program management, contract proposal development, document writing and his education at Rutgers University (BS) and Rosemont College (MS).”


A veritable Forest Gump of military experiences.


The Wing-douche usually posts his effluvia at about 3:00 am. Guess he figures his keyboard horse shit will stay up for a few hours before Ed deletes it


Here’s another Dude who claimed to have served in Vietnam, but actually had duty in Germany.

Alan James Merkleine from Florida.

Remember him?


Cameron Kingsley

He needs general’s shoulder boards like these so he can be a warlord/banana republic Generalissimo. General officer’s insignia can also be substituted with Iranian shoulder boards or just about any (Iran’s military rank insignia article can be reached by opening the table at the bottom of the page and selecting it in the Asia section as I don’t want to get carried away with adding links. The original Communist Chinese shoulder rank insignia, Soviet shoulder boards, or the epaulettes of the Grande Armée also work.). Actually the Grande Armée epaulettes would be the most appropriate for the “ceremonial uniform.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_ranks_of_Angola


Speaking of Florida:

Rush Limbaugh just made the announcement that he has Advanced Lung Cancer:


Alex Trebeck of Jeopardy. And now Rush.

So sad.


Sounds like ‘Da Nang Dick’ Blumenthal.

A Proud Infidel®™️

The little cockroach gets squished yet again!! 😀😀


As I was in ROTC during the same time frame as this POSer asswipe, I will decode his assignments section of his DA Form 66. He attended college ROTC and was commissioned a 2LT MP officer in 1966. His AD was delayed because he went to law school or other post grad school for a couple of years, but he must have flunked out or dropped out of law school, cuz all take at least 3 years to complete. His book jacket says he had law and business post graduate studies after ROTC. (A couple of my ROTC classmates had their two-year AD deferred for law school or other post grad courses of study.) In the spring of 1968 he was ordered to AD and was TDY to the MP officer basic course at Ft. Gordon. Thereafter, he was assigned to an MP outfit guarding the stockade at Ft. Riley where he was an “assistant corrections officer.” Then in 1969, he did a little over a month on leave and was shipped off to Korea, assigned to the 2nd ID MP company. Ten months later, he was at Ft. Lewis being released from AD. He likely never heard a shot fired in anger, and I seriously doubt he ever heard anyone screaming “incoming.” He certainly has an impressive Linkd-In page.

So, we can safely say:
Warren Reiten never served in Vietnam.
Warren Reiten was never an infantryman.
Warren Reiten was never a Special Forces Officer.
Warren Reiten was never Airborne qualified.
Warren Reiten was never Ranger qualified; never attended Ranger School.
Warren Reiten only did the very minimum required of him as a Army Reserve 1LT MP officer.
Warren Reiten’s “passion for history” seems primarily to be lying about his own military history.


Oops, it looks like I conflated Warren’s story with that of our next POSer, who never served. So, we can delete the last five lines of my comment above.


Tanks, AW1.


My doppelganger at work.*grin*

There’s dumb, and then there’s trolling Dave Hardin’s Stolen Valor posts dumb.


You don’t say!

A Proud Infidel®™

Warren Reiten looks like he was beaten hard with an Ugly Bat®™
Warren Reiten DID serve in the US Army from 28 March 1968 to 18 Jan 1970.
Warren Reiten NEVER served in Vietnam according to records found.
Warren Reiten looks like he enjoys prowling highway rest areas in search of a date.
Warren Reiten Seems to have taken The Salvation Army for a free ride.
Warren Reiten conned a radio show into broadcasting his lies.
Warren Reiten could have been honest about his Military Service and still held his head high.
Warren Reiten lives in the “bustling metropolis” of Fargo, ND.
Warren Reiten has NO record of being a Combat Infantryman.
Warren Reiten can now wallow in The Power of Google®™ as Warren Reiten realizes that THE INTERNET IS FOREVER.
How copy,