Guest Post: the Stolen Valor saga of Lcpl Christopher McFarland

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Guest Post: the Stolen Valor saga of Lcpl Christopher McFarland

This is a guest post from Jonn Lilyea of This Ain't Hell.  Like Jonn I got hundreds of emails on this.  Even at first glance it was absurd.  A two time POW in Iraq and Afghanistan that no one had ever heard of?  Come on.  What I was going to write was exactly the same as Jonn, so he graciously offered it to me to post here.

What follows is Jonn's post:

I got about 100 emails and messages on Facebook about Lance Corporal Christopher MacFarland who was featured in an article in the Examiner on Monday about his service dog. The article has been unceremoniously yanked since, but through the magic of screen shots, here you go if you are the one person who didn’t see it yet;

Well, being the consummate [expletive] that I am, I immediately emailed the author of the article, Brandon Dumsky, to ask him if he had verified any of MacFarland’s claims that he had been twice a POW (once each in Iraq and Afghanistan) or about his four Purple Hearts. DPMO didn’t have him listed among their recognized POWs of the recent conflicts, and we usually read about someone with four Purple Hearts.

This is what MacFarland claimed to Mr. Dumsky;

His MOS in the Corps was 0317 Force Recon Scout Sniper, a close quarter combat and long range precision fire and maneuver job assigned with–

“Darkhorse 3rd Marine Regiment 5th Marines”

McFarland went to SERE TRNG course, Recon School, Scout Sniper School, all at Camp Pendleton, California.

5-time Jump Chump; earned the Combat Diving Badge.

Medically retired on March 5, 2013.

6 tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan; wounded in both countries

Engaged in over 40 blasts and consistent firefights. He was awarded 100% retirement disability for PTSD, TBI and mobility.

So we encouraged Mr. Dumsky to contact the Pentagon PAO and use his journalist creds to squeeze some info out of the folks there. He was a Marine;

Dates of service: Sept. 10, 2002 to Sept. 9, 2006
Rank: Lance Corporal
Military Occupational Specialty: Motor Transport Operator
Awards: Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
**No indication in the record that McFarland deployed to Afghanistan nor Iraq.

It turns out that Mr MacFarland did deploy to Iraq and Afganistan. But he in the Army when he deployed;

Name: Christopher William McFarland

Home of Record: Quantico, Virginia (at time of enlistment)

Rank: Specialist (SPC) effective March 2008

MOS/Branch: Transportation, Motor Transport Operator (88M)

Component: Regular Army

Dates of Service: September 2006 – March 2013

Deployments: Iraq – February 2007 – April 2008; Afghanistan – May – August 2010.


Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star
Army Good Conduct Medal (2 awards)
USMC Good Conduct Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Iraq Campaign Medal with campaign star
Overseas Service Ribbon (3 awards)
Combat Action Badge
Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicle(s) Clasp

No mention of him being a POW or any wounds. But the tour of Afghanistan was fairly short. It is amazing that the Marine Corps would use an Army 88Mike as a scout sniper, though. I guess they’re running out of snipers because everyone that we’ve spotlighted who said they were snipers were out of the USMC, so it must be a manpower issue. We’re waiting for his FOIA still, but I thought I’d let you all know how it’s going.

Thanks to Mr. Dumsky for sharing his research.

Posted in the burner | 7 comments
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he served, why can't that be enough?

I was in the Navy during the Vietnam Conflict and did not go into the Pacific. For my actions I received the National Defense Service Medal, which says I came, I did what I was told to do and when it was time I went home. That was enough for me. Why would anyone try to be a hero and say they were something they were not. I have met several people who received the Medal of Honor, Silver Stars, Bronze Stars and other medals of valor. None of them will say that they were a hero. One even said that the only reason he received the Medal of Honor was because he was in the wrong place at the right time and did something incredibly stupid. So if MacFarland just wanted a dog, there are plenty at the SPCA who can be trained to be his friend and if he just wanted the attention, well he succeeded there.

Stars & Stripes had a cartoon around 2006 that showed a Marine instructor over a soldier laying prone with his rifle rested. Instructor is holding his paper target noting the tight shot group over the bulls eye and exclaims, "Whoa, are you a sniper?" The soldier replies, "No, I'm band." So, I suppose the Marines could have used a truck driver as a sniper. Rather, I'd think every Marine was a soidier first no matter the job and proficient with the weapons issued to him.

The Army taught me as an NCO to always tell the truth to your men. Then they will listen to you. It doesn't pay to exaggerate or lie especially in public. For a man who had a decent service record and nothing to be ashamed of, all to be proud of, and could have used the truth for which he would have been honored for, now must proceed to shame for claiming that which he did not do, how foolish.

Sorry Concerned Veteran. Marines are not soldiers. The Marine instructor was standing over a Marine not a soldier. Soldiers are in the Army. Marines Are Marines ,Grunts, leathernecks, Jarheads or riflemen But not soldiers. I know you meant well but get the nomenclature down ok?

If he's being instructed then he's in school... so he's not a Marine either genius.

if he was Force Recon he wouldn't carry 0317 as his main MOS identifier, it would be listed as a secondary MOS, seeing that his primary MOS would be 0326. He also wouldn't have been with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment, seeing that that is infantry and not a recon battalion. He would've been with 1st Recon. I was with 3rd Battalion 5th Marine as a SS during 02-06. I have never heard of him nor was I sent to Afghanistan, only Iraq. I hope he gets what is coming to him.

They are lying!! 99.9999% of the time. Just a few questions could trip up a dope like this. Why do reporters fall for it? So easy to verify many parts of his story. "Can we speak to your platoon leader or commanding officer?" "What was your class number at BUDS?" "Where did you attend (insert acronym here)?" They can't answer because they are fake fake fake!!

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.