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.
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.