Tuesday, November 13, 2018


One thing that gets really up my nose are people who take delight in parading on ANZAC Day and the like wearing medals they are not entitled to.   They are leeching off the valour of those who wear those medals legitimately.   When it is an ex-serviceman who does that I get doubly annoyed.   They are shoving it to their onetime colleagues in arms.

There is a website dedicated to unmasking these charlatans.  Its web address is www.anzmi.net (ANZMI - Australian & New Zealand Military Imposters).    The website recently outed a certain Dennis Manson from Devonport who now joins their Hall of Shame.

Manson served 23 years in the NZDF reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 as a member of the Royal New Zealand Dental Corps.    He served a tour in Vietnam with the New Zealand Services Medical Team where, on 1 March 1970, he received minor wounds in a booby trap incident which took the life of Sergeant Gordon Watt, RNZAF.

Fast forward to September 2011 and Manson claims he received unsolicited from the US Department of Defense (DoD) in Washington a box with four medals in it along with a letter (since lost) which read words to the effect 'We notice you have not requested your medals.   Please find the medals enclosed.  Thank you for your service'.

Two of those medals were the US Silver Star (the US third highest medal for gallantry in action) and the Purple Heart Medal (awarded to US servicemen wounded in action).    Manson added these to his medals rack and strutted himself with tales of deering-do to all that would listen.

His past has caught up with him and he has been outed.   The NZDF has no record of him being awarded those medals.   Think on it.   High decorations don't just arrive in the post.   Were it legitimate you would have expected the US Government to pull out all the stops to have the medal properly presented to him.   And it just beggars belief that the US DoD holds details of the home addresses of New Zealand Vietnam veterans 50 years on ... sheesh, if they do they should let VANZ New Zealand into the secret because VANZ surely doesn't.

For the record only three New Zealand servicemen were awarded US decorations in the Vietnam war and all those decorations were of a lower grade than the Silver Star.    They were Captains Bruce  Meldrum (later Major-General) and Brian Chippendale who received the US Bronze Star (with V Device) and Flying Officer MR Callanan who was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (US).

Mason has now removed those offending medals from his medals rack.   That is the very least he could do.   He has sullied his own service by his desire to impress.   It remains to be seen whether he will face prosecution under the Military Badges and Distinctive Badges Act.    If found guilty he could face a fine of up to $500.


Andrei said...

Correct me if I'm wrong Veteran but I understood that an individual may wer their parent's, grandparent's etc medals but on the opposite side of the chest as those who had earned them would

The Veteran said...

Andrei ... that's the protocol, you're correct. On ANZAC Day Mrs Veteran wears her fathers medals with pride.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

Some of the blame for Manson's behaviour must be laid squarely at the door of the executive of the Devonport RSA which includes two ex Army Colonels.

It must have been blatantly obvious to them that Manson could never have been entitled to the US Silver Star or the Purple Heart.

One of these ex Colonels is trying to instigate the wearing of an Infantry Combat Badge and has in fact produced one that some misguided veterans are wearing. I think he's just fucked his credibility on that one!

George said...

Good post!
I prefer to call such dregs Mitty's after the film The secret life of Walter Mitty.
And the web site in question had a win when a certain parliamentarian had a very swift reduction in his rack.

Noel said...

Vietnam Veterans padding out medals.Shocking!!
Now what was the original intent of the NZDSM (Warlike)?

Gerald said...

Perhaps the paper work was delayed?

The Veteran said...

Gerald ... the Manson case and the one you refer to have nothing in common. There was no paper work to complete in the Manson can because the medals were self awarded. In Chris Mullane's case the paper work had been initiated and the medal awarded by his US Commanding Officer. The paper work was subsequently found and signed off and Mullane was 're-awarded' the medal (US Legion of Merit) by the Commander, US Pacific Fleet, in a special ceremony held in Auckland.

Gerald said...

But no approved for wear in NZ?

"FOREIGN MEDALS (worn in order of date of award)

Explanatory Notes: 1. For foreign campaign medals, e.g. the MFO Medal and the Timor-Leste Solidarity Medal, this means that they are worn in order of date of participation in campaign, operation or peacekeeping mission for which awarded.

2. For foreign medals to individuals, e.g. for meritorious service, such as the United States Army Commendation Medal, this means that they are worn in order of date of approval for award by the foreign Government(s).

The Korean War Service Medal
The South Vietnamese Campaign Medal
The Zimbabwe Independence Medal (Approved for restricted wear only)
The Kuwait Liberation Medal (Approved for restricted wear only)
The Multinational Force and Observers Medal
The Timor-Leste Solidarity Medal (Medalha Solidariedade de Timor-Leste)
United States Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
United States Army Commendation Medal

The Veteran said...

Gerald ... how would you know that?

Gerald said...

Ah it's not on that list?I
Is there another list?

Anonymous said...

"Because it was a foreign decoration, he had not worn the medal while he was in the New Zealand Army, and had started wearing it only in the past few years....."

The Veteran said...

Gerald ... and neither are the medals sported by ‘Medals Mark’ approved retrospectively by the GG. Your point?