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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cav Secret Squirrel Herbert Clarke Williamson III in Houston Business Journal Again

Houston oil executive and chairman of the board of ZaZa Energy Herbert Clarke Williamson III made the pages of the Houston Business Journal again for his false claims of being a "highly decorated Vietnam veteran" his words) and helicopter pilot in an article by Deon Daughtery, available online at Military veterans in high demand in talent wars. The real vets at "This ain't hell but you can see it from here" call him the "Cav Secret Squirrel" because he uses the same excuse that most of these frauds use when caught - "I was in a secret unit, my work was classified, etc. The fact that you can't find my records proves it!" Williamson has lived in Kerr County for the past five years or so which is where our paths crossed. When I took his deposition in 2011 he testified - under oath - that he flew scout helicopters for a year in Viet Nam and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and other medals. Here's an excerpt from his testimony: Q. And from there you went into the Army? A. Uh-huh. Q. And you were a helicopter pilot? A. Uh-huh. 137 Q. Did you fly Hueys? A. Yeah. Hueys and OH-6A's. Q. That's the observation chopper? A. Yes. Q. When you flew Hueys, were they gunships or slicks? A. Slicks. Q. And you went to Vietnam? A. Uh-huh. Q. How long were you there? A. One year. Q. What was your rank when you came back? A. Warrant officer. Q. Did you get any medals? A. Yeah. Yes. Q. What medals did you get? A. Distinguished Flying Cross, air medals. Standard package. The campaign ribbons. Q. You got the Distinguished Flying Cross? A. Uh-huh. Q. Yes? A. Yes. Q. What year was that? A. 1971. Q. Do you know Patrick Brady? A. No, I don't. Q. Are you a member of the Vietnam Helicopter Association? A. I am.... Q. How long were you on active duty? A. About three and a half years. Q. Did you stay in as a Reserve officer? A. I did. Q. How long? A. Total, about 30 years. Q. So when did you -- when did that end? A. About 2003. Q. What was your rank when you left? A. Colonel.
He identified the unit he flew with - C/3/17 CAV. Very impressive - also all lies. He was a private in the Connecticut National Guard and his MOS was Field Wireman. He was never in the Reserves. I thought that the Williamson story would have gotten a lot more coverage when the San Antonio Express outed him. The sad truth is that lying about military service is so common that it't not that big a deal. He repeated his lies in a deposition in a case in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District and got even more detailed, describing how he flew in under fire to rescue an ARVN officer and his radio man. B.G. Burkett's book Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation was Robbed of Its History and Its Heroes, documents hundreds of cases. Some of these frauds are so good they can fool the real vets and get elected president of their VFW posts. Sen. John McCain was fooled by the publisher of the Arizona Republic, who claimed he flew fighters in Korea and Vietnam. Williamson dodged the bullet on the Stolen Valor Act. I'm waiting to see if the Texas Attorney General or the U.S. Attorney in San Antonio will do anything about the perjury. Maybe perjury is so common that it's not a big deal. I hope not. Burkett also shows how military records can be altered or outright fabricated. A couple of take aways - don't stop at getting the DD214 (discharge papers) from the applicant. A counterfeit can be created on any computer or even a typewriter. Require the applicant to sign an authorization for you to get it directly from the National Personnel Records Center. Also, someone who really has served can doctor his official records. For example, he could insert a fictitious order awarding him a Purple Heart into his file or pay a dishonest clerk to do it for him.


  1. Lying about that service is a double edged sword. So many of the guys that saw combat still have difficult issues. I am of that generation. I avoided the draft and burned my draft card in protest. It was the proudest day of my life. My brother did his perceived duty and went to Viet Nam (infantry). He came back damaged. He was never this same. His room mate from UT was killed in Viet Nam. We lost. The Communists won and there was no domino effect. It was one lie after another from McNamara, LBJ and Nixon. The hippies were correct, and I was very lucky and proud to be among their numbers. Why lie about service that war? What does he think that will get him? The guy has serious mental health issue.

  2. I was about as red-blooded, All American as you can get when i graduated from high school in Natchez, MS in 1969. When I was in junior high I remember giving a presentation in a history or speech class about the Green Berets in Vietnam and that's what I wanted to do. By the time I got to high school I realized that was not realistic given my absolute hatred of snakes, bugs, poison ivy and heat. I thought the Navy was the way to go. My senior year I decided to give college a try. I didn't burn my draft card but I did get caught up in the general zeitgeist. I think that was the shittiest time this country had in the 20th Century, starting with the assassination of JFK. As for the war, the government and military lied, the press lied just as bad - like Cronkite pronouncing like he was Moses that we lost the Tet offensive, when the truth was our troops destroyed the Viet Cong as an effective fighting organization. Except for the men doing the fighting they were all lying. The mainstream media and the left have slandered the vets of that war for decades. My policy now is - until proven otherwise, the safest policy is to assume people are lying.

  3. Realize this is an old artice, followed a link to here from TAH. No update on this clown? So, I assume that he, like the hundreds of others, got away with it. I appreciate your stance (and I'm enjoying your blog and articles immensely). Glad you were able to help at least make the 'Col' internet famous. I've noticed that I have also become quite jaded when I hear the blowviators discuss their service. I have had a few people whip out military id cards, one of the easiest things to do to fact check a phony. They're like "Dude, are you seriously calling me out?" I feel bad when that happens, but it is what is these days. "Trust, but verify" seems to be the theme for the day. Bottom line, if he is a retired Col - whether retired from active duty or reserve - he will have a DoD Id Card, just like I do. No, the id card is not classified. Uhh, it's how you get on post, use the commissary, use the VA system, proof of Tri-Care insurance, etc... The easiest thing to do is ask to see his Id. If he's retired, he has one. Period. Now the retired id card is much easier to counterfeit than the active duty and reserve CAC(Common Access Card), but doing so is a whole nother crime in and of itself.

  4. Thank you for the kind words. Williamson was not charged with any crime, but he did sell his ranch outside Kerrville and hasn't been seen in a while. Like Boyd Crowder says in Justified, "small towns don't forget."