This fake Special Forces veteran takes “stolen valor” to a whole new level

Papotia Reginald Wright pretending to be a Special Forces veteran while shaking the hand of a Medal of Honor recipient. (8th Special Forces Regiment New York Honor Guard Facebook Page)

A homeless person holding a sign that claims he or she is a veteran -when they are not- to collect free money is a despicable act but is much more forgivable than what a former soldier has been exposed of doing.

The Army acknowledges that Papotia Reginald “Reggie” Wright served honorably in the Army from 1982 to 1990, but the story he tells about his service is much different. The Army truck driver, who was discharged as a Specialist, claims to be a retired Army Special Forces command sergeant major.

He claims to have a whole slew of awards he never earned, for example, the Combat Infantryman’s badge, Special Forces Tab, Airborne Badge, Air Assault Badge, a Purple Heart, a Bronze Star, and the list goes on.

In reality, Reggie, is just a veteran who didn’t see any combat and drove a truck for the Army at various military installations in the U.S. and overseas, which earned him two Army Good Conduct Medals.

After his service, he chose to advance himself the the rank of E-9, award himself a ton of awards, and put himself in charge of a veteran service organization, titled, the “8th Special Forces Regiment New York Honor Guard.”

He claims he started the organization in Brooklyn, in 2016, to help veterans.

In his position, he was able to dupe numerous organizations, such as the National Football League, and even at least one Medal of Honor recipient into believing his service record.  The organization’s Facebook page describes it as a “Veteran Service Organization (VSO) that renders final honors to Veterans with an Honorable Discharge or General Discharge with Honorable conditions.”

Its official website was taken down after Reggie was first exposed by the military website, Guardians of the Green Beret. Reggie’s bio on the website begins describing a military career that matches up with his service record but eventually takes a detour.

“He enlisted in the Unites States Army in June 1981. Following Basic Training and Individual Training hew was assigned to the 172 Infantry Battalion in Ft. Greely Alaska,. During this tour, CSM Wright served as a Transportation Specialist and the Post Commander Driver/Assistant.” the website stated.

After this point in his career he really went on to serve in Egypt, Germany and at Hunter Army Air Field as a truck driver but his website stated: “In August of 1982, CSM Wright was ordered to Fort Bragg, N.C where he became a member of the U.S Military Special Operations Command for over 25 years.”

Less than a year after Reggie Wright used his false position of authority to receive field access to a New York Giants game and attend Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America events, a tip that he may be lying about his service was given to Guardians of the Green Beret.

It did not take long after filing a FOIA request for his service records for them to find out he had been lying about his military career.

A representative of the organisation told the NY Post, “wearing fake stuff — wearing a Ranger tab, Special Forces tab, those things are hard to earn. Wearing a Purple Heart…that stuff’s unforgivable there.”

A veteran who served eleven years in the Army was hired to work for Reggie’s organization and told the Post he felt duped. Jeff Johnson, 37, said “it wasn’t confirmed to me until three or four days ago when I got a call from one of the members of the unit who was heartbroken.”

“He [Reggie] said he was living off half a kidney,” Johnson said. “He’s an amazing storyteller because he will get into details.”   Johnson claims Reggie gave him a Special Forces patch to put on his uniform, saying he filled out the proper paperwork to authorize him to wear it.

Charges have yet to be filed against Reggie for using military awards he did not earn to possibly obtain donations and free property but he has been arrested for the crime in the past. He was arrested in 2015 in South Carolina for “obtaining property by false pretense.”

Guardians of the Green Beret was not able to obtain evidence to suggest that 8th Special Forces Regiment New York Honor Guard is actually registered as a VSO or a 501c3 non-profit.  The organization claims they had a meeting set up with Reggie but when he found out their intentions were to expose him he avoided his Brooklyn office.

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