Native-American Activist Nathan Phillips Wasn’t a Vietnam Vet and Went AWOL Three Times

Native-American activist Nathan Phillips – a name now nationally known due to his confrontation with some high school students at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., last weekend – has many things in his background you might be surprised to learn.

We already know he has misrepresented his time in the U.S. military. In April, he told Vogue: “You know, I’m from Vietnam times. I’m what they call a recon ranger. That was my role.”

“Vietnam times?” What does that even mean? Is Phillips a Vietnam vet or not?

“In fact, Phillips spent most of his time in the Marines as a refrigerator technician after initially being an anti-tank missileman for four months,” Washington Examiner reports. “Phillips, then named ‘Stanard,’ was not deployed outside the U.S. and never saw combat, according to the Marine Corps.”

That’s not exactly a Vietnam veteran.

Phillips also went AWOL more than once:

Military records provided to the Washington Examiner show that Phillips served in the Marine Corps Reserve between 1972 to 1976 and held the rank of private, E-1, on April 18, 1975. According to records obtained by former Navy SEAL Don Shipley, Phillips was listed as Absent Without Leave (AWOL) three times.

Three times?

How did the story that Phillips was a Vietnam veteran even happen to being with?

“The Lakota People’s Law Project, some of whose members participated in the Indigenous Peoples’ March with Phillips and later encountered the Covington students who had taken part in the March for Life, described Phillips as a Vietnam veteran.” Washington Examiner reports. “That was incorrect, but Phillips himself appeared not to have claimed he was in Vietnam…”

Yet in 2000, Phillips told The Washington Post he had been “a Marine Corps infantryman,” without mentioning that in that role he was primarily a refrigerator repairman.

So Nathan Phillips isn’t actually a Vietnam veteran, but did serve in the Marines – which he went AWOL from a number of times.

Why aren’t more media outlets reporting these important facts?

is a professional writer and editor with over 15 years of experience in conservative media and Republican politics. He... More about John Hanson

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