I’m always somewhat naively amazed by stories like this (Google cache version – original link has been pulled – HT: 1995wxman) because I have to wonder how these guys think they can get away with claims like this. The first thing that obviously catches your eye are the inordinate number of ARCOMs and AAMs the man claims (54?). He claims he was a Ranger and claims “six Overseas Service ribbons for combat” but no CIB (all this apparently dutifully written up without question by the “reporter”). And of course the award from the “emperor of Saudi Arabia” along with “several dozen others”. Several dozen, mind you:
Jeff "Rock" Harris refuses to display his medals and honors in his Kinston home.
He tries to keep the awards - three Purple Hearts, two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, 23 Army Commendation Medals, 31 Army Achievement Medals, six Overseas Service ribbons for combat, an award from the emperor of Saudi Arabia, along with several dozen others, he acquired during his time as a U.S. Army Ranger - packed away. However, those around him refuse to let him forget how important his time in the military was.
Yeah, I can understand why he refuses to display them (someone wondered what the gross poundage of the oak leaf clusters would be). Then this:
"I have 316 confirmed kills as a sniper, and that's only in that last three years I was in the Army," Harris said. "Every one of those horrifies me regularly because they were somebody's children, somebody's husband or father."
He still feels conflicted about what he had to do, but in the end, he knew it was his duty as a sworn soldier.
"They're bad people and they've done bad things, but who am I to take that away from them?" he asked. "But it was my job to do. Lives were safer because of that - but it's never easy."
Gee, really? 316 confirmed kills, eh? Funny, but the 4 most storied snipers in our recent history, the top four snipers, only had a little over 400 confirmed kills between them. So here we have super-sniper who apparently absolutely no one knows about and he killed almost 3 times the confirmed number of our most lethal sniper, Adelbert Waldron (109 confirmed) had in VN. In fact he so badly outshot Chuck Mawinny (103 confirmed -VN), Eric England (98 confirmed-VN) and Carlos Hathcock (93 confirmed-VN) that he ought to be a legend in the SpecOps community.
Except apparently no one there has ever heard of him.
Finally there is this bit of “corroboration” which is just as puzzling:
James Murphy served in the Army as a Ranger with Harris and said he wouldn't be alive if not for Harris' heroic actions. Murphy recalled after he and another soldier were hit by a rocket-propelled grenade in Mogadishu, Harris ran to their position and carried both of them a half-mile away "not knowing if we were alive or not." He drove them to safety in a burning vehicle and returned to continue to fight.
"If you know him, you are privileged," Murphy said. "If you served with him, you were in the presence of a true American patriot. If he is your friend, you should be honored. He gives hope to humanity that there are still decent, amazing people all around you."
Mmmm … half-mile. Didn’t know if they were alive or dead (really?). Drove them to safety in a burning vehicle. Huh … so that relief taskforce in Mogadishu wasn’t really necessary – all they had to do was follow super-sniper out … in his burning vehicle. Hey, at least it would be easy to follow.
Of course this should all be easy to check out – as I recall, it was B Co., 3rd Bat, 75th Ranger RGT that was at Mogadishu. This nonsense has already caught the attention of the US Army Ranger Association (that’s where I found out about it). Their quick internal checks came up empty on the guy and Murphy.
Two questions – how does a person think such a story will pass undetected and unchallenged? The irony is this piece was in the Fayetteville Observer. Yeah, that’s right, the newspaper of the town in which Ft. Bragg, NC is located. Yeah, no one there is going to notice, are they?
Which brings me to the second question – how does something like this get through the editorial process without being heavily questioned, especially in a paper that should have a staff thoroughly educated in the military given their proximity and the huge part the base plays in the life of the town? Whatever happened to fact checking? What ever happened to knowing enough about your subject that you’re not as easily gulled as these folks appear to have been?
Anyway, something tells me this isn’t going to turn out well for “Rock”.