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Questions Are Being Raised About Native American Elder Nathan Phillips’ Alleged USMC Service During The Vietnam War

Popular independent news outlet BNL reported Monday Nathan Phillips, the elderly Native American man who sang and drummed repeatedly in front of a Covington Catholic High School student, “lied about being a Marine combat vet during [the] Vietnam war.”


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According to the Vietnam War Marine Corps Official History Volumes, the last combat marines left Vietnam in 1971:

USMC Leaves Vietnam 1971

Other sources say marines were still stationed at the U.S. embassy when the liberation of Saigon occurred on April 30, 1975.

If Phillips’ claim about serving in Vietnam turns out to be false, it is a case of stolen valor and will look bad not only for himself, but also the mainstream media (who worked so hard to push his side of the story to the public).

UPDATE #1: Here is another outlet that is currently investigating whether Phillips actually served in Vietnam. They have apparently filed a request for his official military records:

Nathan Phillips – “Vietnam Times” Veteran

UPDATE #2: Phillips reportedly claimed to have been a “Recon Ranger,” yet there is no such position in the U.S. Marine Corps with that exact title.

Here’s a great breakdown from Twitter user @angrytigerp:

UPDATE #3: Per a report from Granite Grok:

I have seen two references as to the age of (Native American) Nathan Phillips, the professional protester who has once again stumbled into the limelight of racial politics. He was allegedly harassed by college students in 2015.

Several new stories say he is 64 years old and I have seen a 2000 article from an Omaha newspaper saying that he was 45 years old. So let’s say he is 64.

Most stories about Nathan refer to him as a Viet Nam vet. Several refer to him as a Marine. I am 66 years old and know personally, of no one my age who went to Viet Nam. Several friends joined the various services right after graduation – 1972.

UPDATE #4: According to Twitter user @adagioforstring, Nathan Phillips is nowhere to be found in the ‘Buddy Finder’ database (Note: This list is not a guarantee of service. Names are self-submitted and not provided by the government):

UPDATE #5: The Native American elder has a GoFundMe page titled ‘Fundraiser for Native Vietnam Vet Nathan Phillips’ that has raised over $300 so far. The campaign was created by user ‘Raina Meyer’ from Minneapolis, MN.

If it is true that Phillips is not an actual Vietnam veteran, this may prove troublesome.

UPDATE #6: A bit off-topic, but an image has just surfaced showing Phillips drumming in front of the Trump International Hotel in D.C. (source):

Nathan Phillips Drumming In Front Of Trump International Hotel Tower

Nathan Phillips Drumming In Front Of Trump International Hotel Tower 2


Activists Hold Native Round Dance In Protest At Trump International Hotel Washington, DC – April 27: Native Youth Alliance Executive Director Nathan Phillips of Omaha Tribe in Nebraska beats a drum on the steps in front of the Trump International Hotel during a protest April 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Organized by The Indigenous Environmental Network, the protesters gathered in front of the hotel that bears the name of U.S. President Donald Trump to rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline, the XL Pipeline and other projects and programs that they say damages the environment. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Does this prove Phillips is biased towards both Trump and his supporters (i.e. the Covington Catholic High School students)?

UPDATE #7: The following video shows Phillips drumming in Washington, D.C. near the Arlington National Cemetery:

Video description: Washington DC November 19, 2012

Mr. Nathan Phillips is affiliated with the Omaha Nation in Nebraska. Mr. Phillips served in the Marine Corps in Vietnam from 1972-76. He arrived to join the White House March from Arlington Cemetery. He had just completed a Peace Pipe ceremony and drumming to honor fallen soldiers. He visited DC from Michigan, where he and his wife are currently residing while she undergoes bone marrow treatment. There, Mr. Phillips drumming other activities include participation in the grass dance. He explained that many nations believe the Grass Dance it to be the oldest form of dance in this hemisphere, used to prepare a piece of ground for other activities many years ago. Mr. Phillips presence and blessing — are emblematic of the spirit to hold sacred our regard of the Earth.

“You have to be of sober mind and sober body because you have such a responsibility,” he stressed.

UPDATE #8: Just a few hours ago, The Washington Times published an article titled ‘Vietnam Veteran status of Native American at center of viral encounter in D.C. in question’:

Native American activist Nathan Phillips faces questions about reports that he’s a veteran of the Vietnam war.

According to multiple news accounts, the activist is 64 years old, which means he would have been 18 years old in 1973, the last year any U.S. combat units were stationed in Vietnam. Mr. Phillips also claims to be a Marine veteran, although the last Marine combat units left Vietnam in 1971.

A careful reading of Mr. Phillips‘ own descriptions does not make clear if he ever set foot in Vietnam. Instead, he has used much more careful language claiming he is a “Vietnam times veteran,” an ambiguous phrasing that led many media accounts to conclude he was a combat veteran.

Mr. Phillips could not be reached for comment Monday.

Read more

UPDATE #9: Here’s a 2008 story from Indian Country Today titled ‘American Indian veterans honored annually at Arlington National Cemetery’:

In a sacred pipe ceremony in Arlington National Cemetery, American Indians paid tribute to native veterans past and present.

Nathan Phillips, Omaha, keeper of the pipe, holds the ceremony annually on the Sunday after Veterans’ Day.

Phillips opened the ceremony with a call on a conch shell and asked the group to gather together. Phillips is the former director of the Native Youth Alliance and now oversees their Heritage of Healing Project. Phillips, as the keeper of the pipe for the ceremony, has attended the event for the past 15 years.

The drum group, Nama-wo-chi, which translates “Native Man, Woman and child,” had traveled from North Carolina to Arlington, Va. to perform. They began with a calling song to honor “all of the veterans for all wars.”

After giving offerings of sage, Sweetgrass, tobacco and food to the spirits and ancestors, Phillips asked if any of the crowd of about 30 people would like to share. Many came forward to express memories of past Native veterans and concerns about soldiers currently serving in Iraq and those being deployed.

Read more

UPDATE #10:MLive‘ interviewed Mr. Phillips after he was allegedly involved in an altercation with students from EMU.

At around the 1:07 mark, Phillips stated, “…as a Vietnam veteran, I served in the United States Marine Corps from 1972 to 1976.”:

UPDATE #11: Here are a few instances where the MSM and others have referred to Phillips as a “Vietnam War veteran” or another similar title/description (source):

Wikipedia: “Nathan Phillips (activist), Native American activist and Vietnam War veteran.”

UPI: “…laughing and chanting at Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips…”

TMZ: “A mob of MAGA hat-wearing teenagers swarmed around a Native American Vietnam veteran…”

Slate: “…Nathan Phillips, a Vietnam War veteran…”

Washington Post*: “…Phillips, an Omaha tribe elder who fought in the Vietnam War…”

*the Washington Post has since stealth edited this story but the original clip is below:

WaPo Stealth Edit

Huffington Post: “Phillips served in the Vietnam War and is the former director…”

GoFundMe: “…Native American Vietnam War Veteran Nathan Phillips was mocked and harassed…”

UPDATE #12: Several non-profit organizations have filed FOIA requests to obtain more information about Phillips’ military service, but it takes between 4-6 weeks to get any type of response.

UPDATE #13: 🤔

Here is WaPo’s correction from the article seen above:

WaPo Retraction


Video description:

Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley pulls the military records of Nathan Phillips (AKA Nathan Stanard), Native American drummer dude. He was NOT a Vietnam vet.

Senior Chief Shipley’s website:

UPDATE #15: In a November, 2017 video posted on the Native Youth Alliance Facebook page, Phillips discussed a number of things, but at around the 5:40 mark, he clearly states “Vietnam veteran”:

Transcript of that portion of the video:

“…I was really trying to figure out, you know, what was my purpose here in this world. What was it all about, you know. Vietnam veteran. Taking [me] away from my family when I was five. Put into foster homes…”

MUST READ: Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley Provides Nathan Phillips’ Service Records

RELATED: New Videos Emerge Showing What Really Happened Before, During And After The Confrontation Between A MAGA Hat-Wearing Student And Native American Drummer

H/T: MisterCrow2020The Gateway Pundit, anonT37z51rF, Lupis (email tip)

Main Image Credit: Facebook