In 2010, Angelo Otchy was caught lying about his service and receiving a medal from officials in Verona for his sacrifice and service. He told people he was the only survivor of an IED that ripped through his vehicle, killing three of his friends. Otchy’s uncle, a retired Army Colonel, was the first to call him out on his lies.
According to the Star Ledger:
The 35-year-old Army veteran told a reporter that day about his three tours of duty in Iraq. Voice dropping to a near-hush, he spoke, too, about the buried bomb that ripped through his Humvee, injuring him and claiming the lives of three friends, one of them a soldier from Paterson.
“I’m haunted by that day every day of my life,” Otchy told The Star-Ledger.
But Otchy wasn’t in that Humvee. He was at home in New Jersey when the soldiers died. And he didn’t serve three tours of duty in Iraq. He served half of one tour before he was sent back to the States for extended rest and relaxation.
A Star-Ledger examination of Otchy’s claims — including a review of Army records and interviews with military officials, members of his battalion and the blasted Humvee’s lone survivor — show the Verona man fabricated his story.
Otchy’s uncle, a retired Army colonel who now works as a surgeon in Fairfax, Va., alerted The Star-Ledger two weeks ago to the discrepancies in his nephew’s background. Daniel Otchy called his nephew a troubled man who has been in and out of the military all of his adult life and has a need to seek affirmation.
“I have always tried to support my nephew,” he said, “but what he’s done here is just not right.”
Angelo Otchy said he was granted a 100 percent disability benefit based on a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, a potentially disabling anxiety disorder that has affected hundreds of thousands of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Otchy’s diagnosis could not be independently verified. An Army spokesman, Philip Jones, said such records are not public.
Otchy did serve, and he was in Iraq, but wasn’t involved in any IED’s and wasn’t wounded. Retired Army SGT Tanner Archibald was the only survivor of this IED, “To go out and make claims such as he’s doing, it’s very hurtful, and it just tarnishes exactly what we’re over their fighting for and what we’ve risked and what some of us have given our lives for,” said Archibald, 27, of Columbus, Ind., the Humvee’s driver that night. “It’s infuriating.”
This isn’t the first time he has been caught lying, he also claimed to have helped at “Ground Zero” after the attacks of 9-11. He was interviewed by reporters near a triage station along the West Side Highway in Lower Manhattan. Dressed in camouflage fatigues, he said he was a New Jersey Army National Guard Soldier who had conducted search-and-rescue operations atop the ruins of the collapsed Twin Towers.
“I must have come across body parts by the thousands,” Otchy said. His comments, captured by television cameras and picked up in an Associated Press report, were carried in newspapers around the world, translated into German, Japanese and Afrikaans.
A slightly longer account would later be published in the book “America’s Heroes,” about the response of rescue workers on 9/11. Records show Otchy wasn’t in the National Guard in 2001. In addition, Otchy’s uncle said his nephew told him he didn’t work on the pile at Ground Zero. “He admitted it to me,” Daniel Otchy said. “He said he never got close enough to see anything.”
The Star Ledger dug into his background and this is what they found:
Records show he joined the Army in December 1993, only to be discharged four months later. In May 1996, he enlisted in the Marine Corps but washed out of basic training. Otchy said he failed to qualify in weapons proficiency.
Just three months later, he joined the Navy. Again it didn’t stick. Otchy lasted less than a year before he was discharged.
“I didn’t want to do it anymore,” he said. “Some guys played a prank on me, locked me in a hold in a minesweeper. I said, ‘(Expletive) this. I want out.’”
The military does not disclose why service members are discharged unless a dismissal is related to a criminal charge.
Otchy’s uncle called his nephew’s aborted stints in the armed forces “mutual separations.”
In September 2005, Otchy tried again, joining the New Jersey Army National Guard. By July of the next year, the regular Army took him back, assigning him to the 25th Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade Infantry Combat Team, based at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
Otchy, a member of 2nd Battalion in the combat team’s 35th Infantry Regiment, left for Iraq in December 2006, records show. At Forward Operating Base Warrior in Kirkuk, he served as a driver for a support company.
Otchy said he quickly had trouble coping with mortar attacks, the fear of driving roads studded with IEDs and pulling guard duty at remote communications towers.
“I broke down mentally,” he said.
Both Otchy and his uncle said the Army sent him home for extended rest. He arrived in New Jersey June 13. One day later, Archibald and other members of Bravo company set out on a night patrol that took them along a dirt road just outside Kirkuk.
The IED went off beneath the gas tank, flipping the Humvee and igniting a fireball that retired Sgt. Adam Whitney called “the brightest darkness you could ever see.”
“All the flames were inside the black smoke,” said Whitney, 29, of Hebron, Ky., who was in the second Humvee in the three-vehicle convoy.
Archibald, blood-covered and temporarily blinded in his right eye, managed to kick open a door and escape seconds before the fire erupted. Elazzouzi, Borm and Roberts died almost instantly. They were among 27 soldiers from 3rd Brigade killed during that 15-month tour, Whitney said.
It is the horror of the incident and the memory of fallen friends that makes Whitney and other members of the company angry about Otchy’s lie.
The Star-Ledger spoke with five members of Bravo company and exchanged e-mails with two more now in Iraq.
“That incident was probably the most catastrophic thing that happened to us when we were over there, and for someone to take that and find some kind of glory in it, that’s beyond disgraceful,” Whitney said. “I don’t even have words for that.”
Otchy said he now worries about his benefits, his standing in the community and his reputation among fellow veterans.
“I was wrong,” he said, “and I have to live with this humiliation forever.”
So now, here we are again almost five years later and Otchy is now impersonating a Police Officer.
According to Philly.com:
A U.S. Army veteran once caught fabricating war stories was arrested Tuesday for allegedly impersonating a police officer.
Angelo Otchy, 39, pulled up next to a woman on the Atlantic City Expressway Jan. 13 and flashed a badge, according to a news release from the New Jersey State Police.
As he motioned for the female driver to pull over, she became afraid and called 911, police said.
Otchy, behind the wheel of a blue 2013 Hyundai Elantra, allegedly followed the victim for four miles, until she pulled over at the Pleasantville Toll Plaza.
Troopers identified him as a suspect “through various investigative means” and took him into custody at his Toms River home, according to investigators.
Otchy became the subject of news reports in 2010, when he received a medal honoring his army service from officials in Verona, N.J.
At the merit ceremony, he said he was injured by an improvised explosive device during one of three tours he served in Iraq, according to a report from The Star-Ledger.
A subsequent investigation by the newspaper found Otchy bounced between various branches of the military throughout his adult life, was sent home by the army after just a half a tour in Iraq, and was not overseas during the explosion he discussed.
At the time, Otchy told The Star-Ledger he was “deeply sorry” for his embellishment and that he just “wanted someone to appreciate” his time in the armed services.
He was processed Tuesday on charges of impersonating a police officer and harassment, and released pending a future court date.
Below is a photo of the Soldier’s killed in the IED attack he claimed he was in: Spc. Val John Borm, 21, of Sidney, Neb, (left) and Sgt. Derek T. Roberts, 24, of Gold River, Calif. were killed June 14, 2007, in Kirkuk, Iraq, when the Humvee they were in hit an IED.
It would seem that he is an habitual liar, I can’t fathom what he was planning trying to get a woman to pull over while claiming to be a police officer. I am glad she was smart enough to call 911 before pulling over.
Ochy contacted us today and began threatening us with a lawsuit if didn’t take his story down, said his lawyer was contacting everyone to have this removed google. It seems a lot of POSers and embellishers don’t take us seriously until they realize a search of their name and we are the first or second link on Google. Mostly thanks to all of our readers who have made our website pretty popular with the search engines.
He tried calling us out on several things, but we came back with facts, and in the end he gave up as you can’t fight the truth with lies. Below is the email correspondence between us and Ochy. (Excuse my typos and misspelled words, I was fat fingering emails from my phone.)
If i had a dime for every email we get from these POSers trying everything in their power to get us to remove them from our website, I wouldn’t have to worry about funding our Org anymore.