Spokane Washington- Mark Hans Smith of Spokane Washington has been claiming to be a Sniper with Special Forces, and a Ranger. But he isn’t just claiming to be any Sniper, Mark is one of the “U.S. Army’s Top Snipers”. He Also claims to have a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, two Purple Hearts, and the Army Occupation Medal. He has used these claims to receive free items in excess of $1,000, while sporting badges and tabs that he did not earn.
He defrauded a K9 training club, Protection K9 Training Club, out of free training with his false claims. One of our admins noticed the photos when the K9 club posted them to their Facebook page, and of course was immediately suspicious. Once we knew he was lying, we contacted the club owner, who was shocked to learn of this as he was providing Mark free training because of his service. Mark also told him he was the third most highly decorated Veteran in Spokane!
After we contacted the club owner, he asked Mark for a copy of his DD214, and once he did Mark disappeared. He has not only committed fraud, but has also committed a crime under the Stolen Valor act of 2013. One of our investigators, Fred, was in contact with Mr. Smith and spoke to him several times on the phone. When Fred asked for a DD214, Smith hung up on him and changed his number to prevent Fred from calling him back.
The photo below is the one that set off all kinds of red flags once it was posted by Protection K9. They thought they were helping out a Hero in need, he turned out to be nothing but a fraud.
So, on his ACU Jacket he is sporting the following:
- Special Forces Tab(Right Arm)
- Airborne Tab(Right Arm)
- Ranger Tab(Left Arm)
- 1SG Rank
- Special Forces Arrows(Upside Down-Left Side)
- Combat Infantryman’s Badge with two stars.(Left Side – He is not old enough to have three CIB’s, , and he is not on the Fort Benning list of Soldiers who hold three.)
- Freefall Parachutist Badge(Left Side)
- Parachutist Badge(Left Side)
- Air Assault Badge(Left Side)
- Parachute Rigger Badge(Left Side)
- 3rd Ranger Battalion Scroll(Left Arm)
- Special Forces Halo Wings(Right Side – Prototype Wings, Never Authorized)
Below is the Facebook post that caught our admin’s attention, where he claimed he had the Silver Star, two Purple Hearts and an Army Occupation Medal. Protection K9 posted that they were honored to be able to train Mark and his K9. This company trusted him because he was a Soldier, and Mark took advantage of that trust and used it to his advantage, the whole time the owner thought he was helping a highly decorated combat Vet.
Well we all know the criteria for a Silver Star and the Purple Heart, and this is the criteria for the Army Occupation Medal, which he would also not be authorized as he did not serve in West Berlin before the cut off date of 2 October 1990. As for the other areas, he is not old enough to have served during WWII as most other eligibility dates ran out around 1955.
To be awarded the Army of Occupation Medal, a service member was required to have performed at least thirty consecutive days of military duty within a designated geographical area of military occupation. The Army of Occupation Medal was presented with a campaign clasp, denoting either European or Asian service, depending on the region in which occupation service had been performed. Campaign clasps were worn on the full sized medal only with no corresponding device when wearing the Army of Occupation Medal as a ribbon on a military uniform.
In addition to the Germany clasp, for those service members who performed 92 consecutive days of military duty during the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and 1949, the Berlin Airlift Device is authorized as a device to the Army of Occupation Medal.
- Germany (May 9, 1945 to May 5, 1955)
- Austria (May 9, 1945 to July 27, 1955)
- Italy (May 9, 1945 to September 15, 1947)
- West Berlin (May 9, 1945 to October 2, 1990)
- Japan (September 3, 1945 to April 27, 1952)
- Korea (September 3, 1945 to June 29, 1949)
Below is a snapshot taken from a blogspot he created pretending to be a reporter, reporting on himself and his retirement as “One of the US Army’s Top Snipers”. Here is the link, which was still active when this story was posted. US Armys Top Sniper.
We also found his Linked In account, but it was almost too Top Secret to show you, at least according to the account. Because according to this, his records are CLASSIFIED!!
Funny how that order number is actually Army MOS’s, 11B40 being an Infantryman with the rank of SFC and 18X is a Special Forces Enlistment Option.
Here are a few more close-up photos of his uniform taken by Protection K9:
Below is a photo of his vehicle, complete with a Special Forces sticker and Ranger tag cover.
So we sent for Smith’s records and we were very surprised to learn that he actually did serve. He joined the Washington Army National Guard on 15 September 1982 and served through 14 December 1991, and achieved the rank of Staff Sergeant, not the rank of First Sergeant which he is sporting in the photos.
His actual awards are as follows:
- Army Service Ribbon
- Army Commendation Medal W/1 Oak Leaf Cluster
- Army Achievement Medal
- Army Good Conduct Medal -Which he received for the short stint he did as AGR(Active Guard and Reserve)
- Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal W/1 Oak Leaf Cluster
- Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon
- Sharpshooter Badge W/Machine Gun Bar
- Expert Badge W/Auto Rifle and Pistol Bar
- Expert Infantryman Badge
So as you can see, he is not authorized to wear any of the badges he is sporting in the photos. He also never deployed, and never had any overseas assignments. He has not been awarded any Purple Hearts, Silver Stars, Bronze Stars and not even one Combat Infantryman’s Badge. He did hold several different MOS’s, to include Infantry, but he was never Special Forces and never attended the SFQC or “Q” course to earn the SF Tab. He also never attended Ranger school, nor was he assigned to any Ranger Battalions. Here are copies of his actual records:
Below is part of his 2-1, a document that is used to record all of his assignments. As you can see he spent all of his time CONUS(Stateside), never leaving the Continental United States. So he could not have earned the Combat Patch, the CIB’s, Purple Heart’s or the Silver Star by staying state side. He received an Honorable discharge, so why screw up the great career you already had by creating such an elaborate lie?
Our Investigator also found him on Facebook and engaged him in conversation, asking about his injuries, how he got them and where he had been deployed. That conversation follows; he claims to have been in Afghanistan, the Korangal Valley to be exact. For those that are not familiar with the Korangal Valley, it was dubbed the “Valley of Death” by most that served there. It is located in the Kunar Province of Afghanistan, and was the focus of the National Geographic Documentary called “Restrepo”. I am guessing he saw this documentary and decided to use it as part of his back story. I know some 173rd Soldier’s who served there, and they do not take kindly to people claiming to be in the Valley when they were not.
He claims to have been all over Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe in his imagination, but he has never stepped foot in either combat zone. He also claims to have been hit by an IED. Below is the photo he had on his Facebook, claiming it was the HMMWV he was in when he got hit.
Here is another photo of Mark’s truck, taken by Protection K9, showing his bumper sticker.
Here are several more photos, some of Mark and his dog, which he also acquired for free from another company.
Notice in the photo below he has attached the Special Forces insignia to the front of the pups harness.
Once Mark realized we were on to him, he disappeared and never showed back up to Protection K9 to continue his training. We have now learned he went to another K9 training company to get the training, using the same lies. We are also making contact with them and letting them know about his history.
We want to thank Protection K9 Training Club for helping us out with this investigation the way they have, and allowing us to use the photos they took of Mark. We also ask that everyone go over to their Facebook page and give them a like and thank them for wanting to help our Vets.(Facebook Page Linked Above)
Mark, it would behoove you to cease and desist with the wearing of these unauthorized awards and lying to get free items, as you have already broken the law several times.
After we posted this story, we started getting emails from people who know Mark, but one email really showed me how much of a scumbag he really is. I won’t release full names until I hear back from Tanner’s mom, but this is what she told me.
I wanted to let you know that it was my 11 year old son Tanner who donated the G.S.D. to Mark Smith.
This dog was Tanner’s personal dog, which he raised and trained with his own money and time. This dog represented Tanner’s profit for the year that he earned from doing his part in helping his disabled father in our family business. The dog was his to sell and he chose to donate her to Mark instead of profiting for his labor out of the kindness of his heart.
This man stood in our front yard and shook Tanner’s hand, man to man, knowing that this was Tanner’s sacrifice. We would greatly appreciate it if Tanner could be mentioned in your article. As I write this, Tanner is unaware of Mark’s deception. We will be using your article to help explain it to him at an appropriate time, as this shows thorough evidence.
Stealing from a business is one thing, but lying to a kid and stealing from him is about as low as you can get! I can only imagine the line of bull he told this young man.
Tanner if your reading this, do not let what he did discourage you. You believed you were doing the right thing and this man took advantage of your kindness. I want to thank you for being such a fine upstanding young man!
We will continue to update this story as more comes in, and don’t forget to check us out on Facebook.