Cincinnati, Ohio/San Diego, California – Meet Nicholas Paea, he loves to tell people he was a Long Tabber that served multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq with 7th Group. He also likes to tell of his Purple Heart’s, two of them in fact. He claims one is from being hit by an IED, which gave him a TBI(Traumatic Brain Injury).
He also claims a Bronze Star with Valor, he is also wearing a CIB(Combat Infantryman’s Badge) with a star, which means he would have had to seen action in another theater besides the War on Terror. Because you can’t get two CIB’s unless you saw action in another theater besides Iraq/Afghanistan not to mention he has his Infantry cord on the wrong side of the uniform!
We were contacted about Mr. Paea after he was spotted at a Disabled American Veteran’s event in Cincinnati by a real member of the SF community, this long tabber, whom we will not name, actually believed him until his last line. He told him that he completed the “Q” course without having to go through Robin Sage.
Since 1974, Robin Sage, the culmination exercise for the SFQC, has been the litmus test for Soldiers striving to earn the coveted Green Beret. (Prior to 1974, similar exercises were held under the name Devil’s Arrow, Swift Strike, and Guerrilla USA.) It is during Robin Sage, held in 15 rural North Carolina counties, that Soldiers must put all the skills they have learned throughout the SFQC to the test in an unconventional-warfare training exercise, this is a requirement to earn the Green Beret, so this threw up an immediate flag.
People started digging and finding all of Paea’s claims online, below is a snapshot of his LinkedIn profile before he changed it recently. These were taken by members of the SF community soon after the chatter started about him.
These are the awards he claimed on the above account:
Mr. Paea also did an interview with “The Activist” which is a newspaper at the University of Cincinnati, as you can see below, he claims to be a former Green Beret who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and suffers from PTSD and TBI. He was trying to start a Veteran’s support group at the college, this was also one of the reasons questions got asked, because someone on the board at the college knew our Green Beret and asked him about Nick. The Green Beret’s are a small community, everyone know’s everyone and if you don’t, someone you know does. After the questions started, his Vet’s group did not make it to far off the ground.
Our SF contact also said he gave a speech to the UC Army ROTC about life as an SF operator, he called the LTC there but it was too late because he already gave the talk.
The Disabled American Veteran’s also made him a poster boy due to his claims, according to the below snippet from the website he suffered a brain injury and back trauma while serving in Afghanistan.
In the Facebook post below, he signs his name as SSG, U.S. Army.
Here’s another photo of Paea in uniform:
In the photo below, he is wearing what has been identified by the Special Force’s community as a Green Beret ring.
The snapshot below was taken from a review he did on a product he bought:
After digging all of this up, we started sending out request to check on his real status, because no one in 7th had ever heard of this guy, and the claim that he did not have to complete Robin Sage to graduate really sent waves through the community.
The first thing to be confirmed was that he did not successfully graduate the “Q” course(Special Forces Qualification Course). This was the response from the JFK Special Warfare Center and School:
“Paea was a member of Class 2-00 on 16 Dec 99 Started SFQC Communications Sgt Course Ph 1 class 2-01;
Admin Recycle to class 3-01 on 24 May 01.
Relieved from SFQC Communications SGT Course Ph 1 class 3-01 for admin reasons on 17 Jan 02.
No record of any additional training”
He did not earn the tab, nor did he earn the Green Beret, so after finding out this it brought all his other claims into question. We contacted several different record’s repositories to make sure we had all of our bases covered. The record’s the Army has on Mr. Paea in no way reflect what he is claiming.
Here is the response from St. Louis:
As you can see above he has no record of any deployment’s to a combat zone, he was stationed in Camp Casey, this is where he was separated from. No record of any Bronze Star’s with Valor, Purple Heart’s, or CIB’s and no record of “Q” course completion.
We wanted to make sure nothing was missed so we also reached out to our POC’s at Fort Knox, the response from them is below:
- Rank: Private. Highest rank held was Specialist effective July 2003.
- MOS: Infantry, Infantryman (11B)
- Service: Active Duty from February 1996 to April 2004
- February to October 1996: Training at Fort Bliss, Texas, and Fort Stewart,Georgia
- October 1996 to November 1998: 1st Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia
- November 1998 to November 2001: 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- November 2001 to June 2002: Training, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
- June 2002 to April 2004: 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Korea
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- National Defense Service Medal (2 awards)
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Korean Defense Service Medal
- Non-commissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 2
- Army Service Ribbon
- Parachutist Badge
- Expert Marksmanship Badge with rifle bar\
- Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge with grenade bar
These are the official responses from the Army, Mr. Paea has not seen combat, never been deployed and did not suffer any injuries from an Improvised Explosive Device. So more than half of the ribbon rack he is wearing is a lie.
We also noticed he was discharged as a Private, even though it seems he attended PLDC/WLC and BNCOC. Seems he was selected for E5, but never selected before he was released. But the reasons for reduction are not public record unless a Courts Martial was involved.
We got Mr. Paea’s contact information and reached out to him to find out why he had embellished his service record, to our surprise he did respond to us several times. We sent him one last email to try to close the loop on all of it, but he never responded and I feel we gave him ample time.
In the emails above he tells us that he borrowed the uniform, but that does not explain the claims to the SF member at the DAV event in which he claimed SF, and all the articles. I really hope he is being honest about the claims to the VA through the DAV, and that his claim was for the parachute mishap not an injury from a non-existent deployment.
The Special Forces community is a small community compared to the Army as a whole, in speaking with the Operator who spoke to Paea that day, he informed me that in all of Cincinnati he knows of one other Green Beret in the city. One day they will learn that posing is not as easy to get away with as it used to be. Someone will call you on it, and when they do, you just might find yourself here as well.
For some reason I have a feeling we will be adding updates to this story in the near future.
Just received a call from one of our SF contacts, he made contact with Mr. Paea, he admitted to him all of the above. He also said he would post a public apology for all to see on his Facebook profile, we shall see.
As he said he would, he posted an apology to his timeline:
Click the link below for the apology on Facebook:
The link above no longer works, he kept the apology up for several hours and removed it, you can see the snapshot above.