DAVENPORT, IA- On August 30, 2016, Robert Ellsworth Brooks, Jr., age 70, of Davenport, Iowa, was sentenced by District Court Judge Stephanie M. Rose to five years’ probation and a $5,000 fine, announced United States Attorney Kevin E. VanderSchel. Brooks pled guilty under the Stolen Valor Act to purchasing medals without proper authorization. Brooks was also ordered to forfeit the unauthorized medals and pay a $25 special assessment to the Crime Victims’ Fund.
Brooks has served in both the United States Army and the United States Navy. From approximately November 1962 to September 1966, Brooks served in the Navy. From approximately May 1967 until September 1970, Brooks served in the Army. This time in the Army included deployment and service in Vietnam in the helicopter program. From approximately September 1970 until September 1974, he served in the Army Reserve. From approximately September 1974 until January 31, 1986, Brooks served in the Navy and was discharged under “other than honorable conditions.”
After his discharge from the Army, Brook’s DD-214 dated September 10, 1970, listed the following Awards and Decorations (A & D): National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Army Aviator Badge, Parachute Badge, 30/S Service Bars, Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal (14th award with “V” device).
Sometime between 1971-1974, and during his service in the Army Reserves, Brooks engaged in a conversation with others and as a result compiled a list of Awards and Decorations he thought he deserved, but had not validly been awarded. He knowingly provided this list to another and this information was falsely added to his official military file.
After Brooks began his service in the Navy in 1974, through a series of administrative interactions between the Army and Navy, the Navy obtained a copy of Army records, including a Form 66, which had been populated with this falsely added information under the Awards & Decorations. The Navy relied on this form as legitimate and believed Brooks was entitled to the incorrectly listed Awards & Decorations. When Brooks was discharged from the Navy on January 31, 1986, his DD-214 included the false Awards & Decorations. Throughout the years, the only document that was checked when suspicion arose about the earned Awards & Decorations was the fraudulent DD-214.
On January 31, 1986, Brooks was discharged from the Navy. As part of his plea in federal court, Brooks admitted that the DD-214 dated January 31, 1986, included false Awards & Decorations. Most significantly, Brooks’ DD-214 falsely reported that he had received a Silver Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, a Purple Heart with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, and a Combat Infantry Badge. Brooks also admitted that his records falsely included the following: Distinguished Flying Cross with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, Bronze Star Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Airmen Medal with a 57, an Oak Leaf Cluster and “V,” Army Commendation Medal with “V,” Navy Good Conduct, Navy Pistol Expert, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with star, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Republic of Vietnam Campaign w/ Bar, Republic of Vietnam Honor 1st Class, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal, Navy Unit Commendation, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Presidential Unit Citation, (Army) Presidential Unit Citation, (Army) Meritorious Unit Citation, (Army) Valorous Unit Citation,
Republic of Vietnam Combat Action Ribbon, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Republic of Vietnam Air Service, Vietnam Air Cross Gallantry w/ Silver Wings, Army Overseas Ribbon, Army Service Ribbon, Army NCO Proficiency Development, Naval Parachutist Badge, Naval Aviator Badge, Navy Aircrew Member Wings, Army Parachutist Badge, Republic of Vietnam Parachutist Badge, and Pathfinder Badge.
Brooks knew he had not been legitimately authorized to receive these Awards and Decorations. Brooks admitted that he knowingly and intentionally purchased unauthorized Awards & Decorations, including, but not limited to a Silver Star with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, a Purple Heart with 4 Oak Leaf clusters, and a Combat Infantryman Badge.
Brooks has repeatedly and falsely affirmed, in public and private settings, that he was properly entitled to and received the additional Awards & Decorations improperly added to his DD-214. Brooks has failed to correct this erroneous information. On several occasions when others have questioned his service record, Brooks has referred to the 1986 DD-214, knowing that it contained false information. At his sentencing hearing, the district court noted that Brooks’ public claims that he was a prisoner of war (POW) after he and his crew were shot down during the Vietnam War were not credible. The district court also noted that a story published in Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul, based on information provided by Brooks and describing Brooks flying through enemy fire to save a group of Marines, one of which turned out to be a family member, also was apparently not true.
This case was prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.