Colorado veterans officer insists he was a POW |

Colorado veterans officer insists he was a POW

ORDWAY, Colo. – A veterans affairs officer for a Colorado county has falsely claimed he served three years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, a national advocacy organization for former POWs says.

Ronald Crumley’s military records show he served 10 years in the Marine Corps as an aircraft safety equipment mechanic and never was captured in Vietnam, according to the Missouri-based POW Network, which seeks to expose fraudulent POW claims.

The POW Network obtained Crumley’s records through the Freedom of Information Act, network officer Mary Schantag told The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper.

Crumley, an appointed veterans official for rural Crowley County, insists he was captured in Vietnam. He said he is organizing a meeting with his critics at which a former Marine general and a former assistant U.S. attorney general will verify his POW status.

Crumley didn’t identify the two ex-officials.

“Everything being said is hearsay,” Crumley told The Associated Press by telephone Friday. He declined further comment.

Several Colorado veterans reported that Crumley has claimed at veterans events he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said Doug Sterner, a military historian in Pueblo. Sterner said Crumley was introduced last year as a former prisoner of war to the Colorado Board of Veterans Affairs.

Bill Esch, the Colorado State Veterans of Foreign Wars commander, said Crumley is a VFW member in good standing.

In May, a Colorado-based veterans group voted to disband after members accused its founder of fabricating an identity as a former Marine captain who served three tours in Iraq and was at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Richard Glen Strandlof, who used the name Rick Duncan, had founded the Colorado Veterans Alliance. The Marine Corps says there is no record of someone with either name serving in the Marines.

Crowley County is in Colorado’s southeastern plains. Ordway is located 120 miles southeast of Denver.

Crumley recently was barred from holding a state or local VFW elected position for five years for using a VFW credit card to buy a laptop computer in 2007, Esch said. VFW bylaws limit purchases using the cards to $500.

Esch said the ban had nothing to do with the POW allegations.

Support Local Journalism