Fact Check: Did Snopes Lie About "Vietnam Veteran" Nathan Phillips?

Did Snopes Lie About Nathan Phillips?

Before the facts emerged about the Covington, Kentucky, schoolboys’ confrontation with protesters in Washington, D.C., one of the enduring images was Native American campaigner, Nathan Phillips, facing down a group of teenagers. What struck a chord with many Americans was the fact Phillips was a Vietnam veteran, a former Marine who’d served his country in a thankless and brutal overseas war. Except… he didn’t, and so-called “fact checkers” have been accused of burying the fact that he lied about his service. Did they?


  • Nathan Phillips has been politically active for several years, and he’s never been shy about mentioning that he was an honorably discharged Vietnam vet. In one video from early 2018, he repeatedly mentioned his Vietnam service and even posted a picture of a Vietnam War Veteran medallion on his Facebook page.
  • Phillips has openly said he was “in theater” and referred to his “Vietnam times.” However, since landing in the public eye, he’s started calling himself a Vietnam-era vet, and there’s a good reason for that — the closest he ever got to the Vietnam War was watching it on TV in California.
  • Military records show that Phillips enlisted as a Marine Corps reservist in 1972. He trained as an anti-tank missile operator but was mobilized to serve as a refrigerator technician from August 1974 to May 1976.
  • Phillips was discharged from the USMC on May 5, 1976, following a string of disciplinary problems, including three occasions when he went AWOL. He didn’t receive an honorable discharge — with Phillips’s poor disciplinary record he wouldn’t have qualified.
  • So Phillips lied about being a Vietnam veteran. Big deal; the country has plenty of frauds living off the valor of better men. But what’s really disturbing is how left-wing “fact-checking” sites like Snopes have tried to gloss over the truth about Phillips’s military record.
  • Snopes has investigated whether or not Phillips lied about having served in Vietnam, and — unbelievably — rates this as “unproven.”
  • This is nothing less than a pig-headed refusal to put two small facts together and make a bigger one. Phillips has claimed, many times, to be a Vietnam veteran. Video of him saying so is all over the internet. But military records show beyond a doubt that he isn’t a Vietnam vet. Therefore he lied. And a “fact checker” that can’t draw that conclusion isn’t a fact checker at all. It’s a fake news source, a left-wing apologist and as big a fraud as Nathan Phillips himself.