The well-known retired Navy SEAL, Don Shipley has obtained the official military records of Nathan Phillips and posted a descriptive story to his YouTube account. The military records paperwork, known as a DD-214 were secured by Shipley due to his connections to the military and work in the area focusing on stolen valor.
He says a lot of the confusion to obtaining was largely due to Nathan Phillips' enlisting name, Nathan Stanard.
Shipley opens his video beating a large bottle of vodka with a spoon and asks his viewers to guess who he is talking about. He shortly thereafter reveals that Nathan Phillips is the subject of the video, who joined the U.S. Marines in 1972 but did not serve in combat.
Throughout the video, which Shipley admits “will probably offend someone” he makes other Native-themed comments including “I am Ten Bears” about the movie Outlaw Josey Wales.
Shipley then describes the DD-214 in which Phillips has served as a private and exited the service as a private and received one medal. He also shows that Phillips went AWOL and was stationed in Nebraska and California. He had also served as a ReferMech or Refridgerator Mechanic.
In addition to Shipley’s remarks, syndicated columnist Phil Kerpen applauded Shipley’s ability to get the military paperwork.
Kerpen tweeted, “Don Shipley got the DD-214. Self-described "recon ranger" Nathan Phillips was a rifleman for two days and a refrigerator mechanic in Lincoln, Nebraska and El Toro, California the rest of his service. Retired a private.”
Shipley quotes an article from Digital Underground, which is a site that extracted the article from Vogue, He recites Phillips’ comments in the article, “You know, I’m from Vietnam times. I’m what they call a recon ranger. That was my role.”
Shipley responds, “I got you down as an electrician.”
Chase Iron Eyes, lead attorney for the Lakota People’s Law Project, says there has been a lot of backlash regarding Phillips’ response regarding comments at Standing Rock over the term ‘recon ranger.’
Iron Eyes told Indian Country Today, “The recon ranger quote was taken completely out of context. I’ve known Nathan a long time. He was speaking about his role at Standing Rock, he was not talking about his role in the military. He has always said Vietnam Times or Vietnam era when referring to his military service.”
Chase Iron Eyes, lead attorney for the Lakota People’s Law Project
A friend of Phillips, who will remain anonymous, also contacted Indian Country Today via phone and email to say he has known Phillips for over 20 years, Phillips has talked about his service extensively for years and has never said he was deployed or in combat.
In the YouTube video, Shipley also says that “I haven’t personally heard him use the words that I am a Vietnam Vet. What I’ve heard him say and what’s written is ‘I was in Vietnam Times.”
Shipley then shows a clip of a CNN video in which Nathan Phillips does say ‘Vietnam Times,’ while CNN does show a graphic that writes “I’m a Vietnam Veteran …”
He describes Phillips as a Vietnam Times Veteran, that might not have corrected people for describing him as a Vietnam combat Veteran.
Shipley’s video thus far has just over 43,000 views.
Follow Indian Country Today’s associate editor Vincent Schilling (Akwesasne Mohawk) on Twitter - @VinceSchilling