We were sent Ron Fernandez, the fake Green Beret by two different people within a week of each other.
A former student he helped mentor at the University of Cincinnati ROTC saw him at an exercise with the Ohio Military Reserve wearing Sergeant rank (E-5) when he had known him for years as a Green Beret, Lieutenant Colonel assigned to 19th Special Forces Group.
We started looking into Ron and found someone who had known him back in the mid-'90s that saw Ron participate in a live-fire event. Ron was introduced as a member of the Ohio National Guard at that time. This exercise is not related to his charade associated with UC ROTC.
If you've had contact with Ron Fernandez and know him to have portrayed himself off as an LTC in 19th Special Forces Group or any type of military unit whatsoever, send us an email: email@example.com with his name in the subject. We won't share your name or email address.
We saw a many-year relationship (probably 13 years) that Ron had with the UC ROTC program. We reached out to some students and instructors for comments. Maybe it's best to copy and paste one of the detailed emails:
apologies taking so long to get this to you. No valid excuse other than distracted by everything around me and kept pushing to the back. At any rate...
My experience w/ Ron Fernandez started almost immediately after I took over the UC Army ROTC detachment in Cincinnati back in summer 2014. I was introduced to Ron by my predecessor XXXX XXXXXXXX as a "friend of the program" who tagged along on FTXs to assist as alternate cadre. The 1st time I met Ron he was in ACUs w/ typical combat flair (i.e., SF patches on both sleeves, Ranger tab, CIB, abn/aaslt wings). Nothing really jumped out at me as potentially wrong. Ron was modest about his claims, no outlandish war stories, etc. And he was a decent and easy-going guy. Nothing really triggered suspicion and he seemed to know his stuff. He wasn't a braggart, never made outlandish claims to us or the cadets.
The 1st time we had a unit social -- winter dining in? -- we were all in Service Dress. Ron arrived in ASUs and bloused boots w/ just enough stuff that seemed legit and didn't draw questions. I remember he only had 3 combat hashes, and this didn't raise suspicion w/ me based on his claim to be in 19th SFG(A). What he wore on his Svc Dress didn't seem out of character; my cousin was w/ 19th SFG(A) and I remember seeing him in his SVC dress before. Ribbon rack was modest, I recall he had a Bronze Star, an MSM, and the normal Army fruit salad that followed down (ARCOM, AAM, NDSM, Army Svc Ribbon). Other than an Iraq Campaign Medal Ribbon, I don't recall what other campaign ribbons he wore. I want to say Kosovo or SWASM. Why am I saying this? If you look thru the pics I attached, Ron's ribbon rack is either deliberately hidden in all the pics I found of him, or it's entirely coincidental that they're always behind someone else in the pic. I never saw this until I saw all the pics together at the same time (see below).
In the spring of 2015 we did our fall FTX at Cp Atterbury, IN. Ron asked to tag along and I didn't see any reason why not. I drove over late (trail) and Ron went w/ me in the van. When we got to the gate, he provided his driver's license to the guard and I didn't think anything of it when he said he left his CAC at home. What jumped out at me was he was now wearing a 1st Army unit patch (USAR); this was a change from the SF unit patch (ARNG). At the time I didn't put 2 and 2 together that Cp Atterbury's AC/RC unit is under 1st Army (USAR). Not until later at least. At the time I never really registered the difference in RC components (ARNG vs. USAR), and Ron passed it off as having "just changed command" in Morgantown, WV, and just getting settled in at Cp Atterbury (but this wasn't his drill weekend). Ron walked our land nav lanes and his advice to the cadets was never out of sorts. The only thing I remember that was skewed was I had to wake him up one morning when he was supposed to be the range RSO and he failed to show up on time. I tracked him down and he rolled out of his rack unshaven and was going to go do the RSO thing until I told him to shave as a good example to the cadets. My SEL, MSG XXXXXXX, at the time sucked his teeth when I told him about it, chalked it up to Ron just being a lazy RC officer. I just didn't give it any more thought. Later that day I remember we went to the Shoppette and Ron was eating a hotdog and said something about being diabetic... not sure why that stuck in my head but didn't raise concern then.
Ron was on-and-off w/ us after that but was always calling about free football game tickets for Hero's Bowl and etc. He otherwise never asked for anything and paid for his meals when we did unit functions.
What peaked my suspicion was our winter 2016 FTX where we went to Fort Knox rather than Cp Atterbury. I remember the weather was bitterly cold and windy and we bivouacked just outside the FKKY boundaries on a local training area. Late on the Saturday we got a call from our BDE asking us to go on post to combine w/ Xavier for an event the next morning. I didn't have any reason not to, so we did. To get all the cadets and cadre on FKKY we had to have CAC cards (FP condition Bravo at the time). But all of a sudden Ron had a home emergency and his wife drove down from Dayton late Sat to grab him and he disappeared. I remember whatever the excuse was was minor enough I thought, WTF your wife can't handle that? My SEL MSG XXXXX and one of our cadre, CPT XXXX XXXXXXX, had similar thoughts... seemed weird to all 3 of us. But we had so many other things going on we didn't give it any further thought.
In the summer of 2016, Ron travelled down to Fort Benning and pinned jump wings on one of our cadets at Fort Benning following graduation from jump school. The cadet posted pics of this and we shared them on the UC Army ROTC page. I deleted the pics after we discovered Ron was a fraud. Unable to recall the cadet's name or look up the Facebook profile where the pics were posted.
We did a formal dining out at the Covington, KY, Marriott late-2016 and Ron showed up in Mess Dress. I made the officer cadre wear their mess dress as a rule-of-thumb, I realize now Ron would always mimic us, whomever was in charge in particular. We took a pic together and for the 1st time and I had a pic of him he finally didn't hide his medals. But after everything that follows, I was so angry I deleted the pic... wished I hadn't now. It was the only one where all of his stolen valor claims were on display.
As we approached spring commissioning in 2017, one of the cadets asked Ron to give them their Oath of Office. As a perfunctory thing I reached out to ALL those whom the cadets asked to give them their oath to provide a copy of their ORB (or service equivalent) to ensure everyone was good to go and we wouldn't face any fraudulent commissioning issues later in professional life (it actually happens). Ron failed to respond, and when I pursued him he had every excuse in the world as to why he couldn't produce it. This is the point at which I smelled bullshit. I pulled MSG XXXXX and CPT XXXXXXX in and aired my suspicion. I called MSG(R) XXXXX and shared the same. All of us were of the same mind -- something was wrong. This was late-Feb or early-March 2017...
I'm a suspicious mofo. I reached out to USA SWC at Bragg and talked w/ the training records guy (cannot recall his name, was a DAC). SWC couldn't find a record of any Ron (or Ronaldo, Ronnie, Ronald, etc.) Fernandez having ever done thru the Q Course back to 1994. After that I called 4th RTB at Benning. Same question, same answer -- no record back to 1995. I'm a YG95 guy, I assumed Ron was a few yrs senior to me (maybe YG92-93?). Not hard to do the math at that point. I remembered the 1st Army unit patch and called the 1st Army G1... no record of a LTC Ron Fernandez, SF, assigned to them at any point in past 10yrs. I called the 1st Army S1 for the AC/RC BDE at Cp Atterbury and asked the same thing -- "No, Sir. There's no one assigned to this brigade by that name, and we have no SF officers assigned to us in any capacity." After that I reached out to 19th SFG(A) in Morgantown, WV, and talked w/ their S3 (cannot recall his name). "No LTC Ron Fernandez was a BN CDR here", and he couldn't recall a LTC Ron Fernandez in 19th Grp in any capacity. In and amongst all of this I researched the now-defunct Army White Pages on AKO for a "Fernandez" in any SOF capacity and found a SGM Fernandez in 1st SFG(A). SGM Fernandez responded to a cold email I sent and called me. SGM Fernandez said Ron was his little brother, was known to impersonate an SF officer from time to time, was dismayed Ron was doing it "again", and he'd handle it.
Ok, at this point I know Ron is an impersonator and I start tracing Ron's association w/ UC Army ROTC. LTC XXXX XXXXXXXX, my predecessor, introduced Ron to me in 2014 and told me he'd been introduced to Ron by his predecessor LTC XXXXX XXXX in 2011(-ish). I knew XXXXX and reached out to him. XXXXX said Ron just showed up as a MAJ (XXXXX was MAJ(P) at the time) and nothing seemed out of sorts at the time. I reached out to XXXXX's predecessor COL(R) XXXX XXXXXX (GS15 w/ USACE in Cincy, XXXX and I came to be friends during my tenure), and XXXX mentioned he remembered Ron as a MAJ at an event he (XXXX) was invited to by XXXXX. So we have Ron's trajectory... he showed up as a MAJ w/ XXXXX, was "promoted" when XXXXX was, and just kept the same facade thru XXXX to me, at which point we discovered his fraud.
Back to the pre-commissioning checks. I called Ron and confronted him w/ all the info from SWC, 4th RTB, 1st Army G1/S1 and he denied it all. I told him he was full of shit, he was NOT a commissioned officer, and I couldn't in good conscience let him give the oath of office to a cadet when I couldn't verify his commission. If he did, he'd screw an honest young officer down the road if the commission was determined to be fraudulent in any way. He told me he'd get back to me and didn't. In the meantime, I shared all of this w/ MSG XXXXX, CPT XXXXXXX, MSGs(R) XXXXXXX and XXXXX, LTCs(R) XXXXXXXX and XXXX, COL(R) XXXXXX, and my HR tech Ms. XXXXXX XXXXX. XXXXXX knew Ron for almost 10yrs, was friends w/ Ron's wife (USAF SSgt ETS'd).
XXXXXX was pissed and thought I was railroading Ron; she mentioned Ron was close w/ one of our former instructors now at Xavier, MAJ(R) XXXX XXXXXX, a former Infantry officer. XXXX was an instructor w/ us when I got there in 2014, moved to Xavier as a contractor late-'14 or early-'15, but we stayed in touch. I reached out to XXXX who said there's "no way" any of it was true. XXXX then called Ron and confronted him. XXXX called me back and recounted his phone call w/ Ron -- Ron admitted the impersonation. XXXX was pissed he'd been taken for a ride for so long. I shared all of this w/ MSG XXXXX and Ms. XXXXX, she was as upset as XXXX XXXXXX. Afterward, we shared all of this w/ the cadre, then w/ the seniors (cadets). We had to have a special sit-down w/ the entire cadet battalion and talk about stolen valor -- Ron was obviously the front-and-center example.
After all of this, and before commissioning, Ron called me again and offered excuses. I shared w/ him the gist of SGM Fernandez's email and phone call and Ron went silent. I told Ron I wasn't out to destroy him, but I couldn't tolerate a fraud when we were trying to build officers of character and honor. Ron told me he was thinking of harming himself and I told him to seek help, but that I wouldn't pursue anything else. If I reported Ron to his employer (a private academy in Dayton?), at the time, I firmly believed he'd lose his job and Ohio would pursue federal charges. After talking to MSG XXXXX, MSG(R) XXXXX, XXXX XXXXXX, and XXXXXX XXXXX, none of us wanted to see that or see him go to jail. Ron never showed up for commissioning, disappeared from social media, and we left well enough alone at that point. At the time, we thought problem solved. At least until you reached out a few weeks ago.
Insofar as the pics attached... 1st is Ron and his wife at one of our functions. 2nd is one of the fall dining ins before I got there in summer 2014. 3rd is before I got there too. 4th is at a function w/ my predecessor XXXX XXXXXXXXX (far right), Ron is 2nd from left; others in the pic are my former XO MAJ XXXX XXXXX and SEL MSG XXXXXXXX XXXXXXX. 5th is our 2015 dining out; I'm far left, Ron is hiding behind then-SFC (XXXXX) XXXXX XXXX, and the other tall guy is then-MSG XXXX XXXXX (now MSG(R) and the recruiting opns officer at UC Army ROTC). 6th pic is our April 2016 commissioning, Ron is far left next to MAJ XXXXX; our new SEL MSG XXXXX XXXXX is far right and I'm buried in the middle (easy to find me). Last one is the FTX at Atterbury (I took it) when we did an "off-site" dinner; MAJ XXXXX, XXXXX XXXX, MSG XXXXX are in the pic along w/ our interim supply tech (can't remember his name).
Hope all of this is of some use. If you're going to confront him, I'm in Columbus 11-13Jul for the Scholastic Action Shooting Program nationals (my son is competing). I'll stretch it out just to be there... let me know.
XXXXX X. XXXXXX
LTC (R), FA
So we reached out to Ron Fernandez and he admitted he was never in the military. You can hear his call here:
👉 👉Call with Ron Fernandez👈 👈
After the call with Ron Fernandez, the fake Green Beret, we were sent 2 memorandums. Ron had reached out to each of them (Former students in the UC ROTC program) and asked them each to write a memorandum for him. It was also noted that the rank of LTC was left out of each memo. They believe they remembered that Ron asked them to leave rank off of the memo. The calls with them can be heard here:
👉Call with 1st student that wrote the memorandum👈
Here's the link to the 2nd call from the 2nd former student that wrote a memo for Ron Fernandez the fake Green Beret:
👉Call with a 2nd student that wrote a memorandum for Ron 👈
Pretty straightforward. We didn't have to wait for denial of records from NPRC since Ron Fernandez admitted that he never even attended basic training, much less the Basic Airborne Course, Selection, and the Special Forces Qualification Course. We will add the NPRC result once it arrives.
When you scroll through the pictures, the bottom red bar will expand more if you click on it.
If you know these blurry ribbons we have blank, leave a comment.
You might see a better image in picture #90
In Pic #85, you'll see an email from someone stating Ron Fernandez the fake Green Beret had asked him to create a fake CAC (Common Access Card) so "he could test the guys at the gate". We believe he was hoping he could get it to use as his own since he had already had 2 instances of being asked to produce one to enter a military installation and not being able to when asked.
Ron Fernandez, you'll now be added to guardiansofthegreenberet.com hall of zeroes forever. In Pic #
#RonFernandez, #RonnieFernandez, #RonRFernandez, #RonnieRFernandez