Man Pretending To Be Vietnam Vet Busted Running ‘House Of Steel’ Gym, Using Fake History As Marketing Tool

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The FBI is investigating “Lieutenant” Gregory Allen, owner and operator of ‘Allen’s House of Steel’, a boot camp-style gym that helped train prospective military candidates alongside the wealthy citizens of Northern California’s exclusive Marin County. This is actually quite a tricky story, because on the one side this guy is a complete scumbag, and could be subject to punishment under the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 (due to him posing for photos with a purple heart and a bronze star). On the other hand he was training youth who wanted to be prepared for a life in the military, and has graduated over 100 men and women from his boot camp program.

The man behind this scandal was so convincing that he wormed his way into being the President of the Marin chapter of Military Officers Association of America, and is described as being ‘straight out of Full Metal Jacket’ (pics can be seen here) in person, which leads me to wonder if the lies were so deep that man didn’t just start believing he was in the military, even though he was NOT.

Gregory Allen’s world as a drill seargeant-like gym instructor began to unravel after a former Marine began poking around, and found that not everything was adding up. The Daily Beast put together a full exposé on the extent of the lies that took place, excerpts below:

For more than a decade, “Lieutenant” Gregory Allen pumped up young military hopefuls at his gym in San Rafael, California. The bulky and bald-headed drill sergeant told war stories from his stint in Vietnam, collected donations, and even posed for photos in a U.S. Marines uniform with a Purple Heart and Bronze star.

The only problem: the Marine Corps says Allen, 67, never served. Now the wannabe jarhead is under investigation by the FBI and Department of Veterans Affairs for allegedly faking his entire military record.

No record of Allen whatsoever? So the FBI’s investigation has to be regarding the Purple Heart and Bronze Star, and in relation to the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, right?

In a 2010 profile on House of Steel, Allen said civilians and aspiring military officers could only join the gym after a tryout. “Usually people off the street don’t make it here,” Allen told the Marin Independent Journal. “They respond with fear and shock if they haven’t been warned. We get one out of five who make it.”

The gruff, light-eyed Allen looks likes drill sergeant straight out of “Full Metal Jacket.” He played his part so well that he became the president of the Marin chapter of Military Officers Association of America. His gym-rat recruits served as the color guard and drill team at local events.

“He fooled a lot of us,” John Sammons, a past president of Marin’s Military Officers Association, told The Daily Beast. “He walked the walk, he talked the talk, he wore the uniform. There’s an honor [code]. Someone comes up to you and says, ‘I’m a former commissioned officer,’ we don’t ask for their [discharge papers].”

So goddamn disgraceful. How does a person just wake up one day and think ‘today’s the day I start pretending to be a solider!’?!?!????

But Allen’s story publicly unraveled after a Bay Area TV reporter exposed his dubious military career Friday. He never served in the Marines or in Vietnam, and never received any medals, ABC 7 discovered through a records request.

Instead, the poser Marine enlisted in the Navy in 1968 but was discharged after eight months because of a knee injury that he sustained playing football prior to enlisting.

Adding to the pile of suspicion was the original name of Allen’s gym: “Fitness Boutique.” Brown says Allen transformed his business into a military-style stomping ground 10 years ago after fitness boot camps gained popularity.

Allen has a felony record to boot. He served a three-year prison sentence for violating a restraining order in 1997. According to the ABC7 report, Allen climbed to his wife’s bedroom window and threatened to cut her throat and shoot her.

Still, the faker was somehow able to obtain a VA medical card with Marines insignia and tooled around San Rafael with a veterans’ license plate with a Marine Corps emblem. He has a camouflage bumper sticker with the Marines battle cry, “OORAH!” above the words, “I love this job.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs told Brown that Allen’s card was valid, but that it was issued at a VA facility from out of state.

“He did enough research and enough study that he could fool the wealthy families that never served in Marin,” Brown said. “But he couldn’t get past the real Marine Corps.”

Just unfathomable that someone would go to such lengths to turn a buck at the cost of such disgrace. There’s no doubt that he was at the right age where he saw many of his friends and/or family head off to Vietnam, and never come back. Yet this man went to extravagant lengths pretending to be a former U.S. Marine, even securing false identification, hallowed medals, and weaseling his way into clubs where he had no place being at all.

To read the full write up you can click on over to The Daily Beast.

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