Former world’s oldest MMA fighter military credentials questioned
Jess “Skip” Hall, founder of a Birmingham, Ala.-based security and training company called “Hollow Point,” doesn’t mince words about wanna-bes who pretend to be more than they are. He uses the language of a former Green Beret and Vietnam combat veteran.
“There are many fakes and so-called experts in everything today,” he says in the opening page to his blog, “starting [with] the individual in the White House.”
On his website, Hall lists a number of qualifications and experiences beneath his photo, including “5th SF SOG A Team Leader, Vietnam.” Another page includes an image of an “unofficial” 5th SOG patch from Vietnam — a skull wearing a Green Beret — and beneath it reads: “Skip Hall’s Unit Patch.”
But there’s a problem with Hall’s apparent outrage over phonies: He might be one too.
A retired Green Beret says Hall’s Special Forces and Vietnam combat claims do not check out.
“He was a clerk typist and he spent all his time in Korea,” said Jeff “JD” Hinton, who routinely ferrets out and exposes phony war heroes on his website, ProfessionalSoldiers.com. “He never went to Vietnam.”
Hall’s military records, copies of which he provided to Military.com, show he was initially trained as a repairman for crypto equipment at Fort Monmouth, N.J., in 1966. Some months later, he was reassigned to Fort Dix, N.J., and trained as a clerk typist.
Hall did not respond to Military.com’s requests for an interview or comment. As of late Monday afternoon, his blog page and the Hollow Point website were down. A message on the Hollow Point page stated it was removed because information had been added to the site without Hall’s approval.
“We express our appoligies [sic] for any misinformation this may have caused. Mr. Hall does not represent anyone in the military and makes no representation that he was previously affiliated or part of the U.S. Army, Special Forces or any other organization or agency.”
In addition to Vietnam and Korea, Hall also claims to have served in the Middle East, to have worked as a Defense Department contractor, and that — at 63 — he was the world’s oldest Mixed Martial Arts fighter.
And he was the oldest fighter until 71-year-old Dr. John J. “Gray Wolf” Williams came on the scene a few years ago.
At the time Hall retired from mixed martial arts in March 2008, he was profiled by NBC Sports writer Mike Chiappetta who mentioned Hall’s combat experience. It was that article that put Hinton on the hunt for Hall’s official records.
“One of our own [veterans] found him, actually found the article from MSNBC, and that started the ball rolling,” Hinton said. “We’ve been looking into his past and did the FOIA [Freedom of Information Act request] and it came back with ‘Clerk Typist’ ” for his Army job.
Hinton offers no opinion on any of the other achievements that Hall claims; he only cares about is Hall’s claims regarding the Special Forces and combat in Vietnam.
Hinton, who retired from Army Special Forces as a master sergeant, uses official sources and personal connections in the Special Forces community to uncover phonies. Late last year, he exposed William G. Hillar, an instructor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and widely known expert in human trafficking, as a fraud. Hillar had claimed to be a retired Army Special Forces colonel.
Hillar pleaded guilty in March to a charge of lying about his military background and experience on his application for work at the University of Oregon. He could get 20 years in jail when he returns to court for sentencing in July.
Hinton said he was not the only one investigating Hall’s background. The Alabama man had also come under the scrutiny of Chuck and Mary Schantag of P.O.W. Network.