Faux soldier wore ACUs for first-class upgrade


What’s the difference between an E-5 and an E-6?

Don’t ask Rock Diaz. The clueless phony soldier was busted on Friday afternoon after he wore ACUs to get VIP treatment on a flight from the Dominican Republic to New York and flubbed his supposed rank under questioning, the New York Post reports.

A sharp-eyed customs official at JFK Airport asked Diaz his rank, and he answered “E-5.” But the insignia on the uniform he was wearing was for a staff sergeant, an “E-6.”

Diaz, 22, of Freeport, NY., wore a military-style buzz cut and uniform, but he could not produce a military ID. He wore black POW patch on his sleeve, and  his “dog tags” were engraved with the words, “U.S.A. Marines Corp.”

The Post reached the Spanish-speaking Diaz, who told them he did nothing wrong; he blamed any confusion on a language barrier.

“I never asked to get upgraded. The stewardess offered me a new seat and I asked why? They explained it to me in English and I did not understand,” Diaz said. “I moved where they told me to sit.”


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  1. Major John A. Zolan USAF on

    I am a “real soldier” with the 349th ASTS stationed at Travis AFB and serve as a reserve officer. It sickens me to read about vial people impersonating the brave men/women that have earned the right to wear “the uniform”. I think the judge should give him a choice: jail or military service. If he chooses military service, then, as an E1 he can wear his uniform proudly and legally and will understand the sacrifices that come with wearing “the uniform”

  2. PFC Raymond Gottschall US ARMY on

    I am stationed in Vicenza, Italy with the 2-503rd Infantry Battalion and served my first tour of duty to Afghanistan and earned my right to wear the uniform, as well as the little rank i do have. It’s despicable to hear that this happens at home. he obviously had no idea what anything he was wearing meant. Like Major Zolan said, if he wants to wear a uniform, send him to basic, and let him earn the right and privilege to wear the ACU’s, and understand what they stand for.

  3. SSG, US ARMY on

    ^(In Reply to Major Zolan’s comment)

    Sir, I would disagree with you on the punitive punishment of service idea. Truth be told, there’s plenty of scumbags that were “scraped off the bottom of the barrel” in order to fill recruitment numbers during the last 5 or 6 years that shouldn’t be serving, and neither should this lowlife. This joker defiles my uniform and disrespects my rank to take advantage. He deserves to be drug out in the street and shot, or taken out in the Atlantic and dropped off the side of a boat. He doesn’t deserve the “Privilege” of serving his country. He gave up that chance by trying to claim “cultural ignorance”.

    Breaking the law and claiming ignorance via “No Habla Ingles” isn’t an excuse in our country.

  4. Benjamin Hegard on

    This guy knows he was wrong and is trying to pretend he did not understand english. Come on, to be a “SSG” in the Army you’d need to have a working knowledge of english because you wouldn’t be able to communicate with 90 percent of the US military otherwise which is a safety hazard to any mission that requires communication with one another…..especially in combat

  5. Spc. Eli J. Milby on

    I am a medically retired Army Veteran. I wore my uniform proudly for almost 8 years. It makes me so furious that people have the guts to impersonate someone who went through basic training and earned the right to wear the uniform. I see people walking down the street wearing fatigues and never having earned them. It should be illegal to wear them without putting in the time and blood into earning them. I love my country and am proud to call all military brothers and sisters my family. HOOAH!!!

  6. I am a currently deployed soldier and while I agree he doesn’t deserve the right to serve in the Armed Forces, no one “deserves to be drug out in the street and shot, or taken out in the Atlantic and dropped off the side of a boat”.

  7. I dont think he needs to be shot, but a good A$$ Whoopin is completly justified!! And since when is a Reserve Air Force Officer a ” Real Soldier”? I spent 15 months in Afghanistan watching rotation after rotation of Air Force come through. Besides AFSOC, I never seen any Air Force people outside the wire. They told us that Air Force regulation wouldnt allow them to pull tower guard or ECP. All they did was stay on the FOB and tan.

  8. I’m currently deployed to Afghanistan, and really not enjoying it. For this person to put on a uniform and try to abuse peoples kindness towards soldiers is a downright disgrace. I think he should be put to work with the afghans on the FOB. Let him see what we go through every day to earn the respect and dignity that we do every day. Every mission I go on is a very rough endeavor, for which I have to fight my lack of sleep and my knowledge of ‘those people trying to kill us’. I think he should figure out exactly what he so flagrantly disrespected.

  9. Major John A. Zolan USAF on

    You are correct! vile not vial is the correct spelling. Sorry, but as a physician I am writting vial/ampule of medication all day long.
    I am looking for some advise as to what to do if I see some one impersonating a service member in uniform. On several occasions, at a diner, when driving to or back from my UTA at Travis AFB I have seen someone accept a free meal and the graititude “thanks for your service”from the patron. On at least two occassions their uniform did not look quite right or was suspect. Should I ask to see their military ID or other ID that indicates they have the right to wear the uniform. Do I call the police if they can not produce any valid ID. Thanks

  10. And since when is a Reserve Air Force Officer a ” Real Soldier”? I spent 15 months in Afghanistan watching rotation after rotation of Air Force come through. Besides AFSOC, I never seen any Air Force people outside the wire. They told us that Air Force regulation wouldnt allow them to pull tower guard or ECP. All they did was stay on the FOB and tan.

    I’m sure thats all they did was stay on the FOB and tan. AFSOC aren’t the only ones breaking wire. It depends on your AO, who is the OEO, the mission, etc. Sounds like where you were at you were getting fed alot of bullshit because the two things you mention “tower guard or ecp” are two of the bread and butter practices of AF Security Forces.

  11. Chief, US Army on

    In some nations (especially in South America); you better not get caught wearing a military uniform, if you are not in the uniform. Civilians have access to Army/Navy stores and other websites in which they can pose to serve in the military. The Stolen Valor act needs to be instituted for everyone caught committing this crime. Same consequences across the board. This has now become too common an occurrence.

  12. Chief, US Army on

    In response to SSG Holman

    You are correct SSG. Air force members are airmen; not soldiers (which is explicit in the Airman’s creed). Sometimes the term soldier can be misconstrued as generic for any military member serving in a ground force capacity. That is why the Marines get pissed when you call them soldiers. By strict definition they are but do not tell them that 🙂

  13. Salvatore Adamo on

    I’m a vet (2005-08). I think that too many actual soldiers wear their uniforms in public. Unless there is a parade, we should consider more strict enforcement of not wearing duty uniforms while not on duty. Sometimes I catch very relaxed guard and reserve units at pool halls for example, with their tops off. Where do you think this dumb@ got the idea to do what he did? Lol…just my 2cents

  14. Major John A. Zolan USAF on

    To AF POG I would like to respond: What I meant by “real Soldier” was that I earned the right to wear my uniform after signing my name on the dotted line, raising my hand and taking the oath, and then going through basic. I have tremendous respect and admiration for the brave men and women that serve in harms way outside the line every day. I Thank God for them and their committment to service before self.

  15. H Blankenship on

    I am a civilian so my opinion is probably not as weighty as many of yours but the ‘gentlemen’ in the story purporting to be a member of our military does a great disservice to all who serve or served honorably, without any expectation of upgrade or special unearned treatment. All of you who have served are diminshed by this persons self serving actions because now when you stand tall people may just ask is this a lie or the truth. Our men and women in uniform – whether as someone suggested in the service to avoind issues (scumbags scraped off into the service) or who avoided for all the great patriotic reasons – deserve the respect and honor due- but people like the person reported here stral that honr and respect. For all of you who serve and served with honor Thank you.

  16. a soldier too on

    Most of u sound like a group of entitled individuals. Who cares that this dude tried to sit up in 1st class? I’m incline to believe his story that he sat where the flight attendant said he could, the airline should verify his status first. As for the Major who says this dude should be forced to join as a e-1 shows his ignorance in that he would suggest the military take on this liability.but wait, I am reminded he wouldn’t have to manage the guy on a day to day basis it would be a nco.

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