By: Sharon Aron Baron
What started as a feel-good story about a wounded combat veteran and his service dog, turned out to be a pandora’s box of deceit as information was uncovered by military activists who found evidence that the veteran was lying about his service.
Coral Springs resident Jarrett Gimbl, claims that he was injured while on active duty overseas, suffering from post traumatic stress disorder while struggling with a traumatic brain injury.
Gimbl runs a Facebook page dedicated to Gunny, his service dog, which has over 12,000 followers. The story is that Gunny assisted him with the difficulty of adjusting to civilian life from his combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. The followers of the page are very involved with his story, offering him support and assistance. After all, this was a man who sustained injuries while serving all of us.
It makes a fantastic story. Unfortunately, it is just that – a story.
Initially, when speaking with Gimbl, I wanted to know more about his Guardians of Rescue and GoFundMe page for service dogs for vets. His Go Fund Me page is trying to raise $5,000 to help a fellow Marine acquire a service dog from a breeder in Arkansas. However, he seemed extremely suspicious as to how I got his name, asking me several times how I was able to contact him. When I asked him about his rank, he told me he was a Sergeant in the Marines and that he was injured in combat, but didn’t want to discuss it.
“I’m not getting into details. My whole right face is a titanium plate. I served overseas and I’m disabled,” he said. He also told me that he receives treatment at the VA Hospital, and that he was honorably discharged.
When talking with Gimbl, I asked him what countries he served in and he refused to tell me. Then later in the conversation he said, “I’ve been to Iraq and Afghanistan.” However, he would not disclose how or where he received his injuries. His Gunny-Service Dog Facebook page says that he was injured while on active duty. An article that was written about him in the New York Post also says that he was injured on duty in Iraq.
Jarrett Gimbl’s discharge papers tell another story entirely. His DD214 says Gimbl never served overseas.
After doing an online search, I spoke with Retired U.S. Army Infantry Platoon Sgt Jonn Lilyea who served in Desert Storm and is editor for This Ain’t Hell, a site that exposes military frauds. He provided me with discharge papers that he obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. Lilyeah said his readers became suspicious of Gimbl after seeing him on a segment on FOX News and afterwards, a writer named Scott Hughes did an investigation.
“A lot of my readers are standing in line at the VA,” said Lilyea. “People are revered now for their military service and people like him are taking advantage of that.”
Jarrett Gimbl called him in September video here upset about the information that Lilyeah uncovered, demanding he take it down. His voice is mumbling and he denies any stolen valor. He threatened that he would put Lilyeah’s number all over his Facebook page.
“You pissed off the wrong Marine. I stand by my core values,” yelled Gimbl.
“People that lie about their military service are sociopaths,” said Lilyeah to me.
During my interview, Gimbl told me he was a Sergeant in the Marines. His DD214 says he was only a Private E-1.
Gimbl also told me he served for six years. He wrote on his Linkedin page that he served for three years and nine months yet his DD214 said it was only four months. This makes the total amount of time that Gimbl served in the Marines 15 months including basic training and his Primary Military Occupational Specialty or PMOS.
This is disheartening,” said Ryan Michael Reiter of Coral Springs who enlisted at age 20, served in the Al Anbar Province in Iraq and is now a Sergeant in Individual Ready Reserves.
“Fortunately no one in my unit came back with any injuries from Iraq, but we were fortunate. Some of the Marines I look up to dealt with actual combat stress. When someone like this tries to pose and feed off people’s sympathy, it gives a bad taste to folks who really want to help,” said Reiter who added. “If he actually has a claim in the VA system, this is unfortunate as there’s already a backlog.”
And now for the rest of the story.
Being shared on Facebook is a post by Master Sergeant Jonathan Braca with the U.S. Marine Corps. I verified with him that he did send out this warning to others about Gimbl:
Stolen Valor…….POSER — JARRETT GIMBL
“Please share this with your Marine Corps League liaisons throughout New England, as well as any other veteran service groups and organizations within the area:
The case: Jarrett Gimbl is a volunteer representative for Paws of War, an organization that provides rescue animals to combat-wounded veterans in need. While Paws of War is a reputable non-profit organization with good cause, Gimbl is marketing the cause by representing himself as a wounded Sergeant of Marines. Gimbl has said in several written and on-air news pieces that he was wounded by an IED in Afghanistan. According to Gimbl, he sustained se-vere blast injuries to his face that required extensive surgical intervention.
The truth: The real story is that he was released via court martial for failing a urinalysis at the joint service artillery school at Ft Sill, OK. While on holiday leave, Gimbl used cocaine and returned to Ft Sill to a command-mandated urinalysis. Gimbl was demoted from Private First Class to Private and sent home prior to his administrative separation. Shortly after his return, he was jumped outside a White Castle restaurant and struck in the face with a baseball bat. His total time of active duty service was 4 months. All of this information has been verified at HQMC level.
The situation: Gimbl is masquerading as a combat-wounded Marine Sergeant with 8 years under his belt. He continues to represent Paws of War in an unofficial capacity; however, the organization was notified of his false identity. He may continue to represent himself as a wounded Marine and attach himself to veteran causes in the New England area. Gimbl may also appeal for special assistance and charitable proceeds specifically designed for the wounded veteran population. Gimbl’s Facebook profile features many indications of his pseu-do-Marine Corps career, as well as a membership to a Recon Marine community group on the site. It is unknown at this time if Gimbl has enrolled himself with the MCL, VFW, or any other veteran organization, though one would presume he has already made it under the wire.
Remain vigilant against those who channel veterans’ causes for personal gain and notoriety. Real Marines don’t do this sort of thing. Real combat veterans run to the sound of the gun rather than the glow of the spotlight. Real wounded veterans never chose how they got hurt because it sounded “cool”. Our veterans don’t need actors portraying their challenges or experiences. See to it that we keep our honor clean by ending Jarrett Gimbl’s acting career.”
Master Sergeant Jonathan Braca
Injury Support SNCOIC,
Northeast Region Wounded Warrior Regiment United States Marine Corps
According to an active duty Marine who wished to remain anonymous, Gimbl was treated and released in one day from a scuffle outside of a White Castle. If he did in fact have a metal plate in his head, then that would have to be the quickest surgery and recovery ever.
“I have seen IED injuries, and there is no such thing as a blunt force trauma from an IED,” said the Marine. “ It looked like he was tuned up.”
“Tuned up?” I asked.
“Meaning he got struck in the face.”
So maybe Gimbl was injured, and has PTSD from it. But that still doesn’t excuse him from bringing his service dog everywhere with the harness that says Disabled Service Veteran. Or by telling others he was injured in combat.
It could be that he has PTSD after being assaulted, which would be understandable as many victims of violence have it. I also believe that his dog has offered him great comfort, for whatever emotional issues he may have. But to continue lying and embellishing his service is no excuse.
Sadly, the Marine told me there is nothing that they can do. Only the community can get involved.
“When a person misrepresents themselves for personal gain, it detracts from those that need the resources. Hopefully he won’t get involved with activities for personal gain.”