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RHIP- Sgt. Major of Marines (3/2) Embellishes his Record.. SgtMaj. Kenneth C. Lovell III March 19, 2015

Posted by Chris Mark in Uncategorized.
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Lovell2UPDATED:  The USMC has changed the bio and the original BIO has been cleansed from the Google Cache.  I have updated the post with a link to the original Bio.. In the Marine Corps the phrase “RHIP” or “Rank Has Its Privileges” is common. Along with privileges comes responsibilities…This post is one of the most difficult I have ever had to write.  I had reflect on whether to write this post but I have written similar posts on civilians and veterans who have Stolen Valor and felt it only fair to address one of ‘our own’ brothers (a sniper) who, in my opinion, has stolen the valor of other brave Marines. I don’t feel it is equitable to take civilians to task for something I am unwilling to take my own brother to task for…

In this case a Marine Corps Sgt Major Kenneth C. Lovell III (the HIGHEST enlisted rank in the Military) has embellished his record for reasons that he will not or cannot explain.  It is frustrating, infuriating and tragic.  When we consider why the Lance Corporal at the neighborhood watering hole feels compelled to embellish his record to pick up girls, we need look no further than this Sgt Major’s actions.  Shameful is too polite a word to use for his actions.  As the senior Enlisted Marine in the Battalion and one of less than 2,000 E9s in the entire Marine Corps, it is his job to carry the standard for enlisted actions.  Sgt Major Lovell was not just a Scout Sniper but was also a Drill Instructor and on the President’s Detail at 8/I.  This Marine, more than any, knows the regulations and responsibilities associated with being a leader.  His actions are inexcusable.

Sgt. Major Kenneth C. Lovell III came to my attention quite by accident.  His original biography was posted when he was assigned as the (not promoted…thank you Msgt. Miller for the correction) Battalion Sgt Major (THE senior Enlisted Marine in the entire Battalion) of 3rd Battalion, 2nd Marines (3/2).  Some Snipers noticed his claims of being a Scout Sniper PineSchool Honor Graduate. His original bio stated he: “…attended the Scout Sniper Basic Course in which he was an Honor Graduate.” You can read his bio (the original) here.  Not only was Sgt Major Lovell NOT the honor graduate of his class, but the actual honor graduate, Sgt. Aaron Pine (picture to left) is a Marine Sniper who passed away after his service in the USMC.  It is disturbing that a Sgt. Major Lovell would steal the honor from such a valiant Marine.  It is shameful and disgraceful on many levels.  Sgt Major Lovell has since changed his bio to read “Distinguished graduate”.  Let me be clear for those who are not familiar with Marine Corps Scout Sniper School.  For those few Marines who manage to graduate from Scout Sniper School and transition from PIG to HOG there are only two types of honors in the course….there is THE Class Honor Graduate (I finished about 12 out of 15..so not me) and the Class High Shooter …everyone else is simply a HOG and honored to have passed such a rigorous training course.  There is NO ‘distinguished’ graduate…that is, to be polite, complete bullshit and the Sgt Major knows this. Even his ‘distinguished’ graduate description is still wrong and disingenuous, at best.

Sgt. Major Lovell also claimed to have 3 Combat Action Ribbons (CAR) (see pic to left).  His original bio stated that he had : “…CAR3the Combat Action Ribbon with two gold stars in lieu of third award.” For those who are no in the Navy or Marine Corps, the CAR is a defining decoration. It is a ‘by name’ award that indicates that a Marine has been in combat.  Only 1 CAR per theater can be earned.  For any Marine, having 3 CARS would be an accomplishment.  This raised some flags.  When confronted, Sgt. Major Lovell amended his bio to include only 2 Combat Action Ribbon awards yet his picture shows him wearing 3.  This is not a simple oversight or mistake.  A CAR is a personal decoration and is coveted by Marines.  This was clearly an attempt to assume an honor that was not awarded.

I work with various groups that see stolen valor on a daily basis.  Often it is a coach telling his young players he was a “Green Beret” etc.  Often it is some young veteran who is telling his girlfriend he was a SEAL.  These are unfortunate and frustrating but relatively harmless.  When we have a senior enlisted Marine embellishing his record, it not only hurts other Marines who may be competing for promotions but it sends a very dangerous message that lying about military service is acceptable.  Sgt Major Lovell has disgraced not only the Marine Corps but the rank of Sergeant Major.  He should be ashamed yet something tells me he is not.   Sgt. Major…in the words of a Master Gunnery Sergeant that I highly respect…..”Square yourself away!”


1. assaultdog0351 - March 21, 2015

Time to kick him the fuck out! No retirement! ADSEP TIME!

2. Pete Hoeft, GySgt, Retired - March 22, 2015

Gents, I just went to 3/2s Marines.mil website and the SgtMaj’s bio has been updated. There’s no reference to honor graduate and there is no statement of awards. The bio is significantly different from the one in the link. Either the author of this original post altered and enhanced the bio or the original has been changed. Regardless something fishy was going on.

Chris Mark - March 22, 2015

I can assure you I never modified or enhanced any bio. I took a screenshot directly from the 3/2 website. The 3/2 website was altered after publication of this post. I can assure you that the post in the link as the original is, indeed, the original.

3. Lynn Westover Jr - March 22, 2015

Normally I would not write a blog response to online news articles, especially with my name. But, in this case, I feel compelled to. I will start by saying that I was one of two Force Reconnaissance Team Leaders assigned to 3rd Recon Bn for the 2011 deployment to Upper Sangin Valley in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Most of our time was spent operating out of PB Alcatraz and the later part of the deployment was in PB Transformer. Then First Sergeant Lovell was my company first sergeant. I will say from first hand experience that his fictitious bio is most certainly a physical manifestation of his complete lack of character and his overall selfishness. I had been present during many company meetings at the TL level and above where he touted his background as this world class sniper, to the point where he specifically did say that the movie shooter was based on him. I was the one who corrected him then and there letting him know that “We can read and that movie was based on the book Point of Impact by Steven Hunter” (which led to one of many verbal counselings that received from him). To that point, there was one day in particular where, despite my apprehension I allowed him to get behind my sniper rifle, and he didn’t know the difference between the Parallax adjustment and the Elevation knob. He claimed that it was due to his unfamiliarity with the new scopes and that he was trained on the Unertl of the M40A1. I am a Marine Scout Sniper as well, and I was trained on the Unertl as well, and and that dog don’t hunt for me. Even then, there were several of us who questioned his claims of being the distinguished honor graduate, or a graduate at all for that matter. I watched as he “led” from radio defilade in compounds wearing nothing but PT gear, the whole time yelling at my Marines who were standing watches and going on patrols through the most dangerous place in the world, why, because their boots became un-bloused. We had to pump water from village wells due to the weight of our combat loads, duration of operations, and difficulty/danger of re-supply. Pumps BTW which were shipped by our families and other Marines families so that we have them. This was because our recommendations, to have them in the supply chain prior to the deployment, were ignored. Again, in another display of his selfishness, he was asked to contribute his water pump when our company was dangerously OUT of water and almost combat ineffective, he refused. But he made sure his three Nalgene bottles were included with the units water carrying devices. My team carried two pumps, I had one and my ATL had one… Those were the teams pumps, for the men. A M249 SAW in for the team not the individual carrying it. A real leader knows this. I never saw him, nor the rest of the company leadership for that matter, take/receive/or return enemy fire. They were still awarded CAR’s for firefights that they were not actually in. I apologize, for this post has gone longer than I had originally intended. But I do have some final notes. While walking around the PB in his uniform of the day (PT gear) he corrected, then recommended the NJP of a Sergeant standing post who had his chin strap unsnapped momentarily from his helmet. This was at a time in the Marine Corps when only one NJP for any reason could ruin an otherwise exemplary career and cause a Marine to be forced our with no retirement or benefits. In another case I had disciplined and fired a Marine in my team for conduct and insubordination. The punishment for this should have only been an adverse fitness report and the Marine should have been allowed the chance to learn from his actions and recover from the incident. As the TL and the one responsible for the welfare and professional development for my team I felt that was an appropriate course of action. This was agreed upon the the Platoon Commander, Platoon Sergeant, and ultimately the First Sergeant and Company Commander. Lovell then waited until I left for Leatherneck to support 1st Recon Bn in their beginning stages of the RIP/TOA, to push that Marine to Battalion Level NJP where he was reduced in rank to Corporal and would have no chance at continuing his career in the Marine Corps. I could not even be there to speak on my Marines behalf. While that Marine had a mad minute and showed a lack of judgement in a moment of weakness, the punishment DID NOT fit the crime. In fact that Marine and other Marines in that company went un-recognized for the many times when they displayed the upmost courage and in many cases saved my life. This was all because he had personal issues with those particular Marines. I appreciate the ones on here who are of the mindset to get the facts and make sure that this is not a witch-hunt or personal vendetta on a good man. This is not that case, I for one was there, and I will stand by my statements, if anyone wants to dispute them (especially you Lovell) I invite you to. The rank is officially off in my case so come on down to Gainesville. If a Marine can be punished for an unsnapped chinstrap, bad attitude or disrespect… Then what should happen to Lovell? He is a discredit to the Country, the Corps, the Uniform, fellow Sergeants Major, and more importantly to men in the units he has represented and pretended to lead. For that reason I wrote this to support these facts coming to light.

Chris Mark - March 22, 2015

.thank you for your detailed and articulate response…it certainly adds insight…Semper Fi! And thank you!

Joey Lowe - March 24, 2015

I believe this says everything that needs to be said.

Tory Kitchen - January 12, 2017

Outstanding observations, and unfortunately more of the rule than the exception. With the way promotion boards are now ” beauty contests” rather than best man/woman for the job his blatant embellishments no doubt influenced the board and passed over more deserving 1stSgt’s whom didn’t ” Hollywood” their bio’s! Thanks for sharing!

4. waterborne - March 22, 2015

I would have to say that Stolen Valor Is EVERY vets concern with all due respect to Brians Comment. If the allegations are true it is a UCMJ matter and stolen valor would not likely make a charge sheet or even mentioned at a Article 32 hearing.

5. Matthew Johnson - March 22, 2015

1. I cannot believe these Marines who are targeting the author. The only one who should be explaining anything further should be this Sergeant Major.
2. This is a very disturbing situation. A SgtMaj lying about his accomplishments is much lower than the random guy on the street because we expect a SgtMaj to have honor. It’s kinda heartbreaking.

6. Bubs - March 23, 2015

I understand your zeal to reveal truth. However, timing is important when doing so. Why? You could have done so at a different time. Choosing to do this when the unit is deployed does nothing but destroy the moral of the men and hurt the entire battalion. In your zeal to do it now, you’ve hurt more than one man, you’ve dashed the moral of a battalion of warriors who should be focused on combat readiness. Shame on you for not considering the big picture and truly looking out for the good of all Marines.

Chris Mark - March 23, 2015

I have not been in the service for over a decade. I do not follow Marine’s deployment schedules and was unaware they were deployed. Your point is well taken, however.

Rob Randall - March 24, 2015

How do you know the Marines in his unit aren’t happy he was relieved? Destroying their moral? Hyperbole much? Based on what I’ve read about the Sgt Maj from Marines who have served with him there is probably a sense of relief he is gone.

7. Anglia Emmendorfer - March 23, 2015

SUPER….Love this. From a US Army Diabled Vet……My Dear Brother Was In The Marines…..

8. JS7904 - March 23, 2015

He has been relieved and charges filed.

9. Don - March 24, 2015

It’s official. He is relieved of duty. What a turd burgler

10. USMC Sergeant major relieved after allegations of embellished records surface - USMC Life - March 24, 2015

[…] infantryman and scout sniper Chris Mark first reported on the allegations against Lovell in the Global Security, Privacy & Risk Management Blog. Mark said within the first 72 hours the blog was posted it received about 100,000 […]

11. Alex - March 24, 2015

For future use: Manpower created a web tool several years ago to verify awards of the CAR and HSM. Apparently, this was because these two individual awards were subject to quite a bit of confusion coming out of the mid and late 90’s. The tool originally allowed you to search by last name only and goes back to the VN era, which made it pretty handy. Now, it requires last name, first name and last 4……so you have to do a little research in order to use it.

When someone puts a star on their CAR that they don’t rate, there isn’t any ambiguity, no possibility of an error, and there isn’t anyone else to blame but the wearer of same. I served with a handful of Marines that have 2 stars on their CAR and one that has 3 stars on his CAR, which span 30 some odd years of service.


12. Steve - March 24, 2015

If this is true, which I am sure it is, SgtMaj. Kenneth C. Lovell III needs to retire.

13. Jordan - March 24, 2015

Great fucking work Chris.

14. Philip - March 24, 2015

Would you know who I might get ahold of in regards of a wrongful discharge?

Chris Mark - March 24, 2015

Sorry. I don’t I will check with some folks but I cannot say offhand that I know..

Stephen Parzyck - March 24, 2015

Man Power HQMC would be a good start. Meanwhile ensure that the individual has all supporting documentation to include witness accounts that can support as well

15. Sgt A - March 24, 2015

Great job calling this out Chris! I served honorably 92-98 and hope this guy gets what is coming to him. The stories from the Marines he served with make you wonder why he made it to E-9? (doesn’t rate to be called SgtMaj anymore)

Chris Mark - March 24, 2015

Thank you!..Semper Fi!

16. william wells - March 24, 2015

I served with this man in combat. It was my utmost displeasure to have to be near him in times of conflict. He lectured a marine for not having his boots bloused after a firefight, he would constantly force us into un-tactically sound situations and would deny us air support. Lovell once denied me assistance on moving and treating a critically wounded marine. He is the worst kind of person and what he gets is not enough.
former Sgt William M Wells

17. libostrong - March 24, 2015

I served with this man in combat. It was my utmost displeasure to have to be near him in times of conflict. He lectured a marines for not having their boots bloused after a firefights , constantly disregarded experienced marines wisdom,would force teams into un-tactically sound situations with no real goals in mind and deny air support.Personally he refused to help me treat and move a critically injured Marine . He was an absolute detriment to mission effectiveness and inspired no trust or loyalty in his junior marines in a time of war. He is the worst kind of person and what he gets is not enough.
former Sgt Wiliam M Wells

18. HMLA-367 - March 25, 2015
19. Mike - March 26, 2015

When a good man is wrong, a good man will admit it. I was wrong, Mark. I’ll admit, when I first read this piece, which I found on my Facebook feed, I was shocked and not convinced, at least not at the time. We all know we shouldn’t believe everything we read online…well this is one of those “online pieces” that “at first” I had doubts about, mostly because of some of the wording. I’ve been in a Corps for quite a while so when I read certain verbiage, it makes me question certain things that a supposedly former Marine writes. We see it all the time in articles, especially today with so many people claiming to be somebody who they actually aren’t. As a critical thinking and analyzer, I have a habit of dissecting things I read that are designed to persuade the reader. I also didn’t want to believe it because I knew the guy. I was never really so-called good friends with him, but I knew him and I knew him for quite a few years but I was never in the same unit as him, I just knew him from doing other things. I was always impressed by the way he carried himself and every time I saw him I’d tell myself, yeah that guy is going all the way to 30. He and his whole family is all about the Marine Corps. He impressed me. BUT…the more I read these posts, the more I realize that yeah, he was definitely one of those people who always had to remind someone that he was a DI, a Sniper, combat tour there, combat tour there, etc etc. Matter of fact, I quit going to a certain function because I got sick of hearing about it every time. So it seems like it was true and this story is true. You can’t blame me for having doubts, especially when the writer said that he got promoted to Battalion SgtMaj, which there is no such thing. You get promoted to SgtMaj and you might get assigned to a Battalion, but there is no such thing as getting promoted to Battalion SgtMaj…blah blah blah. My point is, Marks story is spot on and I was wrong for doubting him. Furthermore, I thank you, Mark, for having the courage to do this piece and call him out on it. My belief is that if this was anyone else in his unit who did this, they would fry for it and he would probably be the first person to ensure that they did. So I think it’s only right that Ken Lovell was relieved and I hope that he is given the boot and I certainly hope that his career is over and not just put at a different unit hoping this blows over. It’s only right. Remember, it’s about the institution. He was wrong and he needs to be held accountable. Mark, thanks again for bringing this story to light. My apologies for doubting your story.

20. Gene - March 31, 2015

Baffling that someone with two CARs would need to embellish a third,yet that’s what he did. This is a psychological condition, not unlike that which led Al Gore to claim he invented the Internet.

21. HMLA-367 - April 15, 2015

Any updates on this story?

22. Murph - May 1, 2015

Regardless of how many CAR’s he has earned the fact he is stole the honor of a dead Marine by claiming to have garnered top honors at Scout Sniper School. I will always hold an E-9 to a higher standard than any Marine below him. Time for him to leave the Corps the way he came in, as an E-1.

23. Jimmie Opilla - May 2, 2015

In May of 2011, a female Sergeant Major assigned to the 29th Infantry Division discharged a weapon inside the ISAF Joint Command’s Combined Joint Operations Center (ISAF CJOC) while conducting a monthly serialized weapons inventory. At the time of the incident, a high ranking delegation from the German Ministry of Defence was in the CJOC receiving a dog and pony briefing. The 29th Division Commander was BG O’Neill who was on theater leave during the incident. The ISAF CJOC is / was located at the north end on the Kabul International Airport Afghanistan, known as North KAIA (NKAIA). At the time of the incident, then Major General James Laster, USMC was in charge and initiated an investigation. Understandably, he was irate and she was stripped of all duties pending the investigation. He made her life miserable and the scorn of NKAIA. Weeks later, in late June of 2011 after returning to NKAIA from a key leader engagement with high ranking Afgans, MajGen Laster discharged his M4 rifle inside his personal security detail (PSD) vehicle. It should be noted that officers above the rank of 0-5 were not authorized rifles in theater let alone FOGOs since they had PSD personnel permanently affixed to them whenever they left the wire. Nonetheless, MajGen Laster insisted he get his own M4 in addition to his service issued pistol Anyway, the round was discharged while he attempted to clear the rifle and the round was shot under the driver’s seat. Onlookers immediately called the Belgians who were responsible for NKAIA security. Upon arrival, MajGen Laster’s senior enlisted advisor, a US Army Sergeant Major, diffused the Belgian quick response force (charged with conducting such incident’s aboard NKAIA) claiming it was a US matter. Allegedly, the on scene Belgian military police officer was heard saying, “Your US matter is on a NATO base”. Immediately following, the charges on the female Sergeant Major’s were dropped and any further investigation to her matter was dismissed. Rank certainly has its privileges. Many Marines in Afghanistan and Irag have been immediately charged with dereliction of duty by negligent dischage of a firearm and in some cases, removed from theater immediately. Who was the Commander, ISAF at the time of MajGen Laster’s unauthorized possession and negligent discharge of a weapon? General “Fighting Joe” Dunford, who is the current Commandant and next in line to be the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the highest ranking officer in the US military and senior military advisor to the Secretary of Defense, the National Security Council and the President. Certainly, he was made aware of the incident and did nothing…and by so doing, fully endorsing and flaunting a double standard. Certainly, rank has it privileges at the highest levels. Can we expect this type of behavior once he takes this coveted position? Why did Dunford not do anything? And why did Major General Laster get promoted to Lieutenant General? signed…a retired USMC Lieutenant Colonel.

24. JW Yazzie - May 18, 2015

So I see nobody backed him up after he was officially relieved as Sgt. Major of 3/2. Semper Fi, Marines

25. air force - June 30, 2015

You will find there’s brand new facebook fan page on Facebook Its for the purpose of vets that aid vets
It’s a spot where you can catch old mates and hear news or information involving veterans We are now
consistently interested in make improvements to, so in case you have got reviews we
might like to listen to it.

26. 1StSgt - August 3, 2015

“..help those that can’t help themselves”, remember that? I was your drill master 96-98 @ OCS. I remember you distinctly from 19 years ago, & I am more than confident you remember me. The greatest experience of my life was being an active Marine; all 4,736 hours of it.. I say ‘active’ because all those that post on this page are ‘still’ Marines, till death and beyond guarding streets. You Ken, need to put down your image that you were attempting to build and simply be yourself. Please do not speak ill of our Corps as these Marines’ words (ocular voices) need to resonate in your mind as you stand in front of your mirror and recite the SNCO creed until your eyes bleed for self-redemption before you attempt it with any of these Marines, or others in your future. Save yourself/us/others and look up ‘somatic narcissist’ with an emphasis on abandonment and scapegoat issues for good measure. You can change yourself but not what you were when you made a ‘conscious decision’ to lie to us, just another narcissist. Do your best, all you can do. However, if you want ‘sympathy’ look it up between s*** and syphilis. You obviously can’t help yourself so a few good Men here are telling you their hearts to help ‘you’. If they didnt care they wouldnt post as its ‘personal’ for them. I highly recommend you listen to them.. Remember THAT? “Try listening to them and stop trying to impress them”? (circa ’96). Take OFF those stripes, get on some P.T. gear, cut grass and learn ‘humility’ at the S-4 for your own self respect before you roll with your pension.. No PX or lunch in stripes as your ‘E-9’ card just got pulled. “Now lean forward and choke yourself, not with my hand..” Grow up Ken and thanks for black eye on your fellow SNCO’S (again).. Damn it, we’ve already taken so many lefts we’re begging for a right!! Post Mr. Lovell III!!! A

27. 1StSgt - August 3, 2015

Correction: it was 7,436 hours. See how easy that is Ken?

28. Jeff - August 4, 2015

I have been trying to get an update on this matter. I have been unable to find anything. Can anyone provide an update, please.

29. rodneymedina16@gmail.com - November 22, 2016

1SG Nev Army Guard Ret. I’m a former Marine 1984-1991, Army Guard 1998-2013, two tours Iraq/Afghanistan. I’m Marine to the bone and to read about this guy just makes my blood boil. I read this and I was truly speechless. We all know how small the Corps is, and to say some things like this in a Bio is just unbelievable. Stars just don’t jump on your ribbons. You know what you rate period. Only two words I can think of, Stolen Valor…..

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