Green Berets
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Blaine Campbell, chairman and president of CheyTac USA, was never a Special Forces weapon sergeant as he claims.

By Lee Williams

Blaine Campbell never donned a Green Beret, at least not officially. He never served in Special Forces, although his rifles have. Campbell never jumped into Pineland – the mythical setting of Robin Sage, the final field exercise that all aspiring Special Forces candidates must pass before earning their SF tabs and coveted Green Berets.

Instead, Campbell was dropped from the Special Force Qualification course, or Q-course, for administrative reasons in 1994.

This hasn’t stopped him from claiming that his training and experience as a Special Forces weapon sergeant, or 18-Bravo, gave him the skills necessary to create precision long-range weapons platforms. “I started out in the Army, infantry, Airborne, went to the 82nd, went on to Special Forces. I was a weapon sergeant,” he said during the Back to The Lodge Podcast last year.

A story published Feb. 5 in Maxim magazine describes Campbell as a “former Green Beret and 82nd Airborne combat veteran who served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm and as a scout sniper during multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley asked Campbell how he “got into weapons,” during Shipley’s popular YouTube podcast in May of last year.

“I was infantry first and then 18-Bravo weapon sergeant, it just made logical sense to keep the evolution and look at doing some better and new stuff,” Campbell told him. He described himself as a Special Forces weapon sergeant several times during the podcast.

In his bio on a veterans’ charity website, Campbell wrote that he “joined Special Forces, and went through selection October 1993 and worked at the advanced airborne (HALO) school until his separation from the army.”

Good guns

The Special Operations community is wild about the precision rifles made by Campbell’s firm, CheyTac USA, which should not be confused with a rival company, CheyTac Rifles.

Campbell’s rifles retail for around $12,000 each.

CheyTac Bolt Rifle
Courtesy CheyTac USA

In 2017, a British Special Air Service sniper used a CheyTac M200 Intervention to kill an ISIS sniper who was more than 1.5 miles away. It took an estimated three full seconds for the round to travel the distance.

Campbell’s CheyTac rifles are serving with the world’s most elite military units, he said, including DEVGRU and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta – better known as SEAL Team VI and Delta.

Hollywood caught the CheyTac bug too. In the 2007 movie “Shooter,” Mark Wahlberg uses a CheyTac M200 Intervention to destroy bad guys at extreme ranges. It’s also a featured weapon in several popular video games.

But Campbell hasn’t owned CheyTac USA for very long. Most of the serious research and development occurred long before he took over. His company, Campbell Arms Manufacturing, bought CheyTac USA in April 2020.

“Campbell Arms Manufacturing is a preferred DoD vendor providing unique small arms solutions to the Department of Defense. Campbell Arms Manufacturing is a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business providing these solutions from its DoD Secure Facility located in a Hub Zone in western Tennessee. Campbell Arms Manufacturing is a company led by Special Operations combat veterans, that adheres to the highest level of business ethics,” according to an April 16, 2020 press release, which announced the sale.

Blaine Campbell’s discharge papers indicate he was a PFC/E-3 when discharged. He used the last name of Hardwick during his time in the Army. (Photo Courtesy of Guardians of the Green Beret)


The Guardians of the Green Beret is a team of active duty and retired Green Berets who expose Special Forces imposters and posers. Their website has a “hall of heroes” – dedicated to decorated Special Forces veterans – and a “hall of zeroes” for the imposters. Their work is endorsed by Special Forces associations and foundations.

The Guardians of the Green Beret partnered with the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project for this story. The Guardians’ in-depth story and video about this case will be forthcoming.

According to their website: “When someone poses and claims to be SF (Green Beret) many of us are offended. We do not feel that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. They are not part of this very small group and never will be. They were not tested, they were not selected, they did not qualify, they did not deploy and they did not lose brothers so close that they knew them better than their own family.”

The Guardians’ research is exhaustive and thorough. To date, they have never once been wrong.

According to their investigation, Campbell never earned a Green Beret or a Special Forces tab. He did not graduate from the Q-course or participate in Robin Sage. He never served as a Special Forces weapon sergeant – not for a single day. Instead, he was dropped from the Q-course in 1994.

Discharge papers show he had a parachute badge and a combat infantryman badge, but they do not show any Special Forces qualification.

He left active duty in 1994 as a Private First Class, having been demoted from corporal. He said he doesn’t know why he was reduced in rank.

Campbell’s 1059 shows he was dropped from the Special Forces Q-course. He used the last name of Hardwick during his time in the Army. (Photo Courtesy of Guardians of the Green Beret)

Campbell’s claims

Campbell said he completed all of the Q-course including the final field exercise, Robin Sage, when he was “pulled from the course for personal reasons.”

“I had some personal issues that involved some of my command and my ex-wife. I got sent to the rigger’s shed stacking stuff. I lost faith in my command, so I got out and got on with my life,” he said.

He acknowledged that he was never a tab-qualified Special Forces 18-Bravo.

“I did apologize to the Guardians of the Green Beret. I’ve retracted everything,” he said. “I’m a combat vet. I am humble. I shouldn’t have said it. So be it. It is what it is.”

Campbell said he thought he was permitted to say he was tab-qualified because he completed the entire Q-course.

“I went through Robin Sage and thought I’d done it and I could say it,” he said, adding that after the exercise, the training cadre pinned Special Forces tabs on the candidates’ shoulders with safety pins.

All of this, the Guardians of the Green Beret say, is untrue.

According to Campbell’s paperwork, he was dropped from the course before he ever went to Robin Sage. In addition, the Guardians have emails from two successful Class 1-94 graduates and the Robin Sage NCOIC who all said Campbell’s tab-pinning ceremony never happened.

“That’s something they do in Ranger School,” a Guardian said. “We don’t do that in Special Forces.”

“We completed Robin Sage and got a final counseling from instructors at Mackall on who passed and who didn’t, and then headed right back to Bragg, main post,” one of the graduates wrote in an email to the Guardians. “I don’t recall pinning on the long tab.”

CheyTac’s Chief Operating Officer, Brenda Dorne, said she believes Campbell is still Special Forces qualified even though he lacks the SF tab and the documentation.

“There’s an investigation. We’re attempting to get his paperwork,” she said, adding that Campbell used the last name Hardwick while in the Army – the name of his adopted father – but switched back to Campbell after his discharge.

The Guardians of the Green Beret said they offered to help Dorne and Campbell expedite the paperwork requests – an offer that was not accepted.

Several persons familiar with Campbell said he has also claimed to have completed other elite military schools, such as Marine Corps Scout/Sniper, Army Combat Diver, the Army’s parachute rigger course, HALO and more. They say Campbell also claims to have served in the 3rd, 5th and 7th Special Forces Groups, and that he was shot in Panama, even though there is no Purple Heart in his records.

Campbell denied all of these allegations.

“I never said that – any of that,” he said.

Campbell recently bought a knife – a Randall Model 16 “diver” – the sources familiar with him said, which he has told people he received upon graduating from the Q-Course. However, Special Forces presents a Yarborough knife made by knifemaker Chris Reeve, not a Randall knife to Q-course graduates. Also, they didn’t start presenting knives to graduates until 2002, eight years after Campbell claims to have completed the course.

Campbell claims he received his Randall knife after graduating from the Special Forces Q-course. (Photo Courtesy of Guardians of the Green Beret)

At the end of his interview, Campbell admitted he never received a tab or the green hat, but he offered a qualified apology.

“If I was wrong for saying it, I apologize to the SF guys,” he said. “I will never say it again.”


The Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project wouldn’t be possible without you. Click here to make a tax deductible donation to support pro-gun stories like this.

This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.


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  1. Not much news here for such a lengthy article,
    I personally have run into quite a few people who claim to have been in all types of military fields, just to find out they are liers.
    After a few questions you can tell if they are the real deal or not.
    Since they did away with the laws against STOLEN VALOR, the phony’s are everywhere.

    • Following in the little footsteps of Da Nang Dickey Blumenthal….. Whatever happened other his Stolen Valor?? Laws were in force then.

  2. It is sad when someone with a good combat record anyone would be proud of adds to it and doesnt stop. Hurts the truth- like the guys in high school trashing a girls reputation to the cop who never lost a fight.

    • Eight years as a PFC, nothing to be proud of there. He was demoted, then got out.

      Lots of people do stupid stuff, get demoted, and work their way back up. Sometimes a couple of times! Nothing wrong with thag But to get out at eight years as a PFC?

      I also don’t see what type of discharge it was, which would probably tell a bit more about the story, since he obviously can’t be trusted.

      Honestly, I don’t care about “stolen valor”, these people obviously already have horrible lives, they have to live with the shame of knowing they are frauds every day of their life. The tiny bits of time they get someone to pay attention to them is far out weighed by the time they have to think about how sad of a human they really are. If you have to make a big deal out of how big a deal you are, you are probably not a big deal. Unless you are a pro wrestler. Lol

      • Rethink that “horrible lives” stuff, these guys are congressmen, movie stars and socialites of all stripes, some also claim spots in VA hospitals and programs, and receive thousands of dollars a month in taxpayer monies for services they never performed. Read the (now ancient) book “Stolen Valor”, it is literally beyond belief.

        • Don’t know about you, if I was president and had to lie about my exploits, I’d still be a sad POS inside.

          Seems to me those that brag about what they did, often didn’t. That probably is a better indicator of someone lying than WHAT they are bragging about.

  3. He is in good company, though most of the well known liars are Leftist gun hating Democrats in good standing with the Party like Senator Richard “Saigon” Blumenthal.

  4. I didn’t get no stinkin knife after I finished the Q course in 1970.
    Nor did anyone else.
    Back then weapons specialist were primary MOS then secondary MOS.
    I was 11C4/11B4. So says my DD214
    Don’t like liars.

    • Glad to hear from a fellow mortar guy. I enlisted as an 11x in 1982 and was assigned to be a 11C during OSUT at Benning.

      • Lately, I have been identifying as “lasagna” whenever paperwork allows, and checked “non binary” on line 14 of my last 4473. I figure if they didn’t want to be fucked with, they wouldn’t include the option, right?

  5. Lies always fall to entropy.
    The truth exists by default.
    A lie always has to be defended, repeated, reinforced, etc… all taking up energy and effort.
    Sooner or later you run out of energy and the lie falls to the truth.

    • The book includes the story of 2 disabled heroes in a VA facility whose war stories and claimed medals were increasingly outrageous, culminating in another resident contacting the author and requesting he check them out. Turned out NEITHER had ever been in any service, all was lies, between them they were drawing a fortune in disability retirements and benefits, and neither recognized that the other was also a fraud.

  6. He earned a CIB so presumably he saw combat. That’s more than many can say. Too bad he dishonored himself by claiming to be even more. Weird also that after all that time he was discharged as a PFC. Makes you wonder if there’s even more to the story.

  7. “I had some personal issues that involved some of my command and my ex-wife.”

    Yeah that sounds like some typical Army barracks shit.

  8. I’ll never understand why people do this. I’m proud of my service. Did my job.
    My panties ain’t gonna fall off cause a piece of gear is rated dated or gazed upon by some tab

  9. Hope his lies only splash back on himself and not the company and workers. America needs more gun makers, always. Be a shame if his “Stolen Valor” act damages the company that he only recently got involved in.

  10. The SF community is so damned small why do people keep doing this? Especially high profile people. If you are a CEO or high level competitor or guntuber people will check to see if you’re legit. You will be found out.

  11. He claimed to be a Green Beret? You call that bvllshit? Pfft. How’s this for BS: I wrote my first bestselling book when I was an astronaut. It was about the time I conquered Mt. Everest and Salma Hayek in the same day.

    If you’re gonna do it, do it right.

  12. Happens a lot unfortunately worked next to a retired E-8 who always bragged about his service. After hearing enough I started laying into him: If you were shot where is your purple heart? Where are your scars? If you were in combat where is your combat veteran license plate? Or purple heart for that matter. Nice guy just liked to embellish his service. I take the opposite approach tell I was in and that was it.

  13. Former military here… We just need to extra careful in telling others we attended said school… These schools have attrition rates built in so they have to drop people for redicious reasons near the end. If you say you were special forces that’s crossing a line though. This guy needs to be more careful with his words. I attended x school is ok… I was a green beret is not…

  14. I can’t tell you about the time I served as a door gunner on the space shuttle, none of you guys have the appropriate security clearance.

    This was right after I graduated from BUDS and the Q course, at the same time. I was actually a bit tired after completing both courses.

    Why do people tell these stories, since there are simply not enough guys who actually graduate from these course, thus making easier to check up on? Although I have to say, those space suits are really uncomfortable.

  15. Gonna tell a life experience here:
    I met this dude in a bar of course,,,
    He was wearing a Army ,1st Air Calvery (blue calvery hat) that’s their trademark,
    Only prob was it had a Marine globe & anchor emblem (metal one) on the front.
    He kept talking crap about being a Marine, Well I am a real Marine,& his balloney wasn’t adding up.
    So I started to ask him some friendly questions, & sure enough, a phony, he didn’t know what a DD214 was, that was enough for me to call him out. It got ugly & he left.

    • Guy claiming to be a homeless Green Beret came up to me in Vegas. Needed money. Green Beret? What outfit? He says Army.

      No vet tells you his outfit was the Army, Navy, Marines or Air Force. And yes, he had not a clue about DD214’s.

  16. There’s a lot of actual or former soldiers on YouTube who catch these stolen valor aholes.
    My take on it is they should beat the shit out of them but do it off camera.
    The exception to the rule would be a guy named Michael Rutledge.
    He was a Navy Seal for 8 years and wore the Trident.
    His love was actually to be a pilot. He crossed over to the Army.
    He became a Night Stalker in SOAR.
    The moral: A guy in an army uniform wearing a Seal trident.
    No stolen valor with this guy, this is a very humble and badass guy.
    It’s probably one of the most interesting things I have ever watched on YouTube.

  17. I know Blaine. He’s one of the most gifted Gun Makers I ever met.
    He was a solid Combat Vet Paratrooper who passed SFAS.
    Personal reasons prevented his getting through the Q but he was invited back.
    Those are good things, but he did make claims that were untrue, sad to say.
    I suspect he got caught up in it all, no ill intent, but dead wrong, in any case.
    He has apologized and that counts for something.
    I’m thankful to the Guardians for setting the record straight,
    and I appreciate this forum for supporting 1A & 2A.
    I hope he honors his promise not to do it again.
    This should not detract from his ability to provide
    some amazing guns and ammo to SOF & America.
    Let us continue to hold people to the truth and
    Focus on supporting our War Fighters & Freedom Lovers.
    De Oppresso Liber
    Hawke posts

    • If he’s the “most gifted” you know then I have to assume he’s the only one you know.

      I don’t believe he could build a firearm to save his own life. Based on what I see on their website, he can assemble an AR15 using cheap parts about as well as a million others who enjoy shooting. That doesn’t make him gifted, it makes him relatively common.

      I, like many others, am of the opinion that there’s a lot more to this story. A man who will lie about his service, repeatedly, probably has little compunction about telling falsehoods regarding everything else. I feel sorry for those he’s swindled personally and professionally.

    • Blaine does not own the rights to CHEY-TAC in any way shape or form. CHEY-TAC, short for Cheyanne Tactical and has been owned by Larry Knesek and myself since 2011. EDM, owned by the Late Bill Ritchie, assigned the rights to manufacturer the M-200 Intervention to Larry Knesek and Corey Kupersmith in the late 90’s. In 2011 Corey Kupersmith, who at that time owned CHEY-TAC Associates in Arco Idaho, signed over the Patents, TradeMarks and Copyrights to me on June 30th. On July 1st 2011 I licensed CHEY-TAC USA in Nashville Georgia. In March of 2012, I rescinded that licensing as we discovered the man we had hired to Run CHEY-TAC was not a retired Air Force General, he was in-fact a Master Sargent form the Air-Force who claimed to have lead the operation to reduce Jessica Lynch, a complete lie. Trust me, Blaine is just one more creep in a long line of people guilty of stolen Valor.

      I have reorganized the company in Van Buren Arkansas with Larry Knesek the founder of KGI and THOR. The real CHEY-TAC, is licensed to produce the M-200 Intervention by Larry Knesek who is the sole assignee by the Late Bill Ritchie. Should you have any questions, please email me at [email protected] Larry and I will be happy to get back to you. This mess is headed to court, and I am confident I will emerge victorious. And by-the-way, I have every text message, E-mail and voice message from Blaine Campbell feeling us out to get information on CHEY-TAC, including one where he asked to become an authorized Rep for us.


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