major claim to fame is that he was the "lone survivor" of one of America's most famous battles in the Viet Nam war, The battle of Hamburger Hill.
He can sit in a pub or club and between crying sessions,
with you buying his beer, and can tell you the harrowing minute-by-minute the true account of this
battle..... but he can't tell you the name of his division or battalion commander. These are the only facts omitted from the story of Hamburger Hill that are produced in an American magazine readily available in any newsagency.
He will tell you about the nights where he is woken from his dreams of battle to see his whole platoon,
killed to the man, standing at his bedside asking him why he survived and they died. He will recite for you a very impressive service record where he saw action in 5 major battle areas in Viet Nam and an even more impressive list of battle honours where he received the following:
Three Purple Hearts,
The Silver Star,
The Bronze Star,
The Republic of Viet Nam Civil Action medal,
The republic of Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry.
The US Infantry Combat Badge and
Three Presidential Unit Citations.
Not a bad list of awards for a man that has never worn the uniform of any country. His ability to lie to
ex-service organisations shows that he spent a lot of time and effort creating his story, but was it worth it in the long
run? Initially, because he was using US service details and war exploits, his story was believed and he became a founding member of the VVAA
(Viet Nam Veterans Association of Australia) in Caboolture, north of Brisbane, Queensland.
At one time, it was not easy to verify US Service records, unless you contacted
a CPMH investigation team or know the exact area to approach in the United States.
These days, processes are much faster and simpler. Burnett even rose through the ranks to hold an executive position on the committee, until the colour of his war stories began to turn black on him.
joined the 173rd Airborne Association in Queensland, an Australian branch of this famous American unit
association and his stories of bravery, although unique, appeared genuine to
some of the members until they started to question some of his wounds that did not bear scars. He claims to have been wounded in the back from a RPG
(Rocket-propelled Grenade). This wound causes him unbearable pain, but miraculously there are no visible scars. This is also the case with his numerous bullet wounds. Suspicions aroused, the
173rd contacted their counterparts in the US and no records could be found for the service number he
produced. Challenged, he decided to change it and try again. Not only did he change his service number but he also changed his date and year of birth and where he thought he was born in the USA. Naturally none of this panned out as he was born in England.
Burnett further compounds
his errors by getting married here in Australia. Wife number one decided she
had more than enough of the deceit, and leaves. Burnett tries again with wife number two. Failure again. Using his
well-crafted skills in fiction, screaming poor and in need of help, he gets a third wife who takes pity on the "veteran" but quickly she becomes suspicious of his war stories and lies and
the relationship ends. Further investigation appears to show that he has never sought a divorce from his previous wives before he takes the matrimonial steps again. Burnett now single, resides in a
cabin in a Brisbane northern suburbs caravan park where he still continues to tell his fictitious war stories to anyone who will take pity on him and buy him a beer. He
(Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) through a Psychiatrist.
There are alleged tales of a huge payout from an insurance company for this complaint.
At this time, CPMH
is contacted and becomes aware of Burnett's details. A check of his service details through the US confirms he is a fraud.
A Current Affair (a Nine Network program which has worked
with CPMH before) is contacted and a plan is put into place to visit and expose him at his cabin. Unfortunately, through the investigation period by
CPMH, Burnett got wind he was about to be exposed on
national TV and very quickly told his close neighbours that he had been advised by the Department of Veterans Affairs that he had to move to a Veterans' Invalid Hospital in Hobart, Tasmania, for specialised treatment on his back
injury (remember the RPG wound). ACA and a CPMH team
leader went to his cabin and were advised that they had missed him by half a day. He had vanished into thin air.
A check by CPMH with Veterans Affairs confirmed his story was a lie. A check of the veterans' rehabilitation
hospital in Hobart also confirmed he had lied about this location. Alan George Burnett is still on the run. He has been reported as living in the Hervey Bay area of Queensland. The team checked but he could not be found in this location. He contacted a person he thought was still his friend in NSW for help. The friend immediately contacted CPMH and advised that he was heading for the Victorian
CPMH have since been advised that he has applied for a loan through a major credit union in this location. The team is currently looking for his place of residence in
the southern city. A Current Affair still want to interview this war hero and we
have been asked to advise the Federal Police and the Insurance
Company of his whereabouts.
continues on foot.
This is published in the
public interest, particularly that of the Vietnam
Veteran Community. All information presented here is
fact and the truth. Reports from private citizens are
supported by statements of fact and statutory