Thursday, October 21, 2010


For years, Brooklyn commuters have opened their wallets for Robert McMahon, handing cash to this heroic and heartbreaking figure, a Vietnam vet in combat fatigues, his left arm missing and his right leg crippled, as he panhandles on Ocean Parkway in Kensington.

Robert McMahon appears an arm short.

He plays to their patriotism, having scrawled his nickname, "Rambo," on the back of his camouflage jacket, along with his years of service with the Marines and two stints in 'Nam that saw heavy action. The top of his empty left sleeve is pinned to his uniform shoulder, and he drags his bum leg behind him.

At day's end, he counts his cash - with both fully functioning arms.

When drivers stop for red lights, McMahon, 53, hobbles over and salutes gallantly, juggling a paper cup and a cardboard sign that reads, "Vietnam vet." They give freely.

While begging for cash in Brooklyn, he plays up his phony stints in Vietnam.

They are being scammed.

McMahon has two arms - and was seen using them last week to count the wads of cash he took off kindhearted New Yorkers.

He is not crippled, and it seems he never served in the Marines nor in Vietnam, according to Corps and Veterans Administration officials who could not find any record of him.

At day's end, he counts his cash - with both fully functioning arms.

But he carries on with his wounded-soldier act, day after day, weaving through traffic and occasionally cursing out people who refuse to give. He's been at it since at least 1987, when he pretended to have a missing leg and pushed himself around in a rusty wheelchair.

Read the entire story HERE



  1. Phony vets are an epidemic. They probably outnumber the active duty forces today. A few have even become US Congressmen. Of course, that would be a natural progression anyway.

  2. what a HERO? he was at DaNang when he was 15! hope somebody runs over his good foot.

  3. I'm gonna be in NYC next week. I'm gonna take whatever money he's collected, give it to Wounded Warriors, and then kick his ass if he pulls 2 arms out to try to defend himself.