RIP, Chuck Schantag

This is in the phony category, but there was nothing phony about Chuck. Instead he, and his wife Mary, were the indispensable catalogers of the military phonies of America.

Chuck passed away on February 23, of a massive heart attack, while out shooting. (If one has to go…). Life Flight medics were unable to revive him. With him, the honest and honorable veterans of America lost a friend and a spokesman, and the poseurs and frauds lost a relentless scourge. He will be interred, as befits an honorably wounded war veteran and an unsung warrior for veterans’ reputations, in Arlington.

It started with Chuck’s interest in the Prisoners of War and Missing in Action of the Vietnam War. That was Chuck’s war, in which he served as a Marine and earned the Purple Heart for combat wounds. As his own bio on the site puts it:

Chuck Schantag, founder and chairman of the [POW]NETWORK,  served with the Marine Corps, India 3/5 from 1965 through 1968.  He earned a Purple Heart in Vietnam during Tet 68. He and Mary reside in Missouri.

And while he wasn’t a POW, he became fascinated with their story. Over time, Chuck and his wife Mary gathered a lot of information about these men; in 1989 they began to make it available to the public. Mary, in fact was, “the archivist and researcher” for the network. But both of them together became indispensable to the veteran community.

In time, as the Schantags’ information about and connection to POWs grew, they discovered the scourge of phony POWs, who vastly outnumber the real ones. And in further time they developed that information, making POWNETWORK a clearing house for information about phonies of all kinds.They called the situation “an epidemic” of frauds and posers, and with the military in the news again (and more respected than ever in middle America) the contagion only spread. The POW Network main site is here; introduction to the “Heroes or Villaims” section is here. Their alphabetical listing of POW posers is in the top part and their generic military poser listing is in the lower part of this page. Every time we look at the site, we find something new — most recent was this page of news updates. There are many hundreds of pages in the phonies section alone. Maybe over a thousand.

These listings live on — and will grow — as one, visible, part of Chuck’s legacy.

Chuck and Mary did not do this alone. They had lots of help, but they also encouraged the help — by, for instance, mentoring many other angry vets who were new to poser busting.

A public obituary is here.

A memorial thread at SOCNET is here.

It is a tragedy when a warrior of Chuck’s spirit passes. But it should not bring no relief to the phonies and wannabees. Like the Hydra, more spring up to take his place. Chuck Schantag is gone, but his work endures. If you’re a poser, isn’t this a good time to quit?

9 thoughts on “RIP, Chuck Schantag

  1. Nancy Schunter

    RIP Chuck. It’s been years since we worked together @ UPS in Davenport. I’ll always remember you as a good man.

  2. Dale A, Hanley

    Mary I was shocked to here about Chuck. Our prayers are with you at this time.


    Dale & Karen

  3. Hognose Post author

    It was a sad duty to have to bring this bad news to anyone. Mary Schantag has commented, but on another post on this blog, her comment is here on the blog’s first post:

    I missed a chance to meet Chuck & Mary in person when I couldn’t go to the vets’ homecoming at Branson, and I can’t imagine how much worse this loss is for those of you who knew him personally.

    I’m sure many of us will try to be at the interment in Arlington. One of the RIs in Ranger School said to us that the class may end in a few weeks but your responsibility to uphold the honor of the Rangers never ends. Chuck did that for his beloved Marines and for all veterans. I’m reminded of the lines from the old World War I poem…

    “To you from failing hands we throw

    The torch; be yours to hold it high.

    If you break faith with us who die

    We shall not sleep, although we lie

    In Flanders Fields.”

    Chuck upheld that torch. Now it’s ours. I think we all know what we need to do to honor him.

  4. Steve Pennington

    I am very saddened to hear about Chuck’s passing. He and Mary have served well in supporting the upholding of truth and honesty in the honor of our veterans. The POW Network has been, and continues to be the paramount resource for exposing those who steal the valor of those of us who have served honorably and proudly. Chuck, we will miss you. Another Marine reports to Heaven. Semper Fi. Steve

  5. James Jones

    RIP brother thank you for your service both in and out of the Uniform. It is good to know Heavens streets shall be guarded by another United States Marine.

    Oohrah and Semper Fidelis

  6. Kevin Winters

    It is sad that Chuck had to leave us, but if it had to be so, it is appropriate that Chuck passed while shooting and on the anniversary of the flag raising on Mt Suribachi.

    Semper Fidelis,


    1. Hognose Post author

      Didn’t even think of that anniversary, Kevin. Maybe because I’m not a Marine, but I do respect the living daylights out of my brothers in the Corps. Like SF, most of them keep serving one way or another after they hang the rucksack up. Like Chuck, RIP.

  7. Dennis Dudley

    RIP to a brother in arms. May Chuck’s family be comforted by the prayers of all they helped.