How ‘Rear Adm. Jack Meehoff’ fooled a bunch of real retired generals and admirals

'Thank you for standing tall.'
Jeff Schogol Avatar

A group of more than 100 retired generals and admirals who have accused President Joe Biden of being a communist have been pranked by a faux flag officer going by the nom de guerre “Rear Adm. Jack Meehoff.”

If you don’t get the joke, just say the name “Jack Meehoff” aloud. That’s right. You understand now.

Earlier this month, the group Flag Officers 4 America posted an open letter that repeated lies spread by former President Donald Trump and the elected leaders who support his claims that the FBI and Supreme Court ignored “election irregularities” in 2020.

No concrete evidence has emerged suggesting the 2020 election was stolen. Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr said in December there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud and Chris Krebs, Trump’s director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, called the 2020 presidential election “the most secure in U.S. history.”

The myth that the presidential election was stolen led to the Jan. 6 Capitol riots. So far, one active-duty Marine major, four service members from the reserve component, and 41 veterans have been charged in connection with the attack on the Capitol, Army Lt. Col. Martin Meiners, a Pentagon spokesman, said on May 13.

In their letter, the retired generals and admirals – most of whom have been out of uniform for several years – claim the Biden administration has “launched a full-blown assault on our Constitutional rights in a dictatorial manner” by passing executive orders. They also claim the administration is damaging the military’s ability to fight wars through an “infusion of Political Correctness.” And they raise doubts about Biden’s ability to serve as commander in chief by claiming: “The mental and physical condition of the Commander in Chief cannot be ignored.”

“Under a Democrat Congress and the Current Administration, our Country has taken a hard left turn toward Socialism and a Marxist form of tyrannical government which must be countered now by electing congressional and presidential candidates who will always act to defend our Constitutional Republic,” reads the heavily capitalized letter. “The survival of our Nation and its cherished freedoms, liberty, and historic values are at stake.”

Enter “Jack Meehoff.”

After Christopher Mathias of the Huffington Post wrote a May 12 story about the letter, he received an email the following day from someone showing how he had managed to get the apocryphal “Rear Adm. Jack Meehoff” added to the list of signatories.

Mathias later tweeted emails from the man, whose name he redacted, showing how he had provided the false name to retired Army Maj. Gen. Joseph Arbuckle, who left active duty in 2000.

“Thank you for your support,” Arbuckle replied. “Your name will be added to the letter today. Thank you for standing tall.”

The man included a screenshot showing that – for a period of time – “Rear Adm. Jack Meehoff” had succeeded in being included with such a distinguished collection of retired leaders.

As it turns out, there is no flag officer named “Jack Meehoff” in the Navy’s records, said Cmdr. David Hecht, a spokesman for the Chief of Naval Personnel, who confirmed the name is a fake.

Arbuckle confirmed on Monday that the name has been removed from the letter’s signatures.

On Monday, Task & Purpose spoke to “Jack Meehoff” – not his real name – who said he was prompted to prank the cabal of McCarthyites because he felt their open letter was “f—ing absurd”, especially in the context of the Jan. 6 riots.

The man – who declined to provide his real name or a copy of his DD-214 – claimed to be a former enlisted submariner. He said Flag Officers 4 America removed “Rear Adm. Jack Meehoff” from the letter on Saturday after Mathias tweeted about how they had fallen for his ruse.

He also said he didn’t put much thought into coming up with the name “Jack Meehoff” as opposed to other joke names – such as “Ben Dover” – and he only realized afterward that the rank “rear admiral” added a double entendre to his fictional pseudonym.

The Flags 4 America is the latest example of retired general and flag officers offering their names and reputations to a partisan political cause. It comes at a particular poisonous time in our democracy, when Trump and his allies refuse to admit that the 2020 presidential election was fair.

In a commentary for Defense One, retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Paula G. Thornhill wrote that the opinions expressed by the retired leaders who signed the Flag Officers 4 America Letter do not deserve any sort of special consideration just because of the signatories’ former ranks.

“It’s a small step, but one place to start is give an ‘F’ to a poorly written missive, supported by a self-selected group of retired white men, posted on a website that implies, somehow, these retirees are uniquely ‘for America,’” wrote Thornhill, associate director of the Strategic Studies program at Johns Hopkins SAIS. “This letter demonstrates just how unworthy they are of the public voice they tried to claim as flag officer retirees.”

Featured image: A photo composite of Chris Farley from the movie “Black Sheep;” the open letter from Flag Officers 4 America; and a screenshot of “Rear Adm. Jack Meehoff” listed as one of the signatories.