Odenton resident Bob Pollock hopes everyone can forgive him for decades of lies about being a Navy SEAL and prisoner of war, and that they don’t damage the intent of the military and first responders monument he founded.
“It tarnished the whole memorial and I’m ashamed of that because the intent was to honor all branches of the service, police and first responders,” Pollock said. “Hopefully after time (the monument) will be accepted because that was its original purpose."
Pollock was in his late twenties when he returned home from his years of service in the war.
“When I returned from Vietnam it was not a happy reception,” Pollock said. “I had members of my own family who were against me. Friends wouldn’t even talk to me. I had difficulty even getting a job. All I wanted was to be accepted. That’s how this whole thing got started.
“I never meant for anything like this to happen,” Pollock said. “I’m extremely sorry that it did. Once it started snowballing, I tried to stop it but wasn’t successful. I didn’t know how to get out of it. I meant no intentional harm ever.”
While Pollock told tall tales of himself being a Navy SEAL and even a prisoner of war, his true experience during the Vietnam War was not pleasant, as it was not for most soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of that era.
“I know the war was traumatic for him because he had nightmares for years,” his wife Nancy Pollock said.
She did not know the truth of her husband’s military service until last Wednesday when The Capital called her and asked.
“This has been devastating,” Nancy said. But she’s standing firm next to her husband of over 30 years.
“Bob meant no disrespect to anyone,” she said. “Bob is very patriotic. I’m glad that it’s out now.”
Bob said he realizes he embarrassed his wife, who is the most important person to him, and probably alienated a lot of friends.
“I apologize to Sen. Reilly,” Bob said. “Navy SEALS too. I have nothing but respect for those people. Anyone serving or who has served. I hope they will forgive me.”
The monument was Bob’s own idea to create and included 18 months donated time, help and hard work from Two Rivers community residents, builders and developers.
“I respect all military personnel, male or female, and always have. All I wanted to do was to say thank you to those people who served and are serving, and to the first responders and to police officers because they protect us."
The lie about his service is a burden he’s carried for a long time, he said.