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Occupy Denver profile: Special Forces vet Billy Reno is reintroduced to political activism

occupy signs multiple small.jpg
Billy Reno's first reaction to the Occupy Wall Street movement was a desire to head to New York. But this was quickly squashed when he stopped by the local movement instead. Tonight, Reno, whose last name is spelled on the knuckles of his left hand with a diamond replacing the O, will sleep on the front lines, in the sleeping bag he took out of his storage unit when the occupation began, on the sidewalk in front of Civic Center Park.

Reno's slept in this area since he was born into the occupation on day six, although he now maintains a spot on the sidewalk directly opposite the one he used to occupy. Curled inside a black sleeping bag and covered by a protest sign, the decision to fall peacefully asleep in front of a line of police is in its own way a defiant form of protest.

In the beginning, sleep is part of what drew him.

billy reno.jpg
Kelsey Whipple
Billy Reno.
"It was a safe place to camp," Reno says. "I stopped by one day out of curiosity, and I heard Crunchy (kitchen worker and outgoing occupation personality) preaching what it was all about. I knew it was important to me.'

Early in the occupation, Reno struck upon the idea that tents would make the camp safer and warmer at night. But before he could remove his from storage to surprise the group, they erected their own. Reno's would later be the second tent on the right side of the former site and the fifth total, though today it is just an anecdote. As the late-October chill approaches, it will become a difficult loss to handle.

For fourteen years, Reno's identity was tied to his role in the 75th ranger regiment, 3rd battalion. However, the Special Forces vet is currently homeless. The 49-year-old lives on $175 a month and $200 in food stamps, and he is both the first person to offer candy to new friends and the first person to open his bag another time when they mention Reese's Peanut Butter Cups is a favorite.

His time in the military ended suddenly and with disappointment for a man who planned to make at least a twenty-year career out of the experience.

"When I joined the army, I thought it was the best thing for me," Reno says. "I got used to the routine, to the organization, and it wasn't a bad life. I thought I had seen the worst the world had to offer," he pauses, "but then there was East Africa." Later, he will pull a US Army hat out of the Carhartt tote he carries. "I see Occupy Denver as a chance to right all the wrongs I've done in my life."

Today, Reno supports the occupation on Twitter and Facebook, and he collects videos, some of them startling, on a cell phone that, like most left in the camp, is running low on battery. As he pulls that phone out of his pocket, the video he cues up is of Saturday night's demonstration. In it, a young male volunteer is reading poetry out loud from a notebook when he is struck in the back by a police baton. The image is uncomfortable at best, but Reno's expression is unchanged.

When it is over, his amiability transitions, for a moment, into the occasionally bitter demeanor that has resulted from recent interaction with state and city police forces. "They're here to silence it," Reno says, shaking his head. His predictions for future interactions are grim, but he has no plans to leave. "The more you lay down, the more they walk all over you. We're standing up right now, but we're doing it peacefully."

More from our Occupy Denver archive: "Occupy Denver has a day of peace -- for now (PHOTOS)."


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32 comments
1/75RGR
1/75RGR

I dont know how I stumbled upon this, but I call shenanigans too.

Steve Croushore
Steve Croushore

The name "Billy Reno" or "Willam Reno" not on manifest for AFEM orders with A Co, B Co or HHC for TF Ranger. Poser.

Marcel Kuemmet
Marcel Kuemmet

Hmmm?This is all very interesting,   I was in 1/75 in 1980/81.  I was an 11C1PV.  I was not aware of any 17K (it would of course be 17K1PV at that time.   It would of course be wise for any 17K's to work closely with us, as we were had the best indirect fire infantrymen in the Army at that time.As a blogger, citizen journalist, and a supporter of the 99% and the #Occupy Wal Street movement, I feel that credibility is of extreme importance in this movement, as it is all the lies and complete BS we get from Wall Street and their Government and Fed cronies. I am trying to make personal contact with Bill Reno, and will ask him a few qualifying questions to verify (or to not verify) his service with the Bats if any.  I will report my findings to  US Confidential and US Confidential if I am successful with said operation. http://usconfidential.blogspot...http://wisconsinconfidential.b...Out.RLTW!

Pamela
Pamela

Reno's a nice guy. He was one of the first people I met at OD. I wish all the internet smear-campaigners would talk to him in person, because they'd probably like him too.

Ranger J
Ranger J

Billy,

A couple of significant issues here:

 A) The 3rd Ranger Battalion (3/75) was reactivated, for the first time since WWII, in October of 1984.

B) The 75th Ranger Regiment was not established until earlier that same year; 1984.

C) Prior to 1984, the modern day Rangers existed as the 1st and 2nd Ranger Battalions, 75th Infantry. Both the 1/75 and 2/75 were activated in 1974. Their designations were not changed from "75th Infantry Battallion" to "75th Ranger Battallion" until all three battalions were brought under the 75th Regimental command in 1984

For you to have been a member of the 3rd Battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiement (3/75) prior to 1984 is NOT possible.

Furthermore:

The 75th Ranger Regiment never had any MOS 17K's (Ground Surveillance Radar Operator?) listed in its Table of Organization and Equipment during the period that you claim to have been a Ranger; I seriously doubt that they do now either. It's for darn sure that ALL 1SG slots in the 75th Ranger Regiment were filled by infantrymen.

Also, to have made the Rank of 1SG in 14 years, in those days, is highly improbable.

I know these things because I am a medically discharged senior non-commissioned officer who served in both 2/75 (77-79) and 3/75 (84-86) and was, in fact, a founding member of the 3rd Battallion. I was medically discharged, in 1987, at the rank of Sergeant First Class, with 13 years, 9 months service.

I assure you that I and most other Rangers take extreme exception to the name of the 75th Ranger Regiment being used to give "legitimacy" to any of the disruptive groups of miscreants that are currently expressing their ignorance across the nation.

I'm just sayin' . . .

Epps_matt
Epps_matt

Check your facts, jack. That is sloppy, sloppy journalism.

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

Hey Ranger Reno!  Tell us all about the time back in 1980 when you navigated a ‘Regiment of Rangers’ from 3rd/75th into Pakistan just using your official Navy SEALs Compass and you rappelled from a Blackhawk into the Laden compound and personally took out Osama with a single shot from your super secret Delta Force sniper rifle with a scope and thing that tells time.  Or maybe it was Mogadishu.

Say, that reminds me…

News this morning is that Moammar Gadhafi has been captured. You can tell us, (we won't tell anyone) did you have anything to do with that?

175RGR
175RGR

You were in 3/75th Ranger Regiment in 1980? I don't think so. 17K in both 3/75? I don't think they had/have that slot in 3/75. And you were with 1st SFOD-D and homeless? Ok, it could happen, but not likely. If it quacks like a duck...

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

Hey Reno!  I’m the wife of an 18Z5V and I just thought you should know: Ranger Batt’s., are “Special Operations Forces”. “Army Special Forces” are the Green Berets.  East Africa for the Rangers was 1993.  Fourteen years in the Army, you’re a mid-grade NCO: Either you got medical’d out-- which means you would be getting disability or… you were chaptered out, if you were ever in the Army to begin with.  Just sayin’.  

Kelsey W.
Kelsey W.

Oops, thanks for pointing that out!

NotWoofka
NotWoofka

"I see Occupy Denver as a chance to write all the wrongs I've done in my life." Hey Westword, if you're going to quote a person's speech, can you at least pick the correct spelling of "right"?  Thanks.

Jenny Meyers
Jenny Meyers

 Your really doing your fathers memory proud!

job
job

Hey westword why are you guys not doing your homework on these fake homeless protestors. Ohh that's right/write you guys are lefties who are cheerleading the protestors. This reporter sucks royally. You guys should checkout the other duchebag articles this dumbass reporter has done. To funny you can't write/right this stuff. Ohh wait she did.

Billy Reno
Billy Reno

 What ever ....I enlisted in 80 and that would put me in East Africa in 93 towards the end of my 14yrs, Where were you OCT 93?However, Lookin at some of your comments,wherever you were,You still had your head up ass :-D

NaiveNoMore
NaiveNoMore

Actually, it's funny... because he's writing about it online!

Guthtjguth
Guthtjguth

You better be posting a DD 214 real quick. You have now come to the attention of SF Poser site. We take a special pride in outing POS posers. Post it now.

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

Whatever yourself…Tabbed? When and where?  What company were you in 3rd Batt. ? What was your job in 3rd Batt. after 14 years?

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

I noticed on your Facebook ‘Wall’ page (that I’ve saved via screen shot for prosperity) that you have a picture of these tabs/patches (obviously taken from the web): Special Forces RangerAirborne Arrowhead (patch)  So, you’re not only a Ranger and Delta Force POSER, you’re a Green Beret POSER too.  No doubt that you are seriously FUBAR Billy, but your pathological Special OPS POSER gig is up.

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

The man answered my questions with obvious bullshit. Had you actually researched much of anything, you’d realize the man is a Poser.  My research, backed up by 'actual veterans of the units' in which he claimed membership, thus far indicates that the man is a liar. If Billy has definitive proof to back up his claims, bring it on.  By the way, I noticed he’s not around. Why do you think that is?

Jenny Meyers
Jenny Meyers

 The man answered your questions, and I have researched, and to the best of my ability I have researched his answers and the seem to be correct.  Perhaps I should research yours?

175RGR
175RGR

You were a 1SG and can't even spell "Hooah" correctly? Something stinks.

175RGR
175RGR

Oh, one last comment. Your doing all these replies and you're homeless? Don't answer... It was a rhetorical question.

175RGR
175RGR

You were in 3/75th Ranger Regiment in 1980? I don't think so. 17K in both 3/75? I don't think they had/have that slot in 3/75. And you were with 1st SFOD-D and homeless? Ok, it could happen, but not likely. If it quacks like a duck...

275RGR
275RGR

I'll throw a BS flag as well.  3rd Bn wasn't reactivated until 84 and you started your "14 years in regiment" in 80? POSER! 

RangerFEW
RangerFEW

Mr. Reno,

In the interest of credibility, I have just a couple of easy questions for you to answer which will confirm your claims.

When were you first assigned to B Co. 3/75?What is your Ranger School Class Number?Who was in your Chain of Command when you arrived at Regiment (Squad Leader, Platoon Leader, 1st Sgt., Company Commander)?

Just so you know, I served in one of the Ranger Battalions during the time frame you claim and will be vetting your answers through a network of other former Rangers to verify your claims.

We look forward to your answers.

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

BTW:  It's Hooah! you dumb shit Poser.

Malcontent2
Malcontent2

Visions of Poser Ranger Jessie MacBeth  Dance In My Head   I wasn’t ‘demanding’ answers; I simply asked a few questions. As I said in my first post, I’m the wife of an 18Z5V and thought it interesting that you would allow a reporter to classify you as ‘Army Special Forces’ when  clearly you’re not.  Delta Force, you say? Sweet! Though, ‘Splain some things to me Lucy… You were Tabbed when? Cause… “....I enlisted in 80 and that would put me in East Africa in 93 towards the end of my 14yrs, Where were you OCT 93?” 14 years in the Ranger Regiment starting in 1980?  Puleeze. 17K E-8 First Sergeant in Ranger Regiment?  Puleeze…yer killin me.  Kind of a unique MOS to be herding 11Bs.  You were a graduate of OTC and served with Delta Force?  Hold on, I just spit up my coffee on the keyboard. You were CAG while you were assigned to B/3/75?  I don’t think I can take much more of this…you do have a vivid imagination. Please tell us all about TF Ranger. Talked to several folks who were at 3/75 when you claim to have been there.  These included the original plank holder cadre and the very first unit S1.  They never even heard of you (the only E-8 17K 1SG in SOF!).  14 years in the Ranger Regiment and you haven’t even answered the most basic info about your Ranger Class?  RIP?   So, get those tattoos in jail after you were chaptered out? Say, that reminds me…why were you chaptered out? Thus far, all of your answers are in the vernacular of a civilian or former first term Soldier who looked up his “story” on Wikipedia. You’re full of shit.  Too bad most reporters rise to an “SF” tale like a largemouth bass going for a lure.

Wong21fr
Wong21fr

I'm actually a separate commentator, and just on the look out for frauds who use the image of a veteran to provide legitimacy to themselves.

Your explanation sounds a bit fishy; it's a common tactic of frauds to mention being special forces, e.g. Navy SEALS, Delta Force, Marine Recon.  Maybe you're legitimate, but what you're saying just doesn't sound quite right.

Billy Reno
Billy Reno

How many profiles you have? none the less, feel free to continue cowering while I continue to fight to make the world you shit in/on, a better place huah

Wong21fr
Wong21fr

So you were a ground surveillance radar technician in the 75th Ranger Regiment somehow affiliated with the 1st SFOD-D?

I'm going to have to call bullshit.

Billy Reno
Billy Reno

 my "job"? 17kilo (also called an MOS) Squadron C of 1st SFO Detachment-Delta,(also known as "Delta Force '' B Company  75th rngr rgmt and to be honest?  Your demanding answers to ridicules questions in some effort to make yourself feel like an authority on something you truly obviously know nothing about....but you were right about 1 thing i was a nco 1sg e-8 (thus the diamond tatoo on my (L) pinky)  

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