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Jan 31, 2001

Former AMA President Thornton's Made-Up Tale Of Vietnam Service Led To Resignation One Step Ahead Of Ax, Trustees Now Admit

Former AMA President J. Scott Thornton was forced to resign in the face of outrage from AMA members and the AMA Board of Trustees over evidence that Thornton fabricated a first-person story of Viet Nam War bravery, heroism and suffering in the September 2000 issue of American Motorcyclist magazine. Thornton in fact never served in Viet Nam and was exposed by a website dedicated to exposing fake tales of military service.

The story debunking Thornton's claims of Viet Nam service and his related emotional problems appears at

Violent reaction to the news that Thornton lied about his military service in the official magazine of the AMA was behind his replacement by long-time AMA employee (and then Vice President)Rob Rasor, effective November 1, 2000.

Thornton had been hired by the AMA as President one year earlier, in November, 1999. He replaced Ed Youngblood, who resigned at the height of controversy over his part in AMA actions leading up to the still-unresolved Edmondson vs. AMA lawsuit.

The AMA Board of Trustees never publicly announced why Thornton resigned. When asked January 30 if the website report was true, a Trustee declared it "water under the bridge". Two other Trustees confirmed that Thornton had fabricated the tale of wartime service and that reaction from veterans in the membership and on the Board forced the resignation.

None of the Trustees contacted by Roadracing World were willing to be quoted on the matter. Thornton could not be contacted prior to post time.