ELOY, AZ - It all started out as just a dream for John Ferron.
"It was the greatest Navy in the world and I wanted to be a part of it."
Ferron was just 10 years old at the time, living in Jamaica when he saw his first U.S. Naval ship.
"I was 1,000 times impressed. I told myself I would join that Navy," said Ferron.
And so he did, on December 18, 1974. Ferron was 18 years old when he joined. "It was the greatest feeling in the world. It was awesome. It was like I was finally a part of something."
Only, to the Navy, Ferron was known as Clyde Anthony Steele.
An identity he says he got from a friend who gave him a copy of his birth certificate. "He says, 'You keep it. You will need it more than I will.'"
According to documents from Veterans Affairs, Ferron was honorably discharged two years later.
"I have a mental plate in my head," he says.
Ferron claims he came clean, telling the VA he enlisted using someone else's identity. "The VA told me 'don't worry about it. That happens all the time.'"
So for 40 years, Ferron continued to receive treatment from the VA.
But in 2007, benefits were cut when he was convicted for six different counts of identity theft and fraud charges for using the name Clyde Anthony Steele.
He spent four years in prison. And now he wants forgiveness. "I did my time. I paid for my mistake."
But his criminal history doesn't stop there, Ferron was arrested several times for drug related offenses.
A problem he says he developed to help deal with his PTSD from the war.
'Those years I wasn't getting medical help. I was in a lot of pain. I used marijuana and cocaine."
But it's Ferron's lengthy criminal history ICE sites as the reason they can't release him from the detention center he has called home for the last three years.
And it could be what stands in the way of him staying in the U.S. permanently.
Ferron is waiting for a judge to rule on his appeal. Until then he will stay at the ICE detention center in Eloy awaiting deportation.
If you would like to help Ferron, there is a website to sign a petition for his release.
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