Chances are if the name Don Shipley rings a bell for you, it is likely for one of two reasons: either you enjoy watching him call out, bust, and shame stolen valor phonies; or you are one of those phonies yourself.


Senior Chief Shipley’s Navy Career

Don Shipley is a retired U.S. Navy Senior Chief who served in uniform from 1978 until his retirement in 2003. Sr. Chief Shipley started his career in the Fleet Navy, where he would eventually meet his wife Diane; a fellow active-duty sailor. Sr. Chief Shipley and his wife were introduced to one another on that ship in the most austere of ways; Shipley was leading a training aboard the ship and his wife and her friends were talking in the back. Annoyed, Shipley told Diane and her friends to “shut the hell up or you can come teach this class your own damn self.” After that training ended, Diane approached Don and said “are you going to ask me out or what?” That was the beginning of a wild ride for the two of them that has now been 37 years in the making.

Don and Diane Shipley when they were young Sailors. (Task and Purpose)

I did an interview with Sr. Chief Shipley by phone to get a bit of his backstory and learn more about how he got into busting phony SEALs. One thing he told me about meeting his wife was that once he and Diane were married, the rules of the Navy dictated that one of them had to leave the ship. Shipley, knowing almost nothing about Navy SEALs other than having seen them training at Coronado, CA, decided that line of work seemed a lot more entertaining to him than life on a ship so he did a lat-move and received his orders to BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL) training.