By Special Guest Contributor and SEAL Teammate Don Shipley of Extreme SEAL Experience.

“Give’em Hell Don…”-Brandon

Since the beginning of Naval Special Warfare in early 1943, there have been roughly 17,600 men who completed training of some sort and served with the Naval Special Warfare Teams (including the Underwater Demolition Teams, the SEAL Teams and the earlier NSW units of WWII).

Of those 17,600 men, roughly 10,000 (or fewer) are still living, and approximately 2,400 of those living members are currently serving on active duty.


Just got this off Don's FB wall...they just keep coming...


[pullquote_right]The “Top Ten” pick up lines bartenders heard used on women? Number One was “I was a Navy SEAL.”[/pullquote_right]There are only about 7,000 former (i.e. non-serving) Navy SEALs scattered among our nation’s population of 313+MILLION.  That’s approximately one (1) former Navy SEAL for every 45 THOUSAND citizens…

You have a far greater chance of meeting a former NFL football player than you have of ever encountering a real Navy SEAL.

With that said, the FBI estimates that there are 300 SEAL Imposters for every living Navy SEAL.  Verifying at least a dozen and often over 20 fraudulent SEAL claims each day, I put the number much, much higher than 300.

All classes taught by a SEAL Instructor, in BUD/S or SEAL Team, always begin with a “War Story” from the Instructor to establish creditability on the subject matter being taught by him, or to entertain the class and keep their attention. I’m no exception to the rule…

Phony Navy SEAL
Another imposter....

Shooting a game of pool with a few SEAL buddies one night in the Philippines, our game was interrupted by a few guys (jerks) who had consumed a couple bottles of Loudmouth and a shot of Bruce lee and they wanted the pool table.  I moved in close to the biggest guy who was blocking my shot, as he obviously seemed to be the Ring Leader of the gang. I asked him what command he was assigned to and he slowly began to scan the bar left and right as if what he was about to say would shock me and he didn’t want anyone else to overhear it.

Secret Stuff…

Looking me right in the eyes he quietly muttered the words “SEAL Team SIX.”

Before his lips were even closed after saying the word “SIX” my fist impacted his ugly mug and he was down in an unconscious pile of Fleet Sailor. We then proceeded to beat up all his friends from the U.S.S Paint Me Daily for good measure.

 I don’t really recall how I got my start exposing fraudulent SEAL Claims, what event sent me over the edge, but I’ve always liked a good fight and defending things that needed someone to STAND UP.

At 50-years old, I’m not as fast with my fists as I used to be, but I’m lethal with a keyboard and anyone who attempts to steal the Honor of SEAL Team has their hands full with me…

Stolen Valor & The Scourge of Navy SEAL Imposters: Part 2

Read Next: Stolen Valor & The Scourge of Navy SEAL Imposters: Part 2

[pullquote_right]The FBI estimates that there are 300 SEAL Imposters for every living Navy SEAL[/pullquote_right]Military Imposters are NOT a new phenomenon, and men throughout history have claimed participation with Roman Legions in battle and claimed to have served with Washington at Valley Forge when they did not. What is NEW is the Internet and centuries of phonies who were only able to spread their B.S within their village and projecting it no further than a few barstools down in their local pub are over.

With the Internet now, they can be whatever they want to be and spread their crap World Wide…

A Census taken during August, 2000, showed the surviving U.S. Vietnam Veteran population estimate to be: 1,002,511. During this Census count, the number of Americans falsely claiming to have served in-country is: 13,853,027.  By this census, FOUR OUT OF FIVE WHO CLAIM TO BE Vietnam vets are not.

Rev. Jim Moats lied to his own church members and the media


Many believe it’s not possible to verify if someone was ever a Navy SEAL due to the secretive nature of their work. That their records are sealed or that only the President has access to them. Much of it comes from the Phonies themselves by pulling out the Trump Card and saying “It’s Classified, I can’t tell you.”

The “It’s Classified” line is a good one and an end all in most cases. I mean really, how do you call “Poser” on someone who claims “It’s Classified?” How do you know for sure?

Well, it’s pretty easy…

SEAL Training in the Navy, BUD/S, (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School) is an “Unclassified” Navy School and much like any other school in the Military. It’s no big secret where BUD/S is located and it’s no big secret what is taught there.

When a man graduates BUD/S Training in the Navy, or even begins it and fails, he is listed in a “database.”  Records are kept…

[pullquote_right]You have a far greater chance of meeting a former NFL football player than you have of ever encountering a real Navy SEAL.[/pullquote_right]It’s NO different than when you graduated High School, College, worked at Home Depot or spent some time in the Gray Bar Hotel on a trumped up murder charge. There are records of you for about everything you do or have done.

The fact that a SEAL goes on to more secretive work with more secretive Teams, has NO IMPACT on him being listed as a graduate of BUD/S Training.

That being said… The “Database” of Navy SEALs is considered “Sensitive” and will never be posted where just anybody can view it for obvious security reasons.

The “SEAL Database” is an alphabetical listing of EVERY man who ever graduated any form of training for Navy Combat Demolition Units, Underwater Demolition Teams, Scouts and Raiders and SEAL Training and dates back to 1943 at our inception during WWII.  EVERY MAN, without exception is listed there.

When asked if Jimmy Crackcorn was ever a Navy SEAL I just scroll down to “Crackcorn” and look for James or Jimmy.

Some names are easier than others as there  are a number of Jones, Smith/s and Johnsons as an example, so a middle name and approximate age is sometimes required.  A lot of people use middle names as their first names to friends and acquaintances, my wife included, and we are always extremely careful to thoroughly check to see if there is a Robert “Jimmy” Crackcorn listed.

Recently the Internet blew up over a former Navy SEAL named “Neil Smit” and his new position as chief executive of Comcast Cable. It was a BIG DEAL and SEAL Verifiers like myself were going NUTS at how brazen a guy could be in such a high position and claiming to have been a Navy SEAL. 

SEAL Verifiers are meticulous and we do our homework before raising the Phony Flag. We check, check, and check again…

There was NO LISTING for a “Neil Smit” as ever being a Navy SEAL.

Looking closely, there WAS a listing for a “Cornelius” Smit, though, and I saved myself a punch in the face by Neil AKA Cornelius who was in fact a SEAL… 


Not many outside of the SPECWAR Community, and VERY few in the Community, can accurately rely on asking someone for their BUD/S Class number as proof if they are/were a SEAL or not. BUD/S, UDTR, UDTB and UDTRA Training Classes have been numbered starting with Class ZERO that became the first Class to train in Coronado, California in 1950 but Class ONE graduated Training in 1947 at Little Creek.

Class 100 graduated Training in Coronado in January, 1979.

Class 200 graduated Training in Coronado in August, 1995.

Class 300 will begin Training in Coronado in 2012.

Everything in between is a jumbled mix of 5 SEAL Training Classes a year and also for a short while it was 7 SEAL Training Classes a year. East Coast Training Classes in Little Creek, Virginia and West Coast Training Classes in Coronado, California. Training Classes that were 16-weeks long, 18-weeks long, 26-weeks long and everything in between. Some Navy Corpsman during the Vietnam era were only required to complete the Diving Phase of SEAL Training before assignments to SEAL Teams. Some Classes had no “Official Hell Week.” Class 50 graduated SEAL Training in Little Creek in December, 1970, Class 50 “also” graduated SEAL Training in May, 1969 in Coronado..

No one Graduated Class 78 and no one Quit in Class 80.

Anyone in the “know” would “fall over” when someone would claim BUD/S Class Alpha 18, Special SEAL Tactics, Unit Battalion, Section Charlie, knowing that SEAL Training Classes are “numbered” ZERO and up…   Many others would not, and those numbers and Military Jargon would lead to an apology by the questioner for inquiring about the persons (Phony’s) Navy SEAL background in the first place.

When I went through Training in 1984 there were no books written by SEALs, no movies and no Internet and it was easier to pick out Imposters. With the Internet today and numerous SEAL books, it’s easy to read and pick up Class numbers and dates and many Imposters use those to  better their B.S. story. They easily discover Marcus Luttrell’s, the “Lone Survivor’s” Class was 228.

“What BUD/S Class were you in? I was Class 228… Ohhh, Ok sorry to have questioned you Mr. SEAL, now let me buy you drinks all night and listen to all your TALL Tales of Heroism.”

Most SEAL Phonies are pretty dumb, others are not and they “lurk” on SEAL Websites for information and ask questions in forums. They study, they are refined and they get away with it for decades. MANY will read and learn from this article I’ve written.

A survey was conducted by a Beer Distributor for a Men’s Magazine article. They  asked Bartenders around the Country for the “Top Ten” pick up lines they’d heard used on women. Number One was “I was a Navy SEAL.”




Another old way of verifying SEAL Phonies, that never worked very well, was asking them who their “Swim Buddy” was in BUD/S.  “My Swim Buddy was Ollie Ollieoxenfree,” replies the quick thinking Phony. Ohhh… OK, let me buy you those drinks now…

How would you know if he was lying or not??? You don’t… Same with asking “Who was your Commanding Officer.”  When the Phony comes back with “Captain Crunch” was my CO, now what are you going to do??? More than likely you’ll open a tab at the bar and start buying those drinks.

Stay tuned for part two and in the meantime check out ABC’s report here.