Hilarious Navy SEAL Don Shipley busts fakes

Video link. It's election time, which means politicians are overstating or fabricating their qualifications. One of the most unfortunate forms is overstating one's military service, usually upgrading one's service to one of the elite groups like Green Berets, Rangers, SEALs, etc.

Although the Stolen Valor Act making such lies a crime was declared unconstitutional this summer, a few veterans have taken matters into their own hands.

By far the funniest is Don Shipley, a retired Navy SEAL who shames the shameless in the highly entertaining PHONY Navy SEAL of the week.

(Thanks, former SEAL / current actor Joel Lambert)


  1. I wish there were a fairly easy way to verify service claims. It would make debunking liars so much easier and help prevent so many people from lying about their service. My mother was married to a guy that I’m fairly certain lies all the time about his service and has snowed tons of people we know into believing that he’s a genuine war hero and was an Airborne Ranger sniper. It would be a BLAST to out that snake for what he is.

    It would make it hard for liars to lie very convincingly, and would make it easier for true heroes to be able to prove their accomplishments if there were a site where everyone not currently serving was listed with their rank and the group they were part of and any honors they received.

    1. There is. Ask them to show their DD-213. If they can’t/won’t, it’s safe to say they’re BS’ing.

  2. Speaking as a Navy Seal…

    Er. No.

    I did some reference work involving the Navy for a patron a while back and ended up learning about the GRUELING training process that SEALs go through. They have a 24 week “A” school, which is the BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL) that Mr. Shipley was talking about. Then it’s a 28 week SQT (SEAL Qualification Training) plus s spec ops medics training course that’s another 26 weeks. There’s also Unit level training, physical fitness testing and any number of other educational courses that the Navy feels necessary. All told, it takes about 2 years to go from recruit to deployment in a SEAL team. Two years of some of the most punishing physical and mental training ever devised. Oh and the washout rate is upwards of 90% And once you are deployed, you never stop retraining and are constantly tested for fitness.

    I interviewed a couple of retired SEALs for the project. These are some of the most disciplined human beings you will ever meet. The training they endure is almost unimaginable. It shapes them in ways most people can only guess at. The wiki on SEAL training has some amazing pictures of what going on in training.


    Claiming you are one of these guys is a bit like saying you out swam Michael Phelps at the same time you were disarming a bomb designed by Stephen Hawking in the middle of a war zone. I’m glad Mr. Shipley and his fellows are out there exposing these frauds.

    1. “..saying you out swam Michael Phelps at the same time you were disarming a bomb designed by Stephen Hawking in the middle of a war zone.”

      Actually, the part you left out was the bomb I disarmed was made of kryptonite.

  3. ok, good for this guy. but wait, he is a navy seal, right? and he has to stop the camera to spit out those rolaids before he can continue?

      1. They’re tums.

        My dad’s not a seal, but he’s been in the military all his life, and always has a bottle of tums on hand. Watching this guy chuck back a few of them brought back memories.

        I wonder what portion of tums sales are to military personnel.. and why these guys need so many of them.

  4. While I’m not one of those military deifiers, like some vet’s groups, right-wingers, and Fox News who immediately slap the hero label on every slob in a uniform, I have to give this guy credit. He has a genuine sense of humor (a rare thing nowadays), he isn’t foaming at the mouth (sadly common), and he sticks to the facts (even rarer than humor).

    The guy he is outing sounds like a real douche, not only boasting about killing people but being the ultimate wanna-be. Nice job Don!

  5. The military community is getting better at central registries and online ways of rooting out the frauds. There are sites like http://veriseal.org/ and others trying to centralize things.

    I think it’s getting easier to out the fake SEALS mainly because one can ask them “what class did you go through” and connected folks in the know can easily verify this against class rosters.

  6. I really like this fella, Shipley.
    Great work, Great Video and as funny as hell.
    Bravo, Don! Keep up the fine work.

  7. I’ve known one SEAL member in my life. he retired from the military due to a degenerative bone disease. Great guy. Sort of intense. I never asked him about his service because frankly, I didn’t want to know. But some teen-age punk heard he was a SEAL and just had to ask. This man got a look in his eyes. A haunted, hollow look. It was like I could see into the back of his head. Scared the poop out of me, chills ran down my spine. He replied, ‘Yeah (long pause), I don’t talk about that’.

  8. What grimc said. We had a guy on our forum claiming he was a Vietnam POW, in order to solicit free parts for a hot rod build…

  9. Even the so-called Stolen Valor Act, as un-American and unconstitutional as it was, didn’t go so far as to criminalize any false utterance related to military service. It only criminalized speech where someone who hasn’t earned a military medal said they had been awarded that medal.

    Thank goodness the courts put the kibosh on that particular piece of legislative demagoguery. In a free country, saying the words “I earned a bronze star” out loud in a bar should not be punishable by a Federal prison sentence.

  10. I worked for a guy who was a SEAL. one day someone asked him what the hardest part of the training was, he thought for a second and said it was having to stay awake for a week.

  11. I have multiple relatives who have served our country. As well as friends. They don’t speak of it much, if at all.

    So if the first thing someone tries to tell me about to ‘impress’ is their service to country, a little alarm starts going of, “warning, warning, jackass alert.”

    I have had the occasional jackass trying to impress me come up and start spouting that kind of shit and I just look at them, tell them they’re a loser and let them know I’m going to be ignoring them from now on. And do so. Oh, I can be polite, but if they push it i will cut them off at the knees with specific questions.

    Just saying.

  12. I swear I was listening to what he was saying, but I thought “isn’t that calamine lotion?”

    Just enough humor in this video to make it a pleasure to hear the whole story.

  13. A friend use to pull this garbage to pick up women. Sad thing is that it worked pretty well. He worked in the radio room of a carrier but that was enough knowledge to use to impress the type of gal he went after. His big thing was to bust other guys who were pretending to be SEALs or other special forces. Something about showing a coin… I never really cared enough to find out all of the details. At least he knew enough to use it primarily for hooking up one night stands rather than run for office.

  14. There was a guy who was kind of well-known as an artist and political activist who claimed to have been a SEAL. He was pretty cool, and I enjoyed his work, not really giving a shit about his background. His forum got trolled regularly by military guys saying he was full of shit, but they were rude so we brushed them off as right-wing assholes.

    He finally came clean two years later, giving no coherent reasoning for putting the lie out so damn long. For an up-and-coming name in an industry where everyone knows each other, this was fatal. Lost him a lot of work, killed off his forum and he dropped out of sight completely.

    Sad thing is, he was actually pretty damn talented. Why he thought he needed to bullshit up a military record is beyond me.

    1. That sounds a lot like the Micah Ian Wright story – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micah_Wright#Controversy. Except he was a writer [not an artist] for DC/Wildstorm and did some antiwar propaganda poster remixes/books – “You Back the Attack!” And he claimed to be an Army Ranger, not a SEAL.

      I actually enjoyed a lot of his writing and interacted w/him online [either his blog or forum – can’t remember which.] I’ll always remember that story because he was giving service academy grads shit [of which I am one – USNA ’94] perpetuating the most annoying stereotypes [that we’re know-nothing elitist, ring-knocker assholes] and I called him on it. And later it turned out he’d been making up his whole military service out of thin air.

  15. I used to be a seal, it was an amazing life full of fun. Then I swam into a pool of radioactive waste and mutated into a human. Now I have bills to pay.
    But off topic…
    Why did master splinter turn into a rat and not into a a horribly disfigured human with cool powers?

  16. YouTube has pulled the video — can anybody point to a mirror or tell me which fake he was busting? Don Shipley seems to have a lot of videos.

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