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Since the beginning of Naval Special Warfare in early 1943 there have been roughly 18,000 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 18,000 men, roughly 10,000 (or fewer) are still living, and approximately 2,400 of those living members are currently serving on active duty.

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 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

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 slowlyyyy 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

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.

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

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, 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" pickup 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.
You just don’t know for sure in MOST cases unless you’ve been to BUD/S and served in the Teams


The ONLY 100% way to ever know for sure if someone was a SEAL or not is to verify them through a SPECWAR Insider, a SEAL Verifier like myself or a verification from the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, California Public Affairs Office.
No grainy old photos with the "That’s me WAYYY in the back of the picture." No SEAL plaques on the wall bought from EBay, no "Shadow Boxes" full of Medals purchased on-line and NO SEAL TRIDENTS that can be picked up just about anywhere.

A number of years back, a SEAL Buddy of mine was stationed at Boot Camp in Great Lakes, Illinois with another SEAL as "Motivators," giving swim tests and the like. On the ENTIRE Base, there were only two Navy SEALs. Needing a new Trident for his uniform, my Buddy goes to the Navy Exchange on Base to buy one and quickly discovers there are none for sale. Asking a cashier when they might have some, she replies, "Good Luck, those are our bestselling item!"

Outside of an official "Verification," is a SOLID photograph album. SEALs all have an "I Love Me Wall" and lots of pictures of themselves with other SEALs all over the World. Clear pictures showing "That’s him" right alongside a bunch of Rag-Tag, Pirate looking guys with guns, dive gear, explosives, BUD/S Training pics and award ceremonies.
One or two pictures are not enough and I always recall "Technicians" at the Team (Guys who are assigned to SEAL Teams but are not SEALs) diving into Team pictures. Pretty easy to believe a picture of a Team of shirtless SEALs posing in front of the SEAL TEAM TWO sign and a Tech who dove right in the middle of them for the picture. "See That’s me, SEAL Team TWO."

One or two pictures means little as verification. It’s also an unfortunate fact that many Imposters have worked at SEAL Teams or have tried BUD/S and failed. They have enough of a working knowledge and lingo to sneak past most verbal requests to verify them.


With most people not being liars, we are at a HUGE disadvantage when encountering a liar and we tend to believe their stories. Human Nature is to believe what people tell you. When someone says they are/were a Police Officer, we believe them; "Why would he make that up???" Same thing with being a SEAL, "Why would he make that up," but they do It also seems the more OUTRAGEOUS a story is the more we tend to believe it.

I busted a guy who had all his coworkers convinced that his SEAL Commanding Officer made them all take cocaine in Iraq and they’d hang from the rafters and cut Iraqi throats as they came through the door Then a former EXTREME SEAL Trainee of mine was hired there and employees warned him to "Go Easy" with that guy; He’s a SEAL, PTSD, killed a lot of dudes

Cocaine Boy doesn’t work there anymore

Liars tell lies All day long, every day and they are very good at it. They are also very good "Table Turners" and have others who question them spinning in circles as the Phonies raise doubts in the questioners mind by having him second guess himself. "I never said I was a SEAL, I said I worked with SEALs, remember?"

When raising doubt and Table Turning doesn’t work, the Phonies resort to anger, "HOW COULD YOU QUESTION ME, HOW DARE YOU, I LOST A LOT OF GOOD FRIENDS!" And not having "Solid Proof" the Phony usually wins that battle

The frustrating part for me is often the Ping-Pong game I’m forced to play with folks who inquire if So-and-So was ever a Navy SEAL. I send out a detailed form letter explaining "who I am" and "how I know" that Mr. Robert So-and-So was never a Navy SEAL. PING The reply often comes back, "Did you check for a Bob So-and-So? PONG "Yes I did, there are NO So-and So’s listed in the SEAL Database PING Back it comes with, "He said his Class was 180, can you check?" PONG Back it goes, "NO RECORD of him in Class 180, he is NOT a Navy SEAL, NO mistake." PING PONG PING PONG

Finally, the requester is 100% satisfied and the "Intervention" begins with the Phony on their end. "I have a letter here from a Retired Navy SEAL saying you were NEVER a Navy SEAL." "Well how would he know if I was ever a SEAL, how do you know he’s a SEAL, my operations were "Classified" there are no records of me."

Here they come again. "He says it’s classified, Senior Chief are you sure???" PING, PONG, PING, PONG

The State of Georgia has more SEAL Imposters than any other State based on requests for verification I receive. Martial Arts Instructors are the number one profession for fraudulent SEAL/Special Forces claims.


The MOST frustrating ones are reporters and editors who print stories about local SEAL Hero’s in the news. Many of us are set up for "Google Alerts" and anytime the words "Former Navy SEAL, X Navy SEAL, Retired Navy SEAL, I was a Navy SEAL, He was a Navy SEAL makes the news we find out about it in SHORT order and the games begin attempting to get a "Retraction" of the story.

I go through this long explanation with the reporters and editors about how the SEAL guy they just wrote about is not really a SEAL and he lied to them and HERE IT COMES as no reporter likes admitting mistakes and correcting stories already in print. It’s a loss of creditability

EACH AND EVERY REPORTER I speak with begins questioning me. "How do I know you’re a SEAL, how do I know you’re telling me the truth." It’s very frustrating for me, but understandable. I just wish that the media would work the Phonies over as hard as they work me before writing SEAL B.S. stories.

Try this Next time you enter a "Cheers" type bar where everyone around town hangs out, ask the waitress or bartender "Who is a Navy SEAL in here?" Most times they will quickly point to some local drunken fat bastard at the end of the bar swilling a Schlitz.

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