navy seal training meme

How To Check If Someone Was A Navy SEAL

Ever since the raid on Osama Bin Ladens’ compound, there has been an epidemic of guys claiming they were Navy SEALs, when in fact they aren’t.

It’s gotten so bad that some estimates put it at 1,000 phony SEALs for every 1 real SEAL.

The math works out like this:

2,450 Active Duty SEALs X 1,000 / SEAL = 2,450,000 phony Navy SEALs

You’re chances of meeting a real life (living) Navy SEAL are about 1 in 3 million, worldwide.

In the US alone, that number drops to around 1 in 47,000.

Not very good odds, is it?

So how exactly do you check to see if someone was a Navy SEAL?

Here are 11 steps / questions to help you get the right answer.

Note: The author of this post was never a Navy SEAL, and doesn’t claim to be.  We simply posted this article in the hopes of stymieing a surge of bogus Navy SEAL claims.

Everything below was thoroughly researched and checked for accuracy.

Related Article: 6 Ways To Check If Someone Was In The Military / Verify Military Service

11 Ways to Verify a Legit Navy SEAL

1.  Contact Don Shipley

If you’re looking to find out 100% if someone was a SEAL or not, Don Shipley is your guy.

don shipley - famous navy seal
Don Shipley is a retired Navy SEAL with access to the SEAL database.

A former SEAL himself, Shipley used to run a Youtube channel called “Phony Navy SEAL Of The Week”.

Each week he (and sometimes his wife Diane) call up phony Navy SEALs and confront them about their claims.

Unfortunately, Shipleys Youtube channel was terminated in February of 2019.

According to Youtube, it was terminated “due to multiple or severe violations of Youtube’s policy prohibiting content designed to harass, bully or threaten”.

This is what you see if you try and visit Don Shipleys former Youtube Channel.

However, in 2017 Shipley actually moved off of youtube to his own site,

It’s a paid membership site that costs just $10 a month, and will give you access to all of his “Phony SEAL Of The Week” videos, among many others.

Membership to his site also includes free and unlimited SEAL verification.

Don Shipley is one of only a handful of SEALs that have access to the SEAL database, which is a listing of every Navy SEAL and UDT since their inception.

The database contains information on:

  • What class a guy was in
  • The exact date the class graduated
  • What SEAL Team the guy went to
  • And other info

If someone claims to be a SEAL, he can quickly verify with 100% accuracy whether or not the claims are true.

If you don’t want to fork over the $10 per month to sign up, but still want to find out if someone was a SEAL, Shipley also offers a one-time fee for SEAL verification.

Related Article: 17 Famous Navy SEALs (and 3 Controversial Ones)

It costs only $20, and he will also issue you a verification letter that states whether or not the person was ever a SEAL.

You can learn more on his official site here.

2.  “Have You Ever Shot A Draeger?”

One of Shipley’s favorite lines when he’s questioning the clowns claiming to be SEALs is: “Have you ever shot a Draeger?”

Most phonies will have no idea what he’s talking about, and will assume he means a weapon.

Well, a Draeger is not a weapon. 

It’s a dive rig that ALL SEALs use as part of their dive training in 2nd phase of BUD/S, as well as real-world operations.

Lar V Draeger rebreather is NOT a weapon. Image:

A quick and easy way to trip up a potential fake navy SEAL is to ask him something like:

“What was it like shooting the Draeger?”

“Is a Draeger a semi-auto or fully-auto weapon?”

Or something to that effect.

If he claims anything other than it being a dive rig, you know he’s an impostor.

Related ArticleNavy SEAL Weapons and Gear: 24 Rifles, Handguns, Shotguns, and More

3.  Where On The BUD/S Compound Is The Bell?

In BUD/S, there is a bell.

It’s not just any old bell, either.

buds bell
Bell at BUD/S

It’s a bell that crushes dreams, echoes throughout the BUD/S compound, and endlessly haunts students.

When a student DOR’s, he’s instructed to ring the bell 3 times and place his helmet in the line of quitters.

Students line up outside of the 1st phase officer, ring the bell 3 times, and then place their helmet in a line.

If you’ve ever been to BUD/S, you know what the bell is.

However, not everyone knows where the bell is.

One way to trip up a potential SEAL impostor is to ask him where on the BUD/S compound is the bell.

bell in front of first phase office at BUDS

One technique I’ve seen Shipley use is to ask the phony if he could guide him to the bell from the front entrance of the BUD/S compound.


It’s pretty simple.  From the front doors of the Phil H. Bucklew center, you go through 2 sets of glass doors to the BUD/S grinder.

Immediately walking in to the grinder, you make a right and will see the bell right in front of the first phase office.

where is the bell on the BUDS compound

If you were to question a potentially fake Navy SEAL, you could simply pose it as a curiosity-like question.

“Did you ever think about ringing the bell?  Where is the bell at the BUD/S training center anyway?”

Or something to that effect.

One other thing to note is that occasionally the instructors will bring the bell with the class throughout their training day.

Related ArticleBUD/S Class 234: Where Are They Now?

4. What Is The Name Of The BUD/S Training Compound In Coronado?

This is somewhat related to the question above.

Most phony SEALs won’t even have an idea of what the name of the SEAL Training center is even called.

The Naval Special Warfare Center, also known as the Phil H. Bucklew center after the “father of US Naval Special Warfare”.

If the guy claiming to be a SEAL doesn’t know the name of the center, or even who Bucklew was, he’s likely NOT a SEAL.

Quick Note: SEAL training also used to be conducted at Little Creek, VA for a period of time. 

5. What’s The First Obstacle On The O-Course?

So the obstacle course, or O-course, is a 20 obstacle course that all first phase trainees have to complete in 12 minutes or less.

Aerial view of BUD/S O-course. Image: Google Earth

It’s such a treacherous course that even active-duty SEALs sometimes use it as part of their deployment workups.

Anyone, and I mean ANYONE, that has been through the O-course as many times as a trainee has will know the names of EVERY obstacle on the course. 

So what is the first obstacle on the O-Course?

Parallel bars.

It’s 2 sets of parallel bars next to each other, where the person running the course has to shuffle across the bars using their arms.

The Navy SEAL museum has parallel bars replicas in their courtyard. Image:

Here’s a full list of all of the obstacles on the Navy SEAL O-course in order from start to finish:

1. Parallel Bars
2. Tires
3. Low Wall
4. High Wall
5. Barbed Wire
6. Cargo Net
7. Balance Logs
8. Hooyah Logs
9. Transfer Rope
10. Dirty Name
11. Hooyah Logs
12. Weaver
13. Burma Bridge
14. Hooyah Logs
15. Slide For Life
16. Rope Swing
17. Tires
18. Incline Wall
19. Spider Wall
20. Vaults

It should be easy to trip up a phony SEAL by asking them to name any of the obstacles on the O-Course.

6.  What Color Was Your Helmet In Phase 1, 2, 3?

All BUD/S students wear helmets throughout their training.

SEAL training is divided up into 3 phases:

  • 1st Phase: 8 weeks of physical pain and conditioning that has the infamous “Hell Week” in it.
  • 2nd Phase: Known as the dive phase, where students learn basic combat diving and swimming techniques.
  • 3rd Phase:  The land warfare phase, where BUD/S students spend 7 weeks learning basic weapons, demolitions, land navigation, and small-unit tactics.

Throughout each phase, students wear helmets that have their last name and BUD/S class stenciled on them.

helmets at buds

The color of the helmet is different for each phase:

  • 1st phase: Green
  • 2nd phase: Blue
  • 3rd phase: Red

If the guy you’re talking to can’t answer a simple question like “what color was your 2nd phase helmet?”, then he likely wasn’t a SEAL.

Quick Tip: Another thing you can ask is the color of the T-Shirt.  Students just starting out in first phase wear white t-shirts.

pre hell week vs post hell week

Once they pass Hell Week, they are given brown T-Shirts.

Related ArticleNavy SEAL Ranks And Pay: How Much Do SEALS Make Anyway?

7. FOIA Request

Many fake Navy SEALs will claim that their records have been deemed classified, they were burned in the 1973 records center fire (barely any Navy records were touched, btw), or some other B.S.

This is simply not true…

As Don Shipley has pointed out in some of his videos, there is no such thing as “classified records”.

While the missions SEALs do can (and often are) be classified, the fact that someone was ever a Navy SEAL and/or attended BUD/S does not mean that their information isn’t publicly available.

BUD/S is an unclassified school, no more classified that attending cooking school in the Navy.

One way to prove whether or not someone was a Navy SEAL is to do a FOIA request.

The Freedom Of Information Act, or FOIA request, and gives “the public the right to request access to the records from any federal agency”.

sample foia request letter
A sample FOIA request form.

It’s essentially a written request in which you describe the information you need, in the format you want it in, in as much detail as possible.

They will be able to tell you what branch of the military the individual signed up for, the date he entered and left, and what exactly he did while serving.

You can learn how to make a FOIA request in this article.

8.  He claims he was based in SEAL Team 2 on the West Coast

This is another common one.  You’ll bump into a guy who claims he was a former SEAL at a bar, gathering of friends, etc.

He’ll start dropping the SEAL bomb, and if you ask him what Team he was assigned to, he may say something like “I was over at Team 2 in San Diego”.

Immediate red flag…

All of the odd numbered Teams (1, 3, 5, and 7) are based in Coronado, CA.

All of the even numbered Teams (2, 4, 8, and 10) are based in Little Creek, VA.

where the SEAL Teams are located

SEAL Team 6 (aka DEVGRU) is based in Dam Neck, VA.

Occasionally, you will get a fake that claims he was stationed on the USS Ronald Reagan or USS Enterprise.

Also B.S….

SEALs are not stationed on ships. They may take a ride on them to get to their area of operations, but they do not become a part of the ships company.

9.  He’s The Guy That Shot Bin Laden

If a guy claiming to be a SEAL says he was the one who shot Osama Bin Laden, you can rest assured that you’re likely talking to a fake.

It’s been pretty well established by multiple accounts that former SEAL Rob O’Neill is the guy who shot UBL.

the man who shot bin laden
Rob O’Neill, the SEAL operator who fired the fatal shots at Bin Laden. Image:

Was he the one that actually fired the fatal shot?

Who knows…

But for the purposes of this article, if he’s claiming he shot UBL, you can be sure it’s total B.S..

10. I Was Dishonorably Discharged For Striking An Officer

Haven’t you guys ever seen the movie “Under Siege”?

Remember the part where Casey Ryback (Steven Seagal) punches Commander Krill (Gary Busey) after he spits in his soup?

Here’s a quick refresher:

If a guy is claiming to be a SEAL and mentions something like this, he’s probably a fake.

As Shipley has pointed out in several of his videos, these guys conjure up stories from movies.

“I refused to kill women and children, so they booted me out of the SEALS”

That’s Hacksaw Ridge…

“I was sent behind enemy lines to terminate a rogue special forces soldier bent on vigilante justice”

That was Apocalypse Now…

If the story sounds a little too unbelievable, it likely is.

Related Article6 Best Navy SEAL Documentaries Of All Time

11. He Served On SEAL Team 9

SEAL Team 9

This is one I had actually never heard of until now.

Someone sent me an email last week trying to verify if one of his “buddies” was actually a SEAL.

In the email, he stated that he served with SEAL Team 9.

Something seemed off about that, so I did a little digging and realized, there’s actually no such thing as a “SEAL Team 9”.

As I mentioned earlier, there are 4 teams in Coronado (1, 3, 5, and 7), and 4 teams in Little Creek, Virginia (2, 4, 8, and 10).

SEAL Team 6 doesn’t count, because they’re basically their own thing.

There are also 2 additional “reserve” SEAL Teams, 17 and 18, which are made up of reserve members.

However, there is NO such thing as a “SEAL Team 9”.

If someone is claiming that, they are lying to you.

How To NOT Verify If Someone Was A SEAL

1. “What BUD/S Class were you in?”

This is a common way people think they can trip up a fraudulent seal claim.

Sure, if he says he was in Class 2 Zero Bravo or Class 899 (which will graduate in about 200 years), then you know he’s likely a phony.

But what do you say if he comes back with a class that might potentially match up?

Say “Class 202” or “Class 165”???

Do you know when Class 165 graduated? Neither do i…

On top of that, there are no publicly available records of BUD/S classes by year, or rosters for that matter.

Quick Note: For a few years (early 70’s-ish), BUD/S classes were designated like the other training classes in the Navy.

For example, Class 52 was designated 7102, which stood for the 2nd class of 1971.

Class 51 would have been designated 7101 (1st class of 1971), and so on.

I’m reiterating this because, like I mentioned earlier, asking ‘what BUD/S class were you in?’ is simply not a good idea.

2.  “Who Was Your Swim Buddy?”

Related to the above.  Seriously, how would you know if a guy was someone’s swim buddy?

The same goes for a commanding officer, guys he might have served on a SEAL Team with, etc.

Unless you were a SEAL yourself, there’s no way you’re going to know whether or not the answer is B.S.

6 Other Fake Navy SEAL Claims You May Encounter

1. “My whole unit was captured”

No SEAL has ever been taken prisoner of war.  If a guy claiming to be a SEAL ever mentions that, you know he’s full of it. (Source)

2. “Yeah, I was a SEAL. I was stationed on the USS Enterprise”

SEALs aren’t stationed on ships.  They get to and from areas of operations / conduct training operations from ships, but they are NOT stationed on them.

3. “My records are only accessible to the POTUS”

His records are classified and no one can access them.  No such thing.

4. Awards / Commendations

He’s claiming he has a Medal Of Honor, Purple Heart, Navy Cross, and / or a Distinguished Service Cross.  You can easily find this information online, I’ve put links to search each in the references box below.

Additionally, many phony SEALs will spell awards and citations incorrectly.  They’ll say they have an ‘Accommodation metal’, instead of a ‘Commendation Medal’.

All SEALs pay serious attention to detail, and would be very difficult to imagine one making a spelling error such as that.

5. “I was so good, I didn’t need to go to BUD/S”

They didn’t have to go through BUD/S to become a SEAL.  The SEALS came to them and recruited them. Bulls$%t…

Special Note: The only exception to this that I’m aware of is that Navy SEAL corpsman in Vietnam did NOT need to attend / graduate from BUD/S.

It was tough finding enough men to join the service during the Vietnam war, and the Navy SEALs were no exception.

Because of this, they did not require corpsman to go to BUD/S. Instead, they essentially received ‘on the job’ training.

If they didn’t cut it, they were booted off the team.

A perfect example of this is none other than Erasmo ‘Doc Rio’ Riojas, who served on SEAL Team 2 as a corpsman.

Doc is one of the most decorated SEALs of the Vietnam War, with 2 Bronze Stars and 5 Purple Hearts.

6. “I was a Marine and they transferred me to the SEALs”

They were in the Army or Marines and didn’t have to go through BUD/S training.  Not happening.  All SEALs, regardless of what branch they may have previously served in, go through BUD/S.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many SEAL Teams are there?

There are currently 8 SEAL Teams in the Navy. SEAL Teams 1, 3, 5, and 7 are based out of Coronado, CA, and SEAL Teams 2, 4, 8, and 10 are based out of Little Creek, VA.

How many Navy SEALs are there?

There are currently 2,450 active-duty Navy SEALs, and roughly 7,000 retired SEALs still alive.

How many BUD/S classes have their been?

As of January 2020, there have been a total of 336 SEAL classes that have completed BUD/S training.

What percentage of Navy SEALs make it through training?

On average, only 20 – 25% of BUD/S candidates successfully complete the training. The SEAL training pipeline is one of the most demanding in the world of special forces.


As I mentioned earlier, there are a TON of guys claiming they were (or are) Navy SEALS.

Not only is it unethical, but in many cases it’s actually illegal. (see stolen valor)

The next time you come across someone claiming to be a SEAL, use some of the tips on this page to confirm your suspicions.

Related articles:

If you’ve make it this far, you might want to check out some of our other content regarding SEALs:

Navy SEAL Copypasta (Clean Version)

Navy SEAL Cadence: A List Of The 10 Most Popular SEAL Running Cadences

Navy SEAL Creed / Ethos

Delta Force vs. Navy SEALs: Differences In Training, Selection, and More


Navy Medal Of Honor, Navy Cross, and Silver Star recipients:

National Personnel Records Center Fire

Rob V.
Latest posts by Rob V. (see all)
Navy SEAL Verification

Navy SEAL Verification

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Learn 11 ways to spot a fake Navy SEAL, as well as how to verify legit SEALs. If you suspect someone is lying to you about their service, you need to read this.

Originally posted on January 30, 2019 @ 6:36 pm

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54 Replies to “How To Check If Someone Was A Navy SEAL

  1. Very informative. Thanks for publishing. My son in law’s father served in Vietnam as a UDT. Doesn’t talk much about it. Was awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star. Robert Ray Alexander. Thanks to these guys that served. I myself went to college at the Citadel and was in the Naval Science program in 1977 and many instructors were war vets.

    1. Hey Kurt,
      I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there’s a good chance he’s a phony SEAL. I just looked up his name in the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, which lists all Purple Heart recipients since World War 1. The only Robert Alexander that served in the Navy is a Robert Dean Alexander, who was awarded the purple heart for his actions in World War 2.

      I cross checked it with another database (the Hall of Valor project) and the only two Robert Alexanders that received any commendations during the Vietnam War were a Robert Minter Alexander (Air Force) and a Robert Bruce Alexander (Marine Corps).

      Not saying with 100% certainty that he isn’t what he says he is, but just thought you should be aware.

      And thank you for your service, sir.

      1. Rob V., you need to take a minute and think carefully about what you are doing, here.

        The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor absolutely does not list “all Purple Hearts since World War 1.” The site explicitly says, “if you did not receive a search result for the person you entered, this likely means that the person has not been enrolled in the Roll of Honor. Enrollment is voluntary as there is no comprehensive list of Purple Heart recipients…”

        Similarly, the Hall of Valor project explicitly says, “We are in the midst of a multi-year effort to identify recipients of Silver Star and below. For these awards, absence of a name should not be considered evidence that an individual did not receive an award. Track our progress on our Awards page.”

        Without reliable evidence, you just publicly suggested that Mr. Robert Ray Alexander is “likely” a lifelong inveterate liar and a fraud. Think about that.

        1. Right, which is why I said “Not saying with 100% certainty that he isn’t what he says he is, but just thought you should be aware.” On a related note, did you know that the FBI says there are 1,000 Fake Navy SEALs for every real one? There’s an epidemic of phony SEALs in this country, and the odds are stacked in my favor that my “suggestion” is likely right.

          In fact, those odds are 1,000 to 1 in my favor.

          However, you are right about the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor and Hall of Valor project, I will get that changed up shortly.

          1. Just FYI, there are actually also foreign enrollment BUD/S graduates, I don’t think those guys are listed in the database.

          2. Hey Owl,
            Anyone who graduated from BUD/S, regardless of whether or not they were / are foreign enrolees, will be listed in the database.

            Rob V.

          3. I ran into a guy who’s name is Hank Williams Jr. (not the country singer) who claimed he was Recruited by the SEAL teams. So I knew then that everything else he told me was going to be a line of B.S. He was a Mess cook in the Navy, too many Steven Segal movies I guess. Continued on to quote scenes from the Charlie Sheen/ Michael Bien movie Navy Seals. I asked him if he knew what Stolen valor was. Amazingly, he shut the hell up and tried to change the subject.

    2. Replying to Mr. Long:
      Not all people who say they were recruited, but did not serve as a SEAL are full of it. Many rescue swimmers and AW’s were potential recruits due to the nature of our training. Chuck Newell recruited my buddy Andy Nichols out of FASO Det Jax in the 90s. Having 6 kids at the time and a freshly broken femur, I declined.

      1. I think Mr. Long was referring to the guys that say they were recruited into the SEALs AND didn’t have to go through BUD/S, UDTR, etc. training. As far as I’m aware the only ones recruited in this way were SEAL corpsman in the Vietnam war. Doc Rios would be a famous example of this.

  2. There is a dog trainer in Brooklyn NY named Charles Henderson who always states he was in BUDs in 1987 Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training Class 146 Special Warfare
    Also Navy Combat Search and Rescue Swimmer School 1988
    He used to years back always write “I received training at Navy SEALs BUD training school…” He would kind of infer that he was a SEAL. Some people started making comments and stating they felt he was a BS artist. He now just lists the above listed Navy Search and Rescue training and BUDs as experience. Never says he completed or became a SEAL. He is a shameless self promoter, exaggerator and at times outright liar about certain claims. I just want to know if he did attend these trainings and did he become a SEAL also. He is a rather portly rotund guy. I just can’t see it. Also claims he played football at Columbia University in 1992-1996.

    1. Charles was in that BUDS Class in 1987, he didn’t finish the 27 weeks
      I was in that same Class.

  3. There is just one thing wrong with this format or tool of verification. The Phonies can look at it too.
    Food for thought.

    1. Yeah, I thought of that when I was writing the article, and it crossed my mind again just the other day. I feel like it’s better to have the info out there and take the chance vs. keeping it under wraps. Additionally, there’s no way the phonies are going to pull a fast one on Don Shipley.

      If you take nothing else away from this article, when in doubt, contact him.

      1. I’ve contacted Mr Shipley regarding my ex and received an email back stating that he was NOT a SEAL as he has always claimed. Are there other resources where I can check his claims without spending money other than the FOIA? I’m ill and unemployed, so I can’t really afford it, but I’m also sick of him using his claims to receive accolades and perks from people with stars in their eyes when he boasts about it.

        1. Hey Delana,
          Sorry for the late reply! If Don said he wasn’t a SEAL, then he wasn’t a SEAL. There really isn’t anything else you need to do or check otherwise. Don should have sent you a letter of verification, which is as good as gold.

          Rob V.

          1. Thanks. I got a return email, but if there’s an actual letter, that would be nice to have.

          2. Yeah I think all you need to do is ask him to send you one and he will. Just email him back and tell him you’d like a letter of verification.

    2. I am a retired Navy veteran and it pains me to see all the phonies that claim to be SEALS! Those kids work their asses off to achieve something that is a time honored tradition! Next time I run into a braggart, I will throw a question or two at them! Then remind them of Stolen Valor!!

  4. I despise these fake SEALS. I had the privilege to be stationed with and work alongside Navy SEALS back in the early to mid 80s. I was part of a 3 man boat crew for SEAFOX, one of the many different spec war boats within the boat units (now called boat teams). I requested to serve there when i left Iceland Navcomm station Keflavik. Great guys. Detached with them to the Caribbean for a year. Went through SERE training, had a great time. When i tell friends or folks who ask where i was stationed in the Navy, Ill bring up the spec war community. I always go out of my way to say i was NOT a SEAL but worked with and for them. Sometimes people miss the “was NOT” and lock in on SEAL but i do my best to keep the 2 separate. I could never embarrass myself or the Teams by trying to say i was a SEAL. i can’t imagine those who try to convince folks that they were one. Go get em Don.

  5. A lot of this is correct, however in 1972 we wore green t-shirts, not white. The classes got t-shirts later than the early 70’s. And I never paid attention to the name of BUD/S. I was in class 68 and graduated with class 69, and named Honor graduate. Just info to let you know I have personal knowledge

    1. You are correct, Craig. And for anyone else doubting if Craig is a real SEAL, I just verified him with Don Shipley. He’s legit.

  6. Thank you for all you do. My husband was a Marine assigned to the Tehran Embassy in 1979. He had a training accident and was sent stateside in mid-October. The Embassy was overrun and he lost 4 of his close friends. We hired a contractor, Henry Samuel Breiner, Jr.,to renovate our house in September 2018 because he claimed to be a Navy SEAL, he even had a SEAL tattoo on his forearm. After seeing his shoddy work and lackluster motivation, my husband questioned him about his service. Henry sent me a DD214 in the name of Henry Sylvester Breiner who was born in NJ according to his SS#. Henry Jr was born Pa by his own admission. My husband has been having horrible PTSD thinking about theft of Valor and how Henry got a contractor job because of a lie. Anyone who falsely claims to be a SEAL, Green Beret, Ranger or any other serviceman/woman should be held accountable. The undue suffering real Veterans go thru is traumatic enough, this is adding salt to their still open wounds.

    1. Yup he’s legit. I’ve actually spoken to him about writing for the site. He’s a busy guy, so reluctantly (but not surprisingly) turned it down.

        1. He goes by Ballen, Debbie. It’s a contraction of his middle initial (B), and his last name, Allen. If I remember correctly he earned the nickname in BUD/S.

  7. Rob V. Great article. Two minor amplifications.
    1: the second obstacle on the O course used to be a “stump jump” (10″ diameter logs sticking up out of the sand between 2′ to 4′ in the air. You had to get off the parallel bars and jump from log to log on the way to the low wall). That changed when some tard missed a stump and tore his satchel wide open after landing crotch first on one of the taller stumps.
    2: the obstacle between the rope swing and the incline wall used to be monkey bars. Not sure when or why that changed, but I do remember a bunch of people getting the callous torn on that one because of being wet for so long and the skin was soft.
    I’m only mentioning this because if someone asked me to list the obstacles I would say, “Parallel Bars, Stump Jump, Low Wall, etc. etc.” which would have been accurate in 1990-1991.
    Again, great article.
    -R. Robbins (172)

    1. Thanks for that, R. I’m sure the obstacles have changed over the years, as well as many other ‘little’ things.

    2. Another minor amplification.
      Most of the Obstacle course was modified I believe in 1987. I was a BUD/S instructor at the time in Land Warfare. The modification was mostly done by 3rd Phase MCPO H. The stump jump was actually taller but was cut down because a 1st Phase instructor got a nasty shin wound while testing it out. The Tower was rebuilt also but because MCPO was tall, he made the freaking levels higher in between so it was a little harder for us short dudes. Several other obstacles were added but probably torn down or replaced. The combat conditioning course was also added during that time frame to the San Clemente training area. If a guy doesn’t completely get the obstacles correct, it may depend on the year he went through training. A faker better know most of the obstacles regardless. Great comments gents.
      R. Cherry (106)

  8. Also, the helmets have changed colors as did the phases. My class 87 went green, red and then blue for 1st, 2nd and 3rd phase. At some point phase 2 and 3 got switched to put diving as 2nd phase, hence the blue.

  9. wow. im obviously here because i feel everything ive been told is a lie. any way you can verify if JAMES KRAUSE, age approx. 53 or 54 was a SEAL as he told me? he actually said id not find him on paper as there are multiple “bounties on his head” yet he seems to know every detail of SEAL life. feeling like a fool…..

  10. My Father was a Frogman\ Seal. Is there a place I could go to see how many Frogmen that my Father knows are still alive?
    Thank you

  11. Wait until the mother f’er is dead and check on his headstone. My uncle changed his name and his widow played hell just getting the “USN” part put on his headstone. There were no SEALs back then but the part about getting USN put on that granite slab is 100% true. She had to go dig out the legal name change paperwork and jump through all kinds of hoops just to get USN Mus1 put on his headstone. USN-Mus1 is US Navy, Musician 1. I just lost a friend who was a SEAL way back before lying about it was even a thing. He was in a single digit BUDs class. He almost made a whole career out of being a Navy SEAL in Vietnam starting out very early in the war. After knowing him as well as I did, I can spot a fake pretty easily. His name is Gary J. Sprinzl. He passed away 5 years ago. Born in 1944. Do the math. I’d love to know how many SEALs from his class are still alive.

    1. Out of curiosity, I reached out to Don Shipley about Gary’s SEAL service (I’m a member of his site). Sure enough, here was his reply:

      ‘Gary never served in Naval Special Warfare. His name is not listed.’

      He was never a SEAL, boat guy, etc. Be careful who you trust…

  12. Rode in a van to the VA yesterday and listened to a guy tell me he was a SEAL in UDT in 1975, Team 3, Class 416, but never went to jump school. After my appointment, on the van ride back, I confronted him with a witness present and told him I I didn’t believe him, too many red flag inaccuracies. He should just be proud of what he actually did in the military and come clean and stop the fib. Have honor and not embellish your record with stolen valor. I will follow up on if he repents his evil ways…
    Phil P.
    87-10-BDO NDSTC PC FL

    1. Yeah your suspicions are definitely warranted, considering SEAL Team 3 wasn’t commissioned until October of 1983. In addition, the current BUD/S class is somewhere in the mid 340’s, meaning BUD/S class 416 won’t graduate for another 14 years or so. Keep us posted Phil!

  13. Not to bum out anyone’s day but at the Coronado facility, the Phil Bucklew building has been torn down, there is construction currently on the site. I go by it every day. 3-2-21

  14. You failed to mention that SEALs were also trained at Little Creek until August 1971. I was in the last Class … Class 52 … chronologically between West Coast classes 63 and 64. At the time, Little Creek was not only the East Coast Amphib base, but also had a training command … Beach Masters, School of Music are two that come to mind. For about 3 years, The Training Command Skipper demanded that SEAL classes be numbered like the other training classes. Class 52 was designated 7102 (the second class of 1971). After training ceased, we converted back to sequential numbers. Capt. R. T. P. Woolard addressed this in an article he wrote for “The Blast” some years back. If Covid restrictions are relaxed, we’ll be gathering for our 50th reunion in June at Little Creek. And, our phase one helmets were red, no helmets at phase 2 (Underwater Swimmers School in Key West), Olive Drab at Ft Benning and any and all training afterwards. No Bell at Little Creek … Quitters had to place their helmets on the ground in front of the “A” Frame at morning muster. FITH

    1. Thanks for that James, I’ll try to get that added shortly. BTW, Don Shipley just verified a guy from the class right before you. His name is Gurio Vincenti, sound familiar?

  15. I had a brother who died in a motorcycle accident in July of 87. I remember him telling me that he was training to be a navy seal. Is there anyway that I can find out anything about that? His name was Donald R Ash. If you need more info, just let me know. Thanks!!

    1. Yeah the only way you’ll be able to get info on that would be to contact the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) in San Diego and do a FOIA request. They can tell you whether or not someone even attempted BUD/S, but didn’t graduate for one reason or another. Click Here to see what a FOIA is and how to request one, and here’s the contact info for WARCOM:

      Naval Special Warfare Command
      ATTN: FOIA Office
      2000 Trident Way
      San Diego, CA 92155-5599
      Phone: 619-537-1133
      Email: [email protected]

      Hope this helps, good luck!

      Rob V. Founder

  16. Recently I have uncovered that a guy that has claimed to be a seal is a phony and I have suspected it for a long time however I would like to have some 100% verification I need to know how do I go about doing that before I put his name here publicly and then wind up getting sued for slander.

  17. This guy my daughter was dating claimed to be a navy seal. He took her to Coronado and was yelling at new recruits. He carries badges in his car and displays them on driverside window. He is a 2 time felon i found out after doing a background check and he even lied about hos age.

  18. I attended my H.S. 20 yr reunion a couple of years ago. There was one classmate of who in school was basically a certified pathological liar. During the reunion he was there and the years weren’t kind to him (best way I can put it). They wanted to take a picture with all the veterans, myself and about 9 others were there got in for the pic (I’m a Army Vet) then that liar tried getting into the pic and started telling me to get out and I’m not veteran he knows BSers when he sees them. Then he said he’s an Navy Seal and he’s on “Seal Team 6”. Of course the of the vets were getting pissed at him, then he said he should be respected be he was there when Osama killed and bunch of other B.S. finally someone told him to shut up and sit down. It was then revealed he’s been working at the same supermarket chain since he was 20 yrs old in another city 150 miles from our home town. Also to add to this, I’m a Firefighter, I guess he over heard me say that and he was telling everyone he was a FF as well. But the funny part about that city he said he work for is the hardest city in our state to get into for FD around 5,000 people take the test for 30 positions. He didn’t know, you have to take a test prior to getting the job, and he said his uncle got him the job. He left right after he got exposed

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