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Sat Feb 15, 2014, 08:03 AM

Many thousands of men have falsely claimed to have been Navy Seals

Interesting book on the topic:

No Guts, No Glory - Unmasking Navy Seal Imposters
Paperback January 1, 2002
by Former US Navy Seal Steve Robinson (Author)
Those who undertake to impersonate US Navy SEALs, for whatever purpose, are a disgraceful insult to every man and woman who ever served honorably in any branch of America's armed forces..."

With these words the author begins his account of the fight to uphold the honor of his fallen Teammates. Detailing some of the most ludicrous claims imaginable, former Navy SEAL, Steve Robinson, catalogs a wild array of bizarre tales and outlandish stories recounted by SEAL imposters in their attempts to manipulate family and friends, influenced employers, and impress employees. Including police officers who have used false claims of SEAL experience to gain positions on SWAT teams, teachers who have regaled their students with fraudulent tales of daring combat encounters, and con artists who have swindled women out of thousands of dollars and taken advantage of their trusting nature, these stories seem beyond belief, yet every one of them is true!

The book contains 97 case studies from the most simple false claims to the most complex and bizarre fantasy stories of heroics that never happened and more.

I ran into one of these bogus SEAL wannabes when I signed up at a local diveshop to take PADI classes to get my certification. I found myself sharing the high price "private" class with 4 other people and the final qualification dives were a joke - done in a 20 foot deep pond, with about 10 feet of visibility. For the written examination, we sat around a picnic table while the instructor read the questions to us. We students took turns orally guessing at the multiple choice answers until we lucked upon the correct answer and then all were instructed to fill in the appropriate blank.

What did I know? I was a total newby. Off I went on my first dive trip, to Belize, and a near drowning experience on a night dive. By talking to other experienced divers, I learned that my classes had neglected some vital information on dive safety. On returning home and researching my dive instructor, I learned that PADI (Professional Association of Dive Instructors) had pulled his license for rushing people through the course/fudging the tests, and he had only recently been re-instated when I contacted him. He also advertised himself as a former Navy SEAL.

I contacted a Navy SEAL group which maintains a Wall of Shame for bogus SEAL claimants. They looked him up and informed me he was never a SEAL, but he had done underwater construction for the Navy as a "non-combat" diver. I'm not sure what they did to follow up, but within the year he closed the dive shop and was working strictly as a commercial diver. I found a reputable dive shop and retook the entire certification course and went on to further certifications/diving experience in wreck diving, night diving, drift diving, underwater propulsion vehicles, rescue diving, equipment repair, etc. and many fantastic dive trips. The best was Truk Lagoon in Micronesia (central Pacific) diving on wrecks of Japanese ships from World War II. Scuba diving is a fantastic experience - just make sure you get good instruction and good, well-maintained equipment and a very reliable person as your dive buddy.

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