Fake SEALs are barking up the wrong tree
Led by Ty Zellers of Lebanon, Lebanon County, this group has found and publicly shamed 7,000 phony SEALs, or about 1,500 a year, since it started its work.
The fakes have included teachers, preachers, police officers, candidates for public office and employees of airports and nuclear power plants.
“There are thousands of these loonies out there, representing themselves as something they are not, fake id ” said Zellers, who served in the Navy for 25 years, 20 as a SEAL. “Some of these idiots get jobs and security clearances at nuclear plants by claiming they were SEALs. Nobody checks them out.”
So Zellers and other SEALs living in Montana, Nevada, Virginia, Florida and Colorado have taken on that assignment. They use a meticulously maintained database of Naval Special Warfare Archives to ferret out SEAL impostors.
Even the Navy relies on these former SEALs for accuracy.
“We cross check records with Ty and his people all the time,” said Chief Petty Officer Todd Willebrand, a spokesman for the Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego. “They’ve helped us find a lot of phonies. I’d say 95 percent of the people who claim to be SEALs are liars, bragging about their missions and all the medals they won. Real SEALs don’t do that.”
An elite group
Real SEALs also are rare. Willebrand estimated that they number about 2,500.
Once Zellers and his crew establish that somebody is lying about being a SEAL, they spend their own time and money to expose the faker. Uncovering a phony can involve travel or dozens of long distance telephone calls to the fraud, idpurchase.com his employer, even his wife and children.
The real SEALs are regularly threatened with defamation lawsuits as they pounce on professionals and law officers who have falsely bragged to co workers, employers or students that they were SEALs. Yet no case has ever reached a courtroom.
“The people we expose don’t want to see us in court. They want to intimidate us into going away, which we won’t,” Zellers said.
Investigations by his group forced Higley and Beebe to apologize for misrepresenting themselves.
Aucker fared worse. He was suspended without pay from his school superintendent’s job in August. The school board, which has been trying to fire him, plans to do so next month, after settling a dispute over Aucker’s right to a hearing.
Aucker, who had obtained his job with a doctorate from a nonaccredited California company, packed up and left town in the middle of the night in February. It is maintained by real SEALs as a hall of shame for the worst impostors.
“They have no idea what Navy SEALs went through,” said Darryl Young, best fake id sites a former SEAL from Florence, Mont., who works with Zellers. “Their lies degrade those who served and especially those who died. We lost 49 comrades in Vietnam.”
Young carries shrapnel in his back from that war. He also suffers from avascular necrosis brought on by his diving and underwater work as a SEAL. The condition, caused by a lack of blood flow to major joints, has weakened his shoulders and hips. It also has begun to cause deterioration of his bones. Young has trouble walking.
Grabbing cheap glory
Although the Vietnam War was reviled by many, countless men in their late 40s and 50s are now eager to proclaim their service and invent stories about being heroes.
Paul Bucha, who was an Army captain in Vietnam, said fakers of all stripes have become rampant now that the war has been over for almost a quarter century.
“We come across people every week who lie about having the Medal of Honor,” said Bucha, one of 155 living recipients of that award, the highest for military service. “I guess they think nobody will ever know the truth. It seems that nowadays, scannable fake id nobody wants to say he was a clerk or that he didn’t see combat.”
For some of the frauds, the SEALs have a special aura. Romanticized since their inception in 1962, SEAL teams seemed even more glamorous during the 1990s after some of their members became prominent politicians.