Fake Navy SEALs Get Exposed Thanks to U.S. Veteran Don Shipley

People lie all the time. From those harmless “I’m on my way” texts, swearing they’re good to drive after a few beers, to embellishing educational and skill portions on resumes. There isn’t a lie police. But there is now a Don Shipley on the loose. Don Shipley is an ex-Navy SEAL. He isn’t hunting down people telling mundane white lies, he is tracking down people who lie about being Navy SEALs. Apparently, lying about being a Navy SEAL is creeping up there on the list of lies. According to the FBI, there are 300 times more fake SEALs than there are legitimate ones. Navy SEAL Don Shipley is trying to put a stop to that.

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Extreme SEAL Experience

Shipley served in the navy for five years before joining the Seals. After serving on multiple SEAL teams including SEAL Team One, SEAL Team Two, the Naval Special Warfare Center, and Naval Special Warfare Group Two, Shipley worked as a Seal training instructor. This career spanned for almost thirty years. Post military life for Shipley consisted heavily of the Extreme SEAL Experience, which he headed with other former navy seals.

Extreme SEAL Experience was meant to train potential SEALs and anyone interested in experiencing the training United States Navy SEALs endures. Founded in 1992, the small program later grew to a larger program to prepare individuals showing interest in the Naval Special Warfare.


Outside of uniform, Don Shipley is known for his public pursuit of US Navy Seal imposters. Alongside his wife, Diane, he produced popular YouTube videos. These videos, posted to a now-defunct Youtube channel consisted of hunting a “Phony Navy SEAL of the Week”. In the videos, he called individuals claiming to work for the government organization and questioned them to determine stolen valor and the extent of the phony SEAL’s lies.

The Youtube channel shut down in February 2019. Shipley believes it to be for exposing activist Nathan Phillips, who had previously claimed to be a Vietnam vet and “recon ranger”. In reality, Nathan Phillips only served in the Marine Corps Reserve and did not see any active duty. After his channel was shut down, Shipley simply moved the videos to his website, Extreme SEAL Videos.

Here they can be viewed for a subscription price. A fan has also created a site called “phonyseals.com” keeping track of Don’s videos and essentially encouraging others to “join the fight” in finding all the phony SEALs.

In his imposter-free spare time, Shipley also produces films. He’s Secrets of SEAL Team Six (2011) and Inside Edition (1988) earned him notoriety in this field.

Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 27, 2019. 

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