Stolen Value: Former Seal Sues Fake Seals Over Selling Seal Experience

Former Navy SEAL Don Shipley is outraged. Barry “Bear” Silverman has been running a business called “Tactical Deterrence” in Broward County that allegedly sells SEAL training by people who falsely claim to be former SEALs. Such profiteering on the SEAL experience should go to . . . well . . . Shipley who runs his own faux SEAL training camp in Virginia. Shipley has filed a lawsuit that is basically Stolen Valor meets Stolen Value on who gets to sell the SEALS.

Shipley runs Extreme SEAL Experience, which pretends to train weekend warriors like SEALs, but not quite. Here is the description of the “hell” to mimic the long-training of a SEAL:

They run more than eight miles, carry a 200-pound log above their heads, get sprayed in the face with cold water and have someone scream in their ear that their “man card” is being taken away because they are “doing push-ups like a girl.”

Wow, so that is what gets you into SEAL Team Six. This article describes who guys in their fifties take their midlife crisis to an absurd point — and give Shipley roughly $2000 for the abuse.

Yet, Shipley is disgusted by the likes of Silverman. He is quoted as saying “There are guys out there who climb ladders at work, based on SEAL credentials they don’t have.” Hmmm.

Shipley is being assisted in this effort by Tampa attorney Gene Odom who is filing other lawsuits of this kind. The lawsuits read like the civil version of the Stolen Valor Act.

Shipley claims Silverman is hurting his business by devaluing the status of being a former SEAL and even claims that Silverman is using the likeness of the SEAL trident without permission. He has filed claims under interfering with a business relationship, violating Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act and Unauthorized Publication of a Likeness for Advertising Purposes. I have no problem in people being sued for fraudulent representations that they are former SEALS, though it should be the customers not competitors who should sue over such claimed injury. I would applaud such lawsuit from customers and there are criminal fraud charges that can often be brought in such cases.

The lawsuit claims that “[t]he number of new customers has decreased as a result of prospective customers associating the quality of plaintiff’s business with the Defendant’s illegitimate knockoff.” That is a pretty speculative claim. It may be that people are realizing that all of these camps are cheap “knockoffs.” It reminds me of Disney’s proposal to have a theme park where visitors “experience slavery” by going into a field briefly while white men yell at them.

Odom argues that, regardless of how the Supreme Court rules in the Stolen Valor Act case this term, he is doing more to protect the value of being a SEAL by helping those who want to market its name and training. He has also filed a questionable defamation lawsuit against William Brockbrader for writing an article titled “More Truth Revealed.” In the article, Brockbrader stated that Extreme SEAL Experience “only pretends to provide actual SEAL instructor training.” Odom reportedly admits that he is using defamation to punish Brockbrader for falsely claiming to be a SEAL. That raises the question of whether this is not a real lawsuit but a cheap knockoff of a lawsuit that devalues all lawyering.

The NAVY has denied that Brockbrader was a SEAL from 1992 and 2000 as well as his claim that there are no records because he worked on classified programs. If true, that would make Brockbrader a terrible person and a liar. However, the claim of defamation is basically an absurd claim that his alleged lie is harming SEALs everywhere in a legally cognizable fashion. I fail to see the good-faith basis for such a claim under defamation.

I confess to an obvious lack of sympathy for Shipley marketing the SEAL experience as a private venture. It certainly brings a new meaning to the SEAL motto “It Pays to be a Winner.”

Source: TBO

24 thoughts on “Stolen Value: Former Seal Sues Fake Seals Over Selling Seal Experience”

  1. jonathanturley: Join the military and become “brainwashed”, then tell me if you have this same opinion over shipley. Name me one honorably discharged veteran that thinks like you or is against the military. Not going to happen. That’s because there is a reason we don’t. We filled the boots, and know what its like. So yes, all fraudulent military claims of people, or just any false claims, deserves a good ass beating.

  2. As a follow up on this. First off, the writer is clearly biased against Don Shipley, and probably against the military as a whole, I can only wonder why as his article was clearly not pulled off the wire and then edited with his own opinions, nah, no way, never! Second, Since the “reporting” of this story, Barry the cuddly cub bear has kind of disappeared, no doubt he’ll show up in another market and reinvent himself as another brand of special forces operative and fleece innocent boobs of their money. Third, Senior Chief Don Shipley IS a former Navy SEAL, Retired with 24 years of Active Duty to our Nation. He does run an “Experience” School, not and adventure camp. People who attend his school do pay good money to be put through the paces, mostly to learn what is taught at SEAL school, not for fun, but to gain experience about the school to see if they could actually pass it. Most students are in fact young men who hope to become SEALs in the future. They learn what it takes mentally, physically, and through actual hands on insight into the skills that are taught at the actual school. He doesn’t wash people out, that’s not his business. His business is to give them the full “experience” of what they can expect not abuse them for the “fun of it” or to be abusive. The “hazing” they receive is less than what they receive at the actual school where they are pushed to the limits of indurance to see what they are able to handle in all aspects; mental, physical, etc. it’s not just about physical conditioning, or stamina, it’s much more than that, the wash out rate at the school is not about limiting the number of men going into the SEALs, it’s about bringing in only the best quality candidates. His “experience” school only gives the students the insight on what to expect, not the will to pass the Navy’s SEAL school. Passing it or failing it is up to the students if they get there. One thing that he does instill in his students is the fact that Honor is very important and that they can’t say that they went to the Navy’s school, unless they do. He will bust phony SEALs like Barry the cub bear in front of the students so that they know what to expect from him if they try to use his school to lie about being a SEAL. And finally, Bill the pedophile Brokbrader or Bill Woods the fraud, area 51, slammer time, is in the big time cooler, doing 2.5 year run from the bunghole plunger tour for failing to register as the child rapist that he is. Then he has 10 years of supervised probation, which he will no doubt violate and find himself in jail again, hopefully with a big ole bubba type who will fill his needs with with the little princess. As for all of his claims of being a SEAL, he was proven by Don Shipley to be a fraud and by the Military and his own contradictions before, during and after his trial. He’s just another fraud who took advantage of people and is still trying to do it from jail. His wife, who is a beautiful woman by the name of Eva Moore, moved to Canada for fear that the government would go after her because she “knows too much” from what her numb nuts hubby told her of his confabulated service record. Eva, darling sweet messed up kid, trust me there is absolutely nothing the jerk has told, that is true, and there is no one interested in going after you. But if I were you, I’d dump the schmuck ASAP and find someone who isn’t a fraud.

    You can find Done Shipley on YouTube by typing in “phony seal of the week” his postings are funny and outrages. The fakers get their tickets punched and he has humor spots that keep you entertained when you want to just track down the fakers and give a good beat down.

    As for my handle and obvious bias, well at this point it’s more than obvious ain’t it? Former military, with Honor. My handle, I’ll let my brothers in arms understand it. Shot out! (yes, shot, not shout, it’s an FO thing)

  3. You got some balls talking about a man who has stood up for his country and done more in a day for America than you in your entire life. And before you comment why don’t you look at the reviews from people who have gone before spewing a bunch of crap on the internet.

  4. lol if this clown was a seal his name would be on the rolls of the class he was in. Thats not top secret. The Navy itself is saying he never existed in their files. Let me guess the govt disavows of you ever doing anything because you were busy changing govts and policies from the end of a rifle. You sir are a clown. Don Shipley is a well known SEAL during his time in and with current operators still getting the job done. Odd that no other seal from your supposed class classes before you or classes after you have ever heard or knew you existed. Let me guess again you are the lone wolf so bad ass that you didnt need backup ever. Finally odd that everything he said has now been discredited as of 2013 and he is currently serving a sentence for many things to which one is sex with an underage girl and lying about being a Navy SEAL.

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