The issue of people making false claims about being Navy SEALs, Green Berets, Marine Commandoes and Prisoners-of-War has been going on for a number of years. There are also others who, granting that they were once in the military, falsely claim to have been recognized with such awards as the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart. To tell tall tales in small, private gatherings is one thing, but if these tales reach a wide audience, then it becomes a cause for concern. This is especially true if the person is making money out of his claims.
So what can one do if, for instance, there is a life coach or an inspirational speaker who claims to have SEAL expertise and you or your company would like to hire him as a consultant?
There are organizations – mostly staffed by volunteers – whose purpose is to expose people making false claims in order to protect the integrity of those who have truly earned the right to call themselves “heroes” – SEALs and POWs among them. One such organization, POW Network, runs a service that citizens can use to verify whether claims of exceptional exploits and achievements while in the military service are accurate, or whether the person making the claim is a member or former member of the United States Armed Forces at all.
On the POW Network site is an option for assistance in verifying these claims. Those who are running this service are all volunteers, and the amount of requests that they have to process on a daily basis has reportedly become staggering. Due to the sensitive nature of military records, which are a matter of national security, the databases and sources – such as the SEAL database – that are used to verify claims are not available to the general public, nor are they searchable for free. It is for this reason that the site is asking those who would like to use their services to make a donation in favor of their cause.
To seek the assistance of the POW Network, the site requires several information to be sent via e-mail, including the name and phone number of the person asking for information, and pertinent information regarding the person making claims, such as the full name, date of birth and the branch of military service claimed, among others. Physical evidence regarding the claims being made, such as articles, photos and brochures, are to be sent to the organization via post.