In the wake of SEAL Team 6 successfully shooting Osama Bin Laden in the face, Harrisburg, PA’s Patriot-News reached out to local veterans for human interest stories about their own service. One such veteran they approached was Rev. Jim Moats, a 59-year-old local pastor and former Navy SEAL. Only trouble, soon after the article was published, the internet turned on Moats, and it was discovered that he had never actually been a Navy SEAL, and had in fact stolen his SEAL stories from Steven Seagal. That’s right, he was… an impastor. The picture that ran with the original story is above on the left, the one that ran with the follow up on the right. Oh schadenfreude, why are you so delicious?
The Navy awards the gold Trident medal to those who have completed SEALs training and have earned the right to be called a SEAL. The same gold Trident can be bought at a military surplus store, and that’s where the Rev. Jim Moats of Newville got his.
Moats was never a Navy SEAL — even though that’s what he told The Patriot-News on Friday, and that’s what Moats has allowed his congregation at Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville to believe for five years.
Don Shipley, a retired SEAL who lives in Chesapeake, Va., said he is one of a few former SEALs who are entrusted by the Navy with maintaining the database containing the names of all SEALS. The database cannot be accessed by the public.
Moats was never a SEAL and never had set foot in Vietnam, Shipley said. The information can be verified through a Freedom of Information Act request from the Naval Special Warfare Command in San Diego, he said.
Shipley called Moats on Saturday night to confront him about the issue.
“We deal with these guys all the time, especially the clergy. It’s amazing how many of the clergy are involved in those lies to build that flock up,” Shipley said.
Shipley said Moats’ story about being re-assigned to kitchen duty and about being waterboarded were lifted from the Steven Seagal movie “Under Siege,” while his reference to being hit by SEAL instructors was vintage “GI Jane.”
Seriously, GI Jane? This might be the first time someone ever stole details of their life story from a Demi Moore movie. Though now that I think about it, speaking in tongues is kind of a ripoff of Ghost. Anyway, are you ready for some real irony/schadenfreude? Let’s go back to the original article, before Moats was outed:
Instructors hit SEALs and goaded them to quit. He was subjected to waterboarding, because the Navy knew that’s what the Vietnamese did to SEALs and air crew members who were captured.