Once again another media outlet gets duped by a fake Hero. They are everywhere, fake SEALS, fake Green Berets, all lauding about their special medals and missions on which they, killed Bin Laden.
Over the past ten years, we have helped many news outlets, including Fox, avoid being duped. But, sometimes they get through the wire, as did John Garafalo.
On October 8th, 2017 Fox News ran a story about a decorated Vietnam War Navy SEAL and glass artist, John Garafalo, who created an enormous presidential glass seal he hoped to give to President Trump.
John told FOX that he was a decorated Vietnam War Navy SEAL and glass artist who created an enormous presidential glass seal he hoped to give to President Donald Trump.In the segment, John said he served in the Vietnam War with the U.S. Navy SEALs. Fox News reported that he also received two Purple Hearts and about two dozen other medals for his service.
“The Vietnam War veteran served seven years as a member of the nation’s first Navy SEAL team,” Fox News reporter Bryan Llenas said. “He was awarded 22 commendations, including two Purple Hearts.” Llenas later called the 72-year-old New York State resident a “tough, tough man.” “He was listed twice during his service in Vietnam as missing in action,” Llenas noted at the segment’s close.
“God bless John Garofalo,” an anchor said. “We certainly hope maybe the president is listening.”
Shipley, a retired SEAL, told the Navy Times that he contacted Fox on Oct. 9, the day after the story ran.
After the segment aired, former Navy SEAL Don Shipley, who is one of a few that has access to a database that can confirm if you ever attended BUD/s, (BUD/s is All Navy SEALs must attend and graduate from a 24-week “A” School known as Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) school, a basic parachutist course and then the 26-week SEAL Qualification Training program), contacted FOX to let them know they had been duped. We work very closely with Shipley on our SEAL cases, if Shipley calls someone a fake.. you can take it to the bank.
But the story was still on the news outlet’s Facebook page on Oct. 19. By then it had amassed 1.5 million views.
“Fox News not withdrawing that story has drove me nutty,” Don told the Navy Times. Don was irritated that they would leave the story up, days after he had contacted them to tell them John was not only a fake SEAL, but had never seen Vietnam.
Shipley said he contacted the Navy Times after Fox News failed to retract the bogus piece. Shipley provided copies of Garofalo’s official military records to Fox.
Facebook correspondence provided by Shipley shows he messaged Llenas about inconsistencies in Garofalo’s military history and asked Fox to retract the story. “I don’t know who has the balls in this day and age to do something like that,” he said of Garofalo’s lies in an interview. The reporter told Shipley he had a request out for Garofalo’s records. “You can turn this story around,” Shipley wrote to Llenas, according to a screenshot of his Facebook correspondence with the Fox reporter. “I‘ll help you but avoiding it won’t help.”
According to official military records, Garofalo did serve a brief stint in the Navy. The only award it shows he is authorized is the NDSM(National Defense Service Medal).
In the Fox News segment, Garofalo was reluctant to be referred to as a “hero.”
“You are a hero,” Llenas told Garofalo in the segment. “But like most heroes—“
“I don’t like to hear that,” Garofalo said, cutting him off.
“Why don’t you like to hear it?” Llenas asked.
Garofalo appeared to choke up.
“Heroes,” he said, “are the ones that didn’t come home.”
Fox published a correction on Thursday, 11 days after Shipley confirmed he was an imposter.
“All of Garofalo’s claims turned out to be untrue,” Fox’s correction stated. “The fact is that he did not serve in Vietnam. He was never a U.S. Navy SEAL. Even though he showed us medals, Garofalo was not awarded two Purple Hearts or any of the other nearly two dozen commendations he claimed to have received, except for the National Defense Service Medal.”
In its correction, Fox News said, “Over the last two weeks, we’ve worked with Garofalo’s family and the National Personnel Records Center to get to the bottom of a military past that Garofalo had claimed to be covert.”
Garofalo served in the Navy from Sept. 6, 1963, to Sept. 6, 1967, according to military records obtained by the Navy Times. He told the newspaper he has been lying about being a Vietnam veteran and a Navy SEAL for years.
“It got bigger and bigger,” Garofalo told the newspaper in a telephone interview. “What I did I’m ashamed of, and I didn’t mean to cause so much disgrace to the SEALs.”
Valor thieves have been around since the inception of our great nation. In the founding of the first medal for our military, The Honorary Badge of Military Merit, General Washington understood that there would be those that would try to steal these honors. He said in his General Order establishing this badge and basically the first US Military Awards System, that:
“Honorary Badges of distinction are to be conferred on the veteran Non-commissioned officers and soldiers of the army who have served more than three years with bravery, fidelity and good conduct; for this purpose a narrow piece of white cloth of an angular form is to be fixed to the left arm on the uniform Coat. Non commissioned officers and soldiers who have served with equal reputation more than six years are to be distinguished by two pieces of cloth set in parellel to each other in a simular form; should any who are not entitled to these honors have the insolence to assume the badges of them they shall be severely punished. On the other hand, it is expected those gallant men who are thus designated will on all occasions be treated with particular confidence and consideration.“
One day these people will realize that we love our community, our country, and our Heroes that continue to make this life possible. With us, it is about Love, Honor, Bravery, and Sacrifice. This is something these frauds, liars, and thieves will never understand.
For more on SEAL Don Shipley and his outings, see his site here – Extreme Seal Experience
To support our organization, check out Grounds of Valor, our new coffee brand.