Thomas Joseph Heben Phony Special Forces, Living In His SEAL Brothers Shadow


Thomas Heben

Thomas Heben


This is a case that we have worked for a while alongside our brothers within the SF community. Thomas Joseph Heben spent several years claiming to be a Green Beret to family, friends, to acquire work and to pick up women. First we want to say that after being confronted by members of the SF community, Thomas came clean. Below is the apology sent to us:

To All: How and where to start to address a community such as this? This has been a nightmarish situation that has finally manifested itself into it’s end game. One that, honestly, I’m glad has come, for better or for worse. Without fruitless excuses, whines or whimpers, jumping into the meat of this topic, I think, is the way things should be and the way they will.

To the community: I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of SOF. Selection came and passed by me, twice, and of each saw me on the sidelines and still just a member of SWTG and its student/OT pool. My time of covering/hiding that fact is over. You all made that journey, my friends have made that journey, and my brother made that journey. I did not. In continuing that facade, I did use those “credentials” to obtain a job right out of the army. While I am no longer employed with that company, I do believe that that lie was a prime reason for me being hired. I don’t blame anyone, nor that company for the hiring, but myself for the misrepresentation and sheer need to get into the workplace vs doing it the honest way….the respectable way. It was the bullshit spewing at the height of it all that got me there, the same bullshit that is leading to this moment now.

To the Regiment, to my former friends, and to my brother: Nothing I can say here could even possible begin to take away the rage you all feel. Seeing it through my own brother and knowing the fervor with which posers are called out, I still decided to do that anyway. It is completely unbecoming of an army soldier, a man, and just a good person. The community you all uphold and maintain is the best in the world, and bringing shame on that name, on that brotherhood is something I’ll never be able to take back. I don’t know 99.9% of you, but to the ones I do, I know I will probably never be speaking to you all after that and I understand it. You all fought for your country, fought for your unit, your brothers I simply chose to avoid the call. I’m not the man you all are and have been….So I pretended….plain and simple.

To the families, those hurt the most: I simply cannot take back enough times the I may have hurt you. “All gave some. Some gave all”, and the pain you all have experienced is behind comprehension. To the families of the dad’s lost in one corner of the world to another, my words are not enough to justify the pitiful actions committed. Those men and their families have done more for their brothers, the community and this country than I could even begin to fathom. And in faking that role, a mockery was made to the men that have gone before the real heroes.

To my family and the ones I love: keeping something like this from you all, the ones I will hurt on a personal, close knit level is something that I cannot comprehend. Getting caught up in all this and taking it to the level it was is disturbing. To you all, an apology will be made, however, on a personal, in the flesh, scenario. Knowing and growing up with those people, being with them at that time is the way it should be and the way it will be. Leaving you all out is something I didn’t want to do in all this, however more is owed in the personal realm.

To everyone here and to all those that will come upon it I wanted to apologize again in closing. I know it won’t change the perspective and shadow that had already been cast, but what is due is due. An apology, not a plea. A confession, not an excuse. A changing of ways, not a continuation of the past. And that’s where I leave it, to the members, to the community, my most sincere and heartfelt apology. Thomas

This all began with an email about Thomas Heben’s claims of being a Long Tabber. We received several photos showing Thomas wearing the Green Beret, Halo Wings, SF Tab and several others. The email went into detail about how Thomas used his claims to get jobs and to make himself look good in front of women.

We took the photos and claims to our friends in the SF community to get some background, needless to say they were very interested. We all know that community is very small, and everyone knows everyone. It wasn’t long before it was found he never completed “Selection” for SF. Some of you may recognize the last name, Thomas is the brother of Navy SEAL Chris Heben. Chris, served on SEAL Team 8, and  was shot in the stomach while pursuing suspects after a confrontation in a parking lot,(Link to that story here) he also  does commentary for different news outlets.

Once we were sure that Thomas lied,  someone reached out to Chris with the findings. He confronted his brother as well, wanting an explanation and an apology. We spoke with Chris several times about his brother and his claims, he wasn’t aware his brother was faking until it was brought to his attention by a member of the SF community. He is extremely disturbed by his brothers actions and will be providing a statement in a few days for us to add here. Due to his current schedule, he could not give a statement by press time. Here is the photo Chris posted to his Facebook page before he knew the truth.


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Thomas Heben left, Navy SEAL Chris Heben Right


As you can tell in the above photo, Chris believed his brother served on an ODA with 3rd Special Forces and had just returned from Afghanistan. He wasn’t the only one who thought Thomas deployed, he also had girlfriends believing he was deployed and could only use voice Skype to talk to them. We are not sure exactly what he was doing during this time, but it was not being deployed to Afghanistan.   Below are several photo’s, in the photo he is also sporting SSG rank, Halo wings and several other patches which he also never earned.


Thomas Heben

Thomas Heben



Photo posted to pinterest

Photo posted to pinterest



Thomas did attend selection, but failed out of it twice, then he went AWOL, turned himself in a while later and was released from the Army in 2011.  Below are the records as received from Army HRC.



Not only did he not complete SF training, he also never deployed even though he is wearing a combat patch.  If you’re going to pose as an operator, know that you will not last long, as they are a close-knit community and they will expose you. Be proud of what you did, don’t try to take what others have earned with blood, sweat and tears and claim it as your own. We will update this story as soon as we hear back from Chris, and will add his statement.

Here are the links to the other community pages that exposed him as well, we all decided to post the articles at the same time.

SOFREP’s Article on Tom Heben
Scotty’s Blog on Heben
Professional Soldiers Writeup on Heben



We spoke to Chris and this is his response to this situation with his brother:

I was first notified of this very serious issue with my brother Tom by a very good SF buddy as well as by two other SOF brothers. I was very shocked and very concerned when I was presented with the details of his actual Military record. It was a complete surprise to me. I immediately took the proper steps to mitigate and to correct the situation. I contacted my brother and counseled him and then acted as a conduit for communications between all the aforementioned parties. I do not condone my brothers actions, and I expressed my thoughts on this to him as well as to my SOF brothers. Additionally, I also told Tom that I love him am I proud of him for coming clean, and that I am also proud of him for his service in the U.S. Army. 
I want to thank all who played a role in bringing this to light and for helping with this precarious situation. I am certain that we can all recover from this and effectively move forward.”
Best Regards


What are your thoughts?
8 comments on “Thomas Joseph Heben Phony Special Forces, Living In His SEAL Brothers Shadow
  1. I served in my Marine Corps, and, had the pleasure of knowing many SF Brothers. I have never been able to figure out, why, anyone, who, has served then go AWOL. try to pass theirselfs off, especially, A Great Group, Green Berets. God help him.

    • His SEAL brother is also being called out for dishonesty, in his drug deal gone bad, “the Blacks did it, honest!” lie when he got himself shot in the abdomen. Apparently the Heben family isn’t about honesty.

  2. If older, respected brother Chris Heben is to counsel Thomas about integrity, posing and hiding or manipulating his past, maybe Chris should himself heed to what he preaches. After all Christopher is a convicted felon who has done time in several jails. Yes, his true employment and criminal background is easily available from on-line court and public documents and reveal his own manipulation.

    He joined the Navy in 1996; but by 2003 he was back home in the Cleveland area attending college. Divorce Court records reveal he was living in Westlake, OH in 2004. In 2006 he was living in Minerva, OH and working as a Physicians Assistant in Alliance, OH. So he was actually in the Navy six years, not the ten years that he loudly and repeatedly claims. My Vietnam Vet father says that no credible, honest veteran would consider time in the Reserves as active duty or even service time. Its is all there in his DD214.

    Now to continue his actual time line; except for 57 days in jail, he was out on bond much of 2007-08. His passport was not returned until his probation (travel and firearms restrictions?) ended in late August 2010. This resulted from his felony conviction in Lake County, OH Court (case 07CR000363). This conviction stems from his earlier 2007 arrest (Painesville Muni Court case 0700898) for violating Ohio Revised Code 2925. This was a repeat of his earlier Cuyahoga County, OH (CR-94-316703-ZA) conviction that he plead down from a felony. Remarkably, he committed this first 2925 crime while on probation and in obvious violation of conditions, only three months after another criminal conviction with jail time in Rocky River Muni Court (93CRB2055A and B). Amazingly, while waiting for his Lake County Court sentencing, Heben was arrested by Homeland Security in 2008 and held for extradition to Ohio, resulting in a two-week stay in the Fulton County, Georgia jail (booking # 0809783).

    His Lake County felony was the reason the State Medical Board of Ohio suspended his PA license indefinitely in 2009 (08-CRF-121) and subsequently denied his 2012 Appeal (12-CRF-036) for missing at least 35 required urinalysis tests.

    Recently his claimed ten years of service has morphed into 15 years of “combined” service. That is impossible, mathematically and physically (verify his actual time line and locations). His “combined” service, whatever that is or includes, could not possibly be even half of what he claims?

    How can financially irresponsible guys like Chris Heben live beyond their means without shame? He abandoned his heavily mortgaged home to foreclosure and is pursued by creditors (see Stark County and Summit County, OH court on-line records). He recently declared bankruptcy (Case 2011-53098). Yet, despite his unpaid debts, he had no problem recently purchasing a new, expensive Harley and has the gall to post pictures of it on line.

    My father says that many northeast Ohio area veterans and veteran organizations are aware of and are infuriated at this shameless, boastful, narcissistic, self-promoter capitalizing on his Navy stint. They consider it an indignity to other veterans and especially military retirees, many of whom were decorated, have PTSD and served without flourish.

    Apparently hiding critical facts, rewriting personal history, the need to tweak accomplishments way beyond the actual and narcissism run in the family, as well as the hope that you don’t get caught. The damage control to follow will be interesting and amusing (hint: be skeptical and verify, verify, verify).

  3. Never toss the baby out with the bathwater! Our SF and operators are an exceptional group… who knows (as of yet) what really happened with Chris Heben’s incident but, even though brothers, we shouldn’t be too ready to paint him with anything near the same ‘brush’ as his brother’s actions have earned him. Stand down, give some credence to Chris and wait for the final chapter. He’s earned that at least!

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