Sheldon Shepherd was NOT a Navy SEAL

| January 22, 2018 | 52 Comments

One of our ninjas spotted a couple of news articles about Sheldon Shepherd in the South Carolina press. He passed away at the age of 67 in his home. Both articles (here and here) claim that he was a Navy SEAL in Vietnam;

We commend the Combat Veterans Association MC for their efforts to memorialize Shepherd for his apparently legitimate claims to be a veteran, but they should know that Don Shipley says that he is neither a Navy SEAL nor UDT. That brings up questions about his war wounds and his valor awards mentioned in the articles.

Honor him for his real service not for something he didn’t accomplish.

We are requesting his FOIA, but the MC should ask to see a DD214 in the interim.

Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (52)

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  1. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Like Don Shipley said in a news interview, “Some of these guys will take their lies with them all the way to their graves.” and Seldon Shepherd did just that.

  2. mr. sharkman says:

    Wearing leather jackets and sweatshirts to a memorial gathering? Hell of a way to pay/show ‘respect’…

    • Cris says:

      Never understood that. There’s a time and a place for certain types of attire.
      My job, or lifestyle, doesn’t require me to wear a suit or slacks, shirt and tie. But when the occasion calls for it I do. And,I wear it properly. (Something the Corps, and MSG duty, taught me)

  3. Jonn Lilyea says:

    I just got off the phone with the SC rep of the Combat Veterans Association MC and he’s on it.

  4. mr. sharkman says:

    It’s depressing to have to feel you need to think like this, but I’d want to see DD214s for all the guys pictured in the video and compare them to their service claims.

    I know I’m likely being too judgemental, but I never see a guy with groups like this even close to being in good or even normal shape physically speaking.

    I’ve been to some SOA gatherings and as a rule the Vietnam SOF veterans are often (still) trim and fit (with a few exceptions) and all of them dress well for the occasion – slacks, blazer, collared button down shirt, (regimental) tie, maybe a small lapel pin, etc.

    Maybe it’s just me…

  5. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    “Shot in the head twice and a broken hip”. “Has a bullet lodged in his neck”.

    Guy worked in a rehab facility trying to help people get their lives together… and he lied to them about his service.

  6. Atkron says:

    Might be interesting to see a copy of his Autopsy, I’m sure the Coroner would have made note of that magic bullet.

    • UpNorth says:

      If it appeared he died a natural death, even though no one was around at the time, it’s doubtful an autopsy would be performed. Whoever found him would be lucky to get a medical examiner/coroner to show up to view the body. Usually they’ll tell the officer/firefighter/EMT that they’ll stop by whichever funeral home the deceased is taken to and “view the remains”. Sometimes, they even show up, instead of doing the whole thing by phone.


    Lets hope this gets sorted before he becomes an exhumation candidate.
    Bury him in an ejection seat just in case.

  8. rgr769 says:

    I turned 25 in the Viet of the Nam in late 1971 when the war was largely over for U.S. ground forces. He is at least four years younger than I am. That would make him 20 or 21 in 1971. But he is claiming he did four tours in Vietnam in combat. Bullshit; even if he served, he was too young to have done more than one tour. And we already know he has been lying about being a SEAL. Bet a dollar to a doughnut he never set foot in the RVN.

  9. Jeff LPH 3, 63-66 says:

    Looks like the phony Seals are still in the lead. Was he from Florida, and if he was, then Seldon Shepherd used to sell sea shells on the sea shore.

  10. Green Thumb says:

    Just another old shitbag shaming his family and friends from beyond the grave.

  11. Steve1371 says:

    Those two shots to the noggin must have been from an air soft pistol. I know some people have been hit in the head and lived to tell about it but twice? I ain’t buying that.

  12. Donna Thompson says:

    Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Donna Thompson, and I have been a very close personal friend to Mr. Shepherd for many years. I am greatly saddened by the comments posted on this blog by people who did not know and had never met Sheldon Shepherd, and are basing their knowledge on the biased information of one person.

    As the executor for Sheldon’s estate, I am in possession of Sheldon’s DD-214. I have all of his personal documents and medals. While I cannot confirm that Sheldon was ever a Navy SEAL, I can confirm that he was a decorated veteran who was injured in the Tour of Duty in Vietnam, spent many months in the hospital recuperating from a headshot, and was medically and honorably discharged from the Navy after three years, eight months and twenty eight days.

    Please allow me to correct some information that was previously reported. The Sun News incorrectly reported that Sheldon died of a heart attack. It was more likely a pulmonary embolism or a stroke based upon his presentation at his death and his previous medical condition. The coroner was on the scene and I met with him when I arrived at Shep’s house shortly after he was found. There was no autopsy. The news also incorrectly reported that Sheldon had broken his hip in the military, that injury actually happened many years later after I had met him. He was an avid Hunter and fell out of his tree stand 15 ft to the ground breaking his hip. Sheldon walked around on a broken hip for three months before his friends were able to talk his stubborn a$$ to go to the hospital. Imagine that, a stubborn Veteran. I’ll bet some of you can relate.

    Despite information being spread by an an unreliable source, (an ex-wife) the truth remains. Sheldon was a decorated Vietnam Navy War veteran. Additionally, The MC does have a copy of his DD-214. I sent it to them.

    Unless you work for the Department of the Defense and have access to his file or you were in Vietnam when Sheldon was there and you knew him personally, you DO NOT have the right to trash this veteran who served with Valor and has the metals, documents and injuries to prove so.

    This is a quote from the Doctor who examined Sheldon, who was also his best friend. “I have seen his X-rays and examined him, confirming the presence of shrapnel and injuries consistent to those stated and his history has been consistent for the 23 years that I have known him without evidence of deception. I would question the motives and veracity of the Accuser. Discussing VA patient information or issues publicly is a federal privacy violation. This persists into death”.

    Sheldon’s life after the military was equally deserving of awards. I am one of the many lost sheep he ministered to during his tour of duty as an addictions counselor. Without his help twenty years ago, I would not be here to write to you today. There are thousands more of us he assisted into long term recovery.

    In summary, while I cannot prove he was a SEAL, I can prove that he was a man who deserved considerably more respect than the disturbing comments present in this blog.

    Sheldon had many friends who loved him greatly. Please be aware of your hate. We, Sheldon’s family are hurting enough.
    Donna Thompson

    • Donna Thompson says:

      Correction, it was three weeks on his hip. Not months. My fault. Additiinally, I am not sure about four tours, as Sheldon never spoke of his service. It is very possible that was also misquoted as other information was of his military service. Even the typo that I made in the above is proof that misquotes and incorrect information gets reported, please don’t accuse Sheldon for those reported errors, unreported information doesn’t make him a liar.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      Ms. Thompson, he DID claim to have been a US Navy SEAL and that was debunked by none other than someone who has access to the entire US Navy SEAL Database which includes everyone who has ever attended US Navy BUD/S, let alone graduated and he was NOT in it.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Donna: Thank you for your comments.

      Understand completely about reporters/newspapers writing erroneous information.

      The question is how did folks get the impression that he was a Navy SEAL? SOMEONE must have shared that information.

      You stated you cannot verify he was a Navy SEAL, yet you have his DD214. Does his DD214 show his time in Vietnam, his awards and decoration, his Military Schooling as well as his duty assignments and his job title?

      Just curious. If you don’t mind, could you please share with us this information since you are being open and honest?

      Thank You, Donna.

    • Claw says:

      Dollar to a doughnut that the two bronze stars cited in the obituary are in reality Bronze Service Stars for the Vietnam Service Medal.

      Ms Thompson, here are some facts:

      Being awarded the National Defense Service Medal (NDSM), the Vietnam Service Medal (VSM)with appropriate Bronze Service Star(s) and the Vietnam Campaign Medal w/60 Device DOES NOT make a veteran “decorated”.

      The Purple Heart is also an awarded/received medal. It is not “earned” as being wounded in a combat zone is not some sort of competition/contest.

      Those awards are merely for showing up and doing your job.

      Please, take a look at the Awards and Decorations section of his DD214 and tell us if there is anything else (higher decorations)that should be noted.

      Thank You.

      • AnotherPat says:

        Am starting to hear the 1st SEAC’s Cricket Brigade chirping away…unless her posts/comments are being moderated..or Donna is gathering up his DD214 and other documents to send to us.

        Donna, hope you do come back and share with us his Military history as well as answering other questions. That would be great if you do this because you sounds incere in defending him.

        Please note you are not the first Family Member or Friend who has posted on TAH in defense. The sad part is that these folks evidentually discovered “the rest of the story”, the truth about their loved one…and it only created more heartache for them.

        Don’t know if you have ever served in the US Miltary (the majority of us on TAH have), but IMO and my opinion only (not speaking for TAH), it is disturbing to read about those who make claim such as Navy SEALS, RANGERS (check out the Frank Fischer posts), Vietnam POWs, Medal of Honor, Dustingushed Service Cross, Navy Cross, Air Force Cross, Special Forces, etc…then go to their graves with those claims, even having inaccurate Headstones inscribed with those claims. The families are hurt by the living or deceased individual’s claims, more than the “hate” comments made here.

        Looking frward in hearing from you again soon, Donna. Thank you again for sharing.

    • Donna Rae Thompson says:

      Ms. XXXX, you won’t get an apology from me. I have heard and was present for the other side of the story. Additionally, this is not the venue to air your laundry. The VA reported to me that Private investigators (which you admitted to using) are unreliable sources in searching military records. As for your comments that you never told anyone, YOU called ME to be sure that I knew he was “never a SEAL”, so your comment about letting people whose lives he impacted as they knew him is absolutely untrue. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Let him rest, he deserves peace.

      • PTBH says:

        Ms. Thompson,

        If you probe a little deeper you will probably find that your statement “The VA reported to me that Private investigators (which you admitted to using) are unreliable sources in searching military records. is probably true IF the Private Investigators have no experience obtaining military records. However, if you identify the correct ones with this experience your statement is not as truthful as you state it is.

  13. AnotherPat says:

    Donna, one more thing.

    Who wrote his obituary? It states he was a Navy SEAL in Vietnam:

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      The local newspaper pens it with info provided by the family. It appears to have been written by a Betty Moses of Horry county is in South Carolina where the decedent resided. Obits then get to traveling, and often appear, as here, in the funeral home site. The bottom line on this is that Shepherd is the one responsible for the bullshit. In stark contrast to this (and him) stands the Terry Ward post.

      • AnotherPat says:

        2/17 Air Cav: The only thing is that his obituary was published on 17 January…and Betty Moses did not post this on until yesterday, 26 January. She also posts other folks obits as well.

        Am thinking it was a family member or Donna who wrote the obit and gave it to the Funeral Home or newspaper. When I buried my Brother, I wrote his obituary, gave it to the Funeral Home, who then gave it to the local newspaper for publication (and it was not free).

        I found his wedding picture on his Obit. No TRIDENT. Don’t know when the photo waz taken, but he does have two rows of awards/ribbons on his Navy uniform in that picture. It is a black and white photo, so could not figure out the ribbons. Guess we can wait for Donna to give us that info, that is, if she is willing to share or wait for his records from St Louis.

  14. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I have a couple of questions for Donna Thompson, which echo Another Pat’s. Who told the newspaper that Shepherd was a Navy SEAL? And where do you suppose that person got the information from?

  15. Donna Rae Thompson says:

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    Let me start by saying I have never been in the military and I do apologize for terms I used that may not correctly reflect the honor they deserve. The term “valor” clearly means something different than to my knowledge. I apparently used this term erroneously, and I apologize to those of you who know better. You are correct that his family and friends developed the obit with the assistance of the funeral home. Yes, Shep had said that he had been a Navy SEAL. Listed on his DD214: Foreign and/or sea service this period: 1 year, 9 months, 11 days. Under “Decorations” on his DD214 (which is why we used the term on his obit ‘decorated’ Veteran) Indicates that he received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars and a Republican of Vietnam Campaign Medal. The man who I spoke with at the VA told me that the military does sometimes erroneously omit decorations from the DD214, his military records do indicate that he was transferred to temporary disability retired list due to his injury. I do know that Sheldon did request the VA to correct his DD214 to include (at least) his Purple Heart. I do not have evidence that this ever happened. He was not exactly the ultimate record keeper as a single man. Yes, medals can be purchased and I am not familiar with the meanings behind the medals currently in my possession. I acknowledge that Sheldon may not have been a SEAL. Nevertheless, it is CLEAR, and I say this with the utmost confidence, that he was a Vietnam Veteran who was injured in the line of duty and was honorably discharged. I personally apologize to those of you who are SEALS If Sheldon was dishonest about his service. However, until the Department of Defense shows up on my doorstep with his file, nothing will decrease the great love and respect I have for the man who served, was injured, and saved my life as well as many others. I respect all of you and the service you have personally provided me for my freedom. I humbly request that in commenting on your blogs, that you be aware that family is watching, and yes, this is very painful. However, adding fuel to the fire is not helpful. Get to the truth, but do it respectfully please. My father was a Marine who served in the “Korean Conflict” and was a victim of terrible frostbite during the Frozen Chosen. He suffered to his dying day at age 87 with terrible pain in his hands and feet. He told me that as he laid in a military hospital with black fingers and toes, an officer came to give him a Purple Heart. My father told his to shove his Purple Heart where the sun doesn’t shine, and to fix his frostbite. That Purple Heart is not listed on my Father’s DD214 either. (Gotta love a Marine). Thank you for allowing me to share and I appreciate the much more respectful comments following my blog post. If you do find documented evidence that proves your case, I would very much like to see it. Sincerely, Donna

    • AnotherPat says:

      Donna, thank you for the update and your honesty.

      See Claw’s comments about Mr. Shepherd’s “Bronze Stars”. He was correct. Looks as if he was never awarded the Bronze Star Medal. This was most likely based on his family and friends lack of knowledge of US Military awards.

      Salute to your Dad on serving. However, the reason he never received the Purple Heart is because Frostbite is excluded from “qualifications” for a PH (there are numerous references on this if you research the Internet).

      Shepherd’s family members can obtain his VA Records as well as his Medical records to verify his injuries during the time he served. If his documented injuries “qualified” him for the Purple Heart, his family can request correction of his records based on this proof. Instructions on this correction can be found on the Internet. They can even go to their Congressman for assistance.

      Having awards or ribbons listed under “Decorations” on a DD214 does not mean a Veteran was a “decorated” Military member. But again, understand why Family and Friends may have written an obit that way based on their lack of knowledge of US Military Awards.

      Last: You did comment that Shepherd told others he was a Navy SEAL. IMO ( and again, this is my opinion only as I am not speaking for TAH), I have seen families hurt, not because of comments made about a deceased love one, but because the love one led them to believe misleading or embellished information. My symphathy for his family that this happened.

      Thank you, again, Donna, for sharing. I agree everything that 2/17 Air Cav wrote. It is just sad and unfortunate that you all going through this painful process because of Mr. Shepherd’s embellishment.

  16. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    The title of this post regarding Shepherd is, “Sheldon Shepherd was NOT a Navy SEAL.” Donna Rae Thompson wote above, in pertinent part, “I acknowledge that Sheldon may not have been a SEAL.” And that settles that.

    Thank you Ms. Thompson for taking the time and making the effort that you did in scrutinizing Mr Shepherd’s military background. No one here is interested in fighting with you. What we are keenly interested in is doing what we can to expose those who would take what is not theirs to take, the valor others have earned, too often at the price of life or limb. Whatever else he was, Mr. Shepherd was not a US Navy SEAL.

    • OWB says:

      That’s all true and correct, AC, but I still must take issue with one of Ms. Thompson’s comments. She said “Unless you work for the Department of the Defense and have access to his file or you were in Vietnam when Sheldon was there and you knew him personally, you DO NOT have the right to trash this veteran who served with Valor and has the metals, documents and injuries to prove so.”

      First, since she presumably also does not fit into any of those categories, why does she feel entitled to tell us what comments we may and may not make as she comments on the same subject?

      Second, you betcha we have the right to demand the truth from any and all veterans. We have an absolute right and responsibility to call a liar a liar, and no one can deny us that. Many have tried, and it never ends well for those who object to the truth being told about a veterans service.

      For now, I will grant Ms. Thompson some latitude since she is likely in the throes of raw grief. But, at some point she needs to stop pretending that we who demand the truth are the bad guys.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        That’s true, OWB, but that was within an earlier comment of hers. She did not repeat that in her latest one. This is all new to her and she, quite understandably, had a knee-jerk reaction of denial when she first read the post. Clearly, she’s now begun to appreciate what the bigger issue is about here, and it has nothing to do with a personal vendetta against someone she cared about. Ultimately, she may concede that Shepherd lied about his service but, if she never does, it doesn’t change the fact that he did.

        • OWB says:

          True. And I will grant that she did move that ball part way back when she acknowledged that we just might know more than she about the topic.

          So, I will accept, with some minor reservations, her apology for the previous insults to us.

          • Donna Rae Thompson says:

            I do apologize, this is a learning curve for me. I am hurt, as you all are as well, for different reasons. I am trying to understand this. I never meant to insult anyone. This whole situation is painful, as you have acknowledged. Thank you for your patience with me.

        • AnotherPat says:

          The question ” Who told the newspaper Shepherd was a Navy SEAL” has not been answered.

          Suspect whoever did it is now embarrassed. The request for Legacy removal was done. It looks as if the correction or retraction of the two newspaper articles were not requested because they are still on line.

          So sad.

          Am curious about Jonn’s conversation with the Combat Veterans Association MC since it was acknowledged they had his DD214, but this might be moot now and OBE.

          Who knows…they may be embarrassed as well (IMHO).

          • Donna Rae Thompson says:

            AnotherPat: In response to your question,The people who were present at the funeral home who included myself and three of Sheldon’s closest friends told the funeral home that Shep was a Navy SEAL, because that is what he had told us. The people present who met with the Sun News at the funeral home on the day of his service included myself, Sheldon’s brother and two friends. I am not embarrassed. If Shep was dishonest, that is on him, not me nor his friends and family. I am just sad about this whole thing, but as I said before, he was a very special person and although I don’t understand his need to embellish, I do still love him as a special friend and want to remember him for the great things he did, not the dishonesty.

      • Donna Rae Thompson says:

        All, Not saying you are the bad guys at all. As a social worker /addictions counselor who worked with active duty military in an inpatient facility for years, I am not totally blind to all things military. I am just a woman who is seeking the truth, as you are, but wishing in the long run it could be done more respectfully for what Sheldon DID do in his service. I understand the anger behind the potential lie. I just think some of the more Raw comments could have been less, well, raw. “Old shitbag” is not the type of comment I would apply to ANYONE who served overseas for my freedom, whether he lied about an aspect of his service or not. However, OWB: that said, I agree with you that it is NOT my place to comment on how you respond on your own blog. I am an outsider. AnotherPat: thank you, I will research Shep’s military history and if I find different, I will certainly let you all know. I greatly appreciate your respect towards my posts. My apologies if I offended anyone. The knee jerk reaction I had and reason I even responded was to the posts that were more, shall we say, colorful. God bless you all, thank you for your service and your responses. With great respect, Donna

        • Jonn Lilyea says:

          For the record, we have asked for his military records, but the SEAL thing was important enough that we felt we needed to get the information that we could prove in the public domain.

          • Donna Rae Thompson says:

            Again, please do let me know what you find out. If I can help in some way as I am his executor, I am happy to do so. Just show me the way. Thanks.

            • AnotherPat says:

              Donna: Jonn will Mr.Shepherd’s Military records, but not his Medical or VA Records.

              Normally, those are only releasable to the Next of Kin. Perhaps you can get with his Brother and ask for assistance in obtaining those records to find out if Mr. Shepherd did indeed suffer injuries that fall under eligibility criteria for the Purple Heart.

              Recommend you ask your local VA Office or your Congressman for assistance and coordination, because it does involve paperwork, telephone calls, but mostly PROOF that he received an injury that merits the PH.

              And if a Doctor you quoted said he found schapnel, you need to get those XRays and reports.

              Just a caveant so that you will not be disappointed: It could be the schrapnel, his head wound was pre-existing before he joined the Navy. That is why you need to obtain his complete Navy Medical records and VA Records. Since the PH is not listed on his DD214, it could be possible he was not would while in the Navy in Combat Theater/Operations.

              Thank you again for your sincere honesty in getting the truth. The majority of TAH commenters are Veterans-some have Family members who serve or have served. The majority are Combat Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Gulf War, OEF/OIF, etc. which means ALL have done Foreign Service times. And even if they did not serve in a Combat Theater, they still had Foreign Service time under their belt (which is the norm when one is in the Military). Regardless, they all served our country, just as you are helping those who struggle with addictions (thank you for doing that).

              Hope you continue to read TAH…and comment again on other topics. Thank you again!😊

        • OWB says:

          Best suggestion for you then, Donna: if you don’t want to hear colorful language and veterans holding other veterans accountable for their actions, don’t hang around milblogs, combat vets, or military veterans in general. If you have done what you claimed earlier, then there is nothing posted here that you have not heard before.

          No, I don’t speak for anyone other than myself, but would guess that these sentiments are shared by others. We call each other to task frequently.

          Meanwhile, deal with your own grief as you are able. It isn’t done in a few days. We know the truth about Sheldon. You are welcome to come back here if doing so helps you to process your journey of discovery.

          Your experience is precisely why some of us get so angry each time we hear that Stolen Valor is a victimless crime. We know that families and friends are at least hurt by the lies if not damaged in other ways. Many of us may never understand why a veteran with an apparently honorable record would exaggerate and/or embellish that record.

          • Donna Rae Thompson says:

            OWB: It’s a question I cannot answer, and don’t understand myself. Perhaps it is self esteem related, not an excuse, just a possible observation. The man wasn’t perfect but who of us are? We are all human and those without sin may cast the first stone. I certainly cannot even pick any stones up. I appreciate you calling me out.i guess I had forgotten that the f-bomb and other colorful language is used as a noun, adjective, adverb, proper noun etc. all in one sentence (LOL) and as I said in my previous post, this isn’t my blog or page, so I’ll curtail my sentiments about requesting lingual courtesy and will sit quietly with my tail firmly pressed between my butt cheeks.

  17. O-4E says:

    And what burns the ass of us Veterans the most is when one of our OWN pulls this shit.

    Excuse us if we are less than forgiving

    The Navy didn’t receive draftees. Neither did the Air Force. So he KNOWINGLY VOLUNTEERED for a branch of the service with the absolute least chance of seeing direct combat during a period when we lost 54,000 men to combat

    Which is fine. Keeping the Soviet Bear at bay was a global endeavor

    But all of a sudden years later our guy here who actively avoided combat duty wants to make out that he was John Rambo

    See why that’s infuriating?

    Hell he served at a time when few would.

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