Ike Densmore, 48, had a big dream. He wanted to be a Navy SEAL. He wanted it so bad that even after spending time in the Army he dismissed that less exotic service to, instead, concoct a story about actually being a member of the elite Navy SEAL Team One. He created a public profile that detailed his impressive “history,” inclusive of a Silver Star, a Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts, two Presidential Unit Citations and six Navy “accommodations,” and posted that profile to his various social media sites. By fall of 2012, his story took a hit when journalists and a SEAL activist began to investigate his claims. By the end of January 2013, the jig was up… literally.
Ike Densmore’s body was found on a beach near Ferndale, CA, a gunshot wound to his head in a case Humboldt County Sheriffs called “suspicious.”
According to retired Navy SEAL and training specialist, Don Shipley, SEAL impostors are a growing trend, one that denigrates those who fought and died in their specialized service to their county. Per Dan Noyes at ABC 7/San Francisco:
Members of the Navy’s special operations force, the SEALs, launch a daring night-time raid, killing Osama bin Laden. They rescue a ship’s captain from Somali pirates, killing three of them with simultaneous headshots fired from boat to boat. Such exploits add to the legend of the Navy SEALs, but they also have sparked a surge in the number of impostors.
“Make no mistake, SEALs are the number one targeted group in this country for impostors,” retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley said. “Everybody’s a Navy SEAL.”
Shipley runs a Navy SEAL training camp in Virginia called Extreme SEAL Experience, and he’s made it a mission to eradicate “stolen valor,” the term used for those who co-opt the respected “brand” of the elite military unit and use it as a false identity. He, like others, thought the Densmore story just didn’t hold up. Maybe it was the word “accommodations” used in lieu of the intended “commendations” that alerted someone to the ruse, but at some point Shipley was sent Densmore’s fantastical information and he blew the lid off it.