Pastor Jim Moats of Newville, Pa. once had a conversation with a supervisor about the Navy SEALs. He’s apparently seen a few movies portraying the SEALs as well.
In the Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pa., Pastor Jim Moats was apparently known as a Vietnam-era Navy SEAL. Moats was known to tell tales of his time as a SEAL to parishioners and family. His sons, both of whom served in Iraq, even made their dad a plaque honoring the SEALs and other Navy units. The plaque hung on Moats’ wall.
His tall tales and this plaque had led to questions, and probably even tokens of gratitude. The Pastor was living the lie. That was until The Patriot-News sought out local, retired Navy SEALs to interview after the daring raid of SEAL Team 6 led to the death of Osama bin Laden.
Readers, including two real former SEALs, saw right through his bogus story. Retired Navy SEAL Don Shipley connected two of Moats’ stories to the Steven Seagal movie “Under Siege” and the Demi Moore classic, “G.I. Jane.” Maybe if Moats had seen “Navy SEALs” or “Under Siege 2: Dark Territory” his story would have more credibility.
Jason Ertola, a Navy SEAL from 1992-1996, said any SEAL could see right through Moats’ fraudulent story. He also expressed outrage at men like Moats who “claim the honor that many good men have earned and died for.” He also noted that bogus claims similar to Moats’ have increased since the death of bin Laden.
Shipley confirmed that Moats was never a SEAL (and never even served in Vietnam) by accessing a database with the names of all SEALs. Shipley then confronted the Pastor with a phone call on Sunday night. Moats gave in and admitted he was never a SEAL, never served in Vietnam, but had served in the Navy.
Moats used the ruse as an ego-booster and said he was living his dream through his sons. He will explain himself to parishioners Wednesday night at the Christian Bible Fellowship Church.
Pastor Moats’ lie is disrespectful not only to all current and former Navy SEALs, such as Shipley and Ertola, but also to anyone who has served or is serving in the military, including Moats’ two sons. Navy SEALs and others serving in the armed forces are the real heroes in this country, and there should be no issue with citizens pretending to be them. As long as they are 12-year-old kids. Not 59-year-old pastors with two kids of their own.