John William Zelenock, BUD/S Graduate, Fake SEAL

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05/31/2017 by tangomike147

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This is an interesting case for sure. When it comes to verifying SEAL claims I have often seen people check the list of graduates from Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training and leave it at that. For sure you would probably get the right answerer 99.9% of the time. When you just check the list you get those that have passed a selection course. Passing BUD/S does not make you a SEAL. A person has to complete the follow on advanced training to earn the NEC of a SEAL and be given the Trident. I have been in more than one lively (lively meaning Non-SEAL telling me a SEAL what it takes to be a SEAL) debate on this subject so I am happy to finally have an example. That’s why this case is so unique. Mr. Zelenock is the unicorn.

We start with the claims.

Here he claims class 168 with a winter Hell Week. Zelenock actually graduated class 170 in November of 1990.

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He claims he left the Navy in April 2002.

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He claims an impressive amount of awards.

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Claims Marcinko was his Commanding Officer. He spelled it wrong of course, I guess google wasn’t working that day…

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His friends are worried about him. The date matches one of the worst dates in SEAL history with the downing of Extortion 17.

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Claims here he retired in 2002.

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He also claims to be off the coast of Beirut during the bombing of the Marine barracks. Claims to have flown in to help. Problem with that is the Saratoga was out of the yards and doing sea trials. She didn’t deploy till  1984.

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First look at his records. John Zelenock Served in the United States Navy from August 1981 to April 1992. A bit short of his retirement claims for 2002.

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This is a page of Assignments. Note the dates of BUD/S and Jump School.

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On this schools page notice the Sniper COI. The date for that school is for when he was at jump school. His classmates were with him at Airborne and he left there to check in to SEAL Team Two. Sniper courses at that time were run in the spring and fall. They did not start in November.

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On the following sheet he is checking into SEAL Team Two. The dates show that he was at the Team for one year. He was then transferred to the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Not the sign of a successful completion of advanced training.  When you check into your new Command as a New Guy you must attend advanced training, normally 6-months in length.

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The only explanation for the Sniper COI being in his record is that the YN doing his out processing took his word for it and didn’t get a certificate. He could not of been sent to sniper school before checking in to SEAL Team Two and he certainly could not of been in two places at once.

Next we go back to 1988 when he was an Aircrew Instructor in Florida from February 1986 to August of 1989. We will look at another school list…

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This shows two schools SEALs go to. The shooting school and the SEAL Tactical Communications School. It also shows a Special Training Course in Weaponscraft. I can see no reason an Aircrew instructor would be sent to an incredibly expensive weapons course for a week. It would also be a stretch to think he was sent to a SEAL communication course that’s two months long. It is all field communications with nothing to do with the job he was doing. I have another reason to believe those courses did not happen and were added by what could’ve been a sloppy YN taking his word for it.

Death of Student

The following is from the linked article…

PENSACOLA, Fla. — A vice admiral has rejected the appeals of four Navy instructors who were given non-judicial punishment more than a month ago in connection with the death of a recruit, a Navy spokesman said Tuesday.

Cmdr. Dennis Hessler, a spokesman for the chief of naval education and training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, said Vice Adm. Ron Thunman did not give a reason for rejecting the appeals.

‘That’s the final decision under military law,’ Hessler said.

The four petty officers were among six Navy men blamed in the March 2 death of Lee Mirecki, 19, of Appleton, Wis. Mirecki had a heart attack and drowned during a training class at Pensacola’s Rescue Swimmer School.

Testimony at a hearing indicated Mirecki had been diagnosed as having a phobia of water a month before his death. Instructors apparently did not know a psychologist warned that Mirecki should be pulled from the water if he panicked.

Mirecki had a panic-induced heart attack while an instructor was trying to teach him a rescue maneuver which, at the time, required the instructor to try to pull the student under water.

In late June, Petty Officers Richard Blevins, 32, David Smith, 42, Frankie Deaton, 26, and John Zelenock, 25, were were given non-judicial punishment for battery after accepting non-judicial punishment rather than trial.

All were accused of pulling Mirecki back in the water after he fled from the pool and grabbed an equipment rack.

Blevins andSmith were reduced from E-6 to E-5 rank and restricted to base for 30 days. Deaton and Zelenock were reduced from E-5 to E-4, but the sentence was suspended six months. If they stayed out of trouble they could retain rank.

Blevins and Smith also were ordered to forfeit half their base pay for two months.

The punishments for all four were suspended after they filed notices of appeal. Hessler said the unexpended portion of their punishment began again when Thunman rejected the appeals Friday.

Another instructor, Petty Officer Michael Combe, 28, will be court-martialed Aug. 29 on charges of involuntary manslaughter, battery and conspiracy to commit battery. He faces three years confinement and dishonorable discharge.

He is the instructor who allegedly pulled Mirecki under water.

The court-martial of the officer in charge of the school, Lt. Thomas Torchia, 32, was initially slated for Aug. 22. But because of a scheduling conflict, his trial on a dereliction of duty charge will be Aug. 25.

Cmdr. Newell Krogmann of Newport, R.I., will preside over both cases.

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I am pretty sure he would not be getting all these schools after being accused of killing a student on March 8th of that year. In the end, he was reduced in rank.

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I can also account for his time after the Navy.

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He claims a lot of medals that are not in his records. In fact his records don’t show much in the way of medals at all. He claims Two Legions of Merit with V for Valor, three Bronze Stars with V for Valor, Meritorious Service Medal (What, no V?) Air Medal, Navy Commendation, Navy Achievement, Navy Expeditionary, National Defense, and Armed Forces Expeditionary. He has medals for the First Gulf War But he didn’t report to SEAL Team Two till December of 1990 so he was at Little Creek during the war, not in a platoon. The only medal in his records are the National Defense Medal.

John Zelenock graduated from BUD/S. However, he did not make it through advanced training and was sent back to the fleet. His claims of being a SEAL are false.  Graduating BUD/S does not make you a SEAL, it takes a lot more…

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5 thoughts on “John William Zelenock, BUD/S Graduate, Fake SEAL

  1. Michael Hanrahan says:

    Fantastic research! With the knowledge he had about BUD/S and SQT, he has most likely been bullshiting hundreds of people. BZ on your diligence.

    Like

  2. RCAF_Chairborne says:

    He looks like a Gloryhole Commando

    Like

  3. Zippo says:

    He has a purty mouth…

    Like

  4. Sean Conner says:

    I still give him props lmao–dont you get a cert for graduating BUDS?

    Like

  5. […] partners at Military Phonies share their work on John William Zelenock with us. He claims that he was a Navy SEAL and that he […]

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