Thomas Aaron Vachét – US Navy SEAL, Two Combat Tours in Vietnam, Combat Injured, Blog of Shame21
03/06/2019 by militaryphonies
Thomas Aaron Vachét comes to us from Appleton, Wisconsin but has spent a lot of his time down in Florida. He grew up in Indiana. Thomas, or Tom, is 66 years old as of March 2019.
Tom owns a couple of businesses and offers life and fitness coaching based on Navy SEAL principles.
And why not? After all, he claims he was in the Navy, went through BUDs, and was a Navy SEAL while in Vietnam.
And of course Tom wears the U.S. Navy SEAL bling – some subtle…
… and others very, very subtle…
Just a guess above. Not definative, but since he uses the SEAL expression on one of his Facebook business pages – Train in Chaos…
Some of these are a stretch, but he has other claims and references that leave nothing to the imagination and are not so subtle…
There are other references to BUD/S training…
Here, Tom talks about two tours of daily, heavy combat. (implying Vietnam)
Tom has been a successful coach, working with many pro athletes, but how much of the SEAL claim was leveraged? Here is an endorsement…
And another endorsement…
Some of these things are a little borderline, but on his business LinkedIn page, there is no subtlety about claiming Navy SEAL and having “Combat related injuries.”
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ACTIONS CONDUCTED BY MILITARY PHONIES
After contacting the UDT/SEAL archives, the Naval Special Warfare Center and checking the UDT/SEAL database we found that there is NO record of Thomas Aaron Vachét ever completing BUD/S Training or being assigned to a SEAL Team.
Thomas Aaron Vachét’s military records were ordered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
. . . . .
NATIONAL PERSONNEL RECORDS CENTER – NPRC
CRIMINAL, NEWSPAPER AND OTHER RECORDS
The following would have occured a few short months before he went into the Navy.
Here is Tom Vachet in 1973 aboard the USS Preble. The ratings are blurred out, but they are all OS rating except for Tom, who was probably striking for that rate. An E-3 is a non-designated rating.
Shortly after Vachet got out of the Navy, a wedding announcement ran in the paper – also no mention of U.S. Navy SEAL. Maybe Operations Specialist (OS) sounds like a Special Operator (SO), but the SO rating did not come about until much later.
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DISCUSSION and SUMMARY
Tom Vachet’s summary sheet shows three years of active duty. He was discharged from the Navy as a Seaman (E-3).
The summary sheet shows that he was in Vietnam, or his ship was, and he was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon. So was the ship.
On 24 January 1973, the 7th Fleet reported that the USS Preble’s torpedo tubes and three antennae were damaged by North Vietnamese artillery while the ship was operating off Quảng Trị Province just below the Vietnamese Demilitarized Zone.
It is doubtful that he ever left the ship. Since he does not have a Purple Heart, the claim of “Combat injured” is quite puzzling. However, his summary sheet does show that he was retired from the U.S. Navy and it was most likely a medical retirement.
Nothing in his military records support Tom’s claim of training to be a Navy SEAL or serving with any SEAL units.
The official military records for Tom Vachet do not support many of his claims – many of which are in violation of the Stolen Valor Act.
If these claims were leveraged by Tom for something of value over the years, including monetary gain, work positions, or advertising SEAL experience to further his business, Tom may be in violation of the Stolen Valor Act. Individual state laws may apply as well.
I imagine some of those professional athletes may have exception to what they may have been told by Tom.
. . . . .
Does the site intend to give the 10,000th fake seal exposed a memorial dildo, or what? What is the current count?
I lost count a long time ago.
I was a Plank Owner of SEAL 2 retiring 1 September of 1972 and do not recall the name.
He was in boot camp about the time I was. Combat ops were winding down by 1972, the only way he managed to get the ribbon was by going straight to the fleet as a non-rate. That means he was chipping paint and swabbing decks. A real war hero!
[…] good people at militaryphony.com send us Thomas Aaron Vachét or Thomas Vachet for the sake of the Google Gods. People seem to be […]
His personal FB is down, but his “business” one is still up. Hit him hard.
LinkedIn now down. His recommenders have seen it too.
Blank this shitbag!!
Douche-bag surperme !
Are you not allowing your content to be shared on FB? Cuz’ that’s what they said when they took down the pict associated with this story link…
Annnnd his Facebook and LinkedIn pages have gone “poof!” What a surprise
Why please why do these fake being something they are not!!
You did this to yourself-we all make mistakes but you wore the SEAL Shirt .
Looks like the Vice President of The United States may take concern over this matter?
Any military person looking at the summary page would know that he couldn’t have been a Seal, as he wasn’t in long enough to have gone through the process of training and service on board a ship during Viet Nam.
I am responding to having been placed on the Wall of Shame. I consider this the result of both my actions and inactions. The meticulous biography detailed there creates a disheartening impression of someone whose life was that of a loser. It’s true I’ve had failings. But I’d like to believe my successes outweigh these.
Yes, shortly following graduation from high school I was arrested for possessing wild marijuana picked from a roadside in rural Southern Indiana. It was a stupid, youthful transgression.
As a result, and in an effort to find direction in my life, I joined the Navy in 1971 on a UDT/SEAL contract. In recruit training, I was nominated and served as RCPO of my company, and was told I was a natural leader. Unfortunately I didn’t make the cut, and never went on to BUDS.
Instead, I was sent to the fleet as a Bosuns Mate, and where I was given the opportunity to become an OS (Radarman) striker. My ship deployed to Vietnam twice, took and returned fire with shore batteries on one occasion, and thus I earned the Vietnam Service and Combat Action ribbons among others. I was later injured during my service, and received an Honorable Discharge and Medical Retirement.
I went on with my life, serving in law enforcement while working on an undergraduate degree in Nursing. Then I moved on to what became a long and successful business career. Along the way I married, had children, (now with five grandsons) completed a Master’s Degree and climbed the corporate ladder. For many decades, my military experience was simply not part of the conversation.
I had also, at periods throughout my life given my time and money to charitable endeavors such as Habitat, and had founded a non-profit profit for disabled children. So, I tried to fulfill what I felt was my responsibility to give back.
In 2000, I experienced the failure of a business in which I was an equity partner. It was devastating. I decided to change direction, remake myself, and become a trainer in Southern California. I worked hard and became very successful. My client workouts were known to be very hard. My clients began to refer to them as SEAL workouts, partly I think because they knew I was a Navy veteran. Back then I thought it was funny and harmless, and played along.
As time passed, and I began to train athletes, the joke morphed into a reality, and suddenly I wasn’t the guy who put people through SEAL-like workouts; instead I was a SEAL giving workouts. And I crossed that line without correcting my clients. I let them believe something that was untrue because it was stupid easy to do, and likely because I had always wanted to be that
Through countless interviews and articles that ensued, I never referred to myself as a SEAL. In fact, the single time a sports writer, without my permission, named me as a SEAL in an article, I called him out, and cut him off.
In 2011, I began to have health problems that resulted in me being hospitalized in a VA facility. When I returned, my business had declined, and I experienced financial problems. My physical and mental health was declining. I fell into a deep depression and was drinking and using drugs during this period to treat my symptoms. I had an encounter with law enforcement, and was charged with a drug offense. Thankfully, I was eventually found not guilty, and my case was sealed.
I eventually went to a VA facility in Florida, where I was an inpatient for 22 months. I had lost everything I owned. During the latter part of that period I began to volunteer at the VA, took a course to become a VAPeer Support Volunteer, and gave much of my time to helping other veterans.
At the end of that program, I went back out to find work to support myself. I was 63 years old, and had nothing. I worked again as a trainer, primarily with geriatric clients on balance and stability.
I eventually recovered, remarried, retired, and left the training business. I decided to use my life experience in health care in a part time business, True North, which is not yet deployed. In my biography, posted on a web site I created, I made a passing mention of my Navy experience in a way that suggested I served as a SEAL. I apologize for having done so, and have hopefully clarified that.
Following being made aware of the posting of my life on the website, Wall of Shame, I cancelled my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts. I didn’t do so to hide, although I admit to being inundated by email, text, and online postings. If that were true, that I wanted to just dodge the issue, I wouldn’t be writing this letter of apology to those I’ve offended, either intentionally or unintentionally. I did so to try to limit potential harm or embarrassment to my family members primarily my grandsons.
It’s not that I’m unembarrassed personally, because I am, painfully so. I also feel I’ve disrespected a group of men who I have always highly respected. I’ve Incorporated lessons from SEALS regarding team, leadership, and hard work into most of what I’ve done in my life. My failing was in also fully incorporating integrity into the equation.
All I can do at this point is to offer a sincere apology. I exercised poor judgement, and did a bad thing. But, in a way, I better understand how my failure to realize my goal to become a SEAL affected me, and that it weighed on me as one of the biggest failings of my life.
I have no expectation in sending this apology and acknowledgement of what I’ve done wrong. Some may understand. Others may not. What you do with it is up to you. My reputation, and my life, are literally in your hands.
Military Phony reply to Tom Vachét:
There are several of us at Military Phony that use this account. You may receive a variance of opinion as a reaction to the comments that you posted above, but for the most part, we try and speak as one voice. I am the one that gathered the information, researched this case, considered the evidence and wrote the case.
I will start out by saying that I appreciate you reaching out to us and providing your perspective.
It is important for you to understand that the truth, in general, and your case in particular, has legs and takes on a life of its own. Therefore, nobody really has control of the narrative in a jurisdictive sense. When you state that “My reputation, and my life, are literally in your hands” is a notion that we reject outright. It is not only odd but an unfair characterization.
You made the choices that you made, you were in charge of making those choices and they took you on the path that you are on. You constructed your own life.
You will now have more choices so what you do now is vitally important to not only yourself but in how it affects people around you. They get to see how you respond to adversity. They get to see how a man they’ve come to admire and respect, reacts to being caught in a lie.
It has to be embarrassing as well as a tough thing to face – but it is also an opportunity.
You apparently see opportunity in coaching others about how to live their lives. Integrity should be a part of that – wouldn’t you agree? This comes through in your post – that you somehow see this entire fiasco as an opportunity to post about the incredible journey that you’ve been through in your life.
I’m not trying to be your life’s coach – I just take exception to how you see this entire thing. We have several Navy SEALs that work with us that have lost many brothers in combat in addition to sharing some difficult training experiences. Everyone’s forgiveness is a bridge too far because I certainly don’t have the leverage to speak for the many SEALs that you have offended.
This is not our first rodeo but it is a small percentage of people that do make some attempt to reach out in an effort to salvage their circumstances.
I don’t know what your motives are but let me get this out of the way first — the post about you will NEVER come down. I don’t say this in any mean-spirited or vindictive way although I do despise people that lie, especially when these lies can cause damage to others. It’s just business.
Your case fit into a category that we call “BOLO” or Be On the LookOut (for). It is a service to the public so that they can weigh information when they consume services from somebody – in your case athletic training and life coaching.
It also helps Law Enforcement, District Attorneys, consumers, and fraternal veteran organizations.
With military embellishers, there is an extremely high rate of recidivism, or repeat offenses, which is another reason we don’t take posts down. We’ve also received extremely no-conditional gut-wrenching apologies stating they deserve everything that comes their way only to have the person come back months later with a different approach – which shows they had removal of the post as a motive. Kind of destroys our faith in human nature as I passed one around as an example of how to purge one’s soul, only to realize he was simply a good con man.
I don’t categorize the post you made above as one of the better ones we’ve received. It had a strong sense of being self-serving. Almost like you saw it as an opportunity to educate others about your life’s adversity thinking that in some way it will help others and provide you a living. How do you think those professional athletes feel now? The ones that incorporated your story as part of their own? Think they maybe want a refund?
Again, I applaud you for reaching out but it wasn’t even a nice try. You lied throughout your post – even trying to claim that you never told anyone you were a Navy SEAL. Yet, you put it right in your LinkedIn account, which functions like an online resume. As another has pointed out – you blame others as well as circumstances that paint yourself as a victim. Also, you didn’t relay any sense of remorse except for an attempt at expressing admiration for SEALs and their principles.
So now that you’ve scrubbed the internet of all your SEAL claims, or thought you have, many that follow stolen valor anticipate your next move will be to claim that “they got the wrong man – a case of mistaken identity” or you can join up with Frank Dux (“Bloodsport”) and make some ridiculous false claim there is a ‘Deep State’ that exists to ruin peoples careers by manufacturing false evidence. Mr. Dux may welcome you with open arms as another ally in his fight against the ‘Deep State.’ The more he can float that theory, the more he can deflect from his own case of stolen valor. Maybe you could even rip a page out of Dux’s playbook and claim your records are sealed because you were “sheep-dipped” by the CIA to wash a profile to become a covert operative?
I only mention Frank Dux because he was one individual that has never seemed able to move on and there may be some similarity. Dux creates more and more elaborate conspiracy theories about Hollywood, the Pentagon, business and the Deep State that all conspire against him. All stemming from the simple fact that he was Lance Corporal in the Marine Corps Reserve and was called out for making his military experience more than it really was. Dux, like you, may for some odd reason see an opportunity in all this? Any publicity is good publicity? The truth is it was a case, we posted, and it is history.
I’m not going to lie – there are many options available to you. You can spin this to sound even more intriguing than a Navy SEAL. Heck, maybe the government wants to pay you off and shut you up by giving you a retirement because they wanted to hush the facts surrounding the incident aboard the USS Preble?
I would hope that you don’t take any of these side roads, but perhaps you feel it is necessary to preserve the impression that you’ve given people. It’s really up to you.
The truth is always the best, most efficient path but I’m not your life coach. I can say this — the next step you take is incredibly important and will define you to not only yourself but the people around you.
Don’t let pride get in the way of making a good decision.
Military Phony is done. We post and we move on. Nothing personal. There is no ongoing pursuit to take things beyond the facts of this case. I hate it when people lie but treat it like a business and try not to get too caught up in it emotionally. People lie – we’ve accepted that. We call them out – I hope they accept that as well. They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant and that could be true for all parties concerned. At least we believe that.
As I said, the truth has legs and others may feel differently but we can’t influence everybody to a collective mindset once the information is out in the public.
~ Military Phony
Will you send us a complete copy of your dd-214? It won’t be shared, but we would like to look at your separation and reentry codes.
My reputation, and my life, are literally in your hands??
No sir. You brought this all upon yourself.
So your apology blames others. You posted on your LinkedIn that you were a SEAL. A recommendation on that pages says you are a Navy SEAL with no correction. The hats and coats you wear around have Tridents and Bone Frogs on them. SEAL shirts and Trident pins you wear on your sports coats. A dozen news stories calling you a SEAL but no retractions. You have a FB post claiming two tours in Vietnam running around in the jungle with an assault rifle. Your apology is hollow and wants to make you some sort of victim. How about a simple apology saying that you faked being a SEAL because it was good for business.
I and the rest of us do not except your phony apology. Because you have never retracted anything you wore or posted.