So everybody wants to be a Navy SEAL… What does it take to become a Navy SEAL? To some it only takes buying a few books and tapes and learning the lingo. These are the kind of people who trample the reputation of those who have really put their lives on the line for their country. On top of that, many who make these false claims are deficient in other areas of their lives, hiding crimes, psychological disorders and other less than desirable traits. What kind of person would make up a phony life and live it as if it were true? Many types, including convicted criminals hiding their past. Michael James Davis of Knoxville, TN, formerly of Houston and Belton , TX is such a man. In July of 1996 I met Michael J. Davis at a Dragon Society International (DSI) Martial Arts seminar in Knoxville, TN. By his own admission, he was there along with his instructor, to assist with the seminar. He was wearing the traditional black belt, but had no rank either of the instructors at the seminar. Now, a mere 3 years later, he is the “Instructor of the Year” at the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio and is listed on the DSI website with the ranks of 3rd Dan Torite-jutsu, 3rd Dan, Okinawan Kempo Karate-do, Certified Instructor, Torite-jutsu. I remember speaking with Davis after the seminar and asking him where he was from, as he didn’t seem to have the type of accent I was expecting from a Texan. He told me he was from “all over”; that he was a “Navy Brat”, a term used to describe children of Navy personnel who are raised all over the country, depending on where the parent gets stationed. I continued to attend these training seminars every 6-8 weeks. Before long, conversations with Davis turned to his claims of not only actually having been in the Navy himself, but he claimed to have been a Navy SEAL. Now, having been in the Navy myself, I was interested in the usual things – when was he in, where was he stationed, etc. He gave me some generic answers and I let it slide because I had been discharged by the time he enlisted. He was even given the nickname of “Flipper” by another DSI Instructor, who is a former Marine. The stories went on and I thought nothing of them until one day I saw a post on a Martial Arts Internet list from a former member blasting Davis and calling him a liar and fraud. This person included parts of a message he had received from Davis with his BUD/S (SEAL training class) class number and it was totally false. He claimed that Davis would be reported to a group of former SEALS that have a web page with fake SEAL wannabes, and that those interested should watch for his name to appear on the site. I got the details, copies of messages and confronted Davis about the information. He explained to me that he was being singled out and harassed by this individual because of having removed him from the tuite list. He said that he would be glad to provide copies of his DD214 (discharge papers) to anyone who was interested, proving he had been a SEAL. The only problem was that the papers were in a safe deposit box in another city
and it would be a while before he could get to them. I let it drop, but was watchful from that time forward. I kept talking to him, looking for answers to questions about places and things that would tell me if he really was a former Navy SEAL. Because of the ties his instructor had, Davis was literally launched into a martial arts career, gaining entrance into some of the largest, most respected Martial Arts Organizations in the country. He continued to tell his SEAL stories to anyone who would listen and used this phony past to convince others to believe in his combat prowess. He even broke ties from his instructor and used intimidation and blackmail to get this man osuted from the DSI. He contacted me and told me his instructor was spreading “lies” about him, telling folks that Davis had been in prison and had a drug problem. Obviously, this was a problem, as most organizations don’t want someone with that kind of background in sensitive positions. I agreed to help him obtain “proof” that his instructor was slandering him by contacting him and trying to get him to tell me, in an e-mail, the “lies” he was verbally spreading to others. Although I did contact him and he never once mentioned any of the things I was watching for. As for Davis, higher and higher in the organization he moved until, today, he is the webmaster, the technical advisor on the web page, partner and technician of the ISP that hosts both the web page and the Torite discussion list. He has the toll free order number routed to him to answer and take orders for the DSI and he has access to the e-mail of Rick Moneymaker himself. Additionally, the ISP is owned by another DSI instructor, who is a former Marine and seem unaware of Mike’s past. I kept watching the web page for Phony SEALS for his name and finally, in April 1999, there it was. I sent out an e-mail to several people, asking if they had seen the name and if the person listed was actually the Michael J. Davis of the Dragon Society International. Michael himself intercepted one of the messages and informed me that the person listed was definitely NOT him. I kept looking for answers. I contacted the people who run the website and provided them with all the information I had about Davis to see if this was him, or another of the same name – and I kept looking for information, Davis kept issuing denials. In October, I traveled to Houston for a convention and was at the home of Michael J. Davis. I noticed that, for a Navy SEAL, there were things amis in his apartment. For starters, he had a rack of Navy SEAL training videos – from a commercial operation. Now it seemed a bit strange to me that someone who was trained as a SEAL would need commercially available tapes about that training. He also had not of the usual things you would expect to find at the home of a veteran – like discharge certificates, yearbooks from boot camp or, in the case of a SEAL – photos of your teammates. He also didn’t have any of the certificates of photos one would expect from a Martial Artist, or any of the college degrees that most graduates have hanging on their walls. I talked to him more about his Navy experience and found that he didn’t “remember” many of the places at Coronado, CA that he should have known if he had ever been stationed
there. He also claimed to have been at Little Creek, VA for a time and didn’t know about places there. -
It reached a point where the only responses anyone was getting from Davis were a blanket threat to sue anyone who didn’t drop this case, and invitations to any SEAL out there to come and find him. He even e-mailed his address and phone number to the Hall of Shame website with the challenge. To further this investigation I was put in contact with Steve Waterman at the Naval Special Warfare Archives (NSWA). NSWA is dedicated to keeping the legacy of Navy SEAL’s pure and ferreting out imposters and “wannabes” by exposing their lies for the world to see. We exchanged information and I began helping them to piece together the real past of Michael J. Davis.
I received from one source, a full background investigation on Davis with his DOB, SSN and all his former addresses. It was interesteing that there didn’t appear to be any addresses or jobs prior to 1989. I contacted some of Davis’ former employers and obtained a copy of his resume. His resume listed his educational background as: 1981 - 1986 University of Texas Austin, TX BS Computer Science/B.B.A Business Administration Graduated Magna Cum Laude Overall GPA 3.70/4.0 President s List (one semester) I contacted the registrars office at the University of Texas, Austin. They found no record of a Michael J. Davis with the DOB and SSN I provided ever having been a student there. The clerk also checked with the office that handles correspondence courses and said he was not listed there either. She also told me: - They did not issue BS Computer Science degrees until 1989 - They do not use the Latin Magna Cum Laude designations only Honors, High Honors, Highest Honors There is no President's list Finally, I was provided with information that Michael J. Davis actually HAD been in prison, released from parole just 9 years ago!. It wasn’t a lie. I quickly contacted the prison and obtained records showing that on 3-10-84 Michael J. Davis robbed a bowling alley in Kittering, Ohio. He was convicted and sentenced to 5-25 years on 6-14-84 and sent to Mansfield Correctional Facility, Mansfield, OH. During this entire time, Davis continued to tell everyone who would listen that the DOB I had was wrong and it simply WASN’T him that had gone to prison. He provided receipts, reports, credit card statements and a host of other paperwork to “prove” he was in Texas at the time of his allegedly being
in prison. We needed further confirmation of his identity so I made further inquiries that resulted in my being able to obtain prison photos. Those photos are now available for viewing on the wannabee website where you can judge for yourself if this man is the same one who was in prison in Ohio over 9 years ago.