As anyone associated with the military knows, lying about service is not something to be taken lightly. Veterans will immediately spot falsehoods and call them out. What may be even worse than a civilian faker is a former service member who lies about what he accomplished. Such may be the case with Joseph Teti, a former Marine and Army special operator. Most know him as one of the stars of Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival, a show about outdoor survival. However, to many veterans and former operators, Teti is a veteran who has dishonored the brotherhood.
The troubles stated when Teti made dubious claims on Dual Survival. In one of his early appearances, he claimed to have sniper and airborne qualifications, something contested and debated by viewers. Hot on the heels of that controversy, he later claimed to be a combat veteran, but viewers were quick to discover that he technically never served in combat during his time as a Marine or a Soldier.
In response to being questioned and called out, according to the Army Times, Teti said he served as a contractor in a highly classified special operations unit.
“Never have I said that I served in the military in Iraq or Afghanistan,” Teti said. “I want to clear the record right now. I was in a government counterterrorism unit doing direct action missions right alongside Tier 1 assets.”
John Lilyea from This Ain’t Hell spoke with Teti over the phone and received several documents from him which confirmed to Lilyea that some of his claims were true.
“So, I may be accused of being star-struck, but, without some real evidence to the contrary, I’m inclined to come down on Joe’s side,” said Lilyea.
However, part of his story rang foul for many others. While civilians would largely be in the dark as to the validity of Teti’s claims, special operations veterans didn’t buy his story. Teti claimed that the government unit he worked with was so secret that he couldn’t discuss it. Rather than simply deny requests to identify or refrain from speaking about it at all, he openly discussed just how secret the unit was.
“Don’t even guess about it because that will get you in big trouble. Don’t even take liberties at guessing because you’re actually crossing a legal line right there. ... I am not at liberty to discuss — ethically, legally, morally — who I worked for,” he said.
The end result of Teti’s claims was his disavowal from the Special Forces Association. While the group will not disclose the reasons why he was stripped of membership, their bylaws do mention taking action against members who misrepresent themselves in any capacity.
“He’s an embarrassment to the Regiment, because of the falsehoods, lies and embellishments he’s used in association with his Special Forces qualifications,” says retired Army Sgt. Maj. George Davenport, a longstanding member of the Special Forces Assocation.
Even if Teti had taken part in combat overseas, whether with the military or not, Davenport confirmed that Teti lied about graduating from the Special Forces Combat Diver and Special Forces Sniper courses.
“I personally checked with the Special Forces schools and he did not go to those courses. There is no record of him attending,” says Davenport, founder of the “Special Forces Poser Patrol” Facebook page, which added Teti to the group’s “Wall of Shame” Sept. 30 in the wake of the SFA’s decision.