The U.S. Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden is speaking out for the first time since the May 1, 2011, raid on the al-Qaida leader's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. In an interview with Esquire, the former SEAL—identified as "The Shooter" due to what the magazine described as "safety" reasons—said he's been largely abandoned by the U.S. government since leaving the military last fall.
He told Esquire he decided to speak out to both correct the record of the bin Laden mission and to put a spotlight on how some of the U.S. military's highly trained and accomplished soldiers are treated by the government once they return to civilian life.
Despite killing the world's most-wanted terrorist, he said, he was not given a pension, health care or protection for himself or his family.
"[SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee," he told Esquire. Plus, he said, "my health care for me and my family stopped. I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You're out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your 16 years. Go f--- yourself."
The problem seems to be that "The Shooter" left the military well before the 20-year requirement for retirement benefits.
According to the magazine, the government provides 180 days of transitional health care benefits, but the Shooter was ineligible because he did not agree to remain on active duty in a support role or become a "reservist." Instead, the magazine noted, he will "have to wait at least eight months to have his disability claims adjudicated."
The SEAL also gave his account of the historic raid, including the moment he pulled the trigger and shot bin Laden.
“In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead," he told Esquire. "Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed. He was dead. I watched him take his last breaths. And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I've ever done, or the worst thing I've ever done?
"I'm not religious," he added. "But I always felt I was put on the earth to do something specific. After that mission, I knew what it was."
He also recalled watching CNN's coverage of the first anniversary of bin Laden's death.
"They were saying, 'So now we're taking viewer e-mails. Do you remember where you were when you found out Osama bin Laden was dead?' And I was thinking: Of course I remember. I was in his bedroom looking down at his body."
In September 2012, fellow former SEAL Team 6 member Matt Bissonnette published a controversial book, "No Easy Day," under a pen name about the raid, drawing the ire of both his fellow SEALs and the Pentagon. A spokeswoman for Esquire told Yahoo News that the magazine did not pay the SEAL for the interview.
What they also dont tell you he's also trying to promote his book. Also, every veteran that ETS gets 100% free healthcare (minus dental) for the first 5 years they're out. Yet they dont tell you that in the story either. He's still eligible for military compensation (for injuries that occur while your in service for those who dont know), which is whats taking the "8 months" to process. Thats actually the typical time table for it as well. They warn you of this when your clearing.
What i took out of it is he's just looking for a cash grab because he's the one who pulled the trigger on Bin Laden.
Even if you say well the U.S. military has policies and what not, this guy KILLED Bin Laden which greatly added to the current administration's achievements. I'm pretty sure he deserves to kick it up for the rest of his life and the very least have insurance for his family and himself.
Why would he be more important than your average infantryman who did a 15 month long combat tour in the Korengal Valley? If he wanted to keep his TRICARE insurance he should have done the full 20 years and retired.
So you're telling me the man and his family don't deserve insurance?
Yeah, pretty much. There are hundreds of thousands of combat veterans that walk the streets every day after having got out of military service. Do you feel that you should be paying for healthcare for all of them when they volunteered to do what they did? If not, why? This guy did his job just like the average infantryman who was ambushed on a patrol or the average fister who set up a ROZ and launched shells. He's not special. I hate to break it to you, though.
Last edited by Glass Shatters; 02-11-2013 at 02:57 PM.