Battleland

Bin Laden Killer, Feeling Betrayed by U.S. Government, Steps into Limelight. Kind Of

In an "Esquire" article, the Navy SEAL who claims to have killed Osama bin Laden says he has nothing to show for his 16 years of service

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AAMIR QURESHI / AFP / Getty Images

Pakistani soldiers stand guard on top of Osama bin Laden's hideout hours after Navy SEALs killed him inside

The spotlight of fame is burning ever brighter for the SEALs who took down Osama bin Laden. Last year we had Matt Bissonnette’s No Easy Day about the mission. Now Esquire magazine has released a story, to appear in its March issue, featuring the SEAL who claims to have been first inside bin Laden’s bedroom and fired the shots that killed him.

While the former SEAL, who reporter Phil Bronstein calls only “the Shooter” (he is not named in the piece), tells a unique tale, he also gripes that he has nothing to show for his 16 years of service.

The good:

“For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him. Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That’s him, boom, done.

“I thought in that first instant how skinny he was, how tall and how short his beard was, all at once. He was wearing one of those white hats, but he had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I remember all that registering. I was amazed how tall he was, taller than all of us, and it didn’t seem like he would be, because all those guys were always smaller than you think.

“I’m just looking at him from right here [he moves his hand out from his face about 10 inches]. He’s got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he’s famous for. And he’s moving forward … He’s got a gun within reach. He’s a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won’t have a chance to clack himself off [blow himself up].

“In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath.

“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? This is real and that’s him. Holy s—.”

The bad:

… the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after 16 years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

Unknown

The ugly:

The apparent fact that this is how one veteran feels he has to reach out to get the help he and his family need (although several vets believe the SEAL would be entitled to five years of medical care postservice from the Veterans Administration).

Full story here.

43 comments
melonheadx13
melonheadx13

sounds like he's looking for a book deal.

flynnbw
flynnbw

It's not a "belief" issue.  It's a fact.  Anyone who served in OIF, OEF or OND (New Dawn, what we called Iraq at the very end) is eligible for five years of health benefits from the VA regardless of any service-connection.  



samthayer1958
samthayer1958

He made the choice to become a Navy SEAL, one of the most dangerous and self-destructive occupations in today's military.  What did his family think?  While I have the utmost respect for his sacrifices, he knew the rules: 20 years to a pension. 

PabloEnriquez
PabloEnriquez

Oh boo hoo. Even apparently even a SEAL can be a baby now and again. This guy's entire life he's known he had to stay in 20 to get the pension. Get out at 16 and get what the rest of the nation gets big guy. So you did your job and took out Bin Laden, awesome. You volunteered, right? I'm grateful for SEALs and I'm grateful for postmen and even Rosie the Riveter, but quit complaining. Take your 4 years of free college and great 16 years of pay you received from the Navy and move on. I got out after 8 years, fought the good fight in retail, and now have a better life. You did your job, nothing more, nothing less. I did mine too. I'm proud, but what else could your country possibly owe you after they've been so good about VA benefits, education, great pay, etc?

billyc247
billyc247

Well I hope this Xseal  can get use to the ideal of being part of the people and how we have felt all these years about our weak governmet... We The People have been stepped on for a very long time,,,, get use to it... They don't care about you no matter who you killed,,,, hard facts buddy, but it's the truth....  I had that wake up call sometime ago about our Government.....! Use you and abuse you.....and use you and abuse you some more.... Just like the american people get used and abused each and everyday....!!

marc
marc

Nowadays it has only to be rich banker or heir to the head of a fortune.Not a person who risks his life for the country, a mother or family etc. .. Today the middle class who lived now lives in a villa is  in a car with famillies.If it comes to a war who will  defend the country? Daddy's   boys or the beggars?

ajit585
ajit585

I cant believe this. I'm a veteran of the Indian Army. Any soldier/ sailor/ airman who completes his terms of engagement is guaranteed free life time medical treatment for himself and his wife in military hospitals for the rest of their lives.

TopFinster
TopFinster

There'll be more to this. I expect USSOCOM will address this in painful detail in order to right a wrong.

My last "tour" in Iraq got me over 250 missions outside the wire in a year. Started fighting third day in country, nearly killed by suicide bomber 10 days before rotation stateside. Came home pretty beat up. My service decided to re-deploy me again 45 days after arrival home despite DOD post-deployment "dwell policy". I was also selected for promotion that same year. I was done. Luckily for me I already had over 20 years and retired.

I hope this gets squared away to benefit the warrior.

MrObvious
MrObvious

That is sad. The least we can do for all the ones that are truly heroes of this nation is that we give them all the help and healthcare they need and a healthy pension at that.

They earned it - far more so then what we so easily call 'heroes' in the civilian population.

JamesHarris
JamesHarris

As a former military veteran of 22 years, with 10 of those in USSOCOM, something here is amiss.  The rules regarding Tri-Care eligibility are pretty specific in that the only individuals who are considered “retired” from the military are those who served for 20 years before they left military service, or those who have been certified medically retired because they have become disabled.  With "scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks," Why did you not apply for medical retirement disability benefits prior to your separation physical?  Did you in fact retire under RE Code 4R or did you simply ETS????



billc72069
billc72069

pretty shocking to see uncle sam give the shit to veterans when they come home while they ask us 

to honor and shake hands with them at parades !  very sad and hypocritical of the obummer administration !

they claimed that they will be cared and provided for while it is NOT TRUE at all ! Shame on uncle sam !

roknsteve
roknsteve

Remember how Bin Laden would pop up before every election when Bush was President?  I guess he wore out his usefulness.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

…the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendinitis  eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:

Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.

Why?  Shouldn't this be covered in his VA benefits or am I missing something?  The article doesn't seem to go into it much; does Seal Team 6 forfeit these military retirement perks, or has the soldier in question not served long enough to take advantage of them?

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Nothing?  Not even a silver bullet?

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