SEAL Who Shot Bin Laden Returns Disabled: Why Is Former SEAL Without Pension And Health Care?

By Staff Reporter on February 11, 2013 3:00 PM EST

Abbotabad
Osama bin Laden's compound at Abbottabad, Pakistan. (Photo: Creative Commons)

In an effort to protect the elite soldier, the identity of the SEAL soldier that popped three bullets into the head of Osama bin Laden remains anonymous.

Though the names of the members of SEAL Team 6 are unknown, each of the men involved in the Abbottabad raid are regarded by Americans as nothing less than national heroes. Given the significance of their achievements, one would think the country would ensure that these men and their families will be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

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According to an exclusive story for Esquire by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Navy SEAL responsible for ending bin Laden's life is disabled, unemployed, waiting and hoping for disability benefits, and is denied a pension. The sole offer from Department of Veterans Affairs is a new civilian job on a beer delivery truck under a fake name.

The piece in Esquire is written by Phil Bronstein and is titled, "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden ... Is Screwed," emphasizing on the lack of aid provided by a flawed system for one of the most decorated combat veterans of our time.

"... A man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his [16-year] career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life."

Bronstein noted the many opportunities that disappeared before the veteran. Osama bin Laden's $25 million bounty will not be rewarded to the SEAL team that took down his Pakistan compound. Movie deals and book deals are also a breach of military regulation. The only offer from SEAL Command is the opportunity to drive a Milwaukee beer truck under a new name.

Many veterans returning home from war naturally pursue a career in private security. However, this is not the case for all veterans. "Many of these guys, including the Shooter, do not want to carry a gun ever again for professional use," Bronstein wrote.

Beyond the missed opportunities, the disabled SEAL veteran that killed bin Laden is also ineligible for many items that the government should have provided. Because he left military service just 36 months short of the minimum 20 years, the SEAL veteran will not receive pension; health care for his arthritis, eye damage, tendonitis, and blown disks; and protection for his family. What's more, the SEAL veteran is still awaiting disability benefits. The war had also strained his marriage as he and his wife have split under the pressure of a job that had him stationed in the Middle East for 300 days in a year. Finally, his only chance in fixing his life is via aid and support from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is only reachable through a computer-generated form letter. 

While the factors involving the former SEAL's re-entry into society are unique, the Center for Investigative Reporting's executive director explains that the challenges are very similar to what "many veterans face when leaving the service."

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