Bin Laden's shooter gets no pension or protection

The former Navy SEAL is having problems securing enough health care as well, according to a magazine report.

By Jonathan Berr Feb 12, 2013 9:57AM
Credit: MILpictures by Tom Weber
Caption: Combat ready special operation forces soldierThe Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden is having a tough time adjusting to civilian life. He left the military after 16 years of service and now has no pension, no protection for his family, a crumbling marriage and inadequate health care.

In fact, he seems more scared now than he was when he eliminated the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.

According to a heart-wrenching story in Esquire, the shooter -- whose identity is withheld -- suffers from a variety of physical and psychological ailments from his career in the Navy. They include blown disks, arthritis, tendinitis, eye damage and scar tissue.

But perhaps more painful than the physical degradation is his feeling that the federal government abandoned him after his heroic act.

The man referred to in the magazine as "the Shooter" wanted out of the military after killing bin Laden. And so he left, with more than three years to go before meeting the official retirement requirement of 20 years of service, writes Phil Bronstein, former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Because the shooter didn't meet the 20-year requirement, he did not get a pension or extended health care.

Esquire reported that the government would have provided another 180 days of health care if the shooter agreed to remain on active duty or become a reservist. Instead he chose private insurance for $486 a month.


He would be an easy al-Qaida target if his name and photograph were made known, and he can't afford to let his guard down. The member of the Navy's SEAL Team 6 has trained his children to hide in the bathroom at the first sign of trouble. He keeps a hidden gun that his wife knows how to use (though they are separated, they live together to save money). The family also keeps a set of bags packed in case they need to run for their lives.


This is no way for anyone to live, let alone someone who eliminated the biggest national security threat to the United States since Adolf Hitler. His uncle tried to help him capitalize on his notoriety by trying to get him work with Electronic Arts (EA), Bronstein wrote. The game maker, however, already has dozens of military consultants.


The government would not comment on Bronstein's story, but Stars and Stripes reported that the shooter is automatically eligible for five years of free health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Every veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan is offered the same service. In an interview with Stars and Stripes, Bronstein said the shooter didn't know the benefits were available.


If true, Bronstein's story is a damning one. "Is this how America treats its heroes?" he wrote. "The ones President Obama called 'the best of the best'? The ones Vice President Biden called 'the finest warriors in the history of the world'?"

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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408Comments
Feb 12, 2013 12:24PM
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The Won and his ilk can get life time protection but not the hero who shot Ben Laden......... Seems unfair.........
Feb 12, 2013 12:24PM
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Wow, tough crowd.  I guess the reality for everyone is that pensions and lifetime health care were something the previous generation had, not ours, no matter who you work for.  Funny though, when more people had more, it seemed like everyone had more.  How obvious, hugh?
Feb 12, 2013 12:23PM
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   I give all the cudos to the Seal that slayed the dragon and every single soldier that ever served in defense of this great country as I did for 20+ years however if you don't stay 20 years you get nothing.  Sorry but that is the way it is and everyone that serves or thinks of serving knows that.  It is the sme way in the civilian world.  One serves a minimum amount of time to attain retirement or further compensation status.  Although a much more risky occupation each person has a choice to sign the contract or not knowing what obligation they incur as well as the obligation to them from their employer.

   There are some benefits available from the GI Bill such as education and transition benefits but one will not have a monthly paycheck after quitting with less than 20.

Feb 12, 2013 12:22PM
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This is totally a disgrace.  The President of the United States is given $400.000+ a year Pension only after 4 years of service.  The Congress also gets a sizable pension after a short time and they can't even balance a budget.  
Wasn't there a $1,000,000 dollar bounty on Bin Laden's head dead or alive.  So if he killed him, where is the money?  The US government has always been corrupt and dishonest..  Why do you think they give themselves raises and tell everyone else they have to take a cut in there salary , force their Insurances down our neck, but won't have the same for themselves.  The Government works for themselves not you..
Feb 12, 2013 12:22PM
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First of all Thank you for your Service to our Country. Hey ground Airforce one and take the clothes away from MOOchelle and there you go that would help you and a lot more Veterans. They do not deserve the tax money they take from the American people. They are a couple of leaches. I am old and I never thought I would see this country in the mess Obama has got us in. He is WORTHLESS. I will Pray you will get the help and respect you deserve. Again thank you for your Service to our Country.
Feb 12, 2013 12:22PM
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HE GETS V.A. MEDICAL JUST LIKE I DO. LETS QUIT THE BLEEDING HEART CRAP IT WAS HIS CHOICE. I STILL CARRY SHRAPNEL IN MY FOOT, HEARING LOSS & BROKEN TAILBONE FROM JUMPING OUT OF A BURNING TANK  AND IM NOT WHINING ABOUT ANY OF THIS.  TIME FOR HIM TO " MAN " UP 
Feb 12, 2013 12:21PM
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If his medical conditions prevent him from performing his duties he could request a medical retirement from the military. If his income is low he is also eligible for VA medical care based on that but can also apply for service connection to receive VA Compensation and medical care. I am shocked that the military allowed him to execute such a poor decision.
Feb 12, 2013 12:21PM
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Truth is... The men and women who volunteer for Spec war end up damaged... It is a harsh reality that you do not understand when you are 17-21 and they count on that. Once in ... you do not want out until you realize the truth......yet it is fun ,exciting and crazy.  The military is a machine that chews you up and spits you out. I wish him luck and all the returning men and women. 
Feb 12, 2013 12:21PM
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we should give these people med care this is messed up they fought for us they should get something back and we ow them that i thank all the people that went over there and did what they did for us
Feb 12, 2013 12:19PM
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Why should this guy be any different?? NOBODY gets benefits at 16 years.  Guys need to plan for their separation from service.  

PS,  the fact that this guy shot Bin Laden should NOT be public knowledge 
Feb 12, 2013 12:18PM
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I wish this ex-Navy SEAL the best...and hope someone steps up to the plate soon.
Feb 12, 2013 12:17PM
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well why did u get out crazy man u defended our country like i did i did 22 yrs, i agree with chief in last write up i spent 17 yrs on the water missed 2 kid's being born i loved it it was my choice i did my time now iam getting a pension and v.a. disabilty liveing great if i were u id try to go back in unless for some un godly reason u can't sry dude but i think u screwed up. if u read all these post would like to hear your side. u.s.n. ret bm (sw) craftmaster
Feb 12, 2013 12:16PM
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Although getting the information needed is sometimes somewhat difficult, this man should have been offered some kind of exit training and assistance. He is eligible for VA care and should definitely pursue that. As for his family, that is an unfortunate fact of leaving prior to 20 years and I am pretty sure he knew that. He is a brave and courageous man and should get every bit of what he is entitled to but no more than any other military member who decides on his own to get out prior to his 20 years. Had he waited, he would have had a pension plus his disability and Tricare health coverage for his family..I am fairly certain he could have avoided further deployments and filled the rest of his time in other positions.Now, it is on him to pursue his options and create a new life for his family and for himself.
Feb 12, 2013 12:15PM
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Not sure what the mystery is.  The military has retirement guidelines just like many civilian businesses.  If I'm guessing right, retirement benefits in the military kick in after 20 years, regardless whether you're a slouch or a seal, that's the deal.  This is not like he was promised retirement and benefits after 10 years and now all of a sudden he has been blindsided.  The military is a job, maybe more dangerous at times than most, but a job.  Hell, my dad was in for 33 years, served in both Europe and the Pacific in WWII, Korea and Vietnam, so this has nothing to do with being anti-military.  He did it because that's what he wanted to do, no one forced him.  As with any job, know what you're getting into and what your benefits are, including when you're eligible.  If this guy will get his stuff together, he will come out of this OK, probably better than many.
Feb 12, 2013 12:15PM
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Nobody can ignore both the psychological and physical impact of going to war, to put his/her life at risk everyday to protect our own freedom and way-of-life. Every military coming back home from war and suffering from either psychological or physical pain, should get free health insurance for him/herself as well as for their children. They also should be given a full pension they can live on for life. I would not mind paying higher taxes for these heroes. How about much higher taxes! Well, it is not going to happen under this current administration which is more concerned about raising taxes to pay for public pension fund recipient or spend trillion of dollars on solar energy, on infrastructures (for union workers only) or  for too many other pet projects that could wait. It's not that the government should not spend money on those projects but common sense would argue for setting priorities when it comes to spending tax dollars. Why don't we allocate that money first to our heroes and make sure that they are treated with the dignity they deserve, with the love and the thanks of a whole nation?

 

Feb 12, 2013 12:15PM
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Interesting responses here.  Did it occur to any of you that this guy had to retire because of physical problems with the service refusing him early retirement because of them?  Funny how the liberal turkeys praided thier master Obama when Bin Laden was killed, like he really had anything to do with it.  Here, for the one of the guys who actually did the hard part, just snide remarks, shows the true colors of "tolerant"  Obama lovers.

 

Feb 12, 2013 12:14PM
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There are many heroes in our military. Many go above and beyond their duty. This man certainly did. He is probably suffering from PTSD. Even though his action eliminated Bin Laden, he is really no different than any other soldier doing his or her duty. He knew that he had to stay for 20 years in order to receive all the benefits, but he chose to leave. VA's are excellent and that's where he should apply. It seems, by this article, that he expects special treatment because he did his duty. That's unfortunate because he's actually no different than any other veteran. I feel sorry for him, but he shouldn't ever expect special treatment. I left the military after 11 years. I get all the VA benefits, but I get no 'pension' or special health insurance. I didn't expect it. I just did my duty.

Feb 12, 2013 12:14PM
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This is typical left wing information.... The military and the government are very specific with retirement benifits. You need a mininum of 20 years. Just because he is a seal he is not different from anyone else in the Military. That is or was just job. If he has problems with his body he can file for disability throught the armed forces system . He can also use all VA hosipitals.. ....Also with his skills there are numerous jobs for him in the government or civilian .... So I don't really know what the story is.... But come on man .....
Feb 12, 2013 12:13PM
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He left short, Sorry it was not the best of choices. The VA can assist with his ailments and provide services.  If he is disabled they can take care of that as well, he needs to apply. 

For what ever reason he left, he should have been made aware of the consiquenses of the action, and I am sure he was.  I feel for him but 3-4 years shy after 16 years of service does not entitle you to benefits iin a volunter force. You need to stay 20 or more unless forced out by a reduction in force. If he asked I am sure he could have cross trained into a less demanding position for the last 4 years of his tour, but he chose to leave that yeilds no benefits. 

Feb 12, 2013 12:13PM
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Retirement is based on years of service, not a single event.  I served 25 years in the Marine Corps and saw combat during three tours and, based on those combat expereinces believe PSD is a problem for this guy so he deserves VA assistance and medical support.  That said, he does not deserve a retirement.  He didn't earn it.  He chose to quit early for personal reasons.
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