The US Navy SEAL who personally shot to death former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden says he has been neglected by the US government. The poverty-stricken ex-commando is now struggling to feed his family and pay for healthcare.
Despite killing America’s most wanted man, the US Navy SEAL referred to only as “the Shooter” has transitioned back to a civilian life plagued by poverty. The Shooter, who remains anonymous, retired from the SEALs in September 2012, thirty-six months before the 20-year requirement for retirement benefits.
And the government makes no exceptions when it comes to retirement benefits – not even for one of the Americans responsible for striking the most crushing blow against al-Qaeda.
“What is [hard] to understand is that a man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life,” writes Phil Bronstein, Executive Chair of the Center for Investigative Reporting, for Esquire.
Aside from remaining anonymous and therefore lacking recognition from the American public, the US government appears to have forgotten the Shooter’s significance in the raid that killed the most wanted terrorist. Without a pension, healthcare, or any sort of government protection, the Shooter has been left in the dark by the agency he dedicated his life to.
Unsympathetically, he was told to look for a job driving a truck to make enough money to scrape by.
“[SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee,” the Shooter said. Such a job would be a substantial downgrade from both his status and estimated $54,000 salary as a Navy SEAL.
Left without retirement benefits, the Shooter is now purchasing a private health insurance plan for $486 per month, which provides minimal coverage and fails to cover his chiropractic care.
“My health care for me and my family stopped,” he said. “I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years. Go f*ck yourself.”
The US government provides 18- days of transitional healthcare benefits, but only those who agree to remain on active duty or become a “reservist”. And it will take at least eight months before he can make requests for disability payments. Although the US government put a $25 million bounty on bin Laden, no one has ever collected the money and the Shooter now lives in poverty.