Esquire magazine has a fascinating article up on the SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden and the struggles he has gone through since leaving the military.
Identified only as "The Shooter," his story is chronicled in "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden ... Is Screwed."
The Shooter recounts entering the room where Bin Laden was and seeing him with one of his wives. The room was pitch black but The Shooter had night-vision goggles.
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.You'd think that such service to his country wouldn't leave The Shooter high and dry after leaving the military, but he is now adrift. He is split from his wife, fearful for his and his family's safety and left without a pension or government insurance.
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 shit.
The loss of income and insurance and no pension aside, she can no longer walk onto the local base if she feels a threat to her family. They've surrendered their military IDs. If something were to happen, the Shooter has instructed her to take the kids to the base gate anyway and demand to see the commanding officer, or someone from the SEAL team. "He said someone will come get us."Disgraceful is about the only word that describes it. Although his experience is certainly not unique. Countless veterans going back to the Revolutionary War have been screwed over. It's shameful.
Because of the mission, she says that "my family is always going to be at risk. It's just a matter of finding coping strategies."
The Shooter still dips his hand in his pocket when they're in a store, checking for a knife in case there's an emergency. He also keeps his eyes on the exits.
He's lost some vision, he can't get his neck straight for any period of time. Right now, she's just waiting to see what he creates for himself in this new life.
And she's waiting to see how he replaces even the $60,000 a year he was making (with special pay bonuses for different activities). Or how they can afford private health insurance that covers spinal injections she needs for her own sports injuries.
The best offer that the Department of defense could come up with for him was some kind of makeshift witness protection program in which he would drive a beer truck in Milwaukee.
The article goes into great detail about the raid and the planning that went into it. It also makes one reference to a discussion about what they would do if things went horibly wrong.
The group discussed what would happen if they were surrounded by Pakistani troops. We would surrender. The original plan was to have Vice-President Biden fly to Islamabad and negotiate our release with Pakistan's president.
This is hearsay, but I understand Obama said, Hell no. My guys are not surrendering. What do we need to rain hell on the Pakistani military? That was the one time in my life I was thinking, I am fucking voting for this guy. I had a picture of him lying in bed at night, thinking, You're not fucking with my guys. Like, he's thinking about us.