The Navy SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden has finally broken his silence - albeit anonymously - in an the interview with Esquire. Unfortunately the takeaway everyone is talking about is the SEAL's revelation that he received no health care or pension after leaving the military:
"My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night," he told Esquire of the day he left the Navy.
I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You're out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years. Go f**k yourself.
If he'd been in the Navy for two decades he would have been entitled to transitional healthcare and a pension, but since he left after 16 years, he received neither. He has health problems including arthritis, tendonitis, and blown discs, and hasn't been able to find work. His disability claims are still being processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, with an average wait time of 9 months. In the interview, he doesn't discuss why he isn't receiving other forms of assistance offered by the VA.
The anonymous SEAL also told powerful stories about the raid. He described another team member's bravery:
He thought he was going to absorb the blast of suicide vests; he was going to kill himself so I could get the shot. It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen.
The team weren't told initially that they'd be taking down bin Laden:
'Three of us were driving to our first briefing on the mission,' [the shooter] said. 'We were thinking maybe it was Libya, but we knew there would be very high-level brass there. One of my guys says, "I bet it's bin Laden."' Another guy told the Shooter, "If it's Osama bin Laden, dude, I will suck yo' dick." [The Shooter said,] "So after I shoot UBL, I bring him over to see his body. 'Okay,' I told him, 'now is as good a time as any.'
He also recalls thinking his team wouldn't make it out of the raid alive:
We all knew that none of us were coming back alive. It was either death or a Pakistani prison, where we'd be raped for the rest of our lives.
Update, Feb 12, 1:15am PST: As Politixer DARSB points out, "the shooter" is eligible for 5 years of free healthcare from the VA, as are all veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the shooter apparently didn't know that, according to his interviewer for Esquire, Phil Bronstein.