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