I Killed Osama bin Laden— and Now I'm Unemployed
'Esquire' talks to 'the Shooter'
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2013 7:29 AM CST
Updated Feb 11, 2013 11:00 AM CST
An image of Osama bin Laden.   (AP Photo/Arshad Butt)

(Newser) – In what will likely be the day's second-biggest talker, Esquire and the Center for Investigative Reporting have published an interview with the SEAL Team 6 member who shot Osama bin Laden. Phil Bronstein, the executive chair of CIR, spent a year talking to the anonymous shooter (referred to as "the Shooter"), ultimately producing a nearly 15,000-word piece titled, "The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden ... Is Screwed." The headline encapsulates the two-fold nature of the piece: recounting the "most definitive account" (verified by a number of sources, including other SEALS) "of those crucial few seconds" in which the Shooter put three bullets into bin Laden's head; and tackling this incongruity: "that a man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his [16-year] career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life."

Bronstein catalogs the absent opportunities, like the $25 million bounty on bin Laden's head that won't go to the team and the movies and books from which it won't benefit; and the single offer from SEAL command that he could drive a beer truck in Milwaukee under a new identity. And while a private security job might be a valid route, "many of these guys, including the Shooter, do not want to carry a gun ever again for professional use." Bronstein also catalogs what the Shooter lacks: pension (he left service 36 months short of the necessary 20 years), healthcare (though he battles arthritis, eye damage, tendonitis, and blown disks), protection for his family (from a retaliatory attack), disability benefits (he's waiting), a healthy marriage (he and his wife have split, under the pressure of a job that took him away as many as 300 days a year), and communication from the VA (computer-generated form letters aside). And as CIR's executive director explains in an editor's note, while the Shooter faces "exceptional" issues upon his re-entry to society, they're "similar to those many veterans face when leaving the service." See the full piece for many more fascinating details, or read about an unusual development at the site of bin Laden's assassination.

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Showing 3 of 191 comments
Feb 12, 2013 5:02 PM CST
Lazy or dishonest excuse for journalism. What a liar.
Feb 12, 2013 11:29 AM CST
Well last drive thru I went through was staffed by guys way more stupid then a decorated Navy Seal. So.. you can't get a job or just do not want too...
Feb 11, 2013 7:28 PM CST
I don't believe this story; it reeks of BS. As anyone who may have spent some time in the service knows that you do not voluntarily get out of the service at sixteen years unless something went wrong or someone offered you job starting off at six digit figures guaranteed for at least ten years, so that it’s worth sacrificing your military retirement over. Many of the comments I read below are dead on. From my experience, by act of congress the VA administration/hospital will take care of all service related injuries or sickness; I assume this SEAL has a long list military related injuries/illnesses which would qualify him. By the way, you never leave the service or transition into a career change unless you have a plan. Remember, we’ve been trained to plan BEFORE we execute (there’s always a plan). Filing for disability compensation takes time (six months for me when I retired). Sorry about the marriage breakup, but it happens especially with long deployments. I was fortunate enough to have the same loving wife for the majority of my twenty-eight years of active duty; sadly most of our military friends who married at the same time we did are no longer together. The Navy, just like the other branches of the service has a transition assistance program, which is mandatory for all personnel leaving the service; they tell you about all the VA benefits you’re eligible for, job assistance, education, etc. Now for the real kicker, all my active duty buds and including myself are all aware that if everything else fails so far as landing a job, you can, because of your military skills, hire out as a contractor with Vinnell Corporation, or Halliburton or other agencies which have defense contracts and you get a big blast of money for doing so. The first thirteen job offers I received when I retired were from guys I’d served with who became defense contractors (I was not interested). With this SEAL’s background I assume he would be a hot commodity for any defense contractor. There has got to be more to this story than what we’re being told. Could this guy have received a less than honorable discharge which makes him ineligible for most VA benefits?