Skip to comments.Meet the man who shot Bin Laden (Is this how America treats her heroes?)
Posted on 02/11/2013 5:22:42 PM PST by SeekAndFind
I want to call this the feelgood story of the day but it’s the opposite. There are feelgood moments --- Bin Laden ends up with a few extra postmortem bullet holes, and don't miss the conversation the SEALs have on their way to the first briefing about the mission --- but ultimately it's the tale of a hero abandoned. No pension(!), no health care(!!), family troubles, little help transitioning to the private sector, and eternal worry about reprisals from jihadis. Everyone wishes they could have been the one to pull the trigger on Osama; see how you feel about that after the Esquire piece.
If you read only one eyewitness account today of the leader of Al Qaeda taking three bullets in the face, let it be this one.
The SEALs had nightscopes, but it was coal-black for bin Laden and the other residents. He can hear but he can't see.
He looked confused. And way taller than I was expecting. He had a cap on and didn't appear to be hit. I can't tell you 100 percent, but he was standing and moving. He was holding her in front of him. Maybe as a shield, I don’t know.
For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him. Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That’s him, boom, done.
I thought in that first instant how skinny he was, how tall and how short his beard was, all at once. He was wearing one of those white hats, but he had, like, an almost shaved head. Like a crew cut. I remember all that registering. I was amazed how tall he was, taller than all of us, and it didn’t seem like he would be, because all those guys were always smaller than you think.
I’m just looking at him from right here [he moves his hand out from his face about ten inches]. He’s got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he’s famous for. And he’s moving forward. I don’t know if she’s got a vest and she’s being pushed to martyr them both. He’s got a gun within reach. He’s a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won’t have a chance to clack himself off [blow himself up].
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.
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?
The thought of Bin Laden standing there in the dark, disoriented, hearing the gunshots and melting with dread at what might be coming, is a small but satisfying bit of poetic justice for what people trapped in the Towers endured. Then, the shots. Quote: “His forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V. I could see his brains spilling out over his face. The American public doesn’t want to know what that looks like.” I’m … not so sure that’s true, but okay. He ends up back at the base in Afghanistan, eating a breakfast sandwich while standing next to Bin Laden’s body and watching Obama announce the killing on TV. He gives the CIA agent who helped find Bin Laden, a woman you already know, the magazine that was in his gun when he shot him. Later, he retires from the service after 16 years (four short of pension eligibility), returns to civilian life, and has to cope with near-zero support from the government. Which, I assume, is why he’s talking about this now: It’s too dangerous to identify himself, as lucrative as that would be, but by publicizing his situation maybe he can shame the feds into doing better by their elite veterans.
Exit question: How can the guy who shot Bin Laden not be eligible for military health insurance?
One has to serve for twenty years before being eligible for a military pension. It’s not at all clear from the article as to why the ‘Shooter’ retired sooner.
Too Far You Say?
Let's Remember This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2An9Qch2pQ
Yes, for the most part since President Reagan left, it is. I wish he’d send me his resume, I’d find something for him. That’s what I did for the best part of 15 years at the unemployment office.
After getting bin Laden, there’s nothing left to do in that line of work but get killed.
Since the end of World War II, America has typically either ignored its heroes or crapped on them.
They’ll get a better reception in heaven when the time comes (may it not be soon), where good works are unfailingly rewarded.
Yes, though I would say he didn’t retire, he just resigned. And since you’re not eligible for an active duty pension before serving 20 years, he chose his fate.
He probably could’ve taken some paper-pushing clerk-type job for the remaining four years, but apparently he chose not to — why not?
On the other hand I have an aquaintance who has a “zero percent” military disability, and because he lives in CA his kids will go to college for free, paid for by CA.
Doesn’t seem right.
“Exit question: How can the guy who shot Bin Laden not be eligible for military health insurance?”
First of all thanks for posting this article. You know the answer to your question. Pension eligibility is the same for all soldiers. Period. End of story. However it would seem the military should do something unofficially to offer protection in this case.
Although I’m grateful for his years of service, the rules clearly state 20 years of service is required for lifetime coverage and he only served 16. Was he informed of this? He should have been.
I really don’t understand why he quit 4 years too soon...
Why would special protection be in order? We don’t even know this guys name. If his name was released, thats one thing, but as long as its secret I don’t see a problem.
If he’d quit bellyaching to the media his name would more likely STAY a secret. And yes, I used the word “bellyaching”. We who were in the military all knew what the rules are. You stay in 20 years, you get the benefits. He decided to leave early. I’m not sure why he thinks he should be treated differently.
Simple, noticehow many Seals involvedin this raidare now dead.....
Amen to that.
Additionally can anyone explain why this task was publicly announced as being carried out by the seals?
I believe that was Biden that divulged that tidbit of information.
I’m a little skeptical.....when I left the Army there were job placement classes and a database of companies willing to hire ex-soldiers. You’d think the SEALS would be a tight knit group that helped each other find work in a similar fashion.
Also for some reason I envisioned the ‘shooter’ would be much younger. A guy with sixteen years in would be a squad leader type....not a point man.
From what I heard about the full article, it was family issues that prompted him leaving. We get these young dedicated tough men and we seem to imagine they will forego a family and it just rarely works out that way for more than a portion of them.
Traveling in business with only transitory postings is hard — traveling in “deadly” business would be impossibly hard on the other family memebers in many cases. If a 16 year fellow was 18 to 20 when he joined and his wife he meets in 3 years his junior, by the time he has in 16 years, she is either halfway through her child bearing years waiting or has a number of young kids with a father that is not there all that much. Tough all around.
Another strange story associated with bin Laden, the man with 9 lives. I’d like to know more about this situation in determining if we should be concerned about the general handling of ex-active military.
Ask Ira Hayes.
I think you are right about Biden making it known that the Seals carried out the assassination.
I am skeptical too, I question his claims of all the health issues. If he has numerous health issues I doubt he would have been the go to guy to begin with. He also should have been able to get medical retirement or at least in the process to try to medically retire he should have been awarded disability percentages to qualify for VA disability. Meaning his VA claims would have been done before he got out or close to it. Even if he didn’t qualify for disability he should be eligible for VA health care if he is indeed unemployed.
I wondered about your points too, he said he wasn’t interested in security work so can’t get a job- former SEALS work in many fields and many have their own businesses so their should be work opportunities in the SEAL community in many careers.
Sounds fishy and wouldn’t be the first time media has been played if he is not real.
He won't answer any more.
They did a great disservice to Ira Hayes and the other survivors of the group caught in the photo of the flagraisers when they were singled out and treated as heroes. They didn't feel any more deserving of the attention than of all the other Americans fighting and dying on Iwo Jima. They were all heroes, but those six just happened to be in the photograph. Without all that publicity, maybe Ira Hayes would have been more successful in readjusting to civilian life.
I mean no disrespect to Ira Hayes but the situations are not entirely comparable. Hayes was one of millions who served bravely in WWII, but he didn't have to worry about Japanese tracking him down in Arizona afterwards to try to kill him, in the way that the man who shot Bin Laden has to fear Al Qaeda.
“ultimately it’s the tale of a hero abandoned. No pension(!), no health care(!!), family troubles, little help transitioning to the private sector”
Heroes and non-heroes alike shouldn’t have to worry about going back to private life and living as most Americans do without government help.
The no pension, no health insurance, no help is the situation of many a taxpaying citizen.
The real story is not that he wants a pension, insurance and other help, the real story is that after 16 years as a SEAL, having to live as the rest of America does under the burden of government and regulation, he finds it so hard that even someone who knows extreme mental and physical hardship finds it unbearable.
It is what government has wrought upon us that this man cannot simply rely on his ably-demonstrated wits, his personal fortitude, and his hard work to provide the things that he needs to be successful.
This guy has an interesting story to tell, and he may well be able to personally profit from it. I wish him well.
Why single out Ira Hayes?
Why not John Bradley?
He was there also, going on on to have a very successful career, raise a family and never spoke of his involvement (his son wrote 'Flags of our Father' and never knew the full story.
Ira Hayes found solace in alcohol, Mr. Brady responded differently.
Both men experienced the same thing, while responding differently. You cannot blame that on the government (though they are not w/o sin in the whole thing).
Correction: Mr. Bradley
I’d bet, with this guy’s military resume, he’d be welcomed back to the service for his remaining 4 years. Something isn’t adding up, and it seems like there was some odd reason why he bailed. I don’t know what his deal is, and we may never know what’s really happened here, but as I said, he’d be welcomed back, if he is healthy enough to serve.
Put it down to my contrary nature. But what I was trying to point out is that the idea that there was some kind of Golden Age when any American Hero was carried around on a velvet cushion is just a tad bit off the mark.
For one thing most of them would have (and still will) take that cushion away from you and smack you with it.
For another most of the heroes are people that you and I have never heard of.
Yesterday and today we have had heroes who have been treated badly and we have had heroes who have been treated well.
We have also had Heroes who have behaved badly both before and after their heroism and Heroes who have behaved well both before and after their heroism.
I have a nephew, former ranger, served in Afghanistan, before the shooting started, doing recon, (he is about 5'6", maybe 140 soaking wet), he later did several 'tours' doing private security in Iraq.
Never talks about it (except to his dad). Whenever he was asked (such as by his cousins) his standard comment is:
"War stories are for the drunk at the end of the bar, and they are usually full of #hit."