The member of the U.S. Navy SEALS (Sea, Air, Land Teams) who killed Osama Bin Laden in the 2011 nighttime raid on the Al Qaeda leader's compound in Abbottabad has finally broken his silence. Recently, men's magazine Esquire wrote about the guy — who's remaining anonymous — and his attempts to form a post-Osama life. With no assistance from the Navy or the government, he's been left with no insurance, no job, and no security. But he's got a lot of good stories.
The SEAL officer — who is calls throughout the story, more than a little melodramatically, The Shooter — left the Navy last September, retiring after 16 years. That's four shy of the full 20, which means no transitional health insurance and no pension. And with no desire to become a security contractor, few job prospects. The last job help the Navy offered him was a witness protection-like setup: he'd become a beer-truck driver in Milwaukee, under an assumed identity, and he and his family would have to give up any contact with their former lives.
"The Shooter" has no desire to go public about who he is, for security reasons as much as anything. His wife and kids have been taught home-defense tactics that edge into paranoia, and are considering transferring all titles and bill to her name, to sever his paper connection to the family. Which means he's like almost any other veteran finding inadequate institutional support during a difficult transition into civilian life: depressingly common.
But, okay. If nothing else, he's got stories. He's not unpoetic when it comes to the assassination itself.
"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'.
"Everybody wanted him dead, but nobody wanted to say, 'Hey, you're going to kill this guy'. It was just sort of understood that's what we wanted to do."