Monday, February 11, 2013

SEAL who killed bin Laden retires, loses pension, health care

(Yahoo! News) The U.S. Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden is speaking out for the first time since the May 1, 2011, raid on the al-Qaida leader's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

In an interview with Esquire, the former SEAL—identified as "The Shooter" due to what the magazine described as "safety" reasons—said he's been largely abandoned by the U.S. government since leaving the military last fall.

He told Esquire he decided to speak out to both correct the record of the bin Laden mission and to put a spotlight on how some of the U.S. military's highly trained and accomplished soldiers are treated by the government once they return to civilian life.

Despite killing the world's most-wanted terrorist, he said, he was not given a pension, health care or protection for himself or his family.

"[SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee," he told Esquire.

Plus, he said, "my health care for me and my family stopped. 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 16 years. Go f--- yourself."

The problem seems to be that "The Shooter" left the military well before the 20-year requirement for retirement benefits.

According to the magazine, the government provides 180 days of transitional health care benefits, but the Shooter was ineligible because he did not agree to remain on active duty in a support role or become a "reservist." Instead, the magazine noted, he will "have to wait at least eight months to have his disability claims adjudicated."