Tuesday, February 19, 2013

He killed Bin Laden, but that was Yesterday

If you care about the special forces who've done so much for us since 9/11, you should read "The Shooter: the man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden." The article appears in the March 2013 issue of "Esquire." This man is a hero and our government has treated him like crap.
Maybe it's because we have an all volunteer force and no students have to worry about being drafted, but sometimes I think our country no longer values the people who put their lives on the line for us.
Phil Bronstein, the former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, has spent a lot of time with this man and his Seal Team Six comrades.
He records how after 16 years of service and a body covered with scar tissue he retired from the Navy Seals.
What did he get for being an American hero?
"Nothing. No pension, no healthcare, and no protection for himself and his family," Bronstein said.
It's just not a needless worry, this concern about protection. After the White House made a big thing about the death of Osama Bin Laden, reporters converged on the neighborhood where The Shooter lives. Many terrorists would like to win their spurs by killing him and his family.
One Seal Team Six member wrote a best-selling book "No Easy Day." Matt Bissonnette made a few bucks writing that book. The Shooter, along with others of the 23 Seals who went into Pakistan, feel that violated the code of the "quiet professional" they were expected to follow.
I urge you to read this article and decide if we value our war heroes.
(In May 2011, I wrote a blog about my personal war hero, Frederick (Ted) Marks. (it's called "Heart of A Navy Seal" and its listed on the bottom of the blog's first page).We worked together at United Press International in Boston and I really admired him.)


  1. Unfortunately, the Esquire article was filled with factual errors and deliberate distortions about this former SEAL's eligibility for health care and other assertions about how he was treated when he decided to leave the Navy short of retirement. All of us OIF/OEF combat veterans receive an in-depth briefing about our VA healthcare system entitlements when we outprocess upon demobilization or are discharged from active duty. We are all entitled to receive 5 years of free medical care at the closest VA medical clinic, which takes literally 30 minutes to sign up for. (This is not to be confused with the application process for a VA disability claim, which unfortunately has been taking far too long due to the overwhelming numbers of OIF/OEF vets deluging the system with very valid injuries.)
    "No pension"? Well, duh...this sailor knew full well that by electing to leave just four years short of 20 years he forfeited a retirement pension and the included benefits, including Tricare coverage for he and his family. That was HIS choice, not the result of our government treating him "like crap."
    You might take note of the responses a majority of this sailor's former teammates have quietly offered to this story...they haven't been very supportive, and they all refute the former SEAL's claim that "nobody told me" about his options during outprocessing.
    Bottom Line: This sailor was offered lots of options to retain his military benefits and qualify for a retirement. He made an informed decision to leave the Navy despite the consequences, and those consequences are on him.

    1. Thanks for setting me straight on some of these issues.