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Bin Laden Shooter Facing Uncertain Future | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London, Asharq Al-Awsat-The Navy SEAL who killed Osama Bin Laden is reportedly facing financial hardship after the terms of his military discharge left him without a pension or health insurance, according to a profile of the man published this week by Esquire magazine.

The individual, identified in the article only as ‘The Shooter,’ discussed his career in the American special forces, his service in Iraq and Afghanistan, his participation in the raid in Abbottabad that killed Bin Laden, and his subsequent financial problems, over a period of months with the writer Phil Bronstein.

After discussing the measures he took to verify his subject’s claim, Bronstein writes: “it’s a simple truth that those who have been most exposed to harrowing danger for the longest time during our recent unending wars now find themselves adrift in civilian life, trying desperately to adjust, often scrambling to make ends meet.” ‘The Shooter’ resigned from the US Navy in September 2012, after 16 years of service, eight of which he spent in one of the most secret and elite units in the US military, known to the public as ‘SEAL Team 6,’ though its official designation is reported to be the Naval Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU).

He told Bronstein that he felt that he had done enough and that he wanted to see his children grow up.

To qualify for a pension equivalent to half of his annual pay, he would have had to have served a further three years. As things currently stand, he is not entitled to any money from his former employers at all. According to the same profile, though separated from his wife and the mother of his three children, ‘The Shooter’ still lives with them in an effort to save money.

He must also pay from his own pocket for medical treatment for the injuries he has suffered from his years of intense training and combat, as his family’s medical insurance ended when he left the military.

However, he is still bound by the secrecy of his former profession, making it difficult for him to profit from his experiences. For instance, a colleague from the same unit who wrote a best-selling book about his exploits, No Easy Day, was threatened with a lawsuit from the US Defense Department. ‘The Shooter’ also fears for the safety of his family from terrorist reprisals if he seeks a higher public profile, and like many military veterans unsure about how his skills will serve him in civilian life.

As one of his colleagues told Bronstein: “Most of us have nothing to offer the public. We can track down and kill the enemy really well, but that’s it.” According to the magazine, one popular option for former Special Forces soldiers, private military contractors like Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) is closed to him.

The reason? He no longer wishes to carry a gun. As he told the magazine: “I’ve fought all the fights. I don’t have a need for excitement anymore.”