The former SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden gets no pension or protection from the military after 16 years of service.
As “The Shooter” puts it, there is no landing pad for guys like him leaving the Navy. “Thanks for your sixteen years. Go f— yourself,” he told Pulitzer Prize winner Phil Bronstein in Esquire. Bronstein offers a troubling account of what life is like for the man who killed the most notorious terrorist the world has ever seen in a new story with the Center for Investigative Reporting.
The Shooter tells Bronstein that he left the service 36 months before the minimum 20 years needed for retirement. His Tricare health insurance ended the day he left the Navy.
Bronstein talked to The Shooter’s wife about his situation:
The loss of income and insurance and no pension aside, she can no longer walk onto the local base if she feels a threat to her family. They’ve surrendered their military IDs. If something were to happen, the Shooter has instructed her to take the kids to the base gate anyway and demand to see the commanding officer, or someone from the SEAL team. “He said someone will come get us.”
Because of the mission, she says that “my family is always going to be at risk. It’s just a matter of finding coping strategies.”
The Shooter still dips his hand in his pocket when they’re in a store, checking for a knife in case there’s an emergency. He also keeps his eyes on the exits.
He’s lost some vision, he can’t get his neck straight for any period of time. Right now, she’s just waiting to see what he creates for himself in this new life.
And she’s waiting to see how he replaces even the $60,000 a year he was making (with special pay bonuses for different activities). Or how they can afford private health insurance that covers spinal injections she needs for her own sports injuries.
“This is new to us, not having the team.”
The Shooter also talked about his financial situation:
“I just want to be able to pay all those bills, take care of my kids, and work from there,” he says. “I’d like to take the things I learned and help other people in any way I can.”
Monday on The Ron and Don Show, the guys declared, “We can do better.”
The show launched a fundraising page to benefit The Shooter and his family.
“Let’s help him start a new chapter by raising a ‘pension’ with thanks from the American people,” said Don.
All donations are tax-deductible. Everything (except a 3 percent IndieGoGo platform fee) will go to a fund for The Shooter set up with Crimestoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County.