The mysterious Navy SEAL Team Six member who shot and killed 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden in 2011 has been revealed by SOFREP, a veterans-owned and operated website that gives “insights on news, events and history through the eyes of special operations forces.”
Rob O’Neill is a 38-year-old, highly decorated military veteran hailing from Butte, Montana, who retired from the Navy after 16 years.
Here are some things to know about him:
Why did he come out?
He was unhappy. He got sick of the way he was treated despite being a veteran hero. Identified only as The Shooter, he talked to Esquire in 2012 about his inability to “feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care.” despite being a veteran hero.
"I would go back overseas today and deal with fighting ISIS face-to-face rather than deal with the last two years again," he said during a recent interview.
Isn’t it risky?
The first question that comes to mind is doesn’t it make things risky for O’Neill?
Not many are happy about his revealing his identity.
“At Naval Special Warfare’s core is the SEAL ethos,” Rear Adm. Brian Losey and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci wrote in a letter to Naval Special Warfare sailors.
“A critical tenant of our ethos is ‘I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.’ Our ethos is a lifelong commitment and obligation, both in and out of the service. Violators of our ethos are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare."
Then there is the risk from Islamic militants.
But he is not afraid and neither is his family.
“People are asking if we are worried that ISIS will come and get us because Rob is going public. I say I'll paint a big target on my front door and say come and get us,” says Tom O’Neill, Rob’s proud father.
He is a true hero
Tom O’Neill has every reason to be proud of his son. Apart from the 2011 attack on the Abbotabad hideout of the Al-Qaeda mastermind Osama Bin Laden, his son has had a remarkable military career with 52 medals, including two Silver Stars, three Presidential Unit citations and four Bronze Stars for valor.
He’s had movies made based on his missions
His mission to help save Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell after a failed 2005 mission in Afghanistan was made into a movie called Lone Survivor staring Mark Wahlberg.
According to his dad Tom O’Neill, his son was the first SEAL to jump aboard the Maersk Alabama after it was hijacked in 2009 by Somali pirates. The ship’s Capt. Richard Phillips was rescued in the SEAL operation, which was also turned into a film, Captain Phillips, starring Tom Hanks.
He joined the Navy because of a broken heart
His girlfriend jilted him; he was broken-hearted and angry and went to the nearest Navy office to sign up.
"That's the reason Al Qaeda has been decimated," he joked in his Esquire interview, "because she broke my f***ing heart."
He Now Works As A Motivational Speaker
Robert O’Neill is now a paid inspirational speaker.
We don't need no stinking TelePrompTer!! pic.twitter.com/CdSBjdEoMl— Robert O'Neill (@mchooyah) September 30, 2014
Great event in Vegas... No clocks.... What time is it?? pic.twitter.com/xXNcfUtEbS— Robert O'Neill (@mchooyah) September 11, 2014
O’Neill is scheduled for an interview on Fox News on Nov. 11, Veterans Day.