The Navy SEAL who shot Osama Bin Laden is not doing half as well as you'd think, given that he is the protagonist of the most thrilling story of the last few years. Though he remains anonymous for safety reasons, he gave an in-depth interview, published in Esquire, to Phil Bronstein of the Center for Investigative Reporting. The night that "the shooter" as Bronstein refers to him, shot Osama Bin Laden was an incredible thrill, but life afterward has been hard, especially financially.
Here are some of the amazing revelations and quotes from the Shooter:
1. He's struggling financially. The first sentence says it all: "The man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden sat in a wicker chair in my backyard, wondering how he was going to feed his wife and kids or pay for their medical care." This gets weirder when you learn that he isn't a relative newbie to the Navy: the Shooter has been in the navy for sixteen years, including twelve long-term deployments before the mission to kill Bin Laden. Now he has no pension and no healthcare.
2. He is terrified of retaliatory attacks. This is, of course, why he remains anonymous. If his name ever comes out, there are plans to do something along the lines of the witness protection program, but he would have to sever all ties with friends and extended family. "They [SEAL command] told me they could get me a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee" under an assumed identity. Like Mafia snitches, they would not be able to contact their families or friends. "We'd lose everything."
But that's hardly the only precaution they take. His wife has a shotgun in the bedroom, and the kids have instructions to hide in the bathtub in case of an emergency.
3. The secrecy makes it harder to find a job. Yes, the guy who killed Osama bin Laden is having trouble finding work. He can't put it on his resume, and, in fact, much of his sixteen years in the navy have to remain vague.
"These guys have millions of dollars' worth of knowledge and training in their heads," says one of the group at my house, a former SEAL and mentor to the Shooter and others looking to make the transition out of what's officially called the Naval Special Warfare Development Group. "All sorts of executive function skills. That shouldn't go to waste."
4. The point man on the bin Laden raid was willing to give up his life so that the Shooter could get a clear shot. These guys get referred to as heroes all the time, but it's the details that really bring that home. There were two women in the room with Osama bin Laden, and the point man tackled them into the hallway, even though they were presumed to be wearing suicide vests.
"On the third floor, he tackled the two women in the hallway right outside the first door on the right, moving them past it just enough. He thought he was going to absorb the blast of suicide vests; he was going to kill himself so I could get the shot. It was the most heroic thing I've ever seen."
5. If the point man had died, his last words would have been, "These bitches is getting truculent." Amidst the most intense thing these men are ever likely to experience in their lives, there was a split-second in which one of them paused to appreciate the other's vocabulary:
"On the third floor, there were two chicks yelling at us and the point man was yelling at them and he said to me, 'Hey, we need to get moving. These bitches is getting truculent.' I remember saying to myself, Truculent? Really? Love that word."
6. The moment that Osama bin Laden died, as told by the man who killed him:
"He's got a gun on a shelf right there, the short AK he's famous for. And he's moving forward. I don't know if she's got a vest and she's being pushed to martyr them both. He's got a gun within reach. He's a threat. I need to get a head shot so he won't have a chance to clack himself off [blow himself up]. In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he's going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed and I hit him again, Bap! same place. That time I used my EOTech red-dot holo sight. He was dead. Not moving. His tongue was out. I watched him take his last breaths, just a reflex breath."
7. He did the entire mission with a bottle of his own piss in his pocket. Not for strategic reasons, he just really had to go.
"Then I started to get pumped up. I'm like: This is so on. ... My biggest concern was having to piss really bad ... We actually had these things made for us, like a combination collapsible dog bowl and diaper. ... I used one of my water bottles instead. I forgot until later that when I shot bin Laden in the face, I had a bottle of piss in my pocket."
There's your taste of this amazing story. Now go click on the link above and read the entire thing.