For the first time, the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden tells his story — speaking not just about the raid and the three shots that changed history, but about the personal aftermath for himself and his family.
And the startling failure of the United States government to help its most experienced and skilled warriors carry on with their lives.
The life of Osama bin Laden ended with three shots to the center of his forehead.
Bin Laden was the man CIA director Leon Panetta called “the most infamous terrorist in our time”.
The Shooter was the “number two” behind the raid’s point man going up the stairs to bin Laden’s third-floor residence, and was the one who rolled through the bedroom door solo and confronted the surprisingly tall terrorist pushing his youngest wife, Amal, in front of him through the pitch-black room.
The Shooter had to raise his gun higher than he expected.
What is hard to understand is that a man with hundreds of successful war missions, one of the most decorated combat veterans of our age, who capped his career by terminating bin Laden, has no landing pad in civilian life.
The U.S. government put a $25 million bounty on bin Laden that no one is likely to collect.
Certainly not the SEALs who went on the mission nor the support and intelligence experts who helped make it all possible.
Technology is the key to success in this case more than people, Washington officials have said.
The Shooter doesn’t care about that. “I’m not religious, but I always felt I was put on the earth to do something specific. After that mission, I knew what it was”.
“No one who fights for this country overseas should ever have to fight for a job”, Barack Obama said last Veterans’ Day, “or a roof over their head, or the care that they have earned when they come home”.
But the Shooter will discover soon enough that when he leaves after sixteen years in the Navy, his body filled with scar tissue, arthritis, tendonitis, eye damage, and blown disks, here is what he gets from his employer and a grateful nation:
Nothing. No pension, no health care, and no protection for himself or his family.