Feb 11, 2013 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
Excerpted from Politico: The man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden says that the military essentially told him to go “f—- yourself” after he left the service and inquired about continuing health care coverage.
The SEAL Team Six shooter — who is not named in an Esquire cover story published online Monday — shared gripping new details about the May 2011 Bin Laden raid in Pakistan and his uneasy transition back into civilian life.
The shooter left the military about three years shy of the official retirement requirement of 20 years of military service, he told Center for Investigative Reporting executive chairman Phil Bronstein, who wrote the Esquire story.
“My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night,” he said in the days after he left the service. “I asked if there was some transition from my Tricare to Blue Cross Blue Shield. They said no. You’re out of the service, your coverage is over. Thanks for your sixteen years. Go f-ck yourself.”
The man who killed Bin Laden does not receive pension, healthcare or family protection since he left the military, Bronstein writes.
“As I watched the Shooter navigate obstacles very different from the ones he faced so expertly in four war zones around the globe, I wondered: Is this how America treats its heroes? The ones President Obama called ‘the best of the best?’” Bronstein wrote.
In the story, the shooter also recalls the moments leading up to the raid in which he “was counting back and forth to a thousand to pass the time […] I remember banking to the south, which meant we were getting ready to hit. We had about another fifteen minutes.”
He continued; “Instead of counting, for some reason I said to myself the [former President George W. Bush] 9/11 quote: ‘Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.’ I could just hear his voice, and that was neat. I started saying it again and again to myself. Then I started to get pumped up. I’m like: This is so on.”
And when he saw Bin Laden?
“He look confused. And way taller than I was expecting,” the shooter told Esquire. “For me, it was a snapshot of a target ID, definitely him. Even in our kill houses where we train, there are targets with his face on them. This was repetition and muscle memory. That’s him, boom, done.”
Excerpted from The Washington Post: As the Esquire story explains, Tricare (the health insurance program that covers military service members and their families) does provide 180 days of “ but the Shooter is eligible only if he agrees to remain on active duty “in a support role,” or become a reservist.”
Now, the Shooter is purchasing a private health insurance plan for $486 per month, which does not cover some of his treatments (chiropractic care, for example, costs $120 weekly, Esquire reports).
There are lots of military veterans in a similar situation: About one in 10 veterans lack insurance coverage, according to the Urban Institute. While the Veterans Health Administration does provide coverage for most veterans it does not cover everyone: eligibility is determined in part by income, injuries sustained in combat and length of service.
The Urban Institute study found that those requirements leave 1.3 million veterans without health care benefits, alongside 0.9 million members of their families.