HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Bin Laden Killer, Feeling...
Introducing Discussionist: A new forum by the creators of DU

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 09:59 AM

Bin Laden Killer, Feeling Betrayed by U.S. Government, Steps into the Limelight. Kind Of.

The spotlight of fame is burning ever-brighter for the SEALs who took down Osama bin Laden. Last year we had Matt Bissonnette’s No Easy Day about the mission. Now, Esquire magazine has released a story, to appear in its March issue, featuring the SEAL who claims to have been first inside bin Laden’s bedroom and fired the shots that killed him.

While the former SEAL, who reporter Phil Bronstein calls only “the Shooter” – he is not named in the piece – tells a unique tale, he also gripes that he has nothing to show for his 16 years of service.

...

The bad:

…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.


The ugly:

The apparent fact that this is how one veteran feels he has to reach out to get the help he and his family need.

Full story here.

Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/02/11/bin-laden-killer-feeling-betrayed-by-u-s-government-steps-into-the-limelight-kind-of/#ixzz2KbQmib9k

23 replies, 1757 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 23 replies Author Time Post
Reply Bin Laden Killer, Feeling Betrayed by U.S. Government, Steps into the Limelight. Kind Of. (Original post)
The Straight Story Feb 2013 OP
catbyte Feb 2013 #1
haele Feb 2013 #5
Marrah_G Feb 2013 #9
madjack10 Feb 2013 #21
kelliekat44 Feb 2013 #22
haele Feb 2013 #23
freethought Feb 2013 #7
atreides1 Feb 2013 #2
KeepItReal Feb 2013 #3
DreamGypsy Feb 2013 #4
Historic NY Feb 2013 #8
Historic NY Feb 2013 #6
MADem Feb 2013 #14
Schema Thing Feb 2013 #10
MADem Feb 2013 #11
The Straight Story Feb 2013 #12
MADem Feb 2013 #16
yardwork Feb 2013 #13
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #15
bamacrat Feb 2013 #17
nadinbrzezinski Feb 2013 #18
Brother Buzz Feb 2013 #20
rusty fender Feb 2013 #19

Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:03 AM

1. I'm sorry, but why did all this come as a surprise to him? I thought career military got retirement.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to catbyte (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:30 AM

5. He's obviously enlisted. He has nothing after his service unless he does 20 years.

If he's not an officer, he is not eligible for retirement unless he gets medically retired with a disability pension, which is frankly pretty hard to get "during times of war" when there's a ramp-up in people in the military, and frankly isn't very much - maybe as much as SSDI, depending on how long you were in, according to my neighbor (a disabled Iraq war vet).

If "they can still do a desk job" - because in austerity, those disabled slackers aren't allowed to just sit at home and collect government money , they are still eligible to use their GI bill as "re-training" funds.

Unlike regular 20+ year retirees, his dependents - his spouse and children - are no longer recognized in DEERS (the military database).

The medical retiree above is not eligible for TriCare - general medical, and neither is his family - the medical "entitlement" he is left with is strictly for whatever damage is linked to his military service, similart to worker's compensation - a certain amount of recorded disability and is covered by the VA instead of by TriCare.

If he gets VA (depending on his location i.e., how well the local VA is staffed, how many and what sorts of facilities are available, and how many vets need services in his area), he has to navigate a varying paperwork minefield to be able to access the medical services he qualifies for.

And even those medical services have roadblocks - his income balanced against his disability, etc.

So no, the shooter of Bin Ladin is not eligible for retirement if he leaves military service or is forced out due to medical issues if he's only done 16 years.

Haele

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to haele (Reply #5)


Response to haele (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 09:57 AM

21. Everything in your post is incorrect

Basically, everything you say is just plain wrong. Let me break it down:

Retirement. Everyone, officer and enlisted, is eligible to retire after 20 years of service, regardless of rank or position. Those that are injured or ill and no longer able to perform their duty can medically retire. Medical retirement from the service is different from a disability pension. 'The Shooter' basically waived all of this by getting out 36 months too early.

"Desk Jobs": 'The Shooter' was a Tier One Operator. One of the things that means is that he was in a hand selected, all volunteer unit in an all volunteer specialty in an all volunteer force. In other words, if he wanted out of 'the unit' there were plenty of places for him. The fact that he didn't pursue any of that is very odd.

Health Care: 'The Shooter', like all Iraq/Afghanistan veterans, is eligible for VA health care for 5 years no questions asked. He is also eligible for free VA health care for any service related disabilities. This VA health care is not needs based.

Had he waited 36 months, he and his entire family would have been automatically enrolled in Tricare permanently. Tricare does not suck. Less than $500 a year for full coverage (you have to pay extra for dental and the vision plan really does suck, but the whole package is hard to beat). Medically retired personnel are also eligible for Tricare. This is not needs based.

VA Disability Compensation: The VA disability payments are actually pretty good. If 'The Shooter' was wounded and injured as the story implies, then he could be eligible for a fairly decent disability compensation check each month, tax free. This is not needs based.

VA Pension: "The Shooter' is probably not eligible for a VA pension because he is able to work. It is needs based.

GI Bill. The post 9-11 GI Bill, for which 'The Shooter' is eligible, is an incredible benefit. It basically pays for 4 years of college with a housing stipend. It is also transferable to dependents.



Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madjack10 (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 10:15 AM

22. You speak truth. Few will pay attention. My cousin had a similar situation. Even without retirem

he gets good benefits...just no pension.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madjack10 (Reply #21)

Wed Feb 13, 2013, 05:32 PM

23. Really? I retired after 20 years in 1998. 12 years active, 8 years reserve. So I know something..

On Edit - I see the problem - you didn't read the sarcasm in the desk jockey paragraph, when I was channeling one of my non-military co-workers who thinks military retirement is sucking off the government teat, and I may have not been clear enough with "forced out after 16 years".

You probably thought I meant forced as in medically discharged instead of either the "up and out" discharge, or a personal "I hate this place" quit action that many people do after 8 years or even 12 years.
Frankly, I felt I was "forced out", myself; I faced an untenable situation I had no ability to transfer out of at 12 years and was looking at 3 years of powerlessness in the middle of an irresponsible hierarchy clusterf** of a command, so I left active duty for a (at that time) good job offer. But at least I stayed in the reserves to finish the investment I had made and was able to keep a few benefits that saved me over the years.

But nevertheless, even though I retired without the retainer payment that active duty retires with, I know that because I did the full 20 years, I will eventually get my pension and Tricare benefits when I turn 60.

My information may be a bit out of date, but I don't see where I got anything wrong. I talked about medical retirement. Heck, I'm going to college with those who were medically retired at anywhere from three to eighteen years of service, most of whom are Iraq war vets, the young pups...

The complainer has VA and hopefully VA disability - if he applies. Likewise, he has the GI bill, housing loans, job-seeking services, counseling, and all the other services that they're just waiting to get for him.

And despite what you say, the VA is (at least for those who aren't I/A vets, it seems) needs based if your injuries aren't service related; I can't go to the VA for just"anything" because I don't have more than 50% service-related disability and I "make too much" - I make over $30K a year.
Because I "just retired" instead of retiring on a medical, in 1999, it took three years of scheduling appointments between work to finish the screening for my disability rating, and a bum knee - "which might be service related, but they're not sure", slight hearing loss, and asbestos exposure gets me a whopping 10% disability rating, (sorry, no disability compensation for me, I guess I wasn't special enough) and five-year check for either lung cancer or asbestos-related CPOD, which they will treat and compensate me for when it appears. Nothing more, and certainly no disability compensation - unless the asbestos finally gets to me.

Don't get me wrong, the VA medical in this area has good service once you get in, but it's crowded and there's always a wait to sign up, and it's a paperwork nightmare because so many very needy vets want to get in - especially in this latest employment downturn.

Secondly, it doesn't sound as if "The Shooter" even looked into VA disability - or even the reserves to finish out his 20, which will leave him with some benefits until he can collect full when he turns 60. It sounds as if he wants to whine about not being able to just retire and get full bennies when he wants to leave before his party time is over.

Honestly - I really don't have a lot of compassion for someone who wasn't willing to take the advantages that he could have that close to retirement to stay in until he could be medically discharged if that would be the final situation. I'm going to college with active duty, retirees, and vets who were medically discharged under the "Wounded Warrior" plan who are all on the GI bill. And they agree with me - if he could deal with the BS for 16 years, what's so hard about four more to ensure you are covered? Especially when you can brag to anyone stuck around the desk you are riding while you're on the ROAD.

If he really wanted to get out, going through the disability process if he was that bad off could take a year up to two years, in which he could remain in housing, take care of his family, and get into any number of transition programs that the Navy has.

I'll admit, I'm not up on all the benefits retirees and vets are getting in the Post 9/11 era - it sounds as if they're getting a better deal than us post-Vietnam vets do. (And I didn't even get the Montgomery GI bill, even though I transitioned to the reserves after 1990; I enlisted during the "VEEP" era, which was pretty crappy, to say the least)

Haele

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to catbyte (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:33 AM

7. I don't think 16 years qualifies to get full military retirement

I believe it's 20 years minimum. I do feel for the fellow somewhat, but he should have been aware that being a Navy SEAL is 1.) Definitely a high-risk occupation 2.)Hard on the body 3.)Not something that can't be kept up long-term. A little checking puts a SEAL tour at 4 and a quarter years. If had enlisted to become a SEAL, say in my early 20s, I would probably not serve more than two tours. Even then their's a great deal that could happen to you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:22 AM

2. I know how he feels!

I have nothing to show for my 13 years, except PTSD, Gulf War Syndrome, and a bum shoulder!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:23 AM

3. He only served 16 years. Takes 20 years to get retirement.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:27 AM

4. Understanding Military Retirement Pay

... from http://usmilitary.about.com/cs/generalpay/a/retirementpay.htm

The military retirement pay system used to be easy to understand: You put in 20 years, and you got 50 percent of your base pay immediately upon retirement. You put in more than 20 years and you got 2.5 percent more for each year of active duty after 20 years (up to 75 percent).

During the draw-down, Congress decided military retirement pay was too simple, and decided to complicate it. Congress started with small changes, moving the annual Cost-of-Living Allowance to January 1st, instead of October 1st, but then got serious and dug in to make some major changes. Here are some basics of the military retirement pay system that you should be aware of:

For Navy and Marine Corps members, you are considered to be a "retired member" for classification purposes if you are an enlisted member with over 30 years service, or a warrant or commissioned officer.

....


more at the link

Sigh.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to DreamGypsy (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:34 AM

8. That not different that many civilian civil service pensions...

it now a reward for longer service rather than defined.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:30 AM

6. The question is why did he leave in 20 he would have had it....

he is entitled to a disability retirement - sounds like something else is going on....TBF

A member whose condition is not stable may be placed on the temporary disability retired list (TDRL) for up to five years at which point they must be either discharged, retired or returned to duty

http://militarypay.defense.gov/retirement/disability.html




Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Historic NY (Reply #6)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:10 AM

14. I thought of that too, but he's insisting he isn't getting a check--and that just doesn't

marry w/the TDRL.

I mused downthread about this--there is a huge piece missing, and I am a bit surprised that Phil Bronstein (who is a well known newspaperman) didn't plug that gap.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 10:41 AM

10. "protection"? If current and former seals would honor their own historic code, and stfu


then no ex-seals would need "protection", because the enemy wouldn't have a clue who they hell they are.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:06 AM

11. Something is fishy in this account.

Generally, when a person hits 16 and change, they'll continue them to 20. If one leaves voluntarily, that's a different story altogether, but someone who wants to stay, particularly someone with "that" on his resume, would be found a desk and some paper to push.

Further, if his body is wracked with service connected disabilities, he needs to go before a med board and be given a disability or limited duty determination. There is just something Not Quite Right here. It looks like he CHOSE to leave the service when his enlistment was up, and did not file for disability before he left (which is the better way to do it--they will keep you waiting if you go for it after the fact):

"I left SEALs on Friday," he said the next time I saw him. It was a little more than thirty-six months before the official retirement requirement of twenty years of service. "My health care for me and my family stopped at midnight Friday night. 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 fuck yourself."

The government does provide 180 days of transitional health-care benefits, but the Shooter is eligible only if he agrees to remain on active duty "in a support role," or become a reservist. Either way, his life would not be his own. Instead, he'll buy private insurance for $486 a month, but some treatments that relieve his wartime pains, like $120 for weekly chiropractic care, are out-of-pocket. Like many vets, he will have to wait at least eight months to have his disability claims adjudicated. Or even longer. The average wait time nationally is more than nine months, according to the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Anyone who leaves early also gets no pension, so he is without income. Even if he had stayed in for the full twenty, his pension would have been half his base pay: $2,197 a month. The same as a member of the Navy choir.





I'm just not fully getting this. Why would an E-8 (and I'm extrapolating paygrade from a paychart) just walk out the door like that? Without getting a med board? Without pushing for a disability retirement? With no apparent income--unless his (separated but still together) spouse has a good paycheck?

There is something here that we aren't hearing. There is a big piece missing from this account. It's an interesting one, too--all seven pages are worth the read.


I remember Phil. He used to be married to Sharon Stone...! I'm surprised he left that large a hole in this story.

Link to the ESQUIRE piece: http://www.esquire.com/features/man-who-shot-osama-bin-laden-0313?click=pp

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MADem (Reply #11)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:09 AM

12. Perhaps he is working on a book

Or something else to make money that he could not do while serving.

Sounds like he had options and took the worst one, but no idea why.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Reply #12)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:19 AM

16. If you read the full Bronstein article, he says nothing about working on a book and a little bit

about doing some vague sort of "piece work" (that sounds a bit like consulting) now and again. He keeps insisting he has no income--I guess he was a "saver" during his career? Or his wife works?

But there is a huge gap in this narrative. It's big enough to fly a stealth Black Hawk through!

I am very surprised at Phil Bronstein--it looks like he was "awed" at being able to interview this gentleman and hang out with him, because, certainly, meeting a fellow who averred he was "the guy" (or at least one of the guys) who shot Bin Ladin is a rather exciting thing for some segments of our society. It just looks, to me, like Phil got too close to the story and lost some of his critical thinking skills.

The piece suffers as a consequence, but it is an interesting read despite that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:10 AM

13. I hate to point this out because it is a threadjack and I don't mean it to be....

but this exact same problem affected tens of thousands of gay people who were serving honorably who were thrown out just for being gay, not allowed to reach 20 years, for doing nothing wrong, just being gay. And that injustice predated DADT by decades - DADT was actually an improvement over the previous policy.

And to this day, thanks to DOMA, surviving spouses and children of gay service people get nothing.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:11 AM

15. As a wife of a retired USN Chief, I get it

He needs one more tour to get retirement. They explained this early in his career, a career advisor had to.

That said, retirement is all but luxurious.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:21 AM

17. The VA doesn't help?

I thought the VA was for all veterans, or is it only active duty and retirees with 20 years of service? Retirement only going to people with 20+ years is one thing but all people who are willing to enlist and serve should get VA benefits for life, regardless of length of service. Do you get lifelong benefits if injured in battle? Not sure how it works, but this guy should get lifetime healthcare at the very least... but I also feel I should too because I'm an American.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bamacrat (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:18 PM

18. The VA is for any vet

There is more to this story I suspect.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bamacrat (Reply #17)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:54 PM

20. VA is for all veterans once they are enrolled

Getting enrolled is the rub. It's a dog and pony show getting in, and it can take years, and only after you've exhausted all other options; federal, state, county, and private assistance. My Brothers deserve better.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to The Straight Story (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 12:35 PM

19. He could always get a job at FOX News if he

wants to criticize the President. If he wants to praise the Pres., well, maybe a job with a Federally elected Democrat?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread