Esquire rolled?

| February 11, 2013

A couple of you have sent me the story from Esquire and Politico this morning that the SEAL who got bin Laden was destitute and forgotten by an ingrate nation. Here are some of the lines that jump out;

“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.

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.

Yeah, well, I’ve been told that you folks getting out of the service have five years of Tricare, whatever is left of it after this administration gets done with it. And that doesn’t include the Veterans Affairs stuff. All of those things would get him a service-connected rating, treatment and help for his family. And as TSO said; “…and he can grab a 200k job in about 4 seconds with DynCorps”.

So, I’m thinking that this Phil Bronstein, who happens to be the executive chairman of the Center for Investigative Reporting and wrote the article got rolled by someone, it looks like there were quite a few involved in the asshattery. If he wasn’t tricked by a phony, then the article he wrote sucked. Either way, I wouldn’t let him be the executive director of anything named for investigative journalism.

We can’t get the guy’s FOIA, because there’s no mention of his name – we’re just supposed to take Ol’ Phil’s word for it, but given his level of investigation thus far, I wouldn’t. If I’m wrong and this guy is a real deal SEAL and needs help, I have banks of folks standing by to help him, in case he’s the only person on the planet who doesn’t know what’s available to him and his family, from Congressional aides to VSOs – but he kinda sounds like another Leo Webb.

And, oh, his account of the shooting of bin Laden conflicts with Matt Bissonette’s account, too.

Category: Media

Comments (82)

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  1. Ex-PH2 says:

    Melle, I have a pantry, freezer and fridge full of food. You’re welcome at my teeny tiny house any time.

  2. melle1228 says:

    Thank you Ph2– I am really not in that dire straights, but I truly appreciate it.. My hubby was able to get a job. Although we were trying for a contractor job. With sequestration they have seemed to have dried up. Even the oil fields weren’t calling him back, so we were scared for a while there.

    He got a nice job with a medavac company and it makes him happy- 7 days on 7 days off and now he has 7 day off to play WOW and fish. We just have to patiently wait to get that first paycheck and the last one while we eat up our savings. 🙁

  3. COB6 says:

    They are talking about this on Fox News right now. The amazing ignorance of the panel (minus Dana Perino who seems suspicious) is astounding.

  4. bman says:

    Oil patch is hiring here in south central Ks. Paying big bucks for licensed over the road drivers.

  5. Ex-PH2 says:

    Melle, do not be too proud to go to the food pantries. I’ve never had to, but I only have me to feed. And my two cats.

    I want to know who this individual is, also. I want to see proof of his existence, not some shadowed or distorted image and distorted voice. I’m beginning to think this is a piece of complete fiction on Bornstein’s part. I read that article and it is too full of (???) for me.

  6. marinewm86 says:


    I have a open kitchen always welcome to military families. And do not be afraid to use coupons. Aldi’s has great fresh veggies much cheaper than anywhere I have found. Check and see if you have a farm cooperative or a local dairy producer that has a bottling operation. They are generally cheaper and carry eggs and dairy. I try to shop locally I even found a butcher that has beef and pork grown locally and cheaper than Wal-Mart.

    And PH2 has great recipes. And Yat Yas gravy is super good.

  7. Andy says:

    “Rolled”? I think you ment “Trolled”

  8. AW1 Tim says:

    I’ve been reading this story at various sites all day. It’s too good to be true. In my book, simply based on my own service, and being in the VA syatem (as well as a member of the DAV) I honestly believe this story is pure BS.

    I don’t know whether the author was hoodwinked by a poser, or if he made it up from whole cloth, but it doesn’t pass the smell test.

    In fact, the story sounds too concocted, as if the teller took bits and pieces of stories he heard and/or read and laced them all together into a solid narrative.

    The real clincher for me, however, is that the SEALS are a tight-knit community. They take care of their own, and this guy would know that. All he’d have to do is make one phone call, and folks would be there to help him. No matter their disability or injuries, companies all over the country are paying top dollar for former SEALS, Rangers, SF, etc.

    Considering all of that, I call shenanigans.

  9. Fjardeson says:

    I call Bravo Sierra as well. While our Govt. isn’t always the nicest guy on the block, I don’t believe for one second that they would throw ANYONE on the team that KIA’d Geronimo under the bus.

    Or any non-dishonorable SF or SEAL, for that matter.

  10. melle1228 says:

    @55 & 56 — Thank you so much for the offers. You guys are wonderful. One of the many things I love about the military community. I am not quite at the food pantry stage, but if I get there- I would try it. I have kids and I don’t have much shame in what I would do to feed them. Fortunately for me I live about two miles from Fort Campbell and the finance office handling the paperwork for my hubby’s retirement and making sure his last pay gets processed, and they don’t want a momma with hungry kids on their doorstop. 🙂

  11. Ex-PH2 says:

    Melle — Go to the Recipes column. Try Defend’s Noodles and Gravy, Hondo’s Mothers and Beans, Twist’s Chicken — awesome food! There is also a link to more recipes — budget stretchers and worth your time.

  12. Jorge says:

    Yeah. BS.

    The SEAL’s are very close-knit. If he was honorably discharged, his team, his community and the Chief’s Mess would be all over this.

    If he was kicked out, it might be a different story.

    Plus, this “reporter” is a sensationalist….

    George (CTIC(SG) (Ret))

  13. Devtun says:

    Sean Hannity is interviewing Phil Bronstein on FNC tonight.

  14. SJ says:

    @63: but, I’m afraid that the media, including FOX, is all caught up with assuming that the article has credibility. The BS flags being waved here by folks that I’ve learned to trust give me concern.

  15. USMCE8Ret says:

    For what it’s worth, if anyone is reading this – here are some things you need to know about retirement/transition, right off the bat.

    (1) SGLI remains in place for 120 days after you separate. That gives you time to find another life insurance policy if you don’t roll SGLI over to VGLI.

    (2) TRICARE remains in place for about 90 days. If you retire, you can enroll in the Tricare program you want and make monthly, quarterly or annual payments. It can come out of your retirement check. Same goes for dental.

    (3) For Marines, the separations section MUST provide your copies of your DD214 when you go on terminal leave, and they must generate regular pay periods up through the last regular pay period. Then they issue final payment, which should hit about 5 – 10 days after your EAS/retirement date.

    If anyone needs the MARADMIN, let me know. There were a couple that discussed this very issue when I transitioned and they are still in place.

  16. USMCE8Ret says:

    Sorry – should read “…must issue regular pay on the next regular pay period (1st or 15th), followed by final pay…”

  17. Ex-PH2 says:

    A – Someone with 16 total years in suddenly leaves when he’s thisclose to retirement? I don’t buy it.

    B – Someone leaves the service without registering for VA benefits? I don’t buy it.

    C – Someone leaving the service doesn’t know about COBRA coverage, or doesn’t go and apply for VA benefits right away? I don’t buy it.

    D – The article is written in a ‘pity the poor sailor’ way, and is SO over-embroidered, it’s a bit difficult to swallow and this is after reading only the first online page. Again, I don’t buy it.

    In fact, either Bronstein was conned by this guy or Bronstein made the entire thing up because he’s trying to attract an audience.

    Marketing sunglasses as a civilian job after being a SEAL? Oh, come on! How much of this BS are we expected to swallow? And for how long? This story has too many holes in it to be anything more than overdone non-fiction or just pure fiction.

    I don’t buy it.

  18. George says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only person who thought this was a hot mess when I saw the story this morning.

  19. Just watched my DVR’d “The Following” on FOX and afterward they had the previews for what was coming up next on FOX News at 10. One of the lead stories was this story.

    The preview stated “No benefits for NAVY SEALs The NAVY SEAL who shot bin Laden is about to retire. And he won’t be getting any benefits…”

    I didn’t bother to watch any further, because I don’t watch TV news (haven’t since 2004 when I discovered blogs), so I don’t know if the story was to explain this was bogus or not.

  20. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    If this is guy is legit, I bet he was recently diciplined by RADM Bonelli DEP COM NSW.

    A gaggle of the DEVGRU guys recieved NJP, for a Chief or above … a promotion kiss of death.

    If he is not legit … he should be the next winner of the Poser Contest!

  21. kp32 says:

    @69- Hannity had Phil Bronstein on and he was lapping his BS up without question. I had to turn it off, it was making me ill.

  22. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    TSO … I was chased by a Komodo Dragon on Grande Island just off Subic in 1987. Nothing funny about what lives in the mouth of a Komodo Dragon.

  23. kp32 Says: @69- Hannity had Phil Bronstein on and he was lapping his BS up without question. I had to turn it off, it was making me ill.

    That’s why I stopped watching TV news and get my news solely from blogs and military blogs since 2004. I was getting to the point that I was constantly angry, seriously furiously angry, all the gawddamned time, because I was so furious at all the bullshit lies being told by the media every day. I become extremely cynical and pessimistic about everything from the constant drumbeat of lies. And then became even more enraged when the conventional wisdom somehow became that FNC was lying, not the rest of the liberal media. I think if I hadn’t stopped watching the news and if blogs and military blogs had not been born, I would have died of a heart attack before the age of 30.

    It still pisses me the fark off that the majority of people still believe the BS spewed by the media, but at least now when I hear someone tell me some BS they got from the media, I can tell them ‘um, no, that’s BS’ and then send them a link to Ace of Spades or Breitbart or This Ain’t Hell to provide them with the facts.

  24. Dave says:

    I wish the brother well, separation from the service can be trying, hopefully someone will offer him a job in the near future.

  25. #38 The only war experience Phil Bronstein has is hand to hand combat with kimono dragons, that and engaging in close contact with Sharon Stone.

  26. Midori says:

    The stupidity of the article is to presume that a SEAL wife with kids is completely ignorant of her husband’s health insurance benefits too — nothing in this article makes any sense.

  27. ComancheDoc says:

    lol I have to go with @76 with that; my wife knew more about
    my benefits than I did at first.

  28. Midori says:

    I have been wondering whether this is a result of Dev Grp’s recent decision to “discipline” a number of team guys due to their participation as “consultants” on a game that had them revealing waay too much information about tactics. I think there were about four or five of these guys who were probably demoted and perhaps lost other benefits — in that position it is understandable that an experienced member of this team would opt to leave. Telling a good story to Esquire might be a way of making up the financial loss.

  29. boomboombabe says:

    I’m a vet, and this article seems completely unrealistic, Bronstein obviously did no factcheck or followup, didn’t even glance at the VA website. What makes him think this “secret source” is even a vet AT ALL? Was there even a vet, or did he make the entire thing up?

    Bronstein=Glass? What gives? What kind of idiot publishes things that can be easily be verified as false, on the word of a “secret source” stranger? Are they joking?

  30. boomboombabe says:

    Agree with Midori, vets only get “abandoned with no benefits” if they serve dishonorably and lose them. Either Bronstein made it up, or the “vet” pulled a total snowjob on him. Either way, he failed to verify or manipulated facts, because this story is hogwash on some level.