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. TSO says:

    I don’t know about the Tricare stuff, but I do know I walked into a VA and got immediate treatment (literally within an hour) and had it for 5 years. And within 5 years he would be service-connected for all that stuff.

    I’m not saying this is a complete fake, but on the other hand, we don’t have much to go on but some clearly erroneous reporting.

  2. Mustang says:

    Having read the article, there are just too many things in there that sound like a load of BS.

  3. Mustang says:

    I had it for 5 years as well. I’ve had good enough coverage that I haven’t used the VA since I first got out but my end date for coverage ended last month.

  4. Lucky says:

    Hes probably just another faker that rick rolled the writer. I call BS

  5. NR Pax says:

    If we find out who this guy is and can prove he’s a fake, tell the other Ballduster McSoulpatch candidates to quit now because we have a winner.

  6. Hondo says:

    NR Pax: if he’s fake, IMO he’ll certainly be a shoe-in for the Fecal Four . . . .

  7. PintoNag says:

    Sounds like the “vet as victim” meme, again.

  8. Hondo says:

    If he was involuntarily separated under honorable conditions, he’d have a minimum of 180 days Tricare TAMP. If he left service voluntarily or was involuntarily separated as OTH or via a punitive discharge, he could well be out of luck unless and until the VA determines his disability status.

    He has to be legit, though. Reporters never get taken by frauds claiming to be ex-military. (smile)

  9. USMCE8Ret says:

    I think the article is pure BS.

    Funny thing, though – the ESQUIRE article says, “When the White House identified SEAL Team 6 as those responsible, camera crews swarmed into their Virginia Beach neighborhood, taking shots of the SEALs’ homes.”

    Yeah, right. Like everyone one the team resides on the same cul de sac, with signs in their front yard that says “SEAL TEAM 6 MEMBER LIVES HERE – GO NAVY!”.

  10. NR Pax says:

    Hondo, I’d be surprised if he washed out early. The article was talked about on CNN just now so that adds points right there.

  11. Islandofmisfittoys says:

    This stinks, aside from the fact there is mandatory transistion assistance training, etc, why get out after 16 when you have 4 to go and full benifits. It was drilled into me from day 1 keep copies of all medical records and as soon as I get out make a VA appointment and bring up any injuries so even if 20 years down the road it goes south there are records of it. If he had all that he claims to have wrong with him he would have a large disability check. Not to mention the SOF community is tight knit and always helps out unless of course yoru a dumbass. Either he is a fake, was getting out to make money or a book, or was did not leave the service of his own free will. I can also assume that after 16 years and being on 6 he was a CPO or an E6 which means he had to know all that would be offered upon getting out etc because he would be expected to pass it on to his own troops. Way to get suckered Esquire and again an ass hat that pulls the my name is secret crap.

  12. LL says:

    #8 Hondo, from your link: “Separating from active duty following a voluntary agreement to stay on active duty for less than one year in support of a contingency operation”

    From the article: 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.

    That does not seem inconsistent, so Jonn, that part may be correct in the article.

  13. NHSparky says:

    The article was talked about on CNN just now so that adds points right there.

    Not many, considering they’re about on a credibility par with the Weekly World News. One more BatBoy sighting, however…

  14. USMCE8Ret says:

    FOXNEWS on TV just carried the story, too.

  15. Tequila says:

    First off who gets out after 16 years with only 4 to go for at least some sort of pension. Also he was in Navy for 8 years before making it through the SEAL program and then a SEAL for 8 years. Want to believe the guy really, but we all know all the services have programs to explain benefits to service members who are transitioning out and anybody who is leaving the service and doesn’t plan accordingly is just acting stupid.

  16. Ex-PH2 says:

    This is hogwash. I was told at the end of my first hitch to go right to the VA office when I got home and register for benefits. The second time around, I already knew that. Nothing has changed. If you have a discharge DD form, you go file a claim for benefits.

    Besides that, if you have medical conditions that are service-related, those are supposed to be reviewed and evaluated before you’re discharged. I don’t think anything has changed in that regard.

    I don’t haunt the doctor’s office, and haven’t asked the VA for anything for literally decades, but when my chiropractor wanted to see x-rays of my back, I went to the VA and asked if they could do that for me, and they did, right away.

    In addition, I stopped by the DAV’s field rep van at Kenosha and asked about things, and the rep was extremely helpful. I saw a very elderly WWII vet there, with his adult son who was trying to find out about bringing him closer to home and getting assisted care for him.

    If nothing else, the DAV will go to bat for you. My sister-in-law’s father had a hole in his back from a shrapnel wound that he got in the South Pacific in WWII. It took him a long time, but he did finally get compensated for it and got the medical help he needed, through the DAV.

    This little sob story — SORRY, Charlie. Don’t believe it for one second. Hogwash!!!

  17. John11B says:

    I don’t buy that article for a second. I private who get chaptered before he hits 3 years knows his benefits better than that guy seems to. And no way a guy who is a SEAL for all those years doesn’t have lucrative job opportunities in the civilian sector. I can’t wait to see the fallout from this.

  18. Hayabusa says:

    Why would anybody pull the pin at 16+ years instead of sticking it out for three more and retiring with full benefits?

    This story just doesn’t smell right, and I’m starting to wonder if the author just made the whole thing up, a la Jayson Blair.

  19. John11B says:

    I apologize for the grammatical errors in my last post. iPhone impaired user. *A private who gets chaptered…

  20. Ex-PH2 says:

    There’s another thing: don’t we all know who the guys were who actually shot bin Laden, per Bissonnette’s recount?

  21. ComancheDoc says:

    I would imagine a SEAL would know how to connect to the VA website at the very least, where it explains some of the bennies of having served in the GWOT the least of which is 5 yrs of medical treatment ALONG with w.e it is he can claim for service connected. When you process out part of the briefings is a talk by a VA rep who hands out the VA benifits handbook which also lists/explains things.

    “Under the “Combat Veteran” authority, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provides cost-free health care services and nursing home care for conditions possibly related to military service and enrollment in Priority Group 6, unless eligible for enrollment in a higher priority group to:

    Combat Veterans who were discharged or released from active service on or after January 28, 2003, are now eligible to enroll in the VA health care system for 5 years from the date of discharge or release. NOTE: The 5-year enrollment period applicable to these veterans begins on the discharge or separation date of the service member from active duty military service, or in the case of multiple call-ups, the most recent discharge date.”

    The sum of human knowledge on a device that fits in our pocket; the interwebs is hard…

  22. kp32 says:

    Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP)
    The Continued Health Care Benefit Program (CHCBP) is a premium-based health care program that offers temporary transitional health coverage for 18-36 months after TRICARE eligibility ends. If you qualify, you can purchase CHCBP within 60 days of loss of eligibility for either regular TRICARE or Transitional Assistance Management Program (TAMP) coverage.

    Eligible Beneficiaries
    Under certain circumstances, the following beneficiaries may be eligible:

    Former active duty service members released from active duty (under other than adverse conditions) and their eligible family members. Coverage is limited to 18 months.
    Unremarried former spouses who were eligible for TRICARE on the day before the date of the final decree of divorce, dissolution or annullment. Coverage is usually limited to 36 months however some unremarried former spouses may continue coverage beyond 36 months if they meet certain criteria. Contact Humana Military for details.
    Children who cease to meet the requirements to be an eligible family member and were eligible for TRICARE on the day before ceasing to meet those requirements. Coverage is limited to 36 months.
    Certain unmarried children by adoption or legal custody. Coverage is limited to 36 months
    CHCBP acts as a bridge between military health benefits and your new civilian health plan. CHCBP benefits are comparable to TRICARE Standard with the same benefits, providers and program rules. You can also have prescriptions filled at network pharmacies or via home delivery while covered by the CHCBP.

    CHCBP Contractor
    Humana Military, a division of Humana Government Business, is the CHCBP contractor and will provide services for enrollment, authorization, claims processing and customer service. For more information about CHCBP or to see you you qualify, visit the CHCBP Web site or call Humana Military at 1-800-444-5445.

  23. ChipNASA says:

    Found a photo of the guy they interviewed.

  24. Ex-PH2 says:

    Chip, you’re supposed to warn people if you intend to scare them. I’m just sayin’.

  25. Rock8 says:

    Hold on a second. When I read your post and saw the words ‘Phil Bronstein’ I knew right then that this whole story has to be called in to question.

    I have lived in the Bay Area and Northern California nearly my whole life. Phil Bronstein left the Hearst Corporation a year ago after spending 20 years in executive editor positions at both the SF Examiner and the SF Chronicle. He is a sensationalist first, and I don’t believe him to be objective.

    After leaving Hearst, he jumped right over to The Center for Investigative Reporting in BERKELEY. That right there should be a big red flag. I suspect the notion of this story was too good to pass up and in his eagerness to further tear-down the military he decided to believe this story without proper vetting.

    [He’s also known as the former husband of actress Sharon Stone.]

  26. Rock8 says:

    Don’t get all wrapped up around the axle with all the ways that Vets have access to health care.

    I recommend that all energies be expended towards debunking the veracity of the story itself.

  27. ohio says:

    I call


  28. Jonn Lilyea says:

    A real SEAL tells me that he believes that the subject of the article is “The Guy”, but that doesn’t change the gist of the story that there’s nothing available to him in regards to healthcare.

  29. USMCE8Ret says:

    Phil Bronstein = fuckstick.

  30. Old Tanker says:

    Holy smokes Chip!! What the hell was that? That was surely no seal…but I’ll bet he could eat one!

  31. TSO says:

    Bronstein also got attacked by a Komodo Dragon a few years ago. Slow working toxin?

  32. TSO says:

    Check that, looks like he had the antibody from sex with Sharon Stone. Disregard.

  33. ChipNASA says:

    It’s a JOKE!!
    It’s some fatass air soft guy that is usually accompanied with the phrase in the photo…”Don’t worry Ma’am,I’m from the INTERNET!”

  34. Anonymous says:

    I was just on another site…Breitbart. I don’t know if that person meant this was a good read …but I commented and said that maybe she should come here and get some more info before believing what she read.

  35. DefendUSA says:

    Shit. Anonymous was me…private browse. Argh!

  36. Rock8 says:

    For Phil Bronstein, it is all about self-promotion. Here Phil tells us that ‘The Shooter’ came to him because Phil had war experience.

  37. Ex-PH2 says:

    @35, that guy in the picture — is his name Short Round, by any chance?

  38. COB6 says:

    This story is clearly bullshit. The question is who is bullshitting who?

    According to the article several people would have to have been involved to pull off a fairly elaborate hoax to roll Bronstein.

    Or Bronstein, thinking the Navy will not comment on a Tier One operator, just fabricated the whole damn thing.

    Or “The Shooter” was dishonorably discharged for something pretty damn bad leaving him with little or no benefits and unemployable.

  39. Edward1811 says:

    When I was stationed in Little Creek we all called these guys DevGru, do they really refer to themselves at ST6? That was always kind of a no-no.

  40. Old Tanker says:

    35 Chip,

    I know it was a joke….

    PH2, short round….HA!

  41. Shamus62 says:

    Just for clarity, under the “8 Year Rule”, if you have 8 or more years of active Federal service, almost any medical condition is considered service connected or service aggrivated, regardless if it exsisted prior to service. The idea is that even if you had it before you came in, or it’s hereditary, the rigors of military service would make it worse then it would otherwise have been.

    With the 16 yrs claimed by this guy, he just has to prove he has the medical conditions, and they are worse then whatever he had when he came in the service. From that point on, he’s eligible for compensation through the VA.

    This story is a heaping, steaming pile of bull pucky.

  42. Hondo says:

    Jonn: he should personally have access to healthcare via the VA through their combat vet healthcare policy relating to the GWOT. As noted above by ComancheDoc in comment 23, that should cover him for 5 years after his separation date.

    For his family, well, no. He apparently “punched out” before retirement w/o having something lined up regarding his family’s healthcare coverage. By doing that, he also “punched out” their coverage under Tricare.

    Sad to say, if this guy is legit it looks to me like he did this to himself. I cannot believe the Navy wouldn’t have found a place for him until retirement if he’d gone to his chain of command and said, “I’m burned out. I can’t do the missions any more; I’m afraid I’ll get myself and my teammates killed. I need to move to the training or planning side of the house, at least for a while.”

  43. Hondo says:

    Geez, we’re desperate. Based on Chip’s link, we’re letting Jabba the Hut Jr. enlist these days! (smile)

  44. NavyE9r says:

    Took a matter of seconds to see that this article is bogus.

  45. melle1228 says:

    I do have to tell you that this month is when my hubby retired and I am feeling a little sour at the military. The whole fact that they can’t find another job until the date that they retire and then they hold their last pay check and then they pay it in two portion pisses me off to no end and has put us in a difficult position. We are okay, because luckily we planned and had friends who retired the year before and let us know of this goody. In this economy though, we were lucky that my husband was able to find a job right away. I can’t imagine those that don’t have any job prospects and then have their last paycheck held.. Frickin forget medical care, how do you eat with no money coming in?

  46. TSO says:

    Melle, you and Prayngmantis can come live with me, but the internet sucks. Do the kids mind sleeping in those big tuperware bins?

  47. CWO5USMC says:

    It looks like FoxNews has picked up the story as well…

    This one just doesn’t smell right to me either….I would like to know his name and all. Having been in for almost 25 years, I’ve been preparing to retire since I passed the ten year mark….but that’s just me.

  48. melle1228 says:

    @48 LOL– It would be a big WOW slumber party. I am hoping the federal government can cough up the money way before we get to that situation. 🙂 And I am glad we are no longer at their mercy for our pay check.

    Besides I have a moody teenager. I think you would throw us out- he he..