My theory on the Esquire story

| February 11, 2013

My BS detector is pounding so loud it is drowning out the voices in my head. As I see it there are only two valid theories on this story:

1) The dude is not who he is purporting to be, a la a ton of folks before him. In which case Esquire sucks for falling for it.
2) The reporter doesn’t speak military, and so it was like conducting an interview in a foreign language, and this guy botched teh shit out of it.

I think it is #2. Let me give you an example.

Shooter: “….and because of leaving at 16 years instead of 20 years, I don’t get my retirement health insurance through TRICARE, any retirement, nothing. They effed me.”

Now, the reporter hears this and doesn’t know what TRICARE is, so he googles it, finds out it is a healthcare provider, and alters the article to say that the guy doesn’t have health insurance.

Now, what the shooter says is accurate, but when this reporter “translated” it he made it into a soup sandwich because he didn’t know that Shooter was entitled to VA.

Now, could it be that this guys claim through the VA isn’t done yet? Hell yeah. Probably isn’t. Especially if he didn’t plan ahead. But all he needs to do to get VA care is walk in and sign up. It’s what I did.

Also, every guy I met in the military hated “SEAL Team Six” in terms of the name. They would put it in air quotes and such. Because everyone I met always used “DEVGRU” which is the official name. I suppose the report could once again have gone the easy route and used ST6 when the Shooter kept referring to “DEVGRU” rather than explain it, but that only adds into my theory #2.

Besides, are you really trying to tell me that the dude that killed Bin Ladin can’t find a job? That is BS. Anyone that made it through BUDS and spent 8 years in the teams will have enough contacts to find a job. I refuse to believe otherwise.

Overall, I remain skeptical of Esquire’s story.

BTW- I suppose the third option is that everything here is right, but then it doesn’t make sense at all, because if this guy is honorably discharged, he should be able to get into the VA for 5 years. Either way, wouldn’t an actual reporter contact someone to ask why this guy doesn’t get any healthcare? And wouldn’t that person be able to tell Esquire he’s entitled to VA?

Category: Politics

Comments (30)

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  1. Doc Bailey says:

    There was some fishy things about the interview. But that doesn’t change the fact that if you get out short of 20 you are screwed.

  2. TSO says:

    Oh you are. No doubt about that. But, they didn’t change that rule anytime recently. Pretty sure you know when you go in you have to do 20.

  3. LL says:

    I agree, but I have to add that based upon Jonn’s comment on the previous post on this, I believe he was THE shooter.

  4. RunPatRun says:

    My theory….Trying to get inside this guys head, he sees folks making money off books etc, decides to go after the pot of gold. Next he discovers there ain’t no free lunch, somewhat disgruntled he finds a reporter willing to listen. But he picks a sensationalist hack who twists his words and misquotes him. Being anonymous, he has no way to refute, plus now he’s burned his last bridge to any friends in the Spec Ops community. Sucks to be him.

    Just a guess.

  5. Edward1811 says:

    Still, the ST6 bothered me. Anyone at Little Creek knew to call them DevGru, I was an Amphib guy and even we knew not to call them “ST6”.

  6. melle1228 says:

    Well I don’t see if this guy was as hurt as he was when he left that he didn’t get any kind of disability. Frick almost everyone now a days is getting even the base of PTSD disability. I will tell you that the claims are taking forever though. Our friend retired last May and just got his first disability check(not retirement)..

    And I also thought that there was some type of COBRA like program where even servicemembers who hadn’t retired could continue to pay for Tricare after the fact for a period of time.

  7. melle1228 says:

    OH and don’t you actually take care of all the paperwork etc. to get a disability rating before you leave the military. I know for retirement, my hubby did. It may take awhile to get a decision back, but the legwork is usually done in the outprocessing.

  8. USMCE8Ret says:

    I don’t even think there was an interview. If anyone WAS interviewed, it was just to get a rudimentary idea about general military jargon. Enough of DEVGRU has been posted on the internet, followed by plenty of movies and books that are out that one could come up with a character quite easily.

    I just don’t buy it that a former operator can’t find his ass from a hole in the ground and is left twisting in the breeze after service – or not knowing what he’s supposed to do once he gets his DD214.

  9. VanZorge says:

    i also felt that the story was rather odd. i am not military so my impression was not based on that angle of the story, rather it was based on an impression that the “shooter” was purposely, but subtly, being portrayed as being mentally unbalanced, almost as being a “victim”, if you will. will the reporter tell us next that the “shooter” is suffering from ptsd??

  10. Helen of Troy says:

    I ETS’d in October 2011. When I got out, part of the initial clearing brief I received at Ft. Stewart was dedicated to continuing my medical coverage under COBRA. It would have continued for something like six months, and I would’ve had to pay for it out of my pocket. Problem with that is the price tag for COBRA was well outside of what I was willing or able to pay for it.

  11. Meme says:

    There is a lot of missing information here. 1- Admiral McCraven basically WARNED everyone they’d better not put out any information.. benefit from events. So he is screwed. 2-If he got out just to get out and get his 15 minutes, he f’ed himself. 3-If he was getting out on a medical retirement – that average wait time is 400 days. But he would be assigned to the Wounded Warrior Bat or other unit in the mean time. 4-Big Army was looking into changing the 20 year rule for those that are “really close” to let them retire early – but I do NOT think this is the case. 5- Why would you go to “Esquire”

  12. Edward1811 says:

    #11 – The Esquire thing also bugged me. The people I work with all hate the press, when I was in the Navy we all hated the way we were portrayed by the media. Was this guy so pissed off at the military that he just said “F it” and found the most uber-liberal reporter he could? I’d rather take a bullet than trade my stories to the guys from Esquire, GQ or the NYT.

  13. Bam Bam says:

    I keep this story everywhere and I’m frustrated as they make this out to be “oh I killed bin laden, now pay me”. I hope to God this guy isn’t really like that and I would be shocked if he was. But 16 years ain’t twenty and I’m pretty sure guys on the teams get some benefits while active that make it worth the while. If not, oh well, service is its own reward and all that…

    Still I think this is just spin. Sad.

  14. harp1034 says:

    If he was the real deal it seems like he could get a desk job at the Pentagon. Surely he could find a spot with JSOC.

  15. Charles says:

    I am calling Shenanigans on this because right now due to top heavy enlisted ranks there is an option to retire early under REDUX but instead of cash and 40% of base pay for life, you are offered no cash and a smaller payment for life but can be bumped back up if you do IIR and drilled at least two weekends a month until the 20. Then its just like if he was a reservist, waiting until SSI age to draw the retirement pay. TriCare is covered by others and ditto for the VA. Also its mandatory for all (even those with OTH, BCD and dishonorable) to attend TAP, if not then the command can get their cranks stepped on hard by Big Navy.
    There are so many holes that makes me lean towards a poser who wanted to get their 15 and a left winger who wants the government (actually the VA and DoD) look bad to feed some other popular meme amongst the left winger (like the Rambo, Homeless, crazy vet thing).

  16. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    Do you remember the gaggle of DEVGRU guys diciplined by RADM Bonelli, DEP COM NSW a few months ago?

    They were all issued promotion ending NJP!

    End of story!

  17. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    One other thing … nah!

  18. Marine 83 says:

    This whole “poor, poor, pitifull me” vibe I get sounds like no hard charger I have ever encoutered, in any service. It sounds more like L/Cpl Joe Shit the Ragman, not a 16 year veteran of one of the worlds most elite fighting units. Kinda hard to reconcile his words -vs- what I know of the SEALs and the kind of man who makes it through BUDS. Just my 2 cents and worth as much.

  19. Just an Old Dog says:

    Not buying this Story one bit. The secret squirrel angle (hidden identity for security reasons) is the perfect cover the guy/writer not to reveal their name. Any fake could easily be exposed as a non-buds grad.
    Main thing is,,, SEALs aren’t simply wired that way. If this guy was so shit hot, there is no way they would have simply turned him away without trying to retain him in the NAVY in some capacity. Even if by some chance A SEAL did decide to call it quits after 15, they aren’t the kind of guys that simply leap out into the civilian world with no plan. Even if he didn’t choose Law Enforcement or contractor work he probably would have schooling lined up or a business opportunity waiting for him. SEALs pretty much have a mindset and intelligence that makes them successful at ANYTHING they attempt.
    My Theory: This guy either got put out of the service or is a complete poser that read a few things and got the ear of the press. He spun the entire story for financial gain or some sick attention grab. The real SEALs are probably biting their tongues wanting to rip this assholes head off.

  20. Notasquid says:

    My favorite line is “But even with the SEALs’ strong history of institutional modesty…”
    What a laugh

  21. 68W58 says:

    I’ve held off, but I’m going to guess legit. MCPO above notes that RADM Bonelli disciplined some guys for revealing classified information to the video game industry and the Esquire story says that when this gentleman left the Navy his uncle tried to get him on at EA, so that would seem to fit. He might have got a career killer punishment for the video game mess, got a case of the red ass and headed for the door. Even incredibly high speed people sometimes do really dumb things.

  22. Anonymous says:

    I just read 1/2 of the article … BS flags are flying forward and aft … port and starboard.

    Key words and lexicon that NSW personnel use are missing in the article. I found that strange but, it could be writers’s style.

    Nothing here is adding up … he either left on good terms … and he is making 6 fig salary (many do) and not speaking to the press … or left on bad terms and … ah .. he is talking to fuc*ing Esquire … please …

    If the ladder, sounds like a shunned Chief Petty Officer like the last one!

    NSW not very happy about these stories!

    Then again … this could be the biggest poser of all time!

    I will wait till NSW PAO puts out the press release …

  23. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    # 23 me!

  24. AW1 Tim says:

    He also might not even exist.

    As I commented earlier, this article reads like someone cut and pasted parts of stories he read or heard, stringing them together as if it was one actual guy. This would work for someone on civvy street, but anyone with some service in the ranks would see right through it and know that something aint right.

    I leaning towards the author making up the entire story in order to further some leftist agenda.

    Yeah, I know, it’s the tinfoil hat part of me. BUT, somethings not right with the story.

  25. USMCE8Ret says:

    It’s all horseshit.

  26. NHSparky says:

    Wouldn’t be the first time someone in the MSM made shit up out of whole cloth.

    Sadly, it probably won’t be the last.

  27. Ex-PH2 says:

    And, of course, the ‘shooter’s’ identity is a BIG SECRET.

    He has to go into a witness protection program if anyone finds out who he is.

    Yes, all special forces people end up in expensive, government-funded (taxpayers) witness protection programs when they leave the military, just in case anyone finds out who they are.

    (Falls off chair laughing. Scares cats.)

  28. David says:

    Houston paper is running the article front page like it was the Word of God.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Retirement or pension bennies? Poof!

    Yes he’s got VA. Which is a lot more than most Americans had. But when you look at costs/benefits, it’s nowhere near where it should be.

    Should have stayed in and gone ‘sick’.