Three years later, the Navy SEAL who shot 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden is coming forward, and his name is Rob O’Neill.
O’Neill, 38, is a 16 year veteran of the SEALs who recently retired from the military. His decision to “out” himself came after he was denied some of his military benefits, since he did not serve a full 20 years of service. Now, he is hoping to use his newfound fame to shed a light on the treatment of veterans in this country.
O’Neill grew up in Butte, Montana and joined the SEALs at 19 in an attempt to get over a romance gone wrong. His father, Tom O’Neill, told reporters of the moment his son realized that he could be a SEAL.
“We were going hunting and a friend asked us to take a guy who was a Navy SEAL with us,” said Tom. “We were expecting someone who was 6 ft. 8 in. who could lift a house with his bare hands, but he was this normal guy. And Rob said if this guy could be a SEAL, then so could he.”
This marked the beginning of an illustrious military career in which he was deployed on more than a dozen tours of active combat where he took part in more than 400 separate combat missions. O’Neill was decorated a total of 52 times in his 16 years of service, receiving two silver stars and four bronze stars.
When asked why his son never received the highest honor of a Purple Heart, his father had a simple answer: :”That’s because he was never in action where a colleague was killed or injured.”
Three of his missions have been turned into Hollywood hits: Captain Phillips, Lone Survivor, and of course Zero Dark Thirty, which profiles the killing of Osama Bin Laden.
On May 2, 2011, O’Neill shot Bin Laden three times in the head after a team of SEALs raided his compound. Now a motivational speaker, O’Neill will surely go into further detail on this when he speaks to Fox later this month.
O’Neill’s decision to “out” himself was met with controversy in the military community, with his fellow SEALs making it clear that he is committing a shameful act.
“Classified information is protected by law,” two anonymous SEAL leaders wrote in a statement blasting O’Neill. “All members exposed to classified information have a duty obligation to protect this information, regardless of what may be reflected in the media, accurately or otherwise.”
“We will actively seek judicial consequence for members who willfully violate the law, and place our Teammates, our Families, and potential future operations at risk.”
The decision to speak out could also put O’Neill, who is a father, and his family at risk from terrorist attacks of vengeance. However, O’Neill’s own father has made it very clear that his family is not worried about ISIS threats.
“People are asking if we are worried that ISIS will come and get us because Rob is going public. I say I’ll paint a big target on my front door and say come and get us.”
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H/T: Daily Mail