The U.S. Navy SEAL who shot and killed Osama bin Laden is speaking out for the first time since the raid on his compound in Pakistan.
In an interview with Esquire, the former SEAL identified only as "The Shooter" said he's been abandoned by the U.S. government since leaving the military last fall.
He decided to speak to set the record of the bin Laden mission straight and to put a spotlight on how some of the U.S. military's highly trained and accomplished soldiers are treated by the government once they return to civilian life.
Even after killing the world's most-wanted terrorist, he said he wasn’t given a pension, health care or protection for himself or his family.
He claims SEAL command told him they could get him "a job driving a beer truck in Milwaukee."
Plus, he said, "my health care for me and my family stopped. 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 16 years. Go f--- yourself."
ONE ISSUE: "The Shooter" left the military well before the 20-year requirement for retirement benefits.
The government is supposed to provide 180 days of transitional health care benefits, but the Shooter was ineligible because he didn’t agree to stay on active duty in a support role or become a "reservist." Instead, he will have to wait at least eight months to have his disability claims heard.
The SEAL also gave his account of the raid, including the moment he pulled the trigger and shot bin Laden.
He said: “In that second, I shot him, two times in the forehead. Bap! Bap! The second time as he’s going down. He crumpled onto the floor in front of his bed. He was dead. I watched him take his last breaths. And I remember as I watched him breathe out the last part of air, I thought: Is this the best thing I've ever done, or the worst thing I've ever done?
"I'm not religious. But I always felt I was put on the earth to do something specific. After that mission, I knew what it was."
Also, Osama's "forehead was gruesome. It was split open in the shape of a V. I could see his brains spilling out over his face. The American public doesn’t want to know what that looks like."
The Shooter described watching CNN's coverage of the first anniversary of bin Laden's death.
He said: "They were saying, 'So now we're taking viewer e-mails. Do you remember where you were when you found out Osama bin Laden was dead?' And I was thinking: Of course I remember. I was in his bedroom looking down at his body."