|Battalion Neill who shoot Osama Bin Laden|
Mr O’Neill, of Butte, Montana, served more than a dozen tours of duty in active combat, including Iraq and Afghanistan, undertaking 400 separate combat missions.
For his service he has been decorated 52 times, up to the level of senior chief petty officer before he left. He was awarded two Silver Stars – the military’s third highest honor – as well as four Bronze Stars with Valor.
He was the lead jumper on the Maersk Alabama, the ship taken over by Somali pirates, whose rescue turned into the Oscar-winning movie Captain Phillips.
It has been reported that his decision to speak out was prompted by losing some of his military benefits by quitting the SEALs after 16 years rather than completing a full 20 years of service.
Mr O’Neill’s father defended the decision to go public, saying. “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.”
This week the head of the US Naval special forces criticised Mr O’Neill’s decision to identify himself.
In a letter to serving members of the Navy’s Sea, Air, Land Teams, commonly known as SEALs, Rear Admiral Brian Losey, Commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC), and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci suggested they should consider themselves “quiet professionals” who do not seek glory for missions.
Matt Bissonnette, who wrote a book two years ago called No Easy Day about the mission under the pen name Mark Owen, and who also appears on the Fox documentary The Man Who Killed Osama bin Laden, said he had been threatened with prosecution for disclosing classified information.
In their letter, the SEAL leaders said that teammates who breached the “ethos” of keeping quiet about their missions were “selfish.”
“We do not abide wilful or selfish disregard for our core values in return for public notoriety and financial gain, which only diminishes otherwise honourable service, courage and sacrifice,” they went on.
“Any real credit to be rendered is about the incredible focus, commitment, and teamwork of this diverse network and the years of hard work undertaken with little individual public credit. It is the nature of our profession.”