Former Navy SEAL William White says leaving the Navy after 16 years was one of the most difficult decisions of his life.
“I didn’t want to leave my wife. I didn’t want to leave my family anymore. It’s hard saying goodbye,” he said. “It’s not an easy thing knowing there’s a chance you might not come home.”
White says he also knew leaving four years shy of the 20-year retirement mark would leave him without certain benefits like a pension and healthcare, other than the V.A.
“You don’t just jump off a ledge into the wild blue yonder. You know what’s coming up,” he said.
That’s why he didn’t quite agree with the message in the Esquire Magazine article, “The man who killed Osama bin Laden is screwed.” The article suggests the shooter was taken back by his lack of healthcare benefits when he left four years shy of retirement.
“I was kind of shocked that he would actually say that,” said White. “When I got out in 16 years, I knew what I was doing. I knew what benefits I had. I knew I was stepping out of that door not to look back, and that door was closing behind me.”
White says SEALs and sailors alike have to go through a transition assistance program when they leave the Navy where they learn what’ll be in the cards for them once they get out.
“I don’t think it’s fair for him to come out and say that there’s nothing for him, that he knew nothing about what was in store when he got out,” White said.
While White said he is proud of his SEAL brother, he doesn’t think the shooter’s decision to come forward was a good idea.
“Somebody outside of that team knows who he his, and knows his real name, and knows where his family is,” said White. “I don’t think it was the best choice for him.”