Thursday, November 06, 2014

Tribute Post: Rob O'Neill

Navy Seal Rob O'Neill has been identified, or self-identified, as the one who capped Osama.

His story is coming out, and so far it is quite a story.  He was involved in the Marcus Luttrel (Lone Survivor) rescue, the Somali pirate hostage rescue and the Osama raid in Pakistan.  No doubt he has more stories, many of which he cannot share.

This is a ordinary American who chose an extra-ordinary life.  He competed against thousands to get to the tip of the spear.  He survived 300 battles to stay at the tip.

The Navy is giving him a hard time for telling his story.  Yes, it is in bad form, generally, but I think he's due an exception.  9-11 was the most traumatic event of my life, so far.  The War on Terror is a just cause and I am grateful to Rob, and every other member of the US military, for doing their part in it.

The executioner of the 9-11 leader and financier should be allowed to tell his story so long as 1) he is fine with his identity being known, and 2) does not betray his fellow troops or classified mission details.  Rob O'Neill appears to share these values, and his story reflects positively on all who served and continue to serve.  I think the political hacks in the upper ranks of the DOD should f**k off and leave him alone.

Rob, thank you for your service.  I hope to shake your hand someday.

Photo and more info: Gateway Pundit

UPDATED 1:30pm:

I've been told by a former SEAL that O'Neill has disclosed some information that, while not necessarily classified, is in poor judgement.

Further, I saw this NBC article linked by Drudge that exposes some questions about what happened at the Osama compound.  A minor disagreement between two professionals, but now a public one that stains both of their reputations and distracts from otherwise incredible careers.  Obviously this is what the policy is meant to prevent.

I stand by my praise for this man and his career of service, but wanted to correct the record.

UPDATED 9:30pm:

My comrade from the 1:30pm update was correct - O'Neill's behavior is not appreciated within the SEAL community.  SOFREP has posted the news that the senior officer and senior enlisted within the SEAL chain of command have formalized their feelings about O'Neill's recent press, and his expected interview on Fox News.  It says:
In a letter signed by both the senior commander and enlisted man of Naval Special Warfare Command, the SEAL leadership emphasized that the majority of SEALs spend each day living up to the label “quiet professionals.” Unspoken is the implication that the former SEAL, who is in fact, former Red Squadron SEAL Robert O’Neill, is seeking notoriety for his own story.

The point they make is that it took so much more than the final trigger pull to kill Bin Ladin, so why should one SEAL assume the moniker, “The One Who Killed bin Ladin?”
At risk of offending the Special Ops folks that may come across this post, allow me to weigh in here as a civilian who once wore both enlisted and commissioned rank, and who was assigned to Special Operations Command for 6 years:

Get over it, and get over yourselves.  

Tell me, do you know who this is?

Hint: He is an American hero, like O'Neill.  He is one of many, but he is the face of one of the top military operations in WWII, just as O'Neill is the face of the Osama raid - like it or not.  He didn't seek notoriety, just like O'Neill didn't.  This man's operation had little impact on the enemy's war-fighting capabilities, just like O'Neill's.  But his mission energized our nation at a very low point, just like O'Neill's.

The line above that says "it took so much more than the final trigger pull" is pure Bullshit from political hacks who have lost sight of the mission, but have their cush jobs and fat pensions in clear sight.  They'll tell us that they stay in their jobs to keep stability among the troops - even keel - so to speak.  But while they salute a fraud and execute his orders to remove patches, lower standards, and lose site of who the enemy is, they lose their moral authority.

(I wouldn't say this if there had been one or more resignations in the past six years, but there haven't been.  The upper ranks of the military have been cleansed of the war fighters.  This has long been the truth.  All who remain are those enjoying the perks, the authority, and the promised pensions.)

Hundreds, if not thousands, made this man's mission possible in WWII, yet few know any of the other names.  The Americans who built the planes, ferried the planes to the launch spot, rescued the pilots after the mission, etc., were all heroes.  Just like the men on the Osama raid.

Bottom line: our nation's biggest missions - successes (Doolittle, above) and failures (Pickett, and later Custer) - are celebrated.  And the men behind them are pulled into the spot light.

If O'Neill has released any secret information or the names of any teammates, tell me and I'll correct this post.  Otherwise, cut him some slack.

The pull into the spotlight was stronger than any push he gave himself.  And the mission, regardless of the specifics, was fully staffed with heroes that all deserve the credit that O'Neill is now taking on their behalf.

I stand by this tribute post and salute Rob O'Neill, and all of his team mates, who have taken up arms for this country.

UPDATED 11.7.14 9am:

I just re-read my post above.  Some broad-brush stokes up there.  A lot of black and white.  I like it.  I'm going to re-re-read it.

Just some context for those who haven't read my previous posts on the topic of military resignations - here and here.  I haven't told my own story yet, but the thoughts above come from my experience with fuzzy standards and career-building posturing from senior enlisted (E-9) and commissioned (O-5 & O-6).  Maybe someday I'll share.  Maybe when someone offers to buy the drinks.

UPDATED 11.8.14 9am:

HavokJournal has the best non-tribute post.  I still stand by my post above. 

However, if it is true O'Neill is actually complaining he should get a pension after 16 years of service....  Well, I got no words for that.

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