Robert O’Neill, 38, from Butte, Montana, was part of the SEAL Team Six that carried out the raid on Bin Laden’s compound in May 2011, and is due to share his story in an upcoming documentary on Fox News.
The highly decorated serviceman left the Navy SEALs recently after 16 years’ service. Mr O’Neill was one of 23 SEALs who took part in the nighttime raid in Abbottabad in Pakistan. He was the last man to see the mastermind of the September 11 attacks alive before shooting him three times in the head at close range.
Mr O’Neill has taken part in some 400 combat missions, including some which have inspired Hollywood movies — most notably a rescue mission on the Maersk Alabama, a US ship captured by Somali pirates and made famous in the film Captain Phillips, and the rescue of SEAL Marcus Luttrell in Afghanistan, which inspired Lone Survivor.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Mr O’Neill’s father Tom defended the decision to go public and said he was not worried about any reprisals.
“People are asking if we are worried that Isis will come and get us because Rob was going public. I say I’ll paint a big target on my front door and say ‘come and get us’,” he said.
The revelation came just days after the head of Naval Special Warfare Command Rear Admiral Brian Losey and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci issued a memo to special warfare sailors to remind them to stay out of the limelight. “A critical tenet of our ethos is ‘I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions’. Violators of our ethos are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare.”
Mr O’Neill’s hometown of Butte, Montana, is a former mining town listed as “the most Irish town in America” in the 2010 US Census.