Navy SEAL who ‘killed’ bin Laden to speak in Cayman

| 28/09/2016 | 49 Comments
Cayman News Service

Robert O’Neill in Liberia

(CNS): Robert O’Neill, who was part of the US Navy SEAL team that killed Osama bin Laden, will be the guest speaker at the Young Caymanian Leadership Awards (YCLA) ceremony in November. O’Neill held combat leadership roles in more than 400 missions, and was involved in the rescue of Captain Phillips from the merchant ship Maersk Alabama and the famed Navy SEAL Team 6 operation that killed the world’s most notorious terrorist in Pakistan in 2011.

O’Neill has been decorated more than 52 times, including two Silver Stars and four Bronze Stars with Valor. He has claimed to be the one who actually shot bin Laden, though his account has been disputed. (See Did Robert O’Neill really kill bin Laden?)

However, because he publicly discussed the mission with several major news outlets, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) opened an investigation into whether O’Neill released classified information of the operation. He has also been heavily criticised by the Navy for potentially breaking a code of silence that SEAL members are sworn to uphold regarding their missions.

“At Naval Special Warfare’s core is the SEAL ethos,” Rear Admiral Brian Losey and Force Master Chief Michael Magaraci said in an open letter in reaction to O’Neill’s publicity seeking actions. “A critical tenant of our ethos is ‘I do not advertise the nature of my work, nor seek recognition for my actions.’ Our ethos is a life-long commitment and obligation, both in and out of the service. Violators of our ethos are neither teammates in good standing, nor teammates who represent Naval Special Warfare.”

According to the UK’s Mirror Online, because of his claim to have killed bin Laden, a British ISIS supporter published his name and address online and called on American extremists to execute him.

O’Neill is not the first controversial key speaker at the annual YCLA event. Previous contestants have been addressed by Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, who was at the centre of the Iran-Contra scandal in the late 1980’s, in which he sold weapons to Iran in an effort to help fund rebels fighting Nicaragua’s Socialist government; and Mike Huckabee, who, when running to be the Republican nominee to be president of the United States in 2008, said he did not believe in evolution.

Held annually, the YCLA recognises outstanding young Caymanians who are making a significant contribution to society and who, through their achievements and actions, serve as positive role models for the youth of Cayman.

Chris Duggan, YCLF director, said, “We are delighted to be welcoming Robert O’Neill back to the Cayman Islands as our special guest at this year’s YCLA gala. Rob is a truly inspirational man and in his line of work, instant, critical decision-making is a necessity for success.

“His mantra is ‘never quit’ and I know his ability to motivate and encourage leadership through translating his elite SEAL training techniques into actionable decision-making traits is sure to impress all of our attendees, including our five amazing finalists.”

On the night, all five finalists — Kristina Maxwell, Brianna Ebanks, Alexandra Bodden, Shena Ebanks and Tedrick Green — will be highlighted and awarded, and then the YCLA recipient named, after which he or she will begin a year of leadership activities.

The ceremony will be on Saturday, 5 November, at the Kimpton Seafire Resort + Spa. The theme for the awards is “Step Up & Stand Out”.

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Comments (49)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Chris Duggan, let me make myself very clear to you. It is in the best interest of the YCLA organization to cancel Mr. O’Neill’s participation in the Awards ceremony. I have known you for many years Chris and the path that Mr. O’Neill is currently pursuing is going to, in the long run, bring discredit to YCLA.

    Chris, you do not know my association with this whole thing. Again, I would suggest that you find an alternate speaker my friend.

  2. Anonymous says:

    So we are bringing in a “legal killer” to speak to, and inspire our young leaders. Great job YCLA. But then again I guess we cannot expect any better, just look at who some of the past “winners” have been. Who the hell makes these decisions. I am sure they are more “inspirational” speakers out there.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:21AM you are correct. Mr. Oneill is an absolute disgrace to all of us special operations and special forces by breaking the code of silence. I have lived in Cayman for over 20 years and neither my wife, friends, co-workers or extended family know what I did.

      Yes, the saying is true Mr. Oneill Be Polite, Be Professional and Be Prepared to kill anyone you meet. But your diarrhea of the mouth continues to put all of our lives in jeopardy – thanks for nothing – hope NCIS convicts you. You deserve to be put in Guantanamo – as you are a traitor to all of us.

      Mr. Duggan, you know me, and I always thought better of you. But really, having this clown, who claims to have killed Bin Laden, speak at the YCLA. Really wonder if Mr. Oneill would pass a lie detector test – I know that answer and so does God.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does he have a valid work permit?

  4. Anonymous says:

    For all I know Bin Laden could be there front row in a cris expensive suit well shak out and clean shaven laughing his ass off.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is scary, I hope he brings his own protection. Are you people trying to bring radical Islam to our shores. Just suppose one of those bin laden supporters get wind of this and follow him to Cayman?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ok. Who is the redneck hack pulling the strings at YCLA?!

    In all seriousness, if I was one of this year’s nominees, I would politely reject the nomination and go about my merry way.



    • Edutainment says:

      Yup. But he is getting about $40/50K to speak. The committee is the one to blame but totally understand seeing as who they are. We are not all blind and ignorant. Wake up people

  6. Anonymous says:

    You just can’t please some people. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

  7. MM says:

    I find it funny that this award is aimed at bringing recognition to an outstanding young Caymanian in an effort to encourage other young Caymanian’s down a path to success – however, the tickets are priced so high that the average young person who truly would need to witness such an event in order to gain inspiration is never able to attend.

    If this was truly an event to uplift and encourage young Caymanians then it should be far more accessible to students in particular who should then be able to listen to the praises awarded to the nominees and witness first-hand what hard-work and dedication can reap … but then I guess we would have to worry about riots breaking out with too many young Caymanians attending… oh boy, can’t win.

  8. Yonder Clown Lies Again says:

    The YCLA fiasco is still running???


  9. Anonymous says:

    You have to find the humour in this. “his ability to motivate and encourage leadership through translating his elite SEAL training techniques into actionable decision-making traits is sure to impress all of our attendees, including our five amazing finalists” who wrote that for you Chris? Have some self-respect man. FYI he was trained to kill people and he is very good at it.

  10. Mokes-for-all says:

    ….And in this time of extremist jihadists, you think it’s a good idea to bring this bloke to our shores. High-risk, high-value target, anybody?!

  11. Julius Mumbere says:

    Typical extreme head of terrorist died..Thanks to shooters..

  12. Anonymous says:

    So we have prospective young Caymanians lining up for this Leadership award and now they get to listen to this dude? Well they can add Killing to their repotiore in addition to Lying and Cheating which Canover made infamous. This award goes from bad to worse.

    • Anonymous says:

      oh no, they have much better role models here to learn all that from. This is about sanctioned killing.

  13. Murdock says:

    This is what happens when you appoint American, far right, tea party types to run your committees and media outlets………

  14. Anonymous says:

    It looks like Compass doesn’t allow any comments on this event.

  15. Anonymous says:

    It blows my mind away who is invited to the Cayman Islands to give “inspirational” speeches. People promoting breast cancer research or bone marrow donations are being paid directly by Big Pharma to give speeches. Bone marrow transplants is pure “medical fascism” with almost zero benefits and tons of risk to the donor. Breast cancer is a very lucrative business.
    Now they are having a speaker who glorifies violence. What is your Church thinking about the event?

  16. Anonymous says:

    The killing of Osama bin Laden is being glorified? And someone thinks it will be inspirational to young people? Are they lost their minds?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Better start thinking about where you gonna run when the whole world finds out the truth, buddy. I guarantee you don’t have much time to think.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Of course. I knew the moment this guy started popping up on Fox News to bash Obama and Hillary that he was destined to receive an invite to do this weird right-wing YCLA gig. Who in the heck is on the committee that selects these speakers? How can they be so dense to not be able to see that they are ruining the image and credibility of this award? Talk about living in the Fox News bubble, wow. Virtually every speaker they get is an American conservative loon. Geez, just shoot for neutral. Book sports stars or academics. Anything would be better than this constant stream of creeps from Sean Hannity’s roledex.

    If the organizers want this to be a right-wing conservative award for young conservative Caymanians to be celebrated by an audience of conservative Caymanians then they should just say that and no one can knock them for it. But they promote it as a national award open to all young Caymanians and worthy of support by all.

    I guess it could be worse. We should all be grateful that Sara Palin and Rush Limbaugh demand so much for speaking engagements that the YCLA can’t afford them.


  19. Anonymous says:

    I guess love and compassion have no role to play in leadership

  20. real talk says:

    Joke of an award. I would be ashamed to be associated with this lot.

  21. Artificial Intelligence says:

    GI Joe wanna be just should keep his mouth shut, stick to the code of silence, and stay out of Cayman. Good on them for catching Bin laden, but we don’t need the violence praising here. Americans glorify war, which is the polar opposite of our peaceful country.

  22. Anonymous says:


  23. Anonymous says:

    This isn’t someone to look up to as a role model. He’s a disgrace.

    • Programmed Intelligence says:

      How is this person who sacrifices mind, body and soul to protect the rights of others and their freedom not someone to look up to?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Another fab choice by the YCLA who awarded “Con”over a few years ago. This award has no credibility.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Again, poor judgement shown by the YCLA committee. We do not need to celebrate violence. There are many other more appropriate speakers that our young Caymanian leaders could be hearing from.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This is a joke right?

  27. Anonymous says:

    I am not sure professional assassins who breach international legal norms should be welcomed to the country.

  28. Anonymous says:

    We do not need his sort here. Neither he nor his terrorist buddies. Your violence is unwelcome. There are better things to do in life.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Besides being a self-aggrandizing jerk violating the very ethos of the Seals, O’Neill has made himself a target for attack by Islamic extremists seeking revenge for the death of Bin Laden. Doesn’t this present a huge threat to the security of Cayman? I wouldn’t want that guy anywhere near me!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Sure he did. More fake news.

  31. Anonymous says:

    They always get such strange role models for this award.

  32. Anonymous says:

    OMG the last thing we need in the Cayman Islands is to have a group of terrorists come here and try to attack this Ex-Navy Seal.

    I’m confident never the less…….. that ‘he packs’ everywhere he goes these days.

    • Anonymous says:

      I certainly cannot see a reason why this man should be allowed to import or carry a weapon in the Cayman Islands.

  33. Anonymous says:

    What a dreadful example. Someone who killed another person in an extra-judicial assassination.

  34. Anonymous says:

    God, it gets worse and worse! Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel!

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