- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill was booted off an American Airlines flight in Nashville Sunday for allegedly being too drunk.

TMZ reported that Mr. O’Neill was kicked off an American Airlines jet bound for Dallas after flight attendants noticed he was intoxicated. Eyewitnesses told the website that he called an airline employee a “vile name” and passed out in his seat, and when he eventually woke up, a flight attendant told him he had to leave. Witnesses said Mr. O’Neill became belligerent and loud and the police had to be called to escort him off the plane, though he was not arrested.

When asked to comment on the report, Kris Kelly, Mr. O’Neill’s assistant, told The Montana Standard that “the truth has been stretched a bit, which sometimes happens,” and that Mr. O’Neill was never combative.

“Rob and his wife were leaving Nashville after spending the weekend with friends, and yes, he had consumed a few alcoholic beverages,” the assistant said. “When he got into the plane, he sat down and fell asleep.

“His wife, who was getting onto a different flight, realized she had his phone and ran to his gate to get it to him. The airline worker who brought his phone to him must have realized that Rob had been drinking, told him he needed to get off the plane, and Rob complied,” the assistant continued. “Jess [Mr. O’Neill’s wife] was surprised that he was being removed from the plane as he came back down the jetway (they were going to different places), as he was not combative at all. There was no negative interaction with any flight attendants or airline staff, other than the obvious getting removed!”

Another witness, who said he was seated just a few rows behind Mr. O’Neill, told The Daily Caller that the former SEAL didn’t cause a disturbance and simply “walked off the plane” when he was asked.

“We heard no loud commotion, we saw no noisy scene. We watched as he got up from his seat and walk off of the plane,” the witness said.

Mr. O’Neill responded to the reports on Wednesday, thanking American Airlines for its “professionalism and patience.”

“My wife and I were celebrating her best friend’s birthday In Nashville,” he wrote in a statement provided to The Daily Caller. “We had a party on Sunday and then I boarded my Flight later. They did tell me to depart the flight and re book for the next morning, which I did. I flew American the next day… twice… and am flying American right now. I truly appreciate their professionalism and patience!! I look forward to flying American for a very long time.”

Mr. O’Neill has been in trouble for his drinking in the past. In 2016, he was arrested for DUI in Butte, Montana, after police found him asleep at the wheel of his running car. He failed a sobriety test and refused a Breathalyzer, The Montana Standard reported.

Prosecutors later dropped the charge, amending it to negligent endangerment and deferring prosecution for up to a year while he underwent treatment through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Mr. O’Neill, author of “The Operator: Firing the shots that killed bin Laden,” took out America’s most wanted terrorist on May 2, 2011 during operation Neptune’s Spear in Abbottabad, Pakistan.


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