"This is some serious Navy SEAL shit we're about to do," Rob O'Neill, the former SEAL Team 6 operator who killed Osama bin Laden, said Wednesday of what he was thinking during the 2011 raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
While speaking to a mostly military and veteran crowd at a Clever Talks event in San Diego May 16, O'Neill described his perspective before and during the raid — and revealed some interesting anecdotes along the way.
Initially, he said, the team's leaders didn't say much about what they were actually going to do. You need to get this thing from a house, but we can't tell you much more, they said. But some on the team thought they were going to nab Muammar Gaddafi from Libya, since it was right around the time of the Arab Spring.
Then they learned who was going to brief them — the vice president, the defense secretary, and the CIA's Afghan-Pakistan counterterrorism director — and O'Neill speculated it was bin Laden, which he revealed to his commander during a car ride.
At that point, the teammate who was driving looked in the rearview mirror and said, "O'Neill, if we kill Osama bin Laden, I will suck your dick." Three weeks later, he was bringing up that bet while standing over the al Qaeda leader's body.
O'Neill dropped a couple more zingers along the way, including what the pilot said as they were leaving Pakistani airspace after the raid, where they feared they could potentially be shot out of the sky: "Alright gentlemen, for the first time in your lives, you're going to be happy to hear this. Welcome to Afghanistan."
The former SEAL also offered his version of what really happened once they got back from the raid, as opposed to how it's portrayed in a scene from Zero Dark Thirty. At the end of that film, "Maya" — the CIA officer who'd tracked Bin Laden for years — breaks down in tears.
But that's not what really happened, O'Neill said.
Instead, he pulled out his now-historic rifle magazine to give to her as a keepsake of the moment. Then they walked over to Bin Laden's body and he asked, "Is that your guy?"
"Well I guess I'm out of a fuckin' job," she said.
Dashcam footage from a freeway commuter shows the moment a pilot ejected from an F-16 military jet last week, releasing a parachute before the aircraft slammed into a Riverside County, California warehouse.
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Brian M. Wilbur.)
Defense officials will brief President Donald Trump's national security team on a plan that involves sending 5,000 more troops to the Middle East to deter Iran, Task & Purpose has learned.
So far, no decisions have been made about whether to send the reinforcements to the region, unnamed U.S. officials told CNN's Barbara Starr.
"The military capabilities being discussed include sending additional ballistic missile defense systems, Tomahawk cruise missiles on submarines, and surface ships with land attack capabilities for striking at a long range," CNN reports. "Specific weapons systems and units have not been identified."
The thousands of sailors, Coasties and Marines who descend on New York City every year for Fleet Week are an awesome sight to behold on their own, but this year's confab of U.S. service members includes a uniquely powerful homecoming as well.