"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.
Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.
Retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles was awarded the Medal of Honor July 18, 2016, for his actions while serving as a Flight Commander assigned to the 176th Aviation Company (Airmobile) (Light), 14th Combat Aviation Battalion, Americal Division. Then-Maj. Kettles distinguished himself in combat operations near Duc Pho, Republic of Vietnam, on May 15, 1967. (U.S. Army/Spc. Tammy Nooner)
by Martin Slagter, The Ann Arbor News, Mich.
YPSILANTI, MI - When a brigade of U.S. troops was ambushed by the North Vietnamese Army in the Song Tra Cau riverbed on the morning of May 15, 1967, Lt. Charles Kettles volunteered to lead the rescue, and he refused, again and again, to back down when faced with a barrage of gunfire.
His aircraft badly damaged, left spilling fuel, and his gunner was severely injured during the treacherous operation.
But he helicoptered in and out of the battlefield four times, saving the lives of 44 soldiers in a death-defying emergency operation that would become a legendary tale of bravery in the Vietnam War.
The M160 Robotic Mine Flail at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Photo: Maj. Dan Marchik/U.S. Army
The battlefield of the future could feature robot medics delivering life-saving care to casualties in the line of fire. At least, that's what the Army is aiming for — and it's willing to pay millions for help doing it.
A Chinese tank rolls at the training ground "Tsugol", about 250 kilometers (156 miles ) south-east of the city of Chita during the military exercises Vostok 2018 in Eastern Siberia, Russia, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018 (Associated Press/Sergei Grits)
China is developing a lot of new and advanced weaponry, but a recent state media report suggests the Chinese military may not be entirely sure what to do with these new combat systems.
The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard called the ongoing partial government shutdown "unacceptable" following reports that some Coast Guardsmen are relying on donations from food pantries while their regular paychecks remain on hold.
"We're five-plus weeks into the anxiety and stress of this government lapse and your non-pay," Adm. Karl Schultz said in a video message to service members. "You, as members of the armed forces, should not be expected to shoulder this burden."