Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
McRaven reveals his biggest fear during the planning of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden
Bin Laden had been in hiding for nearly 10 years, since the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. US intelligence had been on the hunt for the Al Qaeda leader, finally identifying the compound where he and his family were living in August 2010.
At the time Team 6, officially known as Naval Special Warfare Development Group or DEVGRU, was under the operational leadership of Adm. Bill McRaven, who was the head of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) until he assumed leadership of the US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) in August 2011.
During an interview to promote his latest book, Sea Stories: My Life in Special Operations, PBS reporter Judy Woodruff asked McRaven what his greatest fear was in the raid on bin Laden's compound.
"What worried me the most was the unknown," McRaven told Woodruff. "So, we didn't know whether or not the compound in Abbottabad, where we thought bin Laden was, we didn't know whether it was booby-trapped."
McRaven reiterated his confidence in the SEAL team sent in under cover of darkness via helicopters to capture or bin Laden: "So I was pretty confident that we could make our way from Afghanistan. It was about 162 miles into Pakistan. We had looked at all the intelligence. We figured we could get by the Pakistani integrated air defenses, and we could get to the compound," he said.
"And I knew that, once the guys got to the compound, they were going to be successful. However, what we didn't know was, was bin Laden wearing a suicide vest, were the doors booby-trapped, was the entire compound loaded with explosives?"
McRaven told Woodruff that in similar raid missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, special operators "had gone into compounds to get high-value individuals, and the entire compound had exploded because it was wired."
Months of planning, strategizing, and training prepared Team 6 members to conduct the raid, which was ultimately successful. But all that preparation could only take the team so far; they had no way of knowing what kind of intelligence or weapons bin Laden had in the compound.
"This was the one thing we couldn't determine ahead of time. And that was the thing that probably worried me the most."
Read more from Business Insider:
- Navy SEAL officer who oversaw the Bin Laden raid suggests Trump could learn about 'integrity' from Obama and Bush
- One of America's oldest bombers just took flight with the Air Force's newest hypersonic weapon for the first time
- One of the US Air Force's new KC-46 tankers made a wild landing at the Paris Air Show
- The Man of Steel is joining the US military as DC Comics reinvents Superman as a Navy SEAL
- These are the 10 most dangerous countries in the world in 2019
The top leaders of a Japan-based Marine Corps F/A-18D Hornet squadron were fired after an investigation into a deadly mid-air collision last December found that poor training and an "unprofessional command climate" contributed to the crash that left six Marines dead, officials announced on Monday.
Five Marines aboard a KC-130J Super Hercules and one Marine onboard an F/A-18D Hornet were killed in the Dec. 6, 2018 collision that took place about 200 miles off the Japanese coast. Another Marine aviator who was in the Hornet survived.
The Department of Veterans Affairs released an alarming report Friday showing that at least 60,000 veterans died by suicide between 2008 and 2017, with little sign that the crisis is abating despite suicide prevention being the VA's top priority.
Although the total population of veterans declined by 18% during that span of years, more than 6,000 veterans died by suicide annually, according to the VA's 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Sunday that he discussed Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son in a call with Ukraine's president.
Trump's statement to reporters about his July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky came as the Democratic leader of a key congressional panel said the pursuit of Trump's impeachment may be the "only remedy" to the situation.
The USS Eagle 56 was only five miles off the coast of Maine when it exploded.
The World War I-era patrol boat split in half, then slipped beneath the surface of the North Atlantic. The Eagle 56 had been carrying a crew of 62. Rescuers pulled 13 survivors from the water that day. It was April 23, 1945, just two weeks before the surrender of Nazi Germany.
The U.S. Navy classified the disaster as an accident, attributing the sinking to a blast in the boiler room. In 2001, that ruling was changed to reflect the sinking as a deliberate act of war, perpetuated by German submarine U-853, a u-boat belonging to Nazi Germany's Kriegsmarine.
Still, despite the Navy's effort to clarify the circumstances surrounding the sinking, the Eagle 56 lingered as a mystery. The ship had sunk relatively close to shore, but efforts to locate the wreck were futile for decades. No one could find the Eagle 56, a small patrol ship that had come so close to making it back home.
Then, a group of friends and amateur divers decided to try to find the wreck in 2014. After years of fruitless dives and intensive research, New England-based Nomad Exploration Team successfully located the Eagle 56 in June 2018.
Business Insider spoke to two crew members — meat truck driver Jeff Goodreau and Massachusetts Department of Corrections officer Donald Ferrara — about their discovery.