Military

May 2nd, 2011: We got him

May 1st 2011. It was another warm night, not unusual for the time of year in this region of Afghanistan. We had been in-country for a couple of months at this stage, and we had developed a standard routine. This was my first deployment in the Army. I had passed selection for the 75th Ranger Regiment that previous summer and had undergone a grueling training cycle prior to the journey to Afghanistan. By now I had more than a handful of missions under my belt and was getting used to the way of life that is the Rangers.

New Mission

Tonight we had a new mission. A sub-commander nestled in a small valley about an hour away from our base. After our briefing, we followed our usual schedules; grabbed some dinner, talked shit amongst ourselves, and maybe got a bit of Call of Duty in before we had to suit up.

Sunset came and went. It was time. At the behest of our platoon sergeant, the melodies of Lady Gaga and Kesha filled the Ready Room — the assembly room where our equipment took a rest from the previous night’s mission. As we donned our armor, weapons, and ammunition, you could hardly tell what we were about to embark on with the lighthearted chatter among the soldiers. It’s these smaller moments that later become fond memories. With my last mag in my rifle, it was time go to. As one of the new guys, I had earned the privilege of carrying a ladder on my shoulder for our trip there — I slung it on my shoulder on my way out.

We made our way to the target location. While warm, there was a strong breeze that kept us cool, even with the amount of gear that we hauled with us. It made carrying that ladder much more bearable during the long walk. We silently strode towards the small village where our intelligence had led us, thinking only of the mission at hand.

As we crept through the village, we turned our plan into action. Blocking positions were setup, over-watch was in place, and we went to work. No one died that night. At least, not in this quiet village. As we completed our tasks, we rounded up our detainees and began our trip back to our home away from home. Little did we know that there was a more significant mission being carried out less than five hundred miles away.

Return to base

It was early in the morning Afghanistan time on May 2nd, with the sun just starting to rise over the distant mountains. After an evening mission, this is generally the time that we showered, repacked our gear as necessary, and took our turns sleeping until the next target package was ready. Instead, many of us were gathered in the operations center. Our leadership brought us in as we walked by indicating that President Obama was about to make a big announcement.

There were a couple of TVs streaming the news from back in the States. We watched casually, discussing among ourselves. The various news anchors were debating what the news may be; pulling out of Afghanistan? A major new initiative? A high level enemy target killed? It was obviously something important. Living in the classified world has its perks — we had a general idea of what was about to be announced, which made their speculation even more entertaining to watch. We waited patiently, talking about the next potential missions between the news anchors giving their updates.

Eventually, Obama took his place on the stage behind the podium and started his speech. As more details rolled in on our end, he finally put the issue to rest. Osama Bin Laden, was dead.

Author’s Note: Specific details were purposefully omitted from this story in order to protect operational security for the unit involved.

Images courtesy of Pixabay and the U.S. Army. 

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Luke Ryan

I remember that one! (Alex and I were deployed together then) Had very little bearing on the deployment itself, but it was pretty interesting to be there when it happened.

Mic-Mac
Member
Mic-Mac

It sure felt good to hear the news back home too! So thankful for all of you who serve/ed <3

Mason
Member
Mason

Your night could have been wild, or calm, and you were out on a night that was pivotal. Incredible parallel happenstance. I bet it was surreal for you?

homanj1
Member
homanj1

And a little while later, the book-writing began…….we all know of two people that were there. But not the other quiet professionals. As citizens we really don’t care who pulled the trigger, we’re just happy someone did. Our President let the cat out of the bag on SEAL Team 6. That was a BS move on his part. Heroes? Absolutely! But then began the scrutiny, wild accusations, tomahawk controversy, etc. My thought is sometimes people just need to STFU, including our politicians. The people that count know who did what. Congrats to all involved in that mission. They all came… Read more »

Joni Smith
Guest
Joni Smith

I’m with you LPD on the President letting the cat out of the bag. To me it was like High School antics trying to say “hey look what our team did!” but with no regard for the implications of letting that cat out of the bag. I can’t imagine the cringing moments that came after he spilled the beans for our military leaders. I agree that some people need to STFU. In an effort to say look what and who I know to make themselves feel important, some have shared too much in my opinion. I’m quite happy knowing there… Read more »

GsGirl
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GsGirl

Hope you’re at the Shockers game, or at least watching it!!! Your guys look good!!! Getting ready to watch 6’s Gators…great BB on ESPN! Think of you every time that I see Wichita State….and a hot car and a gun!!! So great to read your comment here…Love you and Mrs256 so much…me!!! 79-68 Shockers!!!

homanj1
Member
homanj1

Hey-Actually I’m watching Black Klansman right now. Trying to see all the movies up for awards. The Shockers are always fun. I’m taking direction from D on my TV choices right now. But she’ll be in football world with me tomorrow.

GsGirl
Guest
GsGirl

You’re a much better spouse than I ever was.. I never cared about the movies, when G only cared about a few, like Jason Bourne and anything with Johnny Depp. What we did share, through out the MLB Season, was Yankees Baseball!!! Every time they are on TV, and We subscribe to YES…. It was a gift to share The Yankees with him!!! God Bless You and. Mrs. Homan! I think of you often!!!🐈🍔🍒🌻🌍💖

georgehand
Member

RGR homanj1… and to top it off you have Rob O’Neil and some other butt-stroke DevGru SEAL literally fighting over who shot UBL… that’s such a national embarrassment. They two are just lying for the profit of the book right.
Dégoutant!
geo sends

homanj1
Member

Geo-Hope they make some HT busts in Atlanta this weekend. Good to hear from you.

Joni Smith
Guest
Joni Smith

I think we all stood a little taller in our boots that night. As LPD noted, we were all glad it was done no matter who did the actual doing of that particular mission. All the missions and efforts went together to pull that off.

homanj1
Member
homanj1

Joni-Actually, now that Obama announced SEAL Team 6, I’ve enjoyed exploring their exploits, and both good and bad publicity. There are some good books out there. Howard Wasdin had a book on the shelves about two days later. Sadly, I think the Bissonnette book started a shitstorm of scrutiny. I think Rob O’Neill would be a guy I’d like to have a beer with. He’s certainly faced criticism. Both inside and outside the SEAL community. And if the President had kept quiet, I’m not sure any of us would know his name. I was proud of the job all the… Read more »

GsGirl
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GsGirl

I apologize on intruding in on your and Joni’s conversation!!! Have a grand day!!! Love, GsGirl

homanj1
Member
homanj1

No issue here. This movie is great.

Joni Smith
Guest
Joni Smith

It’s an open conversation. Glad to have you join in!

Joni Smith
Guest
Joni Smith

Definitely been some interesting books published since that day. Human nature will always play a role. I hate to see infighting between people and jealousy over success. Some just can’t be happy if others are successful. It is even spread to our politicians. Look at the attacks based on actions all the way back to High School and college where people jump at the chance to highlight someone’s past bad behavior and attack like vultures waiting on roadkill picking every last piece of flesh they can. I was discussing this with my mom. She was asked once to run for… Read more »

homanj1
Member
homanj1

My Mom (RIP) did a minstrel show in the 40’s in eighth grade. Her whole class did blackface. I discovered the picture after she passed. Crap, I’m a second generation racist.

Joni Smith
Guest
Joni Smith

LPD you are screwed if you ever run for office. LOL. Honestly who among us is perfect? None I would say. I’m certainly not. That is the sad part. Judgement of others actions from years past through today’s lense.

georgehand
Member

Spot-on, Ms. Joni… I was noticeably proud.
geo

georgehand
Member

Christ Alex…
you were a part of that history. I was sitting in my living room watching 60 Minutes when the prog was interrupted. I remember thinking that this had better be important to interrupt my TV time. It was.
geo sends

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