An Cosantóir

March 2013

An Cosantóir the official magazine of the Irish Defence Forces and Reserve Defence Forces.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 22 of 37

towards Abbottabad. There was little moonlight and the helicopters flew low, using the hilly terrain in order to avoid radar detection. Within 90 minutes, the two Black Hawks were circling the target as President Obama and his cabinet watched a live feed of the operation in the White House Situation Room. As the SEALs on the first helicopter prepared to fast-rope into the courtyard, the helicopter experienced a hazardous condition known as ���vortex ring state���. A higher than expected air temperature and the high compound walls contributed to stopping the rotor downwash from diffusing. As a result the tail of the helicopter hit the compound wall, damaging the tail rotor. The pilot managed to keep the nose of the machine from tipping over and ditched the helicopter into the courtyard. No one was injured and the SEALs immediately began their assault on the building. The second helicopter landed and secured the perimeter, but its assault team had to scale the walls in order to gain access to the compound. Advancing into the house, which was in darkness as CIA operatives had cut the power in the area, the SEALs breached the walls and doors with explosives. As the assault team approached the guesthouse, Al Kuwaiti (Bin Laden���s courier) opened fire from behind a closed door with an AK47 assault rifle. A brief fire-fight ensued in which Al Kuwaiti was shot dead. The second SEAL assault team engaged Abrar (the courier���s brother) and his wife Bushra on the second floor of the target building: both were shot and killed. Moving carefully through the compound room by room and floor by floor the SEALs encountered numerous women and children whom they secured and ushered out of the firing line. As interior barricades were removed a number of weapon stashes were secured. Moving upwards, the assault team engaged and killed Bin Laden���s adult son Khalid on the staircase. As the SEALs reached the third floor, Bin Laden himself peered over the ledge of the staircase and turned to make his way back into the room. A burst of gunfire was discharged at the retreating figure and as the assault team entered the room they found Bin Laden lying on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head. | 23 Two of Bin Laden���s wives were in the room and as one tried to shield her dead husband, the other, who was preparing to rush the assault team, was shot and wounded. The SEALs pulled the other woman from her husband and fired a number of shots into Bin Laden���s torso. The SEAL team leader then radioed: ���For God and country ��� Geronimo, Geronimo, Geronimo���Geronimo EKIA.��� (Geronimo was the codename for Bin Laden and EKIA stands for ���enemy killed-in-action���).��� While one group of SEALs photographed the body and took DNA evidence before bagging the corpse and removing it for exfiltration, the others moved rapidly through the buildings collecting intelligence in the form of documents, computer hard-drives, USB sticks and electronic equipment. The wives, children and the dead bodies were left for the Pakistani authorities to deal with. The assault teams left the compound 38 minutes after they went in, two minutes ahead of the projected 40 minutes they had planned for. The helicopter that had made the emergency landing was unable to fly out and was destroyed to safeguard its classified equipment. One of the reserve Chinook helicopters was called in instead to fly out the SEAL team with Bin Laden���s body. After the body was flown back to Afghanistan and was officially identified as that of Osama Bin Laden, word spread rapidly throughout the world that the leading figure in al-Qaeda had been killed by American special forces. While many people breathed a sigh of relief and others celebrated what they saw as a vast reduction in the threat posed by al-Qaeda, there were those who believed that the death of Bin Laden was just a setback for al-Qaeda and that in time the organisation would regroup with a new leader. Only time will tell which view was the right one. the defence forces magazine

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of An Cosantóir - March 2013