Osama bin Laden finally, nearly a decade after the September 11th terrorist attacks, met his demise in a pre-dawn raid on his compound by a group of elite Navy SEALS from the Joint Special Operations Command. Soldiers from SEAL Team Six, also known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group are considered to be the most elite warriors in the US military.
JSOC is headquartered at Pope Air Force Base and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. It’s made up of the Army’s Delta Force, SEAL Team Six, Army Rangers and the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. JSOC performs strike operations, reconnaissance in denied areas and special intelligence missions. For much of the Bush administration, JSOC was run by Gen. Stanley McChrystal. JSOC’s primary function was to eliminate individuals considered to be “High Value Targets.” McChrystal’s successor at JSOC, Vice Admiral William McRaven, is himself a former SEAL.
Retired Special Forces officer Col. W. Patrick Lang described JSOC’s forces as “sort of like Murder, Incorporated.” In an interview with The Nation magazine he said “Their business is killing al Qaeda personnel. That’s their business. They’re not in the business of converting anybody to our goals or anything like that.” He also said JSOC’s operators are the “most dangerous people on the face of the earth.”
General Hugh Shelton former Chair of the Joint Chiefs said of JSOC “They’re the ace in the hole. If you were a card player, that’s your ace that you’ve got tucked away,” and that they are “a surgical type of unit, if you need someone that can sky dive from thirty miles away, and go down the chimney of the castle, and blow it up from the inside, those are the guys you want to call on.”…”They are the quiet professionals. They do it, and do it well, but they don’t brag about it. Someone has to toot their horn for them, because they won’t, normally.”
From Ghazi Air Base in Pakistan, modified MH-60 helicopters flew to the suburb of Abbottabad, where Bin Laden’s acre-large million dollar compound was located, about 30 miles from the center of Islamabad. Aboard these helicopters were Navy SEALS, tactical signals, intelligence collectors, and navigators using highly classified hyperspectral imagers. After a 40 minute firefight, 22 people were killed or captured and the face of terror, Osama bin Laden, was shot dead. He took two shots to the left side of his face. His body was placed aboard the choppers that made the trip back. His DNA was later matched to DNA taken from one of his sisters who had died of brain cancer in Boston. There were no injuries or casualties among the SEAL team.