A final Press check—a movement that pulls the bolt of his weapon back slightly to ensure a bullet is seated and ready to go—ensures that his primary and secondary weapons are both up and that he is ready for work. The exercise in touch makes him feel more connected to the task at hand. He can smell cool smoke in the air as the tight formation hurdles through the night at over 150 knots, just feet from the Pakistani village rooftops. The smell in the air is the familiar fragrance of developing third world countries, the SEAL is used to it by now, and when he breathes it all in, it brings a familiarity and a certain calmness to him. One minute out. The Helos bank sharply to the right, and for a second the squad was deep in the bank of the helicopter and staring directly toward the ground, only held in place by inertia. The Helo’s then leveled out in unison and flare in position as the fast ropes simultaneously deploy.
Seconds later the assault element slides down the ropes and head straight to business. The lead assault members find that all doors are unlocked as they make their way into the main compound. They all know and appreciate that this is a familiar sign that the team is unexpected company. Assault team two enters the main house as the first terrorist reaches for his weapon. He takes his last breath as four well placed shots enter his head at over a thousand feet per second. The Belgian Sheppard continues slightly ahead of the main element and has indicated to his handler a direction of obvious importance. This is relayed quickly to the rest of the team. The laser guided Sheppard is equipped with a full motion night vision video camera, titanium bite teeth. He receives commands from his handler in silence from an embedded communications ear bud. This is not a dog you want to run into in the middle of the night.
Room by room the assault team flows fluidly and methodically through the compound. The sound of M-4 gunfire from squad one can be heard in the distance and occasionally through the crackle of radio communications. Assault team two recognize the rhythm of their comrades’ shots and know that the rhythmic fire they hear in the distance is the kind that comes only when you have caught your enemy by surprise. Sustained fire without the same pitch would mean trouble.
Violence of Action is key for any SOF unit. Slow and methodical aggression used to overwhelm your enemy and strike paralyzing fear into their hearts is the name of the game.
The SEAL the ones nick named “Disco” is at the front of assault element two. His breathing is controlled but he can’t ignore the smells around him. The smell of sweat, gunpowder and death burn through his nostrils with every breath he takes. He feels the familiar squeeze on his shoulder and enters the room as the number one man. In a split second he’s in the room, along the wall, facing center and engaging the first target. His weapon is an extension of his body and the barrel flows with his eyes as he sweeps through the entire room. Three well placed shots to the head and the woman that was screaming and aggressively running toward him is down. He picks up his second target and notices that it’s the HVT they’ve come for and has little time to reflect on the significance of the event. He notices the HVT make a move for the AK47 leaning up against the bed stand. He thought to himself that a lesser-trained, inexperienced operator would hesitate for a split second in the hopes that reason would take over and the man would reconsider reaching for the weapon. The SEAL knew from experience that this type of hesitation risks his teammates’ lives and gets good men killed. No quarter. He squeezed off four shots with ease and precision that only comes with years of training and combat application.
Bin Laden was awakened and disoriented by the gunfire and yelling that he heard coming from all directions. He immediately recognized the distinctive sound of small caliber gunfire from the American made M-4 rifle. He knew at that moment that the Infidels had found him. He switched on his bedside lantern and thought quickly about what would come next. He ignored his current wife and her scared screams of confusion. He brushed her aside, engaged in rapid thought. He had spent years sacrificing his lifestyle to remain hiding in plain sight, this only with the help of his Muslim brothers in the Pakistani intelligence service. He had seen plenty of action against the Soviets, and more recently against Allied forces, and knew that waiting too long to decide what his next step would be would mean certain death. Just then, the door burst open. He noticed his hysterical wife run and get shot dead as she moved aggressively toward the American. He grabbed and swung his AK47 upwards but it never reached beyond his knees. His last look was into the eyes of the American Navy SEAL; He recognized the fire that burned in those eyes and deep down he respected it. The look of a warrior; One cannot fake this look. It was his last vision as the bullets found their mark. Bin Laden’s last thoughts began to take shape. “How did the Americans find me? Who betrayed the cause? Who in the ISI had shown weakness for the cause?” And his last conscious thought was filled with a prayer and a faint hint of hope only the dying come to know. He muttered a final “Inshallah” as life left his body.