The now-famous Operation Neptune Spear was one of greatest military operations in America’s history and in the history of special forces branch. US Navy SEAL Team Six made it clear, Geronimo is down. Geronimo was world’s most wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden. He was initially located after US intelligence officials tracked one of his couriers after almost two decades of the manhunt. After the Bin Laden hideout was located in Abbottad, Pakistan, President Obama met with national security top advisers to formulate a plan of action. During the next six weeks, he and the advisors met four times. One of the visits were extremely important, it involved Vice Admiral William H. McRaven, commander of the US Joint Special Operations Command.
Initially, according to the various sources (not officially confirmed) the initial plan was plan to release (up to) 32 2,000 lb. bombs on the compound using B-2 Stealth bombers, but it was rejected because President Obama felt a raid would provide the proof needed to know definitively that America’s enemy number one, Osama bin Laden was located. A raid also would minimize possible civilian casualties.
Training and preparations for the Mission
Training for US Navy SEALs Team Six also known as DEVGRU began following the national security meeting held on March 22nd, 2011. Special training facilities resembling the Bin Laden’s compound were set up on both coasts. In April 2011 the plans progressed and the Navy SEAL teams began specific training using various tactical approaches on a replica of the Waziristan Mansion compound. Some security sources reported US Navy SEALs made two initial practice runs – one on April 7th and one on April 13th2011.
John Brennon, a one of White House counter-terrorism advisors, identified the initial point of the mission was to capture Osama bin Laden if he posed no threat. An unnamed US national security official, however, informed Reuters that the operation was, in fact, a kill mission and that Osama bin Laden didn’t have a chance to survive.
The Mission day
After a 24-hour delay due to cloudy conditions, the President Barack Obama gave the order. It was clearance to proceed with the mission on May 1, 2011, with one goal, to kill or capture notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden. The raid ensued using 20-25 special-made Black Hawk helicopters carrying US Navy SEALs Team Six – DEVGRU members, 79 operators and one dog in total. The backup plan had multiple helicopters – including two Black Hawks and two Chinooks and a number of search-and-rescue helicopters.
On May 1, 2011, the US Navy SEALs DEVGRU team made a world’s headlines. After they landed in the compounds backyard, Navy SEALs used explosives to breach the walls of the compound and proceeded to attack its structures. Despite receiving open fire, they were able to neutralize the guards and then proceeded in clearing buildings throughout the compound. Bin Laden’s couriers on the first floor were killed and additional personnel and women and children encountered on the second and third floors were captured and secured in place with zip ties. Once the raid was over, they were moved outside.
The team located and confronted Osama bin Laden on the third floor. The Offical statement claims that Bin Laden resisted and posed a threat for a US Navy SEALs Team Six and they had no choice but to kill him. As a result, the US Navy SEAL Team 6 mission – Operation Neptune Spear – ultimately led to the killing of Osama bin Laden.