The Navy SEAL who claims to have shot Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011 and is speaking with Fox News later this week has revealed his identity to The Washington Post.
Robert O’Neill reportedly earned 52 commendations over 16 years in the Navy. He was involved in the 2009 raid on the Mearsk Alabama, the event that inspired the film “Captain Philips.” And he now says he was one of the SEALs who shot the most wanted terrorist alive.
The SEALs have some of the highest-pressure jobs in the entire US military and work under almost incomprehensible physical and mental strain. They’re better prepared and better trained than just about any other special operations force on earth.
In No Easy Day, his book about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, former SEAL Matt Bissonnette talks about what it takes just to get ready for a combat deployment.
He recalls meeting at SEAL Team 6 HQ in Norfolk, Va. before jumping into the fight. On the day before leaving for the Bin Laden operation, Bissonnette asked a more experienced SEAL what he should bring along.
The senior SEAL stopped, looked at his new teammate and said: “Dude, what do you think you need to bring for deployment? Load it … Bring what you think you need.”
The following list is what Bissonnette brought along.
This post was originally written by Geoffrey Ingersoll and Robert Johnson.
Body armour plates are able to stop up to three AK-47 rounds -- but are only guaranteed to stop one.
Some SEALs go 'slick' and remove their plates, depending on different scenarios.
Depending on how far they're travelling and the type of mission they're engaged in, SEALs may just not wear them.
In No Easy Day, Bissonnette says to a buddy: 'If I get shot, don't tell my mum I wasn't wearing these plates.'
Body armour plate carriers offer protection and are handy for storing all manner of necessary items.
The 'brain bucket:' No matter what, every soldier wears one.
Even the tiniest fragment or the smallest piece of high-velocity hot metal can enter through soft tissue and puncture your brain, with fellow troops left guessing as to what caused your death. In combat, your life literally depends on wearing one of these.
SEALS use advanced night-vision goggles that can range in price from about $3,000 all the way to $65,000.
Nigh-vision goggles are integral to a SEAL's night assault tactics. Being able to see when your enemy cannot is a huge advantage.
Unfortunately, none of us can get our hands on Navy SEAL NVG's -- although civilians can buy declassified, older technology.
If you do buy a pair, just don't try to leave the country with them -- we've heard customs doesn't take kindly to transferring such equipment across national borders.
Modified, customised M-4 rifles are built for the kind of covert, quick-strike missions in which the SEALs excel ...
Again, Heckler and Koch manufactures some of the best in the biz.
The 45 Calibre Compact (M45C) weighs less than 2 lbs. with a magazine that carries 10 rounds of 45 ACP ammunition. It's small, light, and reliable.
The 45 already has dependable stopping power. But if you couple it with hollow-point shells, the weapon is almost instantly deadly.
The M79 Grenade Launcher is a 'one-and-done' reloader which lobs live grenades at the enemy in a distinctive arc.
The 'Pirate Gun' or 'Thumper' -- Matt Bissonnette details a tool SEALs use called the M79 Grenade Launcher, customised with a shorter barrel and a old-school stock.
Grenades from the M79 come in all different flavours:
- Flachette (little missiles that look like nails)
Suppressors generally sacrifice a little muzzle velocity and power for a more quiet kill.
They reduce the exit of gasses and the flash from the muzzle. 'Silencer' is a misnomer -- they're not totally silent, but nonetheless Bissonnette makes several references to killing sleeping Taliban fighters without waking up the guys in the next room.
Suppressors and 'mufflers' for cars were not only designed at the same time, but based off the same principle.
Anyone familiar with using a scope -- they're popular among hunters -- knows that they need to be meticulously maintained and calibrated.
The slightest bump against a tree, rock, or car door will throw off the 'zero' of the sight, leaving the shooter to use 'Kentucky Windage' to land rounds on target.
Kentucky Windage is when a shooter knows his sight is low, so he'll put the crosshairs above where he wants to land his shot.
The M67 hand grenade has a kill radius of 15 feet and a casualty radius of 45 feet. And it can send pieces of piping hot metal as far as 250 feet.
Oftentimes it isn't fragmentation that kills the enemy but the rapid expansion of air pressure.
For example, thrown in a room, enemies might be able to hide from the blast. But the rapid compression of air through the ears will still cause massive and instantaneous brain damage.
Fixed-blade knives can take down an enemy in closed-quarters, or when even a suppressor is too loud.
Bolt cutters come in many shapes and sizes, but if I had to guess, I think SEALs would probably use something along the lines of the ULine 36 inch variety.
Matt says he had them stuffed in a bag attached to his back, and he was able to reach them kind of like a sword, from over his shoulder.
Also, the 3-foot version has the sort of leverage a SEAL would need to quickly cut through a master lock or thick fencing.
Breaching charges, which are actually somewhat smaller than the device in this picture, can take a solid-steel door right off its hinges.
This is obviously a custom breaching charge and these guys are obviously not under any duress whatsoever.
SEALs probably carry small pieces of customised detonation cord that they can wrap around a doorknob or around the frame of a door.
Fuses, more often that not, use 'smoke' pull-fuses and are probably timed out to anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds depending on the size of the charge.
A small point-and-shoot camera is important for capturing intel and evidence of a mission's success.
You can pick one of these up at Best Buy for $US100, but SEALs in all likelihood get these in general issue.
The cameras are small, durable, and can fit inside the shoulder pocket. More importantly, they can take hundreds of high resolution photos in a matter of minutes.
They can capture documents, reconnaissance, even pictures of dead enemies.
Capable of pulling metal out of flesh, or customising improvisational weapons, all-purpose tools are every soldier's sidekick.
These are kind of like a Swiss Army Knife that doubles as a set of pliers, wire cutters, and wire strippers. Generally, soldiers either get these issued or buy higher-grade versions themselves. And, just as generally, many of them never use the tools except to open those pesky Meals Ready-to-Eat out in the field.
SEALs bring along two tourniquets. After all, everybody has two femoral arteries. You only need to sever one of them to die on the battlefield.
Tourniquets are cheap, and can be attached straight to body armour.
Troops are so well-trained in the use of tourniquets that many apply their own before a corpsman or medic can even reach them.
On the battlefield years ago, soldiers would only use them in the worst cases; cutting off the blood to a limb has dire consequences after a few hours.
But leaps in Medevac capabilities have led troops to rely on tourniquets as the surest way to stop bleeding. Medical advances have also extended the amount of time an injured soldier can leave one on -- surgeons can save limbs after upward of 8 hours cut off from blood flow.
And finally -- water. No SEAL will leave the wire without an ample supply. They never know how long they may be away from the base.
Usually they will carry what's called a 'Camelback,' which is a bladder-like water carrier often seen strapped to soldiers' backs.
Lately though, troops have been carrying hard plastic water bottles because the rigors of combat have been damaging the soft-skinned camelbacks.
Generally SEALs stick to the camelbacks because the water bottles make noise - 'Swift, Silent, Deadly,' is a Marine Recon motto, but I think the SEALs would agree.
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