News of Osama bin Laden’s death Monday raced through the tents and plywood buildings that make up the headquarters of the 101st Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan.
Within minutes of the president’s televised announcement, brigade leaders met for a daily battle update briefing, and soldiers checked in by cell phone with buddies on other parts of the base.
Task Force Currahee is on its second deployment to Afghanistan, responsible for counterinsurgency operations in Paktika province. Soldiers smiled as they discussed the demise of the mastermind behind the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans and other nations’ citizens in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in the United States.
Army Maj. Rob Born, brigade operations officer, said bin Laden’s death won’t require the task force to change its operations significantly.
“The assessment was in many ways, he was more of a symbolic, moral and figurative leader than he was involved in the command and control of day-to-day operations,” Born said. “I think we will find out whether or not that hypothesis was true, and what the impact is.”
Back in the United States, Georgia’s delegates in Washington, D.C., reflected on the momentous occasion.
“What happens in the hereafter to a man whose life caused the death of so many innocent people is left up to God. Our job is to continue the fight against terrorism, which he raised to the highest level,” Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said. “Osama bin Laden’s legacy in America is more government security, more check points, less personal freedom, more war and an end to our relative isolation and peace as we knew it. While the world is better off without him, his hatred lives on in his followers and we must remain ever vigilant on their next move.”
Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., praised the agencies responsible for tracking and bringing down the terrorist.
“This is a historic moment for the U.S. special operations and intelligence communities. I highly commend the special operations units who undertook this mission and carried it out with no injuries to women or children inside the compound,” Chambliss said. “The CIA and others in the U.S. intelligence community did a phenomenal job over several months in carrying out this assignment.”
Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., also commended the involved parties’ security work and research, but cautioned against becoming complacent.
“This is an historic moment that brings to a close an unfortunate chapter in American history. This day comes as a result of the hard work by the Central Intelligence Agency, the national security agencies and especially our military,” Isakson said. “We have hunted down and killed the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, but we must not stop here. The threat of terrorism still exists and we must remain steadfast in our mission to eradicate it around the globe.”
For more, pick up a copy of the May 4 edition of the News.