It’s been one week since President Barack Obama announced U.S. military forces had killed the world’s most wanted terrorist, but the elite group of Navy SEALs is still in the spotlight.
Former SEAL Brian Schad, of Idaho Falls, offered his insight on a mission 10 years in the making.
“It’s not necessarily the Osama bin Laden death, but rather that all our SEAL team brothers came home unscathed,” said Schad.
The 12-year Navy veteran called the early Monday morning raid on bin Laden’s Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound “a flawless special operations mission.”
“My first reaction was ‘Thank God,’ because I know the importance of cutting the head off of the snake when you’re dealing with a bully in the world,” said Schad.
The now famous mission was carried out by SEAL Team Six, known as the elite of the elite.
“The specialized team … strictly concentrates on counter-terrorism,” said Schad.
It’s a dangerous, intense, and detail-oriented job that Schad called “the ultimate navy experience.” As a member of SEAL Team 5, he endured the same basic training for sea, air and land, from scuba gear to skis.
“SEAL teams prepare for all different environments around the world,” said Schad.
Part of that preparation is the infamous “hell week,” which Schad said involves little to no sleep and weeds out the weak.
“We don’t train to get it right,” said the Idaho Falls man. “The Navy SEALS train so much that they cant get it wrong.”
But amongst a week of well-deserved praise, there’s also been scrutiny over an evolving story. The president initially said bin Laden was killed during a firefight. Days later, a defense official clarified the al-Qaida leader was actually empty-handed.
“I’m quite sure the rules of engagement were, ‘Do not capture, but kill,’ and I agree with that when I think about the bigger picture,” said Schad.
While the SEALs have taken center stage, Schad said his message is that it took each and every service member from every branch of U.S. military to carry out the historic mission.
“We are all one team, we’re all Americans and we have the common goal of ensuring, protecting, and defending what this country has that no other country in the world has and that’s our complete freedom,” said Schad.
You may also recognize Schad as a candidate from the second congressional district race last Nov. He ran against Republican Mike Simpson.