PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When it was time for the U.S. to launch its raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, an elite team of Navy SEALs got the call.
Two former members of the Navy SEALs spoke with KDKA Investigator Andy Sheehan about what it takes to be a SEAL and what this mission was all about.
Glenn Matamoros and Currie Crookston had to endure an initial week of training called “Hell Week.”
“You go basically a week without sleep,” Crookston said. “You’re on the go 24 hours a day. They are pushing you to make you quit.”
“It’s a day like today except maybe the water’s 55 degrees,” Matamoros said. “‘Line up! March out on the ocean! OK, sit down, turn around, face me. We’re not leaving until somebody quits. I want three people quit!’”
Many are called, but few are chosen – only those with the mental and physical toughness for a mission as dangerous and demanding as the raid on the Osama bin Laden compound in Pakistan – a mission in the works when U.S. intelligence suspected he was living there eight months ago.
“So they take that intelligence and they’d formulate a plan and then they would start rehearsing that plan,” Crookston said.
“What we’ve done in the past is essentially, you will build a simulated compound just like this and you will start running through …’Ok this is a 40-man assault team. First,’ and then you do what if’s for everything,“ Matamoros explained.
The SEALs descended into the courtyard in two Blackhawk helicopters and flanked the compound. A firefight ensued and they shot bin Laden in the head. One of Bin Laden’s sons, two couriers and a woman used as a human shield were also killed. Others living there were unharmed.
“And so you think about the skill in terms of marksmanship and working together, you know they could do it in their sleep,” Crookston said. “So it doesn’t surprise me at all they didn’t shoot anybody else. They shot the people they intended to shoot.”
Matamoros and Crookston are business partners in a Glenshaw company called Pets DX, MRIs and CT scans for animals. But they will always be Navy SEALs and proud of it.
“I think if you look at the combined package of the people, the equipment, the support, I don’t think there’s anybody [who] can match what we can do,” Crookston said.