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Former Navy SEALs React To Bin Laden Operation

Former Navy SEALs React To Bin Laden Operation

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Atlanta Journal Constitution via YellowBrix

May 03, 2011

ATLANTA – Former Navy SEALs in the metro area could puff their chests out a little bit Monday as a rare public spotlight shone on the elite, but secretive, unit.

“I’ve had a SEAL team T-shirt in my closet for five years, and I have never worn it. I put it on this morning," said Rusty Redding, a Vietnam-era SEAL who lives in north Atlanta.

SEAL Team 6 was unit credited with killing Osama bin Laden in a firefight early Monday outside of Abbottabad, Pakistan, ending nearly a decade-long manhunt for the al-Qaida chieftain. Several retired SEALs said they were not shocked the team got the assignment, although some were surprised that fact became public.

“We’re extremely proud that it was the SEALs who got to pull off that op," said Fred Fritsh, a chiropractor in Woodstock who spent 24 years as a SEAL and whose son is a SEAL. “All the SEAL teams and a lot of the special forces teams have been carrying out missions similar to that. They just aren’t that high visibility, but they are in harm’s way.”

“I was surprised to hear the news mention it was SEAL Team 6,” said Dante Stephensen, owner of Dante’s Down the Hatch restaurant. “We don’t normally talk about things like this.”

Stephensen was selected to serve on one of the original SEALs teams in 1962. Their existence was so closely guarded that most Americans never heard of the unit until a Reader’s Digest story on their intense training techniques appeared several years later, he said.

Even today SEALs are better known for their tough training than for the work they do. Brad McLeod, an environmental consultant in Sandy Springs, served in the Navy from 1982 until 1987 and went through the training twice after bombing a math test his first time.

The second time he passed the exam and served all but a year of his naval career in the SEALs.

“It was just something I really wanted to do,” he said. “It’s something I live with today and take a lot of pride in.”

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Former Georgia Public Safety Commissioner Robert Hightower was a Navy frogman — the precursor to the SEALs — in the 1950s. He said he is glad the public knows who brought bin Laden down.

“I think it’s good for them. Sometimes you know too little about them," he said.

McLeod went to bed early Sunday night, missing the news and President Obama’s speech. When he woke up his iPhone was buzzing with texts and e-mails from service buddies.

“I hadn’t had a cup of coffee yet and saw a text message that said, ‘They finally got him,’" he said. “I thought, what did that mean?”

McLeod caught up quickly and praised the president for using the SEALS instead of an unmanned drone to get bin Laden.

“It was courageous to use the most surgical kind of removement. I applaud his decision,” he said. “These guys have been practicing this type of mission. That’s what they do every day, practice for these types of missions.”

Several former SEALs pointed out that the training was important to the success of the mission, which reportedly took about 40 minutes.

“The fact that it went so smoothly is a testament to the training that we go through,” Stephensen said.

  • On_the_job_002_max50


    over 3 years ago


    The special forces are down right awesome !!!

  • Derrick_max50


    over 3 years ago


    They did their job and they did it well GOD BLESS the men and women that is serving in the USA military and just think the republicans wants to cut their pay and is down sizing the PD LEO's around this country. GOD BLESS all who puts on a uniform and protect our lives good or bad.

  • Me_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Thank you to the US special forces!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    A testament indeed! God Bless the USA and our outstanding service men and women!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago

    It has been said before and I will keep saying it. Our U.S. Military members are the cream of the crop. The literal best in the world. period. Nuff Said

  • Esu_patch_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Oh and my license plate says SEP11ESU, but I really dont like to advertise,,,,,

  • Esu_patch_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I wear my NYPD ESU t-shirts with pride and would gladly wear a t-shirt from the teams if I could get 1. Some wannabe haji wants to find out that there is in fact not 72 virgins waiting for him all the better. Poppa goes armed to the latrine. I do believe a certain amount of caution should be used but then again arent we cautious and alert all the time anyway?

  • Dusty_vp_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Amen!!!! God Bless all the men and women who provide and sustain our freedom, and protect us from evil!!!

  • Pp_max600_max50


    over 3 years ago


    God Bless our special forces and all they do.

  • 1979_max50


    over 3 years ago


    I for one am proud of my former profession and wear with pride t-shirts, hats, etc that proudly proclaim my respect of the Police, and Military. I do not wear anything that ID's me as a SEAL, former or active as I am not, although if I had it I would wear a t-shirt honoring them and their work. There are two sides to this theory that Bike Cop has put out there and I cannot fault anyone for keeping their chosen profession low key to protect their family etc. I am retired and I am not afraid of being targeted and do not have my younger family members around me when wearing things like that. "yea that I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, I shall fear no evil as thou art with me...."

  • Angel_kincaid_park_2014_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Proud of our Navy Seals, they train hard and this is proof of the outcome.
    Thank you Seals, Thank you all military we know it was a combination of all branchs getting this job done over time.
    God Bless

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    Dude, no disrespect intended, but "bikecop45" isn't exactly a covert code! You do realize that this website is not for LE eyes only. You might want to change your moniker on this site and 10 will get you 20 that your personal email probably has some kind of relationship to your LE status. I'm also betting that you have a few shirts in your chest full of old police gear that you pull out every now and then when you wash your bike, bbq'g and/or knocking a few cold ones down with the boys. There's nothing wrong with showing your pride and I'm sure all of us current and former military and/or LEO's know what to look and watch out for when a threat is present. Follow your own advice before you kick the door down. Stay safe and vigilant all!

  • Michael_max50


    over 3 years ago


    Bump Robocop33.....

  • Policelinkbadge_max160_max50_max50


    over 3 years ago


    These guys make us all proud. God bless our military.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    over 3 years ago


    I don't think it is a good idea to be pulling out the t-shirts just yet, SEAL or not. Unless you are at a military or government sponsored BBQ or gathering, you are making yourself a target. Terrorist don't give a crap if your a SEAL or not, once your dead caught wearing any JSOC t-shirt, no matter if it is a case of stolen valor, someone gave it to you, bought as gift or you actually graduated from a BUDS or SF Q-course, they will drop you, snap your picture for their little web site promotion and take the credit for the kill anyway. Be careful about associating your profession with personalized license plates, baseball caps, jackets and especially t-shirts. I speak as a retired Army NCO and full time investigator. If you don't believe what I am sharing with you, than think of your family. They are being exposed to an unnecissary risk, that neither of you are adequately prepared to handle. I would also highly recommend associations of former Spec Ops soldiers do a monthly roll-call, by phone or text, each month and perform a health & welfare check on each other and family members for at least the next 6-8 months.

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