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Mississippi & Geronimo

By Stephen McDill

The Western world continues to clamor for more information about a small group of Americans who can proudly take credit for taking out the 21st Century’s most wanted and most elusive fugitive.

One can only imagine what was going through the twisted mind of Osama Bin Laden as Navy SEAL Team Six stormed his suburban Pakistani compound in the early morning hours of May 2.

Within thirty minutes “Geronimo”, the mastermind behind 9/11 and numerous other terrorist attacks against the United States was dead along with dozens of his entourage. Justice served.

What role did the Magnolia State play in this watershed victory in the War on Terror?

It is worth noting that SEAL Team 6 is a part of the U.S. Naval Special Operations Command (NAVSOC).

NAVSOC answers by chain-of-command to Navy Secretary and former Mississippi governor Ray Mabus.

Even more interesting is another Mississippi connection: Navy SEAL teams do portions of their amphibious training on the Pearl River in Hancock County near the grounds of the John C. Stennis Space Center.

MBJ was at Stennis working on an unrelated story two weeks ago and was able to (with permission of course) see at least a small part of the SEAL facilities including where some of their combat boats are stored.

Stennis-based SEAL Special Boat Team 22 supports riverine operations worldwide. According to their website they have been involved in missions ranging from counter-narcotics operations in South America to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

We called Stennis this morning to get a comment on SBT-22 and their possible connection to the Bin Laden mission. They referred us to the Naval Special Warfare Group. This group’s polite but all-business public affairs office has been swamped with phone calls about the Bin Laden mission. They referred us to NAVSOC. So far we have gotten no response from either office. It is most likely impossible to determine whether or not any SEAL involved in Bin Laden’s death was trained in Hancock County.

The apparent sea change that the former Saudi Arabian jetsetter’s death will have on Middle Eastern-born terrorism has yet to be determined. No matter who Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda successor is and whether or not they are planning for a counterstrike (or their retirement), SEAL Team Six, Special Boat Team 22 and their thousands of fellow servicemen and women will be waiting… hit list in hand.

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