Don Offutt, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, relaxes after breakfast Tuesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 in Craig. This week, several area veterans reacted to the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed Sunday in Pakistan by a U.S. Navy SEAL unit.

Photo by Ben McCanna

Don Offutt, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, relaxes after breakfast Tuesday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 in Craig. This week, several area veterans reacted to the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed Sunday in Pakistan by a U.S. Navy SEAL unit.

Craig veterans react to death of Osama bin Laden

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File Photo

Osama bin Laden

Craig resident and former Marine Greg Hixson said the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday had a bit of meaning to it.

“I went over there twice. My brother (Cory) has been over there twice,” said Hixson, who served in Iraq in the early 2000s. “It’s just good that we finally got him.

“It just makes all my time in the Marines worth it.”

Bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, was killed by a U.S. Navy SEAL unit Sunday at a hideout in Pakistan.

“It’s good for the American people and it’s good for the 9/11 victims to finally get some closure,” said Cory Hixson, who served in the Marine Corps in the early 2000s. “It’s nice to know that even after 10 years, they didn’t give up.”

American Legion Post 62 commander and former Marine Mel Shockley shared the same sentiment.

“It goes to show that we will win,” he said. “You can’t get away from us forever, we’re going to get you sooner or later.”

Larry Neu, a U.S. Army veteran who served in the Vietnam War, said he was proud of the Navy members who killed bin Laden and escaped without injury despite a gunfight.

“I have nothing but the greatest admiration and respect for SEAL Team Six,” Neu said. “I think they did a wonderful thing and I was just absolutely ecstatic that every one of them made it out unscathed.”

Tyler McWilliams, an Army veteran, was serving in Iraq in 2003 when Saddam Hussein was captured. He said the Iraqis were able to make positive changes following Hussein’s capture.

“It was pretty interesting seeing how those people reacted,” he said. “It really opened up a path of change for them, and they really turned it into a positive thing.”

He said he hopes the rest of the Middle East can use bin Laden’s death as a turning point for similar positive change.

While many feel there is relief with him gone, other veterans feel bin Laden’s death will not be the end of the war on terrorism.

“That’s a big accomplishment as far as taking out one of al-Qaeda’s top guys,” Corey Hixson said. “That’s a big boost of morale for anybody.

“The thing is, the military’s got to be ready for whoever’s the next Osama bin Laden.”

Neu said the structure of al-Qaeda will keep the organization from disbanding.

“He’s got some lieutenants that were running things and as long as they’re running those, we’re still going to have to wonder,” he said.

McWilliams and Cory Hixson said they feel bin Laden’s death will give closure to the families of both 9/11 victims and any soldiers lost at war.

“It doesn’t make things right, but it sure gives them something to hang onto,” McWilliams said.

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Comments

alneal 2 years, 11 months ago

The only decent thing that Osama Bin Laden ever did, was to get himself shot and killed. With as much money as he had,it's a shame that the American taxpayers had to pay for it. I would like to personally thank the American arms industry for manufacturing quality ammunition. Albert Neal

I just saw a photo of my old buddy Don Offutt. Like me, he, he isn't getting any younger or prettier. Hi there Don!

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