The Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden benefited from vital lessons learned the hard way during the bloody Battle of Mogadishu, a former SEAL sniper says.
Howard Wasdin, who was wounded severely in the 1993 battle, told Newsmax.TV that the involvement of the United Nations badly hampered that mission.
“In Black Hawk Down, when we went into Mogadishu, we had no operational security because we were working with the United Nations, and that was the kiss of death,” he said.
Wasdin has written a new book, “SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper,”
about his experiences in the Persian Gulf War and Somalia.
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He was a member of the same Team Six that executed the May 2 raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Relations between the United States and Pakistan have become frostier since the attack, but Wasdin says the Americans were right not to include the Pakistanis on their plans.
“I am a die-hard Republican, but President Obama got it right on one large thing — not letting them know that they were coming in,” he said during the exclusive Newsmax interview.
That same lesson should be considered if the U.S. military becomes more deeply involved in Libya.
“If we’re going to go at some point into Libya with the United Nations, then you are setting yourself up for these types of operational security violations,” he said.
Wasdin said he is glad that Team Six and the SEALs were getting public recognition in the aftermath of the bin Laden raid, but he worries that U.S. officials may have released more information than was prudent.
“It’s OK to talk about SEAL Team Six, [but] there are certain things you don’t give up,” he said,
“The deputy national security adviser [John Brennan] spent too much time saying exactly how the raid went and, more detrimentally, how it was supposed to go. That’s basically taking a play out of the playbook and saying, ‘OK, guys, this is how we do business,’ which obviously makes it easier for them to defend against us.”
Team Six draws great strength from the unbreakable bonds of camaraderie forged among its members, Wasdin said.
“It’s all team-driven, that’s the thing that starts day one. There are no Rambos there. The guy who finally pulled the trigger on Osama bin Laden is not patting himself on the back. He’s giving as much credit to his teammates who got him to that position.”
In “SEAL Team Six,” Wasdin recounts his harsh childhood in Florida and Georgia. His domineering stepfather would beat him when he failed to pick up every single pecan that fell from trees into their driveway — a harsh experience that came in handy when he underwent the grueling SEAL training.
He writes about his experiences in the Gulf War and in Somalia, his struggle to recover from the wounds sustained in the Battle of Mogadishu, and his battle to adapt to civilian life after those wounds ended his Navy career.
“This book was written to show that you can overcome adversity at a young age and then to show that you can overcome adversity at a later age, which was the hardest thing I ever had to do, which was to re-assimilate back into society,” he said.
Wasdin said he has received many message from former service members who were inspired by his story to seek help for their own combat-related problems.
“I’ve had hundreds of emails saying, if it’s OK for a former SEAL Team Six member to admit to PTSD, survivor’s guilt, depression, and that he was literally almost ready to eat a bullet, then it’s OK for us to admit that, hey, it’s not a weakness and it’s something we really need to get help for.”
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