Marines In Afghanistan 'Pretty Ecstatic' About Bin Laden's Death Marines in Afghanistan welcomed the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan, seeing it as a breakthrough in their mission.
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Marines 'Pretty Ecstatic' About Bin Laden's Demise

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Marines 'Pretty Ecstatic' About Bin Laden's Demise

Marines 'Pretty Ecstatic' About Bin Laden's Demise

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

We turn now to NPR photographer David Gilkey, who's embedded with troops there in Helmand Province, to get their reaction to bin Laden's death.

And David, good morning.

DAVID GILKEY: Hey, good morning, Renee. How are you?

MONTAGNE: Pretty good, thank you. And before we talk about some of the conversations you had with Marines, remind us briefly what they're doing there in Helmand.

GILKEY: Well, I'm in Sangin, which is sort of the northern - one of the northernmost areas that the Marines are operating in. And this - it really has been one of the most notorious danger zones in the country. And so they're continuing patrols, and they're reaching out to the local population here - and business as usual.

MONTAGNE: Yeah, it's a really tough area that - or has been a really tough area there. I want to play some tape you recorded, from Sergeant Liam Dwyer. He told this story about how the news of Osama bin Laden's death came through.

Sergeant LIAM DWYER (U.S. Marine Corps): Well, the word got passed over the radio, and you could tell the Marines were pretty ecstatic about it. I mean, we're - if you want to call it holding back our emotions, being out on patrol there, but you could tell - you know, everybody kind of got uplifted at that point there.

I wanted to pass the word to the local populace, but I didn't want to come directly out - be like, oh, did you hear Osama bin Laden was killed? I didn't want to come across as crass and harsh like that. What would you say if we told you he was dead? They were like, oh, that would be really good.

I'm like, we just got word passed that he was actually killed today by American forces. And a lot of them were very, very happy to hear of that.

MONTAGNE: So he's, of course, talking about the population of Afghans being very happy to hear about the death of Osama bin Laden. Is that the same sort of reaction you're hearing from other Marines?

GILKEY: The Marines were definitely, you know, taking this as sort of something that - as they put it, they hoped it was a conclusion for, you know, people back home, especially the people in New York. And they also felt like it justified a lot of what they were doing over here.

MONTAGNE: David, thanks very much.

GILKEY: OK. Thank you, Renee.

MONTAGNE: NPR's David Gilkey, with U.S. Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

And you are listening to special coverage from NPR News. With Steve Inskeep, I'm Renee Montagne.

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