Monday, May 2, 2011
A couple of hours after the news broke, Marines in Oceanside near Camp Pendleton Marine base, stood around in small groups sharing their reactions.
Outside a barber shop, still open for business at 10:30pm on Sunday, Andrew Bell talked with his buddy, Jerry Dixon.
Bell is 22. He’s been in the Corps for about a year and has never been deployed. He was upbeat.
“This is great,” he said, “It’s good, because it shows American people - that have their doubts about everything - that we’re succeeding, we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing, we’re accomplishing things. The men and women overseas that have died in the last 10 or 11 years defending our freedom, searching for this guy, their deaths haven’t gone in vain.”
But Dixon, also 22 but a veteran of one deployment to Afghanistan, was more cautious. He was concerned about retaliation.
“Because we’re hitting them hard at the top,” he said, “So, hey, it’s like if we lost our president, we’d go over there and we’d start attacking. So right now our alert needs to be at the highest point.”
Dixon, who has served almost four years said he would like to reenlist, but because the Marines are downsizing, he is not eligible. He said he believes the Marines will be needed more than ever now.
The Marines were not fazed by the fact that it was Navy SEALs who caught bin Laden. One Marine said he was just glad it was an American. The Marines are not operating in Pakistan where bin Laden was killed, their mission is in Afghanistan.
Outside the movie theater in Oceanside, Cody Bradley was out for a night on the town with his buddies. He said bin Laden’s death is good news but he doesn’t believe it’ll make much difference as far as the war goes.
“Regardless of whether he’s dead or alive," Bradley said, "the Taliban’s still going to try and kill you,, they’re still going to set IEDs, they’re still going to shoot at you, they’re going to keep coming at us.”
Many Marines said they were glad the man responsible for 9/11 was finally brought to justice.
But there was little evidence near Camp Pendelton Marine Base of celebration. On the contrary, most Marines were sober about the possible implications of Bin Laden’s death.