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What to Wear to Kill Osama bin Laden
In “No Easy Day,” author Mark Owen details the essential gear for an assault mission. By Carol Ross Joynt
The king of night vision goggles (NVG) Mark Owen wore the night Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden. They were distinctive because of the sophisticated four tubes. Photograph courtesy of Owen.
Comments () | Published September 4, 2012

There are many revealing parts in No Easy Day, Mark Owen’s controversial account of the murder of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. One in particular stands out: The author, writing under a pseudonym, details the methodical way he dressed himself before departure for the bin Laden compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. “Sitting on my bed, I started to get dressed,” he writes. “Nothing I did from the moment I started to put on my pants was random. Every step was carefully planned.” He said this was the same process he went through before every mission as a “way to focus.”

Here’s an inventory of those steps, and how he got dressed, for a mission that would be over in 24 hours.

—First he laid out his Crye Precision Desert Digital combat uniform, a long-sleeve, partially camouflaged shirt and cargo pants combo with ten pockets, “each with a specific purpose.”

—In the pockets he put assault gloves, leather mitts for “fast-roping,” an assortment of batteries, energy gel, two PowerBars, an extra tourniquet, rubber gloves, an SSE (forensic) kit, an Olympus point-and-shoot digital camera, and $200 in cash. The money was for a bribe or a ride, if needed. “Evasion takes money, and few things work better than American cash.”

—On the back of his belt, he placed a Daniel Winkler fixed-blade knife.

—In a pouch on his back he had bolt cutters and antennae for the two radios he would wear and use to communicate with other team members.

—Other items included:

  • A “breaching charge,” used to blow open a door or other locked or closed barrier.
  • His helmet, which weighed under ten pounds and included $65,000 night-vision goggles with four tubes instead of two, and a Princeton Tec charge light. The helmet “could officially stop a nine-millimeter round, but in the past . . . had stopped AK-47 bullets.”
  • A small laminated booklet—a “cheat sheet for the mission”—that included a mini grid reference guide (GRG) with an aerial view of the bin Laden compound, a list of radio frequencies, pictures of the targets (bin Laden, his son, his brothers) with stats such as height, weight, and any known aliases. For bin Laden and his son there were several renderings of what they “could look like now.”
  • Salomon Quest boots. Owen “tied the loops of my laces down in a double knot and tucked them into my boot top.”
  • A 60-pound armored vest with ceramic plates that covered his vital organs in the front and back.
  • Mounted on the front of his vest were two radios on either side; between them were three magazines for his HK416 assault rifle and one “baseball-size” fragmentation grenade, as well as several chemical lights, including the infrared version for night vision.
  • His “bone” phones. They sat on his cheekbones and allowed him to “hear any radio traffic through bone conduction technology.”
  • His assault rifle. He checked out his EOTech sight with a 3X magnifier. He pulled back the bolt and chambered a round and made sure it was “safe.” He tested his red laser and flipped down the NVGs to test the infrared laser, too.

Then, “all of my checks were done,” he writes. “I’d completed my steps to prepare for the mission. I took one last look in the room to make sure I didn’t forget anything, and headed out the door.”

Photograph courtesy of Owen.


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  • qpe4ha

    HK should manufacture civilian grade mp7's

  • DevgruGuru

    You're a dumb ass Carol Ross Joynt. None of this is a surprise. There is not one piece of "Mr. Owen's" kit that cant be easily found, researched, or bought on the internet. I don't realize why retards like you go insane over things like this. His head gear includes an Ops-Core Maritime Fast Ballistic Helmet, an S&S Precision Manta strobe, S&S Precision V-Lite, Wilcox L4G32 NVG arm, Princeton-Tec Charge light, and yes GPNVG-18's. His second line (or vest set up) includes ......

  • Skelatorpfunk

    Also u left out the AAC silencer, the magpul RVG, the CTR stock, lbt 6094a plate carrier, lbt 6142a hydro pack, merrel sawtooth boots, other various aor1 pouches, sordin duel headsets, c4 ops ptt, and other various pieces of kit such as caribeners and medical scissors, that's all I can think of off the top of my head but I know there's a bit more

  • DevgruGuru

    i hadn't left anything out. i made the rest of the list but for some reason it didnt post or something. but my point is that knowledge of all of the gear used by seals can be easily accessed.

  • Skelatorpfunk

    Interesting I wonder why there's a HK usp and not an sig p226

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Posted at 02:40 PM/ET, 09/04/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Blogs