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

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:

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.