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U.S. Special Operations commander coordinating bin Laden raid has Tacoma ties

Post by Adam Ashton / The News Tribune on May 2, 2011 at 10:57 am |
May 2, 2011 2:41 pm
Photo Courtesy U.S. Navy/ Admiral Eric Olson visited U.S. forces in Afghanistan in February.

1:45 p.m. update: Stadium High School Principal Gail Barnum delivered a lunchtime address to students telling them that one of the school’s alumni was part of the team that helped get the world’s most wanted man.

The school opened its doors to news media to talk about Admiral Eric Olson, Stadium High Class of 1969. Olson now leads U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Fla.

One of his classmates said Osama bin Laden’s death was a crowning achievement for an “unassuming” and quiet leader.

“He’s not going to take credit,” classmate Marc Blau of Tacoma said. “He is going to deflect credit to the team that made this happen. That’s been Eric from Day 1.”

Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, said Olson was in the room with CIA Director Leon Panetta Sunday night as the Special Operations raid to take down bin Laden unfolded. Dicks has known Olson since the admiral was a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy.

“I’m just glad this happened on his watch at (U.S. Special Operations Command) because it had to be terribly frustrating not to get to Osama bin Laden,” Dicks said.

Previous post:

A Navy admiral who grew up in Tacoma was one of the key players in planning the raid that led to Osama bin Laden’s death, Rep. Norm Dicks of Belfair is telling news media today.

Admiral Eric Olson commands the U.S. Special Operations Command. He’s held the post since 2007, and he was the first former Navy SEAL to lead the command.

He graduated from Tacoma’s Stadium High School in 1969. He was one of four SEALs to earn the Silver Star for their actions in the
1993 battle of Mogadishu, Somalia, which was chronicled in the book and movie “Blackhawk Down.”

Dicks told the Kitsap Sun Olson is preparing to retire.

“I’m just thrilled they got Osama Bin Laden while he (Olson) was still in command,” Dicks told the Sun.


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