An inefficiency in the mission to kill OBL.

I’ve had this tab open for weeks, it seems, meaning to point this out to the Internet. Here goes!

In its August 8, 2011 issue, the New Yorker ran a fascinating article on Operation Neptune’s Spear – the mission that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad. It is a great and interesting read. For example, did you know that the translator, a Pakistani-American, was pulled from a “desk job” and had to learn how to “fast rope” for the operation?

More interesting still is this account of how the SEALs disposed of the damaged Black Hawk helicopter (the one that Pakistan might have let China check out):

Next, the SEALs needed to destroy the damaged Black Hawk. The pilot, armed with a hammer that he kept for such situations, smashed the instrument panel, the radio, and the other classified fixtures inside the cockpit. Then the demolition unit took over.

(Emphasis mine.) The pilot brought a hammer on this mission for the sole purpose of smashing up the instrument panel and radio, etc.? I don’t claim to be an expert in [para]military operations, but this struck me as odd. Is there a reason that other tools, like ones that could serve other uses for other contingencies, couldn’t be used for this purpose? Is there a reason that other things carried by the SEALs (like assault rifles) couldn’t be used? I’d like to know, because I don’t want our courageous special ops soldiers burdened with unnecessary hammers.


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