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How the Navy SEALs Work

By: Lee Ann Obringer & Francisco Guzman  | 

Recent Navy SEAL Missions

One of the most known recent Navy SEAL missions is the 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden called Operation Neptune Spear. On May 2, 2011, 24 SEALs flew in on two helicopters to bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan and killed him. The entire operation lasted 40 minutes, with SEAL Team Six credited for the mission. Osama bin Laden's body was taken and buried at sea within 24 hours to comply with Islamic law.

In 2012, A team of SEALs rescued American aid workers Jessica Buchanan and Poul Thisted, who were kidnapped in late 2011 by men in north-central Somalia. The two were working for a nongovernmental organization called the Danish Relief Council when they were taken. On Jan. 25, SEALs parachuted down, killed all nine kidnappers and saved Buchanan and Thisted.

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In 2017, a Navy SEAL team rescued American citizen Philip Walton who had been abducted by a criminal gang in Nigeria.

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