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Military Families Relieved Bin Laden's Dead


Let's hear what some members of the military and their families are thinking about the death of Osama bin Laden. Some are feeling proud, others excited, others relieved, and still others worried. There's still a lot of concern about friends and loved ones in harm's way. NPR's Carrie Kahn reports.

CARRIE KAHN: It's a pretty typical day in Laura Crawford's house on the Camp Pendleton Marine Base just north of San Diego. She's just put her four year old son down for a nap and is now feeding her 15 month old twin girls.

(Soundbite of baby fussing)

Ms. LAURA CRAWFORD: What? Do you want a drink?

KAHN: Crawford's husband is in the Marines. She's a stay at home mother and part-time blogger. She says her posts and those that's she been reading from other military wives are full of excitement. It's great, she says, that they finally got bin Laden.

Ms. CRAWFORD: But that's the glass half full side of me. The realist in me knows that there is still a lot of fight left to be had.

KAHN: Her husband is set to go to either Iraq or Afghanistan, again next year. It will be his fourth deployment.

Ms. CRAWFORD: Al-Qaida firmly believes in what they do just like we believe in what we do. So there's not going to be a stop right now, we have to keep doing what we are doing.

(Soundbite of train whistle)

KAHN: Off the base in the nearby town of Oceanside, 25-year old Jacqueline Sanchez wasn't rejoicing about the news of bin Laden's death, either. She was worrying about what will happen to her husband, a Marine, who is also set to deploy soon.

Ms. JACQUELINE SANCHEZ: (Through Translator) It's just logical that there is going to be repercussion for killing him. If you kill the leader, those that follow him are going to be mad and they're going to want revenge.

KAHN: But Danielle Holloway, a former Army Specialist outside a coffee shop near the Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington State, hopes bin Laden's death will help the troops.

Ms. DANIELLE HOLLOWAY (Former Army Specialist): I think that it will boost morale, you know, especially the ones overseas that see that they are over there fighting, and that it's worth it that, you know, they find the bad guys and can take of it. And hopefully we can end everything and come home.

KAHN: But most people we heard from at other posts and bases around the country weren't that optimistic. At the post office across the street from Fort Campbell Army base in Kentucky, Tammy White had her toddler Chaison on her hip and a big envelope in her hand.

Ms. TAMMY WHITE: We're sending mail to daddy, so sending off mail to daddy.

KAHN: She says the envelope is full of love and letters to her husband in Afghanistan. She hasn't gotten to speak with him in a few weeks, he's on a mission. She's not in the celebrating mood.

Ms. WHITE: We've eliminated one person from an extremely great cause, but we did not eliminate the cause. So how do you react to that with fist pumping and super excitement when you know that there is still danger out there.

KAHN: And plenty of terrorists, she says, that are willing to exact revenge. Sergeant Andres Enriquez, who's also in front of the post says he's not celebrating either. He's just back from Afghanistan. This has been a deadly year for the men and women of the 101st Airborne.

Sergeant ANDRES ENRIQUEZ: We are going back, so, there is really nothing to really celebrate about. I mean yeah, we got him but we still gotta go back and get somebody else.

KAHN: Back in Oceanside, near Camp Pendleton in California, Lance Corporal Isaac Ingram is getting his last stateside hair cut at Studs Cuts Barber Shop. He says he's glad bin Laden was taken care of.

Lance Corporal ISAAC INGRAM: It's a justice type of thing. He was the mastermind behind so many thousands of us Americans getting killed so he had it coming.

KAHN: Ingram leaves tomorrow for Afghanistan.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, San Diego. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.