The U.S. plot to kill Osama bin Laden was successfully brought off thanks in part to Navy Adm. Eric Olson, a Tacoma native and son of a former city council member there. The 59-year-old Stadium High grad and now leader of the U.S. Special Operations Command was at the side of CIA Director Leon Panetta as Navy SEAL Team 6 stormed the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan Sunday, congressional lawmakers tell the News Tribune. Olson "was obviously intimately involved in the details of this," said Rep. Adam Smith, ranking member of the House Armed Services panel. "That's what he does every day. He keeps track of high-value targets, and they've taken out a lot of them."
Olson is currently the Navy's "Bull Frog" title holder as the longest serving Navy SEAL still on duty. He's remembered as one of four SEALs to earn the Silver Star for actions in the 1993 battle of Mogadishu, as chronicled in the book and movie "Blackhawk Down."
He also is the first SEAL appointed to the grade of a three-star and four-star admiral as well as the first naval officer to be the SpecOps combatant commander.
Rep. Norm Dicks has known Olson since the admiral was a cadet at the U.S. Naval Academy. Olson's mother, ex-Tacoma City Councilwoman Dawn Lucien, once worked in the congressman's office.
"I'm just glad this happened on his watch," said Dicks, who was briefed on the intelligence that led to bin Laden's death twice before the raid, "because it had to be terribly frustrating not to get to Osama bin Laden."
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates presided over ceremonies in 2007 when Olson assumed the SpecOps command from Army Gen. Bryan Brown. Olson is set to retire this fall, while the retiring Gates expects to return to his Big Lake, Skagit County, home this summer.