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Osama bin Laden's death: 'This snake has a lot of heads'

May 1, 2011 | 10:57 pm

A Marine lieutenant who lost a leg in Afghanistan said Sunday night that the death of Osama bin Laden “is great news, fabulous news, a victory for every guy who has served in Afghanistan, and particularly for the guys who never came home.”

But Lt. Cameron West, 25, part of the battle-scarred, Camp Pendleton-based 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment, warned that “he’s just one man.”

Photo gallery: Reactions to Osama bin Laden death

“There are a lot more we’ve got to kill: We’ve got to destroy the whole insurgency,” he said. “Bin Laden was the head of the snake, but this snake has a lot of heads and we’ve got to kill them all before it’s an ultimate victory.”

The 3/5 suffered 25 dead and more than 200 wounded while fighting for control of the Sangin district, long a Taliban stronghold in southern Afghanistan. For the Marines recuperating in hospitals throughout the U.S., the death of Bin Laden “is going to be a great morale booster,” West said.

West lost a leg, parts of two fingers, and had shrapnel pierce his skull in a firefight in which another Marine, Lance Cpl. James Boelk, was killed. West is now recuperating in Oceanside and receiving therapy at the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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