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Bin Laden reaction: Business as usual at Ft. Irwin training center

May 2, 2011 | 12:57 pm

Tens of thousands of soldiers pass through the sprawling National Training Center at Ft. Irwin, north of Barstow, each year to train for deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan.

In model villages staffed by actors who play Iraqi or Afghan civilians and enemy fighters, the soldiers train for combat and diplomacy. They train to locate snipers and improvised explosive devices and practice carrying out bilateral talks with village leaders.

On post, spokesman John Wagstaffe said the news of Osama bin Laden’s death was welcome, but business goes on as usual.

Photos: Osama bin Laden dead

“Obviously, today is an exciting day in the military in one sense, and in another sense, it’s no different from Friday,” he said. “Our mission at the National Training Center and the mission in Afghanistan remain the same.”

Wagstaffe said Bin Laden’s death will not materially affect the training operations, and for the soldiers, it will not mean fewer deployments as long as Al Qaeda and the Taliban are still active.

“I think we all recognize that there’s a larger mission, so it’s not yet time to jump up and down,” he said.


News and jubilation spread fast after Bin Laden's death

Watchful state officials see no immediate security threats

Antiwar activists say death could encourage more violence

-- Abby Sewell