Bin Laden reaction: Fiancee says Marine killed in Afghanistan is 'smiling ear to ear'
When Christine Patrick of Davis Junction, Ill., heard of the death of Osama bin Laden, she immediately sent a text message to her 18-year-old daughter Hailey.
"She was very excited," Patrick said Monday. "She kept saying, 'Really? They got him? That's awesome.'"
It had been an emotionally difficult couple of days for Hailey Patrick. She had just returned from California where she attended the memorial service for Marines from the 3rd Battalion, 5th Regiment.
Her fiance, Cpl. Alec Catherwood, 19, was among the 25 Marines from the battalion killed in Afghanistan during its recent seven-month deployment. The couple had been set to be married July 2.
Catherwood was killed by a Taliban sniper on Oct. 14 while Marines were on a foot patrol in the Sangin district of Afghanistan.
At the memorial service at Camp Pendleton, Hailey Patrick had broken down in uncontrollable tears as she approached the inverted-rifle display with Catherwood's name, picture and dog tags.
She is trying to pick up her shattered life and is starting community college, her mother said.
"It's been rough on her," Christine Patrick said. News of Bin Laden's death "helps her. She told me, 'Alec would be happy. I'll bet he's smiling from ear to ear right now.'"
-- Tony Perry in San Diego
Photos: (top) Hailey Patrick, left, at the memorial at Camp Pendleton last week. Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
(bottom) Lance Cpl. Alec Catherwood and fiancee Hailey Patrick before he deployed to Afghanistan.