First Ship to Respond to Haiti Earthquake, Buries bin Laden Body

Written by Andrew Tilghman

Monday, 02 May 2011 15:05

The first U.S. Navy Carrier, the U.S.S. Carl Vinson, that responded to the earthquake in Haiti on January 12 2010, also was given the mission of burying, rather submerging, Osama Bin-Laden's body into the sea near Pakistan.

The CVN 70 - U.S.S. Carl Vinson arrived on January 15, 2010 to the coast of Port-au-Prince to commence humanitarian relief after the earthquake. It was one of the last to leave as well.

Bin Laden was afforded by the U.S. Government a Muslim funeral, which required he be buried by the next sunset after his death. The {japopup type="iframe" content=""}Air Force Times{/japopup} reported the details of the burial:

While most Americans slept Sunday night, a quiet at-sea burial ceremony took place for Osama bin Laden aboard the Navy carrier Carl Vinson off the coast of Pakistan.

Bin Laden’s body was dumped into the water off the northern Arabian Sea after an Islamic ritual that included the ceremonial washing of his body and wrapping him in a white sheet.

His body was placed in a weighted bag, and a U.S. military officer read “prepared religious remarks,” which were in turn translated into Arabic by a native speaker, an official said.

“After the words were completed, the body was placed on a prepared flat board, tipped up and the deceased’s body was eased into the sea,” said a senior intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The 50-minute ceremony ended about 2 a.m. Eastern time, which was midday aboard the carrier. Bin Laden was killed hours earlier in a firefight with U.S. forces.

Defense officials said bin Laden was buried at sea because Islamic rites require bodies to be buried within 24 hours of death, and the military did not know of any countries that were willing to accept the body for a land burial.

Experts speculate that U.S. officials feared any land-based burial site would become a gathering point for al-Qaida supporters.

The intelligence official said bin Laden’s identity was confirmed in several ways. First, a woman who said she was bin Laden’s wife identified him by name to the troops conducting the raid on the Pakistani compound. Second, CIA specialists compared photos of the dead body to known pictures of bin Laden and were “able to determine to 95 percent certainty that the body was bin Laden,” the intelligence official said.

And an initial DNA test of the body showed a “virtual 100 percent match” to known bin Laden family members whose DNA is on file with U.S. intelligence officials.

It is unclear whether further proof of bin Laden’s death, such as photographs, will be released, the intelligence official said.

The intelligence official declined to say whether an autopsy was conducted but said bin Laden clearly died in a firefight with U.S. special operations forces.

Source: {japopup type="iframe" content=""}Air Force Times{/japopup}, {japopup type="iframe" content="!/USSVINSON"}USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70){/japopup}