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Bin Laden burial at sea: Roane Countian on ship

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By Damon Lawrence

Sandra Steele is a little closer to history these days.

Her son, Rockwood High School graduate Chad Steele, is a sailor on board the USS Carl Vinson, the ship that carried out Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea after the terrorist leader was killed.

“Me and my husband are so proud,” she said. “We’re just about to bust.”

Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and America’s most wanted man, was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs who were sent in to find him at his compound in Pakistan.

According to the military, he received a Muslim ceremony as he was buried at sea.

“Bin Laden’s body was placed onto a flat board, which was then elevated upward on one side and the body slid off into the sea,” according a military news article.

Sandra said she and her husband, Tim, were overcome with joy when they learned it was their son’s ship that disposed of the body.      

“It’s history,” she said. “That’s why I’m so excited about it. A boy from Rockwood on a ship like that. It’s an amazing story.”

Chad, 24, graduated from Rockwood High School in 2005.

His mother said he’s been in the Navy for almost four years.

“We have tried to text and email and apparently they’ve got the communication down right now, so we have not been able to speak with him,” she said.

Sandra said that was her clue that the USS Carl Vinson was part of something important.

“If you’ve been in the service, you know there’s certain times they’ll cut down the communications, so they can’t get in touch with anyone,” she said. “We felt like something was going on, and when we heard it was the USS Carl Vinson, we knew why we couldn’t get in touch with him.”

Sandra is the human resources administrator for the Rockwood Water, Sewer and Gas Company. She said Chad is married and stationed in California.

His next assignment is supposed to bring him closer to home, she said.

“As far as we know, after this deployment he will be stationed in Marietta, Ga., for the next three years as a recruiter,” she said.