As President Barack Obama sat in the White House's Situation Room on Sunday it was the mention of the name " Geronimo" that let him know the mission to find Osama bin Laden was on track.
Geronimo was the operation's code name as Navy SEALs headed to a walled compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan, to kill or capture bin Laden. The president and others including Vice President Joe Biden sat in the White House not sure if the military team would find the al-Qaida leader in the fortress-like complex. They anxiously waited to hear the code.
The UK Telegraph said CIA director Leon Panetta spoke it. "We have a visual on Geronimo."
When they heard the message they knew the SEALs team had spotted bin Laden. About 40 minutes later they got the next message, Geronimo EKIA, spoken by a Navy SEAL who was saying enemy killed in action.
Geronimo is the name of a Chiricahua Apache Indian chief who, according to History.com , lived from 1820 to 1909. He had fought against the Mexican military then, as Mexico ceded lands in the southwest to the United States, against the U.S. Army.
His repeated escapes embarrassed politicians and army officers while making him somewhat of a hero.
The Telegraph said the code word "Geronimo" was apparently used because of bin Laden's ability to avoid capture for years. Like Geronimo, who escaped from a cave in New Mexico, bin Laden had escaped from the caves of Tora Bora.
While Geronimo was an elusive foe, it ended differently for the Indian chief. The Telegraph said he surrendered in 1886 after outrunning more than 5,000 soldiers who had been sent to hunt for him and his small band of followers.
CBS News said he converted to Christianity and, in 1905, appeared in President Theodore Roosevelt's inaugural parade. He also made appearances at events such as World Fairs.
He lived as somewhat of a celebrity but, according to History.com, still died as a captive. His body was buried at Fort Sill in Oklahoma.
Bin Laden died when he was shot in the head above his left eye and also in the chest. The final resting place for this century's Geronimo was at sea.
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