The mission to take down Osama bin Laden is a story that will be retold in many ways well into the future. Expect detailed intelligence and military analysis. Expect a made-for-TV movie and full-length feature film.
But one of the earliest attempts to paint a picture of the mission does that – literally.
With Code Word: Geronimo Marine combat vet-turned-actor, producer, consultant and author Dale Dye, along with his wife, Julia, offer an illustrated re-telling of the story. Think historical re-enactment in the form of a graphic novel.
“I always felt that in the ongoing ‘what’s new in the next 15 minutes?’ news cycle that younger folks … would forget how really well done this [mission] was by some terrific special operators and analysts cooperating across the board,” the retired Marine captain said in a telephone interview Oct. 8.
“I thought maybe we can do something about that – give them something they can read and keep the light shining where it should shine,” he said.
The Dyes took on the project for Charlie Foxtrot Entertainment, where Dale Dye is also a director. CFE is a military-oriented and veteran managed production company that’s into comics, books, television and films. It is published by IDW Publishing, whose titles included a number with strong military themes, from GI Joe comics to graphic novels such as Finding Peace and Children of the Graves, both written by Persian Gulf War vet Tom Waltz.
“They called and said we should take a shot at this ‘Neptune’s Spear’ bin Laden raid in the graphic novel format,” he recalled. “Neptune’s Spear” was the actual mission code name.
The project would be something new for Dye.
“Julie thought, here’s a change,” he said.
Julia Dye is not only Mrs. Dale Dye, she’s essentially the XO of Warriors Inc., their film consulting company. The Dyes have been consultants on productions such as Saving Private Ryan, Born on the Fourth of July, Forrest Gump, Starship Troopers and Tropic Thunder.
“At Warriors Inc. our mission was always to educate civilians about the realities of professional men and women in the military,” she said. “As part of that we always looked for the right medium to convey that – films, TV, video games.
“The reason we thought this one made sense is we’d be able to get it out in a timely manner,” she said. “We know there will be much longer and scholarly works and feature films. Those will take time. This is a different kind of story.”
They knew they were under a time crunch. Osama bin Laden was killed by the Navy’s SEAL Team 6 team on May 1 and CFE and the Dyes were looking to get a book out by September.
Julia did much of the research and built the timeline for the mission while Dale reached out to contacts in the special operations world.
“I knew – we all knew – that some things should be revealed and some things should not be revealed,” he said. “My sources trusted me, but much was off the record … Sometimes I’d ask a question and only get ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses.”
The story was an exciting one, obviously, but they didn’t want to dumb it down by giving readers something in which facts didn’t matter. It was not to be an over-the-top comic book in which events in the story didn’t’ make sense but just looked good on paper.
They also decided to remove politics from the storyline.
“This is a story of an American success,” he said. “It carried over two administrations. It’s about American people, about the military, the civilian agents, the various [intelligence] agencies … That’s what we wanted to focus on. It was not the success of one group, but the success of all the groups working together.”
Dye said there’s already too much division in the country, with people too much identifying with one or another group. They wanted readers of Code Word: Geronimo – regardless of political affiliation – to see the story as their own.
“I’m an American. I’m part of this. This is my story, too.”
Code Word: Geronimo. By Capt. Dale Dye and Julia Dewey Dye. 88 pages. IDW Publishing.