If Google search results can be trusted, most of people know that "Geronimo" was the operational code name for Osama bin Laden and the raid on his Pakistan compound. When U.S. troops completed the mission, they radioed back with "Geronimo - EKIA" -- enemy killed in action.
But who was the real Geronimo?
Geronimo was a famous Native American leader and warrior of the Chiricahua Apache who lived from 1828-1909. He fought many battles against Mexico and the United States as they tried to expand into Apache tribal lands during a several-decade skirmish known as the Apache Wars.
Although it's yet unknown how the code name was chosen, it was fitting for a couple of reasons. Geronimo became legendary for his daring exploits and escapes during battles against both Mexican and U.S. troops -- the raid on bin Laden's compound was considered more daring and risky than simply bombing it. "Geronimo" is also the traditional cry of paratroopers as they leap from a plane -- the Seal team was flown into the compound by helicopter.
Geronimo is not Geronimo's actual name. He was born "Goyahkla," or "one who yawns." The Mexicans named him Geronimo after a battle in which he attacked Mexican soldiers, who were armed with guns, with a knife, causing them to call out to Saint Jerome ("Jeronimo!").
After a life of fighting against the U.S., Geronimo died from pneumonia at age 79 as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
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