Updated: Tuesday, 03 May 2011, 7:49 AM MDT
Published : Monday, 02 May 2011, 5:21 PM MDT
ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) - A Roswell Purple Heart and Medal of Valor recipient said news of Osama bin Laden's death is surreal.
Robert Riley served three tours of duty. Two in Afghanistan, the first immediately after 9/11, as well as another tour in Iraq. He says the reports of bin Laden's demise are monumental.
"I was completely shocked," Navy Hospital Corpsman First Class, Robert Riley said. "It was almost unbelievable just to hear everybody rejoicing about how bin Laden had been found and killed."
The former Navy medic was giving his 15-month-old son Aden a bath when his mother-in-law called to break the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. For the new husband and father who had been deployed three times and wounded in action, those words couldn't come soon enough.
"I always believed in the cause; whether it was against fighting al-Qaida, or the Taliban, or whoever, but I really think it means a lot more now that we've actually stuck with this war and caught him," said Riley.
He believes this victory honors the victims of 9/11 and those who lost their lives serving in the U.S. Military. But he knows the war is far from over.
"We're still going to fight terrorism," Riley commented. "This war will still go on, but it lifted everyone's spirit for the moment and allowed them to know something good happened. We got the most evil mastermind of this century for killing people out of here."
Riley said the troops have done a lot of good in Iraq and Afghanistan, adding that the emotions of the last two days are ones he'll never forget.
"It's just a wonderful feeling!" He exclaimed. "No matter how hard we try, we feel like we just couldn't get him, and now all of our hard work paid off."
Robert Riley says he can't wait to share the memories of his military service and his feelings about the death of bin Laden with his son, once the child is old enough to understand.
He received his Purple Heart and Medal of Valor last year for injuries he suffered in Afghanistan while saving another U.S serviceman from mortar fire.