FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- The National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum is trying to get memorabilia from the Navy SEALs' operation to kill Osama bin Laden.
"I caught the president's remarks Sunday night," said Michael R. Howard, the museum's boss and a retired Navy SEAL, "and I had an immediate gut feeling that our SEALs did the operation."
On Monday morning, Howard's suspicions were confirmed.
"I was elated," Howard said, "but not surprised because I know they have the skills and will put in the effort to get it done. I was proud that it was our guys, that our guys were the ones to serve justice.
"Wheels are already turning to see what we can get," Howard said. "Hopefully, we'll get some artifacts quickly. The timing is good because we'll be moving into our new building soon, which will be a great place to showcase the skills of the nation's SEAL warriors."
The museum on North Hutchinson Island in Fort Pierce is in the middle of an 8,400-square-foot expansion of the existing 5,000-square-foot facility.
Construction on the $800,000 expansion began in March and should be completed by June, Howard said.
"Of course, a lot of the material from the raid is classified," Howard said, "but we'll display what we can. I expect we should be able to get weapons, uniforms and photos that were taken. We'd also like to get information such as messages and documents related to the operation. We have a research library at the museum, but with the new building we'll have a lot more space for the things we don't exhibit but keep in our archives for preservation."
Howard said the museum's phone "has been ringing off the hook and I've been getting a steady stream of emails, mostly just saying congratulations or 'good job' or 'thank you, SEALs' because we're kind of a conduit between people and the SEAL community."
(Email reporter Tyler Treadway of Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers at firstname.lastname@example.org.)