Tampa, Florida - When Marine Lance Cpl. Ronald "Dougie" Freeman headed off to Afghanistan just a few weeks ago, his father joked about Osama bin Laden.
Pictures: Osama Bin Laden dead
"When he left I said, 'Dougie, when you go over there, make sure you get Osama bin Laden,' and he said, 'If I have half a chance, I will," says Doug Freeman.
The September 11th attacks spurred a manhunt for the al-Qaeda leader and the U.S. war in Afghanistan, and that's where last Thursday, Dougie Freeman, a minesweeper, was killed.
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"When somebody's going over to a place like that, you know there's always a possibility it will happen. But you don't think it's going to be that quick," says Yvonne Freeman, the Marine's grandmother.
"He was only over there for three weeks. If he was over there for three years, I couldn't prepare myself for this," says a clearly shaken Doug.
The Marine's family says they were gratified to hear that bin Laden was dead.
"This guy, he got what he deserved," says Doug. "I'm proud of the military, impressed by the way they did it. It's a good day to be an American."
And they think Dougie would have felt the same way. Yvonne says, "I'm sure he would have been excited over it - pleased."
But while many Americans celebrate bin Laden's demise, this family is still left with their grief and a young father to bury. Doug says, "No matter what, if we walked out of there and won the war today, I still lost my son and that's what hurts."