View Full Version : Former Pilot for Bin Laden Family

05-03-2011, 02:15 PM
I saw this on the local news last night. It's an interesting perspective from an American who's known the Bin Laden family for 4 decades.

If you click the link,there's a video as well.

Local Man Remembers Time as Pilot for Bin Laden Family -- Robert Price
A local man may be one of the few in Texas to actually spend time around Osama bin Laden.

Our Robert Price went to Schertz to speak with a retired pilot for the bin Laden family.

He's been watching it on t-v and reading about it in the paper.

Osama bin Laden is dead.

Gerry Auerbach of Schertz keeps thinking the same thing.

"It’s about time."

He isn't surprised.

"I figured someday somebody was going to get him. I mean, you know, the world hated him."

But the 86-year-old retired pilot has followed this nearly ten-year hunt for bin Laden from a unique perspective.

Gerry is good friends with the bin Laden family. He has been a friend for decades.

Just last month, Gerry went on a trip to Casablanca with Osama's older brother Bakr.

But Gerry says they rarely talk about Osama.

"Oh, I know what the family thinks of him. They have nothing to do with him. He's been ostracized from the family."

Auerbach was a pilot for the bin Laden brothers.

By the early 70's, he became close with Salem bin Laden, the oldest of twenty-five brothers.

And it was around this time, at a hotel in Dubai, that Gerry had a memorable encounter.

"Somebody came out of this door and walked down and went somewhere. And I said, 'Who's that?'. And he said, 'that's Osama'."

It was teenage Osama bin Laden.

"He's very religious, he's going to pray. He didn't say a word. He just walked out of the room and he went wherever he was going to go pray. And that's the only time I ever saw him."

In 1988, Salem died in a plane crash just outside Schertz.

By then, younger brother Osama, a man once thought of as a hero by his family, was becoming increasingly radical.

"But my relationship with the family didn't change."

He says Bakr disowned Osama.

As for Salem...

"If Salem would have been alive, I think he would have killed him,” Gerry says. “Salem would have paid. You know, he would have gone out and bought somebody and said, 'go get him'. Salem would've tried."

Gerry says several of the bin Laden brothers, except Osama, owned planes and would often visit Texas in the 1980's.

In 1988, the oldest brother Salem was in Schertz for the wedding of Gerry's son when he crashed his small plane into some power lines during a joyride.

He died following that crash.

Monday, May 2 2011, 10:04 PM CDT