Retired Navy SEAL and noted author Dick Couch told USNI Blog:

The recent events off the coast of Somalia focused the nation on the issue of piracy on the high seas. This was last dealt with in any serious way during the Jeffersonian era, when the seven frigates sortied against the pirate threat.

These recent events also focused on the use of SEALs to resolve what evolved to be a hostage crises on the high seas. Past the shooting mechanics, which were a neat piece of work, there are two other issues that I find compelling. The first is the professionalism and courage of the on-scene commander. Someone had to make that decision, and that decision could well have turned out badly–and then that commander would have had to live with the call. These issues are never easy and never certain. I’m sure there are a few sleepless nights in his future, replaying events and wondering, “What if . . .”

Lost amid the decisive ending was the commute to the job site. That too was an interesting piece of work. Given the distances involved, those SEALs had to load up their gear–probably kit that involved a helo-borne assault and surface swimmer attack as well as sniper work–and parachute into the water. They probably jumped from a C-130, perhaps with refueling en route. Then they had to be recovered from the water and sort themselves out for a multiple-assault scenario. This is is like being a concert violinist, parachuting into the sea with your Stradivarius–probably at night, getting fished from the drink, then playing a concert–without missing a note.

For our SEALs, it was a day at the office–just like a day at the office for a heart surgeon or Kobe Bryant.

Many thanks to Captain Couch for his insights on the rescue of Captain Phillips. Loyal readers of this blog may remember our prior interview with Dick Couch about his latest book, The Sheriff of Ramadi.

Posted by Jim Dolbow in Maritime Security, Piracy

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  • For our SEALs, it was a day at the office–just like a day at the office for a heart surgeon or Kobe Bryant.

    I like that quote.

  • Hayball

    All Kobe does is play roundball. Not in the same league.

    Heart surgeons risk your life. Not an easy job. Not even close.

    Not in the same league either.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    Hayball called it square.

    Kobe Bryant would need clean shorts if he even thought about what those guys (SEALS) do and have at stake on any given day. Maybe if someone shot at him while he was trying a free throw….

  • I agree with Galrahn on this one.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Likely a tad melodramatic of me, but one gets tired of the “sports as war” analogies.

    One scene in a movie called “The Junction Boys” has a young Bear Bryant (at A&M) trying to explain to a player’s dad that SEC football is a “war every Sunday. The father, a P-38 pilot shot down and captured by the Japanese, missing his right arm and shoulder, tells Bryant; “Football is a sport. You don’t know about war.”

    I KNOW Dick Couch (and Galrahn) didn’t mean it that way, but it’s a sign of the times. Manny Ramirez makes more money in one game than a LtGeneral makes in a year. The least he could do is run out the damned ground ball.

    How about this? Bryant only gets shot at if he misses.

  • Hayball


    Don’t shoot at the b-ball player, he’s doing the best that he can.
    Besides the price of ammo is going up and who’s gonna pay.

    Concur on your para two. But it’s just as true about Seals any day you pick. Not in the same league.

  • UltimaRatioReg

    “Don’t shoot at the b-ball player, he’s doing the best that he can.”

    Oh, all right. You never let me have ANY fun…..

  • Fouled Anchor

    SEALs – pitching deck, at night, a life hanging in the balance, three shots, three hits, 100%

    Kobe – steady surface, well lit, no life at risk, 46.7% free-throw average this season

  • Hayball

    Kobe, I’m sorry. You are super in the NBA.

    Folks, quit picking on him. It’s not his fault. It’s the gift he got.

    Me, I wouldn’t make the cut at NBA or SEAL.

    Fortunately, the longer I’m retired, the better I remember being.
    At what I did when I could still do it.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Ditto on the memory. Either that or the baskets were lower.