By Jim Dolbow
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.