Reporter Has Front-Row Seat as Navy Rescues Iranian Ship from Pirates

A U.S. Navy sailor greets an Iranian crew member after the rescue. (Public domain photo from U.S. Navy)

If you read only one news article today, you must read the dramatic NY Times account of the U.S. Navy’s rescue of Iranians from Somali pirates.  As luck would have it, a Pulitzer-prize winning reporter and photographer were embedded on one of the naval vessels.

It’s hard to pick the best aspect of this story.  There’s the irony of the U.S. rescuing Iranians. There’s the mental image of the pirates throwing grappling hooks over the rail of the target vessel.  There’s the clever tactic of setting the first set of pirates free, only to follow them to their mother ship.

In another bizarre coincidence, the U.S.S. Kidd, part of an international anti-piracy task force, happened to have on board a chief petty officer who speaks Urdu.  Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, not of Iran… but the Iranian captain was from near the Pakistani border. Even as the pirates listened, the captain was able to ask for help in Urdu.

Of course, whenever a news development reflects well on the U.S. military, some people quickly look for ways to diminish it. On CNN’s “Security Clearance” blog, someone named Larry Shaughnessy snarked:

The Pentagon’s public affairs apparatus put on a full-court press Friday after the U.S. Navy rescued 13 Iranian fishermen from a group of suspect pirates. But for all the back-patting of U.S. efforts to save sailors even from an “axis of evil” country, it turns out the true hero in the whole incident was the quick-thinking Iranian captain.

Arrgh.  Props to the Iranian captain, but why go out of your way to try to tarnish what the Navy did?  I prefer to stay focused on the positive story line. Of course, I’m a sucker for any Navy-versus-pirates narrative, since I’ve got a son in the biz.

4 thoughts on “Reporter Has Front-Row Seat as Navy Rescues Iranian Ship from Pirates

  1. Of course it’s a great story, good call. I liked the pictures and stories of the sailors and their armed boardings and holding prisoners etc. People don’t realize that the Navy are trained to be soldiers of the seas, we used to fawn over my brother’s combat gear coming home in ’68 era. And early submarine battles comprised soldiers coming out on deck and shooting at each other. Not all combat is done by Navy Seals, the popular term as though there were any other kind. That they used strategy was great in letting the first boat go. Though ships of all kinds are outmoded in front-line battle, they protect similarly vulnerable shipping especially from pirates, a burgeoning and sensitive issue. Hey, you even have a French failure; it could have been scripted in Hollywood! I recommend Rogue Warrior, true stories of Seals in Vietnam.

  2. Dan, you’re right that there’s not a lot of ship-vs.-ship combat in modern wars. I’m grateful that my son is on an aircraft carrier — a class of ships that is always particularly well defended by surrounding ships.

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