Scott: Early Wednesday morning while still dark outside, two teams of Navy SEALs parachuted out of a plane over the city of Cadaado in Somalia, and hiked almost two miles to where the pirates had set up camp. The SEAL team managed to take out all nine pirates with no injuries to anyone else. Two Army helicopters swooped in and picked up the SEALs and the two hostages and flew them safely away.
The mission was a success, and remarkable even for the highly trained and exclusive Navy SEALs, and this was the same unit which took out Osama bin Laden last year.
The fact that they were able to get in, get both of these hostages out and not get an American killed is just a tribute to how good these guys really are. How well trained they really are.
Jessica Buchanan’s father, John, finally got a chance to speak with his daughter Tuesday night. He said, ”She was emotional, but she’s good. She’s got some health issues, not life threatening. She’ll be fine. She said, ‘Daddy, I love you, and I’ll be fine.’”
Jessica was kidnapped along with Paul Thisted in October while working for a Danish aid group. The kidnappers contacted their families through the aid organization, demanding money in return for their freedom.
This area of the world is known for pirates, who normally prey on ships moving in the area. And they often hold people for ransom, usually one to two million dollars.
The hostages were held for three months while the families, and U.S. officials worked to get the aid workers released. But after hearing that Buchanan was having health problems, the U.S. decided to use military force, sending in the highly trained SEAL team.
And these special operation teams have been used before to rescue American hostages from Somali pirates. Back in 2009, Navy snipers shot and killed three pirates who were holding an American ship captain hostage. It was considered a successful rescue. But in 2011, pirates killed four American hostages while the U.S. Navy had been negotiating with them.
The U.S. is using special operation teams more often than ever. Since the attacks on September 11th, special ops manpower has nearly doubled, its budget nearly tripled, and assignments overseas have quadrupled.
Across the military services there are close to 60,000 special ops forces and support staff, including 20,000 trained to operate in the field.
This weeks rescue marks another mission accomplished and a happy ending for the hostages.
Scott Evans, Channel One News.