Anchors aweigh

Here’s how the Navy rescued an American hostage high in the mountains of Afghanistan according to the Navy Times. (Hat tip: the Jawa Report)

“I heard the latch rattling and somebody came in,” he said. “The first guy came in with a LED light, and I just presumed that somebody was coming to visit. I didn’t think of it anymore until the second guy came in and I saw the silhouette of the first fellow. Then I knew it was U.S. mil that was coming in. I don’t know how many guys actually came into the room, but it was soon filled up, and it was soon obvious that I was being rescued.

“I don’t know what I said in English, but whatever I said I said it rather loudly evidently, because they said ‘Quiet!’ ”


The hostage’s aim was to quickly let the operators know who he was, but he understood their unease at the level of volume. “Sound carries so far, and they’d worked so hard to come down quietly across the mountain, and here I am shouting,” he said.

Nevertheless, “They knew who was who,” the engineer said. the SEALs quickly demonstrated that, aiming their silencer-equipped weapons to shoot and kill the kidnapper in the room before he could fire a round. The engineer said he heard the sounds of the operators shooting and killing a guard posted outside.

The Navy was, by some measures, a long way from water. But as kidnappers found out,  the sea is as far as you think it is. When you can regard floor of a hut as a deck then what could be more natural than SEALs storming through the hatch?  There’s a story, perhaps apocryphal, about a conference between McArthur and Nimitiz which illustrates the role of the mind in determining the proximity of land or sea. McArthur began his briefing by asking his aide to affix a “map to the wall”. Nimitz began his by instructing his assistant to “batten the chart to the bulkhead.”


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