There is no need for me to head to the local movie theater to watch a Super Hero movie.
What the Navy Seals did yesterday to free Captain Richard Phillips from the three desperate pirates who were holding him hostage in a lifeboat off the coast of Somalia is nothing short of remarkable.
Just as remarkable is the fact that the pirates were unsuccessful in hijacking the "Maersk Alabama" because the American crew refused to just hand over the ship. Believe me, as a Merchant Mariner, I am very interested to hear the details of what went on between the crew and the hijackers.
The subject of pirates comes up monthly in the endless safety meetings that are held on board our company vessels, and each time we discuss tactics to ward off the attack, I tend to roll my eyes everytime it's mentioned we should man the fire hoses. I mean, seriously, I'm not trained to turn back pirates. I'm not in the military and I don't even know how to load a gun. My personal agenda in the event my tug ever was attacked by pirates has always been, wecome them abaord, make some coffee and give them whatever the heck they want.
Obviously something happened during the attack on the "Alabama" to change the mindset of those crew members, and I can't begin to express my admiration for those guys, especially captain Phillips. He actually turned himself over to the pirates in hoping to secure the safety of his crew. Now, that is a Captain.
The title of Captain is thrown about the boating industry these days with not much thought. I sailed for 15 years on large oil tankers, and the guy in the stateroom that was marked CAPTAIN, was just that, a Captain in every sense of the word. The Captains I sailed with over the years on ships had a presence about them that is hard to explain. I could see it when I saw video of Captain Phillips on CNN.
The tug boat industry, where I work now, is a different story. I recently sailed with a guy who had the title captain, but he actually broke down and cried in the wheel house during one particularly tense situation that had nothing to do with pirates storming our tug armed with machine guns, buts thats a story I'm saving for my book.
So, back to the Navy Seals. All they did was parachute in from the sky 3 sharp shooters who took aim at a small lifeboat that was being towed 80 feet behind the Navy ship, in the dark, in a sea that was moving the lifeboat up and down a few feet at a time, and removed from this earth 3 evil human beings who had the audacity to think they could attack innocent United States citizens without paying the price.
This situation could have ended very differently, if it were not for the crisp decision making of Barack Obama, the US Military commanders who were on the scene and the very impressive actions of our Navy Seals.
As a very liberal democrat I never thought I would ever say this, (in public) but I am very proud of the US military today.
My fear now is the world will want us, the United States, to solve this piracy problem by ourselves.
I think our plate is full of wars right now, it's time for someone else to step up.