Breaking: Member of Special Operations Forces Killed in Rescue of American in Afghanistan (Updated)
In a short release the U.S. Navy announced its latest casualty in the Afghanistan War:
WASHINGTON (NNS) — The Department of Defense announced Nov. 10 the death of a Sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat related injuries suffered Dec. 8 (EST), while supporting operations near Kabul, Afghanistan. Checque was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit.
In fact, Petty Officer Checque is the Navy SEAL that was killed in the rescue of Dr. Joseph (see below)
Checque, who hailed from Monroeville, Pa., died of “combat related injuries,” according to a Pentagon release. Though the release only said Checque was assigned to “an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit,” ABC News previously reported the fallen servicemember was a part of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6, the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden.
Checque, 28, sustained his mortal injuries while on a nighttime mission Saturday to free Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American doctor who worked for a non-governmental organization based in Kabul. Joseph was kidnapped by the Taliban earlier this month and American officials believed he was in imminent danger.
A U.S. special operations forces member has been killed in action during the rescue of an American citizen, Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo., in eastern Afghanistan today. Joseph had been abducted by the Taliban five days ago.
President Obama is praising the U.S. special operations forces, including the member who was killed , for the rescue of the American citizen, saying the mission was characteristic of U.S. troops’ “extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has issued the following statement:
I want to commend the U.S Special Operations team who rescued an American citizen captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan. I was deeply saddened to learn that a U.S. service member was killed in the operation, and I also want to extend my condolences to his family, teammates and friends. The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy’s grip. They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night. In this fallen hero, and all of our special operators, Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld. The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them.
The Washington Post provides some additional details on the rescue of Dr. Joseph and attributes the details to “Morning Star,” a relief group that helps rebuild communities in Afghanistan:
• Joseph was uninjured
• Joseph and two of his co-workers were abducted by a group of armed men while returning from a visit to one of the organization’s rural medical clinics in eastern Kabul province and were taken into mountains about 50 miles from the Pakistan border.
• The two co-workers were freed by their captors about 11 hours before the rescue, after hours of negotiations were conducted over three days, but the group would not reveal the identity of the other two men because they live and work in the region. The group also said it did not pay ransom to obtain their release.
• Morning Star praised those who helped get their workers back unharmed, singling out “courageous members of the U.S. military who successfully rescued Mr. Joseph as they risked their own lives doing so” and offered thanks to local Afghan elders and local leaders “who made visits and appeals to the captors advocating for the release of the hostages.”
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