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Pirate Hunters: U.S. Navy SEALs Rescue of Captain Phillips & the Maersk Alabama | Full Documentary

May 26, 2024
- The hijacking of an American cargo ship draws the world's attention. - This morning off the coast of Somalia. - But when four

pirate

s kidnap the American

captain

and hold him for ransom, they get more than they bargained for. A top-secret Special Operations Navy SEAL force trains with a purpose. Locate and destroy terrorists anywhere in the world. (dramatic music) These men are unknown to the public, but not their enemies. (gun shots) Among the deadliest assassins in the American arsenal, they are ranked by name, unit and deed. Its story is the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama merchant ship. (gunshots) And for a brief moment, our glimpse into their world. (gunshots) The day starts like any other.
pirate hunters u s navy seals rescue of captain phillips the maersk alabama full documentary
All over the world the Easter weekend is approaching and many people are preparing to celebrate. For the majority, everything remains the same. In the Horn of Africa, it is also normal for Somali

pirate

gangs to prowl the shipping lanes off the Gulf of Aden, hijacking foreign merchant ships and holding their crews for ransom. Their success fuels a kidnapping industry worth tens of millions of dollars a year. When armed pirates attack another ship, the merchant Maersk Alabama, off the coast of Somalia, the ship is identified as an American cargo ship. The news captures the attention of a global audience. - A high-stakes drama on the high seas is... - This morning off the coast of Somalia. - An American freighter taken over by pirates. - Details are unclear.
pirate hunters u s navy seals rescue of captain phillips the maersk alabama full documentary

More Interesting Facts About,

pirate hunters u s navy seals rescue of captain phillips the maersk alabama full documentary...

The Maersk Alabama, an American-flagged cargo ship, is reportedly under attack by pirates in unknown numbers approximately 250 miles off the coast of Somalia. The crew forces the pirates to abandon ship, but not before they kidnap Richard Phillips, the American

captain

, and escape in one of the ship's motorized lifeboats. - There were four Somali pirates with AK-47s, but now they have our Captain in a lifeboat. Yes, they took him hostage. - The kidnapping story ignites a political storm. - The media, especially cable TV, are Somali pirates 24/7. - We are using several of our assets, including... - This put incredible pressure on the Obama administration, with experts demanding action, and the administration has to deliver and deliver. - And bring the pirates to justice. - Piracy off the coast of Somalia, both in the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean, currently accounts for almost two-thirds of attacks on commercial shipping in the world today.
pirate hunters u s navy seals rescue of captain phillips the maersk alabama full documentary
It is a very sophisticated company that generates incredible amounts of income, especially in a country where the average family lives on less than $600 a year. - Normally, pirates earn around $100,000 for each capture. Many of the pirates are young. Most of the time between 15, 16 and 25 years old. They come from fishing villages and have seen piracy become a big and lucrative business. - Inside the Pentagon, Colonel Rudy Atallah immediately contacts sources in Somalia, hoping to learn the identities of the pirates. - We were huddled together, trying to figure out who the pirates were. We were going to take every measure and use every tool at our disposal to take care of Captain Phillips and make sure he got home safely. - The pirates are identified as Somali teenagers.
pirate hunters u s navy seals rescue of captain phillips the maersk alabama full documentary
The oldest 19, the youngest 17.-The four pirates that Captain Phillips had were very young, one of them already had a couple of successful attacks under his belt. The other three were inexperienced and are believed to have been on their first mission at sea. All of this came from the source who was speaking directly to the elders. - The kidnappers escaped from the Alabama in the ship's lifeboat and with their hostage headed to the Somali coast. Kidnappers or terrorists, their intentions remain unclear. - The biggest concern was that the pirates might have some affiliation with a group called Al-Shabaab, which was on our terrorism list, or would potentially hand Captain Phillips over to this Al-Shabaab.
Either way, we didn't want them to come ashore. - The safety of the hostage held by armed Muslims requires the White House to balance attempts at a peaceful resolution with a

rescue

attack that could endanger Captain Phillips. - Political pressures at this particular moment are pulling in opposite directions. On the one hand, there is the demand for decisive action; On the other hand, we don't want to look like we're catching fish in a bucket, so to speak. - When American warships finally intercept the kidnappers at sea, the pirates use their hostages as a shield against surrounding ships. - You have four or five guys with some AK-47s, and maybe an RPG, and they take on an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, and we have a confrontation that lasts several days. - Rudy Atallah's contacts with Somali tribal elders reveal the names of the pirates and their clans. - I found out the names of the four pirates, and then I also got the names of the elders of the subclan where they came from.
We broadcast their names over a loudspeaker from Bainbridge, and that made the hackers stop what they were doing. At this moment, they became extremely nervous. - The pirates refused to surrender. The Bainbridge and her flotilla, unable to utilize her superior firepower until they gain approval from Washington, resort to aggressive physical maneuvers to cut off the lifeboat's escape to land. - They try to run towards the coast. Water cannons were used to fire at the lifeboat and push it back into the sea. - In the window, in the window. - Hit the hull, try to keep it from getting close to the shore. (catchy music) (explosions) - Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a secret operation SEAL team conducts its daily training regimen at a classified military base far from the glare of public scrutiny. - These are trained and highly tuned killing machines, and I say this with no disrespect intended, but that's what they are trained to do. (gun fire) - These guys are the most experienced and I would say the deadliest predators on the planet. (guns firing) - These guys are doing things that would surprise and blow people away if they really knew what was happening overseas and around the world in the global war on terrorism. (weapons firing) - These are footage of the SEAL team training and provide a detailed look at how all the SEALs prepare for war.
The particular effectiveness of SEAL teams is that they gather even the most sensitive information about their enemies and then launch a devastating attack with force. (guns fired) In Iraq, SEAL Team snipers help decimate the leaders of Al-Qaeda and other private militias, leaving them demoralized and ineffective. - These are top-level snipers. Many of them have literally dozens of murders on their record. (gunshots) - You have sniper teams on the battlefield, people are dying everywhere and they don't know what is happening. From a psychological warfare point of view, it is devastating. (gunshots) (intense music) (gunshots) - One of the things we have done in our fight against terrorism has been to eliminate those key people.
There are a limited number of people who can make the terrorist machine work. You remove those gears and the machine just collapses. (gun fire) - The effectiveness of these SEAL operations makes the sniper the weapon of choice for any hostage

rescue

attempt on the Maersk Alabama. (gun shooting) - You have one of the most effective tools in a sniper that the battlefield commander has in his war chest. And with one bullet, you can eliminate a target. - One shot, one kill means reducing potential collateral damage among innocent civilian populations, a modern political necessity, as low-intensity conflicts are often fought and won in the headlines as well as on the battlefield. - As surgical in the most precise, and I believe correct, sense of the term, and it is increasingly becoming an instrument of national policy. - Breaking news. - It's in all the media.
There is a hostage situation and that will escalate things politically. Who will handle this situation while it is a maritime environment? On the SEAL teams, we own that maritime environment. - The outcome of the Bainbridge hostage situation depends entirely on the skill of the SEAL snipers. A mistake could kill the hostage and trigger an inevitable political and media search for the culprits. The SEALs call this type of after-action investigation: "Who shot Jack?" -You know, he is not an F18 launching a guided missile attack. You have to perform a deadly shot and you can't miss. So it's as simple as, one shot goes well, you're a hero, if it doesn't go well, you're a zero. (gunshots) - Days after pirates attack the merchant ship Maersk Alabama, Naval Special Warfare alerts a small SEAL assault squad, including the team's commanding officer.
Within hours, they depart for a high-altitude flight, a night parachute drop into the Gulf of Aden, and a rendezvous with the U.S.S. Bainbridge. - You have a group of guys in the US who are on pagers, you call them, they have to show up within 60 minutes or less, receive information, have all their equipment ready, get on a plane and then coordinate. Probably on the way where they will join. - The avalanche of details and rapid deployment is nothing new for

seals

. His mood is relaxed. - This is a situation where they simply appear at the top of the food chain.
I was in the water, you know, you have Navy SEALs, you have snipers, you can't get a better environment for these guys. They are right where they feel most at home. You know, I wouldn't be surprised if they exited the plane backwards upon entering. - The pirates in the lifeboat do not have night vision. So, you just walk in, use the cover of darkness, set up on the boat, and you know, when the sun comes up, they have no idea these guys are in position. - Once aboard the Bainbridge, the SEALs take up firing positions while the Navy ships force the lifeboat away from shore.
It's a calculated risk. No one knows the Captain's physical condition or what the pirates will do next. The team doesn't wait long for a response. (shots) - Shots, shots! - The pirates were very scared. They feared for their lives, but at the same time they didn't listen to reason. They were very focused on their goal and were irrational in their behavior. - But then the lifeboat runs out of fuel. The kidnappers allow the Bainbridge to take them under the bow, believing they are headed for shore. Unbeknownst to the pirates, the Bainbrdige is towing them out to sea.
The SEAL snipers on board are now less than 40 meters away. Later, mixed with other sailors, the SEALs approach the lifeboat to bring water and observe the conditions on board. Pirates show signs of physical and psychological stress. - This hostage situation has been going on for several days and the situation is escalating. Once it gets to a certain point, you have to do something about it. - Unreported by the media, the pirates' elders deliver a second message over the ship's loudspeakers, asking the pirates to surrender. The leader abruptly gives up. Once aboard the Bainbridge, he advises the three remaining kidnappers to surrender as well. - Unfortunately they said no, that their lives were in the hands of God.
If they were to reach the coast, it was up to God, if not, then they were prepared to die. When I relayed this information to the elders, the response was, "We wash our hands of this situation." - SEAL snipers have been in position since they arrived, but are not authorized to fire. Leaders aboard the Bainbridge are increasingly concerned about Captain Phillips' safety and the lack of clear direction from Washington. Time is running out. - Of course, these guys get impatient. They're waiting to hear from the top down if they've got the go-ahead, and you've got that attack dog on a leash, he wants to get loose so he can do his job. - To be fair to the administration, we must consider all these factors, the political implications and the consequences of failure.
There was a certain paralysis at the top. - Every SEAL understands the need to act, but without order, they can only observe and wait. - Every time you are in that situation, it will cause frustration. These guys are there to do their job, get it done and go home. - As night approaches, the contrast between

hunters

and hunted couldn't be more different. Inside the lifeboat, three seasick pirates are unaware of the impending danger and are eager to rescue their hostage. Aboard the Bainbridge, the SEAL team's snipers maintain their poise. - Everyone thinks, okay, these guys are there to kill someone, they're there to fulfill a mission, they're going to have very tight haircuts, uniforms, all that, but they're there to perform.
They are not there to be popular and they are not there to fit any image that the public may put upon them.they. They are simply there to perform and that is what they will do. But it was probably a very informal and relaxed atmosphere. - Put them on a Navy ship where they drink hot coffee, Redbull, essentially it's like a vacation to Club Med for these snipers, and pirates are easy targets, I mean, it's like shooting fish in a barrel for these guys . - No matter who we target, we have a dial, and that dial can be at zero, where I'm talking to you now, and you're at 10, where you're having to kill someone from the back of a ship. - Snipers monitor the situation by observing the target, observing their subjects while they are in a shooting position.
Your first technical concern is the fact that they are both moving. - There's probably some movement because they're in an ocean, but they also have a target ship, which is unpredictable. If someone goes to the other side of the boat or the weight changes, you can move the boat one foot in either direction, and these guys are firing simultaneously, so the chances of these guys taking down all the terrorists at the same time, the odds They would be incredible, but they put the odds in their favor because of all their training. - SEAL snipers train by firing thousands of rounds per week in every combat scenario imaginable. (guns firing) (screams) For experienced senior soldiers, the success of this operation is not a question of if, but when. (gunshots) - This is just another day at the office, you know, you're talking about a very low threat.
You're not going to go to a town in the middle of the night and have a lot of unknown factors. These guys go to a known location, they know the threat, they know the number of pirates on board, and they have a mission to accomplish. - It's like bringing a professional football team to play against a high school and college team. They will come in and do their thing because they are so well trained compared to everyone else. - All SEAL training involves what is called "mental management." Years of training and preparation allow each sniper to remain emotionally balanced and ready to kill in seconds. - When the boys find themselves in that situation, we have taught it to them many times.
It's like watching Cirque Du Soleil, where you're watching this incredible performance. They've done it so many times it's just autopilot. They are not thinking about what will come next, they are simply going through a mechanical process that they have gone through thousands of times before. (shooting) - This high-speed film demonstrates how performance is the rule, not the exception, for all SEAL Team snipers. From 400 meters, a 50 caliber bullet penetrates a steel safe. (gunshots) Seconds later, a second bullet is literally fired through the same hole. - You have to become a master of yourself and your environment. And by being able to do that, you will be able to do things that other people see as impossible. - All SEALs are volunteers and candidates are selected after being tested for predator instincts and warrior discipline. - We don't just train them to pull the trigger or stalk.
These guys are like renaissance men. They are well educated, well thought out and know what is going on. They understand why they are there and their purpose, and it is a greater good. - There are three types of people in this world. There are sheep, sheepdogs and wolves. Wolves are the psychopaths of the world, they are terrorists, criminals, rapists who take advantage of sheep. They are driven by violence and fear. (gunshots) (screams) Then there are sheepdogs, and sheepdogs look a lot like wolves, and generally sheep are made uncomfortable by the presence of sheepdogs because it reminds them that there are wolves out there. (gun shots) The defining difference is the fact that sheepdogs are driven to protect the flock, to protect the sheep. (guns firing) - SEAL teams do not announce their presence and avoid publicity. (guns firing) - We are used to blending in and becoming a part of wherever we are.
We arrive quietly and professionally, we do our thing, people support us, we support them and then we leave. - 70 years of fighting training provide the best insight into the SEAL combat philosophy. Like the sea, SEALs are unpredictable and can kill without hesitation. -I once heard a general tell me that one of the problems he had when using SEAL teams is that the SEALs don't stick to the plan. And I smiled a little, or laughed a little when he said that, because as a SEAL, that's our advantage. It's not that we are cowboys and go off the plan, but the whole intention, the purpose of what we do is to be in a place that no one will expect. - It will take a pirate to catch a pirate, it takes someone with a different mentality.
Mentality is key and that's what BUD/S is for. BUD/S is there to forge the mindset. (chanting) (weapons firing) - All SEALs first graduated from BUD/S, Basic Underwater Demolition Seal Training. It is a 30-week course that combines peer pressure with physical and emotional stress to evaluate a man's commitment to group loyalty and his ability to function under pain. - You're on my program. You're not on your own show. Do you understand me, Sloan? - Boo yah, sir, Captain. - Eight, nine, 30! - I'm talking to you, Francisco. - Hey, start the count. - What are you going to do to make sure you don't talk anymore?
Do I have to isolate you for the rest of class? - Negative, Mr. Captain. - Do I have to put sand in your mouth? - I showed up at BUD/S and I was not the person I am today. And I had doubts about my ability, what I could and couldn't do, what was possible and what wasn't. And by going through the training, I now have

full

confidence that if it's humanly possible, then I can do it. - I don't want to hear any whining or moaning or moaning, guys. Raise it up! Raise it up! - You know, you always hear that it's 90% mental, 10% physical.
You really need to be able to turn your brain off in a certain way where you can ignore all the pain and discomfort. If you can disable it, then you will be good at BUD/S and can continue day after day. - What is your problem, Mr. Nole? Hell Week simulates a combat scenario and you are failing. If we put you in a real situation, you will kill people. You don't want to be a team player, you got not just one thing wrong, but two, and that's why they're deploying right now and waiting for you, Phillip.
Paying the penalty for you. Now, as soon as you're ready, go ahead and take your time, Phillip. - On average, seven in 10 students fail to pass BUD/s training, one of the highest attrition rates in the US military. - I need a winner! - Above! Raise it up! Raise this ship! Raise it up! - We will press whatever button we need to press to stress them out. I don't want society to be no longer used to being uncomfortable, but we have become a society of comfort, and there are still men on Earth who will put their comfort aside, and base their lives on us rather than me.
These guys can put themselves in situations their target simply can't conceive of. (weapon firing) - After graduating from BUD/s, many SEALs apply to enter SEAL Team Sniper School. A three-month classified course that not everyone approves of. - I've had students who went to sniper school and said they would rather go through BUD/s three times, because we produce a very high level of stress in training to make sure these guys are mentally prepared. - A SEAL sniper school is much more difficult than any other sniper school in the world. I practically had a nervous breakdown during sniper training.
One bad day, you're back, you go home and you have to look all your guys in the face and say, "I failed." - The sniper mentality requires instinct and the will to overcome physical conditions for hours and perhaps days. It's not for everyone. - A Navy SEAL in general, I mean a SEAL sniper, will operate and stop in the space between reality and fantasy. Then they will be in that space that no one's brain would take them to. They won't expect us to be on the hill for the last three days. They will not expect us to be entrenched in pure pain. - And we will do it because we know we can and others can't.
They will give up. That's what makes the difference between winners and losers. -Part of the sniper's job is to hunt down his prey. (gunshots) But it's not just about following footprints. (shots) It's about preparing the slaughter. - Stalking for us is an art. It is a natural predatory instinct. We all have it, but nowadays it is frowned upon. And basically, we work to take him from a normal guy to someone who adapts to any situation, any environment, and make him realize everything. Your foreground, your background, your movement, where you are in relation to your target, so we completely reinsert the predatory mentality. - For every sniper, stalking requires knowing how to blend into the landscape to avoid detection. (shooting) - It is essential that the Navy SEAL sniper master the art of camouflage and concealment.
For them, it is a matter of life and death. Right now I look like a hiker, but I'm going to go behind this bush and become a sniper and see if you can find me. It's okay, I can see you. But you could only see me because I let you. In just a couple of minutes, I went from hiker to SEAL sniper behind the bush. What you don't see is that there are two other SEAL snipers and they have you in their sights. You'd be dead right now and you'd never know what hit you. (catchy music) - Regular SEAL platoons perform different missions.
For Special Operations requirements, each candidate undergoes a process of unforgiving live-fire scenarios intended to eliminate anyone not prepared to operate safely in a 24/7 operational cycle. (weapon firing) - A level one unit has to maintain a constant state of readiness, so they are constantly training and firing an enormous amount of shots, and usually those guys maintain a higher degree of readiness just by their nature . - SEAL snipers, with their grueling training and mental toughness, are the obvious choice for a White House that needs a rapid deployment and surgical response to the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama merchant ship. - They don't bring the SEALs to negotiate, they don't bring us to be fair.
They don't bring us in for any reason other than to win. (gunshots) It's not a self-help group. We are there to take control and tilt the odds in America's favor. (gunshots) - For the past four days, the story of Somali pirates kidnapping the captain of an American freighter has made headlines around the world. Political leaders in Washington continue to seek a peaceful solution, as four armed Muslim kidnappers continue to defy all calls for their surrender. - One of the things that pirates exploit in situations is the value that modern democracy places on individual life. A man pointing a weapon of any kind at a hostage's head wields far greater power than a warship with thousands of times more firepower. - Aboard the U.S.S.
Bainbridge, there is no political apprehension. The SEALs calibrate every pirate movement, every ocean swell. Ready to shoot at any time. But the order to shoot does not come. (tense music) Running out of fuel, the pirates remain tied to the Bainbridge, unaware that their

hunters

are hidden, watching their every move and waiting. - You have a situation where the administration will want to resolve this without victims. But eventually there comes a point where, hey, this isn't working, we're not going to produce a situation here other than taking these guys out. (gunshots) - Many of the circumstances surrounding the incident remain unclear.
But Brandon Webb, a former SEAL sniper instructor, offers insight into how various snipers could prepare for this situation. - If it's a hostage situation, the shots are very close, it's night, you have these moving platforms and you can't miss. And it has to be simultaneous, achieving three objectives, like cutting the strings of a puppet. - For SEALS, training to kill their enemies requires more than instinct. It takes practice in strenuous conditions. - When I train these guys in the sniper course, you know, I want to put them in the most critical situations that you can replicate outside of the theater.
Creating a huge amount of peer pressure because you have an alpha male type situation where all these guys are trying to outdo each other. - Very good, ready? Go! - Eric and Glen are former SEAL snipers. Larry, SEAL platoon commander. They will compete against the clock and each other in a simple stress circuit. This type of demonstration is a simple illustration of how peer pressure is used to train SEALs to overcome anything they may encounter in combat. - You know, it's not two ships rocking in the middle of the night. But what you do in training is you put these guys in adverse situations and then increase the pressure on them. - Pressure can destroy a man's effectiveness in combat soquickly like any bullet.
The first lesson for every SEAL is to expect the unexpected. - So we do it intentionally so we can see who has the strength to overcome those adverse situations and emerge victorious. -In this test, each competitor is given a rifle that he has never fired before. - You know, what these guys don't have and what snipers usually have is a custom set of weapons. Each weapon is customized for your particular body type, the distance from eye to scope. - Hit. Hit. In this situation, they have an unknown weapon. It's hot, it's dusty. We're putting a lot of bullets through the rifles, so what happens intentionally is that a lot of dust gets into the bolt, so there's bound to be a malfunction, which just adds complexity to the shooting process.
Hit. - As Webb anticipates, there is a misfire. Adapting to changing conditions is the oldest survival lesson in the SEAL playbook. - We all have over a decade of training between us, so something like this may seem easy to us, but it took us years to get to this level. (gunshots) - Hit, time. - Group pressure and the desire to win cannot be underestimated. The fear of losing, not being the best, or failing your teammates in a combat situation keeps people alive when others might give up. - Did you even count them? - He made seven. - There is no way.
Every time we do something, if it's two guys going for a "friendly jog", it becomes a race, it's always a competition. - For us, no matter what happens, it is life or death. It doesn't matter if it's real filming or if it's a competition. We do everything 100%. - Guys don't gravitate towards these types of positions to be second best, so they are constantly training and trying to outdo each other, it's a very competitive environment. (shots) - Hit.(shots) Hit. (shots) Hit. - And he's already cheating. - Eric is a former sniper instructor. As he concentrates on his goals, his ability to control his breathing reflects an ingrained mental management of his stress. (tense music) (gunshots) - Hit. (gunshots) - No, I don't think so.
I didn't miss that one. Are you sure you're looking at the right target? Are you sure? -When Eric fails to shoot a target out of sequence, his protest is a sign of a competitive nature found in many men who strive to be the best they can be and for whom failure is difficult to accept. - It was a good shot though. - Yes, thanks. (gun shot) - It just shows you the difference between slowing down a little bit, taking a little longer, but he had a very precise run, he only dropped one shot. I mean, at the end of the day, it's all about hitting the mark every time. - Glen is a former military sniper and current Wind Zero expert.
Watching him do push-ups, there is no doubt that he intends to win. But using an unknown weapon is a great equalizer. (catchy music) - With a viewfinder, your eye is not exactly the right distance from the front of the viewfinder, so you get what's called vignetting, which means you have a lot of black around what is actually the focus you can see, and it will move depending on where your head is, so getting the position of the cheeks is what you're doing to center them and get a good visual image. - I did my push-ups, ran to the car feeling completely confident and just couldn't get a good visual image.
I was struggling to get proper eye relief for the viewfinder, eliminate viewfinder shadow, and get a clear image. (catchy music) - This competition is just a demonstration, but the physical stress combined with clock pressure and peer pressure are necessary to make the killing action as routine as possible. (weapon shot) - Hit. - 2:47, all correct. -They have to perform and overcome those mental challenges, as you saw Glen on the hood of the truck in that stress course, you could tell he was getting a little frustrated, but he overcame it, shot and then resumed. the time on the other objective. -How many did you miss? - Two. - There are no errors. - None? - I think we heard a couple of rulings. - We heard a mistake in the last set. - All hits, two minutes, 47 seconds. - Headshots.
It's always a competition. Yes, we may talk a lot and have a good time, but when there are three, two, one, that's it. Yes, we like to win. - That was smooth. - That was fast. - Accuracy may seem obvious, but like everything that goes into sniping shooting, it cannot be taken for granted. In the Alabama incident, weather and wind conditions could affect the shooter's accuracy. - Okay, go ahead and... As a sniper, you want to control everything you can control. All environmental conditions are taken into account. The barometric pressure, you know, the temperature outside, the temperature inside the chamber.
Because those environmental factors can mean the difference between inches. - It is a matter of taking all the factors that intervene. Take a deep breath, exhale, pause breathing, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, snap the trigger by surprise, move on, prepare for your second shot. - Hold on to the left objective. - Left objective. - Very good, center for elevation. Give me three minutes and send it when you're ready. (shooting) - Traditional sniper teams operate with two men. The shooter and a spotter, who can evaluate environmental conditions and make adjustments to the shooter's aim. At 100 yards, Webb takes into account environmental conditions to help Glen zero his gun. - We are getting a strong

full

value wind, from left to right with gusts of 15 to 30, and then towards the target, it's left, it's right, up, down, so to be honest, your job is a lot. more difficult.
As a shooter, my job is strictly to make a clean shot. - Stopping a shot means pulling the trigger until the gun fires, which is called a surprise stop. - The reason you ask for the break of the shot is because if I tell him to aim for the center of the mass, right in the chest, and he breaks here, and he tells me it breaks here, and hits here, I know his drug. The gun is correct. (gunshots) Well, that's the stalemate. Good shot. (gun shots) - It's like the moment you have that surprise break that your gun goes "boom"!
You take a mental image, like a flash goes off in your brain, and you take a picture of exactly where your aiming point is, and even a little up or a little down. That feedback will give you everything you need to adapt in terms of wind conditions and bullet trajectory. - Snipers at Bainbridge will coordinate a common shooting solution to optimize their rifles using databases of ballistic and environmental conditions from the Arabian Sea, all without firing a single shot. (catchy music) - The chronograph here measures in feet per second the speed of the bullet as it exits the barrel. - Each operating environment is different and will affect accuracy. - We marked all the environmental conditions, like how hot it is out here, added five degrees to the bullet temperature and took into account the barometric pressure, plugged it into the software program and got the shooting solution. - At Bainbridge, environmental conditions are critical to accuracy.
Because the pirates and hostages are crammed into the small cabin of the lifeboat, precision requires hitting targets and avoiding hitting the hostage. These high-speed images of bullet impacts and their low-pressure shock waves on soft tissue show how the bullet exits in a twisting motion, moving with full kinetic force and without deflection. The danger for snipers is that a bullet deflects after hitting a pirate and hits Captain Phillips. - Everyone has to be responsible for their shot and the path of the bullet after exit, where that bullet will go after leaving the target. You have to really think about that. - There was another problem.
The pirates are moving and it is evident that they will have to shoot through the plexiglass windshield of the wheelhouse. This means knowing the position of the hostage and the kidnappers at all times. - You have a guy sitting at the helm station most of the time, and these guys are going to have to shoot through the plexiglass here, and this guy sitting at this helm position essentially becomes a very easy target, and is essentially an easy target. - Terminal ballistics is the measurement of the force and trajectory of the projectile's impact and the low pressure wave that follows it.
That pressure wave is what causes severe collapse of muscles and organs far from the point of entry. The following demonstration provides evidence of the lethal power of newer ammunition and special designs requiring different combat situations. - Left edge. (gunshots) Call. (shooting) - The first shot we took on the left clay was with our standard grade 300 winmag, Full Metal Jacket. This impacted here on the left edge, and you know, if this were tissue obviously, this wave and this pressure wave is enough to cause serious damage, especially in a headshot. (gunfire) So this is the ground war round, so it will provide maximum penetration with maximum kinetic energy and momentum. (gunshots) And it just melted and disintegrated the entire top half of this 25-pound block of clay. - I have never seen anything like this with the special mix. (laughs) - But ammunition is just one of many factors that affect the success or failure of a sniper's shot.
All factors must be considered. The SEALs aboard the Bainbridge leave nothing to chance. - It's a close shot, but it's night, you have a hostage involved, you have an oscillating platform on the lifeboat. The ship would have been semi-stable, but it is still moving. And then you have all the factors that go into that individual shooter's shooting solution. (shooting) - Late afternoon on the fourth day, the SEALs are in firing position. The pirates, unknowingly, snipers lurk less than 40 meters away, hidden within the Bainbridge's superstructure, ready to fire. - Pirates don't have night vision, so they probably had no idea that an item was set up that way and waiting for the right opportunity.
The right opportunity presents itself when all three pirates appear at the same time, then the shooters will confirm that the hostage is out of the line of fire and execute a simultaneous volley when ordered. This is called a countdown. - We have to make sure we're all on the same page right here, because we're about to do something extremely surgical. - Once that opportunity presents itself, you have to carry out a very fast and coordinated activity. You know, three, two, one, execute, and shots are fired and the targets are neutralized. - The shooting position adopted by SEAL snipers is not verified, but the prone position guarantees the greatest accuracy. (gunshots) From the stern of the Bainbridge, it's only 40 yards, but with wind, ship motion, and unpredictable moving targets, everything must be coordinated in the blink of an eye.
Additionally, the hostage must be out of the line of fire. - To simulate, we put some movement in the shot, we put these guys on one knee, so you know, it's not the same as a moving ship, but it adds a little more complexity to the situation. There is movement, the sights move slightly. - You know, shooting prone is the most stable position, and we are all shooting with one knee up. We use supports, that is, our weapons are reinforced, but the fact is that lying down, shooting from a bipod or a structure in a prone position is the most stable. - The biggest difference between working alone and working in a team is adapting to a group dynamic.
If left alone, a lone sniper fires when he is ready. Firing in a coordinated barrage, all snipers must fire simultaneously. - It's not when they're essentially ready. They have to be ready and prepare that way, because they know they will receive command fire. - When we have to follow an order, that means we have to keep our sights very tight and we hold the breathing pause slightly while he counts down, so that margin of error is incredibly small. So we all have the mental image, three, two, one, click for us. He'll say run, but we'll think "click." - Consolidating a countdown at sea, at night, on real targets is never easy, not even for combat veterans.
But this dry fire practice will demonstrate a trigger break, the moment when all three snipers must pull the trigger in unison. Failure to do so could leave the pirate alive and pose a threat to the hostage. (tense music) - Another complexity in this particular setup is that we all shoot different guns that have different trigger settings that break at different times, and we don't know the gun, so it will take a lot of effort to make sure you break the shots exactly at the same time. - It is called surprise breakage, when pulling the trigger causes the weapon to fire.
Snipers use the same weaponfor years, but learning how to use it takes time. - There's a long pause at that. - You have to worry about that a little bit, because I have to relax, and it goes twice before the shot, and that's what I'm... - Shot in three, two, one, execute. - It almost feels like it's rubbing. - Yes. - Then you have to... - Rub, rub, rub, rub, rub and then break. - Waiting to shoot tires out even the most experienced sniper. For this reason, the SEALs at Bainbridge constantly rotate their shooters every hour or less to keep them on their toes. -The difficulty of staying on your gun, having a proper position, your cheek on the gun, the position of the trigger, the position of the body, all those pieces, the thing is that we are human beings.
Our biology will start to break down, muscles will get tired, muscles will cramp. - Okay, the line is active, lock and load. Alright, make sure you hit your goal. Snipers, snipers, this is Echo One. Sign up when you've acquired your target. - Sniper Uno ready. - Sniper Two ready. - Sniper Three ready. - Very good, I'm Echo One, I'm in control. Shot in three, two, one... (gunshots) - Oh, that was horrible. -Eric! -Eric! - Punishment, do it again. - Eric breaks his shot late. The wrong timing may not seem critical, but even a slight delay in the actual situation could leave a pirate alive and the hostage in danger. - Shot in three, two, one, execute. (gunshots) That's perfect. - Coordinating three simultaneous individual headshots is problematic.
Headshots guarantee instant death, but with the Bainbridge, lifeboat, and human targets moving without predictability, the challenge is obvious. - When you look at a photo of a human's head, the head moves back and forth and moves. We've basically suspended three pumpkins, basically to simulate a moving head. You can see just standing here a little bit of wind blowing, how these pumpkins are moving, and that's really what we want to simulate. We put an apple on top and what we want to show is how surgical these guys can be. Snipers, Echo One. I have control. Shot on three, two, one, run. (gunshots) - If I know that from 75 or 100 yards I can pierce a rotating apple, a head will seem huge to me.
It's just part of that whole mental management system where you project victory before you even enter battle. (weapon shots) - 40 yards separate the hunters and the hunted. For trained marksmen, pirates are easy targets, many times larger than an apple. As the pirates continued to reject all demands for surrender, they are seen becoming increasingly threatening towards the hostage. - They're essentially entombed in this little lifeboat, and they're locked in, they're hungry, they're thirsty, it's just a matter of time before these guys are done. -He's like a lion in the Serengeti. I mean, all that's out there is a tiny little lamb. (gunshots) - As the afternoon of the fourth day of the hijacking approaches, all negotiations between the pirates and the American negotiators have ended.
The pirates reject any offer of surrender, even from their own tribal elders. - In their statements, when we sent them a message, it was that they were putting their entire lives in the hands of God. When I relayed this information to the elders, the response was, "We wash our hands of this situation." - They are in a small lifeboat looking at a huge American naval ship, you know, at that moment they are like deer in the headlights. - The lifeboat containing the three pirates and their American hostage remained secured by a tow cable attached to the U.S.S.
Bainbridge. The SEAL team's snipers continue to monitor their targets, ready to fire, awaiting Washington's order. - What I think must have been really difficult for those shooters was the 18+ hours they spent on board the ship waiting to get the green light. - That ambiguity, that tension between shooting or negotiating doesn't really exist. These guys are trained snipers and now they are waiting for the signal or the authority to do it. - Without authorization to shoot, snipers must wait. Officials in Washington continue to strategize. The White House, the National Security Council, the State Department, the Department of Defense and other agencies are in a flurry of activity and communication, analyzing all the possible ramifications. - You get very frustrated in those situations because you have a guy in the US, sitting behind a desk, making decisions that have never been in that environment before, and then you have real guys on the ground who know, hey.
I've been here 20-30 times and I know there is only one way to resolve this situation. - Upon observing numerous physical threats towards Captain Phillips, the on-scene commander receives permission in case of danger to the hostage. The fate of the pirates has already been decided. Snipers have the advantage with their night vision. The atmosphere among the SEALs is professional and relaxed. - After exhausting our entire playbook trying to get the pirates to surrender, we saw that the situation was getting a little dire. - They are going to end this in the only way that can end a situation like this. -In the scene the commander realizes that he is fine, there is no way to resolve this peacefully without victims, he makes a decision, as soon as the sun sets, these guys will be eliminated. - In that decisive moment, when you have the green light to shoot, it's like flipping a switch.
You just walk in and it's all business. It all comes down to your training and routine. - Shortly after nightfall, the pirates present a simultaneous objective and the countdown begins. - Snipers, snipers, this is Echo One. Sign up when you've acquired your target. - A mistake can now cost Captain Phillips his life. (tense music) - There is no second take, there is no editing, there is no turning off the camera. That guy says "I'm in control, I'm in control", that means he's in control of the Captain's life, he's in control of the future of those snipers and their careers, he's in control of everyone. - Sniper One, ready. - Sniper Two, ready. - Sniper Three, ready. - Very good, I'm Echo One, I'm in control.
Shots in three, two, one, execute. (guns firing) - The first people I want to thank are the SEALs, they are the superheroes, they are the titans, they are the impossible men who do an impossible job, and they did the impossible with me. -Seven months later, the Maersk Alabama is attacked near the same location, but evades capture. Somali pirates continue to hijack ships and hold them for ransom at a record pace. Most of the SEAL team's combat operations remain classified.

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