Over at the most excellent US Naval Institute blog, Captain Alex Martin writes about the Marines execution of the rescue of the Magellan Star. Captain Martin was on the mission. This is a first hand experience report that is a MUST READ.
Here's a taste:
...“the execute order’s now at the three-star level.” Everyone looked at each other half-suspiciously.
Then reports came to us about the pirates onboard. They were armed. They were aggressive. They were pointing their weapons at the warships. They were making demands. They were non-compliant. They refused repeated attempts by the Princeton to surrender. They said they would stay on and fight.
“They’ll say go now,” someone said, “won’t they?” We waited and waited. “Hey,” Homestead yelled, “listen up, the decision is now at CENTCOM.” Pause. “General Mattis!” someone said, and the entire platoon ignited in a spontaneous cheer. A second pause. A sergeant remarks, “Man, now it’s gonna take even longer,” he said, jokingly. “Whatcha talking about man, it’s General Mattis! We’re golden.” “No brother, now we’ll have to wait for him to get aboard…you know the General will wanna be with us on this hit.” Everyone laughed and felt relieved…this was going to happen afterall.
An hour later, still waiting, we asked each other, “I wonder what the hold up is?” Darkness was less than an hour away, time was running out. Homestead again: “Hey guys, the execute order…” we all pulled our headsets off one of our ears to best hear him, “it’s at the President.” From the platoon: silence...