The Navy SEAL killed in a rescue mission in Afghanistan over the weekend has been identified as 28-year-old Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas D. Checque of Monroeville, Pennsylvania. Checque died Saturday from injuries sustained in a mission to free American doctor Dilip Joseph from Taliban insurgents.
An unidentified U.S. official said Checque was a member of SEAL Team Six, the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011. It is unclear if Checque was part of the bin Laden raid. The Defense Department only confirmed that Checque belonged to an "East Coast-based Special Warfare Unit.”
Checque joined the Navy in 2002 and entered the SEAL program the following year. He earned several awards in his career, including the Bronze Star.
"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," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Sunday
Joseph, a medical adviser for the international aid group Morning Star, was kidnapped along with two other aid workers last Wednesday in the Sarobi district of Kabul province. The two unidentified aid workers were released on Saturday after negotiations between Morning Star and the militants. Eleven hours after the release of the two workers, U.S. Special Forces soldiers launched a raid to rescue Joseph.
The Joseph family thanked the military for the rescue. "We are incredibly grateful for the multiple agencies of the U.S. government that have supported us in this difficult time, and especially the quick response by our military and partner allies to rescue Dilip," the family said. "They showed great heroism and professionalism."
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