2 WNYers in group that rescued Iranians

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Navy battle group, led by the flagship aircraft carrier John C. Stennis, freed 13 Iranian fishermen from their Somali captors in international waters of the Arabian Sea, and two sailors from western New York took part. When a call came in from the captain of the Iranian dhow that it had been taken over by pirates, the Stennis sent an escort ship, the destroyer USS Kidd, to the rescue. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, speaking on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said the message to Iran’s hard-line government was clear, “that despite how much they often try to provoke us,” the United States is going to “respond as we should, in a very humanitarian responsible way.” Sailors from the destroyer captured the pirates and freed the 13 Iranians, who had been in the clutches of the Somalis for more than 40 days, without a fight. “I think in the face of the overwhelming combat power that was presented,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also told CBS News, “the pirates made the right decision and surrendered.” Airman Kyle McCarthy from Springville and Aviation Machinist Jason Walker of Grand Island are assigned to the USS Stennis. They talked to News 4 by phone. “It was positive; it was a good thing,” said Walker. “We were all happy that we could help out.” Airman McCarthy’s job on the carrier is to ensure the ship’s helicopter, which guided the rescue operation, takes off and lands safely. “I didn’t really think much of it,” stated McCarthy, matter-of-factly, “I was just doing my job.” The Iranian fishermen returned to port. The Somalis are in U.S. custody.

Source WIVB