The member of Navy SEAL Team 6 killed during this weekend’s rescue in Afghanistan of an American doctor was Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa.
In a statement, the Pentagon says Checque “was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit … [and] died of combat related injuries suffered Dec. 8, while supporting operations near Kabul, Afghanistan.”
NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman reminds us that SEAL Team 6 is the unit that flew into Pakistan in May 2011 and killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden at his compound in Abbottabad. The identities of the SEALs from that unit who took part in the bin Laden operation remain unknown, except for one now-retired SEAL who has written a book.
This past weekend’s operation rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph of Colorado Springs, Colo., from the gunmen who kidnapped him last week. Joseph and two other aid workers were returning from a visit to a rural medical clinic when they were grabbed. The other two men, both Afghans, were later released.
During this weekend’s mission in which Checque died, U.S. forces killed seven of the men who had been holding Joseph.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Checque “was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head, according to Lt. Cmdr. David McKinney of Naval Special Warfare Command Public Affairs in San Diego. A man who answered the phone at a family member’s house in Washington County [Pa.] declined comment.”
Joseph, who was kidnapped last Wednesday, is a medical adviser for a non-profit “community and economic development organization” known as Morning Star Development. Today, Morning Star issued a statement saying that:
“Our relief in the safe rescue of Mr. Joseph is now tempered by our deep grief over the loss of this true hero. We offer our deepest condolences to his family and to his fellow team members. We want them to know that we will always be grateful for this sacrifice and that we will honor that sacrifice in any way we can.”