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Snipers from 1st Battalion 4th Marines in overwatch.

9 September 2010, Gulf of Aden:  During the pre-dawn hours this morning, elements of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit and COMPHIBRON Three of the Peleliu Amphibious Ready Group embarked on USS Dubuque facilitated the capture of nine suspected pirates and the safe rescue of 11 crew members from the Motor Vessel Magellan Star who barricaded themselves in the engine room until friendly forces arrived.

The men’s performance today was extraordinary.  All hands aboard the USS Dubuque are safe, sound and back on their home away from home.  The 11 crew members we rescued are now a proof source that Marines are “No better friends” and the nine suspected pirates that we’re “No worse enemy.”  The precision, coordination, sturdy professionalism, and restraint displayed by the Marines, and Sailors of our Navy, Marine Corp team was humbling to behold.
The evolution to gain control of the M/V Magellan Star from suspected pirates is a tremendous example of what an international Coalition Task Force can accomplish when united in purpose. It was a precision operation, well planned, well coordinated, well rehearsed and exceptionally executed.  All a result of eleven months of rigorous training conducted by the 15TH MEU’s Maritime Raid Force and the team aboard the USS Dubuque.  The operation was a tremendous success by any metric.

Helicopters from USS Dubuque provide aerial watch as Marines boarded and seized control of the German-owned vessel M/V Magellan Star, left.

The Maritime Raid Force is composed of elements of the MEU’s command, ground, logistics, and aviation combat elements – as well as members of the USS Dubuque’s crew.  Specifically, Force Recon Marines who initially boarded the hijacked vessel from Navy Special Warfare boats supported by attack helicopters from HMM-165, and a command and control element, security force (who also boarded the vessel), and snipers from Battalion Landing Team 1/4.  The raid was staged from the USS Dubuque and supported by USS Princeton, CG-59, and the Turkish Frigate TCG Gokceada, F-494.

Despite aggressive posturing, an initial refusal to surrender, and repeated efforts by the suspected pirates to request money for the vessel, the maritime raid force captured the vessel relatively unharmed. M/V Magellan Star is back underway on its own power headed to its next port of call seven hours after the raid’s commencement with her eternally grateful crew unharmed and intact.
— Lt. Col. Clearfield


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