SEAL From Pa. Killed During Doctor's Rescue In Afghanistan - New York News

SEAL From Pa. Killed During Doctor's Rescue In Afghanistan

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Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat-related injuries suffered Saturday while supporting operations near Kabul. Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., died of combat-related injuries suffered Saturday while supporting operations near Kabul.

A U.S. Navy SEAL from Pennsylvania was killed during a mission in Afghanistan to free an American doctor, officials confirmed Monday.

Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa., was part of the team who freed Dr. Dilip Joseph, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

Joseph was abducted by the Taliban near Kabul last Wednesday while working for a non-profit organization.

The joint U.S.-Afghan rescue was announced over the weekend by the U.S. Department of Defense, but the fallen "special operations service member" was not named at that time.

A U.S. Navy statement issued Monday said Checque died of combat related injuries suffered Saturday while supporting operations near Kabul.

The statement said only that Checque was assigned to an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit.

But the Associated Press reported that, according to a Pentagon official who was not allowed to release the information on the record, the deceased was a member of SEAL Team Six – the same unit that killed Osama bin Laden last year.

On Sunday, before any identity was released, President Barack Obama praised the bravery of the fallen special operator.

"Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort," the president said in a written statement. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families. He gave his life for his fellow Americans, and he and his teammates remind us once more of the selfless service that allows our nation to stay strong, safe and free."

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also issued a statement commending the U.S special operations team for the rescue and extending his condolences to the family, teammates and friends of the fallen warrior.

"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," Panetta said. "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," he continued, "Americans see the highest ideals of citizenship, sacrifice and service upheld. The torch of freedom burns brighter because of them."

The rescued doctor is expected to return to the U.S. in the next few days.

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