Navy Releases Name of Commando Killed in Rescue Mission

The 28-year-old died freeing an American doctor from the Taliban.

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The Department of Defense on Monday released the name of the special operator who was killed rescuing an American hostage in Afghanistan this weekend.

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque died of "combat-related injuries" he sustained on the Dec. 8 rescue mission, according to a Defense release.

A coalition force of U.S. and Afghan troops successfully rescued Dr. Dilip Joseph from Taliban insurgents, following his capture last Wednesday.

Checque was a Navy SEAL and member of SEAL Team Six, according to a department video regarding his death.

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A U.S. Navy spokesman would not provide more information about the raid or the circumstances that led to Checque's death.

Marine Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, ordered the raid after intelligence indicated Joseph's life was in imminent danger of death or injury, according to an International Security Assistance Force release.

"Today's mission exemplifies our unwavering commitment to defeating the Taliban," Allen said, according to the release. "I'm proud of the American and Afghan forces that planned, rehearsed and successfully conducted this operation. Thanks to them, Dr. Joseph will soon be rejoining his family and loved ones."

Checque joined the Navy in 2002 and began SEAL training in 2003, according to a service record obtained by CNN. He was awarded the Bronze Star and several other awards, the record states.

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President Barack Obama issued a statement on Sunday about the raid.

"Yesterday, our special operators in Afghanistan rescued an American citizen in a mission that was characteristic of the extraordinary courage, skill and patriotism that our troops show every day," he said. "Tragically, we lost one of our special operators in this effort."

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, just as we must always honor our troops and military families," he added. "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 said the special operators put "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," he said. "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."

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Paul D. Shinkman is a national security reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at pshinkman@usnews.com.


UPDATED: 12:32 p.m., 12/11/12