A nearly disastrous daylight raid by U.S. Special Forces in Somalia four years ago ended with a surprising intervention by a U.S. Navy warship — and illustrates the largely unheralded role the Navy’s vessels are playing in the ongoing American intervention in Somalia.
On June 1, 2007, a small team of Navy SEALs and U.S. Air Force commandos — most likely Joint Terminal Attack Controllers — slipped into the town of Bargal in Puntland, a semi-autonomous region of northern Somalia. Six months earlier, Ethiopian forces had invaded Somalia from the west, clearing the way for American Special Forces to escalate their hunt against Al Qaeda operatives hiding out in the lawless country.
The 2007 raid was first reported by Sean Naylor of Army Times.
Al-Qaeda fighters had set up shop in Bargal — and apparently in greater numbers than the Americans suspected. The raid escalated into an all-out gunfight. The commandos were pinned down.
As luck would have it, help was close by. The Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Chafee, was just a few miles off the coast on an unrelated mission when the commandos came under fire. A quick radio call from the embattled troops sent the crew of the 9,000-ton-displacement warship into action.