On Friday, April 10, as the standoff reached the end of its third day, I called on President Obama to take action to free the American hostage from his Somali captors. I outlined three possible operational tactics that could be used to do so; number 1 was the following:Really? Apparently, there's no concern that four separate snipers would be able to put a single round each into the heads of the pirates from a moving helicopter. Apparently, they could accomplish this simultaneously and without the pirates knowing they're coming (easy when approaching by helo), maintaining surprise so as to protect the hostage. All of this is not only possible, it's so likely to succeed that the President was some kind of spineless weakling for not jumping at the opportunity to give the order.
(1) 2 helos, 2 snipers each: pop the [pirates] in their heads, then drop a rescue swimmer to escort the hostage up to one of the choppers. This works best if the hostage is aware of what is happening and can help without getting in the way — say, by hopping overboard as the gunships near, to divert attention and get out of the line of fire.
(This was written before the USS Bainbridge tethered the life raft to its stern, an action which eliminated the need for helicopters.)
Interestingly, even in this expert-level marksmanship competition featuring shots from helo, they're still using fully automatic weapons and they're lucky to put the rounds within 5 feet of their target. I'm sure hitting an 8inch target is just a walk in the park for our military.