Served on ship that rescued Iranian fishing boat from suspected pirates
AURORA—As widely reported on Jan. 6, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Kidd rescued an Iranian fishing boat that had been commandeered by suspected pirates just days after Tehran warned the United States to keep its warships out of the Persian Gulf.
U.S. Navy Ensign Hans Lauzen of Aurora is serving as Combat Electronics Officer on the USS Kidd on his first deployment, after graduating and being commissioned at the University of Southern California in May 2011.
American forces flying off the guided-missile destroyer responded to a distress call from the Iranian vessel, the Al Molai, which had been held captive for more than 40 days, the U.S. Navy said Friday. The Kidd was sailing in the Arabian Sea, after leaving the Persian Gulf, when it came to the sailors’ aid.
A U.S. Navy team boarded the ship last Thursday and detained 15 suspected Somali pirates. They had been holding the 13-member Iranian crew hostage and were using the boat as a “mother ship” for pirating operations in the Persian Gulf.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “This is an incredible story … a great story,” explaining that the very same American ships that Iran protested for recently traveling through the Strait of Hormuz were responsible for the Iranian vessel’s recovery.
The episode occurred after a week of hostile rhetoric from Iranian leaders, including a statement by Iran’s Army chief that American vessels are no longer welcome in the Gulf. Iran also warned that it could block the Strait of Hormuz, the strategic waterway that carries to market much of the oil pumped in the Middle East.
Nulan said the Navy had made a “humanitarian gesture” in rescuing and taking the Iranians on board, feeding them, and ensuring that they were in good health before setting them safely on their way.
Ensign Hans Lauzen is the son of Illinois State Senator (R-25) Chris Lauzen and his wife Sarah, of Aurora.