After nearly five harrowing days of being held hostage by pirates, Captain Richard Phillips is on his way home, his pirate nightmare behind him.
The U.S. Navy conducted a daring rescue of Phillips (pictured on right with rescuer Commander Frank Castellano) on Sunday, after President Obama authorized the use of force if the Captain appeared in imminent danger of being killed by his armed captors. Navy Seal snipers killed three Somali pirates holding Phillips hostage, then rescued Phillips, who is currently en route home to Virginia. Philips thanked the Navy and the Navy Seals for their efforts.
Phillips volunteered to get on his ship's lifeboat on Wednesday with his three captors, in exchange for letting his crew go free. The pirates who held Phillips at gunpoint demanded $2 million for the 53-year-old's release.
"I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew," Barack Obama said in a statement. "His courage is a model for all Americans."