Blair’s Hodges is global hero

THAILAND – A Blair favorite son, Major Charles (Charlie) Hodges, has been in the news around the world the last two weeks, and for good reason.  As the U. S. Mission commander for the 353rd Special Operations unit for the Air force, Hodges served as commander in the daring, seemingly impossible, but totally successful rescue of 12 young soccer players from deep within the bowels of a water filled cave in Thailand last week.

Hodges’ friends, family and strangers in Fairfield County have followed the news of the boys’ rescue and Hodges’ and the other rescuers’ fete on every major news outlet in the country, albeit in the world.

The Richard Winn graduate has been interviewed on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, the Today Show and was the subject of stories in the New York Times, Post and Courier and other local, state, national and worldwide news sources.

While The Voice was not able to talk with Hodges, here are some excerpts from his interviews.

Today Show: “I felt like I was being optimistic when I told the governor of Chiang Rai that, in my mind, the potential chance of success was anywhere from 60 – 70%, we were fully expecting casualties.”

“We knew that if we acted soon, we had the potential to rescue them, but we didn’t have the option to wait.”

CBS This Morning: “We also understood, though, we didn’t have the option to not attempt this…even though the odds seemed impossible. What I’ve always been taught is to take risks and be bold when the situation calls for it, and this situation absolutely did.”

“We’re not trained to do cave dive rescue missions, so at the end of the day you just have to rely on the training that you’re given, how we approach problems methodically and logically, try to push away any emotion and look at it from the lens of ‘what are the circumstances and what do we absolutely need to do to make this a success.’”

“It took every single one of us, putting our heads together and pushing aside any sort of political or cultural differences, and doing our best to find a solution to do this. What I take away from this is how much can be accomplished from teamwork, because it was pretty impressive seeing all those entities working together.”

New York Times: “I don’t know of any other rescue that put the rescuer and the rescuee in so much danger over a prolonged period of time, unless it is something along the lines of firefighters going into the World Trade Center knowing that the building is on fire and is going to collapse.”

Interview and article links:

SC man who helped in Thai soccer team rescue has a proud former teacher back home (WIS TV)Citadel graduate involved in Thai cave rescue describes dramatic operation (Post & Courier) US Mission Commander reacts to successful Thai rescue (Good Morning America) ‘We were fully expecting casualties’: Thai soccer team rescuers describe harrowing mission (Today Show)Air Force commander describes Thai rescue (CBS This Morning)‘Still Can’t Believe It Worked’: The Story of the Thailand Cave Rescue (The New York Times)

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