Platoon commander: Pirate 'sh– his pants' after Marines captured him


The first wave of Marines from 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s maritime raid force approaches the cargo ship Magellan Star on Thursday in the Gulf of Aden. The ships' crew said pirates boarded the vessel. (Photo by MC1 David McKee/U.S. Navy)

Has a new legend been born?

I’m going out on a limb here: Events that have occurred in the last 24 hours in the Gulf of Aden will give drill instructors and recruiters across the Marine Corps a new story to use as motivation in the future.

It’s hard not to believe that when you boil the details of the rescue of the Magellan Star down to the basics. Ready?

1) The ship, a German-owned shipping vessel, reports Wednesday that their ship had been captured about 85 miles off the coast of Yemen.

2) Heavily armed force reconnaissance Marines with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., board the ship early Thursday, backed by a force that included snipers with Pendleton’s 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, and numerous helicopter gunships.

3) Marines take control of the ship without a shot being fired. After being detained, one of the pirates defecates in his pants, according to a Marine captain on board at the time.

In case you missed in the story linked above, I’m not kidding about No. 3. In a conference call with reporters Thursday afternoon, Capt. Alexander Martin, commander of 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, which boarded the ship first, shared that last detail. His quote in the story:

“As soon as the first stack of [Marines] made our way into the bridge, their hands were up, their weapons were down, they moved to their knees and they were compliant,” Martin said. “At that point, they were pretty scared. One guy actually defecated himself. … He sh– his pants. I don’t know if that can go on the news or not, but that actually happened.”

Yes, Capt. Martin, that can go on the news. In fact, considering it could become part of Corps lore, it seems relevant to include, in my estimation.

Reaction to the poopy-pants pirate story was interesting after I Tweeted a few details about it Thursday night. Consider the following…

From MissHedgeHodge: Can’t wait to see the T-Shirt: Marines make pirates crap their pants.

From noonanjo: sure DIs are already preaching it at Paris Island

Oh, give it some time. Say, until today.


About Author

I'm a senior writer with Marine Corps Times, covering ground warfare, manpower, weapons acquisition and other beats. I embedded in Afghanistan in spring 2010, and plan to return at least once in 2011.


  1. Speaking of pooping… I can sence that its gonna get deep amoung the ranks now. Lmao! This story is just great, kudos to the Recon Marines involved. Not a shot fired and 9 in custody… outstanding!

  2. Pingback: The Scoop Deck – ‘He sh** his pants’

  3. Can’t be a Sea Story because it didn’t begin this “This is no sh!t”. The best part of that pirate ran down his own leg.

  4. Let’s see the French—or, indeed ANYone besides US Marines—produce results like that.
    Well done, gentlemen; well done indeed. You continue to make your countrymen proud.

  5. that photo is not of Marines. That is a photo of a RHIB operated by SWCCs (Navy) with SEALs (Navy) aboard. Who ever wrote the article should do a little research…..idiot.

  6. Sjgrib, the U.S. Navy released this photo and said members of 2nd Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, were on board. It is possible that SWCCs or SEALs are on board, but the military has not confirmed that.

  7. Outstanding gentlemen! As a former MEU Sergenat Major involved with the Maesk Alabama rescue, glad the politics were left out of the Force Recon Mission and Marines could just do their job,which we been doing for years Under MFPF, MEU(SOC) program. OHRA!!

  8. Dolores Encinas on

    Hurrah Marines, SEALS, great American military, this old grandmother is very very proud of each and everyone of you. I like Teddy Roosevelt’s, ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick”. We should do this all over the world, no more nonsense.

  9. I think it is great that the US has the most well trained military and is able to do these jobs with little or no loss of life. My question is: does the US get paid for saving the a$$ of others who can’t protest themselves in this kind of situation? Why do we (the US) have to be the ones to police the world for free? We (the US) are having a national debt problem and getting paid for these selfless acts of bravery by our military might be a way to curb some of that debt. Just a thought.

  10. Great job Marines!
    @sjgrib…pipe down sailor, we’re all on the same team. The grean team operates RHIB’s too and we used to have a Small Craft Company. I know…I got a lot of the training on the various waterways of Panama. Semper Fi!

  11. William Greenwalt on

    I like the Teddy Roosevelt comment but it should read walk softly and carry a big stink
    LOL recon oohrah SEMPER FI

  12. So tell me… When are these pirates going to be hanged?? I thought not. They’l just be returned to their home contry to face “justice”… a new boat and a resupply of guns and ammo. There should have been a lot of shots fired followed by throwing the bodies of the pirates overboard. If we’re going to put our troops in harms way the bad guys have to pay.

  13. (13.) Ran-Do-Lin: One of the really bad side effects of providing global peace is we’ve raised a few generations that think freedom is free. The whiny liberals complain when the U.S. military kills people and breaks things, and yet they want someone to “Save Darfur.” While I believe most free governments understand the value of U.S. power projection, the press drives public opinion to act like those permanent adolescents who never moved out of the house or held a job. Unless “Community Organizer” is a job.

  14. Let’s keep the politics out of this. This is a great anecdote that should be great because it shows how kick ass the Marines are when put in a situation where they can kick ass. It is not about politics or right/left wing or the media. It is about Marines being awesome and we should celebrate that.

  15. You know the Marines are good when they can make the bad guys kick their own butts. OoohRAH and Bravo Zulu from a Navy vet.

  16. Politicians need to stay out of all of it. As a former Marine during the 80’s, all one has to do is visit the Beruit Memorial just outside the entrance to Camp Johnson. Alot of names on that wall, I went through Parris Island, and ITS at Camp Geiger with.

  17. Grow up sonny. You think that’s some big deal? So the Marines are a bunch of scary thugs, no news there. BTW, we had your marines visiting here just recently. They were rude, ignorant and a complete pain in the arse as guests.

  18. ” We have two companies of Marines running rampant all over the northern half of this island, and three Army regiments pinned down in the southwestern corner, doing nothing. What the hell is going on? ” [Gen. John W. Vessey Jr., USA, Chairman of the the Joint Chiefs of Staff

  19. Not a shot fired, I am sure that the Devil Dogs were pissed they did not get to kill any of those shit bags. All the grunt work just to have them give up at the first site of us lol… I am sure there was a lot of this “MOTHER FU**ERS! I LEFT CHOW FOR THIS!” Former Cpl Meyers 0311

  20. On a related story, Canadian Navy boarded a pirate vessel in the same area and one of the crew pissed his pants…but we only had 6 sailors, no snipers, no backup marines, no gun ships. All relative, don’t you think.

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