Last night, as the first miner trapped in a Chilean mine for 69 days was pulled to the surface in a capsule, the world watched on live TV and rejoiced with his family. By tomorrow, God willing, all the miners will be rescued from their horrible ordeal.
However, during all of the non-stop coverage of the preparation and execution of the rescue, one crucial fact was largely overlooked by the mainstream media. If it were not for courageous Americans who came forward to offer their sweat and ingenuity, we would not be witnessing the happy ending so many have prayed for.
The 33 miners were trapped 2,100 feet below the earth’s surface. Drilling a hole to reach them and make the rescue possible took a Herculean effort.
Among the unsung heroes were two American drillers, Jeff Hart and Matt Staffel, who had been drilling water wells in Afghanistan to support U.S. troops stationed there. They joined other experienced drillers dispatched by the Mission Woods, Kansas Layne Christensen Company, which had answered the call from Chile looking for drillers after it was confirmed that the trapped miners were still alive.
For his part, Jeff Hart from Colorado drilled for 33 days straight and was the first to reach the trapped miners. Hart said:
This is the most important thing I have done in my work and probably the most important thing I will ever do.
American ingenuity also provided the technology that made the rescue possible. Clinton Cragg, a NASA engineer, was part of a four-man team NASA dispatched to Chile in late August after the Chilean government asked the space agency for assistance. They needed help in designing a device capable of bringing the miners safely up to the surface. Cragg assembled about 20 NASA engineers to come up with a design, using their expertise in designing spacecraft. NASA’s medical experts contributed additional ideas for an oxygen tank and for space at the bottom of the capsule to allow for blood circulation.
I like this kind of contribution from NASA alot more than the Muslim outreach program that the Obama administration had tasked NASA with leading.
Cragg provided the list of design elements to Chile. Most of them were incorporated into the final rescue capsule design. The rest is history.
It is the combination of America’s generosity, hard work, individual creativity and ingenuity, made possible by the freedoms we hold so dear, that make us the exceptional country which is always there to extend a helping hand to those in need. President Obama should remember that fact the next time he goes on one of his apology tours abroad.
Joseph A. Klein is the author of a new book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.