Fixed Floating Elements

Training Camp:
The Nets' Off-Court Hero

By Lenn Robbins | @lennrobbins
BROOKLYNNETS.COM

Fred Galloway is never going to hit a basket, grab a rebound, record an assist or make a steal for the Brooklyn Nets.

Yet Friday night, Galloway was surrounded by Nets players, coaches and support staff, riveted at the image on Galloway's iPad, and focused on his every word.

The Nets had just taken a break from training camp to see a private screening of the movie 'Captain Phillips,' which will be released on October 11th.

For two hours, not a word was uttered, not even a deep breath was exhaled as the true story of Richard Phillips, an American freight ship captain who was kidnapped by Somali pirates, was played out in gripping detail on the screen.

Not until Galloway spoke for a few minutes before the film, and afterward showed them proud pictures on his iPad, did the Brooklyn Nets know that their assistant director of team security had been one of the men who rescued Phillips, and arrested the pirate 'captain,' Abduwali Abdukhadir Muse.

"A lot of guys said, 'I didn't know that. I've got a lot more respect for you now,''' said Galloway. "I'm glad to be here, part of the entertainment business. Because in the entertainment business, there's room for mistakes. Where I come from, there was no room for mistakes.''

Galloway is an example of the best of Brooklyn.

He was born here, played high school football at Lincoln and after a couple of NFL tryouts, joined the NYPD. In a 14-year career he quickly worked his way up, landing a choice assignment on the elite Joint Terrorist Task Force.

In addition to working the Maersk Alabama case, on which Captain Phillips is based, he also worked on the 2010 case in which pirates fired on the USS Nicholas and the 2011 pirating case in which former assistant TV and movie director Scott Adam was killed, leading to Galloway's nickname as the 'Pirate Expert.'

"This is real hero stuff right here,'' said guard Tyshawn Taylor. "The stuff I do is cool. Not too many people, I guess, can play at the level I can play, but what he does is a whole different ball game.

"I was talking to Coach [Lawrence] Frank and he's telling me that people train for this and if somebody's off, somebody dies. Somebody misses a layup, nobody dies. You put that in perspective, their job is a lot more serious than mine.''

Galloway was seated to my right during the screening, his eyes glued to the images. He said before the lights went down that he expected the film to be about 30-percent authentic.

Afterward he was appreciative of how director Paul Greengrass brought the story to the big screen. When the Maersk Alabama was hijacked, Galloway got the call he was always ready for.

He said he kept a duffle bag, big enough to hold an adult body, packed with state of the art weapons and clothing. His Joint Terrorism Task Force team was flown to Mombasa, Kenya and then helicoptered out to the USS Bainbridge.

When Muse was brought on board the Bainbridge, Galloway was the first American he saw. Galloway interrogated Muse for 12 hours, gaining valuable intelligence on the Somali pirate's actions.

"The movie is put together well," said Galloway, who's in his third year with the Nets. He works closely with the team's director of security, Robert Masiello, another NYDP vet.

The movie, starring Tom Hanks, is a dramatic story of an ordinary man, Phillips, being placed in an extraordinary situation. His rescue by Navy SEALS, is a reminder of the incredible skill and bravery of the men and women that guard our freedom.

"It gives me a sense of security, a sense of confidence when I'm on the court or just out and about,'' said guard Shaun Livingston. "Having a guy so tailored to unique situations, it just puts your whole mind in a different place. You're safe. You can go out and just feel comfortable."

Life with the Nets is not exactly comfortable for Galloway, but certainly not as dangerous as law enforcement. Not even his children knew of his Joint Terrorism Task Force role.

But when pictures of a handcuffed Muse being taken ashore made the news, some friends recognized the man standing slightly behind and to the right of the pirate. It was Galloway, the Pirate Expert.

Nets Central

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