Captive U.S. sailor who apologized to Iran is Chicagoan

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Jarring video has been released of American sailors surrendering at the hands of Iran's military. (WLS)

ABC7 I-Team Investigation
Jarring video has been released of American sailors surrendering at the hands of Iran's military; in captivity, their commander being interrogated and apologizing.

The ABC7 I-Team has learned that this commander is a Chicago-area native. He and his platoon members were released, but not before they were humiliated by the Iranians.

Iranian voice: "What problem, what matter that you penetrate in Iran territorial water?"

"It was a mistake. That was our fault. And we apologize for our mistake," said Navy Lt. David Nartker.

Nartker, a Naperville native, attended Benet Academy in west suburban Lisle and then graduated from the naval academy in 2011.

Now 27 and a platoon commander based in San Diego, he was among nine men and a woman taken by the Iranians around 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Persian Gulf. Iranian Navy cameras rolled as two U.S. boats were subdued, their crew surrendering.

Once in captivity, their passports seized, Commander Nartker asked whether his boats were within Iran's territorial waters:

"I believe so," he said.

It was just last fall that Nartker led a 2,500-mile journey to Indonesia, seen training a small boat squadron for the Indonesian Navy.

Four months later, he is captive, appearing in what U.S. officials maintain was this coerced video:

"The Iranian behavior was fantastic while we were here. We thank you very much for your hospitality and your assistance," Nartker said.

The video was released after the American crew was freed, the entire incident raising questions.

"Why didn't they call for help? Why wasn't there anybody there to help them? Why didn't they tow themselves away and why did they allow themselves to be taken hostage by the Iranians without a fight?" said Stephen Ganyard, former fighter pilot and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

Commander Nartker's family - now living in Ohio - doesn't have any answers. His mother, Darlene, said they haven't spoken to him yet and only know what they've seen on the news.

The White House says the sailors' speedy release is a sign of better relations with Iran -but others may see the scorn of the crew and belittling of Commander Nartker as less than neighborly.

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