After staying mum for days regarding the hostage situation off the coast of Somalia, President Obama used Captain Richard Phillips' release today as an opportunity to make his first public comments about the situation, calling the Captain's courage "a model for all Americans."

Captain Richard Phillips had been held hostage since Wednesday when his cargo vessel carrying humanitarian aid to Africa, the Maersk Alabama, was attacked by Somali pirates. Captain Phillips and his crew were able to prevent the ship's takeover but in order to ensure the safety and escape of his crew, Phillips surrendered himself to the pirates. In his statement, Mr. Obama said "I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew."

The President, who had been monitoring the ongoing situation closely throughout the weekend, called Captain Phillips aboard the USS Boxer after his rescue and then spoke with his wife, Andrea, in Underhill, Vermont.