The American at the center of the rescue mission was Maj. Gen. Miguel Correa, a gregarious Puerto Rican who now serves as a special White House adviser and the top National Security Council official for U.S. policy in the Gulf.

Gen. Correa, then the defense attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi, coordinated the risky 2017 mission, leading to a celebration of the young royal’s homecoming six months later.

The rescue mission made Gen. Correa something of a hero among Emirati leaders, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan, the country’s ruler, who is also uncle and father-in-law of the wounded soldier saved by the Americans that day.

Gen. Correa’s close relationship with the Emirati leaders became an unanticipated asset in the Trump administration’s secret talks between Israel and the U.A.E. that led to the historic peace deals—known as the Abraham Accords—signed last month at the White House.