Captain Sullenberger, who safely landed his plane in the Hudson River, and Captain Phillips, who was recently rescued from the claws of pirates off the coast of Somalia, are not heroes to themselves, but to all of America.
Phillips took his crew out of harm's way by sacrificing himself to the pirates; Sullenberger got all his passengers off the plane before him. They did what they were trained to do - be selfless without hesitation and have the courage to save others first.
For both, it was not an act of heroism, but a duty. For both of these guys, coming out alive was indeed secondary to their human cargo coming out unscathed. It’s buried deep in their nature, and it’s all in their training.