Photo credit: DVIDS, Cpl. Mark Garcia
Marines kneel beside the battlefield cross to pay their final respects to Sgt. Bradley Atwell during a memorial ceremony, Sept. 20. During the ceremony, Marines paid tribute to Atwell, an aircraft electrical, instrument and flight control systems technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, from Kokomo, Ind. Atwell was killed in action while engaging insurgents during an attack on Camp Bastion, Sept. 14.
Three days after the bloody siege on our consulate in Benghazi, the Taliban waged an intricately coordinated, brutal attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. The Taliban animals released video earlier this week showing their jihadi training prep.
Two hero U.S. Marines were killed in the battle. Their names — Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell — have not been uttered publicly by the commander-in-chief. Their arrival back in the U.S. was not broadcast on network TV. But their brothers-in-arms did not and will not forget.
And neither must we.
They are not anonymous “bumps in the road:”
Hundreds of Marines gathered to honor the lives of two fallen comrades killed during the attack on Camp Bastion, Sept. 14.
During the two separate memorial ceremonies, which were held Sept. 19 and 20, Marines paid tribute to Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell. Both were killed in action while engaging the enemy.
Raible was the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211, from Huntingdon, Pa., and Atwell was an aircraft electrical, instrument and flight control systems technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, from Kokomo, Ind.
Before each of the ceremonies had begun, Marines constructed a traditional battlefield cross providing them the opportunity to pay their final respects. The memorial consisted of a helmet with identification tags to signify the Marines will never be forgotten, a rifle with bayonet inverted signifying a time of prayer and a break in action to pay tribute, and a pair of boots signifying this was the Marines last march. During the ceremonies, commanders and friends spoke of Raible and Atwell, describing their character as men and Marines, and recalling what they would remember most about them.
Gen. John Allen, commander of the International Security Assistance Force, offered words of encouragement to the Marines during Raible’s memorial ceremony.
“It really is an honor for me to stand among you this afternoon, for this solemn occasion, this solemn ceremony today we remember and we pay tribute to a great Marine,” Allen said. “He was committed until the very last with engaging the enemy in the defense of his Marines and his squadron. Without hesitation in a moment of great uncertainty and danger, he ran to the sound of guns. He organized his Marines, and they fought like Marines have always fought. He was a Marine who embodied the courage and the bravery of this storied squadron. He was your skipper, he was your friend and he was like family to so many of you.”
The fallen Marines were stationed in Yuma, AZ.
More on their heroism:
Citing multiple Marine sources in theater, the Post’s Ernesto Londoño reports that Lt. Col. Christopher Raible — the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211 who was killed along with Sgt. Bradley Atwell after 15 insurgents dressed as U.S. soldiers infiltrated the base and torched six AV-8B Harriers — died heroically while leading several other Marines in an aggressive counter attack as mayhem unfolded around them.
From Londoño’s report:
When it became clear Bastion was under attack, Raible threw on body armor and jumped in a vehicle with [one of his deputies, Maj. Greer] Chambless. Because his rifle was not nearby, the commander charged into the combat zone armed only with a handgun. The two men exchanged nary a word during the short drive as they scanned the landscape for insurgents. When they got to the flightline, Raible dashed into a maintenance room and began barking out orders to the Marines who would soon push the assailants back.
Backed by a handful of men, he ran toward another building to check whether the troops there were safe. Along the way, Raible and his men were attacked. He and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell, 27, of Kokomo, Ind., died of wounds from an explosion, Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, a military spokesman, said. Chambless was devastated but not particularly surprised. “It was very fitting that he was killed leading his men from the front,” the major said.
As Marine Corps Times’ Dan Lamothe reported earlier this week, the harshest fighting took place within the first hour after insurgents gained access to Bastion. The attack drew a response from nearly everyone working on the flight line at the time.
“Had they not done what they did, it could have been a lot of worse,” Maj. Gen. Gregg Sturdevant, the two-star officer overseeing Marine air ops downrange, told Marine Corps Times on Monday. “Obviously on the wing, we focus on fixing aircraft and flying those aircraft in support of ground forces. But, when forced to, we can quickly transition to offense on the ground, and that’s exactly what happened Friday night.”
In addition to six destroyed Harrier jets, three fueling stations were destroyed; two more Harrier jets were damaged; and six aircraft hangars were damaged.
Latest news: Two of the Harriers are operable and flying over Helmand.
Kim Zigfeld at The American Thinker condemns the media/punditry blackout on the devastating attack:
Under the leadership of Barack H. Obama, though hardly noticed by the pro-Obama mainstream media, the U.S. Marine Corps has suffered its worst air squadron catastrophe since Vietnam, and its prized VMA-211 squadron has taken its worst hit since its defense of Wake Island in World War II.
It happened on September 14, 2012, northwest of the city of Lashkar Gah in southern Afghanistan. A team of fewer than two dozen Taliban fighters attacked the USMC’s massive Camp Bastion base there, killing VMA-211 squadron commander Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and destroying or permanently disabling eight of the ten top-of-the-line harrier AV-8B attack aircraft stationed under him. Out of production for more than a decade, these aircraft can never be replaced.
By the time the smoke cleared, roughly 7% of the total harrier fleet operated by the USMC had been wiped out on a single day by a small force of ground combatants whose most potent weapon was the suicide vest, one of which was used to breach the camp’s perimeter fence.
…The upcoming presidential debates will give Mitt Romney the opportunity to hold Obama’s feet to the fires burning because of his reckless and failed foreign policy. Obama’s record abroad is just as disastrous as his economic record at home, but so far Romney has not done enough to make Americans confront Obama’s record. He ought to ask Americans whether they are prepared to tolerate more disasters like the one in Lashkar Gah, to watch American power fade and American values be trampled along with our flag under the feet of those who wish us ill.
Well, since the debates are going to “moderated” by lib lapdog journo-tools for Obama, it’ll be up to Romney and Romney alone to seize the narrative.
Get. It. Done.
EXIT QUESTION: Wouldn’t it be nice if the media and White House showed as much public outrage against the bloodthirsty Taliban murderers who slayed our Marines as they do against Marines who piss on dead Taliban corpses?