Marine Squad Commander Dies a Hero in Afghanistan
Move America Forward | September 25, 2012
The devastating surprise attack resulted in several troops losing their lives and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost equipment as Taliban fighters were able to explode several fuel storage tanks and destroyed 6 Harrier jets. The following is the heroic story of one Marine Corps officer who gave his life that day.
Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible was heading home to video-chat with his wife after dinner when the first blasts rang out. The pops in the distance on Sept. 14 at Camp Bastion in southern Afghanistan were harbingers of the most audacious Taliban attack on a major NATO base in the decade-long war.
Like most folks in the sprawling remote desert camp, Raible, 40, a Marine fighter pilot, faced two choices: seek cover or run toward the sound of gunfire.“The difference between me and some people is that when they hear gunfire, they run. When I hear gunfire, I run to it,” the squadron commander had often told his Marines, half in jest, recalled Maj. Greer Chambless, who was with Raible on the night of the attack.
That evening, Raible did just that. Armed only with a handgun, he embarked on a course that cost him his life and probably averted even more devastating losses, witnesses and comrades said.
At least 15 heavily armed insurgents dressed in U.S. Army uniforms snuck inside the British-run airfield and incinerated six U.S. fighter jets, each worth about $25 million…
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, said Lt. Col. Stewart Upton, a military spokesman. Chambless was devastated but not particularly surprised.
“It was very fitting that he was killed leading his men from the front,” the major said.
The men Raible led out of the maintenance building fought back, pushing one team of five assailants into a remote area of the airfield, where they were killed in an airstrike.
Upton said Raible and his men helped prevent what could have been catastrophic losses. Nine of the remaining assailants were killed in the following hours, and one was wounded…
- WASHINGTON POST 22 September 2012
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