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…
When it became clear [Camp] Bastion was under attack, Raible threw on body armor and jumped in a vehicle with 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 flight line, 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, 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…
The week since the attack has been rough for the squadron’s Marines at Bastion as they have come to terms with the loss of their leader and most of the aircraft in the fleet.

- WASHINGTON POST                                                          22 September 2012


Honor the memory of this brave Marine and American hero!
Remind our troops that we still support them and their mission!


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