As I reported earlier this month, families of the two hero Marines killed in the 9/14/12 Taliban attack on Camp Bastion have been awaiting word of an official military review of the incident.
The family will be briefed tomorrow, but the media is running the story today.
Via Rajiv Chandrasekaran of the Washington Post:
The commandant of the Marine Corps on Monday took the extraordinary step of firing two generals for not adequately protecting a giant base in southern Afghanistan that Taliban fighters stormed last year, resulting in the deaths of two Marines and the destruction of a half a dozen U.S. fighter jets.
It is the first time since the Vietnam War that a general, let alone two, has been sacked for negligence after a successful enemy attack. But the assault also was unprecedented: Fifteen insurgents entered a NATO airfield and destroyed almost an entire squadron of Marine AV-8B Harrier jets, the largest single loss of allied materiel in the almost 12-year Afghan war.
The commandant, Gen. James F. Amos, said the two generals did not deploy enough troops to guard the base and take other measures to prepare for a ground attack by the Taliban. The two, Maj. Gen. Charles M. Gurganus, the top Marine commander in southern Afghanistan at the time, and Maj. Gen. Gregg A. Sturdevant, the senior Marine aviation officer in the area, “failed to exercise the level of judgment expected of commanders of their rank,” Amos said.
“It was unrealistic to think that a determined enemy would not be able to penetrate the perimeter fence,” Amos said.
Deborah Hatheway, aunt of Sgt. Bradley Atwell, let me know that the trial of one of the surviving Taliban attackers is still in the works. I will continue to keep you updated. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from a letter Sgt. Atwell’s mom, Kim, wrote to me on the first anniversary of her son’s death two weeks ago:Chris was my only son and baby of our family. It is funny what comes to mind when two military men come through your door to deliver the worst news you will ever receive. My mind went not remembering Chris from the last time I saw him but I kept having flashes of the day my son was born.
I barely made it to the hospital and had him 2 minutes after I arrived. Honestly, he was an angel…
He was exceptional in every way, smart, athletic, comical and demanding of himself and everyone around him. I could write a book on so many Chris stories but that is not the purpose of this email. I have thought over the last year as to how to react to his death and those that were responsible for it. After a year of self pity and pondering everyday as I looked at his picture, I would say to myself, what would Chris want me to do. Would he want me to just remain gracious and quiet and not ruffle any feathers or would he want me to demand answers from those that took his life and I am not meaning the Taliban.
…My biggest question here is: How do you not secure and leave unmanned towers in a base of 28,000 military men and women?
…When we went to Dover to receive our son’s body, my husband, nearly nose to nose with General Amos, told him that the lack of security caused our son’s death. He was outraged by the statement and assured us both that when all investigations are completed we will find that this was not the case. I would like these Generals to sit down and be honest about our son’s death.…I would like to make sure that no other of our sons and daughters die in such a senseless way. It is truly a shame when our men and women in the military cannot lay their heads down in a place they should find comfort and solace –their base!!!
God bless the Camp Bastion families and heroes. Let their sacrifice and suffering not be in vain.
Previous:One year later: Camp Bastion families still fighting for truth
June 21, 2013 Uncovering the Camp Bastion cover-up
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September 28, 2012 Deafening silence about the Camp Bastion attackblog comments powered by Disqus