"These fallen heroes represent the character of a nation
who has a long history of patriotism and honor -
and a nation who has fought many battles
to keep our country free from threats of terror."

-- Michael N. Castle

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bush Marks 25th Anniversary of Terror Attack on U.S. Embassy in Beirut

From DefenseLink:

President and Nancy Reagan file by the flag-draped caskets of victims of the April 18, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in an April 23, 1983 file photo. Photo courtesy Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

By Donna Miles

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2008 – Twenty-five years after terrorists detonated a massive car bomb, killing 52 people at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, President Bush urged unity in condemning terrorism he said continues to threaten the United States.

The Islamic Jihad Organization, today known as the terrorist group Hizballah, launched the April 18, 1983, attack that left 17 Americans and 35 Lebanese citizens dead. Those killed included Marine Cpl. Robert V. McMaugh, an embassy guard, and Army trainers Sgt. 1st Class Richard Twine, Staff Sgt. Ben H. Maxwell and Staff Sgt. Mark E. Salazar.

Employees of the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development and members of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Middle East contingent were also killed.

President Ronald Reagan quickly denounced the “vicious terrorist bombing” as a “cowardly act” that would not deter U.S. goals of peace in the region.

Bush marked the anniversary of the Beirut embassy bombing in a statement released yesterday remembering those killed and honoring the sacrifice of their family and friends and those wounded in the attack. He called the anniversary “a timely reminder of the danger U.S. diplomats, military personnel and locally employed staff bear in their service to the the United States.”

“Since the Beirut attack, we and citizens of many countries have suffered more attacks at the hands of Hizballah and other terrorists, backed by the regimes in Tehran and Damascus, which use terror and violence against innocent civilians,” Bush said. “All nations should condemn such brutal attacks and recognize that the purposeful targeting of civilians is immoral and unjustifiable.”

The bombing was the deadliest terrorist attack the United States had ever faced in its history, although more attacks were to follow.

The Beirut embassy bombing opened a new chapter in attacks against Americans overseas. Six months later, on Oct. 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck barracks in Beirut that houses U.S. and French members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon. The attacks, which occurred 20 seconds apart, killed 241 U.S. Marines, as well as 58 French servicemen and six civilians.

Other embassy attacks were to follow: in 1998 on the embassies in Dar es Salaam,Tanzania; and Nairobi, Kenya; and in 2002 on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.

Bush noted that the people of Lebanon have remained resilient despite living the better part of three decades living under the threat of violence, assassinations and other forms of intimidation.

“They and their leaders continue to work for a peaceful and democratic future, even as Syria, Iran, and their Lebanese proxies seek to undermine Lebanese democracy and institutions,” he said.

“The United States will continue to stand with the Lebanese people and their government as they struggle to preserve their sovereignty and independence, seek to bring justice to victims of terrorism and political violence, and seek election of a president committed to those values,” Bush said.

Related Sites:
White House Statement

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fallen Soldier’s Family Continues Mission of Love for Iraqi Children

From Multi-National Force - Iraq:

Calif., native 1st Lt. Casey Zimmerman of Company C, 3rdBattalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, hands out footballs at a school in Mullah Fayad March 27. All the items were donated by the family and community of Sgt. Nathan Barnes, who served in the area and was killed in Rushdi Mullah July 17. U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback, 3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div.

Tuesday, 01 April 2008
By Staff Sgt. Tony M. Lindback
3rd BCT, 101st Abn. Div. (AASLT)

PATROL BASE YUSIFIYAH — Whoever said violence begets more violence never met the family of Sgt. Nathan Barnes.

American Fork, Utah, native Sgt. Nathan Barnes, a Soldier with 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, was killed in Rushdi Mullah, Iraq, when his unit came under attack by small-arms fire July 17.

Rather than hold bitterness toward the people of a foreign land where their son died, Barnes’ family is embracing them. Barnes often sent home photos of children in the areas he served. His father, Kevin, said Nathan truly loved the Iraqi children.

Nathan’s love for those children inspired his father and other residents of American Fork to collect enough donated items to fill a 40-foot shipping container. Sewing machines, book bags, newborn kits, personal hygiene items, food, toys, children and women’s clothing, school supplies and even wheelchairs were donated to residents in and around Rushdi Mullah and Yusifiyah, places Barnes did most of his service in Iraq.

Rushdi Mullah, where Barnes was killed, is one of the communities now supported by Rakkasan Soldiers of 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The Rakkasans took on the task of distributing the items once the shipping container arrived in Iraq.

Company C, 3-187th Inf. Regt., distributed some of the gifts at a school in Mullah Fayad, an impoverished Yusifiyah community.

Santa Barbara, Calif., native 1st Lt. Casey Zimmerman, who helped hand out the donations at the school, wanted everyone to know the source of the aid.

“I made a point at the beginning to convey who Nathan Barnes was, how he died, and what kind of loving family and country he belonged to,” Zimmerman said. “I bet we saw over 1,500 men, women, and children – mostly children.”

The generosity of the Barnes family and the American Fork community led to a similar address in Rushdi Mullah by Brig. Gen. Ali Jassim Muhammad Hassen Al Frejee, commander of the 25th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division.

“A Soldier who came from thousands of miles away and was killed here – his family spends money to rebuild this area,” Ali said. “We have to respect that.”

Capt. Clifford Kazmarek, commander of Company B, 3-187th Inf. Regt., said the experience was remarkable and humbling.

“I have just the greatest amount of respect for that family for doing this, and I know that the people here truly appreciate it,” Kazmarek said.

The citizens received most items with a smile and without hesitation. But there was one gift that had many children puzzled.

“The Frisbee befuddled them,” said Pittsburgh native Capt. Michael Starz, commander of Co. C, 3-187th Inf. Regt. “They didn’t quite grasp the concept. They thought it was a serving plate so we had to engage with the kids for a few throws until they got the idea. In the end, though, they still said, ‘Where’s the football?’”

There were many footballs – soccer balls to Americans – handed out as well.

Thousands of Iraqis from Rushdi Mullah and Mullah Fayad benefited from the generosity.

“I never imagined a family – American or otherwise – could provide unmitigated charity to the people of a foreign town in which their son was killed,” Zimmerman said. “The Barnes family and those who have contributed to their noble foundation are true testaments to America's values.”

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