Remembering the Fallen: on the 15th of September, 2012, Marine Lieutenant Colonel Christopher K. Raible, Marine Attack Squadron 211, and Marine Sergeant Bradley W. Atwell, Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13, were killed at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. Both men were serving with Marine Aircraft Group 13, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, I Marine Expeditionary Force (Forward).
Fifteen insurgents wearing suicide vests breached the base with rocket-propelled grenade fire and automatic rifles. Nine other U.S. personnel were wounded. Six Harrier jump jets and three refueling stations were destroyed, two AV-8B Harriers and six aircraft hangers were damaged. It was reported that the most intense fighting and destruction occurred within the first hour after the breach, but it was five hours before the base was deemed to be secure. All but one of the insurgents were killed - the remaining one, who was wounded, was taken into custody.
Lieutenant Colonel Raible had graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in 1995 with a degree in civil engineering. He had gone to a Blue Angels air show when he was a child and knew then that he wanted to fly, and after university he joined the United States Marine Corps. He is credited with thwarting the plans of the insurgents, as they had apparently been intent on far more destruction than they achieved. Lieutenant Colonel Raible, from North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, was 40 years old and married with three children, the youngest being two years old.
Sergeant Atwell’s wife paid this tribute: “ I am grateful for the sacrifice you have made. You never hesitated to love your county before yourself & you displayed your absolute selflessness in the final minutes of your life. When the attack happened, you were there, one of the first to volunteer to venture out and try to secure the base. Aviation electrician, yes, but a rifleman first and foremost. You embodied the Marine Corps ethics to the fullest extent. You were ready to answer the call to duty even if the rest of us weren't prepared for the heartache we were about to endure.” Sergeant Atwell, from Kokomo, Indiana, was 27 years old.