As we begin the draw-down of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, after naively announcing our current plan to fully-withdraw by 2014, the Taliban, al-Qaeda's franchise in Afghanistan, has been re-energized by our known departure. Late in the evening of September 14th, at Camp Bastion in the southern part of that country, enemy radicals, armed with automatic rifles and RPG's, dressed in U.S. Army uniforms, infiltrated near the Camp's airfield. In short order, they destroyed six Marine Corps Harrier jets and heavily-damaged two others.
At the sound of the explosions, Marine Squadron Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Raible, then near his quarters, jumped in a vehicle and raced toward the sound of gun-fire. After checking on his Marines near the hangers, and with no time to wait, he led the others to confront the attackers, armed only with his 9mm handgun. Tragically, the Commander and Marine Sergeant Bradley Atwell were soon cut-down by an explosion. All of the insurgents were ultimately killed. The enemy's plan was to murder our troops in their beds. The Colonel's courageously-led counter-attack, no doubt saved countless Marine lives. Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Raible is an American hero. Along with so many other brave Americans, who toil long hours, in the worst of conditions, and at great personal sacrifice, to preserve our freedom.