The tragic reality of the ongoing war in Afghanistan has come to Yuma again with the deaths of two Marines based here.
Lt. Col. Christopher K. Raible, commanding officer of VMA-211, and Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 were killed during an insurgent attack on their base in Helmand Province late last week.
The two Marines will be honored and remembered in a memorial service at MCAS Yuma in the near future.
The attackers, all but one of which were killed by defenders, were disguised as U.S. Army soldiers. It is a reminder of how difficult it can be to distinguish between our foes and friends in Afghanistan where attacks by supposed allies have become more common.
The issue of “insider” attacks is one of extreme concern. Some joint operations are reportedly being curtailed while the situation is evaluated.
The fact that our seeming “friends” can suddenly turn on U.S. forces and become the enemy presents a difficult and stressful environment for U.S. forces.
Still, members of our military forces remain steadfast and committed in a conflict that is now the longest in U.S. history. It is Marines like Raible and Atwell who make this possible.
Brig. Gen. Steven W. Busby, commanding general of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, said that their deaths “are a stark reminder of the selfless service and extraordinary sacrifices” being made by the Marines and other members of the military in support of our nation.
Many have died and more will die until the war ends. Unfortunately, many Americans seem to have put the conflict to the back of the minds.
We here in Yuma have not and will not forget those who sacrifice for us.
We honor Lt. Col. Raible and Sgt. Atwell and mourn their deaths with their loved ones.