4th MEB led evacuation of embassy in Somalia
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    Cool 4th MEB led evacuation of embassy in Somalia

    Issue Date: December 15, 2003

    The Lore of the Corps
    4th MEB led evacuation of embassy in Somalia

    By Keith A. Milks
    Special to the Times

    In late 1990, the regime of Somali President Mahammad Siad Barre was on its last legs. His attempt at government reform was met with armed resistance, and the Somali capital, Mogadishu, disintegrated into chaos as various factions vied for control of the city, resulting in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Somalis.
    Americans in Mogadishu immediately sought shelter in the sprawling, 160-acre U.S. Embassy compound. When armed looters seized part of the compound Jan. 1, 1991, Ambassador James Bishop requested that the U.S. military evacuate his staff and the civilians, American and others, who had sought refuge there.

    The evacuation mission fell to the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, then in the Indian Ocean as the worldís attention was focused on Operation Desert Shield in Kuwait.

    The force dispatched from the 4th MEB was embarked aboard the amphibious assault ship Guam and amphibious transport dock Trenton. Its muscle consisted of a composite helicopter squadron with medium- and heavy-lift helicopters; a combat service support element; elements of 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines; a Navy SEAL team; and other support personnel. Upon receiving the call, the ships set sail for the Horn of Africa.

    Meanwhile, in Mogadishu the situation was worsening.

    Embassy security forces were exchanging fire with encroaching looters, and the compound was in serious threat of being overrun. The situation was relayed to the MEB, still more than 500 miles away, which immediately launched two CH-53E Super Stallions from HMH-461 at 3 a.m. on Jan. 4.

    After refueling twice from KC-130 aircraft on the way, the helicopters reached the embassy at 6 a.m. with a 60-man security element of Marines and SEALs. Less than an hour after landing, the Super Stallions carried out the first batch of evacuees and deposited them aboard the Trenton.

    During the day, sporadic and inaccurate rifle fire struck the embassy. As the Marines deterred the looters swarming around the compound, potential evacuees continued to stream into the embassy, seeking asylum.

    At midnight on Jan. 6 ó 36 hours after the first Marines arrived at the embassy ó the Guam and Trenton were close enough to launch their CH-46E Sea Knight helicopters. Over the next three hours, four waves of Sea Knights descended in groups of five upon the embassy grounds.

    A total of 281 civilians were evacuated from Mogadishu during the 10-day operation.

    Keith A. Milks is a gunnery sergeant stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. He can be reached at kambtp@aol.com.

    http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/stor...ER-1553958.php

    Sempers,

    Roger



  2. #2
    Bringing Back Up........

    Ellie


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