Perry Honors Americans Killed in Terrorist Bombing
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA, Jan. 7, 1996 Defense Secretary William J. Perry today paid his respects to five Americans killed in a terrorist bombing here Nov. 13.
Four U.S. Army civilians, an Army sergeant and two thirdcountry nationals were killed in an attack at U.S. military training program headquarters for the Saudi National Guard. The bomb wounded 70 others.
Two Saudi Arabian fundamentalist groups claimed credit for the attack, but there has been no breakthrough in the investigation, according to DoD officials.
Americans killed in the attack were Sgt. 1st Class Dave Warrell, Army civilians Wayne Wiley, Jim Allen, Alaric Brozovsky and William "Dub" Combs. Two Indian contract workers were also killed.
Perry stopped at the training center to offer his condolences and those of President Clinton to the families, friends and co-workers of the victims.
"The bomb blast that killed your comrades stunned the world," Perry said. "We are a family in defense, and the loss of one affects us all. We are deeply angered by the terrible act, and we have committed our government to do everything we can ... to bring the perpetrators to justice.
"Security and peace in this region depends upon peace-loving nations being able to contribute to their own defense," he told the group. "You have reached out to the Saudis with your expertise, and you've helped them to build a defense force that continues to grow stronger every day. ... Your team gets the major credit for that."
But deterrence has a price, according to Perry. The United States pays in resources, people's personal sacrifice of serving away from home and family and in this case, the tragic loss of five American lives, he said.
The United States would much rather deter war, he said, than pay the even higher price of waging war.
The U.S. security assistance and training program has been under way in Saudi Arabia for 20 years. At present, a team of 290 military personnel, Army civilians, local hires and third-country nationals works with the Saudi National Guard.
Perry said the program plays a key role in helping Saudi Arabia build its defense capabilities and helps prevent war in the region.
"Saudi Arabia is of vital national security interest," Perry said. "We fought a war here about five years ago to prove that."
In October 1994, the United States was prepared to prove it again when a buildup of Iraqi forces near the border of Kuwait triggered U.S. action. "We had a major deployment prepared to go to war again," Perry said, "but fortunately we moved quickly enough and strongly enough that we were able to deter a war."
The United States has continued efforts to prevent war in the region ever since. U.S. deterrence strategy is based on the forward presence of American forces, pre-positioned equipment and helping Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region build up their military capability.
"Nothing is more visible to Saddam Hussein than the daily patrols that we fly over southern Iraq," Perry said, noting that he had just visited U.S. Air Force 4409th Operations Group at Riyadh Air Base. "Nothing demonstrates the capability and intent of the United States any more than those daily air patrols."
U.S. equipment is stockpiled in the region allowing for ground and air forces' rapid deployment, Perry said. An Army armored brigade's equipment is pre-positioned in Kuwait. The United States began putting a second brigade's equipment in Qatar last week. Equipment is also stored in Oman and on ships in the gulf.
Perry stressed the training program helps deter aggression, thereby defending vital U.S. interests in the gulf.