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Embassy Bombings Claim Three Service Members

By Linda D. Kozaryn and Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, Aug. 12, 1998 – Once again, terror has been unleashed against innocent people.

Terrorist bombs exploded Aug. 7 outside U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya; and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, killing more than 200 people and injuring thousands.

Among the 12 Americans killed were three service members: Army Sgt. Kenneth R. Hobson II of Nevada, Mo., U.S. Army Defense Attache Kenya; Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Sherry Lynn Olds of Panama City, Fla., Air Force Security Element, U.S. Central Command, Nairobi; and Marine Sgt. Jesse N. Aliganga of Tallahassee, Fla., Marine Security Unit, U.S. Embassy, Nairobi.

"These acts of terrorist violence are abhorrent. They are inhuman," President Clinton said immediately following the attack. "We will use all the means at our disposal to bring those responsible to justice, no matter what or how long it takes."

"Terrorists rejoice in the agony of their victims," said Defense Secretary William S. Cohen. "What we want to do is take the joy out of their celebration, and we will do everything in our power to track them down."

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright announced a $2 million reward for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for the bombings. "Our nation's memory is long and our reach is far," she said.

Vice President Al Gore issued a statement extending his sympathies to the victims' families. "Hundreds of innocent people -- Kenyans, Tanzanians, Americans and others -- now must live the rest of their lives missing and mourning loved ones lost in today's terror," he said. "This is tragic and senseless. No honest cause can ever be advanced by terrorist violence."

A Marine sergeant in Nairobi was injured, treated and released, and a Marine sergeant's wife who works at the embassy at Dar es Salaam was slightly injured.

About 240 U.S. service members are now in the area as part of a U.S. Central Command relief effort, Operation Resolute Response, directed by Marine Brig. Gen. Stephen T. Johnson. The operation covers both African nations. Central Command normally keeps watch only on Kenya. Tanzania is within the U.S. European Command area of responsibility.

Although the Defense Department has taken dramatic steps to improve security for forces deployed overseas, Cohen said, eliminating all risk is impossible. "Our men and women in uniform serve proudly and selflessly around the globe with the full knowledge that they face additional dangers abroad because they wear the uniform," he said.

Within nine hours of the attack, DoD critical medical care and security assistance teams were on their way to the scene. Central Command dispatched a 50-man Marine Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team platoon to augment security in Nairobi. Another 50-man team is in Dar es Salaam. Also a 30- man Navy Seabee unit deployed from Guam to help in recovery operations.

European Command has sent a 20-member surgical team, a seven-member Army combat stress control team, a critical care transport team and a seven-member Air Force aeromedical evacuation crew.

Medical personnel and a mortuary affairs team also deployed from Southwest Asia.

DoD also sent more than 360 units of whole blood, 150,000 pounds of equipment and medical supplies. Military aircraft hauled more than 60 civilian search and rescue specialists, their search dogs, tools and equipment.

U.S. investigators have arrived at both sites to aid local authorities in their investigations.

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