Next week, "never forget" will resound across America as citizens mark a dozen years since the 9/11 terrorist attack and one year since the bloody disaster in Benghazi. But who will remember the American heroes who came under siege at Camp Bastion in Afghanistan on 9/14/12?
Two heroic U.S. Marines -- Lt. Col. Christopher Raible and Sgt. Bradley Atwell -- perished in the monstrous battle last year, and nearly a dozen others were injured. What happened at Camp Bastion and whether the Obama administration has learned from the deadly incident are timely questions as Washington prepares for war again in a jihadi-infested region.
And as military families know, there is no such thing as "no boots on the ground."
The families of the fallen at Camp Bastion are still waiting for the results of an official CENTCOM probe into last year's attack. They hear that members of Congress will get briefed on the investigation before the families themselves get the details about what happened to their loved ones -- and who bears responsibility for the security lapses that enabled the attack.
Atwell's aunt, Deborah Hatheway, told me: "We are hoping for the best, and that _the attack will always be remembered as one of the most horrific attacks by the Taliban, and that they will never be able to do this again." A Capitol Hill source tells me the report could be ready by the end of the month.
Refresher: Three days after the bloody siege on our consulate in Libya, the Taliban waged an intricately coordinated, brutal attack on Camp Bastion. The base is a British-run NATO compound that adjoins our Marines' Camp Leatherneck. The meticulously coordinated siege by 15 Taliban infiltrators -- dressed in American combat fatigues and armed with assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons -- resulted in two deaths and the most devastating loss of U.S. airpower since Vietnam.
Six Harrier jets were destroyed; three refueling stations were wiped out; six hangars were damaged. The Taliban animals released video showing their jihadi training prep. The attack came exactly six months after a failed suicide attack targeting then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.
As I first reported in June, relatives of the Marines killed in the raid learned on their own that their loved ones were left vulnerable to attack by military leaders who outsourced watchtower security on the base to soldiers from Tonga. The families zeroed in on Maj. Gen. Charles "Mark" Gurganus, who recently returned to the U.S. after commanding coalition forces in Afghanistan, as the man responsible for shortchanging security at Bastion.
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