PAKISTAN EMBASSY ATTACK VICTIM IS BURIED NEAR HOME IN CAROLINA
SWANSBOBO, North Carolina, December 3, 1979 – Funeral services were held today for Chief Warrant Officer Bryan Lee Ellis of the Army, one of two American servicemen killed November 21 when a mob attacked the United States Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan.
The other, Marine Corporal Steven Crowley, was buried Friday in Arlington National Cemetery.
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia (November 30, 2006) — Staff and students from Marine Security Guard Battalion gathered in classroom one of the MSG school for a ceremony to dedicate and rename the room after a fallen comrade November 21, 2006.
The day of the dedication marked the 27th anniversary of Corporal Steven Crowley’s death in the line of duty.
“On this day, 27 years ago, Corporal Crowley took his post not knowing what would take place,” said Colonel David Head, MSG Bn. commanding officer, at the dedication ceremony. “All he knew was that he had a job to do and he was going to do that job until told otherwise.”
On that fateful day in 1979, the American Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan – where Crowley was stationed – came under the attack of hundreds of angry Pakistanis. At the direction of his detachment commander, Crowley assumed watch duty at an observation post on the roof of the embassy in order to safeguard the movement of nearly 100 embassy employees into the chancellery’s safe haven. The protesters were scaling the walls of the embassy compound and fighting with the police and local guards.
Together, Crowley and another MSG weathered a barrage of rocks, projectiles and some small arms fire, maintaining a vigilant watch in a relatively dangerous position. Abandoning their post was out of the question, and doing so would have jeopardized the embassy employees as they transitioned to the safe haven.
Protestors were setting fire to buildings on the embassy compound, including the chancellery. People in the building and on the streets were being hit by flying projectiles. With chaos abounding from deafening noise and smoke, Crowley continued to man his post until he was fatally stuck by a sniper’s bullet.
For his actions and bravery, he was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star with combat “V” and the Purple Heart.
Special guests at the dedication were Crowley’s sister, two brothers and mother, Georgine. The family was presented with flowers and was shown the plaque that will forever remain a part of the classroom dedicated to their fallen loved one.
“It’s wonderful and fantastic,” Crowley’s mother said, in an emotional loss for words. “I never thought this would happen. This will definitely honor and preserve his memory.”
Georgine also thanked the Marines present one at a time and told everyone how she still loves the Marine Corps and what it stands for, bringing a smile or a tear to every Marine in the room.
Head said next month marks the 58th anniversary of Marines providing security for U.S. diplomatic personnel and missions abroad. The MSG leathernecks are carrying on the proud tradition set by their predecessors in incidents he said are too numerous to mention.
“The threats that we face on a daily basis should remind us that despite the wishes of some, there are people in the world who wish us ill, and who will perpetuate any evil in their quest to destroy us and our way of life,” he said. “While we can all hope for a better world, let us thank all the Corporal Crowley’s out there who remind us that eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”
In just the last year alone, MSGs have responded to more than 100 incidents, ranging from threats and bombings to demonstrations and intrusion attempts. There was recently an attack on the embassy in Damascus, Syria; vehicle borne improvised explosive devices in Karachi, Pakistan and Kabul, Afghanistan; and Athens, Greece, has been home to nearly two dozen demonstrations.
“The dedication of this classroom as the ‘Crowley Classroom’ represents the legacy of tradition the Marine Corps holds so dear,” Head said. “Every Marine Security Guard trained from today on will know Corporal Crowley’s story and be able to appropriately honor his commitment to the Marine Security Guard Program, the Marine Corps, and this country. It was important for us to include the family of Cpl. Crowley in this event to not only honor their sacrifice, but also to remind them that their son’s death was not in vain and, most importantly, never will be forgotten.”
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard