Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: US marine embassy guards evacuate from Sudan

Although it was U.S. special operations forces — which reportedly included SEAL Team Six and the Army’s 3rd Special Forces Group — who ultimately conducted the April 23 evacuation of the embassy’s personnel, the Marine security guards played a key role in it, according to U.S. government officials. “Our Marines who protect many of our embassies overseas do not often get the credit they deserve,” Christopher Maier, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, said in a State Department news briefing following the evacuation. “Their courage under duress represents America at its best, again, in this instance.” The evacuation came as warring factions trying to seize control of Sudan plunged the country into chaos, leaving at least 500 people dead. As security conditions worsened, including damage to the civilian airport and an attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy in Khartoum, Sudan, the State Department concluded that “the only way we could do this safely for all of our diplomatic personnel was to rely on the capabilities of our military colleagues,” said Ambassador John Bass, State Department undersecretary for management. (https://news.yahoo.com/marine-embassy-guards-evacuate-sudan-104738731.html) The Marines got the official word of the planned evacuation within 48 hours of its taking place but they had known one was likely to happen since conflict broke out April 15. So they had a little more than a week to prepare. After flying out from the embassy, the Marines landed first at an airfield in Ethiopia, where they switched from helicopters to C-17 transport aircraft, according to Ferrari. They flew next to Djibouti, then to Germany and finally to the United States.

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