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Khobar Towers: Tragedy and Response

Khobar Towers: Tragedy and Response published on

Authored by Office of Air Force History, U.S. Air Force

America’s mind’s eye carries all too many painful pictures of terrorist actions against her: the collapsed Marine Corps barracks in Beirut, a gaping hole at the waterline of USS Cole, and shocked, bleeding casualties sitting in the streets of the U.S. embassy in Kenya, as well as fire blossoming from New York City’s Twin Towers. Another enduring image is the shredded walls of Khobar Towers where nineteen airmen gave their final full measure on June 25, 1996. This account of the Khobar Towers bombing, so eloquently narrated by Dr. Perry Jamieson, tells the story of the horrific attack and the magnificent response of airmen doing their duty under nearly impossible circumstances. None of them view their actions as heroic, yet the reader will marvel at their calm professionalism. All of them say it was just their job, but the reader will wonder how they could be so well trained to act almost instinctively to do the right thing at the right time. None of them would see their actions as selfless, yet countless numbers refused medical attention until the more seriously injured got treatment. Throughout this book, the themes of duty, commitment, and devotion to comrades resoundingly underscore the notion that America’s brightest, bravest, and best wear her uniforms in service to the nation. This book is more than heroic actions, though, for there is also controversy. Were commanders responsible for not adequately protecting their people? What should one make of the several conflicting investigations following the attack? Dr. Jamieson has not shied away from these difficult questions, and others, but has discussed them and other controversial judgments in a straightforward and dispassionate way that will bring them into focus for everyone. It is clear from this book that there is a larger issue than just the response to the bombing. It is the issue of the example set by America’s airmen. Future airmen who read this book will be stronger and will stand on the shoulders of those who suffered and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. No matter what conclusions the reader might each, one continues to return to the magnificent actions of young Americans far from home working in grueling conditions, who just do their duty. A duty they do without equivocation and for the love of their country and their service. Ultimately, then, this is a story of victory, because the Air Force learned from Khobar Towers. It learned about a ruthless enemy, and all airmen will learn, too, that even under the most devastating conditions, they can fight back and win, a lesson that the world’s terrorists have yet to learn. But learn they will.

Publication Date:
Mar 02 2015
1508685290 / 9781508685296
Page Count:
Binding Type:
US Trade Paper
Trim Size:
7″ x 10″
Black and White
Related Categories:
Political Science / Political Freedom & Security / Terrorism


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