Historical Item

 -Chronology -
Attack on US Embassy Islamabad Pakistan
21 November 1979

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Posts: Islamabad, Pakistan Author: Unknown
Source:  Documents - MEGA Member, Steve Garrison

21 November 1979

The following events are arranged chronologically to present a clear picture of the events in Pakistan on 21 Nov 1979. They are compiled from a number of sources (i.e. statements and eyewitness reports) but primarily from a direct phone link with Islamabad which was manned continuously during most of the attack.               •

1220   -Post #1 notified that (2) busloads of students were approaching the Embassy.

1225   -NCOIC notified and proceeded to Post #1.

1230   -Metal gates at Embassy entrance shut.

-All Marines recalled: Cpl Epply in hospital; Cpl Sima on liberty.

-50-75 people in Embassy driveway.

-Cpl Crowley and Sgt Segobiano positioned on the Embassy roof.

1240   -Initial 50-75 attackers leave.

1255   -More attackers arrive and overpower 15-20 local police.

1300   -NCOIC returns to Post #1 manned by Sgt Sirois.

-Rifle fire heard outside the Embassy along with other small arms fire.

1310  -NCOIC goes to check posts.

-Post #2 Sgt Purry and LCpl Bledscoe OK with all emergency gear laid out.

-DEA S/A ##### and #### arrive at Post #1 armed with DEA weapons. -

-RSO, ADMIN 0. and POLCOUNS directing employees into the vault area.

-NCOIC checks roof and finds Cpl Crowley shot through the head.

-Sgt Segobiano tries to find a stretcher.

-No radios available for MSGs on the roof.

_ -Mr. #####, Mr. ##### and Sgt Segobiano help the NCOIC carry Cpl Crowley to Mr. Garden's office.         . :

-Embassy nurse left with Cpl Crowley.

-Cpl Sima arrives outside compound and cannot enter. He proceeds to Mr. Furgeson's house at the Canadian Housing compound and observes U.S. Embassy compound from the roof

1320   -Pandemonium inside the Chancery.

-DEA agents ask RSO and Admin 0. whether deadly force is authorized. Both respond, "No."

-DEA agents ##### and ##### offer services to RSO.

1330  -Cpl Sima observes club on fire; theater on fire; and motor pool on fire.

-More demonstrators arriving.

1340  -Post n reports that it is on firs.

-Attackers break through main gates across Chancery.

-Attackers break into cafeteria.

-DEA agents again ask RSO for permission to use deadly force. RSO told them to ask Admin 0. who said, "No."

1345   -Post #2 evacuated to Post #1.

-Tear gas still being dispensed by MSGs.

-All MSGs on second floor.

-Sgt Sirois's arms burned by bursting gas cannister that bounced back inside Post #1.

1350  -Small arms fire heard throughout the compound.

-Fires being started in the lobby.

-NCOIC throws gas into lobby to discourage attackers.

1400  -All employees   in the vault.

-MSGs delaying  on the second floor.

-Smoke and gas  filling entire Chancery.

1430   -NCOIC directs DEA agents to set up a defensive position on third floor to await MSGs1 retreat.

-Cpl Sima observes demonstrators climbing on roof.

-U.S. flag taken down and antenna being destroyed.

-DEA agents requested to secure the roof. RSO and Admin 0. said not to do so.

1445  -All Marines retreat to Third Floor vault area dispensing gas along the way.

1450  -All employees in inner vault.

-NCOIC, RSO, MSGs and DEA agents in outer vault.

-Roof hatch being attacked by people on the roof.

-Shots being fired in air vents by attackers.

-At approximately 1515 radio communications were gained with those inside the vault by RSS Mr. Ron Kelly, Mr. & Mrs. Frank Trippett and Mrs. Elizabeth Bowen who were at Mrs. Bowen's house a few blocks from the compound. They opened a telephone line to the Consulate in Karachi and manned it

for the next 5 hours. The following are direct quotes from Mrs. Bowen and company over the phone relayed from the vault and other sources.

1500  -"Gen Akhtar, head of Pakistan Intelligence arrived at the scene and is doing nothing."

-"20 demonstrators on the roof firing weapons."

- Cpl Sima observes third floor smoking - calls Hr. Handly and asks him to do something because people in the vault will suffocate.

1520  -"Nothing being done by PAK authorities."

-"Two helicopters circling compound."

1525  - Cpl Crowley pronounced dead.

1530  -"Pak troops in the area but doing nothing."

1600  - British Ambassador awaiting word from President Zia for the troops to move in.

1610  -"Troops are still doing nothing."

1630  - Cpl Sima leaves balcony of Mr. Furgesons house because he is seen.

1645   -"Ambassador expecting call from Pres. Zia ASAP."

1701   -"Helo moving over to Mrs. Bowen's house."

1702  -"Vault asking whether there is any hope for them."

1703  -"Ambassador cannot get in touch with Tactical Commander of Pak troops."

1704  -"Attackers within a few minutes of getting in roof hatch."

1705  -"Troops still doing nothing."

1711  -"American children at the school will be allowed to go home with British and Canadian families."

1715 —"Air getting better - people in the vault wondering what's going on outside."

1717  -"If they break inside the vault the Marines will open fire." 

1720  -"Vault cannot raise the Ambassador."

1721  -"Still trying to raise the Ambassador."

1723  -"Urgently-need to talk to the Ambassador."
   -"School will not answer the vault."

1724  -"Fire under our feet - fire under our feet."

1724  -"Fire below us,we need to get to the roof."

1725  -"No communications with the Ambassador."     •

1725  -"Need to get out! Need to get out! Need to get out NOW!"

1725  -"Vault still calling Ambassador."

1726  -"The school is being attacked."

1726  -"In radio room...American school needs help."

1729  -"Its getting hot inside."

1730  -"Its getting very hot!"

1730  -"Destroying all crypto."

1731  -"We want out now its very very hot."

1731  -"Ambassador is on the phone to President Zia."

1732  -"Ambassador trying to raise the vault."

1733  -"Gen Arif has given orders to clear the roof."

1734  -"Trying to get out on the roof - can't get out through the
vault because of fire.

1735  -"Ambassador cannot advise the vault when to open but said to
use their own judgment."

1737  -"President Zia is making a statement about the Pakistan
situation tonight."

1740  -"Students have left the school temporarily."

1745  -"Vault can't get the Ambassador."

1749  -"No comm with the vault."

1750  - NCOIC receives permission to open vault door and try to clear an escape route on the third floor.

1750  - MSGT Miner, Sgt Sirois, S/A Powers and S/A Sayles leave vault. •

- Third floor on fire.

- Assault team turned back by attackers in stairwell by Ambassador's office.

1750  -"Ambassador can't be heard in the vault."

1752  -"Vault wants to know if there is any way to help them out NOW."

1756  - Assault team returns to vault.

1757  -"Are firefighters outside vault?"

1758  -"Going out on roof we want Pak military to know we are Americans."

1758  - MSGT Miller, Sgt Purry and Sgt Segobiano left vault again to secure roof.

1759  -"Ambassador says stay put."

1759  -"Ambassador says stand fast so they can double check the roof."

1759  - Mr. Schoen and Mr. Lessard working on the hatch from inside -it was still jammed.

1800  - MSGT Miller, Sgt Purry, Sgt Segobiano and S/A Sayles secure roof.

-"Marines going out to recon roof."

1805  -"Only exit is roof."

1806  -"Think Marines are on the roof."

1806  -"Ambassador talking to Americans in the vault."

1807  -"Ambassador says Pak troops are on the roof - expect them"

1808  -"Ambassador says the troops on the roof have been instructed ~ to be very careful."

1809  -"No contact with troops on the roof." 1809  -"Trouble getting the hatch open."

1809  -"Ambassador says don't worry about troops, they know you're there."

-"Ambassador wants to know just before you open the hatch."

1810  -"Everything quiet at the American School."

-"Vault says  they can hold but only a few minutes more."

-"Ambassador says....."

1811  - Lost comm with Mrs. Bowen:

1825  -"All children out safely from the American School."

1826  - Hatch opened LCpl Bledscoe, LTCol. Williams, Sgt Sirois and S/A ##### exit and set up a defense on the roof.

1827  -"Everyone get on the roof."

1830  -"Get out faster we are burning" up."

1830  -"Place is going up in flames, get us off the roof."

1830  - Sgt Segobiano finds a ladder down to auditorium roof.

1831  -"Ladder on auditorium but the roof is on fire. We think we can make it."

1831  -"Radio man coming up from vault." (Mr. #####).

1832  -"Going to cross auditorium roof and try to get down ladders... everything is burning."

1833   -"Ambassador at MFA with no transportation."

1833   -"Four people left in C&R - still people in the vault."

1834   -"Everyone is on the roof, its very very hot."

1835  -"Instructed to go to auditorium roof."

-"Hot on both sides and under feet."

-"No fire brigade showed up-...breathing first fresh air in 4 hours."

1836   Sgt Sirois and Mr. Tim McLaskey still in vault with Cpl Crowley's body.

- MSGT Miller went back down inside the vault and carried the body out.

1846  -"Fire Brigade arrived."

1846  -"There were no Pak military on the roof and no attackers."

-"The Emhissy is a total loss - completely engulfed in flames... at least one maybe two Americans left on the roof."

1847  -"Trying to find out if any Americans are left on the compound."

-"Someone went back and now they can't find him."

1848  -"Linda Trippett and Mrs. Bowen are at the Haggerty residence relaying all messages.

1849  -"....any more...."                                     '

1854  -"Looking for one person...Get out fast...

-"Radio man (Mr. ##### ) standing in compound awaiting word from Pak military."

1855  -"Pak military tries to disarm Marines - Marines refuse to give up weapons.

-"Conducting a head count."

1857  -"All Americans off the building. Pak army is evacuating all to British Embassy under guard."

1900  - No one took a head count in the vault.

1901  - First units have left the compound on the way to the British Embassy.

1905  -"One American is being escorted back to the compound to look for other Americans believed to be on the compound."

1915  -"A couple of search parties are looking over the compound for missing Americans although they do not know for sure that any are missing."

1920  -"Someone in Gen. Zia's office told the British Ambassador

earlier in the day that a Battalion of Army was being sent to the American Embassy. They never showed."

1935  -"The two MSGs who were missing were found safe - information from the American Center." (Cpl Epply in the hospital; Cpl Sima observing from Furgeson's house.)

2010  - Ambassador closed phone link from Haggerty house to Karachi.


Attack on US Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan
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Steven Garrison

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