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New Marine Security Guard Residence Dedicated in Memory of Sgt. Nathaniel Aliganga

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Posts: Nairobi Author: Joe D. Morton,
 Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security, Acting
Source:  DOS Web  http://www.state.gov/m/ds/rls/rm/46141.htm

Remarks at Dedication of the New Marine Security Guard Residence
Nairobi, Kenya
May 6, 2005

Ambassador Bellamy, General Helland, the Aliganga family, General Ghormley, and distinguished guests: thank you for the opportunity to participate in this memorable and solemn occasion.

Today, at the dedication of the new U.S. Marine Security Guard Residence here in Nairobi, we reflect on the tragic bombings of August 7, 1998. On that day, terrorist bombs destroyed our embassies here and in Dar es Salaam. More than 300 innocent people, both Kenyan and American citizens, were brutally killed. Among the fallen that day was one of our Marine Security Guards, Sgt. Nathaniel Aliganga, in whose memory we gather today.

August 7th is a day we will never forget. Even now, our embassies here and at Dar es Salaam take time every year on that day to remember those who died and were injured. Most of us, but especially our Kenyan colleagues, remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we learned the news of the bombing.

When I heard about the African bombings, I was working in Washington, DC. Like everyone else, I realized that terrorists had the ability and capability to strike virtually anywhere in the world, and that any of our posts could be the next target. I knew then that we had a long road ahead of us. We had to work tirelessly to rebuild our embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, and to stop the terrorists and tighten security at U.S. embassies around the world. Our determination continues.

As a direct result of the 1998 embassy bombings, the Department of State has invested—and continues to invest—hundreds of millions of dollars and extraordinary amounts of manpower each year to construct more secure embassies. We’re also enhancing security measures at every U.S. embassy and consulate in the world.

We learned from the tragedies in Africa. Now, American embassies throughout the world are stronger than ever. Our security measures are tougher. Our technology is smarter. And it protects us in ways never before imagined.

Today at Embassy Nairobi, you can see evidence all around us that the United States and the State Department are committed to making this mission and its people safer and more secure. A new chancery opened 2 years ago. A new USAID office building is scheduled to open next year. And today, we are here, dedicating a new Marine Residence that’s also more secure than ever.

I am proud to be here to help dedicate the new Marine Security Guard Residence in memory of Sgt. Aliganga. This gallant young man volunteered for Marine Security Guard duty so he could protect our nation, our missions, and our State Department family. Just 21 years old, he had a lifetime of goals. When he was killed on August 7, 1998, he was just beginning to achieve them.

Sgt. Aliganga was highly respected by the Marines and by the State Department. He served his nation with great pride and distinction, and we will always remember him for his bravery, commitment, and ultimate sacrifice.

Another fine young man—a former Marine Security Guard who served at U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv—died just two weeks ago as he was working to protect U.S. Embassy employees in Iraq. Eric Smith and five of his Blackwater USA co-workers were killed on April 21 when Iraqi insurgents shot down their helicopter.

Sgt. Aliganga and Eric Smith were just two of the thousands of Marines in the past two centuries who have stood watch over American embassies, consulates, and missions. The Marine Security Guards are partners with the State Department. They are dedicated to our mission and serve with us on the front lines in the war on terrorism in our embassies and consulates each and every day. They are critical to the protection of our people and our facilities. Without question, the Marine Security Guards provide our U.S. embassies and consulates with the finest line of defense in the world.

Let this new Marine Security Guard residence be yet another symbol of the rebuilding and healing of this mission, a symbol of the strength of those of us who fight on. We dedicate this building to Sgt. Aliganga, and we remember all those who died that terrible day. All are missed. All are remembered. May we honor their lives in the way that we live our own.

Released on May 12, 2005

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MSG Residence dedicated to Sgt Jesse Aliganga
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