In Memoriam

Sgt. Jesse Aliganga

If you have any information related to Sgt Aligana  his contributions to our MSG and USMC legacy,
or any personal recollections,  please send a note so that we can might all be able to share his memory
to: history@embassymarine.org

Sgt. Jesse Aligana
 Instructor - Marine Security Guard Bn.

Marine Security Guard Detachments
 US Embassy: Nairobi, Kenya

Died Aug 7, 1998 
Terrorist Bombing of the US Embassy


       Detachments: US Embassy 
Nairobi, Kenya
                       MOS:  Communications Specialist
              USMC Bio: Enlisted January 1995

Awards & Decorations

- Marine Security Guard Ribbon
- Purple Heart
- National Defense Service Medal

Personal Bio:

DOB: 1977
                     Parents: Clara (Mother)
                    Brothers / Sisters : Leah Colston (Sister)
               Occupation:  US Marine
             Date Passed: Aug 7, 1998
Place of internment: Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, VA
Home Town
High School  (Year)
Tallahassee, Fl
Graduated 1994

US State Dept Press Release
Arlington National Cemetary Website
Jewish World Review:  Michelle Malkin
Letter from Lt Col Sabal

Source: Online at - http://www.townhall.com/columnists/MichelleMalkin/2001/11/12/fallen_veteran_of_an_undeclared_war
Author: Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin makes news and waves with a unique combination of investigative journalism and incisive commentary. 

She is the author of Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild .

This is the story of one young American who served and died during our war on terrorism -- years before we officially declared it.

Jesse Nathaniel Aliganga ("Nathan" to his loved ones) was a member of the elite Marine Security Guard detachment stationed in Nairobi, Kenya. He was 21 and a long way from home, but he loved his job.

Nathan grew up in Tallahassee, Fla. As his mother, Clara, recalled earlier this year in a Manhattan courtroom: "He was a very, very happy child. He always smiled. He had a big heart." Nathan played the saxophone and worked at an animal shelter. "I'm going to go to Africa, Momma, and I'm going to go on a safari," he vowed as a boy.

After high school, Nathan entered the Marine Corps Recruit Depot at Parris Island, S.C. When he enlisted in 1994, he was out of shape. Though small in stature, he weighed 200 pounds. He was determined to survive boot camp. At graduation, he was so physically fit his mom barely recognized him. Nathan's sister affectionately called him "Sergeant Shortstop."

Nathan trained further at Camp Lejeune, N.C., the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., and at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Miss. He then served with the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan, and the 1st Force Service Support Group at Camp Pendleton, Calif., before training in Quantico, Va., as a Marine security guard (MSG).

The MSGs are unsung guardians against terrorism abroad. They provide security at 123 U.S. embassies and consulates worldwide, in war-torn capitals and anti-American hot spots. In February 1995, Marine Sgt. Aliganga reported for duty at the American embassy in Nairobi. Three years later, he extended his enlistment by 30 months. His mother worried about the dangers, but supported him fully: "It was his life, and that's what he wanted to do." Sgt. Aliganga did not live long enough to serve out his term -- or fulfill his childhood dream of going on a safari.

On the morning of Aug. 8, 1998, he walked into the embassy on his day off to cash a check. As he headed for the bank, past the familiar post he guarded for a living, a massive explosion rocked the building. Sgt. Aliganga's fellow Marines rushed to secure the embassy perimeter. They rescued survivors, guarded classified materials, fended off looters, and searched for their brother in arms.

Lieutenant Colonel Dennis Sabal, the MSG company commander, recounted his young team's effort in a post-attack dispatch: "After 27 hours and 50 minutes of relentless digging with their bare hands, the body of Sergeant Aliganga was recovered" from a mountain of rubble. The Marines "gently wrapped Sergeant Aliganga in the American flag" and marched him silently through the ruins. Sabal noted that bystanders "stood erect with tears running down their faces as the body of another United States Marine, who gave his life in defense of his country, was ushered away."

On this Veterans Day, Clara Aliganga's grief speaks for all Americans who have lost someone in wartime. At the New York trial of her son's murderers in May, she testified: "More than anything else I wish that I could hold my son in my arms and to have him lay his head on my shoulder as he did so many times when he was home, and he would tenderly give me a kiss on my neck or how he would just come up from behind me and wrap his arms around me and hold me so tight, and tell me: 'Momma, I love you.' "

 A total of 224 people, including 12 Americans, died in the African embassy bombings. Immediately afterward, Osama bin Laden's terrorist umbrella group crowed that "America will face a black fate ... strikes will continue from everywhere, and Islamic groups will appear one after the other to fight American interests." From Lebanon to Kenya to Yemen, Americans in uniform have died overseas and out of sight at the hands of these evil forces while we enjoyed peace and freedom at home. To these heroes and their families we owe eternal thanks. They are casualties of an invisible war which, until Sept. 11, too many of us were too complacently blind to see.

Painful visit

By Joshua Benton / The Dallas Morning News


Mother says, "I just hope this will send a message to the terrorists -- we will have justice served,"..

Sgt Jesse Nathanael Aliganga, USM (MSG)

In Tallahassee, relatives of Jesse Nathanael Aliganga, a 21-year-old Marine sergeant also killed in the bombing remembered him as a little guy with a big heart.

"He had so many goals," said his mother, Clara Aliganga, 43, who runs a day-care center out of her home. He wanted to make sergeant in his first four-year tour, and was proud when he did in July. After postings in Okinawa, Japan and Camp Pendleton, Calif., Aliganga finished the security guard school in Quantico and was sent to Nairobi.

Aliganga was born in Oakland, Calif., and grew up in Pensacola, Fla., becoming an energetic and ambitious youth who liked drawing, reading Greek mythology, playing the saxophone in his high school band and collecting comic books, family members recalled.

When he was assigned to Nairobi in February, his sister, Leah Colston said: "My mother had great misgivings. . . . You hear about these things that can happen." But her brother seemed happy.

At first, Clara Aliganga said, the State Department told her that Nathan was in the hospital. But later Friday, she learned that he was listed as missing. And yesterday morning military officials came to her home. "They said he . . . had died at his post," she said.

His sister said the family is hurting. "He promised us he was going to come home," she said.

"It doesn't end the pain," Clara Aliganga told reporters afterward. Her son, Nathan, was killed in the blast. "I just hope this will send a message to the terrorists -- we will have justice served," she said

At the trial:


Jurors and spectators cried again during testimony by the prosecution's final witness, Clara Aliganga, of Tallahassee, Fla. The witness -- mother of Sgt. Nathan Aliganga, 21, a Marine who died in Nairobi -- said she wished her son could "hold me so tight like he used to and say, `Mom, I love you."'

The mother of a 20-year-old US Marine guard killed by the bomb told the jury that her son had had a close relationship with his young niece. "All she ever heard was that her uncle had gone to heaven," testified Clara Aliganga. "And one day she asked when he would be coming home. She said, God has had him up there an awfully long time." 

Clara Aliganga, mother of Jesse Aliganga, Marine sergeant killed in Kenya (speaking outside courtroom):

"I'm happy for the verdict that came through .... It doesn't erase the pain. The jury did an excellent job, and I just hope that this will give a message to the terrorists that we won't take this lightly as Americans, that there will be justice to the families when they attack us, that we're not just going to sit back and not do anything about it. We will take it to court and that we'll see justice is served."



Marine Sgt. Jesse Nathan Aliganga
U.S. Marine Corp
Proudly Served Our Nation

Died August 7 1998
Terrorism- Nairobi, Kenya Africa

From combined news sources…

Marine killed in embassy blast identified

Staff Sgt. Matt Hevezi

Camp Smith, Hawaii

CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii (Aug 10) -- A Marine Corps sergeant has been identified among the 11 Americans killed in Friday's simultaneous terrorist bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Sgt. Jesse N. Aliganga, 21, of Tallahassee, Fla. was one of three servicemembers killed, Pentagon officials said Saturday. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Sherry Lynn Olds, 40, of Panama City, Fla.; and Army Sgt. Kenneth R. Hobson II, 27, of Nevada, Mo. were listed with Aliganga as dead.

Aliganga was assigned as a U.S. embassy guard in Nairobi, Kenya and was on duty when the blast occurred. He joined the Marine Corps in January, 1995. Aliganga served with the 3rd Marine Division in Okinawa, Japan and was assigned to the 1st Force Service Support Group at Camp Pendleton, Calif. when he was selected to become a Marine security guard.

"These bombings are a stark reminder of the threat to U.S. personnel posed by terrorists whose only means of attacking America is through cowardly acts," said Defense Secretary William S. Cohen in a released statement Friday. "The loss of one American serviceman or diplomat to such acts is one too many. Our men and women in uniform serve proudly and selflessly around the globe with full knowledge that they face additional dangers abroad because they wear the uniform." Cohen vowed America would "bring to justice" those responsible for the bombing.

More than 1,000 Marines serve as security guards inside 134 U.S. embassies worldwide.

Two 50-Marine anti-terrorist security teams were included in immediate response to the bombings as part of 14 military flights to Africa loaded with security and medical teams.

The only other Marine casualty was Sgt. Daniel M. Briehl who was also assigned to the U.S. embassy in Nairobi. Briehl was treated for his injuries and released. Of the 15 Marines assigned security duties in Nairobi and the six at the U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa, Tanzania, all were reported accounted for by Marine officials on Saturday.

DoD spokesman Army Lt. Col. Steve Campbell said Aliganga's body is being transported to the United States and is scheduled to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base Wednesday. He said funeral arrangements were pending.

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Norm Thompson

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