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Historical Profile: Sergeant Bobby Romero
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27 JAN 2011 - Email From Patrick J. Hinds
My name is Patrick J. Hinds, I was an Marine Security Guard stationed at the US Embassy Paris from 1977 – 1978. I was friends with Sgt Bobby Romero, and have very fond memories of him, along with the painful night we lost him. Bobby was standing duty on the 2nd shift (4:30pm – 11:30pm) at the USIS Mission (United States Information Service) located in a distant part of the city. It was a single watch stander post and posted by the Sgt of the Guard of each string. Myself and a large contingency of Marines were bowling in the US Embassy league that night at the Bowling Alley in Bois du Boulogne at the edge of Paris when we received a call to return to the embassy for an emergency. Those of us that returned first were taken over to the USIS Mission, and by the time we arrived Bobby had been taken away and we had to stand a three man watch due to the burnt doors and breech in security. The following is the events as it was determined after the investigation.
The post consisted of a “L” shaped office on the 5th or 6th floor of an office building. The length was approximately 75’ by 125’. The post was at the main entrance and as watch standers we would perform security sweeps after the office closed for the day. Apparently Bobby was at the furthest end of the complex when a fire broke out at the main entrance. It was later determined that it was started by a faulty coffee pot. Due to construction materials of the time and configuration of the hallway the fire rolled through the complex like a freight train in a matter of minutes trapping Bobby at the end of the hallway in the last office. As there was no means of escape, Bobby attempted to shimmy out of the window and hold on to a extremely narrow ledge outside the window. Unfortunately it was too narrow to support him, and he fell to his death in the courtyard below. The tragedy was that due to the fast movement of the fire, it burned itself out at the end of the hallway and never got to the office Bobby was trapped in!
I can’t emphasize how well liked Bobby was, and what a great Marine he was. He had only been assigned to the Paris detachment for several months when the fire occurred but it was as if we’d all known him for years as Marines often tend to do with fellow Marines!
I hope you can edit some of this in order to post some information on Bobby’s article.
Bobby Romero Eulogy By Ambassador Hartman