Commanding Officer of the Harrier squadron decimated at Camp Bastion among the Marines killed in the Taliban attack

Lt. Col. Chris Raible, the commanding officer of Marine Attack Squadron 211, smiles after landing the first AV-8B Harrier jet from Marine Attack Squadron 211 aboard Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, July 1. The landing marked the squadron's official move from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion. Raible, a Pittsburgh native, praised the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward) efficiency in establishing all new hangars and workspaces for the squadron. Raible explained that his squadron will now be able to conduct more combat operations and communicate more effectively with the ground combat element now that they are in close proximity to all the units they support.

The Marine Attack Squadron (VMA) 211 “Avengers” that was decimated on Friday Sept. 14, when a force of insurgents attacked Camp Bastion, in Helmand, has not only lost two Marines and eight of the ten AV-8B+ Harrier jets deployed in Afghanistan.

According to, Marine and family sources have confirmed that Lt. Col. Chris “Otis” Raible, commanding officer of the Yuma squadron is among the killed in action of the unprecedented attack that resulted in the destruction of six jump jets and significant damage (possibly beyond repair) to two more Harriers belonging to the VMA-211, the unit he commanded.

The VMA-211 is part of the 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing headquartered in San Diego at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Raible led the “Avengers” when the unit, deployed to Afghanistan in April 2012, relocated from Kandahar Airfield to Camp Bastion on Jul. 1 and he’s depicted in most of the images released by the U.S. Marine Corps to give account of the transfer.

Camp Bastion was in close proximity to all the units they supported and this gave the VMA-211 the opportunity to conduct more combat operations and communicate more effectively with the ground combat element.

Unfortunately neither Raible nor the rest of the “Avengers” could predict the attack that cost the U.S. the worst air loss to enemy fire in one day since the Vietnam War, that has rendered the Squadron unable to support the troops in the ground and compelled the Marine Corps to fly the remaining two airframes back home.

Image credit: U.S. Marine Corps

About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. The Haqqani network was finally listed as a terrorist organisation by the US two weeks ago – this is very likely their response.

    They are probably the largest & most sophisticated terrorist linked organisation in world, with connections to numerous intelligence agencies, most of the major insurgent groups in Afghanistan, & have excellent financial resources thanks to their control of major smuggling routes, as well impressive links to the GCC financing arm.

    They were believed to be behind the Camp Chapman attack – a highly secure CIA run FOB, which killed 7 CIA operatives, including the chief of the base, & a number of other sophisticated attacks.

    This attack is right up their ally, & they certainly have the resources to carry it off.

  2. In 1942, VMA 211 lost 8 of its 10 aircraft on the ground on Wake Island, stationed in the middle of a warzone. Look at VMA211’s shoulder patch. How macabre that history repeated itself so exactly.

  3. Not exactly a repeat of the attack on Wake Island. The squadron, then VMF 211, had been stationed there before the attack on Pearl Harbor. The Japanese attacked Wake a day after the attack on Pearl, resulting in the loss of 7 aircraft. The squadron was left with 5 aircraft with which they mounted numerous attacks against the Japanese forces. Unfortunately the Navy at the time decided it was too dangerous to send in reinforcements so the remaining Marines left on the island were eventually overrun and taken prisoners.
    I have not read all the details on this attack at Camp Bastion so it is hard to comprehend at this time how this could have been pulled off
    given the number of U.S. troops in the immediate vicinity.

  4. Laura, I can’t get past that you are comparing Obama to God. How dare you. If America would put God first like we should and how our forefathers did, and how this great country was built on we would not have Obama in office. He is a disgrace to our country and God.

  5. Allen, You misunderstood my comment. I didn’t compare Obama to God. What I said was that we blame Obama for anything and everything that we see as a problem, while giving credit to God for anything good that happens. Obama has been the best thing that has happened to our country in a long time, and I am thankful that he was re-elected, but he is mortal and I don’t consider him a God, just a great president.

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