Local marine responds to terrorist bombing

By Megan R. Harrell


An Elizabethton native is safe after a bomb exploded near his military base last week. Maj. Trane McCloud has been stationed in the southern Philippines with the U.S. Marine Corp since August. His unit is serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in the region.
   The bomb exploded last Wednesday outside a restaurant frequented by American soldiers. American Green Beret, Sgt. 1st Class Mark Wayne Jackson, was killed, and an unidentified soldier was injured in the terrorist motorcycle bombing. The bomber has been identified as a member of Abu Sayyaf, a guerilla group sympathetic to the al-Qaida terrorist network.
   The explosion took place about two miles west of the main U.S. military base at Camp Navarro at approximately 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2. According to Philippine military officials, FBI agents are currently examining the site in an attempt to gather evidence.
   The servicemen injured in the attack were stationed near Maj. McCloud in the Philippines, and were among a total of 272 American soldiers in the region. With little in the American news about the bombing, Maj. McCloud's father, Ron McCloud, did not learn of the attack until Friday. "I just heard some American soldiers had been killed in the Philippines," McCloud said.
   McCloud's daughter-in-law informed him that no Marines were injured in the bombing; however, McCloud did not have contact with his son until late Sunday evening. "I had some anxious moments until I knew that the injured were Army and not Marines, then I knew there was no way it was him," McCloud said.
   Maj. McCloud e-mailed his father to let him know he was not near the explosion that injured 24 people. McCloud stated that his son's Marine unit responded to the scene of the explosion. "He just bragged on what a good job his Marines' did, as usual," McCloud said.
   Maj. McCloud assisted in loading the injured and deceased Green Beret officers for transport, according to his father. The injured soldier was transported along with the body of Sgt. Jackson to Okinawa, Japan.
   The U.S. military presence in the Philippines is supporting the local government that is trying to track down Abu Sayyaf terrorists. The U.S. government believes the guerrillas are responsible for the kidnapping and death of American missionary, Martin Burnham earlier this year.
   Ron McCloud was relieved to discover his son was not injured in the bomb, and stated his son's next station is closer to home. Maj. McCloud will serve as the liaison between the Capitol and the military in Washington D.C.