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Local Marine veteran reflects on Somalia operation, 20 years later

Sunday marked the 20th anniversary of the United States intervention in war-torn, impoverished Somalia — a humanitarian operation known as Operation Restore Hope.


ABOVE: The 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines expeditionary unit convoys from the United States Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia, to a staging area to await transport to Baledogle in December 1992. (PHOTO | TONY STOREY) FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Tony, left, and Laura Storey look through a photo album Saturday of Mr. Storey’s time on the ground in Somalia during Operation Restore Hope. Sunday was the 20th anniversary of the United States involvement in Somalia and the former Marine was among the first wave of soldiers to arrive on the ground. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)

The African nation at the time was starving and at war with itself. Several tribal factions fought and killed for control. Disease was rampant and the nation lacked a central government, said Tony Storey, a rural Bellefontaine resident who was among the first wave of U.S. Marines to touch ground in Somalia on Dec. 9, 1992.

“I was just a bright-eyed 21-year-old kid,” Mr. Storey said Saturday, reflecting on his time in the Somalian cities of Mogadishu and Baledogle.

“It’s interesting to think about now because I’d received all this formal training, but I didn’t have a credit card; and I didn’t know how to interview for a job or make a resume,” he continued. “I was more prepared for death than life.”

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