At approximately 10:30 a.m. on Aug. 7, 1998, Lynn Kimble, then a detachment commander for the Marines at the United States Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was returning to the compound he was charged with protecting. It was scorching hot already, and he had been awake for more than 24 hours covering an overnight shift for a sick Marine in his unit.
Kimble was 15 seconds away from the embassy, and then … chaos. A suicide bomber detonated a truck parked outside the site, causing massive destruction and spurring the area into complete hysteria. His mind went immediately to his wife, Cynthia, also a Marine, who was inside the embassy.
As civilians scattered for safety, Kimble sprinted toward the bombsite. To get into the compound, he had to scale a 16-foot wall. Fighting through dust, debris and the stench of TNT and ammonia, Lynn went room-to-room rescuing survivors, one of them his wife.
“As Marines, we had done countless react/response drills to prepare for exactly something like this, and we needed to spring into action,” says Kimble, a USAA military affairs relationship director, who retired as a sergeant major after 31 years in the Marines. “The more you train, the more it becomes instinctive. And in the end, there were no hiccups because of our training.”
In addition to treating survivors, Kimble also secured top-secret documents that had been strewn about after the blast.
When he enlisted at the age of 19, Kimble could never have expected to have the experiences he did. After Dar es Salaam, he went on to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, and retired this year.
Before retiring, Kimble toured USAA’s main campus, and felt immediately connected to the company.
“Having a clear mission statement, standards and values meant a lot to me because, obviously, in the Marines you have core values and standards you’re expected to live up to,” says Kimble.
As the United States Marine Corps celebrates its 243rd birthday, USAA shows appreciation for Marines like Kimble who have served their country proudly.
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