Six Marines Die in Green-on-Blue Attacks


Three Hawaii Marines were killed Friday in southern Afghanistan on a day when six U.S. Marines apparently were gunned down by Afghan allies in two incidents.

The deaths come as the number of similar, so-called "green-on-blue" attacks -- referring to U.S. allies and U.S. forces, respectively -- are rising in Afghanistan.

The Marines were assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Marine Regiment, based at Kaneohe, but they were deployed to Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, from Camp Lejeune, N.C., as part of embedded training teams working with Afghan forces, officials said.

The Pentagon on Monday identified the three as Staff Sgt. Scott E. Dickinson, 29, of San Diego; Cpl. Richard A. Rivera Jr., 20, of Ventura, Calif.; and Lance Cpl. Gregory T. Buckley, 21, of Oceanside, N.Y.

Buckley's father, also named Gregory, told the New York Daily News that his son was with six others in a base gymnasium when an Afghan police officer walked in with an AK-47 rifle and opened fire.

"I feel like my son was executed," he said.

One report said the Marines were working out in a gym on Forward Operating Base Delhi in Helmand province's Garmsir district on a part of the base used as a headquarters by the Afghan district police.

The U.S. is trimming its forces in Afghanistan, and fewer troops are being paired with greater numbers of Afghan counterparts in an attempt to train as many security forces as possible before a combat troop pullout at the end of 2014.

KEY3 News in Santa Barbara, Calif., reported that Rivera was supposed to return to Hawaii next week and visit his home in California next month.

Buckley was a supply clerk with Headquarters Company and was working as a logistics and facilities adviser on his first deployment, the Marine Corps said. The senior Buckley said his son turned 21 in July and was supposed to visit his family this week.

"Get the rest of those boys out of there," the father told the Daily News.

"Our thoughts are with the friends, families and loved ones of the three brave Hawaii Marines," U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement. "While these three young men came from across America to join their Hawaii battalion, everyone who has called Hawaii home becomes a part of our ohana, our family."

In the first attack Friday, another Afghan police officer shot and killed three Marines with the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion from Camp Pendleton, Calif., in Helmand's Sangin district.

A record four attacks last week by Afghan security forces on NATO troops were followed by an Afghan policeman firing Monday on NATO troops and Afghan soldiers in eastern Nangarhar province.

Maj. Lori Hodge, a coalition spokeswoman in Kabul, said after Friday's shootings that there had been 26 "green-on-blue" attacks this year resulting in 34 deaths, The Associated Press reported. The color codes come from military maps, which typically show U.S. forces in blue, allies in green and the enemy in red.

About 1,000 Marines with the 3rd Battalion returned in May from Garmsir district, ending years of rotational deployments by large groups of Hawaii infantry Marines to Afghanistan. The Hawaii Marines instead will now focus on maintaining a Pacific presence.

Small numbers of Hawaii Marines continue to move to the country to fulfill the Afghan security force training mission, officials said.

In early November, about 140 Hawaii Army National Guard soldiers are expected to go to Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan to train Afghan counterparts. Some have said the attacks by allied forces are a cause for concern.

All three Hawaii Marines killed Friday were part of Afghan National Civil Order Police Garrison Advisory training teams, officials said.

Dickinson, the oldest of the three and the embarkation chief with Headquarters Company, was a logistics adviser and on his second assignment to Afghanistan, the Marines said.

Rivera was a supply noncommissioned officer with the company and was a logistics and facilities adviser. He was on his first tour.

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