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March 22, 1995

Marine Rear Guard Escapes Serious Injury While Covering UN Evacuation From Somalia

JAMA. 1995;273(12):909. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520360021009

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THE MARINES covering evacuation of the last United Nations (UN) peacekeepers from Somalia were in turn covered by military medicine.

The last US Marines to leave the beaches of the civil war—torn African country, despite being under fire from some Somali clan members, suffered only sprains, bruises, minor burns from back-flashes of their own rapid-fire weapons, and—in two or three instances—heat exhaustion from the 28°C (82°F) temperatures combined with the 80% humidity, says Steven L. Nichols, MD, a US Navy commander.

Nichols is CATF (Commodore, [three-ship] Amphibious Task Force) surgeon aboard the USS Essex, an amphibious assault ship whose nearly 2000 US Marine Corps troops were the last to leave the land where UN forces have sought since 1992 to help feed the population and end interclan fighting (JAMA. 1993; 269:2833-2838 and 270:2531, 2535). The United States withdrew its forces from long-term duty there a year ago (JAMA. 1994;271:894).


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