Saturday, October 23, 2010

Charles Hegna and William Stanford, their names now lost to history.

The back and forth with Steve Caldwell got me thinking to this event. I was working for Dept of Defense IG then in the Pentagon and the auditor who survived this attack --Charlie Kapar-- spoke at the Association of Government Accountants afterwords about how to survive being taken hostage.

SecDef Weinberger had just issued instructions about Surviving with Dignity and I asked Charlie about Weinberger's policy. He responded without humor, you forget about your dignity real quick when taken hostage like this.

Below via Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
In September of 1984, Hezbollah struck the US embassy in East Beirut againkilling 23 employees and wounding 21 others.

Three months later, Hezbollah hijacked a Kuwait airliner. They murdered the two Americans aboard: Charles Hegna and William Stanford, their names now lost to history. I’ll bet you have never even heard of them. Both were US government employees, auditors for the US Agency for International Development (AID).

Charles Hegna was 50 then, he would be 72 now. He lived in Northern Virginia with his wife Edwena. They had five children.

Charles Hegna had just done a financial audit in Yemen and was flying to Pakistan when four Hezbollah terrorists stormed the cockpit of his plane. They shot an air marshall and forced the plane down in Tehran.

Charles Hegna and another AID auditor, William Stanford, were singled out and murdered.

A third American with them was tortured but survived.

Hegna was beaten after he identified himself as an American. They then shot him in the stomach, and still alive, they threw him on to the tarmac, breaking his legs.

He was shot once more from above and for three hours he lay wounded, in agony in the sun, until an ambulance finally brought him to a an Iranian hospital where he died a few days later.

His wife Edwena, now in her 70’s, said a few years ago that the family had been destroyed by the murder.

“Our lives were put into quicksand,” she said.

When the bodies of Charles Hegna and William Stanford came back to the US, the elder George Bush, then vice president, made this vow:

"We shall know their murderers, with the long memories of those who believe in patient but certain justice."

So that was 24 years ago and the US “knows” their murderers all right. But we have done nothing about it –just like we have done almost nothing about all the other attacks by Hezbollah against Americans.
Charlie of course the third who survived.

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