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We Remember: Staff Sergeant Kenneth R. Hobson II

By DIA History Office

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August 7, 2015, Aug. 7, 2015 — The Defense Intelligence Agency remembers U.S. Defense Attaché Office (USDAO) Administrative Specialist Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Hobson II, who was murdered in Nairobi, Kenya, Aug. 7, 1998. Today marks the 17th anniversary of his death.

Army Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Hobson II was killed in the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya. At 10:36 a.m. local time, terrorists driving a truck detonated a large bomb in the rear parking area outside the embassy. Minutes later at 10:39 a.m., another bomb exploded 450 miles away outside the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The near simultaneous blasts, which killed roughly 300 people and injured more than 4,000, were the most significant acts of anti-U.S. terrorism since the Khobar Towers bombing two years earlier. The force of the two blasts rendered both embassies unusable and damaged or destroyed adjacent buildings.

Hobson was born in Placerville, California, and grew up in western Missouri. He joined the U.S. Army in 1989 and served tours in the U.S., Germany and the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm. Hobson was a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in Arabic. He was a career Army intelligence specialist and had been assigned to the USDAO in Kenya since December 1997, his first assignment in the Defense Attaché Service. Twenty-seven-year-old Hobson was a loving husband and father of one daughter. His second daughter was born eight months after he was killed.

Today DIA’s Patriot Memorial honors DIA personnel who died in service to the U.S. It commemorates the profound individual sacrifices made on behalf of the country by DIA personnel and acts as a reminder of the selflessness, dedication and courage required to confront national challenges in the past, present and future.

Defense attachés are an integral part of the DIA team. Appointed by the Secretary of Defense, they are responsible for all Department of Defense (DOD) activities and personnel assigned to the embassy of the country in which they serve. Defense attachés are the primary military advisor to the ambassador and country team on military issues and developments. Additionally, they represent the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and greater DOD elements. Defense attachés plan and coordinate U.S. military activities with that nation’s armed forces, observe and report on military developments, oversee U.S. military training programs and support DOD and other high level visits.

DIA provides all-source intelligence on foreign militaries and operating environments that delivers decision advantage to prevent and decisively win wars. The agency collects and analyzes key data using a variety of tools, and deploys its personnel globally, alongside war fighters and interagency partners, to defend America’s national security interests.