Leamon Hunt

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Leamon Hunt
Born Gibbs Twp, Johnston, Oklahoma, US[1]
Died (aged 56)
Rome, Italy
Cause of death
Gunshot wound
Resting place
Alexandria, Virginia, US[2]
Nationality American
Title Director General of the Multinational Force and Observers
Term 1981–1984
Successor Viktor Dikeos[3]

Leamon R. Hunt was a United States diplomat who became the first Director General of the international peacekeeping force, Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).[4] He was assassinated by members the Red Brigades in 1984. Hunt was the first American official to be killed by terrorists in Italy since 1976.[5]

Career[edit]

Hunt served several diplomatic posts in his career. He served as the Deputy Chief of Mission for the US embassy in Lebanon[6] and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Operations[7] before his nomination as the first Director General of the MFO in July 1981.[8] As part of his duties, Hunt appointed Norwegian Lieutenant General Fredrik V. Bull-Hansen to be the first Force Commander of the MFO. Hunt then established a temporary headquarters in Alexandria, VA and began designing the infrastructure for the group in Sinai. He also defined the hierarchical and logistical structures of the organization.[9]

Assassination[edit]

On February 15, 1984, at 6:45 p.m., Hunt arrived at his gated home in Rome.[note 1] As he was waiting for the gate to open, three gunmen emerged from a Fiat 128 across the street and opened fire on Hunt's Alfa Romeo armored limousine with automatic weapons.[5] While none of the rounds fired at the limousine penetrated, one gunman jumped on the trunk and fired into the upper edge of the rear window. One of the 7.65mm rounds broke through the rubber and metal window frame and struck Hunt in the skull.[10][11] He was taken to a local hospital in Rome, where he died an hour later.[12]

Aftermath[edit]

Initially, the attack was claimed by both the Red Brigades and the Lebanese Armed Revolutionary Factions (LARF). A caller, claiming to be from the Red Brigades, called a Milan radio station shortly after the assassination, saying, "This is the Communist Party. We must claim the attempt on General Hunt, the guarantor of the Camp David agreements. The imperialist forces must leave Lebanon. Italy must leave NATO. No to the installations of missiles at Comiso."[11] Evidence from the scene revealed the Red Brigades to have committed the assassination.[13]

Kenneth Dam, Deputy Secretary of State, spoke on behalf of Secretary of State George Shultz. Dam said, "Ray Hunt died in the cause of peace. It is a cruel irony that, like many others who devoted their lives to the highest aspirations of mankind, he was the victim of evil terrorism which haunts our world today. The full and successful life of service which Ray Hunt led, and the sacrifice he made, should inspire us to rededicate ourselves to building a more peaceful world in which hatred and violence have no place."[12] President Ronald Reagan also commented on Hunt's death, saying that he represented "the best in America".[14] Hunt was flown from Rome to Andrews Field for the funeral, and was interred at a church in Alexandria on February 21.[2]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ While some news reports originally claimed that Hunt was assassinated at a traffic light near his house, this was found to be false when multiple witnesses claimed that the attack had taken place at Hunt's house.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10011/1930-united-states-federal-census?itemId=143941067-&groupId=80eea5a49240c7ecaa190ede337f101f&action=showRecord
  2. ^ a b Associated Press (February 19, 1984). "Tuesday funeral for diplomat". Lawrence Journal-World. p. 2A. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  3. ^ United Press International (December 15, 1985). "Soldiers were assigned peace-keeping mission". Lodi News-Sentinel. p. 15. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  4. ^ http://mfo.org/history
  5. ^ a b Associated Press (February 16, 1984). "Red Brigade claims assassination of Hunt". Kentucky New Era. p. 5A. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  6. ^ Associated Press (July 27, 1976). "300 Evacuees Leave Safely". The Lakeland Ledger. p. 4A. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  7. ^ http://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/library/document/0248/whpr19741117-006.pdf
  8. ^ Associated Press (July 18, 1981). "American to lead new force in Sinai". Wilmington Morning Star. p. 5A. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ http://mfo.org/info/38
  10. ^ McGovern, Glenn P. (2010). Targeted Violence. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. pp. 224–225. ISBN 978-1-4398-2512-9. 
  11. ^ a b Albright, Joseph (February 16, 1984). "American Sinai Force Director Slain". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b United Press International (February 22, 1984). "Slain diplomat honored". The Telegraph-Herald. p. 4. Retrieved May 1, 2013. 
  13. ^ Jessup, John E. (1998). An Encyclopedic Dictionary of Conflict and Conflict Resolution, 1945–1996. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. p. 293. ISBN 0-313-28112-2. 
  14. ^ "Reagan lauds slain chief". The Milwaukee Sentinel. February 22, 1984. p. 3. Retrieved May 1, 2013.