Former Iranian hostage from Wisconsin reacts to Libya attack
The attack in Libya
is bringing back strong memories for one central Wisconsin
man. 33 years ago, Kevin Hermening was held hostage in the U.S. Embassy in Iran
for 444 days. It's an experience that reminds him of the current violence in
the Middle East.
In 1979 Kevin Hermening was a marine stationed in Iran. He was on
guard when protesters seized control of the U.S. Embassy.
"It was a very high level combination of fear and as
well as a big adrenaline rush," said Hermening.
At age 20 Hermening was the youngest of the 52 Americans
"It was very frightening," said
Hermening. "We were blindfolded. We were handcuffed. There was a series Russian
The Americans were eventually released in 1981, after more
than 400 days of imprisonment.
Hermening says the current unrest in the Middle
East is similar to what he experienced.
On September 11 an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya
killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. When Hermening found
out about the attack, he says his thoughts were with the victim's families.
"They died doing what they loved to do. And that was
trying to bring about a diplomatic solution to a very troubled part of the
Hermening says security needs to be a top priority to
protect American lives overseas.
"Let's give our marines the proper
ammunition," said Hermening. "Let's build the properties, the buildings, in such a way that we
can give them better security than what Ambassador Stevens had in Benghazi."
And he says even though the violence is taking place on the
other side of the world, an impact can be felt here.
"There are people right here in town who lost loved ones in
the war on terror in Afghanistan
Hermening returned to the Middle East
last summer. It was the first time since he was held hostage more than 30 years