LtCol Gibson

by Nathaniel R. Helms | July 6, 2008

The unflappable public affairs officer for the Marine Corps Central Command during most of the explosive Haditha and Hamandiyah affairs is moving on. Lt. Col. Sean Gibson has been transferred to Marine Corps Installation West at Camp Pendleton after a tumultuous time facing heat for the Marine Corps.

Lt. Col. Gibson, who says his age is a ‘state secret,’ never missed a beat running the Camp Pendleton Media Center when it was the epicenter of an international media feeding frenzy. Along with a small staff of Marine public affairs specialists, Gibson quickly and honestly responded to the endless barrage of questions from reporters who knew nothing about the Marine Corps, everything about everything else, and were never afraid to say so.

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Gibson wasn’t always a PAO, he says. He learned the art of dodging bullets and spears as an infantry officer. Before entering the public arena 12 years ago he was a rifle platoon commander and company executive officer in 2nd Battalion, 5th Marines, the ‘Retreat Hell’ battalion that took its motto comes from its actions at Belleau Wood during WWI.

When the fleeing French advised the newly arrived Marines to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds, the battalion’s response was: ‘Retreat, Hell!’  Gibson never forgot his roots.

After attaining the rank of captain Gibson moved to the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego to help forge boys into Marines. Twelve years ago, Gibson ‘voluntarily moved into the public affairs field’ where he has served the balance of his career.

Defend Our Marines wants to thank Lt. Col. Gibson for his honesty, forthrightness, and unceasing professionalism. He didn’t always tell us what we wanted to hear, but he never failed to be courteous and helpful when telling us what the Marine Corps wanted to say.

Thank you, Lt. Col. Gibson, and Godspeed wherever the Marine Corps takes you next.


Nathaniel R. Helms
Defend Our Marines
6 July 2008

Note: Nat Helms is a Contributing Editor to Defend Our Marines. He is a Vietnam veteran, former police officer, war correspondent, and, most recently, author of My Men Are My Heroes: The Brad Kasal Story (Meredith Books, 2007).

© Nathaniel R. Helms 2008