Bomb plot suspect a decorated Marine

1/27/2014

WICHITA (AP) — A man accused of trying to carry out a suicide bomb attack for al-Qaida at the Kansas airport where he worked was awarded a medal and several commendations as a Marine in the 1970s and early '80s and left the military in good standing.

WICHITA (AP) — A man accused of trying to carry out a suicide bomb attack for al-Qaida at the Kansas airport where he worked was awarded a medal and several commendations as a Marine in the 1970s and early '80s and left the military in good standing.

Military records obtained last week by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act show Terry L. Loewen earned the National Defense Service Medal, which typically is awarded for honorable military service during a designated combat time, such as the wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and everything since 9/11, according to the Department of Defense. Loewen's time in the military coincided briefly with the Vietnam War.

He also received the Marine Corps Reserve Medal, Marksman Badge and Citizen Soldier Award.

Loewen was on active duty for training from February to November 1974, and he served in the Marine Corps Reserves from October 1973 until October 1982, eventually reaching the rank of sergeant. Loewen was detached to the Electrical Maintenance Co. of the 4th Maintenance Battalion in Wichita.

The 58-year-old avionics technician was arrested Dec. 13 after a months-long undercover sting when he allegedly tried to drive a van filled with inert explosives onto the tarmac at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport in a plot prosecutors say was aimed at causing maximum carnage. He has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction, attempting to use of an explosive device to damage property, and attempting to give material support to al-Qaida.

His attorneys told a federal court earlier this month that his trial will likely focus on what the defense is calling entrapment and outrageous government conduct. They wrote they expect evidence from the sting operation will shed light on how two undercover FBI agents allegedly transformed "a Wichita aviation mechanic with over 30 years of experience and a former Marine who loves his family" into a terrorist prepared to commit suicide on behalf of al-Qaida.

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