October 19, 2010

Colonel David Lemon, U.S. Army (Retired) 1940-2010

Colonel David L. Lemon, U.S. Army (Retired) 70, died last Saturday. His obituary appeared in yesterday's Washington Post.

I worked with Dave Lemon when he was the defense attache at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and again when he was the defense attache at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

Dave accepted a short-notice assignment to Baghdad in 1987 after the Iraqis expelled the previous defense attache from the country for "actions not in keeping with his diplomatic status." That's diplo-speak for "he was doing his job too well for our tastes." Once in Baghdad, he met and married Maria Aragon, the daughter of the Argentinian ambassador.

In Baghdad, Dave was the liaison officer between the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Iraqi Directorate of Military Intelligence. When DIA officers traveled to Baghdad to meet with DMI officers and offer intelligence assistance that later was key to the Iraqi military victory over the Iranians, it was through Dave's efforts. I remember long, hot days working with Dave in Baghdad to get the project going.

I was saddened to read of his passing. My condolences go out to Maria and the Lemon family.

Excerpts from the obituary:

David L. Lemon, 70, an Army colonel who served as a defense attache in Baghdad and Cairo and in retirement worked in the Middle East and North Africa as a marketing and sales executive with ITT and Motorola, died Oct. 16 at a nursing home in Miami. Col. Lemon, who served two tours in the Vietnam War, did extensive language training in the military and became fluent in Hindi, Urdu and Arabic.

After a stint with the Defense Intelligence Agency, he served as defense attache in Baghdad from 1987 to 1988, a period when the United States had cordial military relations with Iraq. He was then defense attache in Cairo until 1991. He retired from active duty the next year.

David Lee Lemon was born March 29, 1940, in Enid, Okla., and raised in Abilene, Tex. He was a 1962 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where he also received a master's degree in politics and economics in 1970. As an undergraduate, he won honors as a distinguished military student in the ROTC program. He did graduate work in engineering at Rice University in Houston and attended the Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pa., and what is now the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk.

Survivors include his wife, the former Maria Laura Aragon, of Miami, whom he married in 1988; two daughters from his first marriage, a son from his second marriage; two sisters; and five grandchildren.