Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Beirut Bombing - 30 Years

The Multinational Force (MNF) in Lebanon was created in August 1982 following a request from the Lebanese government to the United Nations for "peacekeepers" to intervene in the Lebanese Civil War, which had heated up after the Israelis invaded Lebanon on June 6, 1982 with the aim of destroying forces belonging to the Palestine Liberation Organization in the south of the country bordering Israel.

The United States' main contribution to to the Multinational Force was a United States Marine Corps "Marine Amphibious Unit" or "MAU", known today as a "Marine Expeditionary Unit" or "MEU". A MAU/MEU is formed around a reinforced infantry battalion known as a "Battalion Landing Team" or "BLT". Both France and Italy also committed large forces to the peacekeeping effort. The MNF was located solely in the Lebanese capital of Beirut.

The Marines' headquarters was at, and their positions surrounded, the Beirut International Airport.

The "peacekeeping" situation in Lebanon took a definite turn for the worse on April 18, 1983 when terrorists used a suicide truck bomb to attack the US Embassy in Beirut, killing 63 including 17 Americans. When the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit, including a BLT formed from the 1st Battalion 8th Marines, relieved their sister formation the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit in May 1983, they faced an almost untenable tactical situation and the undesirable role of interposing themselves between warring factions who really didn't care who was in the way.

Throughout the summer and fall of 1983, warring factions and terrorists in Lebanon increasingly targeted the MNF, Americans as well as the French and Italians. Actions taken by the MNF on behalf of the Lebanese government who asked for them caused them to be seen by the warring sides as active participants in the civil war, rather than "peacekeepers".

The status of forces as "peacekeepers" in Lebanon - and the restrictive rules of engagement they were required to operate under - meant that our Marines and others were largely without the means to defend themselves if beset upon by a rapidly attacking and determined enemy.

On the morning of October 23, 1983 - thirty years ago today - a suicide bomber drove a truck laden with as much as ten tons of explosives past the weak barricades protecting the Marine Barracks at the airport, past the Marine sentries with unloaded weapons, and straight into the front of the building.

The bomb detonated at 6:22 AM. 241 Americans, mostly from BLT 1/8, were killed.

Less than ten minutes later, another suicide truck bomber detonated his deadly cargo in front of the French military barracks: 58 French paratroopers were killed.

The United States and France retaliated with air strikes and naval gunfire from ships off shore, including the 16-inch main battery of the battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62) into 1984, but without any increased commitment of ground forces or intent to act as anything but "peacekeepers".

United States forces left Lebanon on February 26, 1984. The French pulled out by the end of March. The situation in Lebanon was essentially left the same as it was when they had gotten there: in the midst of civil war. There is no other way to put it but that the United States left defeated, and that is a lesson terrorists did not fail to learn.

Ed Morrissey at HotAir has posted his own tribute and remembrance to the events of October 23, 1983 that expands upon the lasting security implications of the attacks that day.

From September 1982 through their withdrawal in February 1984, a total of 267 American servicemen lost their lives in Lebanon: seven United States Army, one United States Air Force, nineteen United States Navy, and 240 Marines. The names of all of them follow.
  • Abbott, Terry W. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Alexander, Clemon S. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Allman, John R. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Arnold, Moses J. Jr. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Bailey, Charles K. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Baker, Nicholas - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Banks, Johansen - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Barrett, Richard E. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Bates, Ronny K. - Hospital Corpsman 1st Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Battle, David L. - First Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Baynard, James R. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Beamon, Jesse W. - Hospitalman, USN - 10/23/83
  • Belmer, Alvin. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Biddle, Shannon D. - Corporal, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Bland, Stephen - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Blankenship, Richard L. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Blocker, John W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Boccia, Joseph J. Jr. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Bohannon, Leon Jr. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Bohnet, John R. Jr. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Bonk, John J. Jr. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Boulos, Jeffrey L. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Bousum, David R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Boyett, John N. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Brown, Anthony - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Brown, David W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Buchanan, Bobby S. Jr. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Buckmaster, John B. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Burley, William F. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Butler, Alfred III - Captain, USMC - 2/9/84
  • Cain, Jimmy R. - Hospitalman, USN - 10/23/83
  • Callahan, Paul L. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Camara, Mecot E. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Campus, Bradley J. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Carlson, Randall A. - Major, USA - 9/25/82
  • Ceasar, Johnnie D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Cherman, Sam - Corporal, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Clark, Randy W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 9/6/83
  • Cole, Marc L. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Coleman, Marcus A. - Specialist 4th Class, USA - 10/23/83
  • Comas, Juan M. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Conley, Robert A. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Cook, Charles D. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Cooper, Curtis J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Copeland, Johnny L. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Corcoran, Bert D. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Cosner, David L. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Coulman, Kevin P. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Cox, Manuel A. - Sergeant, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Croft, Brett A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Crudale, Rick R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Custard, Kevin P. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Cyzick, Russell E. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Daugherty, David L. - Corporal, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Davis, Andrew L. - Major, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Decker, Sidney James - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Devlin, Michael J. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Dibenedetto, Thomas A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Dorsey, Nathaniel G. - Private, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Douglass, Frederick B. - Sergeant Major, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Dramis, George L. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 1/30/84
  • Dunnigan, Timothy J. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Earle, Bryan L. - Hospitalman, USN - 10/23/83
  • Edwards, Roy L. - Master Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Elliot, William D. Jr. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Ellison, Jesse - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Estes, Danny R. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Estler, Sean F. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Evans, Thomas A. - Corporal, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Faulk, James E. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Fluegel, Richard A. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Forrester, Steven M. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Foster, William B. Jr. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Fulcher, Michael D. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Fuller, Benjamin E. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Fulton, Michael S. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gaines, William Jr. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gallagher, Sean R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gander, David B. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gangur, George M. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gann, Leland E. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Garcia, Randall J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Garcia, Ronald J. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gargano, Edward J. - Corporal, USMC - 1/8/84
  • Gay, David D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Ghumm, Harold D. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gibbs, Warner Jr. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Giblin, Timothy R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gorchinski, Michael W. - Chief Electronics Technician, USN - 10/23/83
  • Gordon, Richard J. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Gratton, Harold F. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Greaser, Robert B. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Green, Davin M. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hairston, Thomas A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Haltiwanger, Freddie Jr. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hamilton, Virgel D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hanton, Gilbert - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hart, William - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Haskell, Michael S. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hastings, Michael A. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hattaway, Jeffrey T. - Private First Class, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Hein, Paul A. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Held, Douglas E. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Helms, Mark A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Henderson, Ferrandy D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hernandez, Matilde Jr. - Master Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hernandez, Rodolfo - Lance Corporal, USMC - 1/30/84
  • Hester, Stanley G. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hildreth, Donald W. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Holberton, Richard H. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Holland, Robert S. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Hollingshead, Bruce A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Holmes, Melvin D. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Howard, Bruce L. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hudson, John R. - Lieutenant, USN - 10/23/83
  • Hudson, Terry L. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hue, Lyndon J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Hukill, Maurice E. - Second Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Iacovino, Edward S. Jr. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Ingalls, John J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Innocenzi, Paul G. III - Warrant Officer, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Jackowski, James J. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • James, Jeffrey W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Jenkins, Nathaniel W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Johnson, Michael H. - Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Johnston, Edward A. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Jones, Steven - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Julian, Thomas A. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Kees, Marion E. - Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Keown, Thomas C. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Kimm, Edward E. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Kingsley, Walter V. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Kluck, Daniel S. - Sergeant, USA - 10/23/83
  • Knipple, James C. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Kraft, Todd A. - Corporal, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Kreischer, Freas H. III - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Laise, Keith J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lamb, Thomas G. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lange, Mark A. - Lieutenant, USN - 12/4/83
  • Langon, James J. IV - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lariviere, Michael S. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lariviere, Steven B. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lemnah, Richard L. - Master Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lewis, David A. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Lewis, Val S. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Livingston, Joseph R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Losey, Donald George - Second Lieutenant, USMC - 8/29/83
  • Lyon, Paul D. Jr. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Macroglou, John W. - Major, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Maitland, Samuel - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Martin, Charlie R. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Martin, Jack L. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Massa, David S. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Massman, Michael R. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Mattacchione, Joseph J. - Private, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Maxwell, Ben H. - Staff Sergeant, USA - 4/18/83
  • McCall, John - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • McDonough, James E. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • McMahon, Timothy R. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • McMaugh, Robert V. - Corporal, USMC - 4/18/83
  • McNeely, Timothy D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • McVicker, George N. II - Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Melendez, Louis - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Menkins, Richard H. II - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Mercer, Michael D. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Meurer, Ronald W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Milano, Joseph P. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Moore, Joseph P. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Morrow, Richard A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Muffler, John F. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Munoz, Alex - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Myers, Harry D. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Nairn, David J. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Nava, Luis A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Ohler, Michael J. - Captain, USMC - 10/16/83
  • Olson, John A. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Olson, Robert P. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Ortega, Alexander M. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 8/29/83
  • Ortiz, Richard C. - Chief Warrant Officer 3, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Owen, Jeffrey B. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Owens, Joseph A. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Page, Connie Ray - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Parker, Ulysses - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Payne, Mark W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Pearson, John L. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Perkins, Marvin H. - Corporal, USMC - 12/4/83
  • Perron, Thomas S. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Phillips, John A. Jr. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Piercy, George W. - Chief Hospital Corpsman, USN - 10/23/83
  • Plymel, Clyde W. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Pollard, William H. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Pomalestorres, Rafael I. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Prevatt, Victor M. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Price, James C. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Prindeville, Patrick K. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Pulliam, Eric A. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Quirante, Diomedes J. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Randolph, David M. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Ray, Charles R. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Reagan, David L. - Corporal, USMC - 9/30/82
  • Relvas, Rui A. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Rich, Terrence L. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Richardson, Warren - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Rodriguez, Juan C. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Rotondo, Louis J. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Salazar, Mark E. - Staff Sergeant, USA - 4/18/83
  • San Pedro, Guillermo Jr. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Sauls, Michael C. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Schnorf, Charles J. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Schultz, Scott L. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Scialabba, Peter J. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Scott, Gary R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Shallo, Ronald L. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Shipp, Thomas A. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Shropshire, Jerryl D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Silvia, James F. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Sliwinski, Stanley J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Smith, Kirk H. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Smith, Thomas G. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Smith, Vincent L. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Soares, Edward - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Soifert, Alan H. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/14/83
  • Sommerhof, William S. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Spaulding, Michael C. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Spearing, John W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Spencer, Stephen E. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Stelpflug, Bill J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Stephens, Horace R. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Stockton, Craig S. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Stokes, Jeffrey G. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Stowe, Thomas D. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Sturghill, Eric D. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Sundar, Devon L. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Surch, James F. Jr. - Lieutenant, USN - 10/23/83
  • Thompson, Dennis A. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Thorstad, Thomas P. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Tingley, Stephen D. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Tishmack, John J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Townsend, Henry Jr. - Corporal, USMC - 12/2/83
  • Trahan, Lex D. - Private, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Twine, Richard - Sergeant First Class, USA - 4/18/83
  • Valle, Pedro J. - Corporal, USMC - 9/6/83
  • Vallone, Donald H. Jr. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Walker, Eric R. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Walker, Leonard W. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Warren, Harley - Major, USAF - 9/25/82
  • Washington, Eric G. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Weekes, Obrian - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wells, Tandy W. - First Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wentworth, Steven B. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wesley, Allen D. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • West, Lloyd D. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Weyl, John R. - Staff Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wherland, Burton D. Jr. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wigglesworth, Dwayne W. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Williams, Rodney J. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Williams, Scipio Jr. - Gunnery Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Williamson, Johnny A. - Lance Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wint, Walter E. Jr. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Winter, William E. - Captain, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Wolfe, John E. - Corporal, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Woollett, Donald E. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Worley, David E. - Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class, USN - 10/23/83
  • Wyche, Craig L. - Private First Class, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Yarber, James G. - Sergeant First Class, USA - 10/23/83
  • Young, Jeffrey D. - Sergeant, USMC - 10/23/83
  • Zimmerman, William A. - First Lieutenant, USMC - 10/23/83
Let these names - and the others who have been lost on similar misadventures - be remembered each and every time a politician is considering employing our brave men and women in uniform for "peacekeeping".

The present-day 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit can be found at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina when they are not deployed overseas. 24th MEU currently is comprised of a BLT based on 1st Battalion 2nd Marines, Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 261 (VMM-261), and Combat Logistics Battalion 24 (CLB-24).

1st Battalion 8th Marines is still an active Marine Corps infantry battalion and is part of the 2nd Marine Division, also at MCB Camp Lejeune.

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