Friday, October 24, 2008
On Sunday, October 23,1983 at approximately 6:20 a.m. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed and hundreds of others were wounded or disabled. This was the result of a suicide truck, laden with explosives carrying the equivilant of 20,000 pounds of TNT that detonated on the ground floor of BLT 1/8 headquarters barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The largest non-nuclear explosion of its time. Other servicemen from 1982-1984 perished from sniper fire and other atrocities. Others died years later or are permantly disabled as the result of their wounds. This makes a total of 270 Marines, sailors and soldiers that died during a peacekeeping mission.
(Image and quote from http://marines.togetherweserved.com )
On that date I was a young Marine going to MCCES at Twentynine Palms, Ca. I believe I first heard about the bombing on television. I remember how quiet the entire base was. At PT (Physical Training) our Platoon Sergeant had us do 100 jumping jacks in honor of those who had died. Not sure how exactly that honored them, but we were all pretty mad and sad at the same time.
My bunk mate from boot camp was killed there. I worked with Marines who had survived the bombing and the stories they recalled about digging for survivors were not pretty to hear.
When I was tranferred to my first duty station the call went out for a volunteer to go to Beirut, I think we about trampled all over each other to go.
the on scene desert commander
By" Col. James H. Koyle, USAF (Ret)
This had to be the most depressing book I read this year! Hows that? I
knew that a CH-53 helicopter had collided with a C-130 but didn't know
everything leading up to that disaster. Six months of planning and
practicing but there were oversights, and like what happened during the
Katrina disaster communications between all involved was askew.
For you history buffs it is an eye opener.