“They Came In Peace”

At 0622 on October 23, 1983, thirty-one years ago today, a yellow Mercedes truck drove up to the entrance of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon; headquarters of the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit and its ground combat element, Battalion Landing Team 1/8.

The Iranian driver triggered his load of explosives, equivalent to 21,000 pounds of TNT, and 241 American peacekeepers were killed. It was the largest single day Marine Corps loss since Iwo Jima.

Minutes later a second suicide bomber hit the Drakkar building, the barracks of the 3rd Company, 1st Parachute Chasseurs Regiment, killing 58 French paratroopers.

Beirut was a place few Americans had heard of prior to 1983, and a place most can’t find on a map now. October 23, 1983 is a date most will not note nor remember.

Except for those who were there.

Beirut Memorial

You are not forgotten brothers.

Beirut Memorial (1)

Beirut Memorial (2)



  1. 1
    angrywebmaster growls and barks:

    I went to school with someone who was murdered by an RIF sniper there. I can’t recall if it was before or after the bombing.

  2. 2
    dasbow growls and barks:

    I was at Air Force weather school at the time. A Navy classmate got assigned to the New Jersey, so he got some measure of revenge on those assholes. Too bad we didn’t let the Air Force get the rest.

  3. 3
    readerjp growls and barks:

    And Reagan withdrew all troops. And then he invaded Grenada.

    It was pathetic.

  4. 4
    LC Xystus growls and barks:

    My brother had been at the MCRD in San Diego but had to halt his training for medical reasons & decided to bail. He arrived home on the day before this. IIRC my mom reported my dad’s weeping at news of this disaster.

  5. 5

    readerjp says:

    And Reagan withdrew all troops. And then he invaded Grenada.

    Not quite. We had troops there for quite a while after the bombing. In fact the 22nd MAU was relived by 3/8, the unit that had just conducted the Grenada operation.

  6. 6
    tweell growls and barks:

    My ship was elswhere in the Med, but was sent there after the bombing. We sat a few miles offshore and didn’t do much for a while. I remember looking at Beirut at night and hearing small arms in use while seeing a large ferris wheel taking people for rides.

    Concensus at the time was that Syria was behind the bombing, so eventually the New Jersey took out a Syrian general’s HQ in the Bekaa valley. My ship did some shelling with its’ 5″ guns, mainly when the Marines were being withdrawn. There were people shooting at our Marines and we were told to discourage that, so we did. 🙂

  7. 7
    angrywebmaster growls and barks:

    tweell @ #:

    There were people shooting at our Marines and we were told to discourage that, so we did.

    With Maximum Extreme Prejudice I take it?

  8. 8
    LC PrimEviL growls and barks:

    I remember. What I remember most is that in the aftermath, the total lack of vehicular security was pathetic.

    They need not have died.

  9. 9
    readerjp growls and barks:

    I know I’m going to get reamed on this, BUT Reagan did back down, did nothing and gave the terrorists a message.

    It was Hizbollah that did it.