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Sunday, October 23, 2005

This Day in Terrorism - Beirut

The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon, created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away. Official USMC Photo

This day in 1983, at approximately 6:20 a.m., a yellow Mercedes delivery truck drove up to the Marine barracks at Beirut International Airport, and charged through the barbed-wire fence. It passed between sentry posts (the Marine sentries did not have loaded weapons), and smashed into the the lobby of Marine headquarters.

One of the sentries reported that the driver was smiling as he passed them.

The truck, which was loaded with the equivalent of about 12,000 pounds of TNT. The four-story building collapsed, crushing many inside to death. The blast produced a mushroom cloud.

Not quite half a minute later, the French Paratrooper barracks suffered the same fate. Another truck loaded with explosives detonated in the underground parking garage, levelling the headquarters.

Rescuers had to contend with sniper fire, but did manage to pull some survivors to safety in the days that followed.

241 American servicemembers were killed; 18 were Navy, 3 Army, and the rest were U.S. Marines. 60 were injured. It was the single deadliest day for the U.S. Marines since Iwo Jima.

The French lost 58 paratroopers; 15 were injured.

Three Lebanese were also killed - two at the Marine barracks, and one at the French barracks.

In response, President Ronald Reagan pledged to keep a military force in the country, despite the "despicable act." Vice President George Bush toured the site three days later, stating that the U.S. would not be cowed by terrorists.

The French retaliated with attacks on Iranian Revolutionary Guard positions in the Bekka Valley; the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was believed to be assisting in training Hezbollah fighters.

Other than limited shelling, the U.S. offered no significant military response to the attacks. A planned strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard was aborted due to fears of damaging relations with Lebanon's Arab neighbors.

The Marines were moved to an offshore location. In February, 1984, the International Peacekeeping Force withdrew from Lebanon.

In the absence of the lack of strong U.S. military response, and with the withdrawal of the peacekeepers, terrorists celebrated what they saw as a victory. Terrorist attacks against Westerners, and particularly Americans, increased substantially.

The event is widely viewed as the opening salvo of the War on Terror.

For more on the Marine Barracks Bombing:

The Beirut Memorial Online



U.S. Marine Corps Website

If you have a post on the Marine Barracks Bombing, please trackback to this post, or list it in the comments section.

SUNSET LANDING — An F-14D Tomcat, assigned to the “Blacklions” of Fighter Squadron 213, holds in the landing pattern with its tailhook down after conducting a late evening mission over the Persian Gulf region. VF-213 is assigned to Carrier Air Wing 8, currently embarked aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt. U.S. Navy photo by Lt.j.g. Scott Timmester

In Today's News - Sunday, October 23, 2005

Quote of the Day
"The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name
and the inheritance of a great example."
-- Benjamin Disraeli

News of Note
Operation Iraqi Freedom
U.S. Troops Maintain High Morale in Iraq
U.S. Operation Targets Iraqi Insurgents Near Border
Referendum Vote Probed
US says kills 20 insurgents in western Iraq

Operation Enduring Freedom
Secretary Urges Resolution of Allegations
8 Police, 4 Taliban Killed in Afghanistan

Homeland Security / War on Terror
Woman Found Hiding Grenade Under Baby

Hurricane Season
Relentless Wilma
Three dead; Expected to make landfall in Florida Monday
Hurricane Watch for Fla. Keys
Video: Fla. Official on Evacuations
Video: Wilma's Wrath
Photo Essay: Hurricane Hammers Mexico
Photo Essay: Riding Out the Storm

Times Editor: Miller May Have Misled on Leak Information

Sports News
Clemens vs. Contreras in Game One of World Series
Four Ex-Yanks on Deck
White Sox strike first in World Series

Fox News
Plane Reported Missing After Takeoff From Nigerian City
Teen Suspect in Vitale Murder Charged as Adult
Mother of San Francisco Bay Victims on Suicide Watch
Hariri's Son: World Court Should Try Alleged Killers
Video: Syrian Link?
Croatia Begins Bird Flu Cull

Reuters: Top News
Suriname denies UK bird flu parrot infected there
Bush pushes for guest worker program
India, Pakistan inch toward quake aid cooperation
Brazil foot-and-mouth outbreak crosses state lines

AP World News
India, Pakistan Propose Setting Up Camps
Mom: Russia Afraid of Khodorkovsky Clout
Pakistan Gang Rape Victim Heads to U.S.
Mayor, Lawmaker Vie in Poland Vote Runoff
Somalia Faces Threat of New Civil War
20 Inmates Escape From Guatemala Prison
Fundamentalist Arrested in Hariri Killing
Egypt Police Guard Churches After Riots
Blast Rocks Street in Salzburg, Austria

CENTCOM: News Release

Department of Defense
Rumsfeld Thanks Mongolian Army Soldiers — Story Photos
Rumsfeld's Mongolia Visit Focuses on Peacekeeping
U.S. Troops Die in Iraq; Insurgents Killed — Story

New Substation Improves Service for 20,000
Big Easy 5K Run Aids Hurricane Victims

Vehicle Armor Kits Add Safety, Peace of Mind
Logistical Task Force Supports Warfighters

Hurricane Coverage
Iraq Transition of Power

Terrorist Safe House Destroyed
Iraq Reconstruction
Iraq Daily Update
Multinational Force Iraq
Eye on Iraq Update (pdf)
Iraq Progress Fact Sheet (pdf)
Weekly Progress Report (pdf)

Afghanistan Daily Update

Detainees' Dietary Needs Observed
Search, Seizure Training Tougher
Waging and Winning the War on Terror
Terrorism Timeline
Terrorism Knowledge Base

Rumsfeld in Korea Video
National Guard, Reserve Update

Al Azamiyah Al Basrah Al Hillah Al Karkh Al Kazimiyah Al Kut An Nasiriyah Baghdad Baqubah Mosul Najaf Nineveh Tall Kayf

Bost/Laskar Ghurian Herat Kabul Qandahar


National Hurricane Center

Today in History
1679 - James II of Scotland is the target of the Meal Tub Plot.
1775 - The Continental Congress approves a resolution barring Blacks from serving in the army.
1790 - Slaves revolt in Haiti; it is later suppressed.
1805 - The sailing ship Aeneus sinks off Newfoundland, killing 340
1864 - Battle of Westport, Missouri.
1910 - Blanche Scott becomes the first woman to solo on a public airplane flight.
1915 - 25,000 women march in NYC, demanding the right to vote.
1927 - The city of Netanya, Israel is founded.
1942 - Britain launches a major offensive at El Alamein, Egypt.
1944 - The Soviet army invades Hungary.
1946 - The U.N. General Assembly's second session convenes - the first in NYC.
1947 - The NAACP petition on racism, "An Appeal to the World," is presented to the U.N.
1954 - Britain, England, France and the U.S.S.R. agree to end the occupation of Germany.
1956 - The first video recording on magnetic tape is televised coast-to-coast;a revolt against Stalinist policies begins in Hungary (Hungarian Revolution).
1957 - The first test firing of the Vanguard satellite launch vehicle, TV-3, takes place.
1958 - The U.S.S.R. lends money to the U.A.R. to build the Aswan High Dam.
1962 - USAF Major Robert A. Rushworth takes the X-15 to 40,800 m.
1970 - Gary Gabelich sets an auto speed record of 622.4 mph (1,002 kph).
1973 - Nixon agrees to turn over White House tape recordings to Judge Sirica; The U.N.'s revised International Telecommunication Convention is adopted.
1977 - Panamanians vote 2:1 to approve the new Canal treaties.
1980 - Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin resigns, due to illness.
1983 - A suicide terrorist truck bomb kills 241 U.S. servicemembers in Beirut.
1984 - NBC airs BBC footage of the Ethiopian famine.
1989 - The U.S.'s 62nd manned space mission (STS-34, Atlantis 5) returns from space.
1990 - Iraq announces the release of 330 French hostages.
1991 - Dr. Jack Kevorkian's suicide machine kills two women.

1752 - Nicolas Appert, inventor (food canning, bouillon tablet)
1868 - Rama V (Chulalongkorn), leader of Thailand (-1910)
1905 - Felix Bloch, U.S. physicist, Nobel Prize winner (1952)
1923 - Frank Sutton, actor (Sgt. Carter-Gomer Pyle USMC)
1925 - Johnny Carson, comedian (Tonight Show, Who Do You Trust)
1938 - John Heinz (Sen-PA)
1942 - Michael Crichton, novelist (Andromeda Strain, Congo, Looker)
1956 - Dwight Yoakum, country singer (If There Was a Way)
1959 - "Weird Al" Yankovic, parody singer (Eat It, UHF, Naked Gun)
1962 - Doug Flute, WFL/NFL QB (Generals, Bears, Patriots)
1963 - Katherine Hushaw, Playboy playmate (Oct, 1986)

1983 - Jessica Savitch, newscaster (NBC Weekend)

Reported Missing in Action
- None listed -