Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Beirut Battalion…They Came In Peace

On Sunday morning at about half-past six a.m., October 23, 1983, the Marines of 1st Battalion / 8th Marine Regiment were about to wake up to the nightmare of their lives.

A large Mercedes stake-bed truck driven by an Iranian, crashed through the barbed-wire barriers protecting the Marines and crashed into the lobby of the headquarters building and came to a stop. The Iranian suicide bomber detonated the 12,000 pound PETN bomb vaporizing himself and destroying the four-story cinder-block building causing it to collapse, crushing the sleeping Marines inside.

Barely had the roar of the explosion, heat waves and concussion subsided as the Marines had to adapt to the situation at hand, and react to the magnitude of this attack. Even while rescue efforts were underway, snipers in the hillsides of Beirut took potshots at the rescuers searching for their fellow Americans.

The Beirut Battalion’s mission was not to fight in this war, but by its armed presence keep the peace between the occupying armies and the several dozen armed militias that were wreaking havoc on the civilian population.

In all…241 Americans: 220 Marines, 18 US Navy shipmates, and 3 brave US Army soldiers were killed. Never forget that “they came in peace” and never forget the Beirut Battalion.

The Beirut Memorial outside Camp Lejeune, N.C., home of the 22nd & 24th MEU's

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