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Posted: 10/23/2001 10:21:54 AM EDT
Eighteen years ago today, an Islamic terrorist drove a truck loaded with TNT into the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. 241 Marines and Sailors were killed. Keep them, and all of our troops in action today in your prayers. [b]Freedom isn't free[/b] Semper Fidelis Jarhead out. [img]http://www.inetnow.net/~kudzukid/enlemblem.gif[/img]
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 10:29:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 10:33:54 AM EDT
Reposted from email: This was emailed around most of the Corps on Veterans Day. It's a message from a Marine officer who was a 2nd Lieutenant in Beirut in 1983. ---------------------------------------------- I was down at Camp Lejeune, NC Thursday on business. Everytime I go down there I stop at the Beirut memorial to pay my respects to those who were killed in Lebanon. Most folks believe that only the 241 Marines and sailors who were killed in the BLT HQ blast are listed on the wall. Not true, there are a few dozen more who were killed in firefights and by shelling both before and after the HQ tragedy. This fact is relatively unknown by most people, Marines included. There is a friend and TBS/IOC classmate of mine, 2nd LT George Losey listed on the wall. George and his platoon sergeant were both killed during a mortar and artillery attack at the Beirut airport in August of 1983. I went to his funeral and it was heartbreaking to see George's grandfather, a Marine WW1 veteran of the battle of Belleau Wood, break down at the sight of his grandson as he lay dead at such a tender age. One can only imagine what he was thinking. It was one of the saddest scenes I have ever witnessed. Also listed is Sgt Manuel Cox, a squad leader in Golf Co. 2/8. Sgt Cox was an immigrant from somewhere in South America. He came to the battalion from what is now the School of Infantry where he was a very popular instructor. All of the young boots in the battalion knew him and were in awe of him. Sgt Cox and his squad were put on an isolated outpost west of the airport. 2/8's first big scrap in Beirut took place in early December of 1983. It lasted about three hours on and off. The local Shiite militia decided it was time to see what the new Marine unit had in the way of testosterone. They found out rather quickly that the rules had changed. The BLT shot everything; small arms, artillery, mortars, tank main gun, and even TOW and Dragon missiles (shot at enemy gunners in buildings, very effective)! Sgt Cox's position was really catching hell. I believe the Shiites wanted to kill everyone there and take the weapons,ammo,etc., for their own use. For the entire fire fight Sgt Cox conducted himself in a manner that was simply awesome. The entire airport could hear him on the radio talking back to his company CP. He called for and adjusted arty, mortars, gave fire commands, the whole deal. Someone had about an hour of it on a tape recording, I always thought that they should have sent the tape to Squad Leader school and TBS and said to the students, "OK, here's how it should be done"! As luck would have it the last enemy mortar round of the night hit the roof of the building that Sgt Cox was on. It killed him and seven other Marines. The 203 gunners vests detonated, it was a mess. (cont'd)
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 10:39:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/23/2001 10:43:44 AM EDT by kpel308]
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 10:40:10 AM EDT
The company sent a Marine down to check it out. He crawled about 300 meters on his belly as the Shiites attempted to shoot him. They actually shot the canteens off his cartridge belt. He got to the OP, saw the gore and left in a panic. When he got back to the company CP his Lieutenant asked, "Clayburn did you remember to get the crypto gear"? He had not and the look on his face said it all. The Lieutenant said, "Let's go back and get it". They did and it was the same shooting gallery as the first go-round. When they got there the Lieutenant, by his own admission, was stricken with outright fear, panic, revulsion, etc. The dead Marines were in really bad shape, none remained in one entire piece. The Lieutenant found Sgt Cox dead and torn up. The last time he had seen Sgt Cox two days prior he was passing out cigars celebrating the birth of his child. Years later I met the officer who had to go and tell the Cox family about their son. As he and the chaplain pulled up to the house there was a wild party going on celebrating the birth of the baby. He told me it was the worst day of his life as everything just stopped and degenerated into a scene of absolute misery and grief. Whenever I look at his name on the wall I always think about the devastated family he left behind. He was awarded the Bronze Star for Valor(posthumously), and granted American citizenship so his family could remain in the U.S. Throughout my career whenever I heard the term NCO or Squad Leader, I always thought of Sgt Cox as the standard to measure everyone else by. What a loss. The hardest name to look at is that of Edward J.Gargano. He was a Corporal assigned to the Dragons platoon. He had been assigned to support my company in Grenada and moved with my platoon at times. In January of 1984, he was told to bring up a squad of Marines from the airport to the temporary embassy site where my platoon was. The Landing Zone was a parking lot on the coast. We used it on and off because we had no other choice. Tactically, we went loaded for bear every time we went there, it was in a bad West Beirut neighborhood. The first helo landed, the Marines ran out and took cover behind a stone wall at the edge of the LZ. As the second helo touched down all hell broke loose. I was on top of a building and saw RPG's streaking by the helo's and tracers everywhere. Most of my positions were under small arms fire and were returning the same. A Marine next to me pointed at the LZ and I saw a Marine laid out in the open. Bullets were hitting around him. I then saw a Marine run about 75 yards to the wounded man. Bullets, tracers were all around him-it was exactly like those war movies we watched as kids where the good guy always seems to outrun the bullets. The Marine reached down and scooped up the wounded man in one motion and started back again with tracers everywhere, and shrubbery and tree branches falling as bullets cut them away. I would estimate that the entire rescue of Cpl Gargano took perhaps less than two minutes, but I remember it like a slow motion NFL highlight film. (cont'd)
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 10:43:35 AM EDT
Amazingly, PFC Gorham (the rescuer) was not hit during his heroics, nor was Cpl Gargano. Cpl Gargano, however had been hit earlier under the left armpit by a bullet (7.62). By the time I hooked up with Cpl Gargano he was unconscious and probably was already dead. As we worked on him massive amounts of blood came out of his mouth and nose with each thrust, it was obvious that the bullet had hit his heart or aorta. I think we all knew what the deal was but the Doc and other men continued to at least try to do something. The tactical situation faded quickly and I had the radio man call the airport and change the medevac from urgent to routine. I went back to Cpl Gargano to verify where he was hit, evidently the MEU staff was getting micro-managed from Washington and wanted specifics. I lifted his shirt up and had to roll him over to get to the wound. Sure enough, there was a jagged hole about as big as a dime, no exit wound. I could hear blood sloshing inside his lungs and stomach, the bullet must have really torn things up inside of him. To this day I remember how young and fresh faced he looked, just as if he was asleep. I had done a lot of thinking since the BLT bombing and read the stories about all of the shattered families back home. I thought of the parents back in the states and could only imagine what this was going to do. I was all alone at this point with his body. The only thing that I could think of to do was to reach down and give his face the caress that his mother would never be able to. I said a prayer, returned to my Marines, and did my best to look composed and give them the direction they desperately needed. I don't know how well I pulled it off, but inside my heart was aching with sadness. A week later Newsweek magazine ran a short story on Cpl Gargano's death with a recruit picture of him in his dress blues. I saved that article and for the rest of my career I put it where I was forced to look at it every day. It always helped me keep things in perspective and to remember just how ugly our profession can be. Rarely did a day go by that I did not think of that event. For better or worse, it shaped a great deal of who I was as a Marine. Sorry to ramble on, Tom. The month of October always brings back memories of those days. Semper Fi, Mike
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 11:21:07 AM EDT
Thanks for reminding us! BTT!
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 11:27:46 AM EDT
i was born exacly 21 days before that. man i'm young! it's sad... OffRoad
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 11:31:14 AM EDT
My Senior Drill Instructor was a machinegunner with 2/8 in Beirut. During BWT, he sat us down on the runway at Paige Field and told us a little about what that was like while we gulped down noon chow. The Marine Corps enjoys the reputation that it does because of the men who earned it, and paid for it in blood.
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 11:47:21 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 11:53:57 AM EDT
I remember that day. It was a month before my 21st birthday. I was riding BART to school, heard about it, took the next train home and went to enlist. The recruiter told me to take a hike because of my knee problems. I tried.
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 11:54:51 AM EDT
Semper Fi
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 1:25:56 PM EDT
We shall never forget.... I raised my hand and took the Oath of Enlistment on 15 Sept 83. I heard the news of the bombing at my Grandparents house. My sense of urgency to hurry up and graduate HS and get to San Diego stayed at a high level throughout my stay at MCRD. Drill Instructor Corporal Bradford, a Drill Instructor for another Platoon in Delta Company, was a veteran of the Beirut campaign. Although Cpl. Bradford was small in size, he made a huge and lasting impact on those around him. While stationed at New River, I worked at MAG-26 HQ for 18 months. The MAG SgtMaj, SgtMaj Ihor Sywanyk , opened a kick ass wateringhole, Sywanyk's Scarlet & Gold Traditions, just prior to his retirement. One October evening in 1998, 1stLt Kirkbride stopped by my house and carted me off to Sywanyk's. I had been soaking up the atmosphere and suds, talking with my former Sergeant turned Officer about his latest deployment to Iceland when the SgtMaj got up on stage and announced to everyone present that we were in the company of three Marines who were with the BLT on 23 Oct 83. The Marines were introduced, and the SgtMaj expressed his sincere gratitude for their service. I don't think there were very many dry eyes after the SgtMaj delivered his speech. Semper Fi
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 4:07:17 PM EDT
BTT In Remembrance
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 5:44:19 PM EDT
Jarhead_22: Thank you for sharing these stories with us, and to remind everyone what some had sacrificed for our freedoms.
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 7:43:02 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 10/23/2001 7:39:24 PM EDT by Sukebe]
I lost a Boot Camp platoon member named Mike Devlin from Mass. in that bombing. We graduated 16 Dec. 1982 with Plt. 2080 D Co. 2nd Btn. RTR MCRD Parris Island. I was in the 7 day store in Iwakuni, Japan in January of 1984 and picked up a copy of Life magazines "1983 Year in Pictures" edition. Inside was a full page of a woman holding a boot camp graduation picture, you know the one with you in dress blues. It was his mom. That's how I found out that he was killed. He was only 19 and had been a Marine for less than a year and he was dead. Sad, very sad. FWIW, the opposite page had a mother holding a picture of a Sailor.
Link Posted: 10/23/2001 10:43:47 PM EDT
btt
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 3:02:32 AM EDT
I had already signed up. My Active Duty date was the 25th. Thanks for taking me back Jarhead_22.
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 4:11:12 AM EDT
I've got a photo from Grenada of an Antonov 2 Colt in Aeroflot colors that's somewhat the worse for wear. Looks like it ran over a Claymore on taxi. And an Antonov 26 in Cubana paint that has its flight controls cut up. The Ant 26 looks suspiciously like a recce bird in airliner colors. The 26 was at Point Salines airport, the place that was going to be a Mig base. The Colt was hidden at a grass strip near Grenville on the NE side of the island. Somebody decided to keep the Grenadan Prime Minister from leaving the island by air. Word is he was captured aboard a mailboat headed up the chain. After murdering most of his pro-freedom opposition, he's curently rotting in the old French fort above St. Georges.
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 5:12:45 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Sukebe: FWIW, the opposite page had a mother holding a picture of a Sailor.
View Quote
For reasons that are obvious to any Marine, we mourn the Navy Corpsmen who lost their lives just as keenly as we do the Marines. As long as there have been Fleet Marine Force Corpsmen, a Marine knew there was help coming when he called out, "Corpsman up!" Thanks Docs.
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 5:37:12 AM EDT
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 5:49:28 AM EDT
Unk would`nt take me for physical reasons....the son in law is at parris island right now......God bless all marines!......K.K.
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 5:55:49 AM EDT
My first Platoon Sgt was buried in that rubble. He survived, but was never the same.
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 6:44:15 AM EDT
The "Root" bombing was one of the biggest influences that put me in the USMC recruiters doorstep. One of my DIs, Drill Instructor Sgt. Brooker, was there....and he did tell us a little about it while we were becoming Marines. I had the honor of serving with Ssgt Brooker later on in Okinawa. Thanks Jarhead_22, a little Esprit de Corps is a healing medicine.... Semper Fi! Lew
Link Posted: 10/24/2001 9:35:53 AM EDT
Oohrah, Lew. How's your foot? The Beirut Memorial Online: [url]http://www.beirut-memorial.org/index.html[/url]
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