Wayback Wednesday: Beirut Bombing 1983

Posted on

Beirut Bombing Image One
Photo Credit: Veterans Today

A suicide bomber drives a truck packed with explosives into the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. military personnel. That same morning, 58 French soldiers were killed in their barracks two miles away in a separate suicide terrorist attack. The U.S. Marines were part of a multinational force sent to Lebanon in August 1982 to oversee the Palestinian withdrawal from Lebanon.

In 1975, a bloody civil war erupted in Lebanon, with Palestinian and leftist Muslim guerrillas battling militias of the Christian Phalange Party, the Maronite Christian community and other groups. During the next few years, Syrian, Israeli and United Nations interventions failed to resolve the factional fighting and, on August 20, 1982, a multinational force including 800 U.S. Marines was ordered to Beirut to help coordinate the Palestinian withdrawal.

[Following] the massacre of Palestinian refugees by a Christian militia, [the] next day, the first U.S. Marine to die during the mission was killed while defusing a bomb. Other Marines fell prey to snipers. On April 18, 1983, a suicide bomber driving a van devastated the U.S. embassy in Beirut, killing 63 people, including 17 Americans. Then, on October 23, a Lebanese terrorist plowed his bomb-laden truck through three guard posts, a barbed-wire fence and into the lobby of the Marines Corps headquarters in Beirut. [He] detonated a massive bomb killing 241 Marine, Navy and Army personnel. The bomb, which was made of a sophisticated explosive enhanced by gas, had an explosive power equivalent to 18,000 pounds of dynamite. The identities of the embassy and barracks bombers were not determined but, they were suspected to be Shiite terrorists associated with Iran.

Johnny Copeland Image Two
Beirut Memorial Online

Serious questions also arose over the quality of security in the American sector of war-torn Beirut. The U.S. peacekeeping force occupied an exposed area near the airport but, for political reasons, the Marine Commander had not been allowed to maintain a completely secure perimeter before the attack.

On February 26, 1984, the main force of Marines left Lebanon, leaving just a small contingent to guard the U.S. embassy in Beirut.

[Source]

This one hits home. One of the Marines killed in that bombing graduated from my high school. He graduated in 1982 (two years ahead of me) and I never got to meet him but, I knew his younger brother whom was a year behind me. Many years later, I wound up married to the Corps for 12 years. My ex and I visited the Beirut Bombing Memorial in Jacksonville when he returned from Iraq War duty. I took pictures but, I don’t remember what happened to them. ~Vic

Burlington Times-News Article (Johnny’s name on the wall…)


 

11 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Beirut Bombing 1983

    bottomlesscoffee007 said:
    October 24, 2019 at 12:10 AM

    The forgotten wars, the forgotten volunteers that paid with their lives, all in the name of who friggin knows. That’s the worst part.

    In 2015 and 2016, I was so appalled at the candidates on both the left and the right who so easily said that the Iraq war was a mistake. The only 3 that had no responsibility for the war was Trump, Carson and Fiorina, since they were private citizens up until they threw their hats into the ring.

    The rest of those people up on those stages, showed their contempt for America and all Americans when they so easily said “it was a mistake”.

    I remember the first time I heard them say that, and I thought “must be nice”.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      October 24, 2019 at 12:27 AM

      It’s always easy to send others to do the dirty work and, then, play monday-morning quarterback afterwards. In this specific case, I suspect that the ‘Iraq War was a mistake’ speeches were intended to get back at W and slam the Republicans.

      The one thing about this that really pissed me off was the politics that got in the way of proper security to start with. Reminds me of my ex being livid about Marines not being able to have ammo in their weapons. In 1983, my ex (whom I didn’t know at the time) wasn’t a Marine. He did a short stint in the Army and was in Germany, sitting on the East German border, listening to the Russians when all that went down.

      Liked by 1 person

    Silk Cords said:
    October 24, 2019 at 5:13 AM

    Good reply comment and a great article. It’s a lesson that sadly wasn’t learned either. All the way up through the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations I’ve heard stories about embassy guards not being allowed to be armed or being forced to carry unloaded weapons. Never mind the silly rules of engagement our troops have been saddled with the last few wars.

    Mistakes are natural, what gives me little hope for politicians specifically and people in general is that they never seem to be learned from.

    Like

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      October 24, 2019 at 2:22 PM

      The ex I mentioned above was an Embassy Guard in Bamako, Mali, in the late 70s. He and other Marines had trouble with the Ambassadors. They were politicians, too and didn’t care about the Marines that were protecting their sorry asses. My ex had a Captain fly out to Mali to figure out why his Marines were being sent back and branded troublemakers. The Staff Sergeant that handled the young Marines had his mouth firmly planted on the Ambassador’s ass and the other Marines were balking. My ex was one that was sent back. He told me that his Captain also tangled with the Ambassador. He never knew how it played out. He left the Marines after that & went to college.

      Politicians have learned one thing…how to obscure their transgressions.

      Liked by 1 person

    jmshistorycorner said:
    October 24, 2019 at 5:13 AM

    Wow.

    Like

    badfinger20 said:
    October 25, 2019 at 3:29 PM

    I remember when it happened…just f***ing useless. Passing the buck is business as usual.

    Like

Leave A Note ~ Share A Thought

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.