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October 23, 2009

Beirut Bombing Anniversary

On this day in 1983, the largest non-nuclear explosion on record killed 241 United States Marines in Beirut, Lebanon.


Talking Proud tells the story in words and pictures:

It is estimated that the force of the explosion was equal to more than 12,000 lbs. of TNT, bringing much of the building to the ground instantly. Colonel Geraghty said the device had 21,000 lbs. of explosives. SSgt Randy Gaddo has said the truck had 2,000 pounds of dynamite strapped around gas cylinders, which was the equivalent of 20,000 lbs of TNT. There was a fireball which ripped through the concrete. The FBI has said at the time that it was the largest non-nuclear bomb in history.

I have read that the BLT HQ slept 300 Marines. I don't know exactly how many were inside when the truck exploded, but suspect most of them given the number who died. I know the Navy sailors bunked there as well.

... Brigadier General James M. Lariviere, USMC, who served as a reconnaissance platoon commander in Beirut, has said that this was the beginning of America's war against Islamic terrorism.

Bob JordanRetired Marine Major Bob Jordan was there and agrees, adding a little zest to the general's observation:

"We were being tested, and we failed the test (angry that the Marines were told to withdraw and there was no retaliation after the attack against BLT 1-8). (This was) the first skirmish in ... the battle against terror ... We need to understand that these people believe in what they are doing ... We need to understand that they are willing to die for it and willing to kill us to achieve it."

I am sorry, but I have no words today. I feel like we're heading back down a long tunnel to somewhere none of us wants to be.

Anyway, please say a prayer for these men's souls tonight.

Posted by Cassandra at October 23, 2009 06:17 PM

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16 years ago this month Black Hawk Down.

We found out later it was Al Qaeda and Bin Ladin training the Somalis.


Two wars going on and the President of the United States is in a pissing contest with Fox News.

Posted by: keyboard Jockey at October 23, 2009 09:35 PM

My first indication that day was when every Marine I know packed a sea bag.

"If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven's scene, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines." Rest and regroup gentlemen.
William sends

Posted by: William at October 24, 2009 07:32 AM

I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 24, 2009 01:12 PM

That may be the largest conventional explosion deployed with anger, but it is far from the largest explosion. Many accidents have been much much larger. The Texas City explosion of a ship carrying amonium nitrate was thought to approximate THREE THOUSAND TONS of TNT. Test shots to approximate the effect of nuclear weapons approached four KT.


Posted by: Tom B at October 25, 2009 09:41 PM

Sorry for the split post, but my main point didn't make it. As horrible as the Beirut bombing was, we face event greater dangers today. Coming immediately to mind is a terrorist action against an LNG carrier, or another ship filled with hazardous cargo like in Texas City event. And large propane carriers routinely drive by in front of our elementary school here. There are so many targets right down the street.

Posted by: Tom B at October 25, 2009 10:00 PM

16 years ago this month Black Hawk Down.

Geez, I guess it really was 16 years ago. I remember where I was when we heard the news. Sitting in class in DLI in Monterrey. I remember being so angry that I did not trust myself to even watch the movie when it came out in 01. I didn't see it until 05 I think. It really doesn't feel like it was that long ago.

Posted by: MikeD at October 26, 2009 10:37 AM