40th Remembrance of the Beirut Bombing

| October 26, 2023

I have delayed posting anything about the 40th Remembrance of the 241 U.S. service members who were killed in a terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon on 23 October 1983.

Beirut Memorial


I have struggled to write something several times.  Too many recent events were imposing upon that remembrance to count them all.   I will try to touch upon many of them, but in no particular order.

It was, in part, a Political Grandstanding Event.  With the Presidential election looming and campaigns in full swing there were many “additional” people who found it opportunistic to attend.  There were so many “Very Important Persons” attending that there was no parking or access to many of the events.  All of those “Special” people who had hoards of special security seemed to have no understanding that the only real “Very Important People” in attendance were the actual Beirut Veterans themselves.

I will probably enjoy my trip to the Beirut Memorial at some later date when I can actually have a moment to honor my dead brothers without great fan fair or grand standing of any sort.  I will enjoy that moment without having to dodge soapbox preachers of one ilk or another.  There won’t be any Lawyers passing out business cards wanting to get them me some of that State Sponsored Terrorism Fund.  No family members of the fallen who were never actually in Beirut trying to explain to me how things should be run.  No film crews will be there wanting an interview.  No t-shirts will be for sale, no Beirut coins will be hocked, no patches, no pins, no vests.  No Security guards restricting my access to the Memorial.  In fact, at those times there is nothing there but me and a granite wall.

Al Gray was there and has always supported Beirut Veterans.  I have long since had the opportunity to witness his support and thank him for all of his support over the years.  Al is a warrior, a Marine who earned and kept our respect.  Col. Tim Geraghty has carried and accepted full responsibility for the loss of so many on 23 October 1983.  I don’t know a single person who was actually deployed to Beirut who thinks that should be the case.  The Bombing ended his career as a Marine but he was quickly given a new career with the CIA.

There are new film projects in the works.  I refuse to participate in most of those efforts.  The following one I participated in only because I was asked to do so by our Beirut Historian and loyal friend.  They worked closely with our Historian and spent lots of time interviewing actual Marines instead of the usual high profile types.  The project is not finished yet but I have hope it will come out well.  I predict that the couple hours of video they did at my home will find its way to the cutting room floor,  unless they keep a clip or two with the Former Soviet in the background.

I have rather strong opinions about Israel, Hezbollah, Iran, Russia and current events.  Two drafts of this post were promulgated with  so much animus I doubt even the readers of TAH could have tolerated my rants.  I really miss the days when I could load up the comment section with my ramblings and let Jonn deal with things.

Only one person was awarded the Prisoner of War Medal from Beirut, he died in captivity.


On February 17, 1988, Higgins disappeared while serving as the Chief, Observer Group Lebanon and Senior Military Observer, United Nations Military Observer Group, United Nations Truce Supervision Organization. Higgins was driving alone on the coastal highway between Tyre and Naqoura in southern Lebanon, returning from a meeting with a local leader of the Amal movement, when he was pulled from his vehicle by armed men.[2][3] He had been abducted by the Lebanese group Hezbollah.[4] During his captivity, he was interrogated and tortured.[1]

As a reaction to his abduction, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 618, demanding his release. A year and a half after his abduction, images of his body, hung by the neck, were televised around the world from a videotape released by his captors. The exact date of Colonel Higgins’ murder is uncertain; he was declared dead on July 6, 1990. Finally, on 23 December 1991, his remains were recovered by the late Major Jens Nielsen (Royal Danish Army) attached to the United Nations Observation Group Beirut.[5] His remains had been “…dumped beside a mosque near a south Beirut hospital.” [6] He was interred at Quantico National Cemetery on December 30, 1991.

Col. Higgins’ military decorations include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star with combat “V”, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal with gold star and combat “V”, Combat Action Ribbon, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with silver star, Staff Service Honor Medal, United Nations Medal, and numerous unit commendations and campaign ribbons.

On March 18, 1992, President George Bush awarded Col. Higgins the Presidential Citizens Medal (posthumous). The medal was accepted by his wife, Robin, and daughter, Chrissy. Col. Higgins was also survived by two sisters.

On February 17, 1994, the Secretary of the Navy announced a new Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer would be named for Col. Higgins. On October 4, 1997, the USS Higgins (DDG-76) was christened by Col. Higgins’ widow, Robin Higgins. It was commissioned on April 24, 1999.[7]

In April 2003, he was posthumously granted a Prisoner of War Medal.[8]

Col. Higgins was mutilated while still alive for a prolonged period of time.  The evidence of prolonged and repeated torture so gruesome that it would make any of us wretch was done over many months.

There are people who do not consider Col. Higgins a Beirut Veteran, his name is not on the Memorial.   I spent more time than I care to remember in the AO of Southern Lebanon.  23 October 1983 was a horrific day, it is however one day.  There are so many others that were there long before that day and I can offer my attestation  to the fact that many of us remained there long after that day.

I watch smarmy and unctuous pundits pontificate about things they know nothing of.  The moment the PLO accepted help from the United States and were evacuated from Beirut they humiliated Arab radicals.  That was the moment in time that Hezbollah was born.  The Gaza Palestinians are just the remains of an eviscerated PLO and Hamas the radical thugs that took control through force.

I only see supporters of Hamas and Hezbollah screaming from the cheap seats.  Let them go to Gaza and gaze into the black empty eyes of a soulless being consumed with hate for a moment.  After they have seen what I have… they will sing a different song.


Category: Beirut

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We remember.
Our leaders just haven’t learned – they are too absorbed in gaining and maintaining wealth and power.

May God judge.


Great perspective! Thanks, Dave.


If this doesn’t grab someone in the feelz…then they just don’t have any “feelz”. It is obvious that no one did any dusting or changing of the air filters in the room that these Marines were interviewed in.

Dave, to you and all of the others that are working to make sure we find and remember the truth of this murderous act I give this…SALUTE! I personally would like to see the drafts that you didn’t post. For those that can’t tolerate your rants…I gots a rope they can go piss up.

Thank you, Good Sir.


God rest all those who were lost. Godspeed to all the survivors.

Dragoon 45

I lost it Monday. One of the local radio stations, KRMG Tulsa 102.3 FM, decided to call Oct 23 KRMG Day during their afternoon drive show. Called in to remind them about the bombing, left messages, and never heard a word back. It seems like nobody cares anymore.

USMC 1974-1982

Daisy Cutter

I still remember where I was when this happened. I was depressed for days afterward. I really believe it was shared grief with all Americans. Hard to listen to all the profiteering over this. I heard of one effort where some guy claimed to have scooped up some soil from the site and ground it into writing pens and tried to sell those. The families and veterans revolted against that, however.


Hand salute and Semper Fi.


Well said Dave, Semper Fi Marine!



1981 1LT Charles Jeffrey Schnorf (USMC)KIA, USMC Barracks, Beirut, Lebanon October 23, 1983

Skivvy Stacker

I remember the day the bombing took place.
It was the first time I was hit by the realization that there were Marines who were killed over there that I may have marched with on the grinder at MCRD San Diego in 1976. Maybe not by platoon, or battalion, but going through at some point during my days there. It cemented the idea of our Brotherhood into my soul.