John Wayne Nash and tales of Beirut

| November 21, 2016

I don’t usually copy and paste an entire story from our partners, but I will this time because of the intricacies of the story – too many things that I could get wrong in the details. This is from Military Phonies;


This case has a lot of twists and turns and it becomes somewhat intricate as important aspects are put forth. For this reason, we felt it was necessary to give you the bottom line up front, which is:
There are conflicting accounts as to whether John Nash was actually in the Marine Barracks HQ building that was bombed in Beirut on the morning of 23 Oct 1983 or if his injuries were sustained while lathered up in a shower a month earlier. The later being an incident not directly tied to Iran to the best of our knowledge.

Inconsistencies in articles, record reconstruction, awards, and eyewitness accounts of the timeline cast further doubt on the events related to this case.

Some in the community of Beirut Veterans question why he, his parents and 5 siblings are being awarded a total of $7.25 million. Attempts were made to determine if information provided to the lawyers handling the case contains extenuating circumstances that would justify an entire family being awarded such large amounts of money while others receive nothing.

We have not received a copy of his deposition or the supporting documentation from them. The various accounts given to journalists concerning Nash and what happened to him on Sun 23 Oct 1983 leaves us to question which version of events that he gave to the lawyers working on the lawsuit?


John Wayne Nash had a distinguished career in the United States Marine Corps. He retired after 26 years at the enlisted rank of Master Gunnery Sergeant (E-9). Nash was a Drill Instructor, a Marine Security Guard, an Admin Chief and Communication Center Operator/Chief among other things. Nash was a Cpl in October 1983. Cpl Nash served in Beirut Lebanon when the Marine Barracks Battalion Landing Team Headquarters building was bombed on Sunday morning the 23rd of October 1983.

It appears Nash was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon and a Purple Heart stemming from his tour of duty in Beirut. Records show the Purple Heart was awarded decades later and conflicts exist in the dates for the CAR and other awards.

Digging deeper into the case, other questions arise.


John W. Nash and his entire family are due to receive awards from the lawsuit against Iran in which the family next-of-kin and wounded veterans were allowed to be compensated from $1.7 billion in frozen Iranian assets. The original judgment was considerably higher, but many perceived this as symbolic since it was anticipated that Iran would never pay.

However, the Iranian frozen assets represent actual funds. These payments are imminent since the Supreme Court of the United States made a recent ruling in favor of the families and veterans. Here is a timeline.

Nash was originally slated to receive $5 million dollars and his parents and siblings were to also receive lesser awards. Later, this was reduced to Nash receiving $2 million dollars, his parents $1 million each, and his five siblings $650 thousand each.
From the lawsuit Davis v. Islamic Republic of Iran…



The total award for Nash and his family is $9 million dollars for Pain and Suffering and Solatium. Punitive awards were added for Nash and each family member…


Nash and his family are earmarked for a total award of $32,190,000 or just over $32 million dollars. The actual awards they will receive from the frozen Iranian assets will be slightly less.


The exact timing and amount of disbursements will depend on retired U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin. Sporkin is the court-appointed trustee who is in charge of distributing the funds. Sporkin is the same judge that worked on MicroSoft’s anti-trust suit as well as the BP oil spill settlements.

The point of all this is that one would assume that John W. Nash would have been wounded in the Marine Barracks bombing that occurred on 23 October 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon. Most of the people on the lawsuit as plaintiffs are either surviving next-of-kin or wounded servicemen. The exceptions are a few servicemen that have documented PTSD as a result of their participation in the search and recovery (SAR) after the bombing.

Several individuals on the lawsuit that participated in search and recovery operations and are slated to be compensated for resulting PTSD but had no physical injuries. If this is the case with Nash, it seems to be unique if not totally uncharacteristic that his family would be compensated for his PTSD. This leads one to assume that John Nash was wounded on 23 October 1983. This is a reasonable assumption, but an assumption all the same. Much of this assumption is supported by Nash’s direct statements, which will be presented.
However, John Nash was NOT carried on any casualty lists as being wounded.

The mystery deepens.


John Nash was wounded on 24 Sept 1983. He received the Purple Heart many years later. The question arose as to why he did not receive a Purple Heart for wounds received on 23 Oct 1983?
A historical effort was made to determine all Purple Heart recipients and wounded in Beirut, Lebanon. Nash’s situation created a question as to whether he had one or two Purple Hearts.

Here was John Nash’s retirement photo from 2007.


This photo clearly has a single Purple Heart award with no star which would designate a second award. If he were wounded on 24 Sept 1983 as well as 23 Oct 1983 he would have two awards.


The following represents a timeline of articles, blogs, photos and postings on the internet in regard to Nash’s claims and statements as to being wounded in Beirut, Lebanon. To summarize, Cpl John Nash had been impacted by a 122 mm rocket attack roughly one month before the Marine Barracks BLT bombing on 23 Oct 1983. He had claimed that his shoulder was injured in this attack. Over 20 years later, he successfully sought and was awarded a Purple Heart for injuries sustained in Sept 1983. Originally, as this timeline shows, there were claims of no injuries on 23 Oct 1983, then eventually stronger claims of injuries to his shoulder in the 23 Oct 1983 bombing. This timeline serves as an aide to determine whether Nash was the recipient of two Purple Hearts from Lebanon, or were there one or two shoulder injuries? Further, is an impression left with people that the Purple Heart was awarded for 23 October 1983 vs. September 1983?

Posted Email comments from John Nash
Date: September 28, 1987 – (then) GySgt John W. Nash
Significance: Establishes exact units and deployments in Beirut, Lebanon, characterizes himself as a “survivor”
* My name is Gysgt John W Nash.
* I was there during the 23 October bombing
* I was with MSSG-24, 22nd MAU during the October 23rd Bombing.
* I feel very fortunate to have survived the Beirut tradgedy [sic] that struck us on Oct 23rd, 1983.
[NOTE: It would have been 24th MAU vs. 22 MAU]
(excerpts, more on link)
Marine recalls horror of bombing
Date: February 14, 2001 – By Cpl. Mike Vrabel
Significance: Establishes Nash as being on the first floor of BLT building. No mention of Sept 1983 122mm rocket attack.
After landing in Lebanon during an unopposed amphibious landing, Nash shacked up in the same concrete building as the rest of the MAU. This nondescript, windowless building was one of the few left standing from the civil war. This building, although devoid of running water, electricity and other amenities, served as the Marines’ home for more than a year.
Then, later…
For Nash, who was just waking up on the first floor when the explosion took and altered lives, the sound stands out in his mind.
“Nothing I can say can explain how loud it was,” Nash told his audience.
Nash survived the blast. As one of few left alive, his mission immediately changed to helping find and evacuate bodies of his friends and fellow warriors.
BOOK: So Damn Insane
Date: ~ 2003 – No Date Applicable – Author: Robert Seamus Walsh
Significance: This book is fiction, but he proposes writing another book — a biography of John Wayne Nash. Characterized as “one of few survivors of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut Lebanon.”


Beirut survivor keeps in touch
Date: Oct 09, 2003 – Jacksonville Daily News (Jacksonville, NC) – Story by Eric Steinkopff
Significance: Establishes job at communications center in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983. No mention of Sept 1983 122mm rocket attack or that of being wounded.
Two decades ago, John Nash was a 19-year-old Marine Corps corporal who specialized in processing messages. One of his jobs was keeping the communication center open for the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit stationed at the Beirut International Airport terminal.
Then, later…
Nash was a communications specialist in Beirut the day the Marine barracks was bombed by terrorists. The 24th Marine Amphibious Unit included a reinforced version of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment from April to December 1983. They were there on a peacekeeping mission.
They Came in Peace (American Legion Magazine)
Date: October 2003 – Author: Tom Driggs
Significance: Establishes Nash at MSSG vs. BLT (same author as before)


Purple Heart received 21 years later
Date: Oct 30, 2004 – Submitted by: MCB Camp Butler – Story by Lance Cpl. Joel Abshier

Significance: Establishes tent, shower attack, 122mm rocket, wounds one month before bombing. Also, makes mention of being on the first floor of BLT.

“One night I was taking a shower in a tent that was more than a block and a half away from the (Battalion Landing Team, 1st Bn., 8th Marine Regiment) barracks,” said Nash, who’s the deputy director of the SNCOA. “(Before I) finished washing the soap from my body, a 122 mm rocket impacted the side of the tent.”

The pressure of the blast knocked the Pontiac, Mich., native across the tent where he lay for several minutes before [REDACTED] and [REDACTED] picked him up and took him to a corpsman, Nash explained. [REDACTED] was a staff sergeant and [REDACTED] was a lance corporal at the time. Nash sustained cuts and bruises on his left shoulder and leg.

The incident occurred one month prior to the infamous Beirut bombing on Oct. 23, 1983, when a suicide bomber, armed with a truck carrying 2,000 pounds of explosives, crashed through the gates and entered the lobby of the Marine barracks. The explosion took the lives of 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers and wounded more than 100 others with the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit.

Nash was on the first floor and was fortunate that he did not sustain serious injuries.

Three things of note about this article. One is that the name of Nash’s commanding officer in Beirut was misspelled. Two is that it seemed strange the level of detail provided about Nash’s body being lathered up in soap. Not sure that level of detail was needed but it was provided nonetheless. Then, three – the detail about a 122 mm rocket. How did they know it was a 122 mm rocket vs. a mortar round? Just an observation but there seemed to be a strange effort to provide extreme detail about some things but other details were fuzzy – i.e. the name of the commanding officer being misspelled.
Retiring Marine Remembers Beirut
Date: Thursday, February 28, 2008 – Lance Cpl. Katie Mathison

Significance: “Only two survivors in the area.” and “Buried alive.”
‘‘It was a four-story building that crumbled like a toothpick,” Nash said. ‘‘There was no time for the Marines to react, take cover or protect themselves.”

It was only by sheer luck Nash survived the bombing mostly unharmed.
‘‘I was awake lying in my cot,” he said. ‘‘I was a corporal, at the time, talking to the corporal next to me. We were discussing whether we should get up and go get some chow or just lie there. Had we gotten up for chow, we would have died. We were the only two survivors in the area.”

For Nash this was just the beginning, he had been buried alive. After he and the other corporal dug themselves out, they began searching for clothes, weapons and ammunition, he said. They were unsure of what had happened.

Also, one of the retirement photos in this article shows a single award of the Purple Heart vs. two awards which would be designated by a star.


In Their Own Words, The Marines and Sailors who were there
Date: November 16, 2008 – Ed Marek
Significance: Eight years later, Nash claims concussion and shoulder injuries from Marine Barracks BLT blast.


Security Problems Uncovered at US Bases in Iraq
Date: Published April 26, 2009 – Associated Press
Significance: Nash as contractor in Iraq. Attorney Thomas Fay also represented Nash in the Marine Barracks bombing lawsuit.
The commission also voiced alarm at the abrupt exit from Iraq of Triple Canopy’s on-site manager at Base Delta, John Wayne Nash. Dickson and other commission staff on a fact-finding trip to Iraq met with Nash on April 5 and he confirmed the problems existed.
A day later, they learned from an officer at Base Delta that Nash had been told by his superiors to leave the country.
Commission staff said it appeared that Nash had been fired for talking to the commission. “We talked with him one day and he was leaving the country five days later,” Dickson said.
Reached at his home in Jacksonville, N.C., Nash, a retired Marine Corps master gunnery sergeant, referred questions to his lawyer in Washington. In a brief note to the AP, the lawyer, Thomas Fay, would only say that he is representing Nash “in connection with the circumstances surrounding his departure from Iraq as an employee of Triple Canopy.”
Menches, Triple Canopy’s spokeswoman, said Nash is still employed by the company and is currently home on a regular rotation.
Date: August 24, 2011 – Old Colonel
Significance: Third party hearsay, but sounds like a USMC Colonel repeating a story from Nash. If not, why would “Old Colonel” be under this impression?


(NOTE: “Old Colonel” was contacted about this. More on this exchange later.)

Davis v. Islamic Republic of Iran
Filed: March 30th, 2012
Status: Precedential
Docket Number: Civil Action No. 2007-1302
Judges: Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth


Echoes from Beirut: Ret. Master Gunnery Sgt. John Nash
Date: October 23, 2013 – Story by Katie Mathison
Significance: “It was only by sheer luck Nash survived the bombing mostly unharmed.” and “For Nash this was just the beginning; he had been buried alive.”

Blessed are the peacemakers
Date: October 23, 2013 – T.E. Griggs
Significance: Recent article, and clearly establishes Nash as 200 yards north of the BLT (100 yards to MAU HQ, then another 100 yards north from that). This article says Nash was at MSSG-24 vs. the BLT. MSSG-24 was 200-400 yards away from the BLT.
Another 100 yards north, at the MAU Service Support Group, Cpl. John Wayne Nash was lying on his cot, talking to Cpl. Bertrand Hill about going to chow at the BLT. They decided against it.
Then, later…
And from the Support Group, Nash and Hill ran to the BLT and into the smoke and dust to help the wounded, assisting many to the aid station.
“Within no time, the clinic was full of injured Marines and sailors. Many of them did not make it at all to the MSSG and died along the way,” recounted Nash, who later served in Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. “The injuries were unbelievable. Each time I assisted one of them, I was covered with their blood. This was without a doubt a vision that will live with me forever.”
(NOTE: The author was contacted about this. More on this exchange later.)
. . . . .
The BLT HQ building was distinctly different than the MSSG-24 HQ building. For one thing, the BLT HQ building was four stories high and the MSSG-24 building was only one story.



United States Multinational Peacekeeping Force had many buildings that it occupied as part of a compound. The Battalion Landing Team headquarters (BLT HQ) building was just one of these buildings. As you can see from the following diagram, the 24th Marine Amphibious headquarters (MAU HQ) building was 100 – 150 yards from the BLT. Then, the Marine Service Support Group headquarters (MSSG HQ) was another 100-150 yards beyond the MAU HQ.

In the following scaled diagram, the BLT is green, the MAU HQ is red and the MSSG HQ is blue.


The articles above place Nash at MSSG-24 and at the BLT on the morning of 22 Oct 1983. Which was it? Where was he that morning? How could the articles’ authors be so specific yet get it so wrong?
If John Nash’s unit was MSSG-24, what reason would he have to be sleeping at the BLT HQ building vs. the MSSG-24 HQ building? Mess duty? Cross assigned? Late night card game with friends?
You may be asking – what difference does it make? Admittedly, it does sound like splitting hairs where someone slept on the morning of the 23rd of Oct 1983. People that were in the BLT HQ building when it was bombed were included on the lawsuit against Iran. In the case of Nash and his family this difference amounts to a judgement in money well over $32 million dollars so the distinction is extremely important.
Maybe the people taking sworn statements, a deposition, did not have a visualization of the MNF compound area and folded all of the buildings into a compound that was bombed so never really made a distinction? Who knows?
. . . . .
In the articles above, there is reference made to Nash’s left shoulder being injured in both the Sept 1983 rocket attack and the 23 Oct 1983 Marine Barracks (BLT) bombing. Yet, why does Nash only have one Purple Heart awarded? It seems he would rate two Purple Hearts.

It appears Nash had some encouragement by his peers to get a Purple Heart awarded for the Sept 1983 shower attack. Does Nash feel reluctance to get a second award for the 23 Oct 1983 BLT HQ bombing, or were his wounds not sufficient enough to rate one? How could he escape wounds if he was “buried alive” for 30-40 minutes? How could he escape wounds since by one person’s account that worked closely with him “John was a young Marine crushed in that dreadful explosion with concrete beams and rubble pinning him for some 18 hours while his life ebbed slowly away?”

It is difficult to imagine how John Nash could escape without injury on 23 Oct 1983, but the article titled “In Their Own Words, the Marines and Sailors who were there” stated that “He suffered a concussion and shoulder injuries.” Wouldn’t those injuries be significant enough to rate a Purple Heart?

If John Wayne Nash’s injuries on 23 Oct 1983 rate a second Purple Heart, shouldn’t he be encouraged to get a second award?

Here are more recent photos of Nash’s shoulder. Although not conclusive, there does not appear to be scar tissue on the top, front or side of the shoulder. Perhaps it was not an external injury? This is the shoulder that is references as being injured on both 24 Sept 1983 and 23 Oct 1983. Again, not conclusive but we included for the sake of being inclusive.


What about Nash’s roommate – Bertrand Hill? Was Hill also buried alive for 30-40 minutes and lucky enough to escape uninjured? Shouldn’t he also rate a Purple Heart? Where was Hill sleeping that morning – the BLT HQ or MSSG-24 HQ?
(NOTE: Efforts have been made to reach out to Bertrand Hill and someone is awaiting word back from him. We will update this blog with new information once we hear back from him.)
. . . . .
The two questions raised at the beginning remain unanswered:
1. Was John Wayne Nash sleeping in the BLT on the morning of 23 Oct 1983 when the bombing occurred?
2. Was John Wayne Nash wounded on 23 Oct 1983 as a result of the bombing and if so, to what extent?
. . . . .
There were a lot of inconsistencies and questions surrounding this situation so John Wayne Nash’s official military records were requested through the Freedom of Information Act.
. . . . .


Records show overlapping dates for the Armed Forces Expeditionary medal and the Marine Corps Expeditionary medal during his deployment in 1983. The Armed Forces Expeditionary medal was awarded to BLT 3/8 and supporting elements during the March 84-Aug 84 deployment which records show Nash was never deployed with. He rates the Marine Corps Expeditionary medal but not both for the time periods stated.


The dates for the Purple Heart show it was for an incident a month prior to the bombing although not approved until 21 years later. The dates for a Combat Action Ribbon are inconsistent with a Beirut deployment but the award does appear properly on his first DD-214.


Highlighted is the deployment to Beirut. The following entry of 840530 to 850530 shows the 22 MAU. The 24th MAU consisting of BLT 3/8 and supporting elements were deployed to Beirut during the bulk of that time. His subsequent deployment with BLT 3/8 which briefly passed off the shores of Beirut was after the 24th MAU had completely withdrawn from Beirut.


The FOIA results establish two very important things:
1) John Wayne Nash’s unit was MSSG-24 Communications – no cross assignment.
2) John Wayne Nash had one Purple Heart awarded and this was for the 24 Sept 1983 shower attack – there was no award for the 23 Oct 1983 Marine Barracks BLT bombing.
He was also an Admin Chief. Why would someone with the expertise and opportunity to correct inconsistencies not fix their own records?
Also of note – Nash’s entire chronological record of assignments is too pristine. They are all in the same format and style for almost 20 years beginning in 1982. It appears as if they were completely typed over and had the original pages replaced. This could be a common thing, so not suggesting anything nefarious, but if there was care taken to ensure the records were perfect why was this care not extended to the awards?


This entire case started out as an attempt at historical documentation of Purple Heart awards for Beirut 1982-1984. There was a sincere effort to properly record Nash’s receipt of the Purple Heart for 23 Oct 1983. It was only through inquiry that inconsistencies arose which were followed by questions. When these interviews were conducted it was a sincere attempt to discover the bomb’s blast effect not only at the BLT HQ area, but at MSSG-24 and MAU HQ.

MSSG-24 Unit Members

Several members of MSSG-24 were interviewed and they estimate that the MSSG-24 Comm HQ was anywhere from 200-400 yards away from the BLT HQ building which was where the explosion took place. One individual was walking around the area of MSSG-24 and was blown off his feet and hit the ground. This individual estimated that MSSG-24 was 400 yards away. The lowest claim was 200 yards away from the articles above. The scale map shows the MSSG HQ to be about 300 yards away from BLT HQ. The 300 yard estimate was in line with most all interviews of platoon members.

Several members of MSSG-24 describe a one story building and tents where men had sleeping quarters. They describe some tent poles snapping with dust and debris everywhere. No eardrum breakage as was the case with men closer to the blast. One sandbagged wall that faced the blast was knocked over.

They were all in agreement that all MSSG-24 Comm members were billeted at MSSG-24 HQ except for those who had radio watch, which would have been on board the USS El Paso stationed off shore of Beirut. On the day of the bombing the USS El Paso was on its way to a liberty call so no one was on radio watch . However, a few from the platoon were on board for the liberty call.

They could not account for any reason a member of MSSG-24 Comm would be sleeping at the BLT HQ. There were several that said there would be no reason for anyone sleeping at the BLT HQ, or away from MSSG-24 other than duty or liberty aboard the USS El Paso.

The BLT HQ building had a mess hall in the basement, so men from other units could walk there and have chow. Having chow there or having mess duty is not a possibility as Nash provided a story where he and his roommate lay awake in their cots and contemplated going to chow but decided against it.

The MSSG-24 Comm interviewees said that there were no wounded other than reading about John Nash hitting his head and having a concussion, but they could not confirm that first hand.
One interviewee from MSSG-24 said that on the morning of the BLT HQ bombing that “Nash was at the MSSG in his rack at the time.”

Communications Centers

Based on interviews, there was no one “Comm Building”, at least not while 24 MAU was there. HQ 24 MAU comm section worked out of the MAU HQ building. There was a large tractor trailer type shipping container located directly behind the MAU HQ that contained the teletype machines and classified material. They called it the comm center van. The comm center for the BLT was inside the BLT HQ building. While 24th MAU was there, there was no single building that was dedicated to communications.

As far as the MSSG 24th Comm guys – many were from 8th Comm Battalion . They worked out of the MSSG Building. All units ashore including HMM 162 had their own set ups.


Based on the FOIA results and interviews of unit members, in addition to this photo posted by John Nash…


… and his own statement…
“I was with MSSG-24, 22nd MAU during the October 23rd Bombing.”
(NOTE: “22nd MAU” should have been “24th MAU”. Nash was with
22nd MAU a year later so may have misspoken.)
… all point to the fact that John Nash was with MSSG-24 Comm at the time of the bombing. This means he would have been billeted (lodged) at MSSG-24 HQ.

Then, based on interviews, there would be no reason for Nash to be billeted at the BLT HQ building.

Roommate – Bertrand Hill

As mentioned, efforts have been made to reach out to Bertrand Hill – Nash’s roommate on the morning of 23 Oct 1983. We are awaiting someone to hear word back from him. We will update this blog with new information once we hear back from him.

If Cpl Bertrand Hill was just a few feet away from Cpl John Nash and both men were buried alive, wouldn’t Hill rate a similar compensation as Nash? Doesn’t Bertrand Hill and his family also deserve compensation if Nash and his family are included?

Did John Nash or his lawyers make any attempt to locate Bertrand Hill and advise him of a potential settlement in a lawsuit against Iran? Wouldn’t Bertrand Hill’s account of the morning of 23 Oct 1983 be valuable since he was at the very least a witness to what happened to Nash, or would Hill’s version of events prove to be uncomfortable with the narrative that Nash already put out?

They say that football is a game of inches but apparently this applies in lawsuits against terrorism since the few inches that Bertrand Hill slept from John Nash could have made a difference of over $32 million dollars.

It appears as if Cpl Bertrand Hill was cut out of the deal by either lack of due diligence or intentional omission. Would Bertrand Hill be surprised by Nash’s story? We hope to soon find out since it wasn’t that difficult to locate him.

Author – T.E. Griggs / Tom Griggs

T.E. Griggs is the author who wrote “Blessed are the peacemakers” and “They Came in Peace (American Legion Magazine)“. Griggs was contacted and asked about John Nash’s claim that he was at MSSG-24 on October 23 1983, the morning of the bombing.

The two articles are basically the same and derived from the same interviews. Griggs was a Marine and spent the summer of 1983 as the 24th MAU public affairs chief in Beirut.

After referencing his notes, Griggs said that he is supremely confident that he quoted John Nash correctly from his interview with him.

By his own words, John Nash is established as being in a cot at MSSG, at least 200 yards north of the BLT, if not more.

If true, why is John Nash quoted in other articles as being on the first floor of the BLT?

Old Colonel

A blogger by the handle “Old Colonel” claimed that his Deputy, John Nash, “was a young Marine crushed in that dreadful explosion with concrete beams and rubble pinning him for some 18 hours while his life ebbed slowly away.”

“Old Colonel” was contacted through the blog and an exchange took place over several months.

It was pointed out that the last living survivor was pulled from the rubble around noon on the day of the bombing – around 6 hours later. The claim of 18 hours could not possibly be true. “Old Colonel” backed off his statement and conceded that he may have gotten the length of time wrong.

He was asked if Nash told him that he was in the BLT HQ building when it was bombed.

Oddly, he cited the fact that Nash was on the lawsuit against Iran and was soon due for a payout as proof that the story is true. He also said that Nash was very quiet and very religious and he has never known Nash to lie.

Known to lie? Why would he say that? It was not suggest that Nash lied. The question was if Nash told “Old Colonel” that he was in the BLT when it was bombed or if “Old Colonel” assumed that he was.
Then, it was put forth to “Old Colonel” that there was an awareness that John Nash was awarded the Purple Heart. He was asked if Nash told him the Purple Heart was awarded as a result of the Marine Barracks bombing on 23 Oct 1983 or another event?

He responded that the Purple Heart was for the Barracks bombing. He indicated that Nash was still undergoing treatment for both physical injuries and PTSD. This was when they were together in Kabul, Afghanistan. Nash was a contractor at the time and had retired from the military.

Then engagement continued and “Old Colonel” expressed disbelief that the person was talking about the same John Nash. Article links above were presented to “Old Colonel”.

Although he never directly stated that Nash told him he was in the BLT HQ building when it was bombed, he finally thanked the individual and said “Thanks for the ‘Rest of the Story’ as Paul Harvey would say.
“Old Colonel” was pressed again as to whether Nash told him he was in the BLT HQ building when it was bombed or did he assume that Nash was. A comment was made that sometimes questioned can be answered in a way that would be truthful, but not take responsibility for assumptions and correct the record.

“Old Colonel” responded: “Indeed, perhaps truthful, but misleading and, from my perspective, dishonest of him. Sad”.


The bomb that struck the Marine Barracks in Beirut Lebanon on 23 Oct 1983 was estimated by the FBI to be over 20,000 lbs worth of explosives. The four story building pancaked down on top of the first floor and basement.

Nash’s injuries are not consistent with him being on the first floor of the BLT HQ. Depending on which account that you look at, he would have been buried by far more than dust.

He also would have had ear drum breakage, which was quite common to men in the immediate blast vicinity.

By Nash’s account in Davis v. The Republic of Iran, he was “covered in cuts and bruises by the blast, and coated in gray dust and debris from the building”. If three additional floors were above him, how could he manage to dig himself out and help others without receiving significant injuries that would preclude him from doing so?


It is difficult to determine what John Nash provided as part of his sworn testimony, a deposition, as to whether he was in the BLT HQ building on the morning of 23 Oct 1983. One of the lawyers handling his case said that Nash would have to give written consent to allow his deposition to be read by an outside party. The reasonable assumption is that Nash did not give his written consent because there was no followup to the request for his deposition.

It is prudent to assume that John Nash was truthful in a sworn legal statement. However, carefully worded truthful statements can lead others to fill in the blanks with imagination.

What about others on the same class action lawsuit? Wouldn’t they have a right to read the deposition to determine if there is no vulnerability in the entire case? Stated another way – if there were statements or implications that John Nash was on the first floor of the BLT when it was blown up and that is not true, wouldn’t that undermine the credibility of the entire case?

Did the lawyers have a understanding or visualization of the MNF compound in Beirut in order to make a distinction who should be included in the lawsuit? Perhaps if someone was just “there” in Beirut there was no distinction made as to whether they were actually in the BLT HQ building?

If Nash was included in the lawsuit strictly based on his participation in SAR (Search and Recovery), why would his entire family also be included on the case? Why didn’t others that were not physically wounded and participated in SAR have their families included in the compensation? We don’t know, but this seems extraordinary. This leads many in the Beirut community to question why there was an exception made for John Nash and his family.
Asked another way – if John Nash was not in the building during the bombing shouldn’t all the families of Marines and Sailors that helped during the recovery be included in the settlement?

What was the reason that John Nash and his entire family have been singled out to receive millions of dollars while others that were more severely wounded or lost loved ones are completely left out in the cold?

John Wayne Nash has a conflict in the narrative of what happened to him on Sunday morning, 23 Oct 1983 – the day of the Marine Barracks Bombing in Beirut Lebanon.

In a best case scenario, Nash should explain why there were two different accounts in the articles written about him. Namely, some reference him as being over at MSSG-24 HQ while others referencing him being at the bombed BLT HQ.

In a worse case scenario, the lawyers and others may be under the strong impression that John Nash was in the BLT HQ building when it was bombed on 23 Oct 1983 and as a result, he and his family are earmarked to receive millions of dollars in compensation. Even if it was an innocent assumption, that people leading the case owe it to the rest of the family next-of-kin and wounded veterans to be transparent about Nash’s situation.

Perhaps someone on the lawsuit can obtain Nash’s deposition and make sure it accurately reflects events of the morning of 23 Oct 1983?


Many of the printed claims about John Wayne Nash being wounded on 23 Oct 1983 are not supported by his official records, records of those wounded on that day, or accounts of Beirut veterans we have interviewed. John Wayne Nash served with honor and obvious distinction during his career and is a Beirut veteran. We hope an honest attempt is made to clear up the historical record. The veterans and family members affected by the Beirut tragedy are owed both accuracy and transparency.

Category: Who knows

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Makes you wonder if the almighty dollar is the driving factor in Nash’s sudden difference of recollection on that day. Honorable service < millions of dollars.


It’s said that every man has his price.

I’m guessing one frequent commenter here won’t be too happy to see this article.



FYI, there are at least three frequent commenters here from that era that aren’t happy to see this article.

Not sure what to make of all of this…

Forest Green

I’m wondering who the “Old Colonel” is. I bet he’s your buddy.


Just like Wallace “Grey” Rather, the disgrace to the Hospital Corps and the CPO community, has his buttbuddy “Capt. Bull Dog” vouching for him…


Forest Green:

The ‘Old Colonel’ could possibly be our buddy. (Was he ever in MSSG-24?)

However, I kind of doubt it, because if our buddy got anywhere near this story, he’d be taking notes, then he’d plagiarize/enhance it and adapt it to be about him. ‘There I was, in The Root…’.
And our buddy’s story would undoubtedly be bigger, faster, funnier, and more dramatic, than anything found here.

I predict that we will eventually read about our buddy here on these pages. It’s only a matter of time.


Confirmed to be “Old Colonel”.

Door’s open for anyone that would like to followup and find out why he was under the impression Nash was pinned underneath concrete pillars for 18 hours.

Anybody want to take the lead and do some gumshoe investigation?


Well, it turns out that the “Old Colonel” isn’t who Forest Green and I thought it might be.


Oh, I’m sure there are more than three, Mick. But I was thinking of one in particular.

He’s been silent so far. Hope he didn’t get banished to the Gulag. (smile)


More on “Old Colonel”

Dave Hardin

One of the regular commenters is doing another one of his 20 hour drives.

Looks like Nash fell in the shower and later bumped hi head.

Wtf is he getting a dime?

Marine 0331

Dave, I’m confused. I read that Nash rated the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal because he was with 3/8 in 84. I was with 3/8 on our second tour there in 84 but I was told that we did not rate the medal. First we were told we rated it then we were told not to wear it. It’s not in my DD214. I had my awards checked recently and it came back that I do not rate it. How would Nash rate it then?

Dave Hardin

Nash was NOT with BLT 3/8, 24th MAU in 1984. He was with the 22nd that did the Med after them. 3/8 did three deployments during that time. 82-83 then 84 and again in 85. No Marines were ashore in Beirut 85, (shhh) we chased the Achille Lauro around the Med and Played with Libya. Did ops in Sardinia, Egypt and Israel.

So, if you were with 3/8 on the Arctic/Norway/Rota/Beirut/Israel/Italy/Egypt from Jan through Oct of 84 you were awarded the AFEM for your participation in Beirut. Your Combat History page of your SRB will reflect your service there.

Hit me up on FB if I can help. Semper Fi.

Marine 0331

Dave, yes I was on that Med. I was there before the barracks bombing too so I made two of the three Meds that Lima 3/8 did but I was told that because I rate the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal that I don’t rate the AFEM. My DD214 only list the MCEM, but several guys I served with do claim that those of us who made two Meds and went into the Root rate both medals. I don’t have FB. Lol. But I can email you. Who can I contact to get my DD214 corrected ? Mike

Airdale (AW) USN ret.

Who can I contact to get an administrative correction to a record? For example, to correct the spelling of a name, social security number, date-of-birth, etc. Administrative corrections include a correction to a name corrected because it was misspelled, has the wrong initial(s), reversed first or last name. Administrative corrections also include an incorrect date of birth, incorrect social security number (SSN), and/ or missing wards. The BCNR only processes administrative corrections for records of veterans discharged more than 60 years ago.
Who can I contact (Navy or Marine Corps Award Board) to submit SF 180 to request granting of a medal/award? Note: If you have already submitted a request to the appropriate Navy/Marine Corps Award Board and was denied, then the Petitioner can contact and submit an application through BCNR.
Marine Corps
Headquarters, United States Marine Corps
Manpower Management Awards (MMMA)
2008 Elliot Road
Quantico, VA 22134-5030

Marine 0331

Airedale, I just contacted Dept of The Navy. I sent them a copy of my DD214 and described to them that I thought I rated the AFEM. It took several months but they got back to me and returned the copy of my DD214 with a list of all the medals I rated, which were the same ones on my DD214 indicating to me that their records were correct. About a month later I received a small padded envelope in the mail that had enclosed a new Marine Corps Good Conduct medal and ribbon and a new Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal and ribbon and a new Navy Unit Commendation ribbon. So now I have to believe they don’t believe I rate the AFEM. I am not sure what to do at this point. But several guys I served with who made the second tour with me still believe we rate that Medal.


I’m not going to comment on anything but the question about how it could be determined if it was a mortar or rocket attack that injured Nash and then only to say that EOD or even Arty types can tell an amazing amount from crater analysis. They would do this sort of thing on our FOB all the time, so it doesn’t strike me as odd that it would be determined fairly easily what type of indirect fire was used in that particular attack.

Keepin' It Real

It’s not about the money, it’s about… uh, well, yeah, OK… it’s about the money.

Seriously, he is taking money away from the people who really deserve it for all they have suffered.

Maybe there is a reasonable explanation for all of this but I can’t think of one. The stories that the newspapers carried about Nash are all over the place. Sort of like he was searching for a good narrative about what happened to him.


Set aside the issue of the lawsuit and money for a second.

Nash claims in several articles that he was wounded on the day of the bombing and his military records do not show a PH for that day.

It’s as simple as that.

Hack Stone

After years of frequenting this blog, finally they feature someone that Hack Stone knows personally. I recall him being featured on NBC Nightly News during the 30th anniversary of the bombing.


There was a Jeff Nashton that was featured on CNN as scribbling “Semper Fi” on a piece of paper to the CMC. Sure you weren’t thinking of him?

John Nash is a separate individual but has a similar sounding name.

Hack Stone

Nope, John Nash. I haven’t seen him in about 18 years, but I have socialized with him and was to home in Okinawa several times.

Cluf Manager

I say “f” Iran, let him take the money and run. He served his country well. There is no telling how messed up record keeping was in those days. The Marine was present for duty the day of the bombing which is a step up from all of the others making claims. I wish him and his family well if they have anything left after the lawyers take their share.


Cluf Manager wrote: “I say “f” Iran, let him take the money and run.”

That was the attitude when all were invited to sign up for the lawsuit initially. When they identified funds from frozen assets then there was only so much to distribute.

Nash’s share is taking away from other wounded Marines and families whose loved ones never returned, some not getting a dime.

See sidebar titled “Changing Dynamics”.


I was just wondering why siblings and parents of a living survivor are being compensated.

Let’s say my ship went down from under me because Iran shot a Silkworm Missile at one of the CV’s I rode on.

I survive…what the hell does my brother or sisters have to do with it? I know their might be some worry from news reports, but for Pete’s sake; isn’t that kind of buying into everyone is a victim mentality?

Personally, I would be pissed, because I was the only one that lived through the experience.

Daisy Cutter

Just speculating here because I don’t really know, but maybe you got f#@&ed up and you weren’t the same son and brother as when you left?

Maybe you sit around in an empty meadow and tear the wings off dragonflies and eat dandelions.

Pain and anguish of waiting to hear word, then they didn’t get the same person back.

I don’t necessarily agree with it, but that may be their reasoning. I lean more toward your position, why are they being compensated? I also don’t think Iran showed up in court to contest the lawsuit so it was awarded to the Plaintiffs by default.


That is really odd, and I also would be pissed. They weren’t there, he didn’t get wounded, this is a really strange tale to say the least. Hope that Hack can get in touch and sort this out for us…

Hack Stone

Ain’t no way in hell am I going to reach out to him and get “his side of the story”. This is the second time in the last month that I have discovered that a Marine that I (thought that I knew) had some dirt on their Eagle Globe and Anchor. MGySgt Nash is a Marine, he should be able to defend what he claims. This story is already spreading through our circle of friends. If it is true that he lied or embellished, his family will be collateral damage. I know that his daughter was an enlisted Marine, I don’t know if she is still serving.


Totally understand Hack. Yea, I’ve known a few of them myself. Sucks to find out. I just normally would give a MGySgt the benefit of the doubt, but this story is awfully strange and suspicious.

Hack Stone

Still better than the other guy. The other guy’s FaceBook had no activity for a few years, so I put his name into Bing, and right off the bat he comes up as incarcerated as an RSO, and I don’t mean Range Safety Officer.

Green Thumb

This is complicated.

Nash looks like he had a stellar career.




USMC 8151

I served during this period but was not deployed or associated with this event…this is a lit to take in, I do recall some parts of this from reports that were released but I would have to research…on the surface it seems like BS from someone nit picking this Marines story for whatever reason…I would say that money does seem to factor in this story somewhat,fir the right reasons…however, I would be careful with fucking with a MARINE MASTER G…they will and have a history of being the meanest motherfuckers in the WORLD. Al


I don’t think John, TSO or any TAG member fears no man.


You did read the parts where his public claims appear to have changed over time – right? That alone should be enough to make you very suspicious.

When an individual’s story changes over time, the simplest explanation is that the storyteller has told a lie – or multiple lies. The question then becomes what parts, if any, of the changing story were true.


On the other hand…I went to my unit’s 25 year reunion for DS/DS this summer. The way I remembered a certain BFV crew turns out to be completely wrong. I mean, WTF…they were in my Company for crying out loud.

But in truth, what I remembered is not what everyone else remembers regarding crew rosters on the platoon vehicles….needless to say I was supremely embarrassed by this.

My memories regarding names is sometimes spotty at best, but to completely forget the existence of two warfighters in my own platoon…wow…of course, I am not confused about where I was…that would be a horse of a completely different colour…LOL


I get the feeling that Nash loves the media attention surrounding this tragedy – he seems to crave the attention of the media looking for someone that was over in Beirut on that tragic day.

If he’s lying about what happened on October 1983 and his involvement – and I hope that he’s not – God help him is someone that went through that Hell (or their family members) don’t accidentally bump into him.

As for the lawsuit – there are others that should be ahead of Nash in receiving money, especially those that lost fathers, sons and brothers in the bombing.


It’s not like these are just podunk newspapers that interviewed Nash and published his story. Some were official Marine Corps publications.

In several he said he was on the first floor of the BLT building that was bombed. In another he said he was at the MSSG area.

That alone needs explaining but it would be difficult for me to accept if he blames it on the reporter not getting the story right. Too many statements to too many different reporters.

GySgt USMCR (Ret)

Where did the aircrew wings come from? Not that it matters to this story but I wonder how an admin/comm guy earned those wings. I see something about a fixed wing aircraft specialist in the DD-214 but not in his billet assignments page. Again, just wondering. No MOS or duty assignment that I can see.


Gunny, I was thinking the same thing.I was a crew chief back in the 80’s and i do remember some non squadron/admin types who flew as an observer and accomplished some minimal NATOPS requirements that they feel qualified to wear them. I’m not sure if its correct, but it was more common then you think back then. Interesting story hopefully he’s not embellishing…..



His DD-214 shows that he held additional USMC MOS’s 6244 (C-12) and 6247 (UC-35) Fixed-Wing Transport Aircraft Specialist, so if he qualified for those additional MOS’s, he rates wearing Naval Aircrew insignia.

As per his attached records, he probably got those quals while assigned to HQHQRON MCAS Futenma.


My ex-husband did something similar…he is being investigated by Stolen Valor and Headquarters Marine Corps. It sickens me to think that he is using his “made up” version of being buried in the barracks for defense of crimes he has committed and actions that caused him to be barred from all Military installations.

Just An Old Dog

What really sticks out to me is that he was awarded the purple heart “Decades later”.
Exactly when?
What I see is a senior enlisted Marine who had punched all the tickets (Several NCM’s NAMS, a CAR and other awards) as well as DI and MSG who called up some old buddies who had helped him get up after he took a header in the shower, supposedly right after an Indirect Munition went off nearby on 24 Sept 1983.
From what I can get from the article he was never treated at BAS or had any entries in his Health Record.
His PH was based on statements of people saying his was Bruised and Scraped up.
As for the rest of it it’s plain he is looking for a payday.
I for one don’t give a fuck who gets the Money if its from Iran.
The Man served in Beruit. That much more than others did.
His purple heart sounds fishy, as does his bed hopping from MSSG to the BLT,


“What really sticks out to me is that he was awarded the purple heart “Decades later”. Exactly when?”

According to this article included above, he was awarded the Purple Heart for the shower attack at a ceremony held Oct 22,


Poorly worded, second attempt —-

The shower attack happened on 24 Sept 1983. He was awarded the Purple Heart for it decades later at a ceremony held on Oct 22, 2004. (according to the article)



I hope this Marine isn’t a lying cocksucker.


While a brother Marine would normally receive every ounce of support from me without question (Remember, Semper Fi) there are too many unanswered questions for me to give an automatic pass. The biggest being why did not the families of others either KIA or WIA in the Beirut bombing, regardless of rank or service, receive at least the recommendations to follow the Nash trail of compensation? Where am I missing a class action suit? Semper Fi would require me to alert every other Marine (as well as other service members) affected by the bombing.
I look forward to Bro. Dave Hardin’s response.

Dave Hardin

Ok, here is my take on Nash. Pure speculation on my part. He gets all soaped up in the shower and something goes boom within hearing distance and he falls down and goes boom himself. Few scratches but still has his balls. A month later he is awoke when the bombing happens bumps his head trying to get under his rack. Again, still has his balls no big deal. Comes home from the deployment feeling lucky. Goes to Oki meets wife gets married and stays in Oki as much as possible for the rest of his career to be around her family. Does a tour with a Hat and Embassy duty. The years go by and all of a sudden there are young Lcpls with CARs everywhere. He ain’t so special anymore. He has told evolving stories about Beirut over the years and decides to put in for his Purple Heart Shower incident. Probably gets Med records and statement from someone to vouch for him. Stories about him being in the bombing get printed and he does nothing to correct them. Finds out he can file as part of the settlement and win big bucks for the whole family. Tells some version of a story to the lawyers and has some paperwork to support it. Realizes of course that someone like me will eventually think he is full of shit so he goes silent. Maybe there is some crazy explanation for him being able to include his whole family. I think his brother was in the Corps as well…a Maj at one point. If he is getting millions for falling in the shower, bumping his head and having hurt feelings well thats just a crock of shit. MSSG was not near the building and there is no reason I can think of that Nash would have been in it that morning. Anything is possible. I guess after years of going to the local veteran circle jerk he probably has a puppy too. At least now he can afford to feed the damn thing. This shit makes me sick. I would… Read more »


Exactly the logic I was seeking and expecting. How I hate to admit even WE have our share of embellishers. Old time RVN grads like myself have difficulty understanding much of today’s modern lingo. Best we can remember is the importance of Semper Fi and Brotherhood. Beore you know it, history of our time spent in RVN has become clouded, especially when one realizes since enlistment completed, there have been two generation of Marines who have served their 20 and retired. Time goes by like a flash….it will end before you are ready. Hopefully someone will take in the meaning of this song and make sure you live every day like it was your last…despite never being ready to toss in the towel.


Yep, John Nash’s brother was a Maj and now LtCol

So, he’s getting paid for his brother’s PTSD and/or bruises?


Photo of John Nash’s brother years ago as a Maj. Looks a lot like him.

Guard Bum

You pretty much nailed it for me Dave.

I was the PersO for 2/8 a few years after this and did several MEU(SOC) deployments including off the coast of Lebanon during the Col Higgins kidnapping and Desert Storm and othet that visiting now and then the BLT and MSSG folks werent lnown to billet together.

The page 3 is also reconstructed which is not unknown but very suspicious for an Admin Chief and you have to wonder why.

As for awards and medals I will say this, the entire 8th Marine Regiment was very parsimonious with awards of any kind during my 4 years with 2/8 and I know at least in 2/8 getting knocked down in the shower and bumping your noggin would not have gotten you a Purple Heart no matter what the reason. I am trying to be generous here but at least the part about going back years later for the PH for the Sept attack seems plausible; particularly like you say when he sees all the LCpls running around with them and war stories to match.

Dave Hardin

I agree, the reconstruction of his records seems odd but it does happen. What is obvious to me is they were not reconstructed properly.

The AREM and the MCEM were awarded for two completely different deployments in Beirut. He could not have both of them for the dates shown in his records. He was an Admin Chief and should know that.

Prior to his deployment he was with the Comm Center at 2ndFSSG. I was the G5 at the command headquarters while he was there. I am sure we bumped into each other. I wouldn’t remember some PFC from comm. Probably pulled colors detail with him.

I hope all of this has some plausible explanation but the more I dig the worse it looks.

People have a right to be full of shit…to a point. I draw that line somewhere on the balance sheet of the first million dollars or so.

Keepin' It Real

I just want to know one thing as far as esprit de corps is concerned.

If any of you found me on the floor of the shower all lathered up in soap, can I count on any of you to carry me out even though I’m full commando?

Veritas Omnia Vincit

That depends on whether or not your PT belt is properly secured…

Dave Hardin

Nah, I wouldn’t get involved. If anyone offered you assistance, in 21 years we would be having to sign statements that you needed a Purple Heart.

Dave Hardin

After talking with a few more Marines…MGySgt or not this guy got some splainin to do. I got one guy who says that Nash told him he was blown out a window on the first floor of the building.

Odd, but nobody I know who was actually there knows anything about that happening. Most agree he was hundreds of yards away. A growing number are wanting to know WTF is going on with this guy.

Was he blown out a window or trapped for three days? Did he get covered with dust or did a pillar fall on him? Did he help with recovery or was he aboard ship? Why is he not on the list of those injured, or for that matter, why is he not on the list of those not injured?

I still can not find a reason his entire family should be awarded millions to the exclusion of other families.

Maybe there is some justification for it. If so, certainly people involved with the settlement knew this would come up. If there isn’t this needs to be rectified.

Just my opinion.

Hack Stone

Any idea how much went to the survivors of those killed? I know that Cpl Moses Arnold left behind a wife and son. He was a great guy that shipped to Parris Island with me, though went to separate Battalions. We did go through Radio Repair school together. It would be seriously fucked up if they got shorted on the settlement while MGySgt Nash is rolling in piles of cash.


Moses Arnold’s family are part of the Taylor v. Islamic Republic of Iran lawsuit. There are a bunch of ‘satellite’ lawsuits that were folded into the main one – Peterson vs. Islamic Republic of Iran.

All in, it looks like they were awarded $88 mil but will only collect a subset of that with the frozen Iranian assets of $1.7 billion split many, many ways.

Hack Stone

Thanks for the update. I met his wife a few times while we were going through school. I came back to 29 Palms off of leave from Philly, and handcarried back that days Philadelphia Inquirer and a box of TastyKakes for him and his wife. She was pleasantly surprised for a bit of the hometown connections.


Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpets are da bomb!