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Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

 

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On This Day
Marine Corps History

Today is October 23, 2018

1983 An unspecified number of Marine replacements embarked for Beirut, Lebanon, to replace Marines killed or wounded by the terrorist attack. Major General Alfred M. Gray, commander of the 2nd Marine Division based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, said the departing troops would bring the 24th Marine Amphibious Unit back up to strength.

1983 A suicide terrorist driving a truck loaded with explosives blew up the headquarters of 1st Battalion, 8th Marines in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 220 and wounding approximately 70, the highest number of Marine casualties in a single day since World War II. 18 Navy and three Army U.S. servicemen were also killed in the blast. Almost simultaneously with the blast that devastated the Marine Corps building, a second suicide bomber drove a car into a building occupied by French paratroopers and destroyed it too.

1984 Many families of victims of terrorism, some whose sons, brothers, or fathers were among the 241 Marines killed in the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut one year ago, attended a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony, "A Time of Remembrance", was sponsored by No Greater Love, a national, nonprofit group formed in 1971 to give support to the children of soldiers who were missing, killed, or prisoners of war in Southwest Asia. A simple ceremony of prayers and songs was conducted mostly by children for a crowd of over 500. The program was highlighted by the dedication of a tree -- a 14 foot Cedar of Lebanon -- planted in a section of the cemetery where some of the victims were buried.

1984 Ceremonies were held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of all U.S. servicemen killed in Lebanon and Grenada during the past two years. In the morning, a memorial service was held at the outdoor amphitheater where General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the featured speaker to a crowd of about 2,000. A granite marker with three large bronze plaques bearing the names of 266 servicemen killed in Lebanon was dedicated. In a separate afternoon ceremony, the final six of 271 Bradford pear trees were planted to complete a 3.5 mile-long row of trees to serve as a living memorial to the servicemen who died in Lebanon and Grenada. In the evening, country singing star, Waylon Jennings, performed a benefit concert to raise funds for the Beirut Memorial Park project.

1984 By presidential proclamation, the U.S. flag was flown at half-staff on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels of the federal government throughout the United States and its territories and possessions, in remembrance of all victims of terrorism throughout the world. The proclamation was issued by the White House on 19 October after the President signed antiterrorism legislation that authorized $366 million to increase security at U.S. embassies abroad.

1985 The Department of Defense announced that more than half of the new German-style Marine Corps and Army helmets, replacements for the M1 "Steel pot" helmets, were defective. First worn by soldiers and Marines who took part in the invasion of Grenada two years ago, the new molded Kevlar helmets were being phased in for use by all U.S. armed forces. The Pentagon said half the new helmets were being made improperly by the Gentex Corporation of Carbondale, Pennsylvania, thus jeopardizing the lives of servicemen wearing them.

1986 On the third anniversary of the Beirut bombing, a granite-engraved memorial was dedicated on a four and one-half acre site at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. The monument honors the 241 Marines and other servicemen who were killed in the terrorist bombing. It features a white-granite wall engraved with the names of the servicemen, a brick-paved gathering area with granite benches, and a footpath winding through woods and greenery. Honored guests were Governor Jim Martin of North Carolina, General Paul X. Kelley, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and retired Colonel Timothy J. Geraghty, Commanding Officer, 24th Marine Amphibious Unit at the time of the terrorist attack.

1988 Marine Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron 3 became the first Navy/Marine Corps Phantom squadron to achieve 50,000 flight hours without having a Class A mishap. The milestone represents seven and one half years of mishap-free flying. McDonnel Douglas, manufacturer of the RF-4 Phantom, presented a plaque to the squadron for its accomplishment.

1990 The Commandant of the Marine Corps approved the commemorative naming of the School of Infantry, East Instructional Complex at Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in honor of Sergeant Major John M. Malnar, a highly decorated Marine from the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

1994 The 19th Marine Corps Marathon was held in Washington, D.C. Some 14,000 runners participated this the event this year, including 2,900 military personnel. The top male finisher was Mexican Army Sergeant Graciano Gonzalez with a time of 2:22:51. The first place female runner was Susan Molloy of Charlottesville, Virginia, who finished the race in 2:39:34.

1998 The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, founded in 1979 as the Marine Corps Historical Foundation, hosted its annual awards ceremony. Among the 1998 award winners were: Dr. Gregory J. W. Urwin (General Wallace M. Green Award for outstanding nonfiction book), Dr. William H. Bartsch (Colonel Robert D. Heinl, Jr. Award for best article on Marine Corps history), and Major Patrick M. McGinn (General Roy S. Geiger Award for best article on Marine Corps aviation.)

1998 On this date 15 years ago, Marines and other service members were hit by a terrorist attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, leaving 241 Americans dead and more than 100 wounded.

1999 A new Molly Marine monument was dedicated at Memorial Park, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. The statue was the first of two bronze casts made from the original Molly Marine statue that stands at the corner of Elks Place and Canal Street in New Orleans. The original Molly Marine, standing 20 feet tall from the ground to the top of her cover, was the first monument in the United States of a woman in military uniform and was dedicated in New Orleans in 1943.

1999 More than 2,000 Marines of the 22d Marine Expeditionary Unit and Marine Aircraft Group 41 participated in Exercise Bright Star 99/00 held in Egypt. It was the largest U.S. Central Command exercise outside of the Persian Gulf and included more than 70,000 troops from 11 coalition nations. The main focus of the exercise was to improve readiness, interoperability, and to build professional relationships through realistic training.

2002 The President signed the FY03 Defense Appropriations and Military Construction Appropriations act into law. The FY03 budget was $355 billion, an increase of $37 billion over last year. The appropriations act provided a 4.1 percent pay increase for servicemembers, an increase in full-time support positions for the Reserve component, and continued to reduce out-of-pocket housing expenses for servicemembers living off base.

2003 Today marked the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the U.S. Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The 1983 suicide attack killed 241 American servicemen, including 220 Marines, and launched a new era in the Middle East. Although no one knows for sure who was behind the bombing, a federal judge in Washington in a lawsuit filed by 153 families ruled in May 2003 that Iran funded the bombing. The governing body of Iran was ordered to pay restitution to survivors and relatives.

2003 The low-rate initial production for the Marine Corps H-1 helicopter upgrade was approved by the Pentagonís Defense Acquisition Board. Following the awarding of the contract to Bell Helicopter, the company began remanufacturing UH-1N Huey and AH-1W Super Cobra helicopters to the UH-1Y and AH-1Z configurations.

2005 Korean War Medal of Honor recipient Col Reginald R. Myers passed away at a hospice in West Palm Beach, Florida, at the age of 85 from the effects of a stroke. Col Myers was awarded the Medal of Honor for leading his vastly outnumbered force in an assault on a key enemy position during the Chosin Reservoir campaign. He was also a combat veteran of World War II and retired from the Marine Corps in 1967. Col Myers was laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.

2005 Marines of 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, conducted Operation Pil in the Watapor Valley in the Afghanistan province of Kunar to help improve security and stabilize the local government. Enemy contact was limited during the operation.

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