1983 Beirut barracks bombing: ‘The BLT Building is gone!’

At 6:22 on Sunday morning Oct. 23, 1983, a 19-ton yellow Mercedes stake-bed truck entered a public parking lot at the heart of Beirut International Airport. The lot was adjacent to the headquarters of the U.S. 8th Marine Regiment’s 1st Battalion, where some 350 American service members lay asleep in a four-story concrete aviation administration building that had been successively occupied by various combatants in the ongoing Lebanese Civil War. Battalion Landing Team 1/8 was the ground element of the 1,800-man 24th Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU), which had deployed to Lebanon a year earlier as part of a multinational peacekeeping force also comprising French, Italian and British troops. Its mission was to facilitate the withdrawal of foreign fighters from Lebanon and help restore the sovereignty of its government at a time when sectarian violence had riven the Mediterranean nation.

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The sword was passed for the 19th time as Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black became the 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps in late July.

“Mission First, Marines Always, Semper Fidelis” were the closing remarks Sgt. Maj. Black addressed the Marines during a social media post on July 27, 2019. As Sgt. Maj. Black accepted the Sword of Office, those four words were a reminder of the responsibilities bestowed upon leaders. “Mission First, Marines Always is not a new concept or new statement,” Sgt. Maj. Black said. “But it is a simple truth that expresses the basic principles of Marine Corps leadership that are essential to our success.”

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Summer Of Love

The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people converged in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. Although hippies also gathered in major cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe, San Francisco remained the center of the hippie movement. [1] Like its sister enclave of Greenwich Village, the city became even more of a melting pot of politics, music, drugs, creativity, and the total lack of sexual and social inhibition than it already was. As the hippie counterculture movement came further forward into public awareness, the activities centered thereon became a defining moment of the 1960s, [2] causing numerous ‘ordinary citizens’ to begin questioning everything and anything about them and their environment as a result… source: WIKIPEDIA.

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Smallest Units In The Marine Corps

When it came to assignments in the Corps I never caught much of a break. Out of boot camp I got Aviation Ordnance School. (not many civilian uses for that knowledge). I finished 2nd in the class but never used the skills. When I made my 1st muster with H&MS-24 at Cherry Pt., the Capt. asked if anyone could type. I meekly raised my hand and spent much of the rest of my time in the Corps as an ordnance clerk. When MAG-24 was moving to Hawaii in the Spring of ’68, I put in to join them. While waiting for orders there, I became a replacement for a Marine who’s dad was already in ‘Nam and told his son to refuse the orders. Good by Hawaii, hello Vietnam and with half the normal leave time as the orders had already been cut. When returning from ‘Nam, my buddies and I put in for every west coast duty station we knew of. They got El Toro and I went back to CP. A couple of months back and I finally got a break. I was offered a TAD assignment to NS Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. This had not been considered great duty. I guess I was just the right guy, at the right time with the right group there.

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Cold Weather Operation

Here are a few pictures from the Med float we did in the 1984. We (Lima 3/8) did a joint operation with the Norwegian Home Guard before we landed back in Beirut to relieve 2/8. It was a cold-weather operation so to prepare us for the operation we went up to Camp Ripley Minnesota. And let me tell you it was cold as a witch’s… well, I’ll leave that to the imagination of the readers. Anyway, most of us b-tched and complained (as usual) thinking that there was no way the cold of Minnesota could ever prepare us for the cold of Norway. Well, as usual again we were stupid aszes for thinking that someone above our dumb aszes did not know a thing or two about proper training and had been through one or two rodeos before. Norway’s cold and snow was NOTHING compared to Camp Ripley and Minnesota! We were well prepared to say the least.

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The Black Rifle

Sgt Grit,

Several stories have been posted recently about the Stoner rifles. Here’s a little more info:

Eugene Stoner developed this rifle, and it had several variations. Most notably, the M16. He was the father of the M16. To fully understand the development and Vietnam problems with the M16, read the book “The Black Rifle”, it’s very informative. I met him once while working for Colt Firearms in the early 90’s. He was also a WWII USMC Veteran.

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Grabasstic Patrol Up A Creek

The Gun Club, assembled in the gulch. (Actually, 106RR or “BAT” Platoon (Battalion Anti-Tank) and Flame Platoon, combined)… H&S 2/1/9 in the Northern Training Area of Okinawa, 1959). Since our recoilless rifles and Jeeps had not caught up with us yet, we were used as the Bn Aggressor Force. The rifle companies would come up to the NTA one at a time from Sukiran to find/engage us… and, since the boondocks were our ‘home court’, the second and later companies really didn’t have a chance… This is kinda old Corps… M-1’s, M1919A4 air-cooled .30 Cal Brownings, herringbone utilities, and in this picture, the old green woolen shirts, as aggressor uniform. Since no blanks had been invented for the Flame Thrower (M2), the Flame guys usually got to be machine gun crew… most of either team having the M1911A1 .45cal pistol as sidearms. We were camping out up there for multiple weeks… got hot chow once most days, and some kick-back time when between companies… I recall an all-NCO grabasstic patrol up a creek… or maybe it should have been called ‘swim call’?, as we were all buck nekkid, doing the Tarzan bit with vines, etc… until one of us realized that if somebody got seriously hurt, we were all in deep kimchi… In this picture, over half a century later, I can identify, among other trades, a surgeon, a feddle gubmint landscape architect, a mortgage broker, several law enforcement officers, and more than one career Marine… (buncha dumb-ss grunts, anyway…)

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