Thursday, October 25, 2007

Thank You Senator McConnell

The U.S. Marines were honored on the Senate floor Tuesday, the 24th anniversary of the terrorist attack on the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said that although terrorists and suicide bombers are still with us today, “thankfully for America, so are the United States Marines.”

“By their courage on the battlefield, and constant risk of danger, today’s Marines honor every one of their forebears who died defending our country,” McConnell said. “We continue to fight terror today with a steady hand, even if it is at times paired with a heavy heart. And we are proud of the brave men and women who fight for their country.”

On October 23, 1983, two truck bombs struck separate buildings in Beirut housing U.S. and French members of the Multinational Force who were stationed in Lebanon during the Lebanese Civil War. The attack killed 241 American Marines, sailors and soldiers. Several hours later, an organization called Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the attack.

“I rise today in honor of the 241 U.S. Marines, sailors and soldiers who were killed in a despicable suicide bombing attack on the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. That attack occurred 24 years ago today on October 23, 1983.

President Ronald Reagan had dispatched U.S. forces in 1982 to maintain the peace in Lebanon. On the morning of October 23, one Lebanese terrorist drove a truck packed with explosives through three guard posts and a barbed-wire fence, straight into the lobby of the U.S. Marine Corps’ headquarters.

The bomb exploded with the force of 18,000 pounds of dynamite. It transformed the four-story cinderblock building into rubble.

It was so powerful, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia later described it as ‘the largest non-nuclear explosion that had ever been detonated on the face of the Earth.’

Some of the men and women lost that day were murdered in their sleep. Others, who saw the truck come crashing in, may have seen the face of the enemy as their last sight on Earth.

Either way, 241 Americans wearing their country’s uniform were killed in a brutal attack that shocked America and the world.

Terrorists and their favorite tactic, the suicide attack, are still with us today.

Thankfully for America, so are the United States Marines.

Founded in 1775, the U.S. Marine Corps has been ‘at the tip of the spear’ in every one of this nation’s wars. And they will never be stopped by a terrorist’s suicide attack.

This November, the country will celebrate the Corps’ 232nd birthday, and thank them for defending our freedoms.

By taking the fight to the terrorists, wherever they hide, the Marines have put terrorists on the defensive, making it less likely they will hit us again here at home.

By their courage on the battlefield, and constant risk of danger, today’s Marines honor every one of their forebears who died defending our country.

Mr. President, America still remembers her brave men and women lost in the Marine barracks bombing of 1983. We honor them and their families for their sacrifice.

We continue to fight terror today with a steady hand, even if it is at times paired with a heavy heart. And we are proud of the brave men and women who fight for their country against the would-be terrorists of today and tomorrow.”

Welcome Home Root Vet!

Vet helps fight personal battles
Marine witness to devastating attack now helping fellow wounded warriors

By DENNIS YUSKO, Staff writer
Click byline for more stories by writer.
First published: Tuesday, October 23, 2007

COLONIE -- Darrel Franklin saw the world change 24 years ago today in Beirut. It ended up changing his own world, too.

The Marine from Arbor Hill was standing guard in Lebanon at 6:22 a.m. Oct. 23, 1983, when a suicide bomber detonated a truckload of explosives at the Marines' barracks, killing 241 U.S. military members.

The lance corporal not only survived the era's first major terrorist attack, but also the personal difficulties that followed.

He got a job as a mail carrier, but battled post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism for years. Now Franklin, 44, has a second career helping a new generation of wounded warriors at Stratton Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Albany.

Working in the center's drug and alcohol rehabilitation program has made Franklin feel better about the memories of the thunderous blast in Beirut and the friends he lost, he says.

"I found out that by taking my experiences, pains and heartaches and sharing them with other people, I can be a tool for them," he said in his Latham home, which he shares with his wife, Angela, and two daughters.

Franklin's personality mixes black and military pride, and he wants to spend the rest of his life helping young African-Americans and combat veterans. But for Franklin, it's been a long road to rebirth.

He grew up on Colonie Street in Albany with his mother and sister, and always wanted to be a Marine. He signed up at age 17 and left for boot camp four days after graduating from Albany High School.

"School wasn't my thing," Franklin said.

After being assigned to bases in California and Okinawa, Japan, for a year, Franklin volunteered for a multinational peacekeeping mission in Beirut in 1983. The U.S. had entered Lebanon after Israel invaded the country and a civil war broke out.

Franklin and others made daily patrols around the Beirut region. He endured sniper fire and other attacks from what he believes were Hezbollah fighters. Members of Hezbollah were blamed for the bombing that blew the four-story cinder-block building into rubble and crushed many inside.

Franklin was standing about 400 yards away from the blast, which ultimately caused President Ronald Reagan to withdraw U.S. troops from Lebanon.

"They shook the ground beneath our feet," Franklin said. He remembers feeling anger, emptiness and a desire for revenge when he saw coffins carrying dead Marines being loaded onto a plane.

Franklin returned to the United States in December 1983. He re-enlisted and got married the next year.

But something was brewing within him. Franklin had trouble sleeping, often waking in a heavy sweat. At a military parade, he hit the ground in a panic at the sound of a cannon shot.

After he got back, he took a job with the U.S. Postal Service. He soon started drinking to numb his anxious feelings.

In 1990, at the urging of both his wife and mother, Franklin got help from the Albany Veterans Center on Central Avenue. He went to individual and group counseling for stress and anxiety.

1Franklin was inspired to go to college after he attended the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., in 1995. Over the next decade, he earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Sage Colleges, the latter in community psychology and counseling. The VA hired Franklin two months ago.

"I can always trust that he's working with the best interest of the veteran at heart," said Kirsten Danfourth, acting program manager. "His compassion and the work he does definitely stems from his own experience as a veteran."

Franklin says he wants to help veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts who are suffering from similar problems. He says he still lives a "guarded" life.

"I want to let the guys and girls know that you can live with it and be productive," Franklin said. "You face a lot of stuff. It isn't easy. But you can become aware of trigger signs and make changes."

Yusko can be reached at 581-8438 or by e-mail at

9/11 did not start the Terriorism train

23 October 2007

Think back to the many heroes we lost that day. Think of the enemies that ran us out of Lebannon, and remember that these are the same enemy we fight today. Hizballah, Syria, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. The list goes on. These are the same enemies trying to defeat us in Iraq today.

Our enemy has been at war with us now for more than 24 years. Only since 9-11 have we recognized this fact and begun to fight back.


The driver of the yellow Mercedes Benz truck in Beirut that awful day 24 years ago knew precisely where to go. According to intelligence reports, two members of what was then the underground terrorist organization known as Hizbullah had mapped the layout of the Marine barracks so that the suicide bomber could carry out his mission to maximum effect. He knew the Marines pulling sentry duty had pocketed their ammo clips thanks to some ridiculous rules of engagement. And he was aware that there were no barriers protecting the structure so that his truck laden with 12,000 pounds of explosives would only have to crash through ordinary wood and plaster in order to be positioned perfectly so that detonation would have catastrophic effects on the building.

The truck had apparently been prepared with the help of Syrians and Iranians in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon where several Revolutionary Guard units had been stationed under Syrian protection. An NSA intercept revealed at a trial that convicted the Islamic Republic of Iran of being behind the attack, stated that a message sent from Iranian intelligence headquarters in Tehran toAli-Akbar Mohtashemi, the Iranian ambassador in Damascus and directed the Iranian ambassador to get in touch with Islamic Amal which has since been identified as the military arm of Hizbullah at the time, and instruct him to “take spectacular action” against the Marines.

Read the whole horrible story, because remembering what happened is half of preparing for what is next. We can’t go through life pretending that there isn’t a huge fanatical movement in the world praying for our destruction. Sticking your head in the sand is not what these heroes deserve on the anniversary of their murders.

And now we face the same decision that Reagan faced then. Do we run, or do we stand and fight? Do we allow the forces of militant jihadism to force us to leave with our tail between our legs, and wait for the next bombing or hijacking? Or do we keep kicking their asses wherever we find them?

Reagan, and the rest of this nation, made the mistake of thinking this war wouldn’t follow us home if we just got the hell out. Today we know from experience that this simply isn’t the case. They always come back home. Victory is the only option. Harden the fuck up and quit your bitching..
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One Response to “Remembering: The Beirut Barracks Bombing Anniversary”
1. Solo Says:
October 24th, 2007 at 6:23 am

It would be good if people would look back and remember. Too many I’ve talked to think that Islamic terrorism started on 9/11/01.

Grenada 24 years later

Grenada (Heard From Today!)
By Lt Col P

23 Oct 1983, the same day as the Beirut bombing, a scratch joint task force assaults and takes the island of Grenada, overthrowing its tinpot Marxist government and ejecting Cuban soldiers and workers.

The Navy history website has a nifty little account of the campaign.

Meanwhile, Fox and Echo companies [of 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines] merged north of St. George's and secured a flat, stadium-like area called the Queen's Racecourse, which the Marines dubbed "LZ Racetrack" (LZ standing for landing zone). The battalion landing team commander set up headquarters there.

"We did a lot of humping today," said Marine Captain Mike Dick, Fox Company commander, after the first day of the operation. He looked over his men and added in a low tone, "It's quite a bit different from Camp Lejeune. We're doing this for real and for keeps."

Make that Capt Mike Dick, VMI '77, now Colonel, USMC, retired.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

24th anniversary of Beirut bombing marked

By Trista Talton - Staff writerPosted : Tuesday Oct 23, 2007 17:31:24 EDT

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — They gently brushed their fingertips across the stone where the names of the men who died on a peacekeeping mission in Lebanon in 1983 are engraved.
On Tuesday, families and friends gathered around the Beirut Memorial here once again to commemorate the 24th anniversary of the day terrorists drove a bomb-laden truck into the headquarters building for the Camp Lejeune, N.C.-based 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers.
The crowd — filled with an assortment of Marines, sailors, airmen, soldiers, mothers, fathers, wives, children and survivors of the blast — looked toward the wall as speakers talked about that fateful day.
Maj. Gen. Robert Dickerson, commander of Marine Corps Installations-East and the ceremony’s guest speaker, told the story of one survivor, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey Nashton, who was fighting for his life on a hospital bed in Germany when he and other survivors were visited by then-Commandant Gen. P.X. Kelley.
Nashton could not see or speak and could barely hear. When Kelley knelt by his bedside, Nashton reached out a hand and brushed his fingers over the general’s star-collared shirt.
Nashton signaled he wanted to write something. He was handed a pen and paper and scribbled two words — “Semper Fi” — before handing the paper to Kelley, Dickerson said.
“Jeffrey feels guilty, as many of you do today, that he survived,” Dickerson said. “Don’t feel guilty. It’s your memory. It’s their legacy you’re maintaining.”
Dickerson rattled off a long list of terrorist attacks dating back to November 1979, when the U.S. Embassy in Iran was taken over by militants. He spoke of various embassy attacks throughout the years, the bombing of the Cole and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“The lessons learned in Beirut are relevant today,” Dickerson said. “These cowards are still out there. These cowards — these terrorists — are global. And they fear democracy.”
Photo slideshow:
Remembering Beirut