- - Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Iranian protests give President Donald Trump a chance to address with the ayatollahs the great casualties inflicted in Beirut in 1983 against Americans and the French. From Aug. 25, 1982, to Feb. 26, 1984, U.S. Marines served in Lebanon under the most difficult rules of engagement, restrictions on fire support and political posturing. On Aug. 25, 1982, about 800 Marines of the 32d Marine Amphibious Unit (MAU) landed in Beirut as part of a multinational peacekeeping force and oversaw the evacuation of PLO guerrillas under Israeli siege. The force included 400 French and 800 Italian soldiers. On Sept. 10 of that year, after the evacuation of the PLO was complete, 32d MAU was withdrawn. Then, in the wake of the assassination of President-elect Bashir Gemayel, the 32d MAU returned to Beirut and remained until Oct. 30, when it was relieved by the 24th MAU.

Subsequent attacks were conducted by Iranian-, Syrian- and Soviet-Union-supported Islamic fundamentalist militias and guerrilla groups against the Marines and French, Italian and Lebanese soldiers. Heavy rocket, mortar and artillery attacks were sometimes received by Marines, which were returned by our 155 mm artillery and naval gunfire from ships of the U.S. 6th Fleet.

During the nearly two years of fighting, the 22d MAU, 31st MAU and 35th MAU also served in Beirut, supported by ships including the USS John Rodgers, USS Virginia, USS Arthur Radford and USS New Jersey.

On Oct. 23, 1983, a suicide bomber in a truck loaded with the equivalent of about 12,000 pounds of explosives destroyed the headquarters building of Battalion Landing Team 1/8 at the Beirut International Airport, resulting in 241 killed and 70 wounded. At about the same time, another suicide attack destroyed a building occupied by French paratroopers, resulting in 58 killed.

It’s time America had a response from the ayatollahs.


U.S. Marine Corps (retired)


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