2d MLG HomeHiddenNews
2nd Marine Logistics Group News Search
2nd Marine Logistics Group News
Photo Information

The statue of a Marine dressed in the uniform worn at the time of the 1983 bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, watches over the names of the fallen inscribed on the Beirut Memorial near Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 11, 2012. Marines with Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group visited the memorial and spoke with a veteran of the conflict in Lebanon as part of an ongoing effort to keep the legacy of Beirut alive within the Marine Corps.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Paul Peterson

29 years later: Beirut Marine shares memory of bombing

15 Oct 2012 | Lance Cpl. Paul Peterson

The 1983 terrorist attacks on the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, killed 241 American servicemembers and sent shockwaves through the Marine community.

The official national monument that honors those fallen servicemembers stands only minutes from the Camp Lejeune front gate and tells the world a short, humble message: “They came in peace.”

Approximately 30 Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 6, 2nd Marine Logistics Group visited the Beirut Memorial Oct. 11, to ensure – even 29 years later – the legacy of the attacks and the mission in Lebanon remains strong in the minds of today’s generation.

“It was a traumatic time for the Marine Corps,” said Richard L. Ray, a retired gunnery sergeant who served at Camp Lejeune at the time of the bombings. “Whether it is one, two or 241, it is like you got a body blow to the stomach when you hear something like that.”

Ray worked at the public affairs office on Camp Lejeune the day the attacks occurred. As soon as he learned about the scope of the event, he immediately put on his uniform and reported to his post, where his days blended into his nights as he worked “day on, stay on.”

He joined the Marines on the ground in Lebanon shortly thereafter.

“It had been 14 years since I felt a round go down range,” said Ray, a combat veteran who served three tours in Vietnam. “I can honestly tell you that those 14 years mentally never existed by the time I got to Beirut. Everything I learned popped right back into my head.”

Ray even escorted media through some of the areas known to be threatened by enemy snipers. His role landed him on the front page of a magazine, which questioned the involvement of the U.S. military in Lebanon.

Ray saw a different attitude emerge from the American public. One that signaled a lasting change in how the military and civilian communities interacted.

“We got hundreds and hundreds of packages and letters every day to take out on the line,” said Ray, who said he passed out the overwhelming numbers of correspondence to his fellow Marines. “In Beirut we saw it, and it registered that the American public’s opinion of servicemembers was taking a turn for the better. It’s been that way ever since.”

The overwhelming support from people in the states struck Ray especially hard. He said it was the first time in 14 years that he truly felt the American public’s presence with the troops in combat.

The Beirut bombing meant just as much to the Marines still at Camp Lejeune, where Ray saw large numbers of recently retired servicemembers return to active duty as the base responded to the crisis.

Ray was especially touched to learn the community launched a campaign to build a monument for those killed in the bombing.

“Awareness is key,” said 1st Sgt. Laureano Perez, the first sergeant of Headquarters Company, CLB-6, who organized the trip to the Beirut Memorial. “It’s one of the bloodiest losses of Marines, and it’s something that they need to know so they can pass it on to their Marines … it’s something that we shouldn’t forget.”

After 23 years in the Marine Corps, Ray felt the same and rededicated his time to ensuring the memory of Lebanon is passed on to each generation of Marines.

“You understand too,” said Ray as he asked the Marines of CLB-6 about their own experiences in Afghanistan. “I was always one of those who wanted to sit at the front of the bus to see what was going on.”

He thanked them for doing the same.

The Marines with CLB-6 lined up in front of the memorial as Ray finished his presentation and shook his hand. They laid flowers at the memorial as they left to honor the memory of the lives lost.

Welcome to the 2d MLG's Official Page. We strive to provide our audience with perspective on unit and Marine Corps news and information while maintaining an issue driven, principle based and audience focused conversation online.

While this is an open forum, it's also a family friendly one, so please keep that in mind when posting comments. In addition to keeping it family friendly, we ask that you follow our posting guidelines listed below. Comments and posts that do not follow these guidelines will be removed:

-We do not allow graphic, obscene, explicit or racial comments or submissions nor do we allow comments that are abusive, hateful or intended to defame anyone or any organization.

-We do not allow solicitations or advertisements. This includes promotion or endorsement of any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency. Similarly, we do not allow attempts to defame or defraud any financial, commercial or non-governmental agency.

-We do not allow comments that suggest or encourage illegal activity.

-Apparent spam will be removed and may cause the author(s) to be blocked from the page without notice.

-You participate at your own risk, taking personal responsibility for your comments, your username and any information provided.

- For Official Use Only (FOUO), classified, pre-decisional, proprietary or business-sensitive information should never be discussed here. Don't post personnel lists, rosters, organization charts or directories. This is a violation of privacy.

The appearance of external links on this site does not constitute official endorsement on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps or Department of Defense.

You are encouraged to quote, republish or share any content on this site on your own blog, Web site or other communication/publication. If you do so, please credit the command or the person who authored the content as a courtesy.

Semper Fidelis.


Click for COVID-19 InformationReport Suspicious ActivityDStress Hotline