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Beirut Marine Bombing 30 Years Ago Memorialized at Camp Lejeune

Image: Beirut Marine Bombing 30 Years Ago Memorialized at Camp Lejeune Oct. 23, 1983 file photo shows service members digging through rubble after a truck bombing at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

By Michael Mullins   |   Wednesday, 23 Oct 2013 11:24 AM

The 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, was remembered by survivors who gathered at a memorial at Camp Lejeune on Wednesday, honoring the 241 service members who were killed by Islamic terrorists some 30 years ago.

The majority of the 241 Americans killed in the suicide terrorist attack were attached to Camp Lejeune's 24th Marine Amphibious Unit.

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Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Amos is scheduled to speak at a memorial honoring the bombing's victims, the Associated Press reported.

The Beirut Marine barracks bombing is among the deadliest attacks on Americans.

The bombing was subsequently attributed to terrorists associated with the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite terrorist militia Hezbollah.

An investigation into the bombing found that a lack of protection at the Marine barracks allowed the terrorists to infiltrate the base.

The attack occurred at approximately 6:20 a.m. when a yellow Mercedes-Benz truck carrying 12,000 pounds of TNT plowed through a barbed wire fence surrounding the barracks, allowing the terrorist to enter the building’s lobby and detonate the bomb.

One of those survivors who traveled to the Camp Lejeune memorial service on Wednesday was Maine resident Mark Nevells, who at the time of the attack was a 21-year-old Marine Lance Corporal stationed at the Beirut barracks.

"I grabbed my gear and ran to the barracks," Nevells said, recalling his initial reaction to the bombing in an interview with the Bangor Daily News. "We watched as the building dropped then we went over for the recovery mission. There were so many people in that building and we just wanted to get them out."

Nevells, along with other survivors, spent the next five days digging through the building's rubble finding survivors and recovering the bodies of those who were killed in the blast.

"That was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done," Nevells told the Bangor Daily News. "We just did what we had to do."

Minutes after the Marine barracks bombing, a separate truck bombing occurred at a French barracks in Beirut that killed 58 paratroopers and wounded 15 others.

In February 1984, under the direction of President Ronald Reagan, the Marines began withdrawing from the country.

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