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Thursday, October 23, 2008


Sunday morning was like a holiday. It was the only day of the week when the Marines could sleep in, the only day they got hot food, remembers retired Master Gunnery Sgt. John Nash.

"We really looked forward to that Sunday morning, and the terrorists knew that," Nash said.

At 6:22 the morning of Oct. 23, 1983, Nash was lying in his cot, talking to a fellow corporal about whether they should go to the chow hall for breakfast. Suddenly, the conversation was interrupted by a boom Nash called "totally indescribable."

"It blew us all out of our racks," Nash said. The men lay on the ground for 30 or 40 minutes, afraid to move.

"If I had done anything else that morning, I wouldn't be here today," Nash said.

Nash, who was on the first floor of the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment building that morning, was one of the lucky ones. A suicide bomber had detonated a five-ton truck full of explosives inside the four-story building, causing the headquarters to implode and crumble into a pile of rubble.

While Nash suffered a concussion and shoulder injuries, 241 others -- 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers -- were killed.

"Welcome to terrorism. Beirut, Lebanon, 1983, Oct. 23rd," Nash said. (Read more... )

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