The return of Marines to Beirut as full-time embassy guards for the first time in more than 30 years is a notable milestone for those who fought to maintain stability in Lebanon, a country oft-wracked with religious and ethnic tensions.
As of early September, Marine security guards are again manning Post One in Beirut. From their perch in the lobby they screen building visitors and, most importantly, safeguard classified information for the first time since the 1980s.
The post holds profound significance for Marines young and old. The embassy there was bombed in 1983 and again in 1984. But the most vicious attack occurred in October 1983 when a suicide bomber in an explosive-laden truck destroyed the Marine Corps barracks at the Beirut airport killing 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. Official investigations would later reveal that the explosion was the largest non-nuclear blast in history up to that point — equivalent to 21,000 pounds of TNT.
Interesting, as today marks the 31st anniversary of one of the deadliest terror attacks against the US. Never forget.