Oct 23, 2023 – 40th Anniversary of Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing Remembered

The Portsmouth Historical Society Museum hosted a remembrance ceremony of the tragic event.

On Sunday, October 23, 1983, at about 6:20 a.m., a yellow Mercedes stake-bed truck crashed into the lobby of the barracks of the 1st Battalion 8th Marines before the driver detonated a suicide bomb.

The bomb was the equivalent of about 12,000 pounds of T.N.T. and was the largest non-nuclear blast since World War II. A second bomb was detonated by another suicide bomber a few minutes later at a site a couple of miles away.

A total of 299 U.S. and French military personnel and six civilians were killed in the attacks. Nine of the U.S. Marines killed were from Rhode Island. They were as follows:

Cpl. Rick R. Crudale, 21, of West Warwick

Sgt. Timothy Giblin, 20, of Providence

Cpl. Edward S. Iacovino Jr., 20, of Warwick

PFC Thomas Julian, 21, of Portsmouth

Cpl. David C. Massa, 21, of Warren

Cpl. Thomas A. Shipp, 28, of Woonsocket

Lance Cpl. James F. Silvia, 20, of Middletown

Cpl. Edward Soares Jr., 21, of Tiverton

Cpl. Stephen E. Spencer, 23, of Portsmouth

Lance Cpl. Silvia, of Middletown, and Cpl. Spencer, of Portsmouth, were brothers-in-law. PFC Julian was a 1979 graduate of Portsmouth High School. During the summers, he cut the grass for the Portsmouth Historical Society.

Duty called these Marines, and they responded and gave their last full measure. They are forever part of a brotherhood that doesn’t feel self-pity but is willing to serve as our nation’s guardians.

A memorial to the nine U.S. Marines from Rhode Island who were killed in the attack is located on the grounds of the Society. Shirley Zdanuck placed it in 1984. A service is held each year at the memorial on the anniversary of the bombings.

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