THE BEIRUT BOMBING
On this day, a suicide bomber drives a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives into a U.S. Marine Corps barracks at the Beirut International Airport. The explosion killed 220 Marines (13 from Ohio), 18 sailors and 3 soldiers. A few minutes after that bomb went off, a second bomber drove into the basement of the nearby French paratrooper’s barracks, killing 58 more people. Four months after the bombing, American forces left Lebanon without retaliating. At about 6:20 in the morning on October 23, 1983, a yellow Mercedes truck charged through the barbed-wire fence around the American compound and plowed past two guard stations. It drove straight into the barracks and exploded. Eyewitnesses said that the force of the blast caused the entire building to float up above the ground a moment before it pancaked down in a cloud of pulverized concrete and human remains. FBI investigators said it was the largest non-nuclear explosion since World War II and certainly the most powerful car bomb ever detonated.