AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Gov. Paul LePage Wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of a 1983 terror attack that killed 241 U.S. service members including Strong native Bruce L. Howard.
Howard, a Marine Corps corporal, was among the 220 Marines, 18 sailors and 3 soldiers killed when a suicide truck bomb carrying thousands of pounds of explosives crashed through the headquarters of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, located in the Beirut International Airport, according a release issued by LePage.
Marine Maj. Andrew L. Davis, who was also killed in the attack, had ties to Maine.
“Not since the brutal battle for Iwo Jima in February 1945 had the Marines suffered such a single-day casualty rate,” LePage said.
Mark Nevells, a Bangor-area resident, was a corporal with the Marines in 1983, stationed in Beirut, according to the release.
Nevells recalls being approximately 100 yards from the target building when it exploded.
Decades later, he said, most people he meets cannot remember what happened in Beirut.
“It’s a single event that many people forget about,” Nevells said. “But so long as I am here I will remind people about this page in our history. The 241 brave souls that died that day deserve it.”
In all 1,800 Marines were stationed in Beirut at the time and 300 service members had been living at the 4-story building at the airport.