Beirut bombing remembered

Published: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at 09:11 AM.

On Oct. 23 at 6:17 in the morning, Gibson was just waking up and getting ready to make his usual rounds.

The concussion from the blast took him completely by surprise and jarred everyone awake. Many of the Marines, according to Gibson, thought they had taken a direct hit from a tank round. Once he made it upstairs from the basement, all he could see was a cloud of billowing, black smoke. Initially, he thought that the building had been hit by artillery, a SCUD missile or another type of munitions. Finding out what had happened proved difficult due to radio silence, he said.

“Our headquarters was in the building so we didn’t have anyone to give us word and tell us what to do,” he said. “We had no idea what was going on. I can’t help but remember that the only reason I wasn’t in the building was because they switched me to (a different company) a few months prior.

“If it wasn’t for that, who knows where I’d be today.”

Danny Joy looked up into the sky at what he said looked like a tactical bombing.

“I remember thinking, ‘what the hell was that’ because it was just the loudest noise I’d ever heard,” Joy said. “The reverberation and concussion was just insane.”

Joy, who observed the explosion from the same position as Gibson, said his body began shaking as he radioed to the battalion headquarters trying to find out what had just happened. As the Marines came upstairs from their berthing area, they all stood staring at the cloud of smoke. Joy, who was the corporal of the guard at the time, didn’t know what to say to his men, he said.

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