Recon Marines take time to remember Beirut heroes

5 Nov 2003 | Cpl. Ryan S. Scranton

Seventeen overturned rifles with helmets atop stood plunged into the earth as the identification tags of 17 Marines and sailors who gave their lives for peace swayed in the wind.

The identification tags were placed on the rifles as the names of the men of 3rd Platoon, Company C, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion were read aloud during a special ceremony at their battalion headquarters building Oct. 24 honoring them for giving their lives during the terrorist bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983.

The Marines of the battalion have not forgotten about the events taking place 20 years ago on Oct. 23 and took time away from the numerous other ceremonies being conducted in honor of the 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers killed in Beirut.

"The reconnaissance community is very small, we are a tight knit group here and we wanted to do something special not just for the Marines and sailors, but for their family members as well," said Sgt. Maj. Robert R. Terry, sergeant major, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion.

As family members looked on, the names of the 16 Marines and one sailor were called off and a 21-gun-salute was rendered in honor of the fallen comrades. The ceremony also included the annual presentation of the Marine Corps Associations Holberton Award for the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion's best team leader, created in memory and to honor Staff Sgt. Richard H. Holberton from the battalion who died in the bombing of the barracks.

The award along with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal was presented to Sgt. Tamatea M. Teai, team leader, 2nd Platoon, Company B, 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion for his exceptional performance as a team leader for the past year.

"This ceremony is very special to us," said Terry, "It gives old friends a chance to get back together and lets them see that there are reconnaissance warriors back in the ranks."