VA War Memorial Seeks Assistance To Find Families of Marines Killed In 1983 Bombing

Forty years ago on October 23, 1983, 241 U.S. military personnel including 220 U.S. Marines were killed in the terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.  The incident was the deadliest single-day death toll for the Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

The Virginia War Memorial in association with Blue Ridge PBS has produced a film entitled, “One Week In October” that tells the story of the Beirut bombing and also the invasion of the island of Grenada which occurred that same week.  The film will be premiered at the Memorial in Richmond, at the Hotel Roanoke, and aired on PBS television stations throughout Virginia.

The staff of the Virginia War Memorial is seeking family members and relatives of the eleven Virginia Marines who lost their lives in the bombing.  These persons will be invited to the special 40th anniversary ceremony at the Memorial on October 23, 2023. The Memorial staff is hopeful that print, online and broadcast media throughout the Commonwealth will publicize this request to help them find family members and relatives of the Marines listed below. The names are in alphabetical order followed by the city or town listed as their residence or place of enlistment in 1983.

  • Nicholas Baker (Alexandria)
  • Richard E. Barrett (Tappahannock)
  • James R. Baynard (Richmond)
  • William B. Foster Jr. (Richmond)
  • Michael D. Fulcher (Amherst)
  • Warner Gibbs Jr. (Portsmouth)
  • Douglas E. Held (Richmond)
  • James C. Knipple (Alexandria)
  • Jeffrey B. Owen (Virginia Beach)
  • Joseph A. Owens (Chesterfield)
  • Eric G. Washington (Alexandria)

Family members and relatives of the heroes listed above are asked to contact Ben King, Virginia War Memorial Operations Director, at [email protected]  or by calling 804-362-2333.

The Virginia War Memorial and Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) appreciates all assistance and publicity generated in helping the Memorial staff find, contact, and honor the families of those brave Virginia Marines who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation while serving in Beirut and whose names are permanently inscribed on the walls of the Shrine of Memory-Global War on Terror and Beyond at the Virginia War Memorial.


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