Rhode Island Beirut Memorial

October 13, 2020

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Phantom Blooper
10-26-04, 02:56 PM
By Courtney Anderson
Newport (R.I.) Daily News staff

PORTSMOUTH - On October 23, 1983, 241 Marines and soldiers were killed when a truck filled with explosives was driven by a suicide bomber into the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

Twenty-one years later, with the American flag flying outside at half-staff, about 70 people gathered Saturday inside the Portsmouth Historical Society to remember those from Rhode Island who gave the ultimate sacrifice that day.

In the close-knit community that is Rhode Island, the bombing hit particularly close to home as nine Marines from Rhode Island, including four Aquidneck Islanders, were killed.

The ceremony, which was sponsored by the Portsmouth Beirut Marine Memorial Committee, was host to Marines and family and friends of the deceased who came to honor the nine men, the memories that they made in life and the sacrifice they made.

Lt. Col. Andrew L. Solgere, a student at the Naval War College in Newport, was the guest speaker at the ceremony.

"The only reason that people like us can enjoy the freedoms we do today is because of men like those in Beirut, Lebanon," Solgere said. "It is important to always remember."

Ed Logan of Portsmouth came to the ceremony to remember. Logan served as a chief engineer in the Korean War and has a connection to the bombings in Beirut.

"My son was on a ship off Guadalcanal off of the coast of Lebanon at that time, so we always remember," Logan said.

Master Sgt. Frank Dolan served with the Marines in Vietnam from 1965-1966 and then again from 1968-1969. He came to the ceremony with the Kent County Detachment Marine Corps League.

"Marines stick together ... we came to show our respects," Dolan said.

Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Schneider said he knew most of the Marines who died.

"They were the people you grew up with - imagine losing your whole high school class," Schneider said.

William Giblin comes to the ceremony every year to remember his brother Sgt. Timothy Giblin, who was only 20 years old when he was killed in Beirut.

"It is very difficult to come here and remember those times," Giblin said. "It doesn't get any easier."

Giblin's son, Timothy, who is named after his uncle, comes every year with his dad to the ceremony.

"I bring him to let him know how special he is, how special his name is," Giblin said.

The memorial activities on Saturday included the afternoon ceremony at the Portsmouth Historical Society, which is also the site of the Beirut Memorial. There was a similar ceremony earlier in the day at the other memorial monument located in Perrotti Park in Newport.

The Newport ceremony was sponsored by the Col. William R. "Rich" Higgins Detachment of the Marine Corps League. In addition to remarks by Solgere, it included music by the U.S. Navy Band.

Marines remembered in the ceremonies were Cpl. Rick R. Crudale, Sgt. Timothy Giblin, Cpl. Edward S. Iacovino Jr., Lance Cpl. Thomas Julian, Cpl. Thomas A. Shipp, Cpl. Edward Soares Jr., Cpl. Stephen Spencer, Cpl. David C. Massa and Cpl. James Silvia.