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U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. William Wando, currently a student at the Naval War College, left and Capt. Cavan Croskey, Aviation Logistics Tactical Information Officer in Charge at the Aviation Logistics School, Marine Corps Detachment Newport, Naval Station Newport, place the wreath behind the Portmsouth Beirut Memorial in Portsmouth, R.I. following a ceremony held Tuesday morning at the site. The memorial specifically honors the nine Rhode Island Marines who died 29 years ago today in the bombing.

By Lisa Woodbury Rama, Naval Station Newport Public Affairs
Oct. 24, 2012

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. -- A U.S. Naval  War College (NWC) student joined nearly 90 family members, veterans and guests gathered on the grounds at the Portsmouth Historical Society, Oct. 23, for the 29th anniversary of the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing.

Family members of the nine Rhode Island Marines killed in action that morning were given red roses to carry during the tribute.

The Navy Band Northeast Brass Quintet provided the music for the ceremony which began with the traditional presentation of colors by the Marine Corps Detachment Newport color guard.

Lt. Jonathan Henderson, Naval Station Newport assistant base chaplain, provided the invocation and benediction at this ceremony which has been held consistently for the last 26 years, organized by Ms. Shirley Zdanuk of Portsmouth and supported by the Marines stationed at Naval Station Newport.

Guest speaker at this year’s event was Marine Corps Lt. Col. William Wando, a student at the Naval War College. Wando enlisted in the Marine Corps in the summer of 1983 and following boot camp was assigned as an aerial gunner in December, 1983 to Lebanon as part of the peacekeeping mission there.

“I saw what chaos really was,” he said as he recalled duty in Lebanon.

“Two-hundred forty-one Americans were killed 29 years ago today and two minutes later 58 French military lost their lives through a cowardly attack. These were Marines, Army, civilians and French who came in peace,” he said.

Wando spoke about the positive effects that came from the tragedy.

“After the bombing there was a huge turn in American perception towards those who serve. There was a resurgence of appreciation for the sacrifices made by those in uniform,” he said.

Wando said the Vietnam War was still fresh in the national psyche in the early 80’s.

“Today is a day of remembrance for those who died and for what we stand for. We face an enemy who has no concept of honor – that is what we stand against.  We stand to protect others,” Wando said.

A roll call was read by Marine Corps Maj. Christopher Story, Marine Corps Detachment Newport, who served as the emcee of the event.

The names read were: Sgt. Timothy Giblin; Cpl. Rick R. Crudale; Cpl. Edward S. Lacovino Jr.; Cpl. David C. Massa; Cpl. Thomas A. Shipp; Cpl. James Silvia; Cpl. Edward Soares Jr.; Cpl. Stephen Spencer; and Lance Cpl. Thomas Julian.

After roll call, those assembled moved to the front lawn area of the society for the laying of the wreath by Wando and Marine Corps Capt. Cavan Croskey, Marine Corps Detachment Newport, the playing of taps by Navy Band Northeast bugler Musician 2nd Class Kristen Snitzer, and a closing prayer.

A monument to the nine Ocean State Marines stands on the northeast lawn of the Portsmouth Historical Society. Naval Station Newport is home to 53 different Navy, Marine Corps, Army Reserve and U.S. Coast Guard commands and such prestigious institutions as the U.S. Naval War College.

Edited by Cmdr. Carla McCarthy and Dan Marciniak
Posted by Dan Marciniak