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KB
01-03-2007, 11:52 PM
By Keith A. Milks
Special to the Marine Corps Times

In mid-February 1983, the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit was settling into its routine as the American peacekeeping contingent in and around war-torn Beirut, Lebanon.

Commanded by Col. James Mead, the 22nd MAU left the U.S. aboard the amphibious assault ships of Amphibious Squadron 2 on Jan. 27.

The unit’s deployment coincided with an upswing in violence and military posturing between Beirut’s warring factions and terrorist groups. More ominous than the military threat, however, were the harsh winds blowing in from the Lebanese mountains. On Feb. 20, an unusually heavy snowfall — more than 10 feet in some areas — blanketed the Lebanese mountains.

The Lebanese government appealed to the Multinational Force for help, and the American, Italian and French contingents sprang into action. But because the afflicted areas were behind Syrian lines, the MNF had to wait until a request for passage was approved.

When approval was received, Mead ordered two CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters to fly to Dahr al Baydar, a village 12 miles east of Beirut, where 200 Lebanese civilians were reportedly trapped. The helicopters made two attempts to reach the village but were turned back each time by the extreme weather.

Meanwhile, nine amphibious assault vehicles from Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion,6th Marines, were being staged in Baabda, from which they planned to attempt a surface rescue toward Dahr al Baydar.

Because of Syrian delays, however, no attempts were made to reach the village overland. Instead, the column of nine AAVs and 90 Marines and sailors left at 4 a.m. Feb. 22 bound for Qatarba, the region reportedly worst hit by the storms and outside Syrian influence.

The plan called for the column to head 36 miles north to Jubayl to coordinate with the Lebanese Red Cross before striking out for Qatarba.

At the same time, a Sea Knight and a Huey from Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 264 made another attempt to reach Dahr al Baydar and, despite being tracked by Syrian fire-control radar, landed near the village.

The aircrew was met by Syrian soldiers, who directed the Marines to a nearby roadway, where scores of vehicles had been stranded for up to three days. The leathernecks discovered more than 100 civilians dead from exposure; they airlifted the survivors to safety.

It took the ground column more than five hours to reach Jubayl. Blasting winds, snowdrifts up to 16 feet deep and precarious mountain roads turned the 12-mile trek into a 14-hour test of endurance.

Feb. 23 dawned clear and sunny, and the MAU took advantage of the break in the weather to fly in stockpiles of fuel and food for Qatarba residents and to carry out urgent medical cases. However, the majority of residentsrefused to leave.

The convoy left Qatarba early Feb. 24 just as the weather started to turn bad again. The column’s arrival in Jubayl at noon brought the three-day humanitarian effort to a close and ended a chapter in the Corps’ Beirut experience that was overshadowed by the barracks bombing in October of the same year.

The writer is a gunnery sergeant. He can be reached at kambtp@aol.com.

gaijinsamurai
01-04-2007, 12:47 AM
Of course, most Arabs only choose to remember the USS New Jersey's big guns, despite all we did to try to keep Lebanon from spiraling into the abyss.
Thanks for the post, KB.
Semper Fidelis.

RetBor
01-04-2007, 08:25 AM
The American peacekeeping contingent!

It made my day! Vietnam, Libya, Grenada, Haiti, Yougoslavia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and many others bombarded back many years by GIs... What a bull**** article!
And it is amazing - there people do trust that!

Connaught Ranger
01-04-2007, 12:57 PM
Lets not forget the British Military were part of the Multi-National Force as well.

The Multi-National Force also, by the way, had no connection to the UNIFIL Forces in the South of the country.

Connaught Ranger

md2mum
01-04-2007, 02:00 PM
Just remember there is no "I" in team!

dj_1911
01-04-2007, 02:46 PM
The American peacekeeping contingent!

It made my day! Vietnam, Libya, Grenada, Haiti, Yougoslavia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and many others bombarded back many years by GIs... What a bull**** article!
And it is amazing - there people do trust that!

Gentlemen, we have a contender for DOTW! :)

RetBor
01-04-2007, 03:02 PM
Who are we? Buddy, was it U in Camp Stryker seeking a cigarette? Or it was in Camp Victory where you've been securing the PX?
Did you wright on the wall "Let's bomb this place and go home! **** Iraq!". Col Nalitski is waiting for you.:fork:

gaijinsamurai
01-04-2007, 08:25 PM
I agree, dj_1911. I hope Ngati is looking at this.
What's with all the trolls lately? It looks like they're coming out of the woodwork.





By the way, I'm not denying the fact that the US military bombed the crap out of lots of innocent noncombatants in almost every campaign we've been in, but this story is about a humanitarian mission. If you want to believe that the US Marines, or the US military as a whole, are the moral equivilant to WWII Germany or Japan, go ahead, but take your idiocy elsewhere.

gilgoul
01-05-2007, 02:18 AM
Of course, most Arabs only choose to remember the USS New Jersey's big guns, despite all we did to try to keep Lebanon from spiraling into the abyss.
Thanks for the post, KB.
Semper Fidelis.
With all due respect, dude, it's about time you realize there is no such a thing as thankfulness to dhimmis in this part of the world
The USA on it's own volition saved more muslim asses than anyone else in Bosnia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Kurdistan, Irak, Saudi Arabia and Koweit, thousands of palestinians own their daily ration or school stipend to USAid, yet, you are the big Satan and they burn your flags, when it's not your citizens, soldiers and diplomats.

gaijinsamurai
01-05-2007, 03:40 AM
Actually, I'm well aware of that, having served in the Middle East. I had my share of experiences with "appreciative" Saudis and Kuwaitis.

wicked_hind
01-05-2007, 04:06 AM
The American peacekeeping contingent!

It made my day! Vietnam, Libya, Grenada, Haiti, Yougoslavia, Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and many others bombarded back many years by GIs... What a bull**** article!
And it is amazing - there people do trust that!

WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH.......GO TELL SOMEONE ELSE WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR OPINION:fork: :fork: :fork:

RetBor
01-05-2007, 08:27 AM
WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH WAAAAH.......GO TELL SOMEONE ELSE WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR OPINION:fork: :fork: :fork:

Yeah, your location explains it all, Tenderfoot

Acid Bath
01-05-2007, 04:20 PM
Yeah, your location explains it all, Tenderfoot


Please explain to me what his location says about him. And while you are at it, what about me and my location. What preconceived oppinions do you have about me because my location says Vermont?

dj_1911
01-05-2007, 04:23 PM
Please explain to me what his location says about him. And while you are at it, what about me and my location. What preconceived oppinions do you have about me because my location says Vermont?

http://www.bentsynapse.net/insults/images/feed_troll.jpg

Acid Bath
01-05-2007, 05:49 PM
http://www.bentsynapse.net/insults/images/feed_troll.jpg

I know I shouldn't, but I was in a bad mood and it seemed to make sense at the time.

Con-man
01-07-2007, 01:51 AM
Actually, I wouldn't mind seeing how much we can get the troll to say all in his pitiful attempts to insult people on this forum. Here's a hint RetBor, there have been way more succesful trolls on these forums than you, what are you doing wrong?

gaijinsamurai
01-07-2007, 02:09 AM
Well, his comments earned him the "Dumd**** of the Week" award, so maybe that took the wind out of his sails.

BPEL
01-07-2007, 04:31 AM
KB, an excellent post. I remember that month. We were having one of hardest winters that year.

The western Lebanon ranges "trap" the clouds going east, which dump alot of snow in the passes. I remember the choppers were sent to rescue trapped cars from the passes. They were also used to bring food and fuel to villagers in high elevations that lost access to the main roads.

Good stuff!!

Thanks :)

BPEL
01-07-2007, 04:38 AM
Here are some pics of that period:

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AMH/XX/MidEast/Lebanon-1982-1984/USMC-Lebanon82/img/USMC-Lebanon82-46.jpg


A HMM-264 CH-46 helicopter lands in the mountain snow to evacuate survivors of the severe February 1983 storm which hit Lebanon, disrupting almost all transportation.

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AMH/XX/MidEast/Lebanon-1982-1984/USMC-Lebanon82/img/USMC-Lebanon82-47.jpg



Following the winter storm in February 1983--one of the worst in the history of Lebanon--22d MAU LVTP-7 assault amphibious vehicles (AAVs) were employed in the evacuation of snowbound civilians. Photo by Claude Salhani

http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/AMH/XX/MidEast/Lebanon-1982-1984/USMC-Lebanon82/img/USMC-Lebanon82-48.jpg



22d MAU assault amphibious vehicles laboriously make their way over narrow mountain roads on a rescue mission to recover Lebanese civilians stranded in the heavy snowstorm. Photo by Claude Salhani

gaijinsamurai
01-07-2007, 04:53 AM
Thanks for the pics BPEL! Shukran!
Most people don't realize it, but that area can actually get very cold. In 1989, I was visiting my girlfriend's family in the West Bank, and almost got snowed in.

Con-man
01-07-2007, 10:47 PM
It snowed in Israel in 2000 :) But its still weird to see Lebanon with a populated area being snowed in, awesome pics and thanks for sharing.

rjbhutton
01-08-2007, 08:42 PM
Just remember there is no "I" in team!

but there is an "i" in "win"!!! (Helverston, Scott (2000). Combat Missions)!!!

bk1133
01-09-2007, 10:10 AM
I remember it well. I was a crew chief on the Huey involved.

gaijinsamurai
01-09-2007, 06:46 PM
Were you with 2nd Marine Airwing, BK1133?
I'm glad you made it back. I joined the Marine Corps in 1985, and my first duty station after bootcamp was Camp Lejeune.
The Beirut vets were heroes to us.

bk1133
01-10-2007, 10:17 AM
Yes, HMM-261, I was based at New River air station, just south of you. We were in Grenada then went straight to Beirut to relieve the guys who got hit at the Barracks.

We were flying off of the USS Guam. I remember that storm, there was some avalanches that isolated the towns in that area. Can't believe its been almost 25 years. thanks.

KB
01-10-2007, 04:43 PM
Yes, HMM-261, I was based at New River air station, just south of you. We were in Grenada then went straight to Beirut to relieve the guys who got hit at the Barracks.

We were flying off of the USS Guam. I remember that storm, there was some avalanches that isolated the towns in that area. Can't believe its been almost 25 years. thanks.

I think you've gotten your Med cruises and Lebanese snow storms mixed up. The BLT bombing and Grenada op were in October '83.

"In mid-February 1983, the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit was settling into its routine as the American peacekeeping contingent in and around war-torn Beirut, Lebanon."

bk1133
01-11-2007, 10:59 AM
I "cross-decked", spent time with both 22 and 24 MAU's. Both units were involved in snow storms in the same area in the winters of 83 and 84. I flew in support in both of them. And yes, Grenada was 25 Oct '83 for us and the Barracks was on the 23rd. We didn't really know about the barracks until later, just rumors as I recall. I guess we were in Grenada for a week, then back to Beirut.