Remembering the Life and Memory of...
LCpl William F. Burley
Hometown: Linden, NJ.
Died: October 23rd, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon.
Unit: US Marine Corps.
Incident: Died of injuries from a suicide truck bomb attack on the Marine Barracks.
The Beirut barracks bombing (October 23, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon) occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, when two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen. The organization Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing, but that organization is thought to have been a nom de guerre for Hezbollah—or a group that would later become part of Hezbollah—receiving help from the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Suicide bombers detonated each of the truck bombs. In the attack on the American Marines barracks, the death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel and three Army soldiers, along with sixty Americans injured, representing the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II.[dead link]In addition, the elderly Lebanese custodian of the Marines' building was killed in the first blast. The explosives used were equivalent to 5,400 kg (12,000 pounds) of TNT.
In the attack on the French barracks, the eight-story 'Drakkar' building, two minutes after the Marine attack, 58 paratroopers from the 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment were killed and 15 injured, in the single worst military loss for France since the end of the Algerian War.
The blasts led to the withdrawal of the international peacekeeping force from Lebanon, where they had been stationed since the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization following the Israeli 1982 invasion of Lebanon.
This is a tribute to one of the kindest and most dignified people I had the pleasure of knowing, William "Bill" Burley. Bill was from Linden NJ but graduated from Dobbs Ferry High School in NY and was a member of the Dobbs Ferry Eagle Track Team. Also, Bill was resident at the Andrus Children's Home in Yonkers, NY where he developed a reputation for being a a nice guy who was humble and a great example to the younger kids. Although Bill was thin in stature with a quite demeanor, he had an inner toughness born out of poverty as a kid From Linden NJ. The Andrus Alumni miss him and love him very much. Although Bill died from wounds related to the massive bombing, we know that Bill would have jumped on a grenade for a fellow Marine if the situation occurred.
(Provided by a friend - Arnie C.)