This book is a straightforward account of the deployment of Marines to Lebanon in the period 1982-1984. The story begins with the landing of the 32d Marine Amphibious Unit (32d MAU) in Beirut in August 1982 at the request of the Lebanese Government to assist, together with French and Italian military units, in supervising the evacuation of the Palestine Liberation Organization. It ends in February 1984 with the withdrawal of the 22 marine Amphibious Unit following the effective end of its mission and the nearly complete breakdown of order in Lebanon. In between is an ambiguous Marine mission of presence of 18 months' duration. Together with the British, French, and Italian members of the Multi-National Force, the Marines attempted, as "peacekeepers," to assist the Lebanese Government in achieving stability and ending the factional fighting which has all but destroyed Lebanon as a viable poltical entity.
For any number of reasons, none of which are the concern of this book, the mission of peacekeeping failed, and in the process, those who were there to help Lebanon achieve the peace so many Lebanese wanted--but too many others did not--were sorely tried and severly mauled. As a history strictly of the Marines' role in Lebanon, this book does not deal with the major, high-level decisions of the administration which put and kept Marines in that country. Nor does the book deal with American diplomatic efforts in the Middle East in this period except in those instances when the MAU Marines were directly involved. This is simply the story of Marine Corps presence and operations in Lebanon for the period concerned. It draws no conclusions.
The author, Benis M. Frank, is the head of the Marine Corps Oral History Program. As such, in two trips to Beirut and three to Camp Lejeune, he interviewed the major members of the staffs and commands of the three MAUs (22d, 24th, and 32d) which were deployed to Beirut. For his second trip to Beirut in October 1983, he went by way of Grenada, where he joined the 22d MAU in transiting the Atlantic; conducting interviews about the Grenada operation en route to Lebanon. Mr Frank graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1949 with a bachelor of arts degree in history. His schooling was interrupted by World War II, in which he served as an enlisted Marine with the 1st Marine Division in the Peleliu and Okinawa operations and occupation of North China. He was a candidate for a master of arts degree in international relations at Clark University when he left school in 1950 to return to active service in the Korean War as a commissioned officer, again serving with the 1st Marine Division.
Mr. Frank joined the Marine Corps Historical Program in 1961. He is the coauthor of Victory and Occupation, the final volume of the official five-volume series. History of U.S. Marine Corps Operations in World War II, and the author of Halsey: Okinawa, Touchstone to Victory; Okinawa: The Great Island Battle; and Denig's Demons and How They
Grew: A History of Marine Corps Combat Correspondents, Photographers, and Artists. He pioneered the Marine Corps Oral History Program and has headed it since 1966.
In the interests of accuracy and objectivity, the History and Museums Division welcomes comments on this history from interested individuals.
Edwin H. Simmons
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps (Ret.)
Director of Marine Corps History and Museums
U.S. Marines in Lebanon, 19884, is based primarily on the monthly command chronologies and biweekly situation reports of the Marine amphibious units which were deployed to Lebanon as well as other related official documentation, all of which resides in the archives of the Marine Corps Historical Center. Although none of the information in this history is classified, some of the documentation on which it is based remains so. A considerable number of "issue-oriented" oral history interviews concerned with the deployments were also used in the preparation of this book.
Following the return of the 32d MAU from Lebanon and before its redeployment in early 1983, the author began a series of interviews with the key personnel in all the MAUs deployed to Lebanon to augment the paper record of this 18-month period in Marine Corps history. Before U.S. Marines in Lebanon was completed, a total of 119 interviews had been conducted. They are now accessioned in the Marine Corps Oral History Collection.
The author is grateful to a number of individuals for their professional, administrative, and moral support during the research and writing phases for this book. First, Mrs. Alexandra B. Chaker, his assistant in the Oral History Section, prepared the initial manuscripts for typography and was in all other ways entirely supportive. Mrs. Ann A. Ferrante, the Reference Section, responded nobly when called upon to research the voluminous Lebanon files in the section. Similarly, Mrs. Joyce Bonnett, the Center archivist, consistently provided pertinent documentation as soon as it arrived in the Center, as did Miss Evelyn A. Englander, head librarian.
The various production phases this volume went through before publication were professionally handled by the head of the Publications Production Section, Mr. Robert E. Struder. His able associate, Mrs. Catherine A. Kerns, set the manuscript in type. Mr William S. Hill, the History and Museums Division graphics specialist, is responsible for the design and layout of this book. The author prepared the index.
The author gratefully acknowledges the support fo the Director fo marine Corps History and Museums, Brigadier General Edwin H. Simmons, who conceived of this project and kept the author's "feet to the fire" to ensure completion of a publishable, factual, and objective manuscript. Two Deputies for Marine Corps History, Colonels John G. Miller and James R. Williams, also read, commented on,and shepherded the project to its completion. Gratitude is also extended to Mr. Henry I. Shaw, Jr., Chief Historian, who was the author's mentor and coauthor many years ago in writing Victory and Occupation, and who unfailingly and continually offered his considerable expertise in marine Corps history, research and writing, and his extensive editorial guidance.
The author also extends his appreciation to the former commanders of the 22d, 24th, and 32d Marine Amphibious Units--Brigadier Generals Jim R. Joy and James M. Mead, and Colonels Thomas M. Stokes, Jr., and Timothy J. Geraghty--for having reviewed and commented on the draft manuscript of this book and for their hospitality and cooperation when he visited their commands to conduct oral history interviews. Major Jack L. Farmer, Assistant S-3 in the 32d MAU and S-3 of the 22d MAU, read the draft, was interviewed several times for the history, and provided considerable background information to enhance th story, as did Commander George W. Pucciarelli, CHC, USN, 24th MAU chaplain at the time of the Beirut tragedy. The expert reviews and comments of both J. Robert Moskin, author of The U.S. Marine Corps Story, and Larry Pintak, former CBS Mid-East corespondent who covered Beirut during the Marine deployments there are noted with deep appreciation. Similarly, the author is grateful to Major Fred T. Lash, who headed the MAU's Joint Public Affairs Bureau in Beirut, for having hosted and guided him when he was in Lebanon and for lending his collection of photographs and political cartoons for use in this book. Three members of the Department of Plans, Policies, and Operations at Headquarters U.S. Marine Corps--Colonel Gerald J. Oberndorfer and Lieutenant Colonels Arthur S. Weber, Jr., and Robert P. Mauskapff--were also quite helpful in reviewing the draft manuscript. The author also acknowledges with gratitude the cooperation and insights given by all of those serving Marines who were interviewed about their Beirut experiences, and those who read and meaningfully commented on the draft. This is, in a large way, really their history.
It would be totally ungracious for the author not to acknowledge the considerable moral support he received from his wife Marylou, as he wrote this history. She read the draft manuscript and made cogent recommendations which were sage, pertinent, and gratefully accepted. The author, however, is responsible for the contents of this work and any errors of omission or commission which appear.
Finally, this book is dedicated to those United States Marines, sailors, and soldiers who gave "presence"--and their lives--in Beirut and are now no more.
BENIS M. FRANK
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