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Salute to Military 2010

Salute to Military 2010

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Published by: kokomonews on Nov 11, 2010
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11/11/2010

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G
reg Rogerswas awake.He was onduty. And itwas hisduty to make sureother essential crewmembers were up andat ’em. Thats whatsaved him. He wasawake.It was about 6:20 a.m.on Oct. 23, 1983. Rogerswas a U.S. Marine. A newMarine, in fact. After basictraining, he was assignedto Beirut, Lebanon.The now-Kokomoangrew up in Brooklyn, N.Y.,and his sister teased himwhen he joined the corps,saying he was going to endup in a hot spot.“They told me I wasgoing to Beirut,” Rogerssaid. “I was like, what partof California is Beirut in?”He laughed. “You’re goingto jump right into a hotspot; that’s what she said.She wasn’t kidding.”
Oct. 23, 1983
Rogers was stationed atCamp Lejeune, so in Octo-ber 1983, he became partof that peace-keepingforce in Beirut. By Oct. 23,he had been there for twoweeks.While waking up peo- ple, he wasn’t in a positionto see the yellow truck ap- proaching. A lone terroristwas inside.The terrorist drove thetruck “over the barbed andconcertina wire obstacle, passed between two Ma-rine guard posts withoutbeing engaged by fire, en-tered an open gate, passedaround one sewer pipebarrier and between twoothers, flattened the Ser-geant of the Guard’s sand-bagged booth at thebuilding’s entrance, pene-trated the lobby of the(four-story) building and(the bomb) detonatedwhile the majority of theoccupants slept. The forceof the explosion ripped thebuilding from its founda-tion. The building then im- ploded upon itself. Almostall the occupants werecrushed or trapped insidethe wreckage,” accordingto a U.S. Department of Defense statement.For comparison, Timo-thy McVeigh used a 7,000- pound bomb to take downthe nine-story Alfred P.Murrah Federal Buildingin downtown OklahomaCity in 1995.The FBI called theBeirut barracks bombingthe largest non-nuclearbomb in history.
241 dead
“I was already up andwaking up people when ithappened or we wouldn’tbe having this conversa-tion,” Rogers said. “Weheard the whole thing. Itrattled the whole building,and 238 didn’t make it out.I’d just been there twoweeks. I’m just meeting people, learning whatsgoing, and something likethat goes down. The guyson the ships in theMediterranean saw the bigcloud come up. They did arescue operation.” All total, 241 AmericanMarines, soldiers andsailors died.“A lot of guys didn’t dieright then,” Rogers said.“They eventually diedweeks or so later.”“They heloed us out of there because they didn’tknow what else might hap- pen,” Rogers said.Something else did hap- pen.Minutes later, a blast atthe compound of theFrench peace-keepingforce killed 58 more. As news hit, the Mari-nes’ families huddledaround their telephonesand waited anxiously.Rogers was able to callhome. “I told my mom Iwas OK,” he said.It really wasn’t OK.When it was safe to re-turn, the Marines workedto clear the debris and findany surviving and dead.“I remember on onedrive back,” Rogers said.“There were bodies rightthere in the van with us.”Then there were the fu-nerals. “We had a big me-morial service. PresidentReagan was there. Therewere all of these casketswith flags on them. It wassomething. The motor pool had like 50 guys inthe platoon. After we fin-ished with all the funerals
Marine who survived Beirut barracks bombing shares his story
Morning of mourning
by Lisa Fipps
managing editor
editor@kokomoperspective.com
MORNING
–D
2
D1 Nov. 10, 2010
 
SERVING AMERICA —
Above, Greg Martin during hisearly military days in the Marines. Below, some of hisbuddies during training.
BEIRUT BARRACKS
Above, the building used for theMarine barracks. Below, photo taken just seconds afterthe blast.
Perspective 
photo / 
U.S.Marine Corps
THE AFTERMATH
Above, Marines dig through therubble to find survivors and bodies.Below left, then-Pres-ident Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan withthe survivors during the memorial service, which Rogersattended.Below, the Reagans survey the caskets at An-drews Air Force Base. Rogers rode in a van with manydead bodies.
Perspective 
photos / 
U.S.Marine Corps, Reagan Library
IN BEIRUT —
Above, Rogers, kneeling at right, withsome of the Marines in Lebanon. All of these men sur-vived. Below, being in the infantry, he was trained as asniper.
 
kokomoperspective.com/salute to veterans
Kokomo Perspective Nov.10,2010
D2
It does not stand in WashingtonBy others of its kindIn prominence and dignityWith mission clearly defined.It does not list the men who diedThat tyranny should ceaseBut speaks in silent eloquenceOf those who came in peace.This Other Wall is solemn whiteAnd cut in simple linesAnd it nestles in the splendorOf the Carolina pines.And on this wall there are the namesOf men who once had goneIn friendship’s name offer aidTo Beirut,LebanonThey did not go as conquerorsTo bring a nation downOr for honor or for gloryOr for praises or renown.When they landed on that foreign shoreTheir only thought in mindWas the safety of its peopleAnd the good of all mankindThough they offered only friendshipAnd freedom’s holy breathThey were met with scorn and mockeryAnd violence and death.So the story of their gloryIs not the battles foughtBut of their love for freedomWhich was so dearly bought.And their Wall shall stand foreverSo long as freedom shinesOn the splendor and the gloryOf the Carolina pines.
Written by: R.A. Gannon
 The Other Wall The Other Wall
and head counts after thebombing, there were onlythree left. We didn’t staythere in Beirut long afterthat. We came right back tothe states. We were sta-tioned at Camp Lejeune therest of the time.”Rogers doesn’t talk aboutthe details or offer descrip-tions of what he saw amidthe smoke and rubble thatOctober morning in 1983.His wife, Kathy, said it’ssomething he’s never talkedabout — until after this in-terview. Then he sat downand went through the photoalbum and shared some of the story with his wife andsons.“I still think about it,Rogers said back in Octo-ber before the 23rd. “We’vegot an anniversary comingup. I always wake up thatsame time on Oct. 23, evento this day.”He was awake that morn-ing. That’s what saved him.
MORNING
continued from page
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REMEMBERING
Left and center, the Beirut Memorialat Camp Lejeune, N.C.Right, a Lebanese cedar plantedat Arlington National Cemetery, where some of thosewho died in the bombing are buried.
Perspective 
photos / 
Arlington National Cemetery, Camp Lejeune
TheOct.23,1983,bombingoftheMarinebarracksinBeirut wasthelargest single-daylossoflifeforMarinessincetheWorldWarIIBattleofIwoJima.
They went in peace
Beiruthadbeen“theParisoftheMediterranean”foryears.Itwasatouristmeccauntil1975,thestartoftheLebaneseCivil War.Discontent had been brewing for 32 years, since 1943.That’s when Bishara al-Khuri (a Maronite Christian andLebanon’s first president after independence) and the first primeminister,Riyadal-Sulh(aSunniMuslim),hadmeetingsandenteredaNationalPact,anunwrittenagreement,todealwith the Christians’ fear of being dominated by the Muslimsand the Muslims’ fear of Western hegemony. But Muslimgroups were nothappy with the Na-tional Pact, whichestablished a domi-nantpoliticalroleforChristians, whichoutnumbered Mus-lims 6-5 at the time.The start of theLebanese Civil War“wasfollowedbytheIsraeli invasion intoLebanon to root outthe Palestine Libera-tion Organization in1982,” according tothe U.S. MarineCorps.“AccordingtoIsrael, the invasion was in response to an assassination at-tempt on one their ambassadors. Differing accounts of whostarted the shooting exist, but the key fact is that war hadbegunagainintheMiddleEastandtheworldcommunityfeltit had to help stop it.”“Inthesummerof1982,attherequestoftheLebanesegov-ernment,theUnitedStatesagreedtoestablishaU.S.military presence in that country to serve as a peacekeeping force intheconflictbetweenwarringMuslimandChristianfactions,”according to the U.S. Marine Corps. “On March 24, 1983, the24th Marine Amphibious Unit, stationed at Camp Lejeune,N.C., received orders to Beirut, Lebanon, in support of thatcommitment.”“Initially, the U.S. forces, along with French and Italianforces, provided a measure of stability; however, as diplo-maticeffortsfailedtoachieveabasisforalastingsettlement,the Muslim factions came to perceive the Marines as ene-mies,” according to the U.S. Marine Corps. “This led to ar-tillery, mortar and small arms fires being directed at theMarine Corps positions.”
 
kokomoperspective.com/salute to veterans
Nov.10,2010 Kokomo Perspective
D3
W
hen Dennis Ehase joined the U.S.Navy in 1995, hewas following in the foot-steps of his grandfathers’footsteps. Growing up, he’dheard their stories.“My grandpa Jack Daviswas a prisoner of war inKorea,Ehase said. Daviswas a Marine. “He said therewere days when you’d wakeand pray you’d have food forthat day. You thought maybe you’dgetsomericeandyou’dhope — you’d hope — therewere maggots in it just tohave some protein.Davisdidn’ttalkalotabouthis time as a POW, Ehasesaid. Most soldiers don’t.Ehase knows why: Soldierssee things while serving theircountryandkeepingAmericafree, things that are hard tothink about, let alone talk toothers about.You see, having served intheNavyfrom1995-2004,andwas stationed aboard theUSS Enterprise (CVN-65),Ehase now has stories of hisown.“I joined the Navy becauseI knew I wasn’t ready for col-lege,” he said. “It was a tightrace between the Air Forceand the Navy. I was 18. Iasked, ‘Where can I party themost and find the most beau-tiful girls?They said theNavy.” He laughed. “It wasn’tthe best logical decision.”There was another reasonthe real reason he joined the Navy.“I figured if my grandpasserved to make sure I wassafe then it was my turn tomake sure they were safenow that they’re older,” hesaid. And he doesn’t regret thedecision at all.“Ibecomeanelectricianbybeing in the Navy. It taughtme discipline. It allowed meto get the basics for what Iconsider being successful inlife.”Life aboard a ship is awhole different life.“It was a floating city,” hesaid. “That’s no joke. Therewere more than 6,000 peopleon the ship.”First he had to get his “sealegs.”“I still got seasick the firstcouple of days,” Ehase said.But it didn’t take long beforehe was used to it. In fact, hesaid, “I kinda miss the life ona ship. I’ve been all over theeastern side of the world, pretty much.”While aboard the USS En-terprise,Ehaseworkedonallthe navigational equipmentand all the communicationdevices, phones, GYRO com- passes.
Sept. 11, 2001
On Sept. 11, Ehase was onthe USS Enterprise. The shipwas headed for South Africa.“I’ll never forget. We werewatchingthefirstTwinTowerbuilding burn and then a plane hit the second tower.It’s a video everyone remem-bers. Our captain said, ‘We’regoing back to the Gulf imme-diately before the U.S. Secre-tary of Defense had to ask usto go, we were on our way.It was 1954. Congress au-thorized the construction of theworld’sfirstnuclear-pow-ered aircraft carrier, USS En-terprise (CVN-65). It was theeighth U.S. ship to bear thename Enterprise since thefirst days of the AmericanRevolutionary WarThe giant ship was to bepowered by eight nuclear re-actors, two for each of itsfour propeller shafts. Thiswasadaringundertaking,forneverbeforehadtwonuclearreactorseverbeenharnessedtogether. As such, when theengineers first started plan-ning the ship’s propulsionsystem, they were uncertainhowitwouldwork,orevenif itwouldworkaccordingtheirtheories.Materialsusedbytheship-yard included 60,923 tons of steel;1,507tonsofaluminum;230 miles of pipe and tubing;and1,700tonsofone-quarter-inch welding rods. The mate-rials were supplied frommore than 800 companies.Nine hundred shipyard engi-neers and designers createdthe ship on paper, and themillions of blueprints theycreated, laid end-to-end,would stretch 2,400 miles, orfrom Miami to Los Angeles.Three years and ninemonths after constructionbegan, Enterprise was readyto present to the world as“The First, The Finest” supercarrier.The newly christened En-terprise left the shipyard forsix days of buildersandNavy’s pre-acceptance trails.The new super carrier’s per-formance exceeded theNavy’s most optimistic ex- pectations.Enterprise broke all previ-ousrecordsforspeedwhenitexceeded 40 miles-per-hourduring initial trials. At the commissioning of Enterprise, the world’s firstnuclear-poweredaircraftcar-rier, then-Secretary of theNavy John B. Connally Jr.,called it a worthy successorto the highly decorated sev-enthUSSEnterpriseofWorldWar II.In October 1962, Enter- prise was dispatched to itsfirst international crisis. En-terpriseandothershipsintheSecondFleetsetupaquaran-tine of all military equipmentunder shipment to commu-nist Cuba. The blockade was put in place on Oct. 24, andthe first Soviet ship wasstoppedthenextday.OnOct.28, Soviet leader Krushchev
Ehase recounts his time aboard the USS Enterprise
Serving by sea
 The first, the fastest
by Lisa Fipps
managing editor
editor@kokomoperspective.com
 About the ship
NUCLEAR-POWERED —
Dennis Ehase was aboard the USS Enterprise when thisphoto was taken to celebrate its 40th year.
Perspective 
photo / 
U.S.Navy
SHIP
D4
SERVING
D4
MEDALSAND AWARDS —
Dennis Ehase receiving theNavy Achievement Medal. He also received the NavyGood Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal,Armed Forced Expeditionary Medal, Armed ForcesService Medal, Global War on Terrorism ExpeditionaryMedal Ribbon, Gold War on Terrorism Service MedalRibbon, Sea Service Ribbon and the NATO Medal.
It’smyfirmbeliefthateveryable-bodiedmanshouldgivebactohiscommunity,whetherthroughthemilitaryorasapoliceofficerorfirefightersomethingthatgivesback.DennisEhase,Navyveteran

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