They Came In Peace

They Came in Peace

Today, 23 October 2021 we mark the 38th anniversary of the terrorist attack of the Marine Peace Keeping Force, who were deployed at the Beirut International Airport. As part of that peacekeeping force were Marines from the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (BLT). On the early Sunday morning of 23 October 1983, a terrorist drove his hijacked truck into the building that was serving as the barracks for the 1st Battalion 8th Marines (BLT), and then detonated his explosive. The death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 sailors, and 3 soldiers, making this incident the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since World War II’s Battle of Iwo Jima.

The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon, created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away
The explosion of the Marine Corps building in Beirut, Lebanon, created a large cloud of smoke that was visible from miles away. Photo by: Official USMC Photo PhotoID: 2001101810128
Photo Credit: AP

Of those Marines killed, two were from Westchester County, Cpl James Jackowski and LCpl Craig Wyche. Our Detachment maintains scholarships in the name of these two Marines (please see ), and we continue to remember their sacrifice.

Left: LCpl Craig Wyche, USMC, Ossining High School. Right: Cpl. James Jackowski, USMC, John Jay High School.
KIA 23 October 1983, Beirut, Lebanon

On Friday 22 October 2021, Marines from the Westchester County Detachment, along with members from the Ossining Post 506 American Legion and Ossining Veterans of Foreign Wars, Ossining Police Department, and Ossining High School Staff participated in the remembrance ceremony at the Ossining High School. The ceremony not only was a remembrance of Ossining High School alumni LCpl Craig Wyche, but for all Marines killed in that terrorist attack.

Detachment member MGen Robert Wolf, NYNM (ret), presided over the event. Detachment Jr. Vice Commandant Donald O’Keefe posted the memorial wreath, and taps was played by a member of the Ossining High School staff. Detachment members Drew McFadden (Judge Advocate), Steve Topilnycky (Adjutant Paymaster) and member Kelly Topilnycky were also in attendance. Event photo credit: Kelly Topilnycky. A special thank you to Michele Marona, Ossining High School Principals Office who coordinates this remembrance each year.

The Detachment maintains a scholarship for both LCpl Craig Wyche (Ossining HS) and Cpl James Jackowski (John Jay HS). Please help us maintain this scholarship by making your tax deductible donation today.

The Marine Corps League is a 501(c)4 Organization. Donations are recognized as tax deductible for tax purposes. Please support the Marine Corps League and Marine Memorial Fund. Your tax deductible donation will be greatly appreciated. New York State Charities Bureau Registration Number: 48-57-31.

Please make checks payable to “Marine Corps League” and enter “Marine Memorial Fund” in the memo section. Contributions can be sent to:

Marine Corps League
“Marine Memorial Fund”
PO Box 505
White Plains, NY 10602-0505

To donate online, please visit

“Lest We Forget”