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Virginia War Memorial Seeks Assistance To Find Families Of Virginia Marines Killed In October 1983 Bombing Of U.S. Marine Barracks In Beirut, Lebanon

Forty years ago on October 23, 1983, 241 U.S. military personnel including 220 U.S. Marines were killed in the terrorist bombing of the Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.  The incident was the deadliest single-day death toll for the Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

The Virginia War Memorial in association with Blue Ridge PBS has produced a film entitled, “One Week In October” that tells the story of the Beirut bombing and also the invasion of the island of Grenada which occurred that same week.  The film will be premiered at the Memorial in Richmond, at the Hotel Roanoke, and aired on PBS television stations throughout Virginia.

The staff of the Virginia War Memorial is seeking family members and relatives of the eleven Virginia Marines who lost their lives in the bombing.  These persons will be invited to the special 40th anniversary ceremony at the Memorial on October 23, 2023. The Memorial staff is hopeful that print, online and broadcast media throughout the Commonwealth will publicize this request to help them find family members and relatives of the Marines listed below. The names are in alphabetical order followed by the city or town listed as their residence or place of enlistment in 1983.

  • Nicholas Baker (Alexandria)
  • Richard E. Barrett (Tappahannock)
  • James R. Baynard (Richmond)
  • William B. Foster Jr. (Richmond)
  • Michael D. Fulcher (Amherst)
  • Warner Gibbs Jr. (Portsmouth)
  • Douglas E. Held (Richmond)
  • James C. Knipple (Alexandria)
  • Jeffrey B. Owen (Virginia Beach)
  • Joseph A. Owens (Chesterfield)
  • Eric G. Washington (Alexandria)

Family members and relatives of the heroes listed above are asked to contact Ben King, Virginia War Memorial Operations Director, at  or by calling 804-362-2333.

The Virginia War Memorial and Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) appreciates all assistance and publicity generated in helping the Memorial staff find, contact, and honor the families of those brave Virginia Marines who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Nation while serving in Beirut and whose names are permanently inscribed on the walls of the Shrine of Memory-Global War on Terror and Beyond at the Virginia War Memorial.

About the Virginia War Memorial

Dedicated in 1956, the Virginia War Memorial includes the names of the nearly 12,000 Virginia heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and the Global War on Terrorism.  The mission of the Virginia War Memorial is to Honor Veterans, Preserve History, Educate Youth and Inspire Patriotism in All.  The Virginia War Memorial is and will always be the Commonwealth’s tribute to those who served and most especially, to those who died defending our freedoms.

The Virginia War Memorial is a division of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) and serves as an integral part of its mission in support of all Virginians who have served in our military.  It is located at 621 South Belvidere Street, Richmond, Virginia 23220 and is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m.  Admission is free, except for select events.  For more information, please visit

About the Virginia Department of Veterans Services

The Virginia Department of Veterans Services (DVS) is a state government agency with 50 locations across the Commonwealth of Virginia.  DVS traces its history to 1928 and the establishment of the Virginia War Service Bureau to assist Virginia’s World War I veterans.  Today, DVS assists veterans and their families in filing claims for federal veterans benefits; provides veterans and family members with linkages to services including behavioral healthcare, housing, employment, education and other programs. The agency operates four long-term care facilities offering in-patient skilled nursing care, Alzheimer’s/memory care, and short-term rehabilitation for veterans; and provides an honored final resting place for veterans and their families at three state veterans cemeteries. It operates the Virginia War Memorial, the Commonwealth’s tribute to Virginia’s men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice from World War II to the present. For more information, please visit