“They Came In Peace”
On Sunday, October 23, 1983 at approximately 6:20 a.m. 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed and hundreds of others were wounded or disabled. This was the result of a suicide truck, laden with explosives carrying the equivalent of 20,000 pounds of TNT that detonated on the ground floor of BLT 1/8 headquarters barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. The largest non-nuclear explosion of its time.
Corporal Davin M. Green was one of those brave Marines who lost their lives while trying to bring peace to a war-torn country. These young men were there in peace and were savagely attacked as they slept in their temporary quarters. They will always be remembered as giving their lives for their country!
Corporal Green was laid to rest in Section 59 of Arlington National Cemetery among his comrades who were killed that day.
Courtesy of Time Magazine:
The hush was of a different, edgier kind when the Marine Corps Captain and Sergeant stepped up to the suburban Baltimore apartment with news of Lance Corporal Davin Green. His mother had utterly persuaded herself that Davin, 20, was a survivor. “How do you know it's really him,” she protested after the men delivered their message, “if he's all blown to pieces?” Days later, her daughter-in-law was refusing to concede she was a widow. “I know he's not dead,” said Deborah Green, 19, whom Davin married 48 hours before shipping out for Beirut. “I know he'll call real soon. He'll tell me everything is O.K., that it has all been a bad dream and he'll soon be coming home and hold me close again.”
Of course, Green is not coming home. His room in his family's tidy two-bedroom flat, crammed with artifacts of childhood, may remain suspended in time. Football trophies sit under a huge portrait of Bruce Lee, the martial-arts movie star, and stuck in a closet are stacks of Archie comic books. The plastic model airplanes he built, however, are gone, tossed out by his mother. “I do wish I hadn't thrown them all away,” she says, now coveting every reminder, even the memory of the crazy feast he ordered the night of his high school graduation (shrimp, fried chicken, ice cream, strawberry shake, orange juice). “But we didn't know—what would happen to him.”
Green was a devoted reader of military history, and had long been determined to enlist. “He was always talking about joining up,” recalls Brother Damion, 14, who wants to become a Marine himself. “I didn't much like Davin going in at first,” his mother admits, “but then there isn't much you can do. He did love the Corps so.”
The Marine Corps, one of its slogans claims, builds men. Patricia Briscoe (Davin's mother's name by a second marriage) insists it is so. “When he left home on July 13, 1981, he still called me Mama. When he returned from bootcamp he called me Mother. Like a film running too fast, he suddenly grew up, so quick it stopped my heart for a second.” Some of Green's letters from Lebanon are a record of his growth. Said one from September 10: “This is the hardest thing I've ever done. You walk through the towns on patrol and the little kids wave . . . We really don't want to be here, but when we see how we are helping these people, it makes you feel good all over. ‘ ‘ Yet in his last letter he was boyishly reassuring and, to his mother, reassuringly boyish: “Things have cooled down a little. Don't worry. I'm O.K. Really! Please send Tastykake, Cheetohs, chocolate graham crackers, BBQ chips and Jolly Rancher candies.” Green's mother is hesitant to judge geopolitics. “I do so hope my son hasn't died in vain,” she says. “He tried so very, very hard to do what is right.” The injustice she sees is a classic one: they are so young. For instance, Green, like most of those killed, was a child when the U.S. left Viet Nam. “It seems unfair all those boys haven't lived yet. And now they are stone cold dead one Sunday morning.”
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Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard