Corporal Andrew Howe was born to Stan and Judy Howe, October 11, 1962 in Chandler, AZ.
Andy wanted to be a Marine. They wouldn't let him join until he was 17, so after his birthday, he went to Sioux Falls and enlisted in November of 1979. After he graduated from Vermillion High School in 1980, he left for Boot Camp that July.
Boot Camp was in San Diego, the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. This lasted from July 22 through Oct. 10, one day before his birthday. Andy went home on leave for a couple of weeks.
He went to Huntsville, AL to Redstone Arsenal Missile and Munitions Center and School to be trained as an ammunition technician. After two months Andy was able to go home in time for Christmas.
His assignment was to Bravo Battery 1st Battalion 10th Marine Regiment 2nd Marine Division at Camp Le Jeune, NC, near Jacksonville. While with Bravo Battery, an Artillery Battery, Andy went to Europe twice in 1982 to train with NATO. Norway was the place for his cold weather training. Then he was in Germany and Denmark.
Andy was scheduled to get out in 1983 but Charlie Battery 1st Battalion 10th Marines was in need of an Ammo Tech. Beirut was their destination so he decided to extend his enlistment and go with them.
"We left by ship in April and arrived in Beirut in late May right after the embassy bombing," he said.
Since he had quite a bit of time on his hands he decided to get training as a truck driver and as a radio operator and pretty much trained for everything. His primary job was to make sure they were supplied with the right ratio of fuses, powders and projectiles.
For the first few months he was Squad Leader and led foot patrols through the city. "We were always subjected to incoming small arms and artillery. We were always getting hit. It didn't get intense until in August when the Israelis left. All the attention that was given to the Israelis was focused on us. We ended up giving artillery support to the Lebanese and our own Marines," said Andy.
"Our main job was to protect the airport and bring stability to Beirut. We were not the only country there," he said. "The other groups included the Italians, British, and French.
"October 23, the Hezbollah Army blew up the Battalion Landing Team Headquarters by a suicide truck bomb. It killed 241 Marines! When that went off I'd just got off of radio watch at 6 a.m.. I was in a tent. The blast was so loud I thought I had an artillery round hit, even though it was about one-quarter of a mile away," Howe said. "It was the largest non-nuclear blast that had ever been detonated. You could feel the shock wave. I looked up and saw this huge cloud forming over us, spewing debris which was falling on top of us and all over. There was just a huge pile of rubble where the four story building about the size of our courthouse had stood. A friend was going over there to do some work and I decided to go along. I helped restore the communications systems between the units.
"My unit rotated out in November. I went out by plane to Spain and then home. I was discharged Dec. 7, 1983. All units left Beirut in 1984," he said.