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1983: KAL 007 downed by Soviets, US Troops Bombed in Beirut

By Patrick Mondout

Perhaps the biggest stories of the year were the downing of a Korean airliner by the Soviets and the bombing of the American Marines headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon.

Major Stories

January 30: The Washington Redskins beat the Miami Dolphins 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII.
February 28
: Israeli Defense Minister Ariel Sharon resigns after a commission confirmed his involvement in massacres in Palestinian refugee camps.
March 8: President Reagan makes his "Evil Empire" speech.
March 23: President Ronald Reagan announces Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) plan to develop technology to intercept enemy missiles. This expensive and unproven plan was dubbed "Star Wars" by the press.
April 8: A U.S. citizen was seized by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and held for ransom.
April 18: Sixty-three people were killed and 120 were injured in a suicide truck-bomb attack on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
May 25: A U.S. Navy officer was assassinated by the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front.
June 11: Margaret Thatcher's Conservative party wins a large majority in parliament ensuring a second term for her government.
June 18: NASA's Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space. It comes almost 20 years to the day after the Soviet Union put the first woman in space (Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova on June 16, 1963).
August 18: Hurricane Alicia makes landfall in southern Texas leaving 17 dead.
August 21: Philippines opposition leader Benigno 'Ninoy' Aquino Jr. is assassinated on return from exile in Manila by Marcos' henchmen. Aquino's wife (Corazon) would become president in 1986.
September 1: Korean Air Lines Flight 007 is shot down by missiles after it strays over Soviet airspace killing all 269 on board including a U.S. Congressman.
September 2: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin resigns and is replaced by Yitzhak Shamir.
October 12: Former Prime Minister of Japan Tanaka Kakuei is sentenced to 4 years in jail after being found guilty of taking a $2 million bribe from Lockheed.
October 23: Simultaneous suicide truck-bomb attacks were made on American and French compounds in Beirut, Lebanon. A bomb destroyed the U.S. compound, killing 242 Americans, while 58 French troops were killed when a bomb destroyed a French base. Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility.
October 25: United States invades Grenada (population 82,331).
November 2: Bill creating the Martin Luther King Day is signed by President Reagan.


Marines stand in front of the U.S. Embassy which was destroyed by a terrorist bomb attack.

Courtesy of DOD

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