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SFC Terry Lee Gilden
from Chandler, Arizona


SFC Gilden served with: 2_75_Ranger_Bn


Born in 1957, Ranger Gilden was 25 years old at the time of his death in 1983.


Complete biography is below the photo gallery

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SFC Terry Lee Gilden 's Biography

SFC Terry Lee Gilden (formerly of the 2nd Ranger Battalion) was killed on 18 April 1983, at the U.S. Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon during a terrorist truck bombing attack on the embassy. Terry was assigned to A Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Terry was supporting the American Ambassador's protective detail at the time of his death. The bombing was the work of an Iranian Shiite Hezbollah group. The suicide bomber drove a pickup truck containing gas-enhanced explosive into the embassy. The blast killed 17 Americans, which included a Marine Corps guard, three soldiers, seven Central Intelligence Agency personnel, and 46 foreign nationals. Terry was the first Delta operator to be killed by enemy forces since the unit's creation.


During his military service, SFC Terry Lee Gilden also served in A Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta

Terry Gilden was born on September 15, 1957. He died in April 1983 at 25 years of age.


Robert S. Dillon, Fomer Ambassador to Lebanon (1981-1983)
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
April 18, 2008
(As Prepared Remarks)

Twenty-five years ago today, 17 Americans and 25 Foreign Service Nationals were killed when a truck loaded with explosives rammed into the entrance of the American Embassy in Beirut. Ten contractors employed at the Embassy and 10 visa applicants and passers-by were also killed. We believe that the immediate perpetrators were members of a Shia family from the Bekaa Valley under the direction of members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Forty-four other people were in the Embassy and survived. The building was a former eight floor hotel facing the sea on Beirut’s famous Corniche. It comprised a center building and two large adjoining wings. Most casualties were on the first floor of the center building, in the cafeteria, and in the stack of office in the seven stories rising above the entrance. The explosion pancaked six of those offices onto each other. The top floor was braced in a different way, and although the ceilings and walls collapsed, the four people on that floor escaped with minor injuries. I was one of the four and was dug out of the rubble of my office by our DCM, Bob Pugh, my secretary, Dorothy Pascoe, and Admin Officer Tom Baron. Many of you know that Bob Pugh’s wife, Bonnie, was subsequently killed in a terror attack in the skies above Chad where he was serving as Ambassador.

The central elevator shaft and stairwell were destroyed. We found our way through dust and smoke to a stairway in an adjoining wing. As we came down the rubble-filled stairs, we knew that surely many had been injured, but it was not until we got to the second floor that we saw that people were dead. We realized that, at Post One, Marine Corporal Bobby McMaugh had been killed. My social secretary, Amal Ma’akaroun, body guard Terry Gilden, and driver Cesar Bathiard had all gone down to wait for me at the entrance while I took a phone call. They were all dead.

We went to work. Everyone seemed instinctively to know what to do. Bob Pugh took charge of rescue operations. Political Chief Ryan Crocker and other political-economic officers assisted him. Security officer Dick Gannon, Gunny Charley Light, and the Marine Guards secured classified documents and set up a defensive perimeter around the Embassy. Surviving Communications officers locked up communications gear. Consular Chief Diane Dillard rallied the survivors of her section and began identifying remains.

We put together a list of everyone we believed had been in the Embassy and started checking off survivors. I got on the phone to the State Ops Center. We gave names of survivors as we verified them. At first, this was a fairly happy task, but as the minutes passed, we saw the gaps in the list and we began to grasp how many of our friends and colleagues had been lost. The families of our Lebanese employees gathered to learn the fate of their loved ones. Some stood there for five days until we reluctantly told them no more identifiable bodies could be found.

Our Admin Section was decimated, as was the Public Affairs Section. Members of the CIA station had gathered to meet with Bob Ames, the Agency’s leading Mid East analyst, who had arrived the night before. All present were killed. There were two survivors outside the office. The Defense Attaché and Defense Cooperation offices were destroyed. Sergeants Ben Maxwell and Mark Salazar were killed. Ray Byers survived with terrible injuries.

Acting AID Chief Bob McIntyre had been in the cafeteria being interviewed by journalist Janet Stevens. Both were killed, as were newly-arrived AID officers Al Votaw and Tom Blacka. Bob’s wife, Mary Lee, was present and somehow survived. Anne Dammarell and Bob Pearson, also in the cafeteria, were, along with Ray Byers, the most seriously injured American survivors. When I saw Anne being pulled from the rubble, it never occurred to me that she would survive. She was in the hospital for months and is here today.

Lebanese disaster workers arrived quickly. With assistance from American Marines and French soldiers, they searched the unstable rubble, that in itself a dangerous task. Survivors were taken to the AUB hospital, an institution with lots of experience in handling trauma cases. In addition to the most seriously injured, there were many with numerous glass cuts in their faces and upper bodies. After five hours, we found no more survivors and after five days ended recovery operations.

Press and TV flooded the area. Public Affairs Officer John Reid, himself injured, guided me through the painful but important task of talking to the press and the cameras. For whatever we did right, I give him full credit.

We started to get help. The State Department and other foreign affairs agencies rushed people out. The British Ambassador, without consulting London, made room for us in his embassy a few hundred yards down the Corniche where we set up offices and a commo center. Other offices were set up in the large apartment house next to the Embassy.

We were so absorbed in doing things no one had time to think about what had happened. I may have been typical. I was exhausted but “normal” until a week later, when I stood in the AUB chapel in front of the survivors and the families of the dead and missing. With John Reid’s help, I had put together a few words to say. I got most of the way through it, but a sentence or two from the end, reality set in, tears welled up, and I couldn’t finish.

We were fully conscious of being in the most dangerous city in the world. Car bombs and hand-held rockets were commonplace in Beirut, but we had had no experience with a suicide bomber in a moving vehicle. Materials had just arrived and we were about to commence the erection of barriers along the street. Barriers would surely have made a difference, but the fundamental problem was that we were too close to the street to mount an effective defense against a massive explosion.

The 1982 Israeli invasion had thoroughly radicalized the Shias of South Lebanon. Many of them believed the United States was complicit with the Israelis. We knew there were Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Bekaa Valley. We knew they had close relations with emerging radical Shia groups. We did not know until it was too late that we had become their major target. They succeeded in mounting a horrifyingly murderous terrorist attack.

Let me finish by telling you how proud I was, and am, of the way Foreign Service people reacted in the mist of chaos and massive destruction. Acts of courage and unselfishness were commonplace. To those who are here today, I offer my sincerest admiration and affection. You were wonderful. To the families of the fallen: your loved ones were people of whom you can be immensely proud. They were in Beirut to serve the United States, our country, in which they believed deeply. Although none anticipated their ultimate sacrifice, they were fully conscious of the dangers they faced and yet, did their jobs with amazingly good spirit and grace. They will not be forgotten. We honor them.

SFC Terry Lee Gilden (formerly of the 2nd Ranger Battalion) was killed on 18 April 1983, at the U.S. Embassy, Beirut, Lebanon during a terrorist truck bombing attack on the embassy. Terry was assigned to A Squadron, 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment - Delta, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Terry was supporting the American Ambassador's protective detail at the time of his death. The bombing was the work of an Iranian Shiite Hezbollah group. The suicide bomber drove a pickup truck containing gas-enhanced explosive into the embassy. The blast killed 17 Americans, which included a Marine Corps guard, three soldiers, seven Central Intelligence Agency personnel, and 46 foreign nationals. Terry was the first Delta operator to be killed by enemy forces since the unit's creation.


Also killed in this horrific attack were:
April 18, 1983 - U.S. Embassy

Riad Abdul Massih
Abdallah Al-Halabi
Yolla Al-Hashim
Hassan Ali Yehya
Robert Ames
Mohamedain Assaran
Elias Atallah
Cesar Bathiard
Thomas Blacka
Antoine Daccache
Mounir Dandan
Rafic Eid
Naja El-Kaddoum
Farouk Fanous
Phyliss Faraci
Terry-Lee Gilden
Kenneth Haas
Hussein Haidar-Ahmad
Mohamed Hasssan
Deborah Hixon
Mohamed Ibrahim
Raja Iskandarani
Frank Johnston
Nazih Juraydini
Ghazi Kabbout
Antoine Karam
Raymond Karkour
Edgard Khuri
Hafez Khuri
James Lewis
Monique Lewis
Amal Ma'akaroun
SSGT Ben H. Maxwell, USA
William McIntyre
CPL Robert V. McMaugh, USMC
Mary Metni
Kamal Nahhas
Jirjis Naja
Antoine Najem
Nabih Rahhal
Darwish Ra'i
Roudayna Sahyoun
Fouad Salameh
SSGT Mark E. Salazar, USA
Suad Sarrouh
Shahe Setrakian
William Sheil
Nabih Shoubeir
Janet Stevens
SFC Richard Twine, USA
Albert Votaw
Khalil Yatim

Released on April 18, 2008

Terry Lee UNIT
1 SF Operational Detachment - Delta RANK
Staff Sergeant NUMBER
18th April 1983 AGE
Arlington National Cemetery,Virginia Memorial Section G ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
from Pateros,Washington
born 15.9.1957 Washington
married (1 daughter)
2 Bn (Ranger) 75 Infantry Regiment
1 SF Op.Det-Delta 1978-83
award Legion of Merit
killed by terrorist bomb US Embassy,Beirut,Lebanon
Pateros Cemetery,Pateros,Okanogan County,Washington (memorial)

===Terry Gilden was one of 63 victims of the bombing of the American Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, which took place on April 18, 1983. At approximately 1:05 PM, a truck loaded with nearly 2,000 pounds of explosives careened through the driveway of the American embassy and crashed into the building. A massive explosion ripped through all seven levels of the embassy, sending debris flying hundreds of feet into the air and causing the burning building to collapse on itself. In addition to those who lost their lives, at least 120 people were injured. At the time, it was the deadliest attack on an American diplomatic mission since World War II. Mr. Gilden was one of 12 American civilian employees of the U.S. Embassy who were killed in the explosion.

Mr. Gilden was born on September 15, 1957 in Chandler, Arizona. As a high school student, he enlisted in the United States Army to become a Ranger. His father described his son as “army all the way.” Once in the Army, Mr. Gilden underwent extensive training, which included SCUBA-certification, high altitude military parachuting, and demonstrations for FBI trainees on freeing hostages from buildings. Mr. Gilden became an elite member of the Special Forces Unit. In March 1983, he was given his first assignment under a State Department cover as a bodyguard to the United States Ambassador.

Mr. Terry Gilden was married to Mary Gilden, and had one daughter named Teresa, who was 4 months old when Mr. Gilden was killed at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Mrs. Lorraine Gilden, the victim’s mother, described Mr. Gilden’s excitement for his new born baby, “[he] was so crazy about [his daughter]. He loved kids, babies so – yes, he was excited to be a father.” Mr. Gilden was also an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, and hiking. After his memorial service in Brewster, Washington, two of his fellow Rangers from the Army scattered his ashes in the Pasayton Wilderness where he loved to hike.


Mr. Gilden is in Omid because of the overwhelming evidence connecting the Islamic Republic of Iran to the 1983 bombing at the American embassy in Beirut. This attack, claimed by a group called “Islamic Jihad,” was the first in a series of related bombings carried out in Lebanon between 1983 and 1984, which claimed at least 396 lives. In the early 1980s, Lebanon was a highly volatile country, home to conflicting military and political agendas and where the Islamic Republic exercised growing influence with the stated aim of spreading the Islamic Revolution. Already hostile to American influence in the Middle East and further angered by the United States’ military support of Iraq, Iran’s foe in the Iran-Iraq war, the Islamic Republic’s leaders became exasperated when, following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the summer of 1982, the United States brokered a Lebanese-Israeli truce and deployed a large contingent of American servicemen in the framework of a Multinational Peacekeeping Force.

“Islamic Jihad” was a heretofore little-noticed group known only for a string of grenade attacks launched on French, Italian, and American members of the Multinational Force in March of 1983. When it claimed responsibility for the embassy bombing, “Islamic Jihad” declared that the attack was “part of the Iranian revolution’s campaign against imperialist targets throughout the world.” The group promised that “We shall keep striking at any imperialist presence in Lebanon, including the Multinational Force.” (Two massive bomb attacks against American and French servicemen indeed followed on October 23, 1983). “Islamic Jihad” was a shadowy subset of Hezbollah (Party of God), a radical, armed Shi’ite organization with deep ideological and organizational ties to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As early as August of 1979, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, had alluded to the establishment of a “Party of God” that would unite Muslims around the goal of resisting American and Israeli designs for the Middle East. “So far, the oppressed have been disunited and nothing happens through disunity. Now that an example of the unity of the downtrodden has materialized in the land of Muslims [the Islamic Revolution], this example will have to be applied in a wider context, to encompass all humanity, through the establishment of a ‘Party of the Downtrodden,’ which is the same as the ‘Party of God’ [Hezbollah], and which is in line with the exalted will of God … Past mistakes must be rectified through Muslim unity and the establishment of the ‘Party of the Downtrodden’ against the great powers, led by the criminal America and its very corrupt stooge, Israel.”*

Punishing those who supported Iraq in the Iran-Iraq war was another publicly discussed subject. The Islamic Republic’s leaders were blunt about the potential consequences of the United States’ support for Iraq. As Khomeini stated in a speech of July 25, 1982, “If we see that … governments are giving financial and military assistance to the Iraqi government, we consider them guilty … we will deal with them as we do with guilty people, and we will enforce the Islamic sentences concerning them.”

Ayatollah Khomeini repeatedly demonized the United States and expressed concern about its influence in the Muslim world. He emphasized that Muslims had a duty to rise up against “autocratic” leaders and that Iran would help them drive America out. In his speeches, he routinely called on Muslims, both Sunni and Shia, to follow the Iranian line on matters of foreign policy. “Muslims’ problems are all caused by great powers and their insinuations and suggestions to their stooges in the region,” he said in January of 1983. “All problems are caused by them, and these problems will not be resolved unless we rid ourselves of them.”

Khomeini was particularly harsh when it came to Egypt and Lebanon:

“Is it not shameful for Muslims that a country … which is considered the enemy of Islam and the enemy of humanity, reaches out from the other side of the world to determine the fate of Muslim countries? ... America pursues its corrupt goals through [Islamic and Arab] governments dependent on it, through wicked writers and speakers, and Muslims are just sitting [and doing nothing]. Is it not our duty? Do Muslims have no duties any longer in this day and age?”

Days after the Israeli invasion of south Lebanon, in mid-June 1982, Iran openly stated through the Speaker of the Parliament, Hashemi Rafsanjani, that it planned to use a proxy to expel the United States from Lebanon. “We must not be afraid of confronting America,” he said. “If America becomes embroiled in this war [in Lebanon] with Muslims, it would be in our interest, and it would end America’s intervention in the region.” Once the American peacekeepers had arrived in Lebanon, Rafsanjani again warned that “the occupation of Lebanon, this small, sectarian and war-stricken country,” would inevitably bring “revenge.”

As early as 1982, the Islamic Republic’s leadership, responding to Ayatollah Khomeini’s call for an organized effort to drive the United States out of Lebanon, had begun the process of transforming Hezbollah from loose, uncoordinated groups of Islamist militants into an organized and trained fighting force. Following the Israeli invasion, Iran deployed a contingent of 1,500 Revolutionary Guards to Baalbek, a city in eastern Lebanon and a hub of Shi'ite activism. In a speech delivered June 13, 1982, the Speaker of Parliament alluded to the training mission of the Revolutionary Guards when he stated that a confrontation with the United States and Israel would be undertaken “with the assistance of Islamic states, in particular the resistance front that we are creating.” He went on to say, “We must resist, stay and fight in a bid to deal with Israel once and for all.” In Baalbek, the Revolutionary Guards, in coordination with the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), began training militants, providing them with weapons, paying them salaries and healthcare subsidies, and cultivating their ideological allegiance to the Islamic Republic by sending pro-Iranian clerics into the city’s mosques.

Hezbollah pledged loyalty to the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader and depended on Iran for its funding, military training, and matériel. Iranian officials were also entrenched in Hezbollah’s highest governing body, the “consultative” (shoura) council, which handed down policy, strategy, and orders for Hezbollah operations. Two (sometimes one) Iranian officials sat on the Consultative Council, including, in the early 1980s, Iran’s then-ambassador to Syria, Ali Akbar Mohtashami; the chargé d’affaires in Lebanon; and diplomatic staff at the Iranian embassy in Beirut. There were additional ties between Iran and Hezbollah officials.**

Further, according to investigators, the attack on the embassy required not only training but financial backing; in Hezbollah’s early history these two dimensions were almost entirely under Iranian control. A plethora of evidence corroborating Iranian involvement in this and other “Islamic Jihad” bombings was collected by American intelligence agencies.*** Forensic evidence also pointed towards the intervention of a state actor.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, sent in to investigate the embassy bombing, identified the explosive used in the attack as the “bulk form” of PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate). The FBI came to this conclusion because PETN of the variety available commercially is wholly consumed in an explosion; however, in this case, there remained unconsumed particles of PETN at the blast site. This indicated that the explosive was the “bulk form” of PETN, a form generally not available commercially and which could only be procured from the manufacturer. According to the FBI’s on-scene forensic explosive investigator, in the Middle East, the bulk form of PETN was produced for military purposes by state-sponsored manufacturers. Such factories did not exist in Lebanon, but bulk form PETN was being manufactured in Iran. Incidentally, the same explosive was used in the October 21, 1983, bombing that killed 241 American servicemen.****

Investigations by the American media also revealed the existence of intelligence, not necessarily verifiable, on Iran’s involvement in the attack. For example, Washington Post investigative journalist Jack Anderson reported on May 10, 1983 that the National Security Agency had intercepted “communications … [that] gave a clear indication that a pro-Iranian Shiite Moslem group, fanatically loyal to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, was planning to bomb the embassy in Beirut.” The same article noted that analysis of the available intelligence led to the conclusion that “preparations for the bomb attack were supervised by a high official in the Iranian Foreign Ministry, who also gave final approval.”

Further, Iran’s role became apparent in another attack against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut in 1984. As David Martin of CBS News and John Walcott of the Wall Street Journal reported in Best Laid Plans, their investigation of American anti-terrorism policy in the 1980s, satellite imagery obtained by the Central Intelligence Agency showed that the Revolutionary Guards were involved in the preparation of the bombing of the American Embassy Annex on September 20, 1984. Images of the Shaykh Abdallah barracks, which were controlled by the Guards and housed both American hostages held by Hezbollah and Hezbollah fighters, showed an exact replica of the concrete barriers guarding the U.S. Embassy Annex, in the vicinity of the barracks. Upon closer inspection, the images were found to show tire tracks swerving between the mock-up concrete blocks, suggesting that this Iranian-controlled location was where the suicide bomber had trained for the operation against the American Embassy.

Finally, Iranian leaders boasted, directly and indirectly, of their responsibility for the string of bombings on American targets in 1983-1984. One such example is the statement by Mohsen Rafiqdust, who at the time of the bombing served as commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In a speech delivered July 20, 1987, Rafiqdust boasted that the explosive in the Multinational Forces bombing of October 23, 1983, had indeed come from Iran: “In the victory of the revolution in Lebanon … the United States has felt our power on its ugly body; and it knows that both the TNT and the ideology that, in one blast, sent to hell 400 officers, NCOs, and soldiers at the Marine Headquarters, were provided by Iran.”

Taken together, Iran’s activities in Lebanon, the stated motives of punishing the United States and driving it out of Lebanon, and other statements of the Islamic Republic’s leaders make the case for their involvement in the bombing of the American Embassy. The April 18, 1983, bombing, the first in a chain of bombings throughout the 1980s and in 1994, also fits the Islamic Republic’s pattern of using violence against civilians to further its foreign policy agenda.





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