At the Landstuhl Army hospital, Cpl. Thurnell Shields' hands show the effects of the Beirut bombing. Shields, 21, of Wrens, Ga., suffered burns and lacerations.

At the Landstuhl Army hospital, Cpl. Thurnell Shields' hands show the effects of the Beirut bombing. Shields, 21, of Wrens, Ga., suffered burns and lacerations. (Terry Baker/Stars and Stripes)

WIESBADEN — Several days after Sunday's bombing attack on the Marine headquarters in Beirut, some of the survivors pulled their thoughts together and talked about their fears for the fate of their friends. They also expressed anger at the unidentified enemy.

The men were the first of the survivors being treated at military hospitals in Germany to give individual interviews to reporters. Hospital officials were concerned that their patients were not strong enough to give detailed accounts of their ordeal; some men simply could not bring themselves to talk about it.

"I'm just worried about a lot of people. If you saw the blast, you know why they can't find some guys," said Lance Cpl. Steven Diaz, 20, of Chicago.

He sustained internal injuries from the blast. He was walking near the building when the bomb went off.

"I was crawling along the ground, scratching to get some cover. I couldn't get up. I was knocked down silly," he said.

What's the first thing Diaz is going to do when he gets home?

"I'm going to grab my wife and son and never let go. ... I'm going to give them all I got."

Lance Cpl. Renard Manley, 25, of Panama City, Fla., was asleep on the fourth floor of the headquarters building.

"The first thing I remember was there was a giant concrete slab looming over me, six inches away. It was like a dream, like a coffin. I didn't know what happened," he said.

Lance Cpl. Morris Dorsey of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., was trapped in the wreckage below Manley. They talked and yelled for an hour.

"Sometimes we were humoring each other to keep each other awake. He'd say, `Have they got you out yet, man?' and I'd say, `I haven't seen no one yet,' " Manley said.

"One of my greatest fears was that they would dig from on top of me and the concrete would fall. I gave them play-by-play instructions for how to get me out. The first thing I told them when they got me out was to get Dorsey out."

Manley suffered bruised ankles and knees and a strained neck. "When I think of the other guys who didn't make it. ... I was very, very lucky," Manley said.

Hospital Corpsman 3.C. Pedro J. Alvarado, 28, of Ponce, Puerto Rico, a Navy medic assigned to the Marines, normally slept on the fourth floor of the Marine barracks. But for some reason he's not sure of, he had chosen to sleep that night in the basement where medical supplies were kept and Marines treated.

"Something told me to go to that corner and you'll be safe. There was just a feeling," Alvarado said.

He did not hear the explosion. His first thought was that a rocket hit the building. He yelled through a hole in the wreckage, blacked out and awoke later in a hospital in Lebanon.

Alvarado said he is afraid to find out about his friends and the other Marines he worked with. There was a lot of affection with the Marines, he said.

"They didn't call you corpsman. They didn't call you by your last name. They call you Doc," he said.

A bright light in his experience, however, was the news that his wife, Anilda, is expecting a baby, their first. "It's helping me, taking me out of this nightmare," Alvarado said.

Alvarado had just returned to Lebanon in early October after accompanying home the body of a friend killed in Beirut. He had no regrets about returning to Beirut after the funeral.

"I'm a serviceman. My unit was assigned to Lebanon. I had to be with my people," he said.

"It would be a little difficult," now to return to Beirut, he said, "but I would go."

Asked what he thought of the person or persons responsible for the car bomb attack on Marine headquarters, he searched for the word. "I don't know the word in English. C-o-w-a-r-d," he spelled.

Diaz also called the attack the action of a coward. "We were a peacekeeping force. We tried to keep our noses clean. They're in a war situation. They can shoot. We're not in a war. We're trying to keep the peace," he said.

Manley called the unknown enemy "sick people." But he added, "I'd rather not let my aggressions out here."

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