Pentagon officials last night received complete rosters of the Marines now stationed in Beirut and began comparing them with the lists of servicemen there before Sunday's bombing of Marine headquarters to check the accuracy of totals for casualties.
Similar cross-checking had already been done in Beirut earlier in the day. Marine Corps officials said the analysis left them reasonably confident that the totals would not change much. Those totals last night were 225 dead and 78 wounded.
Meanwhile, the announced American casualty toll from the invasion of Grenadarose to eight dead, eight missing and 39 wounded.
In Beirut and West Germany, forensic teams yesterday continued the difficult task of trying to identify bodies pulled from the ruins of the Marine headquarters. Some remains were so mangled and charred that officers in Lebanon said they might never be identified.
The process has been so slow that Defense Department officials said the transfer of the bodies from morgues in Europe to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware would not occur until today at the earliest.
In cities and towns across the United States, casualty assistance officers visited scores of military families to inform them that their servicemen were dead or missing. By last night, 191 families had received that grim news officially.
Several efforts also were under way to ease the agony for families who had not yet heard from their servicemen. A special overseas telephone network was set up in Beirut so Marines could call home. In Washington, the names of Americans unharmed in the bombing were being released as they came in, although that process was slowed somewhat by apparently inaccurate lists.
But the "safe lists," as Pentagon officials called them, did provide some families with welcome news.
Susan Rutter of Jacksonville, N.C., was one of the tortured wives who had spent four days waiting for word of her husband. Finally, at 4:30 yesterday afternoon, on the 20th birthday of her husband, Cpl. Thomas G. Rutter, she picked up the ringing tele-phone and heard her mother sob into it: "He's okay. He's all right. He was at the building, but he had moved from it before the explosion."
Rutter's mother was among the lucky few who had been able to reach one of the exceptionally busy Marine hotlines and learn that her son was safe. Many frustrated families in the Camp Lejeune area and elsewhere around the country said they found the Defense Department switchboards virtually impenetrable.
"We're still in the dark here, and it's worrying me to death," said Harvey Jackson of Wilmington, N.C., whose son, Lance Cpl. George M. Jackson, was a tank driver in Lebanon.
Maj. Gen. A.M. Gray, commander of the 2nd Marine Division at Camp Lejeune, said yesterday that the first group of perhaps seven or eight wounded Marines was expected to arrive at the base today or early tomorrow, with another 50 to 55 expected before the end of the weekend. Although an airline was offering free flights to the West German hospitals for relatives of the wounded, officials in Washington and Camp Lejeune cautioned families that such trips might be unwise.
"One woman already took off for Europe," said Ed Olander, base chaplain at Camp Lejeune. "But within 48 hours her husband will return here."
A special team of psychiatrists and psychologists based at a Virginia naval facility arrived at the Marine camp yesterday to counsel grieving family members. Gen. Gray said the "courage and the performance of the young wives and parents has been magnificent."
Across the state, in Fort Bragg, the impact of this week's other tumultuous event, the invasion of Grenada, was being felt. At least 20 of the servicemen injured during the fighting on the tiny eastern Caribbean island were sent to the Womack Army Hospital there yesterday for treatment. Others wounded during the invasion were being treated at Charleston Naval Base in South Carolina.
As the injured were arriving at Fort Bragg, the last of an estimated 3,000 paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division were preparing to leave there for Grenada. Some soldiers slept on their equipment as they waited to board their planes. For many, it was the first chance to rest since the units were put on alert three days ago.
On the other end of the country, at Fort Lewis, Wash., home base for many of the Army Rangers who participated in the invasion, the Caribbean warfare was also a grave and personal concern.
"I've been glued to the television . . . waiting for news," said Joyce Voyles, 40, whose husband, Command Sgt. James E. (Jack) Voyles, is a much-decorated Vietnam vet- eran and the top non-commissioned officer in the elite Ranger battal- ion.
Kim Harris, 22, said she heard from a friend that her husband, Michael D. Harris, was a member of the invading force. "I burst into tears," she said. "I could feel the terror. A lot of funny things go through your mind at a time like this."
The terror struck home to scores of families who finally got word yesterday that their loved ones were among the dead or missing in Lebanon.
Hazel Renton, the sister of Sgt. 1st Class James Yarber of Fort Sill, Okla., who won a Purple Heart in Vietnam, called the death of her brother "totally useless." Said Renton: "We were so relieved when he got through Vietnam. Most of the family feels it was totally useless to die like that. The Lebanese have the right to rise up against their government and we shouldn't interfere against that."
Judyth Gander of Milwaukee said she learned at 2:45 yesterday morning that her son, Lance Cpl. David Gander, was among the missing. "I was partially awake, and I heard a car door slam in the drive. I knew what it was. I practically fainted," she said.
Alice Blocker of Yulee, Fla., said she was writing her son, Pvt. John W. Blocker, a letter when two military officers arrived at her door and informed her that her son was dead. She said her youngest son, Doug, 5, had just received a letter from his big brother, which read in part: "If I die today, I'll be proud of my God, family, country and corps."
The word was also going out to families of servicemen killed and wounded in the Grenada fighting.
"I can go to sleep now," said Anna Bruton of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., after learning that her son, Army Staff Sgt. Amos Howard, had been injured in a helicopter crash on Grenada. Bruton said she "just dropped the phone" when she first heard that her son had been aboard the helicopter and that several of those on board had been killed.