Pfc. Horace Stephens, a 20-year-old Marine from Capitol Heights who died in the barracks explosion in Beirut, was there only because he had been reassigned to "light duty" after being wounded last August in a blast at the Beirut airport, his family said yesterday.
"If he wasn't hurt in that explosion he wouldn't have been in the building," said Kimberly Moore, Stephens' sister. Stephens' arm was broken in two places in that incident and he had been assigned to serve meals to his fellow Marines at the barracks while it healed.
Stephens joined the Marines after graduating from Suitland High School in 1982 "to better himself," his sister said, enlisting along with some friends because "it was peacetime, plus a way of making money and getting training at the same time."
But the mission to Beirut had scared him. "He felt danger was all around him, everywhere he went," his girlfriend, Brigette Renee Lee, said.
"All he kept saying was, 'We're here for show,' " his sister said.
Stephens' family considered it fortunate that he suffered only a broken arm in August. He was due home from Lebanon on Nov. 17.
Family members said yesterday they had been notified that their son was among the 226 people killed in the explosion that tore the Marine barracks apart Sunday morning.
He wrote that he was scared. "All he kept saying is 'we're here for show,' " said his sister Kimberly Moore.
Moore said eight of Stephens' cousins are Marines, one of them in Grenada. "We're worrying about him," Moore said tearfully. She said her husband is in the Navy stationed at the Naval Academy in Annapolis.
Moore said she does not believe the Marines should stay in Lebanon. "They're guarding a country that has been fighting since Jesus Christ's time," she said.
His girlfriend, Brigette Lee, described him as a good student who "hardly ever missed a day at school, even when he was sick."
She said his family had recently purchased a new bedroom set for his room in anticipation of his homecoming next month.
"He wrote home that he was really looking forward to having a party," Lee said.
The Pentagon has identified six Marylanders and seven Virginians as killed in Sunday's explosion in Beirut, and lists another one from Maryland, five from Virginia and one from the District of Columbia as missing and presumed dead. Those listed as missing are included in the officially announced death toll of 226.
Among the missing is Lance Cpl. Nicholas Baker, 22, of Alexandria, a graduate of that city's T.C. Williams High School.
Cora Starr, Baker's aunt, who raised him since he was nine years old, said yesterday she has been watching the television "sort of trying to see some picture of him."
On Wednesday, the Marines called Starr at the U. S. Postal Service, where she works, and asked her to go home, where two military messengers told her Baker was officially missing. "I didn't ask them what that meant," Starr said yesterday. "I was just too upset at the time. I thought it probably meant he was either dead or in a hospital and can't identify himself."
In his letters, Baker "used to say he was scared, that he looked forward to hearing from people to give him encouragement," his aunt said. "One letter said he felt better that they could start shooting back."
Like Stephens, Baker was scheduled to return to the U.S. in November, and, said his aunt, he was very much looking forward to that. "He would write back to me and tell me not to worry, that he'd be home soon."
Another of the Virginians listed as missing is Cpl. Eric Washington of Alexandria. His wife, Patricia, took the day off from her job with the Arlington school system yesterday, a colleague said. "She's had lots of people from the press and the television," the coworker said, "and right now she just wants to be alone for a few minutes."
Lynn Schnorf, the wife of 24-year-old Lt. Charles Schnorf, a graduate of Annandale High School, got two letters from him on Tuesday, the same day he was listed as killed in Beirut.
"The most important thing in Chuck's life," his brother Bob said yesterday, "was his wife . . . they've known each other for 10 years. They met at a community swimming pool" when the family lived in Springfield.
Bob Dorminey, a social studies teacher at Annandale High, taught Schnorf to skydive when he was a student there. "He was a natural. He loved it. He was the only kid I knew who could stand flatfooted and backflip and land on his feet. He was very agile," Dorminey said.
"I see all these people on the television who have suffered a lost son," Dorminey said, "and my heart goes out to them, and I try to put myself in their place. It would be awfully hard for me to justify it. I hear all the things that our president is saying, but it's hard to choke that down."
But Bob Schnorf said that was not how his brother felt about the American mission in Beirut. "I just know that it was important to my brother. I know he felt like he belonged there. And if he felt that way, then we all felt that way." Chuck Schnorf, his brother said, "was just the kind of person who was important to everybody in his life. And we're all going to miss him."
Below are the names of other Maryland residents listed as killed in the Beirut explosion:
Lance Cpl. Charles K. Bailey, Berlin; Lance Cpl. David M. Green, Baltimore; Lance Cpl. Jeffrey James, Baltimore; Lance Cpl. Ulysses Parker, Baltimore, and Chief Hospital Corpsman George W. Piercy, Mount Savage.
Hospital Corpsman Third Class David E. Worley of Baltimore is listed as missing.
Here are the names of additional Virginia residents listed as killed:
Lance Cpl. James Baynard, Richmond; Navy Hospital Corpsman 3/c William B. Foster Jr., Richmond; Lance Cpl. Warner Gibbs, Richmond; Lance Cpl. Douglas Held, Chesterfield County; Pfc. J.B. Owen, Virginia Beach, and Cpl. Joseph Owens, Chesterfield,
Additional Virginians listed as missing are Lance Cpl. Richard Barrett of Tappahannock; Cpl. Michael Fulcher, Madison Heights, and Lance Cpl. James Knipple, Alexandria.
Staff Sgt. Gilbert Hanton of Washington D.C. was listed as missing.