Produced by the U.S. Navy as a recruiting film, “Summer Incident” starts out in typical fashion following fleet operations but then, about five minutes into the story, a message arrives and — all liberties are cancelled. The rest of the film shows the preparations for and the landing of Marines in Lebanon in the summer of 1958 to guarantee the sovereignty of that country and protect U.S. civilians. The 1958 Lebanon crisis was a Lebanese political crisis caused by political and religious tensions in the country that included a U.S. military intervention. The intervention lasted around three months until President Camille Chamoun, who had requested the assistance, completed his term as president of Lebanon. American and Lebanese government forces successfully occupied the port and international airport of Beirut. The crisis over, the United States withdrew shortly after.

The sequence of events shown in the film are: Amphibious Squadron 4 en route to the U.S. is turned around. The aircraft carrier USS Essex, at Athens, Greece, gets underway for the eastern Mediterranean, and other Sixth Fleet units sail for Lebanon. Admiral Arleigh Burke, Chief of Naval Operations, is shown in several scenes in the Navy’s flag plot in Washington, DC as the operation progresses. The 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines are in the initial landing, from trhe APA 36, LST 1156 and other Sixth Fleet amphibious ships. Aircraft from the ESSEX provide reconnaisance and air support for the landing. This unopposed landing is carried out successfully by the Navy-Marine Corps team.

The operation involved approximately 14,000 men, including 8,509 United States Army personnel, a contingent from the 1st Airborne Battle Group, 187th Infantry from the 24th Infantry Division (based in West Germany) and 5,670 officers and men of the United States Marine Corps (the 2nd Provisional Marine Force, of Battalion Landing Teams 1/8 and 2/2). They were supported by a fleet of 70 ships and 40,000 sailors. On July 16, 1958, Admiral James L. Holloway, Jr., CINCNELM and CINCSPECCOMME, flew in from London to Beirut airport and boarded USS Taconic (AGC-17), from which he commanded the remainder of the operation. The U.S. withdrew its forces on October 25, 1958.

President Eisenhower sent diplomat Robert D. Murphy to Lebanon as his personal representative. Murphy played a significant role in convincing both sides of the conflict to reach a compromise by electing moderate Christian general Fuad Chehab as incoming President, while allowing Chamoun to continue in power until the end of his term on September 22.

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