The hijacking of TWA Flight 847 in 1985 at the hands of Hezbollah militants turned a routine flight from Greece to Italy into a Navy tragedy when Steelworker 2nd Class Robert “Bobby” Stethem was singled out, brutally beaten and murdered for being a service member.
Divers in 1985 Lebanon hijacking receive POW medals
Stethem, a Seabee diver, was identified by his Navy ID card along with shipmate Clint Suggs. There were several other sailors on board the flight, but most initially avoided being singled out by hiding their IDs. They were later discovered and taken into captivity in Beirut, Lebanon.
All Hands magazine, an official Navy publication, is running a series recounting the harrowing events of June 1985, which includes videos of Stethem’s shipmates recounting the experience.
In a powerful moment in Part II, an emotional Suggs describes being viciously beaten by the hijackers after Stethem’s murder, biting his lip hard to avoid screaming in pain.
“I said, ‘I’m not going to scream,’ ” Suggs recalls. “You m———–s ain’t taking my dignity; you’re not taking this from me. … I’m a wrestler, a pole vaulter, a deep-sea Navy diver, but you can’t do nothing when you’re tied.”
You can catch the series here: