From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Michael Ohler '77

Date of birth: February 9, 1955

Date of death: October 16, 1983

Age: 28

Lucky Bag

From the 1977 Lucky Bag:


Michael in Lebanon, shortly before his death. Photo via "Heroes of the United States Naval Academy."

From the UPI Archives, published October 17, 1983:

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. -- Capt. Michael J. Ohler, a Long Island native, was identified by the Pentagon Monday as the seventh Marine in the multinational peace-keeping force to die in Lebanon.

Ohler, 28, was killed Sunday and five other Marines were wounded during skirmishes with Moslem militia in slums north of the American positions, Pentagon officials said.

The captain's death brought the Marine losses to seven dead and 56 wounded. Six Marines were killed in combat, including two since the cease-fire in Beirut went into force Sept. 26 and one died in an accident clearing minefields.

Ohler, who commanded a unit of the peace-keeping force, went to Beirut last May and was due to rotate out of Lebanon in December, said Capt. Jay Farrar, a Marine spokesman.

The marine was born and grew up in Huntington, N.Y., Farrar said. He attended Cold Springs Harbor High School and graduated from the school in 1973 before entering the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

The body was to be flown to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware later this week and Ohler's wife would make arrangements for the funeral, Farrar said.

Ohler's wife, Marian Gail, lives in Pensacola, Fla. with the couple's 2-year-old daughter, Sarah Marie. Mrs. Ohler's parent's live nearby, Farrar said.

Listed as father J.C. and mother M.G., Ohler's parents moved from Huntington and currently reside in San Diego, Calif., Farrar said.

Ohler graduated from the Naval Academy in 1977 with a degree in mathematics and received a commission in the marines as a second lieutenant, Farrar said.

He attended naval aviator training in Pensacola, Fla., in early 1978 and graduated from the program in December 1979, allowing him to take an assignment at the New River, N.C., air station, Farrar said.

In January, Ohler was assigned to the First Battalion, Eighth Marine regiment as an Air Liaison Officer in Camp LeJeune, N.C., Farrar said.

From the March 1984 issue of Shipmate:

Capt. Michael John Ohier USMC was killed by sniper fire in Beirut, Lebanon, on 16 October 1983. Memorial services were held at the Naval Air Sta- tion in Pensacola, with interment at Barrancas National Cemetery.

Appointed to the Naval Academy from the State of New York, he was graduated with the Class of 1977. While at the Academy, he was an outdoors enthusiast, and upon graduation he accepted his commission in the Marine Corps. Basic school followed and thereupon various assignments including training as a forward air controller. He had deployed from Camp Lejeune in May as a member of Headquarters and Services Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st B., 8th Marines.

He is survived by his widow Marian Gail Ohler of Pensacola, Florida; a daughter and a son.


From the UPI Archives on October 18, 1983:

PENSACOLA, Fla. -- The wife of a Marine captain killed in Beirut says she will teach a 3-month-old son her husband never saw the Christian values the couple shared.

'My husband served the Lord through serving in the Marine Corps. He told my daughter in one of his tapes he was there to help those people get some peace like we have here,' said Marian 'Gail' Ohler, the wife of Capt. Michael J. Ohler.

Mrs. Ohler, 25, said Monday she was not bitter about her husband's death.

Ohler, shot in the head Sunday, was the seventh Marine attached to the peacekeeping force to die in Lebanon since Sept. 30, 1982. An eighth Marine stationed in Beirut as an embassy guard was killed April 17.

"I'm going to teach them (the children) the values my husband wanted them to know. We talked about that a lot," she said. "I want them to know their daddy. It won't replace him though."

The couple's son, Benjamin, was born June 29, after Ohler, 28, a native of Huntington, N.Y., left for Lebanon in May. Ohler was to return home in December.

The Ohlers also have a 2-year-old daughter, Sarah Marie.

"I just dreamed my husband could be together with his son and his little girl someday. He called her 'his little darling,'" Mrs. Ohler said.

"I don't know the answer of whether they should be there (in Lebanon) or not. I'm confused, I think most people are confused. What I have been doing and will continue to do is pray for President Reagan and our leaders, for the men who are there and will be sent there."

Mrs. Ohler, with her eyes apparently reddened by weeping, held her daughter in her arms while talking with reporters at her parent's home in Pensacola. She came to stay with her parents after her husband left for Lebanon.

The couple had lived in Jacksonville, N.C. near Camp LeJeune, where Ohler was stationed before he went to Lebanon.

Mrs. Ohler said she received a letter and tape recording from her husband last week and got another letter from him Monday. She said she had not opened the new letter yet.

"He was looking forward to coming home. We were counting down the days. He had about four weeks before he left Beirut," she said.

Class of 1977

Michael is one of 16 members of the Class of 1977 on Virtual Memorial Hall.