October 25, 2013

Today is the 30th anniversary of the invasion of Grenada — "the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War."

Do you remember the reason for Operation Urgent Fury? We had to save some medical students?
Operation Urgent Fury, was a 1983 United States-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of about 91,000 located 100 miles (160 km) north of Venezuela, that resulted in a U.S. victory within a matter of weeks....

Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974. The leftist New Jewel Movement seized power in a coup in 1979, suspending the constitution. After a 1983 internal power struggle ended with the deposition and murder of revolutionary Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, the invasion began early on 25 October 1983, just two days and several hours after the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut (early 23 October Beirut time).
So 2 days ago was the 30th anniversary of the bombing in Beirut.
The date of the invasion is now a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day....

A congressional study group concluded that the invasion had been justified, as most members felt that U.S. students at the university near a contested runway could have been taken hostage as U.S. diplomats in Iran had been four years previously. The group's report caused House Speaker Tip O'Neill to change his position on the issue from opposition to support.

However, some members of the study group dissented from its findings. Congressman Louis Stokes, D-Ohio, stated: "Not a single American child nor single American national was in any way placed in danger or placed in a hostage situation prior to the invasion." The Congressional Black Caucus denounced the invasion and seven Democratic congressmen, led by Ted Weiss, introduced an unsuccessful resolution to impeach Ronald Reagan.
Impeach Ronald Reagan. That's what it was like in 1983. Do you remember?

25 comments:

raf said...

Yes, I remember. I would say that the reason for the invasion was to prevent another communist Caribbean island state; the students were the rationale.

Crimso said...

I have a vague recollection that the Soviet bloc-aligned revolutionary government was building an airstrip. They claimed it was to foster tourism. We claimed it was for military purposes (and what would Grenada need with such an airstrip? or was it their "advisors" who planned on using it?). At the time someone noted that the Cuban "advisors" who fought for control of that airstrip seemed strangely willing to give their lives for tourism.

David said...

It was Reagan's "Don't fuck with me" moment and luckily it was a cake walk militarily. However it did set the tone, and beneficially for the United States. Also for the students involved, which was a significant thing. ("No more hostages" was certainly on RR's mind.)

Some of our more recent forays have been far more difficult. Would Reagan have done all of these? I doubt it, at least not in way we have.

RR did not have to face an Iraq or a Syria. He did have to face the barracks explosion in Beruit, and part of his response was to withdraw from that area. Imagine what the right would do if 260+ US Marines were killed in a single terror attack today. It would be Impeach Obama.

Being President is hard. Reagan understood this which is one of the reasons he kept it simple. Obama makes everything complicated. Either he still does not understand how hard it is to be president, or he's overwhelmed by it. Hard to tell, isn't it.

Marshal said...

If you want to understand the event watch Hearbreak Ridge, the only movie to truly capture the Grenada experience.

paul a'barge said...

Heartbreak Ridge
Clint Eastwood
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0091187/?ref_=nm_flmg_act_16

Kirby Olson said...

There was a blackout on American Tv but I was in France and there was a lot of coverage and interviews with our soldiers. They didn't have water. An enterprising Grenadian was selling Dixie cups of lemonade for ten dollars a cup. The marines made him drink some first so they would be sure it wasn't poisoned and then they forked over several hundred dollars for his keg of lemonade.

Hagar said...

Grenada was a dubious action, but again, it served to make it clear to interested parties that Reagan considered the Caribbean to be "within the American sphere of interest."

Hagar said...

"Don't fuck with me!" is a good expression.

Note that just about everybody "fucks with" the Obama administration.

Oso Negro said...

Hey, at least they were OUR medical students. Last month, we nearly invaded Syria for who?

Oso Negro said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

and it looks to be getting about bigger and bigger things.

The Godfather said...

I was in the car and heard on the radio that the US had invaded Grenada. I said, "We've invaded Spain?!"

LuAnn Zieman said...

I was a public school teacher at the time, and, as one should expect, the talk in the teacher's lounge tended to ridicule "Reagan's War." Years later, I met a group of people from Grenada, who thanked us Americans for intervening. It all depends on one's perspective. It also changed mine.

Rusty said...

Crimso said...
I have a vague recollection that the Soviet bloc-aligned revolutionary government was building an airstrip. They claimed it was to foster tourism. We claimed it was for military purposes (and what would Grenada need with such an airstrip? or was it their "advisors" who planned on using it?). At the time someone noted that the Cuban "advisors" who fought for control of that airstrip seemed strangely willing to give their lives for tourism.

Some civil engineers I talked to wondered why a 9200 foot runway was more heavily reinforced and twice as thick as a commercial airport runway like O'hare.
Strange. No?

Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

Ditto on Heartbreak Ridge. It's one of Clint's best performances and it's just recently out on DVD.

Saint Croix said...

If you want to understand the event watch Hearbreak Ridge, the only movie to truly capture the Grenada experience.

It's the best Grenada invasion flick ever! It's the Saving Private Ryan of Grenada invasions.

Might be the first use of the word "clusterfuck" in a major motion picture.

It's such a B movie. And I've seen it, I dunno, six times.

Martinkh said...

The Cubans and Soviets were building an airfield for Russian heavy bombers. But Liberals would not approve of just going after them for that, since so many of them saw/see the USSR as ideological allies.

Smilin' Jack said...

..."the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War."

Do you remember the reason for Operation Urgent Fury? We had to save some medical students?


What was the reason for the Vietnam War? As I recall, we didn't save any medical students there, or anything else for that matter.

Marshal said...

Saint Croix said...

It's the best Grenada invasion flick ever!


I guess we're not 0-1-1 anymore.

It's such a B movie.

The Earl of Funk, the Duke of Cool, the Ayatollah of Rock-n-Rolla. Some phrases you just never forget.

SMSgt Mac said...

Student-Saving was just a side job. The most important outcome, you might have noticed, was the utter lack of Cuban adventurism in the region after their experiences in Nicaragua and Grenada. (Note: a lot of the crazy Marxist ideas WERE planted in the noggins of Grenadian politicos by commies running rampant in English academia, but they were nurtured and groomed by Fidel and Co.).
Best Summary of WHY Reegan commited the US (From "GRENADA RECONSIDERED" by D. Brent Hart):
"The U.S. decision to intervene in Grenada was not the result of three years of careful plotting by Reagan administration anticommunist zealots. The events leading up to the invasion reveal that the invasion was foremost a Caribbean initiative which the United States joined with caution and deliberation."

Perhaps the second most important thing to come out of the operation for the US was that we learned how far we had slumped operationally between Vietnam and Reagan.
The one lesson we in the military did not have to relearn was mistrust of the media. My favorite sound-bite came when one of the few US Journalistas who managed to get ashore tried to get some resting Army Rangers to talk to him. He pleaded with the young officer leading the unit "C'mon ,we're on the same side" and the young officer looked up at him, smiled slightly and said "No...we're not".

hostilel7 said...

"It was Reagan's "Don't fuck with me" moment and luckily it was a cake walk militarily. However it did set the tone, and beneficially for the United States. Also for the students involved, which was a significant thing. ("No more hostages" was certainly on RR's mind.)

Some of our more recent forays have been far more difficult. Would Reagan have done all of these? I doubt it, at least not in way we have.

RR did not have to face an Iraq or a Syria. He did have to face the barracks explosion in Beruit, and part of his response was to withdraw from that area. Imagine what the right would do if 260+ US Marines were killed in a single terror attack today. It would be Impeach Obama.

Being President is hard. Reagan understood this which is one of the reasons he kept it simple. Obama makes everything complicated. Either he still does not understand how hard it is to be president, or he's overwhelmed by it. Hard to tell, isn't it."


Not for some of us. Only for those like you who seem to think that either president had/has any influence/control whatsoever over the actions of the CIA or Joint Chiefs.

Big Mike said...

In the aftermath of the invasion I saw Roger Mudd on TV tring to push the liberal line that the students were never in any danger, but the student he was interviewing made it clear the he sure felt he was in serious danger.

John Lynch said...

The Grenada Experience.

Unknown said...

Yep, I remember it - I was there flying combat search and rescue. I was an ASW operator and SAR swimmer for HS-15 aboard the USS Independence.

Captain Tripps said...

Interesting trivia…retired U.S. Army general John Abizaid, former Commander of Central Command during the George W. Bush administration, was a company commander who led his troops on the parachute assault of the Point Salinas airfield at 0536 hours on D-Day. It was his troops who hot-wired a bulldozer as a makeshift “armored vehicle” in response to Cuban resistant at the airfield, which was depicted in Clint Eastwood’s cheesy “Heartbreak Ridge” (although I still liked it).

Also, when I commanded my company (back when I was on active duty), my superb first sergeant was wounded in a friendly fire incident in the Tactical Operations Center (TOC) he was operating from as part of the 82nd Airborne Division assault force (I believe it was a USMC helicopter that accidentally shot at the TOC); he had a picture of Secretary of Defense Cap Weinberger presenting a Purple Heart to him in the hospital (he took some shrapnel in the derrier).