29th anniversary of Urgent Fury

| October 25, 2012

Today marks the 29th anniversary of Operation Urgent fury in which elements of the 82d Airborne Division, US Marines, 1st and 2d Ranger Battalions, Navy SEALs and others liberated the island of Grenada from Communist control. About 7600 troops pried loose the relatively light Cuban and Soviet presence on the island. Of course, the UK and Canada complained that invasion was a flagrant violation of international law, despite the pleas to the US from Organization of American States for intervention when the prime minister of Grenada was murdered in a power struggle.

Wiki says about the casualties;

Nearly eight thousand soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines had participated in Operation Urgent Fury along with 353 Caribbean allies of the Caribbean Peace Forces (CPF). U.S. Forces sustained 19 killed and 116 wounded; Cuban forces sustained 25 killed, 59 wounded and 638 combatants captured. Grenadian forces casualties were 45 killed and 358 wounded; at least 24 civilians were killed, several of whom were killed in the accidental bombing of a Grenadian mental hospital.

Category: Historical

Comments (25)

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  1. Gunny Highway says:

    Just because we’re holding hands doesn’t mean we’ll be taking warm showers together until the wee hours of the morning.

  2. Tman says:

    Quote from “Heartbreak Ridge,” the Clint Eastwood movie which features the invasion of Grenada.

  3. Hondo says:

    Tman: thanks – missed that film, so I didn’t know that.

  4. Devtun says:

    That scene in “Heartbreak Ridge” where the Marines commandeer a bulldozer as makeshift tank to protect the advancing leathernecks was inspired by the actions of then Captain John Abizaid who commanded a Ranger company in Grenada…like c’mon, thats not right! The Marine Corps has the best publicy machine this side of the Navy SEALs…

    Having done some reading on Grenanda, there was alot of criticism and frustration vented specifically against the Army’s performance…consternation that a 3 star Admiral (VADM Metcalf) commanded this mostly land operation w/ a 2 star Army deputy MG Schwartzkopf…Seal Team Six lost 4 operators due to drowning after being dropped in heavy seas and Delta Force took heavy losses when their Blackhawks got shot to pieces…The Pentagon did not have detailed maps of Grenanda – yikes! The U.S. military was on its way back big time under President Reagan, but this was first major combat operation in a very long time.

  5. Twist says:

    The phone call is true also.

    A group of US Navy SEALs were dropped in by helo to extract the governor-general and his family. The governor-general was holed up inside his mansion in the basement, hiding from a combination of Grenadian and Cuban troops. The helos that inserted the SEALs took a large amount of fire and in the ensuing confusion and rush to egress from the vehicles and allow them to return to the ships they left their SATCOM (Satellite Communications) gear onboard the helos. After a while, their inter-personnel radio ran out of battery power.

    The SEAL commander improvised by using the mansion’s landline to call the United States Special Operations Command in Florida and the call was transferred, after confirmation, to operations-headquarters aboard an amphibious assault ship. They were able to direct an AC-130 gunship to provide accurate fire, thereby destroying an enemy APC (Armored Personnel Carrier) and a number of the attacking troops.

    They were extracted in the morning by a Marine Force Recon platoon, along with the governor-general and his family.

  6. Devtun says:

    Sorry, meant Grenada – not Grenanda.

  7. Hondo says:

    In their defense, Devtun – the Grenada crisis developed rather quickly. Bishop was shot on 19 Oct and the civilian Grenadan government was replaced by a Revolutionary Military Council; it was the RMC’s actions in closing the country to exit for 4 days that threatened the US citizens there and precipitated the intervention. We went in less than a week later.

    In that day, it took a while to prepare and print maps. Apparently Grenada wasn’t high enough on the “pecking order” of potential crisis areas to have a stock of maps already printed.

    The criticism was well deserved, especially in the area of joint communications. The story you hear about the guy calling Fort Bragg by telephone to request a fire mission because he couldn’t talk to someone from another service is not apocryphal. And for a while, the only working secure ship-to-shore secure comm between Naval and Army forces was a PRC-77 secured by a crypto device.

    We “play together” a bit better than that these days. (smile)

  8. Jonn Lilyea says:

    I don’t know if I want anyone on this blog who hasn’t seen “Heartbreak Ridge” – the best platoon sergeant movie of all time, with “Gardens of Stone” and “Battleground” running tied for second place.

  9. Twist says:

    Jonn, I was going to write a post to Hondo where I would have to put the word sacrilege in there.

  10. Hondo says:

    Jonn, I just don’t see a lot of movies of any type, and haven’t for the past 20 years or so. Just have too many other things to do.

  11. Marine 83 says:

    Hondo @ #4. Never seen Heartbreak Ridge? Thats it, hand over your guy card! It will be returned promptly after you rent and watch the Movie ;-).

  12. Hondo says:

    Marine 83: molon labe. (smile)

  13. Barack's College Transcripts says:




    “My name’s Gunnery Sergeant Highway and I’ve drunk more beer and banged more quiff and pissed more blood and stomped more ass that all of you numbnuts put together.” Gunny Highway


    Four Warriors Who Gave Their Lives So That Others May Live!

    The Naval Special Warfare Development Group, formerly known as SEAL Team SIX and based in Dam Neck, Virginia, is responsible for US counterterrorist operations in the maritime environment. SIX participated in a number of operations, both overt and covert, throughout the 1980’s.

    In 1983, SEAL Team SIX members were also responsible for the rescue and evacuation of Governor Sir Paul Scoon from Grenada during Operation Urgent Fury. Four SEALs were lost to drowning during helicopter insertion off shore. Other aspects of the operation included the securing of a radio transmitter which resulted in heavy contact with Grenadian forces.

    The first and most controversial SEAL mission in Grenada was the Salinas Airfield Operation.

    During the predawn hours of October 24, 1983, in high winds, with little intel, 12 operators from SEAL Team SIX and 4 Air Force Combat Control Team members(CCT), were assigned to perform a night combat equipment water jump in the ocean about 40 kilometers off the north-northwest tip of Port Salinas, Grenada.

    The SEAL/CCT team was to perform LAPES (Low Altitude Parachute Extraction System) to enter the water DropZone with 2 Zodiac inflatable rubber boats. They were to do an Over the Horizon (OTH) transit approximately 40 kilometers to the vicinity of Port Salinas. Once there they were to scout out a suitable Beach Landing Site and send swimmer scouts ashore, infiltrate the island and cache the boats. They were to patrol the airfield, emplace the beacons and find a suitable hiding place and wait for the Ranger’s airdrop. All the time sending intel reports back to the USS Guam.

    Four SEALs were lost during the jump. It is not clear why they drowned during the drop, but the hazards of jumping into the sea with a heavy combat load in high winds could have been overwhelming. These men were well trained for this type of operation, but even the best laid plans sometimes go wrong.

    The remaining SEALs searched in vain for their teammates, dis-hearted they continued with their primary mission, however, half-way to the shore they had to take evasive measures due to an approaching Grenadan Patrol boat. As they cut their engines, the Zodiacs’ motors were swamped by the Patrol boat’s wake and would not restart.

    The SEAL/CCT team then drifted out to sea and made contact with the USS Caron (DD970). The operation was aborted.

  14. Green Thumb says:

    I had an old 1SG back in the day that was a young private in this operation. He used to talk about it. Had a pic of his first kill in his desk.

    He taught me a lot but he was a DICK!

  15. MCPO NYC USN (Ret.) says:

    14 was me!

  16. Devtun says:

    @14 Well put MCPO…also who the hell is this Barack fellow? Is this the same Barack Obama that was just endorsed for SECOND time for POTUS by that weasel former Secy of State and CJCS GEN Colin Powell? Sir, you are a RINO – leave the GOP now!!! GEN Powell didn’t like Romney’s shift on foreign policy during the debates – well duh! What Presidential candidates don’t “modify” positions? Thats how you get elected! Hey, GEN Powell why don’t you question your boy Barry and get a straight answer on Benghazi…

  17. Chip@NASA says:

    I enlisted just a few weeks before this and then went to MEPS for final processing about 8 weeks later. I didn’t leave for Basic until the following May (DEP no spaces) and man, I was like Oh Holy HELL what have I gotten in to….but it was all good. The old White C-141s brings back memories.

  18. Anonymous says:

    5Devtun Says:
    October 25th, 2012 at 10:24 am
    That scene in “Heartbreak Ridge” where the Marines commandeer a bulldozer as makeshift tank to protect the advancing leathernecks was inspired by the actions of then Captain John Abizaid who commanded a Ranger company in Grenada…like c’mon, thats not right! The Marine Corps has the best publicy machine this side of the Navy SEALs…

    Devtun, from what I always heard, “Heartbreak Ridge” was originally supposed to be about the Army Rangers. (The title of the movie is taken from a Korean War battle fought by Army troops, not Marines; there’s an offhand line in the movie about how Eastwood’s character started out in the Army and then switched to the Marines). But, at some point in pre-production, the Army public affairs types got hold of the script, and were reportedly horrified by all the cursing and beer-drinking and so forth. So they went to Eastwood and asked him to rewrite the script to remove all the bad words and put the Army in a more “positive light”. Eastwood refused, the Army withdrew its support, and the Marines eagerly stepped in to fill the vacuum.

    And that’s how Army public affairs pissed away a few million dollars in free publicity. Idiots.

  19. 1AirCav69 says:

    Statistic ommitted: POW’S from Grenada Invasion currently recieving disabilty from the VA: 786.

  20. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @20. Is it possible to know whether the high disability numbers trace to that particular action or could it be that some number (even most) were hurt and disabled subsequently?

  21. Hondo says:

    1AirCav69: 786 receiving disability I’d believe. As I recall, over 8000 went to Grenada (though many went after the majority of the fighting had ended). That’s around 10% receiving compensation, and many could have been injured/developed their disabling condition later.

    I’m not doubting you, but did you really mean 786 are receiving VA compensation as POWs based on duty in Grenada – or was that a typo? I can’t recall hearing about us having any POWs in Grenada whatsoever. But I could be wrong.

  22. 1AirCav69 says:

    Hondo….I should have put a “sarc” alert on that one. Sorry also to 2/17. The VA as we all know, is paying out POW compensation to hundreds from the Gulf War and hundreds from other wars that there is no way there were that many POW’S. So, I made up a figure of 786 POW’S from Grenada. Thought I’d get a friday chuckle….gotta led ballon instead. I’ll keep my day job. 🙂

    Honor and Courage

  23. dead bodies every where i gathered info for cia while they sat in aircondition vans had to drag bodies on national tv dragging bodies capt ritz i was under his command rip sgt epps rip

  24. ptsd depression anxiety panick attacks isolation ……….frieandly fir at frequent i met general swarztcoff rip inventoried arms ect firefights on ridge 1 kia no help from va came back to bragg with big problems