34th Anniversary of Urgent Fury – the liberation of Grenada

| October 25, 2017

URGENT FURY

Today marks the 34th 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 US troops pried loose the relatively light Cuban and Soviet presence on the island. The Grenadan Army was about 1200 souls, they were reinforced with a rogue’s gallery of Cold War-era badies;

Cuba: 780
Soviet Union: 49
North Korea: 24
East Germany: 16
Bulgaria: 14
Libya: 3 or 4

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.

In Grenada, today is known as Thanksgiving Day and it’s a national holiday.

Category: Historical

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  1. In The Mailbox: 10.25.17 : The Other McCain | October 25, 2017
  1. Alberich says:

    In Grenada, today is known as Thanksgiving Day and it’s a national holiday.

    I still meet leftists who grumble about what an evil, imperialistic act that was. To think, if we’d just let them stay Communist, they could be living the happy, free lifestyles of the Cubans or North Koreans.

    • Graybeard says:

      Those who have been freed from the evils of Communism or Socialism savor freedom.

      Those who have never experienced the oppression others live their lives under have no conception of just how asinine are their complaints about our freedoms here.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      To those of us who have fought for it, FREEDOM has a flavor that the protected will never know.

  2. Mick says:

    I wasn’t in Grenada, but I know some of the Marines and Sailors who were there. Most were with the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit, and one was with the SEALs.

    RIP:

    Captain Jeb Seagle USMC

    Major John “Pat” Giguere USMC

    1stLt Jeff Scharver USMC

  3. Sapper3307 says:

    True story time. Only two troops from the 82nd did the combat jump in Grenada. They were heavy equipment operators from the 618th light engineers. One was a sergeant and the other an brand new private that arrived that week. The new troop was the only guy that the SDNCO could find in the barracks that weekend that was an equipment operator. The two of them were shipped of to link up with the Rangers and did the combat jump with them. So the troops first jump after jump school (#6) was a combat jump.

    • Paule says:

      No he wasn’t a new private.. He was a SPC and I went to jump school with him.. He arrived in the 82nd in late Aug 1983. Yes it was his Cherry blast and he went on to SF. The were the only two 82nd guys walking around with a mustard stain for a while..

      • Sapper3307 says:

        Thanks my battalion history is rusty.

        • OldManchu says:

          In 1989 at Fort Benning one of the Company Drill Sergeants had his mustard stain and right shoulder Scroll, and of course his CIB, from Urgent Fury. I forget his name he wasn’t assigned to my platoon.

          • 11B-Mailclerk says:

            Was that SSG Harrison? (Possibly SFC by 1989). He was 1st platoon of A-6-1 in fall of 1986.

            • OldManchu says:

              I will look in my yearbook thing this evening. It’s not ringing a bell either way. Tall lanky dude with a mustache. He was SSG while I was there in fall of ’89 so likely not the same man. We were B 1/19 and he was 2nd platoon at the time.

              By any chance were you part of the first COHORT rotation out of Benning? Ending up at 7th I.D.? Please do tell.

              • OldManchu says:

                SFC McKay!

              • 11B-Mailclerk says:

                SSG Harrison was shorter than me, but then most folks are.

                I remember that he once told a story of jumping in Grenada. I definitely remember him wearing Airborne wings with a combat drop mark.

                I was not in that COHORT batch. A-6-1 fall of 1986, then I wound up in 24th ID.

                • OldManchu says:

                  10-4. Was really curious because that COHORT batch were the receiving squad level NCO’s (the ones that re-enlisted anyways)that my COHORT arrived to. That and the 4 year enlisteees from 1986 who had their final year to serve out.

                  Thought there was maybe a a slight chance of having crossed paths. Take care.

        • Paule says:

          Here is the best quote of the AIRBORNE ops

          At approx 0530 on 25 October 1983, US Army Rangers from 1st & 2nd Battalion, 75th Rangers, along with two members of the 82nd Airborne Division, SGT. Spain and SPC Richardson of the 618th Engineer Company, 307th Engineer Bn. initiated the start of Operation Urgent Fury. The Rangers along with the 2 Engineers conducted a combat parachute assault at Point Salines International Airport. Although the Navy SEALs were deployed since 23 October for reconnaissance mission, the combat parachute assault signaled the start of the invasion. Originally scheduled to airland, the Rangers and Engineers were force to drop by parachute because of obstructions on the runway. The 82nd Airborne Division started arriving at Point Salines around 2:00pm. Operation Urgent Fury was a joint effort between the US Army, US Air Force, US Marines and US Navy along with Grenadan Opposition and the Caribbean Peace Force. The invasion lasted from 25 October – 15 December 1983. US casualties totaled 19 deaths and 116 wounded.
          Today we pay our respects to our fallen:

          Killed in Action or Died of Wounds

          UNITED STATES ARMY
          SGT. Randy E. Cline
          SSG. Gary L. Epps
          SPC. Philip S. Grenier
          SGT. Kevin J. Lannon (posthumous promotion)
          CPT. Keith Lucas
          SGT. Sean P. Luketina
          PFC. Marlin R. Maynard
          SGT. Mark A. Rademacher
          CPT Michael F. Ritz
          Pfc. Russell L. Robinson
          SGT. Stephen E. Slater
          SPC. Mark O. Yamane

          UNITED STATES NAVY
          MM1 Kenneth Gary Butcher
          MM1 Kevin P. Lundberg
          HT1 Stephen L. Morris
          ENCS Robert R. Schamberger

          UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS
          MAJ. John P. Gigure
          1LT. Jeffrey R. Scharver
          CPT. Jeb Seagle

          • USAFRetired says:

            Years after this event I was participating in a training exercise in support of JSOC. It was at that time that I met 24 of the largest human beings that I’ve ever encountered in one place. If memory serves they were from the Ranger Battalion at Hunter AAF. They were described to me as a “runway clearing team”. Apparently their mission was to move obstructions from a runway so that elements could airland. One of their tasks they were trained for was to declutch a Cat D8 bulldozer and push it off a runway. I took a look at them and thought to myself, if anyone could do such a thing those were the guys big enough to do it.

            • Paule says:

              I talked to SPC Richardson about the jump and mission.. Most of the equipment on the runway was Russian built and had a slave motor to start the primary engine..

          • AnotherPat says:

            Rest in Peace to these brave men who sacrificed their lives.

            Salute.

  4. Dave Hardin says:

    RAH, to half the Marines on my friends list. Semper Fi.

    I can also confirm that Joe “The Runt” Teti was not in Grenada or Beirut. He was busy failing Scuba School that week. Just in case anyone out there finds a graduation certificate or a resume that says something along those lines…they are fake.

    Oh, and Robert “Buffet Bob” Lawton still cant seem to find my house either. Scotty “Ghillie Suit” Priest is still locked up. James “Goose Killer” Gattoni might be wondering around, I hope he has found sobriety. I have to give honorable mention to Roger “Big Chicken Dinner” Gagnon. There are so many others who distinguished themselves by ripping off the service of others.

    Much respect to those who actually were there with BLT 2/8 in Grenada and Beirut.

  5. Eden says:

    And Shane Ladner wasn’t there.

    • AnotherPat says:

      But Eden, that’s because he was in Panama…(snirk, snirk) doing all that secret stuff..while he was in high school..😉

  6. OWB says:

    A lot of us were also not there, but had something or another to do in a support capacity.

  7. Docduracoat says:

    I cruised my sailboat to Grenada many years after this event
    We were warned by others sailors to never leave the boat unattended
    Leaving even for a few minutes to check in with the authorities would result in someone swimming out and robbing the boat

  8. Just A Grunt says:

    I was in Hohenfels training area in Germany when we heard about the operation. I was still in Hohenfels when it was over. Shortly thereafter we got our first NCO in the unit with a CIB. Let’s just say he didn’t have a lot of friends.

    • AnotherPat says:

      “Let’s just say he didn’t have a lot of friends.”

      ????? Why not? What did he do? Jealousy?

  9. USAFRetired says:

    1LT Charles Jeffrey Schnorf (USMC)
    KIA, USMC Barracks, Beirut, Lebanon
    October 23, 1983

    CPT Michael F. Ritz (USA)
    KIA, Calliste, Grenada, 82nd Airborne
    October 26, 1983

  10. jonp says:

    50th Sig Bn (ABN) was there!
    Has it been that long already? Man I’m old