The U.S. Invasion of Grenada

The U.S. Invasion of Grenada

On October 25, 1983, six days after Prime Minister Maurice Bishop was executed by Bernard Coard's Stalanist sect, the United States armed forces landed troops on the beaches of Grenada.To understand the whys and wherefores of the invasion of Grenada by 7,000 U.S. soldiers, supplemented by about 300 military personnel from surrounding islands, the reader should know a little about the history leading up to the conflict.Grenada, the early yearsGrenada is a small island of 135 square miles, with a population of about 95,000. It is a rolling, mountainous island well known for its fragrant spice trees and other producing plants, including nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, and cocoa.The first contact by non-native peoples was made by Christopher Columbus in 1498. Vincent, who didn't want to lose their trade routes to the mainland.The British regained control over the island in 1783, and made Grenada a Crown Colony in 1877.To the presentFinally, in 1974, Grenada was granted independence from Britain. The new government, led by Sir Eric Gairy, slowly moved toward a totalitarian state, which triggered a revolt.When Gairy was in New York, speaking at the United Nations in March 1979, Maurice Bishop, a well-liked and educated leftist, led a bloodless coup to usurp control of the Grenadan government.Bishop espoused a government based on the New JEWEL Movement (New Joint Endeaver for Welfare, Education, and Liberation), a rural activist association. Bishop's Marxist leanings led to ties with Cuba, Russia, and other left-wing countries.Bishop invited Cuban engineers to his island to build an international airport to enhance tourism. That was seen by President Ronald Reagan as a threat to the United States because the airstrip could be used to build up an arms cache, and propel a military build-up in the Caribbean.Meanwhile, hard-line Marxist Bernard Coard, Bishop's deputy prime minister and erstwhile friend, felt that Bishop didn't operate far enough to the left. On October 19, 1983, Coard, backed by his own military, seized power in a bloody coup, then executed Bishop and members of his inner circle.Operation Urgent FuryThat latest attempt to install a Marxist-Leninist government within the U.S. sphere of influence so alarmed members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, that they appealed to the U.S., Barbados, and Jamaica to intervene. At stake was not only a struggle of ideologies, but also a threat to about 1,000 medical students living on the island, many of whom were Americans.While the posturing was going on in the Caribbean, a truck bomb exploded on October 23, half a world away in Beirut, Lebanon, killing 241 American marines. In addition to the great loss of life, the incident was a major embarrassment to the United States.The coup in Grenada gave Reagan a chance to exact a little revenge on anti-American regimes in the Caribbean and the rest of the world. On October 25, the president dispatched an invasion force, dubbed "Operation Urgent Fury," to liberate the island and rescue the students.Grenadan troops numbered about 1,200, with about 800 Cubans (mostly construction workers with handguns) and 60 advisors from the Soviet Union, North Korea, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Libya. That small contingent was soon confronted by a U.S.-led international force of about 7,300 men.The operation was deemed a success, with minimal U.S. The remaining Cubans and other survivors were arrested; native Grenadans were released, and a pro-American government took power.ConclusionJust prior to the invasion, protests rang off the walls of the Oval Office. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher of the United Kingdom insisted, "in the strongest possible terms," that "Grenada was part of the British Commonwealth, and the United States had no business interfering in its affairs."Reagan later reminisced, "She was very adamant and continued to insist that we cancel our landings on Grenada. I couldn't tell her that it had already begun."Following the invasion, Thatcher told Reagan,

"This action will be seen as intervention by a western country in the internal affairs of a small independent nation, however unattractive its regime. I ask you to consider this in the context of our wider East-West relations and of the fact that we will be having in the next few days to present to our Parliament and people the siting of cruise missiles in this country. I cannot conceal that I am deeply disturbed by your latest communication."

An impassive Reagan would later joke that Grenada had to be invaded because it was the world's largest producer of nutmeg. "You can't make eggnog without nutmeg," he remarked.


The US invasion of Grenada, 1983 - Howard Zinn

Historian Howard Zinn's account of the American invasion of the small Caribbean island of Grenada, ostensibly to 'protect' US citizens, but in fact to re-assert US military and financial dominance over the region.

In the autumn of 1982, President Reagan sent American marines into a dangerous situation in Lebanon, where a civil war was raging, again ignoring the requirements of the War Powers Act as the government did with Cambodia in the Mayaguez affair. The following year, over two hundred of those marines were killed when a bomb was exploded in their barracks by terrorists.

Shortly after that, in October 1983 (with some analysts concluding this was clone to take attention away from the Lebanon disaster), Reagan sent US forces to invade the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. Again, Congress was notified, but not consulted. The reasons given to the American people for this invasion (officially called Operation Urgent Fury) were that a recent coup that had taken place in Grenada put American citizens (students at a medical school on the island) in danger and that the United States had received an urgent request from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States to intervene.

An unusually pointed article in the New York Times on October 29, 1983, by correspondent Bernard Gwertzman demolished those reasons:

The formal request that the U.S. and other friendly countries provide military help was made by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States last Sunday at the request of the United States, which wanted to show proof that it had been requested to act under terms of that group&rsquos treaty. The wording of the formal request, however, was drafted in Washington and conveyed to the Caribbean leaders by special American emissaries.

Both Cuba and Grenada, when they saw that American ships were heading for Grenada, sent urgent messages promising that American students were safe and urging that an invasion not occur&hellip There is no indication that the Administration made a determined effort to evacuate the Americans peacefully&hellip Officials have acknowledged that there was no inclination to try to negotiate with the Grenadian authorities&hellip &ldquoWe got there just in time,&rdquo the President said. A major point in the dispute is whether in fact the Americans on the island were in such danger as to warrant an invasion. No official has produced firm evidence that the Americans were being mistreated or that they would not be able to leave if they wanted.

The real reason for the invasion, one high American official told Gwertzman, was that the United States should show (determined to overcome the sense of defeat in Vietnam) that it was a truly powerful nation: &ldquoWhat good are manoeuvres and shows of force, if you never use it?&rdquo

The connection between U.S. military intervention and the promotion of capitalist enterprise had always been especially crass in the Caribbean. As for Grenada, an article in the Wall Street Journal eight years after the military invasion (October 29, 1991) spoke of &ldquoan invasion of banks&rdquo and noted that St. George&rsquos, the capital of Grenada, with 7,500 people, had 118 offshore banks, one for every 64 residents. &ldquoSt. George&rsquos has become the Casablanca of the Caribbean, a fast-growing haven for money laundering, tax evasion and assorted financial fraud&hellip"

After a study of various U.S. military interventions, political scientist Stephen Shalom (imperial Alibis) concluded that people in the invaded countries died &ldquonot to save U.S. nationals, who would have been far safer without U.S. intervention, but so that Washington might make clear that it ruled the Caribbean and that it was prepared to engage in a paroxysm of violence to enforce its will.&rdquo He continued:

There have been some cases where American citizens were truly in danger: for example, the four churchwomen who were killed by government- sponsored death squads in El Salvador in 1980. But there was no U.S. intervention there, no Marine landings, no protective bombing raids. Instead Washington backed the death squad regime with military and economic aid, military training, intelligence sharing, and diplomatic support. The story in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and South East Asia was tragically similar.


This article was taken from Howard Zinn&rsquos excellent A People's History of the United States. We heartily recommend you buy A People's History of the United States now. OCRed by Linda Towlson and lightly edited by libcom - US to UK spelling, additional details, clarifications and links added .


Grenada, U.S. Intervention in

Grenada, U.S. Intervention in (1983).Grenada first attracted the military interest of the United States in 1979. A Marxist‐Leninist coup that year, led by Maurice Bishop and the New Jewel movement, overthrew the government the Communists also began construction of a 9,800𠄏oot airstrip. A second and more violent coup in 1983 left Bishop and more than 100 other Grenadians dead and Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard and Gen. Hudson Austin in charge. In response to this violence and disorder, Grenada's governor general, Sir Paul Scoon, secretly asked the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) for assistance in restoring order. The OECS, in turn, requested help from the United States.

To the strongly anti𠄌ommunist U.S. president, Ronald Reagan, the possibility of a Soviet client‐state in such a strategic location was unacceptable. The airstrip was seen as a threat to vital Caribbean sealanes and the Panama Canal, and it could have been used for staging Cuban and Soviet military flights to Africa and Nicaragua. U.S. officials also expressed their concern for the safety of approximately 1,000 Americans, mostly medical students, living in Grenada. The day after Bishop was murdered, a U.S. Navy task force, with Marines, was ordered to Grenada.

U.S. military intervention in Grenada in 1983, code‐named “Urgent Fury,” was hastily planned but overwhelming. The invasion force included the Independence Carrier Battle Group the helicopter carrier Guam and Amphibious Squadron Four 1,700 Marines of the 22nd Marine Amphibious Unit two army ranger battalions a ready brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division various special operations units and token forces from the OECS. It turned out that the island was defended by only about 500 to 600 Grenadian troops 2,000 to 2,500 militiamen and 750 to 800 Cubans, mostly military construction workers.

William C. Gilmore , The Grenada Intervention: Analysis and Documentation , 1984.
Paul Seabury and Walter A. McDougall, eds., The Grenada Papers , 1984.


The US invasion of Grenada, 1983 - Howard Zinn

Historian Howard Zinn's account of the American invasion of the small Caribbean island of Grenada, ostensibly to 'protect' US citizens, but in fact to re-assert US military and financial dominance over the region.

In the autumn of 1982, President Reagan sent American marines into a dangerous situation in Lebanon, where a civil war was raging, again ignoring the requirements of the War Powers Act as the government did with Cambodia in the Mayaguez affair. The following year, over two hundred of those marines were killed when a bomb was exploded in their barracks by terrorists.

Shortly after that, in October 1983 (with some analysts concluding this was clone to take attention away from the Lebanon disaster), Reagan sent US forces to invade the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. Again, Congress was notified, but not consulted. The reasons given to the American people for this invasion (officially called Operation Urgent Fury) were that a recent coup that had taken place in Grenada put American citizens (students at a medical school on the island) in danger and that the United States had received an urgent request from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States to intervene.

An unusually pointed article in the New York Times on October 29, 1983, by correspondent Bernard Gwertzman demolished those reasons:

The formal request that the U.S. and other friendly countries provide military help was made by the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States last Sunday at the request of the United States, which wanted to show proof that it had been requested to act under terms of that group&rsquos treaty. The wording of the formal request, however, was drafted in Washington and conveyed to the Caribbean leaders by special American emissaries.

Both Cuba and Grenada, when they saw that American ships were heading for Grenada, sent urgent messages promising that American students were safe and urging that an invasion not occur&hellip There is no indication that the Administration made a determined effort to evacuate the Americans peacefully&hellip Officials have acknowledged that there was no inclination to try to negotiate with the Grenadian authorities&hellip &ldquoWe got there just in time,&rdquo the President said. A major point in the dispute is whether in fact the Americans on the island were in such danger as to warrant an invasion. No official has produced firm evidence that the Americans were being mistreated or that they would not be able to leave if they wanted.

The real reason for the invasion, one high American official told Gwertzman, was that the United States should show (determined to overcome the sense of defeat in Vietnam) that it was a truly powerful nation: &ldquoWhat good are manoeuvres and shows of force, if you never use it?&rdquo

The connection between U.S. military intervention and the promotion of capitalist enterprise had always been especially crass in the Caribbean. As for Grenada, an article in the Wall Street Journal eight years after the military invasion (October 29, 1991) spoke of &ldquoan invasion of banks&rdquo and noted that St. George&rsquos, the capital of Grenada, with 7,500 people, had 118 offshore banks, one for every 64 residents. &ldquoSt. George&rsquos has become the Casablanca of the Caribbean, a fast-growing haven for money laundering, tax evasion and assorted financial fraud&hellip"

After a study of various U.S. military interventions, political scientist Stephen Shalom (imperial Alibis) concluded that people in the invaded countries died &ldquonot to save U.S. nationals, who would have been far safer without U.S. intervention, but so that Washington might make clear that it ruled the Caribbean and that it was prepared to engage in a paroxysm of violence to enforce its will.&rdquo He continued:

There have been some cases where American citizens were truly in danger: for example, the four churchwomen who were killed by government- sponsored death squads in El Salvador in 1980. But there was no U.S. intervention there, no Marine landings, no protective bombing raids. Instead Washington backed the death squad regime with military and economic aid, military training, intelligence sharing, and diplomatic support. The story in Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and South East Asia was tragically similar.


This article was taken from Howard Zinn&rsquos excellent A People's History of the United States. We heartily recommend you buy A People's History of the United States now. OCRed by Linda Towlson and lightly edited by libcom - US to UK spelling, additional details, clarifications and links added .


The Invasion and Aftermath

It was Scoon and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) that gave cover for the United States to invade both requested the invasion through secret diplomatic channels. When the forces landed on October 25 in Operation Urgent Fury, the United States stated it had been done at the request of Tom Adams and Eugenia Charles, the prime ministers of Barbados and Dominica, respectively. Over several days, some 7,000 U.S. troops and 300 others from the Organization of American States (OAS) battled with about 1,500 Grenadian soldiers and about 700 armed Cuban nationals who had taken defensive positions. Some of the U.S. forces set out to “rescue” American students at the medical campus of St. George’s University on the island this was to become a key component of U.S. domestic propaganda to justify the imperialist assault.

By the time the fighting was over, U.S. military superiority had prevailed — with only 19 U.S. forces killed. Cuban and Grenadian forces suffered greater casualties, as did civilians, including 18 who died in the “accidental” bombing of a mental hospital.

The U.S. government defended the invasion: it was an action taken to protect American citizens living on the island, especially those medical students. The OAS charter, argued the U.S. State Department, refers to situations “that might endanger the peace” and the OAS and United Nations charters “recognize the competence of regional security bodies in ensuring regional peace and stability.” The OCES approval of the invasion thus, American imperialism argued, cleared the United States of any wrongdoing.

Of course, that was all a lie. The UN Charter prohibits the use of force by member states except in cases of self-defense or when specifically authorized by the UN Security Council, neither of which applied. The UN General Assembly condemned the invasion as “a flagrant violation of international law,” and the Security Council overwhelmingly passed a similar resolution that the United States then proceeded to veto.

The cynical justification that the invasion was to protect the medical students largely worked in the United States. Their school was near the Cuban-built runway — which the United States had claimed was for military purposes and not for an international airport — and the U.S. corporate media pushed the lie that the proximity threatened students with being taken hostage, just as American diplomats in Iran had been four years previously. Most Democrats lined up behind the Reagan Administration House Speaker Tip O’Neill, for instance, changed his position to one of support. The few exceptions were the Congressional Black Caucus and a small group of seven Democratic members of Congress who filed an unsuccessful resolution to impeach Reagan.

The U.S. attack on Grenada aimed at restoring a bourgeois-nationalist government that would do imperialism’s bidding. The U.S. and Caribbean governments did just that, and quickly reinstalled Scoon as Queen Elizabeth’s sole representative in Grenada, with full authority of law. He organized carefully orchestrated new elections that in December 1984 brought a new pro-imperialist prime minister, Herbert Blaize, to power.


  • 1974: Grenada gains her independence from Great Britain & becomes a member of the Commonwealth
  • 1979: Maurice Bishop takes over the government in a coup d'état & forms the People‘s Revolutionary Government
  • Mar 1983: President Reagan warns that the airport on Grenada, currently under construction, could be used as a Soviet-Cuban air base & poses a clear threat to the U.S.

Grenada is in an unstable state with (political) violence & oriented towards socialism.


March 13, 1979: The Grenada Revolution

On March 13, 1979, Grenada’s prime minister Eric Gairy was ousted in a coup organized by the New Jewel Movement and led by Maurice Bishop. Bishop was installed as prime minister of the newly established People’s Revolutionary Government. Bill Bigelow describes in Grenada: ‘A Lovely Little War’:

In 1979, the socialist New Jewel Movement had overthrown the corrupt and unpopular dictator Eric Gairy in an almost bloodless coup. For years, Gairy ruled through fear. His secret police, the “Mongoose Gang,” had been supplied by the U.S.-backed Pinochet dictatorship in Chile. The revolution launched by the New Jewel Movement—the “Revo,” as it was affectionately dubbed—was immensely popular.

By 1982, when I first visited the island, a literacy campaign was under way, new schools had been built, and unemployed youth in the countryside benefited from new agricultural cooperatives. Grenada welcomed Cuban aid: teachers, health professionals, and construction workers on the new international airport who aimed to replace the antiquated and dangerous airstrip up in the mountains.

In just four years, unemployment was cut from 49 percent to 14 percent. Instead of advertising cigarettes and booze, colorful billboards throughout the island promoted education: “Each One Teach One,” “If You Know, Teach If You Don’t, Learn,” and “Education Is Production, Too.”

Below are resources for teaching about the Grenada Revolution, including a video clip of Bishop speaking at Hunter College in New York about how and why the State Department portrayed Grenada as a threat. The clip is followed by a documentary about the advances of the revolution in Grenada.


/>CUBAN AND US INVASION OF GRENADA. (Videos/Photos)

The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation ‘Urgent Fury’, was a 1983 US-led invasion of Grenada, a Caribbean island nation with a population of just over 100,000 located 100 miles (160 km) north of Venezuela. It was triggered by a military coup which ousted a brief revolutionary government.

The successful invasion led to a change of government but was controversial due to charges of American imperialism, Cold War politics, the involvement of Cuba, the unstable state of the Grenadian government, and Grenada’s status as a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as the monarch. Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974, and Leftist rebels seized power in a coup in 1979. After a 1983 internal power struggle ended with the deposition and murder of revolutionary Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, the invasion began on 25 October 1983. A combined force of about 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica, and members of the Regional Security System (RSS) defeated Grenadian resistance and the military government of Hudson Austin was deposed. Civilian deaths include all the residents of the island’s only Mental Hospital.

The Bishop government began constructing the with the help of Britain, Cuba, Libya, Algeria, and other nations. The airport had been first proposed by the British government in 1954, when Grenada was still a British colony. It had been designed by Canadians, underwritten by the British government, and partly built by a London firm. The U.S. government accused Grenada of constructing facilities to aid a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean, and to assist the Soviet and Cuban transportation of weapons to Central American insurgents. Bishop’s government claimed that the airport was built to accommodate commercial aircraft carrying tourists, pointing out that such jets could not land at the existing airport on the island’s north. Neither could the existing airport, itself, be expanded as its runway abutted a mountain.

In March 1983, Ronald Reagan began issuing warnings about the threat posed to the United States and the Caribbean by the “Soviet-Cuban militarization” as evidenced by the excessively long airplane runway being built as well as intelligence sources. He said that the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) runway and the oil storage tanks were unnecessary for commercial , and that evidence pointed that the airport was to become a Cuban-Soviet military airbase. We have known/informed of a secret intervention in Grenada of an special force led by the Cuban General Ochoa (in few more months taken before a fire squad as a traitor) and a hard core of proven first class cadres of Castro’s “international combatants”. That were taken in secret too from the island went it was known by the Cuban government of the imminence of the US intervention.

US Intervention..

The invasion, which commenced at 05:00 on 25 October 1983, was the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War.[citation needed] Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf, III, Commander Second Fleet, was the overall commander of U.S. forces, designated Joint Task Force 120, which included elements of each military service and multiple special operations units. Fighting continued for several days and the total number of U.S. troops reached some 7,000 along with 300 troops from the OECS. The invading forces encountered about 1,500 Grenadian soldiers and about 700 Cubans. Also present were 60 advisors from the Soviet Union, North Korea, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Libya.According to journalist Bob Woodward in his book Veil, the supposed captured “military advisers” from the aforementioned countries were actually accredited diplomats and included their dependents. None took any actual part in the fighting. Some of the “construction workers” were actually a detachment of Cuban Military Special Forces and combat engineers.

Official U.S. sources state that the defenders were well-prepared, well-positioned and put up stubborn resistance, to the extent that the U.S. called in two battalions of reinforcements on the evening of 26 October. The total naval and air superiority of the coalition forces – including helicopter gunships and naval gunfire support – overwhelmed the local forces. Nearly eight thousand soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines had participated in URGENT FURY along with 353 Caribbean allies of the CPF. U.S. forces had 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.

The Cuban government sent these troops there to support the leftist government of the country. In 2008 the government of Grenada announced a move to build a monument to honor the Cubans killed during the invasion. At the time of the announcement the Cuban and Grenadian government are still seeking to locate a suitable site for the monument.

While the invasion enjoyed broad public support in the United States,and received support from some sectors in Grenada from local groups who viewed the post-coup regime as illegitimate, it was criticized by the United Kingdom, Canada and the United Nations General Assembly, which condemned it as “a flagrant violation of international law”.25 October is a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day, to commemorate the invasion, and on 29 May 2009 the was officially renamed in honor of the slain pre-coup leader Maurice Bishop by the Government of Grenada.


/>Cuban and US Invasion of Grenada

The called or code named Operation ‘Urgent Fury’, was a 1983 US-led, a Caribbean island nation with a population of just over 100,000 located 100 miles (160 km) north of Venezuela. It was triggered by a military coup which ousted a brief revolutionary government. The successful invasion led to a change of government but was controversial due to charges of American imperialism, Cold War politics, the involvement of Cuba, the unstable state of the Grenadian government, and Grenada’s status as a Commonwealth realm with Elizabeth II as the monarch.

Grenada gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1974, and Leftist rebels seized power in a coup in 1979. After a 1983 internal power struggle ended with the deposition and murder of revolutionary Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, the invasion began on 25 October 1983. A combined force of about 7,600 troops from the United States, Jamaica, and members of the Regional Security System (RSS) defeated Grenadian resistance and the military government of Hudson Austin was deposed. Civilian deaths include all the residents of the island’s only Mental Hospital.

The Bishop government began constructing the Point Salines International Airport with the help of Britain, Cuba, Libya, Algeria, and other nations. The airport had been first proposed by the British government in 1954, when Grenada was still a British colony. It had been designed by Canadians, underwritten by the British government, and partly built by a London firm. The U.S. government accused Grenada of constructing facilities to aid a Soviet-Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean, and to assist the Soviet and Cuban transportation of weapons to Central American insurgents. Bishop’s government claimed that the airport was built to accommodate commercial aircraft carrying tourists, pointing out that such jets could not land at the existing airport on the island’s north. Neither could the existing airport, itself, be expanded as its runway abutted a mountain.

In March 1983, Ronald Reagan began issuing warnings about the threat posed to the United States and the Caribbean by the “Soviet-Cuban militarization” as evidenced by the excessively long airplane runway being built as well as intelligence sources. He said that the 9,000-foot (2,700 m) runway and the oil storage tanks were unnecessary for commercial , and that evidence pointed that the airport was to become a Cuban-Soviet military airbase.

CUBAN AIR FORCE PLANES

The invasion, which commenced at 05:00 on 25 October 1983, was the first major operation conducted by the U.S. military since the Vietnam War.[citation needed] Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf, III, Commander Second Fleet, was the overall commander of U.S. forces, designated Joint Task Force 120, which included elements of each military service and multiple special operations units. Fighting continued for several days and the total number of U.S. troops reached some 7,000 along with 300 troops from the OECS. The invading forces encountered about 1,500 Grenadian soldiers and about 700 Cubans. Also present were 60 advisors from the Soviet Union, North Korea, East Germany, Bulgaria, and Libya.According to journalist Bob Woodward in his book Veil, the supposed captured “military advisers” from the aforementioned countries were actually accredited diplomats and included their dependents. None took any actual part in the fighting. Some of the “construction workers” were actually a detachment of Cuban Military Special Forces and combat engineers.

Official U.S. sources state that the defenders were well-prepared, well-positioned and put up stubborn resistance, to the extent that the U.S. called in two battalions of reinforcements on the evening of 26 October. The total naval and air superiority of the coalition forces – including helicopter gunships and naval gunfire support – overwhelmed the local forces. Nearly eight thousand soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines had participated in URGENT FURY along with 353 Caribbean allies of the CPF. U.S. forces had 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.

The Cuban government sent these troops there to support the leftist government of the country. In 2008 the government of Grenada announced a move to build a monument to honor the Cubans killed during the invasion. At the time of the announcement the Cuban and Grenadian government are still seeking to locate a suitable site for the monument.

While the invasion enjoyed broad public support in the United States,and received support from some sectors in Grenada from local groups who viewed the post-coup regime as illegitimate, it was criticized by the United Kingdom, Canada and the United Nations General Assembly, which condemned it as “a flagrant violation of international law”.25 October is a national holiday in Grenada, called Thanksgiving Day, to commemorate the invasion, and on 29 May 2009 the Point Salines International Airport was officially renamed in honor of the slain pre-coup leader Maurice Bishop by the Government of Grenada.

Sources: Wiki/CubanWars/InternetPhotos/TheCubanHistory.com
Invasion of Grenada/ The Cuban History/ Arnoldo Varona, Editor

LA INVASION DE GRENADA

La operación llamada o nombre en clave,’Furia Urgente’ fue un 1983 liderada por Estados Unidos a una nación insular del Caribe con una población de poco más de 100.000 situado a 100 millas (160 km) al norte de Venezuela, Grenada.

Provocada por un golpe militar que derrocó a un gobierno revolucionario breve. El éxito de la invasión condujo a un cambio de gobierno, pero fue polémico debido a las acusaciones de imperialismo estadounidense, la política de la Guerra Fría, la participación de Cuba, el estado inestable del gobierno de Granada, y el estado de Granada como un reino de la Commonwealth, con Isabel II como el monarca. Granada, obtuvo su independencia del Reino Unido en 1974, y los rebeldes de izquierda tomó el poder en un golpe de estado en 1979. Después de una lucha de poder interna de 1983 terminó con la deposición y el asesinato del revolucionario Primer Ministro Maurice Bishop, la invasión comenzó el 25 de octubre de 1983. Una fuerza combinada de cerca de 7.600 tropas de los Estados Unidos, Jamaica, y los miembros del Sistema de Seguridad Regional (RSS) derrotó a la resistencia granadina y el gobierno militar de Hudson Austin fue depuesto. Las muertes de civiles son todos los residentes de el único Hospital Mental de la isla.

El gobierno de Bishop empezaron a construir el aeropuerto internacional de Point Salines, con la ayuda de Gran Bretaña, Cuba, Libia, Argelia y otros países. El aeropuerto había sido propuesto por primera vez por el gobierno británico en 1954, cuando Granada era todavía una colonia británica. Había sido diseñado por los canadienses, suscrito por el gobierno británico, y en parte construida por una firma de Londres. El gobierno de EE.UU. acusó a Granada de la construcción de instalaciones para ayudar a un cubano-soviética fortalecimiento militar en el Caribe, y para ayudar al transporte soviético y cubano de armas a los insurgentes de América central. El gobierno del obispo afirmó que el aeropuerto fue construido para alojar a los turistas de aviones comerciales que transportan, señalando que estos chorros no pudo aterrizar en el aeropuerto existente en el norte de la isla. Tampoco pudo el aeropuerto existente, en sí, se amplió su pista de aterrizaje como tope de una montaña.

En marzo de 1983, Ronald Reagan comenzó a emitir advertencias sobre la amenaza que plantea a los Estados Unidos y el Caribe por la “militarización soviético-cubana”, como lo demuestra la pista de aterrizaje excesivamente largo se está construyendo, así como las fuentes de inteligencia. Dijo que la pista de 9.000 pies (2.700 m) y los tanques de almacenamiento de petróleo eran innecesarios para fines comerciales, y que la evidencia señala que el aeropuerto se convertiría en un militar cubano-soviética base aérea.

CUBAN AIR FORCE PLANES

Intervención de EE.UU. ..

La invasión, que comenzó a las 05:00 el 25 de octubre de 1983, fue la primera gran operación llevada a cabo por los militares de EE.UU. desde la Guerra de Vietnam. [Cita requerida] El vicealmirante Joseph Metcalf III, comandante de la Flota En segundo lugar, era el comandante general de los EE.UU. fuerzas, de la Fuerza de Tarea Conjunta designado 120, que incluía elementos de cada servicio militar y varias unidades de operaciones especiales. La lucha continuó durante varios días y el número total de tropas de Estados Unidos llegó a unos 7.000, junto con 300 tropas de la OECS. Las fuerzas invasoras encontraron unos 1.500 soldados granadinos y cubanos alrededor de 700. También estuvieron presentes los 60 consejeros de la Unión Soviética, Corea del Norte, Alemania Oriental, Bulgaria y Libya.

According al periodista Bob Woodward en su libro Veil, los supuestos “asesores militares capturados” de los países antes mencionados fueron en realidad los diplomáticos acreditados e incluyó a su cargo . Ninguno tuvo una parte real en la lucha. Algunos de los “trabajadores de la construcción” eran en realidad un destacamento de fuerzas militares cubanas especiales e ingenieros de combate.

Oficial de Estado de EE.UU. de fuentes que los defensores estaban bien preparados, bien posicionada y ofrecieron una resistencia tenaz, en la medida en que los EE.UU. llamó a dos batallones de refuerzos en la noche del 26 de octubre. La superioridad naval total y el aire de las fuerzas de la coalición, incluyendo helicópteros de combate y apoyo de fuego naval – abrumado a las fuerzas locales. Casi ocho mil soldados, marineros, aviadores e infantes de marina habían participado en FURIA URGENTE junto con 353 aliados del Caribe de la ACB. Las fuerzas estadounidenses habían sufrido 19 muertos y los heridos 116 fuerzas cubanas sufrió 25 muertos, 59 combatientes heridos y 638 capturados. Bajas fuerzas de Granada fueron 45 muertos y heridos 358, por lo menos 24 civiles.

El gobierno cubano ha enviado estas tropas allí para apoyar al gobierno de izquierda del país. En 2008 el gobierno de Granada anunció un movimiento para construir un monumento para honrar a los cubanos muertos durante la invasión. En el momento del anuncio del gobierno de Cuba y Granada se sigue tratando de localizar un lugar adecuado para el monumento.

Mientras que la invasión contó con el apoyo del público en general en los Estados Unidos, y recibió el apoyo de algunos sectores en Granada de los grupos locales que vieron el régimen post-golpe de estado ilegítimo, que fue criticado por el Reino Unido, Canadá y las Naciones Unidas la Asamblea General, que lo condenó como “una violación flagrante del derecho internacional” 25 de octubre es un día de fiesta nacional en Granada, llamada Día de Acción de Gracias, para conmemorar la invasión, y el 29 de mayo de 2009, el aeropuerto internacional de Point Salines fue rebautizado oficialmente en honor de los muertos antes de la líder del golpe, Maurice Bishop por el Gobierno de Grenada.


By Naval Institute Archives

It is the anniversary of the invasion of Grenada which took place 30 years ago. The following article, The Guard in Grenada by Dale L. Thompson was first published in Naval Institute Proceedings in November, 1984.

Grenadian children from the town of Gouyave greet the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Cape Fox. Quartermaster Chief Nicholas H. Lobkowicz looks on.

In late October 1983, Grenada was torn by internal revolution. Its Marxist government had come apart, and conditions of anarchy and bloody repression were reported. Concerns for the lives of the U. S. citizens on the island and for stability in that portion of the Caribbean led to the 25 October rescue mission. The invasion force contained personnel from all the U. S. services and six other Caribbean Island states, which made up the Caribbean Peacekeeping Force (CPF). The U. S. Coast Guard participated on the invasion day with two search and rescue platforms, a C-130 aircraft, and the USCGC Chase (WHEC-718). Later, in December, the Coast Guard returned in force to the island.

By November 1983, organized resistance to the combined U. S. and Caribbean Peacekeeping Force rescue mission had collapsed. But an ongoing security presence was needed to give the country time to reestablish order and decide its future without outside interference. Psychologically, the population was still shaken by the events of the previous weeks and cowed by two successive autocratic governments – one right wing, one Marxist.

An interim government had been formed. Led by the former British Crown Colony adviser, Sir Paul Scoon, it was a volunteer advisory council primarily composed of businessmen with little political experience. Their challenges were many. They needed to restart the democratic process, pay a crushing inherited national debt, revive a stalled economy, and reinstitute normal governmental services and organizations. The unemployment rate was more than 30%. Every former member of the Marxist civil law enforcement agencies was either discredited or in jail. Grenadian police, coast guard, even prison guard organizations had to be rebuilt from scratch. Thus, the CPF, supported and equipped by the United States, maintained law and order, acting as agents of the government of Grenada. Ashore, the CPF and U. S. Army commands worked together and dispersed combined squads and patrols throughout Grenada. At sea, a small CPF coast guard contingent was based in the main harbor, St. Georges, while a U. S. Navy task unit patrolled offshore.

The Navy had two primary missions. The first was to prevent the escape of wanted Marxist fugitives or the infiltration of subversives, weapons, or any other military contraband. The second was to demonstrate a continuing U. S. commitment by a naval presence. Reassuring Grenadians of their continued security was vital to creating a stable government and a functioning economy.

The U. S. Coast Guard was the logical service to fulfill these missions. As an armed service, it could deploy quickly and integrate fully into the joint command structure. As the nation’s seagoing police, it had developed great expertise in coastal surveillance and interdiction in the fight against illegal drug traffic. And its image as a humanitarian organization with a history of protecting lives and property at sea made its arrival less politically sensitive to both sender and recipient.

A squadron of four cutters, three 95-foot patrol craft (WPBs) and one support unit, was chosen. These were manned by a little more than 100 men and women. All four vessels were chosen from the Seventh Coast Guard District in Florida because of their proximity to the operating area and their familiarity with Caribbean waters, vessel types, and traffic patterns. The squadron commander was assigned from the Atlantic Area staff.

WPBs are seaworthy, fast, well armed, and small enough to steam along the coast, yet large enough to self-deploy across the Caribbean. Since their routine patrols include drug interdiction, law enforcement, and search and rescue missions, their 15-member crews are well versed in interception, boarding, searching, and seizing procedures. The WPBs chosen were the USCGC Cape Fox (WPB-95316), USCGC Cape Gull (WPB-95304), and USCGC Cape Shoalwater (WPB-95324).

Planning for the worst case, no support from ashore, a support cutter was included, in this case the USCGC Sagebrush (WLB-399). The 180-foot seagoing buoy tender (WLB) was an excellent choice. Designed and built more than 40 years ago to resupply offshore lighthouses, WLBs can carry a large amount of fuel, water, and provisions. Capabilities integral to a WLB not found in a WPB are a heavy lift cargo boom, a large forward cargo deck, a machine shop, welding facilities, and electronics repair.

Additional WPB support was included by embarking a special support team of senior enlisteds in supply, electronics, and engineering rates and WPB spare parts on the Sagebrush. This team was drawn on short notice from a WPB shoreside support group, an experimental concept at Coast Guard Base, Miami Beach. The group was part of a multi-crew, multi-hull program. Designed to exact the maximum underway time from hulls without exhausting crews, the program used three crews to man two hulls. The support group provided additional maintenance during the hull’s short in-port periods.

It later proved logistically useful when the WPBs in Grenada were relieved. A crew could be flown to the island to relieve on scene without having to sail the hull home. The routine evolution took less than 24 hours.

For operational security, the crews of the chosen cutters were told only to make ready for a long deployment. Only the cutters’ commanding officers (COs) knew the actual plans. Similar procedures were routine to conceal patrol intentions from drug smugglers. Once underway, the cutters maintained strict electronic emission control. En route, the WPBs refueled from a Coast Guard high-endurance cutter on patrol in the Windward Passage. All the cutters rendezvoused at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, for final provisioning.

On my way to Roosevelt Roads, I called on both the operational and support commanders. The operational guidance I received was succinct. Essentially, it was to continue the ongoing work, coordinate with and support the CPF in developing a Grenadian coast guard, and promote good will.

Just before sailing from Roosevelt Roads, I briefed the cutters’ crews on their destination and mission. My verbal orders from Commander, Second Fleet, Vice Admiral Joseph Metcalf, were simple: ”Go there and do good things!”

The squadron arrived off Grenada the afternoon of 7 December, relieving the Navy units, which turned north for a well-earned rest. Arrival meetings, resupply of the WPBs from the WLB, situation and intelligence briefings by the Army, and an orientation flight for COs followed rapidly. (The helicopter flight was particularly useful and became a standard arrival event for new COs and executive officers.) Available charts were old and poorly scaled. But from above, the shoals, channels, and reefs stood out clearly in the tropical waters. After the flight, the first cutters began patrolling.

Throughout the first month, we maintained two cutters on patrol. Our employment objectives were twofold. First, we wanted to intimidate potential contraband smugglers by displaying a high profile and intensive boarding tactics. Grenada is the southernmost island of the Leeward Island chain-a natural stepping stone from South America to the north. Smuggling is a generations-old way of life for many. We were neither legally empowered nor charged with stopping this traditional smuggling of whiskey, cigarettes, etc. (much to the relief of more than one smuggler stopped by a cutter).

We did, however, check every boat we could for military contraband or fugitives. We pointedly announced what type of contraband we sought. Apparently, this word spread quickly through the grapevine. Until then, intelligence reports of military contraband smuggling were routine. After we started these tactics, the reports dried up. We never did uncover any contraband, which was a disappointment to several crew members. They had hoped to add to the rows of marijuana leaves painted on their stack a Cuban cigar, signifying a Grenada contraband bust.

Our second objective was to gather intelligence and demonstrate presence by frequent visits to small coastal towns. Since the smuggling peaked at night, as did the patrol intensity, the afternoons were used for these visits. Routinely, one of the two cutters would anchor off a town around noon. The small boat would take a party of three or four crew members to meet with the mayor, the fishermen, and the local CPF and military police squad, if any. The receptions were uniformly and enthusiastically pro-United States, bolstering our morale as much as theirs.

Our crews, new to the country, were often incredulous when they first heard of the warm welcome extended by the average Grenadian. For example, a landing party on its first visit to a small coastal town was spontaneously mobbed at the beach by a good portion of the village. They would not let the crew members inland until they had heard five choruses of “Happy Birthday, Papa Reagan” – it was the week of the President’s birthday. In another incident, a sailor returned from his trip to a bakery shaking his head in disbelief. The woman behind the counter had thanked him for personally saving her life.

Every couple weeks, the Coast Guard conducted search and rescue operations for boats overdue into port. These operations sometimes involved coordinated air-sea search with an Army helicopter. Operations with the military police were conducted as deemed appropriate by intelligence information. Usually, our role would be to help insert a force (which prevented warning by helicopter noise) and then stand by off the surf to prevent any escape to sea.

As the holidays approached, morale remained high. The busy pace helped. Some of the crews played Santa, distributing donated toys from the United States to some of the outer islands. A Coast Guard cutter full of “Berts” and “Ernies” was uniquely a Grenadian experience.

All our operations soon dovetailed so that joint operations with the Army and U. S. Embassy could be conducted. Daily meetings were held at the embassy and the Army compound to report the current operations, plans, intelligence, and political and economic evaluations. Courses of action were discussed and agreed upon. For example, during mid-December, there were significant Army force reductions. This generated a surprising amount of unrest and public concern among the Grenadians. Rumors were rife of a U. S. withdrawal and a return to power of the Marxists. Thus, we altered our helicopter flight and cutter patrol routines to put them in sight of as many Grenadians as possible.

The single biggest factor in the success of the U. S. efforts in Grenada was the rapport and mutual respect among the Coastguardsmen, the Army personnel, and the embassy staff. This link was key not only in operations but in day-to-day support activities. The embassy had the only hard-copy message traffic facilities therefore, it served all the U. S. organizations on the island. In turn, cutters ferried State Department staff to outer islands, and State Department supplies were often carried on the Coast Guard’s logistic flight. The Army provided many support services to the Coast Guard: Autovon telephones, mail, medical, exchange, movies, truck loans, and barbershop facilities. It was soon apparent that we were better served by putting the members of the WPB support team ashore. They were able to get at these facilities and services, work the logistics, and be available all day, every day. This had the added benefit of reduced crowding on the Sagebrush and freed her to patrol without taking the WPB support with her. Thus, the WLB entered the patrol rotation, proving another facet of this class’s use.

The single biggest headache of routine business was logistics. Limited communications and inexperience with unsupported deployments outside the continental United States were the major problems. Also, the small cutters were accustomed to independent resupply at their home ports, thus the class-compatibility of parts was poor. Initially, the documentation of what parts had been ordered by our support command and at what priority was lacking. The logistics flights’ cargo manifests were incomplete and the cargo poorly marked. Local sources for baked goods, fresh produce, and fruit eased the provisioning needs. The extra frozen and dry stores previously loaded on the WLB would last for weeks. Fuel was available from the local Texaco distributor.

Communications were limited and awkward. The embassy’s communication center was a temporary installation. A small staff operated old equipment. The alternatives were secure voice satellite to the operational commander and two Autovon lines at the Army compound. VHF-FM was used extensively ashore and afloat since the island telephone system was down 98% of the time. Predictably, the Army and Coast Guard FM systems were incompatible. We installed one of our transceivers in their communications center and borrowed their backpack FMs so the cutters could talk to the military police across the surf line. FM and high frequency were used to communicate to the cutters on patrol from the shore station.

To reduce report volume, we developed standard report formats and codes. These codes and a communications plan, which included preset frequency shifts, increased operational security over the uncovered circuits. Portable FMs became part of the uniform ashore. The Army compound, the embassy, our shore station, and the cutter moorings were located on separate parts of the island and thus required us to drive from one to the other. Consequently, the seemingly trivial matter of who had what car and was going where could get out of hand quickly if everybody was not in touch by portable radio.

The United States was acting in support of the CPF which, in turn, was acting as an agent of the government of Grenada. Thus, our legal authority to act as if the waters and vessels of the area were under U. S. control, and not Grenadian, was delegated to us from the CPF. The CPF was equipped and trained under the U. S. Security Assistance Program administered on Grenada by an ad hoc Security Assistance Control Team (SACT). Emphasis had been on the CPF shore units, which were the bulk of the force and had the more pressing needs. In addition, rapid turnover in the CPF coast guard contingents between Jamaican and Barbados personnel hindered the force in getting SACT assistance and using it effectively.

The patrol craft available to the CPF were five British-built former Grenadian Coast Guard boats ranging from 30- to 55-feet long and from two to ten years old. Their material conditions varied from poor to completely unsalvageable. No preventative maintenance had been done for years. They literally ran on baling wire and bubble gum fixes because of a history of underfunding and ”make do” maintenance. There were no spare parts, tools, safety, firefighting, or emergency equipment. The one functional radio was moved around to whichever boat was running. That the CPF managed occasional patrols near the harbor was remarkable.

As operations permitted, we supported the CPF with assistance in training and maintenance. CPF personnel embarked on day trips in the WPBs to obtain practical experience. They proved good sailors who learned rapidly, and the program was expanded to include longer trips as bunk space permitted. The amount of this training varied as the CPF contingents changed and their needs changed.

Maintenance of the CPF boats began. The WLB brought each of the former Grenadian boats alongside one at a time. What could be done with low-cost consumables was done. What could not was put on a work list. This list was used also to make up orders of parts needed. Managing this effort, arranging funding through SACT, and pushing to recruit and train a truly Grenadian Coast Guard was a full-time endeavor. We recommended a “sailor” element be assigned to SACT, with our support team continuing to assist as needed. This occurred in mid-January 1984 with the assignment of a Coast Guard lieutenant commander from the security assistance office of the Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet. Under his focused effort, much greater progress occurred.

With time, coastal trade increased. This was a good sign for the economy, but the WLB found it difficult to get a berth at the only pier in St. George’s. The WPBs did not have this problem, mooring at the yacht club. As we became increasingly accustomed to the traffic and the waters, gathered more intelligence through our visits, and the country continued to stabilize, we reduced the patrolling force to one cutter. This allowed us to send one WPB home. At about this time, I was relieved by Commander J. Morris, also of the Atlantic Area staff, so that I could attend a long-planned-for school. The second WPB relieved crews in country (as part of the experimental multicrew concept discussed earlier). Then, the third WPB was relieved by a new cutter, the USCGC Cape York (WPB-95332). Also, a relief WLB, the USCGC Gentian (WLB-290), arrived with a fresh load of provisions and supplies.

About then, I returned to duty in Grenada. At the harbor master’s request, the WLB overhauled and reset St. George’s buoys and serviced the range dayshapes. With the revival of the economy, limited civilian machine shop services became available. Thus, the remaining link keeping the WLB in country became the stored provisions on board. After a little judicious trading with the Army, we arranged dry storage in their compound and space for a portable freezer box that was deck-loaded on board the WLB. The stores were transferred ashore and the WLB headed north. With this final and significant force reduction, we were down to two WPBs and about 25 people in country. The C-130 logistics flights could then be decreased to once every three weeks.

Once again, it was Commander Morris’s turn in country, and I left Grenada for the last time. Soon thereafter, a project we had both promoted came to fruition. Two standard 20-foot shipping containers, one fitted as an engineering workshop/storeroom, were delivered and set up near the WPB moorings. They proved ideal as support team work spaces. Continuing the reduction in force, Commander Morris departed in May 1984, with the small remaining contingent folding into a reorganized joint U. S. command on the island.

For the first time in years, the Coast Guard deployed a squadron of cutters in a joint military operation outside the United States and unsupported by immediately available Navy logistics. The Coast Guard may have to do so again, probably on short notice, possibly further away. If so, we should remember:


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