My hospital stay has limited the amount of mind numbing history I have offered up to my readers ( I know some have welcomed the respite from the history but others appreciate my little trips down memory lane).
In 1983 a truck bomb with 2000 lb of TNT was detonated in Beirut at the US Marine barracks killing 220 Marines and shortly after the attack the Marines were painkilling out of Beirut and their peacekeeping mission.
After that humiliating attack the Us had to do something to get the mojo back that they lots in Beirut……and what better place than an island the size of a grape on the Caribbean? Grenada.
On October 25, 1983, American troops invaded the tiny Caribbean island of Grenada. It took less than a week for American forces to subdue the country. One correspondent famously called the whole endeavor a lovely little war. So why exactly did the US invade a country the size of Philadelphia with a population the size of Dayton, Ohio? Well, it is a bit complicated. A little back story is in order. Grenada was a British colony until 1974. For most of the 1970s it was ruled by a rather violent president, Eric Gairy. His secret police, the Mongoose Gang, terrorized the population. Who supplied said Mongoose Gang? The American backed dictator of Chile, General Augusto Pinochet.
And this is how the US got its war mojo back to where it needed to be……
Thirty-four years ago, this week (October 25th) the U.S. invaded the Caribbean island of Grenada, rescued some medical students, and rounded-up a gang of thugs and criminals, along with their Cuban communist backers. Remember that? More than a few people back then had a hard time pronouncing the name of the place or even locating it in the right hemisphere. The conflict was wrapped up in a matter of weeks and America moved on, the Spice Isle all but forgotten. But in U.S. military history the invasion of Grenada turned out to be a very big deal indeed because the post-mortem on the inter-service bickering and lack of communication led directly to reforms and a new kind of cooperative warfare bearing more than tropical fruit today. The road to Abbottabad and the takedown of Osama bin Laden arguably begins three-decades before in Grenada.
When President Reagan gave the order to take the island, the Defense Department was new to the game of small wars and did what it always did: sent everyone to the party but without an experienced organizer. The Marines, freshly bloodied in the Beirut barracks bombing only days before, got a ride from the Navy which would be in charge. At the last minute, the 82nd Airborne was called in to insure enough of the right people were present. Those new small teams of Special Ops forces–the Deltas and SEALS–would be part of the mix too. In fact, they were originally the party and then the invitations expanded. Seven-thousand troops, in all. Looking back now, it was a dysfunctional family, gathered in duress, with each service trying to outdo the other. What we had here, too often, was a failure to communicate. Army helicopters bringing casualties were waved off Navy decks for a lack of Army helo pilot to Navy ship radio. And, the famous incident, the SEAL officer and his men pinned down rescuing Sir Paul Scoon forced to use his ATT calling card to ring up the command in North Carolina to direct an air strike of the AC-130 gunships overhead due a positioning anomaly.