Nimble Archer/Praying Mantis

Closing Thought–01Mar19

Once again the Old Professor wants to force feed some history to his readers……

Both of these are “Operations” of the US against Iranian targets in the 1980s…….

First Operation Nimble Archer…….

On 16 October 1987, Iranian troops fired a Silkworm anti-ship missile from a launcher on Iran’s northwestern coast. It streaked across open Gulf waters and struck the MV Sea Isle City, a reflagged Kuwaiti oil tanker at anchor off Kuwait. The missile exploded, blinding the tanker’s American captain. It was the first successful strike against a tanker reflagged as part of Operation Earnest Will. U.S. officials took pains to point out that the attack had happened after the tanker had been turned loose by its naval escorts, but the White House nevertheless decided to deal a retaliatory blow. Three days later, on 19 October, the U.S. Navy mounted Operation Nimble Archer.

Two oil platforms were selected as targets; both were being used by Iranian forces as command-and-control posts. Four U.S. destroyers lined up — USS Hoel (DDG-13), USS John Young (DD-973), USS Kidd (DDG-993), and USS Leftwich (DD-984) — and began to steam past one of the platforms. At 2 p.m., Gulf time, the ships began firing hundreds of naval gun shells at the platforms. The facilities stubbornly refused to crumble; their steel lattice proved almost impervious to the blasting shells. But the incendiary effect eventually set them afire.

Then in 1988 another “attack” was being planned…Operation Praying Mantis……

Lieutenant Commander Mark “Micro” Kosnik—my one-officer “battle micro staff”—from the Enterprise to Bahrain at the direction of Commander, Joint Task Force Middle East (CJTFME), Rear Admiral Anthony Less, to assist in planning and executing the response. We were joined on the flagship, the USS Coronado (AGF-11), by the MEF Destroyer Squadron Commander and began working on the plan with the CJTFME staff and other players. The objectives were clear:

  • Sink the Iranian Saam-class frigate Sabalan or a suitable substitute.
  • Neutralize the surveillance posts on the Sassan and Sirri gas/oil separation platforms (GOSPs) and the Rahkish GOSP, if sinking a ship was not practicable

I give these two as examples of what the US has been doing in history and as an example of what could come…..all the chest thumping is getting louder and Israel is holding the megaphone.

Class Dismissed!

Turn The Page!

Let the weekend begin!


4 thoughts on “Nimble Archer/Praying Mantis

  1. Great history – and while the Israel/Iran beef can easily spin out of control (the tipping point will occur in Syria)……I’m personally more concerned with what it’s proxies may do in Iraq, since I’m heading back over shortly.

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