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They were warned that they would probably have to fight their way into Grand Anse because there were a number of strong points around it. Planning began for an attack. Reinforcements Pour In. With the Point Salines airport secure and cleared by midday, American reinforcements began to pour in, including 1, paratroopers from the 82d Division. But when word began to spread that resistance was stiffer than anticipated and that a captured Cuban officer, badly wounded, had said there were 1, Cubans on the island in all, most well trained, United States commanders decided to bring in 5, paratroopers instead of the initial 1, Meanwhile, the Seal teams that had been sent into St.
George's and its environs earlier in the day were trapped, awaiting relief from the south. The team sent to capture the radio station just south of the city had accomplished its job, but it was under strong counterattack. The team assigned to free the political prisoners at Richmond Hill could not find a safe route in. Most disturbing of all, the team assigned to safeguard Sir Paul was surrounded. When the Seals called in Marine helicopter gunships to relieve the pressure, antiaircraft fire knocked down two. Three of the four pilots died. Desperate, in mid-afternoon the Seals requested an airstrike on Fort Frederick, the area in the hills where much of the heavy fire seemed to be originating.
It was one of the few such attacks authorized during the Grenada operation. An A-7 jet from the carrier Independence roared in. When it had finished its work, much of the fort lay in ruins, including a wing of a bed mental hospital. At least 18 patients are now known to have died. Not until reporters visited the scene several days later was the true nature of the target disclosed. Supported by M Tanks. To help relieve the pressure on the Seals, the commander of the invasion force, Admiral Metcalf, ordered the Marine amphibious ships standing off Pearls on the east coast to sail to the area of Grand Mal on the west coast, just north of St.
Then, shortly before dark, he put ashore another marines, supported by five M tanks and a dozen or so armored amphibious vehicles. The idea was to catch St. George's in a pincer movement the next day, Wednesday, with the marines closing in from the north and the Rangers and 82d Airborne from the south.
From Sir Paul's house, the marines swung east and began to work up the hills toward the Fort Frederick area. Again, the resistance was sporadic. American troops finally entered the fort in late afternoon. To the south, in the Point Salines area, the situation was still tenuous. Paratroopers from the 82d Airborne had moved up into the line and were leading the thrust toward the American students at the Grand Anse medical school campus.
Considerable Resistance. There was considerable resistance. One trooper was killed in a firefight. Another died while inspecting a gun that had been booby-trapped. A dozen or so were wounded. Admiral Metcalf called upon the Rangers again. In less than 30 minutes, with only a few shots fired, the students were safely lifted out. One Marine helicopter was knocked out of action during the landing, but the 11 Rangers in it eventually were able to slip back to their own lines.
By the end of the second day the marines working south through St. George's and the paratroopers working north from Point Salines had not been able to join forces. Further, one major opposition strong point remained to be assaulted - a barracks complex at Calivigny, on the east coast, a couple of miles south of St. Opposition Melts Away.
US troops invade Grenada – archive
The marine-paratrooper link-up, on the third day, was anticlimactic. Again, the opposition forces seemed to melt away. In fact, when the marines reached the Richmond Hill Prison at midday that Thursday, they found it abandoned except for a few inmates. The attack on Calivigny Barracks began in mid-afternoon. As paratroopers surrounded it, Navy guns and fighter-bombers pounded it in what was perhaps the heaviest bombardment of Operation Urgent Fury.
During one air strike, a bomb failed to release on time and fell in the midst of some paratroopers, wounding Again, Admiral Metcalf sent for the Rangers.
Again they assaulted, using helicopters. The barracks was captured, but not before four more Rangers had been killed. The capture of the Calivigny complex marked the end of significant military activity in Operation Urgent Fury. Since then, American troops have encountered a bit of sniping here and there. But with the seizure of the barracks Admiral McDonald all but announced an end to Operation Urgent Fury, reporting, ''All major military objectives in the island were secured.
At A. Some clear runway, others push north, still more move east toward True Blue medical school campus. Several enemy strong points are wiped out; about prisoners are taken. By midday, reinforcements have landed, area to north is in hand and True Blue campus secure. Seal teams sent to St. George's are trapped, awaiting relief from south.
One team has captured radio station but is under attack; another cannot get safely into Richmond Hill prison to free prisoners; team guarding Governor General Paul Scoon is surrounded. The opposition newspaper was repressed and there were some political prisoners, though the overall human rights record was not bad compared to most governments in the hemisphere during this period.
On the international scene, Grenada largely supported Soviet policy, including the invasion of Afghanistan, though not to the degree of subservience as Eastern European countries. Relations were closest with Cuba, which brought in hundreds of skilled laborers, medical personnel, military advisers, and development workers, though there were also good relations with Western European nations, Canada, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Ultimate control remained in the hands of the party and the popularity of the regime was centered on the charismatic personality of Prime Minister Bishop. At the same time, the development of parish and zonal councils along with "mass organizations" insured a degree of grassroots democracy and a reflection of the government's desire to create a "popular socialism. In response, there was a nationwide general strike and other protests. When a crowd of Bishop supporters liberated the ousted prime minister and his allies from prison, army troops massacred dozens of protesters and executed Bishop and two other cabinet members.
President Reagan immediately implied that the Cubans were behind the coup and the killings. In reality, Cuban President Fidel Castro had condemned the coup and declared an official day of mourning for the late Prime Minister. Strongly worded cables from Havana underscored the Cuban government's concern, threatening a cessation of Cuban assistance and a declaration that Cuban forces on the island would fire only in self-defense. On the morning of October 25, U.
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Immediately following the revolution in , the Carter administration granted asylum to the exiled Prime Minister Gairy, who used the U. After the U. The Carter administration then launched a campaign to discourage U. When the Reagan administration assumed office, American hostility increased.
Economic assistance through the World Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank was blocked, aid from the International Monetary Fund was restricted, and participation in the Caribbean Basin Initiative was not even considered. The Prime Minister eventually received an audience with National Security Adviser William Clark, who reportedly did not know where Grenada was located.
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Reagan administration officials later argued that such peace overtures by Bishop were a major factor in his overthrow. More likely, it was the lack of a favorable American response that led coup leaders to conclude that such moderation did not pay off and that Bishop must therefore by removed. Reports from the Washington Post indicated that since the CIA had engaged in efforts to destabilize the Grenadan government politically and economically.
In August , U. As in the real invasion that would come later, paratroopers secured key points on the Grenada-sized island followed by a marine amphibious assault with air and naval support, totaling almost 10, troops. Striking similarities in the geographic code names during the exercise to actual locations on Grenada were hardly coincidental.
GRENADA INVASION: A SERIES OF SURPRISES - The New York Times
It is not unreasonable to assume that a U. The Rationalizations for the Invasion The U. Indeed, it may have in part been a test of the so-called "Vietnam syndrome," the purported "affliction" that makes it difficult for the American public to support U. As with Iraq, the initial justifications for the invasion proved to be either highly debatable or demonstrably false, yet it still received bipartisan support in Congress and the approval of nearly two-thirds of the American public. The major justification for the invasion was the protection of American lives.
Reagan administration officials falsely claimed that the island's only operating airport was closed, offering the students no escape.
In reality, scores of people left the island on charter flights the day before the U. Regularly scheduled flights as well as sea links from neighboring Caribbean islands had ceased as of October 21, however, though this came as a direct result of pressure placed on these governments to do so by U. Apparently, by limiting the ability of Americans who wished to depart from leaving, the Reagan administration could then use their continued presence on the troubled island as an excuse to invade.
The Reagan administration admitted that no significant non-military means of evacuating Americans was actively considered.
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Particular concern was expressed over the fate of American students at the U. George's University School of Medicine. The safe arrival in the United States of the initial group of happy and relieved students evacuated from Grenada resulted in excellent photo opportunities for the administration.
It appears, however, that the students' lives were never actually in any danger prior to the invasion itself. Grenadan and Cuban officials had met only days earlier with administrators of the American medical school and guaranteed the students' safety. Urgent requests by the State Department's Milan Bish to medical school officials that they publicly request U. Five hundred parents of the medical students cabled President Reagan to insist he not take any "precipitous action. Despite repeated inquiries as to whether Washington was considering military action, he was told nothing of the sort was being considered.
As the invasion commenced, Dr. Modica angrily denounced the invasion as totally unnecessary and a far greater risk to the students' safety than Grenada's domestic crisis. The U. Due to stormy weather four SEAL operatives drowned before reaching dry land. The others were forced to abort their mission with very limited information on enemy positions. At midnight, on 24th October , a joint invasion of the island commenced. The 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment took off from an airfield in America in an attempt to take control over the disputed Point Salines airport, with the help of the Navy SEAL-s that were already on the ground.
They parachuted near the airport, seized it and waited for the elements of the Caribbean Peace Force to arrive. Later elements of the 82nd Airborne began landing on the now secured airfield. Besides from Cuban military presence, evidence exists that confirms that elements of Soviet, Bulgarian, East German, North Korean and Libyan armies were involved in the conflict. The main objectives of the US-led coalition were securing the US students who were in Grenada at the time and liberating Governer General Paul Scoon who was an American-backed politician under house arrest in Grenada.
His mansion was besieged by US forces and after a small skirmish with the Grenadian Army, he was evacuated together with his family. The US students were also successfully evacuated from the Grand Anse campus, after facing light resistance. Additional 20 students would be rescued on the third day of the invasion. By 27th of October, there was practically no resistance on the island whatsoever.