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Operation Urgent Fury

Operation Urgent Fury was a military invasion of the island of Grenada by the military forces of the United States of America and several Carribean nations. The conflict began on October 25, 1983 when the United States armed forces landed troops on the beaches of Grenada. They were opposed by Grenadian and Cuban military units.

In 1979 a bloodless coup, led by the revolutionary Morris Bishop[?], toppled the government of Grenada to establish a communist society. Under Bishop, Grenada began construction of an international airport with the help of Cuba. To begin to establish a case for invasion, seven months before the operation began, Ronald Reagan pointed to this airport and several other sites as evidence of the potential threat posed by Grenada towards the United States. Reagan accused Grenada of constructing facilities to aid a Soviet/Cuban military build-up in the Caribbean.

Prime Minister Bishop went to Washington, D.C. to dispel these fears, but his government was later overthrown in a violent coup on Oct. 13th in which a Marxist-influenced group within the Grenadian Army, controlled by former Deputy Prime Minister Berndard Coard, seized power. The combination of a bloody seizure of power by a Marxist group within the US "sphere of influence" and the presence of almost 600 American medical students combined to convince the United States to act. The USA had also just suffered the loss of 240 Marines in a suicide bombing of their barracks in Lebanon on Oct. 23.

The British governor-general of the island appealed to the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States[?] (OECS) to remove the coup leaders from power. The OECS appealed to the United States, Barbados and Jamaica to assist them. The invasion did not receive the support of the British government, who were put out by the fact that the United States had neglected to inform them of their intentions, despite the fact that the Queen of England was the head of state of Grenada.

Fighting continued for several days and the total number of American troops reached some 7,000 along with 300 troops from the assisting neighboring islands of Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Jamaica, St Lucia and St Vincent. They encountered soldiers and advisors from various countries including about 1,200 Grenadians, 780 Cubans, 49 Soviets, 24 North Koreans, 16 East Germans, 14 Bulgarians, and 3 or 4 Libyans. By mid-December, the American troops withdrew after a new government was appointed by the governor-general.

Casualties:

  • US -- 19 dead, 116 wounded.
  • Grenada -- 49 dead and 358 wounded.
  • Cuba -- 29 dead and over a hundred wounded
  • Civilian -- 24 dead



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