The U.S. Invasion of Grenada

Legacy of a Flawed Victory


In stock

About the Book

In the fall of 1983, arguably the coldest year of the decades-long Cold War, the world’s greatest superpower invaded Grenada, a Marxist-led Caribbean nation the size of Atlanta. Why and how this unlikely one-week war was waged was shrouded in secrecy at the time—and has remained so ever since. This book is an overdue reconsideration of Operation Urgent Fury, based on historical evidence that only recently has been revealed in declassified documents, oral history interviews and memoir accounts. This chronological narrative emphasizes the human dimension of a sudden crisis now regarded as the greatest foreign policy challenge of President Ronald Reagan’s first term. Because the American intervention was hastily drafted, many snafus and accidents marked the chaotic initial days of the operation. Inevitably it fell to individual soldiers, aviators and sailors to perform heroic acts to make up for faulty intelligence, inadequate communication or poor coordination. This work recounts their inspiring, underreported stories in filling out a more complete portrait of Operation Urgent Fury. The final chapter recounts the invasion’s aftereffects, especially the unexpected role it played in Congressional reform of the military for future combat in the Middle East.

About the Author(s)

Philip Kukielski is a career journalist who worked as a writer and, later, a managing editor of the Providence Journal in Rhode Island over the course of four decades. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Philip Kukielski

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 264
Bibliographic Info: 46 photos, maps, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7879-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3832-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 7
1. 39 Hours to “Go” 9
2. Everyone Goes Late 40
3. Nine Chalks to Chaos 54
4. SEALs Besieged 69
5. Rangers Seize Salines 78
6. Rescuing the Rescuers 93
7. Rescuing the Students 107
8. The Enemy Is Us 115
9. The Enemy Is the Media 134
10. The Enemy Is Cuba 144
11. The Route to Intervention 160
12. Securing the Victory 187
Chapter Notes 223
Bibliography 243
Index 249

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Kukielski’s incredibly detailed book is an in-depth blow by blow of Operation Urgent Fury….incredibly descriptive and meticulous…an encyclopedic page turner complete with hundreds of chapter notes, bibliography references and a thorough index…you won’t be disappointed”—Rotor Review, Naval Helicopter Association

• “This is a terrific book. I thought I knew a lot about the Grenada operation, but I can’t tell you how much I learned from it. Actually, I can. I learned a lot. …impressive…fascinating…outstanding…details are chilling…This is really a tour de force—it will become the seminal work on Operation Urgent Fury, and I would strongly recommend it to anyone interested not only in the Grenada operation but to those interested in coming to grips with the Reagan Presidency.”—Stephen F. Knott, Naval War College, Newport, RI

• “This is a well-written and extremely well researched book. It’s amazing that an invasion of a small Caribbean island, with the population of an average U.S. city, can teach us so many lessons. The author systematically makes these points in an articulate manner. The undisciplined military organization and field operations clearly showed areas that needed addressing. Thankfully, it appears that the military learned from this invasion. However, on the civilian/government side, we seem to be repeating many of the errors of judgment and organization. This book should be a must for all military officers during their career. It also should be read by any civilian appointee taking a position in Defense, State, and Intelligence. The facts are presented in an easy to read and logical sequence. The final chapters do an excellent job of summarizing the events, lessons learned, and subsequent actions.”—Frank McGrath, LT USN ’70–’76

• “Kukielski sheds new light on this forgotten episode of American military history…good insight”—The Daybook

• “The narrative is solid and Kukielski provides 24 pages of detailed notes at the end to support his assertions, revelations that may surprise readers well-versed in military history and national security affairs.”—Air Commando Journal

• “Invasion of Grenada is both incredibly descriptive and meticulous in the in-depth account of Urgent Fury”—Naval Helicopter Association

• “There’s great drama, elegant and precise writing, and formidable research in this book about this now half-forgotten operation, which continues to provide lessons for policymakers. It’s a model of military history—and a solid basis for a movie.”—Robert Whitcomb, columnist, Go Local Prov