Small Wars Journal

How the Invasion of Grenada was Planned with a Tourist Map and a Copy of ‘The Economist’

How the Invasion of Grenada was Planned with a Tourist Map and a Copy of ‘The Economist’ by Sharon Tosi Lacey - Military Times

Early on the morning of Oct. 23, 1983, a truck bomb detonated beside the U.S. Marine barracks at Lebanon’s Beirut International Airport, killing 241 American servicemen. That evening President Ronald Reagan gave his final approval for Operation Urgent Fury— the American invasion not of Lebanon but of Grenada.

Two battalions of elite U.S. Army Rangers had received a warning order days before and were already preparing to assault the Caribbean island. But at Fort Bragg, N.C., the 82nd Airborne Division, which would supply most of the invasion force, was caught by surprise.

So soon after the attack on the Marine barracks most of the division’s senior leaders assumed they would be heading to the Middle East, as part of what they were sure would be an overwhelming reaction to the Beirut tragedy. In a scene repeated many times that night, one battalion commander returned to find his briefing room walls papered in maps. When asked what the maps were for, a young staff officer replied, “They are of Lebanon and Beirut sir.”

“Tear all that s _ _ _ down,” the commander replied. “We’re heading for Grenada.”

Perplexed, the staff officer asked, “Why are we invading Spain?”…

Read on.