Grenada & Urgent Fury
A while back a good friend of mine, Radar Masukami, recommended a non-fiction audiobook entitled ‘The Night Stalkers’, which details the formation of a special forces helicopter unit in the 80’s and 90’s. The opening chapters of the book describe the US invasion of Grenada in 1983, which, if you weren’t around then, was a pretty exciting time in US foreign relations. The Invasion of Grenada, codenamed Operation Urgent Fury, was an invasion of Grenada in response to the illegal deposition and execution of Grenadan Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.
Coincidentally, a week after starting the audio book, I learned that I was to spend a few nights in Grenada as a part of my flight schedule.
Since we arrived in the dead of night, my first daylight view of the island was at breakfast, where the resort prepares food in an open air restaurant featuring seaside tables. Sadly, I didn’t have time to relax and enjoy, preferring instead to catch a few extra Z’s.
I really dug this stairway on the resort grounds. from the base of the stair, there’s no way to tell where the stairs lead, so I nicknamed them ‘Stairway to Heaven’.
Welcome to Point Salines! In the audio book, a great deal of the action happens here and at the Governor’s Mansion. Airborne units jumped into the field here and fought for hours in a heavy firefight to secure the airport. The sky was filled with parachute canopies, but today it’s just another morning in paradise.
Another gratuitous airplane shot. Hey, this is an an aviation themed blog, in part, so you’ll just have to put up with my airplane photos. This part of the ramp is right in front of the Point Salines terminal. I scoured the building’s exterior for evidence of warfare, but everything was in top shape as far as I could see.
The Point Salines Control Tower stands tall in the early light. The building in the right of the frame on the hilltop has been abandoned for quite some time. It appears to be off of the airport property, outside of the perimeter fence. When I asked the local station personnel what it used to be, they didn’t know.
Just after takeoff from Point Salines, looking north. Up on the horizon is the Governor’s Mansion, but we never got close enough for a clear shot.
Here’s the bird’s eye view as we make the climbing right hand turn out of Point Salines. Click here for a satellite map of Grenada and the Point Salines runway.
I’ve been back to Grenada a couple of times since this first visit, and I have to say that it is a truly beautiful island. The resort where we stay prepares dinner and breakfast plates for us, which is a simple pleasure beyond description. The island seems to be a world all to it’s own, with an organic and relaxed feel all around. It’s hard to imagine a time when gunfire and heavy artillery rang through the hills.
I look forward to going back.
~ by John on January 23, 2008.