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.

Table For Two

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.

Stairway To Heaven

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 Port Salinas

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.

Dawn in Grenada

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.

Grenada Control Tower

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.

Radar Contact

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.

Port Salinas Departure

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.

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~ by John on January 23, 2008.

5 Responses to “Grenada & Urgent Fury”

  1. great pictures, thanks for sharing. the pictures of grenada were extremely interesting. it’s hard to wrap my mind around the events in the book and apply them to what i see in these photos, but it’s very cool to try 🙂

  2. I’d like to go back to Grenada on my own time to really explore the island and take in more of the history. Our taxi drivers in the islands are typically under contract, so we see the same faces each time we stay over. Our driver in Grenada is a few years older than me, and has been a lifelong island resident. He remembers Maurice Bishop well, and his recollections about the time are very interesting. It was a different time, then, but many of the underlying geo-political currents are still in place – they’re just flowing to different parts of the world.

  3. There are some nice pictures but you said the book stated “101st filled the sky.” That is not correct, it was the Army Rangers! I know because I was a Ranger Medic and made the jump!

  4. Thank you for the correction – I’ve edited the post. All the best! JG

  5. in the picture of the airport tower reference is made to building in the right of the frame. the home had been owned by the julien family. the home was rented to medical students, of which i was one. scott, rich , john, earl, dave and jeff. last lived in around 1979. we had some great parties there.

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