Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving and American Invasions

Not everyone can be home for Thanksgiving

We Americans have much to be grateful for.  Every year we gather together with friends and family to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday.  We ought also to be grateful for the service of the American military in far flung outposts.

Thousands of American servicemen stationed abroad will celebrate this Thanksgiving with turkey and televised football at bases around the world.  America is a military superpower and we have been militarily involved with almost every country on earth.

In Portugal, for example, we established air and naval bases on the Azores since World War II to contend with the Nazi U-boat menace and they are still there to this day.  Spencer Stone, the USAF serviceman that helped foil a terrorist plot in Europe this past summer was based on the Azores.

There is a surprising connection between Thanksgiving and at least one American military invasion.  It concerned a small Caribbean island called Grenada.

Ronald Reagan, Grosvenor Square, London

In 1983, Grenada was the site of America’s largest military intervention since the Vietnam War. Ronald Reagan had defeated Jimmy Carter in the election of 1980 to become our fortieth president. Reagan took a more aggressive view about confronting Communism than his Cold War predecessors. Political upheaval on the island of Grenada gave Reagan an opportunity to reverse militarily what he saw as a dangerous expansion of Cuban and Soviet influence.

On October 19, 1983, Bernard Coard, a hard-line Communist deputy prime minister, led a coup against Prime Minister Maurice Bishop, a Marxist who had assumed power after a coup in 1979. A few days later, Bishop and two other members of his cabinet were assassinated.

Even before the coup, Reagan had been agonizing about exactly what was happening on Grenada and what it meant for the United States. There were intelligence reports indicating that Russia and Cuba had been building military infrastructure, in particular a ten-thousand-foot airstrip. That summer, he had already told vice president George H W Bush to make contingency plans, and now Reagan didn’t hesitate for long in enacting them.

With the Organization of East Caribbean States calling for a military response from the United States and despite being warned that there would be “a harsh political reaction” to a US invasion, on October 22, just a few days after the coup, Reagan decided the invasion should go ahead.

Operation Urgent Fury was launched on October 25, 1983. The US Army Rapid Deployment Force, including Ranger battalions, the 82nd Airborne Division, marines, and Navy SEALs, was augmented by a few hundred troops from Jamaica and other countries. These forces engaged about fifteen hundred troops from the Grenadian Army and about a few hundred Cuban military special forces. The fighting was short (three days) and sometimes sharp, costing nineteen American lives and over one hundred total fatalities, including some civilians.

The UN General Assembly condemned the US invasion calling it “a flagrant violation of international law” and voting 108 to 9 against it.  The American intervention in Grenada was controversial at the time

US Soldier & Students from St. George's
However, there was also widespread American support for the invasion, particularly after the ABC broadcast Nightline featured an interview with American medical students from St. George’s University School of Medicine who expressed their gratitude for the invasion and towards the US Army Rangers. Americans were particularly anxious about the potential for hostage taking after the Iranian crisis of 1979, so anything that took Americans out of a potentially dangerous political situation was likely to be popular.

Soon after American forces were withdrawn form the island and new elections were held.

October 25, the day American forces arrived, is still celebrated today in Grenada as their island’s national holiday—Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks USA Today...http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/11/25/thanksgiving-and-american-military/76079192/

Thanks Houston Post...http://houstonsunpost.com/2015/11/christopher-kelly-grateful-for-u-s-military/

Thanks Buffalo News...http://www.buffalonews.com/opinion/another-voice/another-voice-thanksgiving-and-the-us-invasion-of-grenada-20151126

Thanks Palladium Item...http://www.pal-item.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/11/25/thanksgiving-and-american-military/76079192/

Thanks News Press...http://www.news-press.com/story/opinion/contributors/2015/11/24/connection-thanksgiving-military/76303516/

Thanks Washington Times...http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/nov/25/christopher-kelly-grateful-for-us-military/

Thanks Bangor Daily News...http://bangordailynews.com/2015/11/24/opinion/heres-a-surprising-connection-between-thanksgiving-and-an-american-military-invasion/

Thanks Denver Sun Post...http://denversunpost.com/2015/11/christopher-kelly-grateful-for-u-s-military/

Thanks Monitor...http://www.themonitor.com/opinion/commentary-remember-our-military-this-thanksgiving-holiday/article_1d34b8dc-92f4-11e5-9480-afe6fc60b0d4.html

Thanks San Antonio Post...http://www.sanantoniopost.com/index.php/sid/238920747

Thanks Times and Democrat...http://thetandd.com/news/opinion/thanksgiving-s-military-connection/article_d4a65da5-e7b9-5d95-9401-eb1286bd2cfb.html

Thanks Daily Inter Lake...http://www.dailyinterlake.com/members/opinion-thanksgiving-day-a-surprising-lesson-from-grenada-about-american/article_5b1665d4-93ac-11e5-8fb0-5fcc3c38d4d1.html

Thanks Daily Journal...http://www.thedailyjournal.com/story/opinion/readers/2015/11/25/commentary-thanksgiving-grenada/76336210/

Thanks Atlanta Journal Constitution...http://www.myajc.com/news/news/opinion/think-about-us-military-while-giving-thanks/npTRj/

You can purchase Commander Kelly's book America Invades here...www.americainvades.com
or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598427

Find the full America Invades Package only here...

And now you can find his latest book Italy Invades: How Italians Conquered the World here...www.italyinvades.com
or on Amazon...www.amzn.com/1940598729

Find the Full Italy Invades Gift Package only here...

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