25 Oct 1983 - Operation Urgent Fury - The 82nd Airborne Division deployed to the tiny Caribbean nation of Grenada to protect U.S. citizens and restore the lawfully-elected government. The first aircraft carrying division troopers touched down at Grenada’s Point Salines 17 hours after notification.
Three paratroopers died during the operation. Captain Michael Ritz, the commander of Bravo company, 2-325th Infantry died when a patrol he was leading was ambushed. Staff Sergeant Gary Epps, a squad leader in Bravo company, died after a round he was attempting to remove from a captured recoilless rifle exploded. Ritz-Epps Fitness center is named in their honor. Sgt. Sean Luketina was wounded when a Navy jet accidentally struck the 2nd brigade TOC. He later died of his wounds at Walter Reed. The invasion of Grenada also marked the first time the UH-60 Blackhawk was used in combat.
The men of 1st SFOD-D, otherwise known as Combat Applications Group (CAG) or Delta Force. The US Army’s counterpart to DEVGRU (Erroneously referred to as SEAL Team 6). They are the US Army’s premier Tier 1 Operators. Notable operations of theirs include;
The Iranian Hostage Crisis
The invasion of Grenada
The invasion of Panama
Persian Gulf War
Somali Civil War (Black Hawk Down)
The battle of Tora Bora
The capture of Saddam Hussein
The rescue of Roy Hallums
And many others classified by the US Armed Forces.
The Marine Recon we know today dates back to the W.W.II. Before 1944 the Marine Recon were primarily scout/sniper units. In April 1944 a two company amphibious reconnaissance battalion were formed. They started operating with UDT (Underwater Demolition Team), to conduct beach reconnaissance and hydrographic survey.The Marine Recon along with UDT reconned for the landings at Iwo Jima in 1945.
During the war in Korea the Marine Recon and UDT did a series of raids on Korea’s east coast, destroying railroad tunnels and bridges. At a time the Marine Recon operated 200 miles behind enemy lines. In 1951 the Marine Recon made the first helicopter assault in the Marine Corps history.
When the marines landed in Vietnam in 1965, the Marine Recon were there to support their respective Units. In Vietnam the Marine Recon conducted deep and distant reconnaissance patrols. They mostly operated in seven-man teams performing the so called ‘Stingray’ operations. The last marines left Vietnam in 1971.
During the 1970s and 1980s the Marine Recon went through some changes. 23-man deep reconnaissance platoons were created to compensate for the reducement of the Marine Recon after the Vietnam War. The basic Recon teams were still the four-man teams. When the hostage recovery program was started in 1976 with federal law enforcement agencies and the Army Special Forces, some of the Marine Recon units were assigned to Direct Action missions. In 1977, snipers were again a part of the marine units.
In October 1983 the Marine Recon took part in the invasion of Grenada, and in 1989 they went into Panama in Operation ‘Just Cause’. In 1990 Marine Recon was deployed in the Gulf. Here they scouted the front lines of the Iraqi forces. They found ways through enemy lines for the marine invasion. Prior to the ground war the Marine Recon took 238 prisoners.
NOTE: The Marine Recon is not a part of SOCOM (Special Operation Command).
Stationed: Active Duty: Divison Recon Company-1st Marine Division Camp Pendleton California 1st Force Recon Company, 1st SRIG, Camp Pendleton, California 2nd Recon Battalion-Camp Lejuene North Carolina(2nd Force Recon Company is now part of this unit) Division Recon Company-3rd Marine Division, Camp Butler, Okinawa Japan 5th Force Recon Company, Camp Butler, Okinawa Japan Reserve: 3rd Force Recon Company, Mobile Alabama 4th Force Recon Company, Reno Nevada and Oahu Hawaii 4th Reconnaissance Battalion-San Antonio Texas, Billings Montana, Albuquerque New Mexico, and Anchorage Alaska.
Brownells Gun Tech Keith Ford & his 1957 production Czech VZ-52 chambered in 7.62 x 45. These were produced from 1952-1957. This particular rifle is a vet bring back that was captured during the US invasion of Grenada. It still has a faint scent of rum and Cohibas.