Forty years ago, on October 25, 1983, U.S. forces, with a coalition of Caribbean nations, launched Operation Urgent Fury, the invasion of Grenada, an island nation at the southern tip of the Lesser Antilles, about 500 miles from the Venezuelan coast. It was a key moment in a volatile year that saw the Cold War heat up more than it had since Vietnam.
Join us on October 9 at 7pm for a special two-hour program to talk with a journalist, museum curators, and five remarkable Marine Corps veterans whoserved in Grenada and almost never made it back.
Journalist Phil Kukielski, author of The U.S. Invasion of Grenada: Legacy of a Flawed Victory, will give us the background of the story and also tell us why so much of the war has been shrouded in secrecy.
Larry Burke and Doug Doer from the National Museum of the Marine Corps will also show us a stunning new artifact installed from Operation Urgent Fury. It’s the tail boom of a US Marine AH-1 Cobra helicopter from Operation Urgent Fury, one of two shot down by anti-aircraft fire.
Behind that artifacts is a story of rescue and survival. Five Marines involved in that story will be on our program giving their first-hand accounts.
On the first day of the invasion, two AH-1 Cobras were sent into action to assist some Navy SEALs on the ground in Grenada. Both took fire from Grenadian forces.
One caught fire but managed a rough landing on the ground. Its pilots, Captains Jeb Seagle and Timothy Howard, escaped the wreckage. Seagle went for help, while Howard, right arm nearly shot off below the elbow, right leg severely injured, and a large piece of shrapnel in his neck, waited at the crash site for help.
Coming to the rescue was a Marine CH-46 crew, which also took fire as it descended to land.
Gunnery Sgt. Kelley Neideigh, a Vietnam veteran who’d been manning the door gun, braved fire at the crash site to drag Howard to the CH-46 to safety.
With no sign of Seagle, and Howard’s condition worsening, the CH-46 crew took off. Seagle was later found dead on the beach, killed by hostile fire.
The other AH-1 Cobra still circled above, drawing fire to allow the rescue team to take off from the crash site. However, deadly anti-aircraft fire sent the Cobra into the sea, killing pilots Major John “Pat” Guigerre and 1st Lt. Jeff Sharver.
In the months and years that followed, Tim Howard learned to walk again and function with one intact arm. He remained in the Marine Corps until his retirement as a colonel in 2006.
We are honored and privileged to welcome Tim Howard to our program to remember the events of October 25, 1983. We’ll also have Kelley Neideigh, who dragged Howard to safety.
In addition, we’ll welcome three other crew members, heroes all, who flew the CH-46 rescue mission on October 25: Pilot Major Mel DeMars, Co-pilot 1st Lieutenant Larry King, and Crew Chief Corporal Simon “Doug” Gore.
Finally, we’ll welcome Vivian Scharver, Gold Star mother of 1st Lt Jeff Sharver, USMC, KIA 25 Oct 1983, Operation Urgent Fury.
Join us to hear the remarkable story of a little-known Cold War operation from those who were there.
Thank you to Tobacco Free Adagio Health for sponsoring this event!