0536 Ranger TOC jumps into DZ Fury
October 25 0630 A and B Companys Jump into DZ Fury.
Details of Urgent Fury The 1st Battalion (Ranger) Mission was to seize the airfield at Point Salinas on the southwest tip of the island. They departed in a string of Seven C-130s. 1st Bn TACP personnel were assigned as follows : Tsgt Robert Scott was the FAC for Alpha Company and was aboard aircraft number two. Maj Jim Roper (ALO), was with the Tactical Operation Center (TOC) on aircraft number three along with MSgt Bob Kelly (CCT). TSgt Lance Heaton (A last minute replacement for Bo Kibler ) was on another aircraft (Which One?) was the Bravo Company FAC. Maj Marshall Applegate was on Aircraft Number 5 with the Backup TOC. He was usually assigned to Charlie Company, but they did not participate in this operation. Somewhere during the trip, and more than an hour before the jump time of 0500L, the Lead (number one) aircraft had an electrical problem such that he could not find the DZ in the dark. He could not access his radar and inertial navigation system sufficiently to insure a safe jump. To keep the mission intact, lead was told to take number two with him and go to the back of the string. That made aircraft number three the first one in…which contained the TOC staff and not the shooters.
Aircraft number three jumped at 0536. Due to heavy antiaircraft fire, other jumps were delayed. One aircraft dropped at 0548 and the rest began to get into the dropzone at 0630. Sunrise was at 0610. The number three aircraft was piloted by Then Lt Col Hobson (Now with two stars on his shoulders) which won the McKay Trophy for the most memorable flight of ’83.
There was a delay of about one hour immediately after hitting the ground, before the TOC was assembled and running. Meanwhile the cubans were firing at Airplanes and troops. Alot of red (Quad fifty) and Green (AK-47) tracers were visible before the sun came up. The Enemy was obvious on the ridge along the length of the runway on the north side. The AC-130 Spectre suppressed the ZU-23 then came over to the runway and worked more SEAD under the control of Maj Roper.
1st Ranger Bn. 90mm gunners claim one BTR kill. 2nd Ranger Bn. 90mm gunners claim one BTR kill.82nd ABN Dragon gunners claim one BTR kill. Spectre crews claim three BTR kills. ALO’s (both Ranger Bn’s) claim two kills.
Research shows that 2nd Ranger Bn 90mm gunners shot and destroyed the first BTR. 1st Ranger Bn 90mm gunners shot and destroyed the second BTR. The third BTR tried to run and the Spectre guided by TSgt Scott destroyed the third. The sequence of events and my interviews all point to the Rangers getting their shots off well before Spectre joined in the attack. Scotty himself told me that he only guided the AC-130 in after he heard the ruckus at the east end of the Salines runway. The ruckus being the Rangers engaging the BTR’s with every available weapon (including the 90’s). Almost every eyewitness stated the Ranger recoilless crews engaged first. My point is credit for the kills should be 1x BTR to 1st Ranger Bn (Sgt Dave Bazemore, 90mm Gunner), 1x BTR to 2nd Ranger Bn (SP4 Jimmie Pickering, 90mm Gunner) and 1x BTR to AC130/TSgt Robert Scott (A/1/75th Rangers ALO).
Aftermath: Bob Scott receives the Bronze star with V device (for valor) Jeff Staha also receives the Bronze star.
James Felton , Bob Scott are just two of the individuals involved. More names are in the works. I have a copy of the deployment orders here somewhere.
NOTE: If you have further information on Combat Operations in Grenada, please leave me e-mail. I’m trying to confirm details such as jump altitude, number type if aircraft and where the players were.