History of Recent Conflicts
Since the close of the Vietnam War in 1975, the US has been engaged in a series of smaller conflicts of short duration. Even the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a quick victory in terms of conventional fighting, although the struggle with terrorists and insurgents continued for a long time after the end of major fighting with organized troops.
This section of Olive-Drab.com covers the recent, difficult period post-Vietnam, from Granada through the end of the 20th century and into the 21st.
Soldiers of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 77th Armored Regiment, Zitinje, Kosovo, 26 July 1999.
Recent Conflicts Involving U.S. Military Operations
Operation Urgent Fury (23 October - 21 November 1983) was the invasion of the island nation of Grenada by the United States, Canada, and several allied Caribbean nations with the objective of evacuating American students and at the same time to topple the regime of Bernard Coard, a pro-Soviet Communist dictator who had seized power earlier in October.
Operation Just Cause was the December 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States to overthrow the government Manuel Noriega, who the U.S. accused of involvement with drug traffic between South America and the U.S. The safety of the Panama Canal, a strategic interest of the United States, and other factors contributed to the rationale for the invasion.
The term "Gulf War" refers to the period of time from 2 August 1990 when Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait to 27 February 1991 when a cease fire was declared. The term "Operation Desert Shield" refers to the period between 7 August 1990 when President Bush ordered U.S. forces to Saudi Arabia and 17 January 1991 when the coalition air campaign commenced. The term "Operation Desert Storm" refers to the period between 17 January and 27 February 1991.
Operation Restore Hope was a humanitarian relief mission to Somalia, formally running from 3 December 1992 to 4 May 1993, with deployment of U.S. Army, Navy and Marine forces to provide security and intervene against mass starvation. On 9 May 1993 the operation was turned over to UN peacekeepers, an international military deployment that included US forces. On 3 October 1993 the Joint Special Operations Task Force Ranger raided the Olympic Hotel in Mogadishu to search for General Muhammed Farah Aideed, a troublesome local warlord, precipitating a seventeen-hour battle in which eighteen U.S. soldiers were killed and eighty-four were wounded, the longest, most bloody battle for U.S troops since the Vietnam War.
Violence against ethnic Albanian civilians led to the 24 March 1999 NATO Operation Allied Force, with air strikes against targets in Serbia and Kosovo, to enforce demands on President Milosevic to end the repression.
After the 11 September 2001 attack on World Trade Center and on the Pentagon, the U.S. military waged war against terrorism worldwide. On 7 October 2001, an air campaign was begun to root out Osama bin Laden, the Al Qaeda network of terrorists and Taliban supporters from Afghanistan. the first actions of "Operation Enduring Freedom".
Under Operation Iraqi Freedom, a U.S.-led coalition commenced action against Iraq on 19 March 2003 with several specific objectives: to end the regime of Saddam Hussein, eliminate Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and to capture and drive out terrorists from Iraq. Coalition forces remain in Iraq in 2006: to help restore Iraq's degraded infrastructure, deliver humanitarian support, and to create conditions for a transition to a representative self-government for the Iraqi people.
Many Internet resources are available to provide expanded histories of these recent conflicts, some collected on the linked Olive-Drab.com page.
Recommended Books about Recent Conflicts
See also: Military Books: Gulf War, Iraq, Middle East