Needs of the Many

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Iraq Attacks US Navy Warship … Twentieth Anniversary

Posted by Casey on May 18, 2007


Before the first Gulf War, the War on Terror, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and long before Clinton implemented regime change in Iraq as the official US policy … the only successful cruise missile attack on a United States Navy vessel was carried out by Saddam’s forces.

On May 17, 1987 the USS Stark (guided missile frigate) was struck by two French made Exocet anti-ship missiles fired by a French made Iraq Mirage F1 of the Iraqi Air Force.

The first missile hit the Stark’s port-side hull, but did not detonate. The second entered at roughly the same spot as the first and exploded in crew quarters. Thirty-seven sailors were killed and twenty-one were injured.

The USS Stark did not fire in self-defense.

The ship made its way to Bahrain where it underwent repairs before returning to its home port of Mayport, Florida.

Saddam and Iraqi officials claimed the attack was not authorized, but Saddam claimed the pilot was not punished. As we all know, and has been pointed out countless times during the current conflict, Saddam ruled with an iron fist. It is highly doubtful that anyone would launch an attack on a US naval vessel without his authorization. Not to mention Saddam’s assertion that the pilot was not punished for causing an international incident. When have you ever known Saddam to forgive anyone for embarrassing him?

You can see the photos of the USS Stark after the attack here.

You can pay your respects to the killed sailors at this site … which was set up as a memorial to those lost.

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One Response to “Iraq Attacks US Navy Warship … Twentieth Anniversary”

  1. Harold said

    For more information about the USS Stark attack, as well as the other little-known events of the 1987-1988 Persian Gulf, visit http://www.insidethedangerzone.com. It is the site for my new book, Inside the Danger Zone: The U.S. Military in the Persian Gulf 1987-1988 published this spring by Naval Institute Press.

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