Operation Praying Mantis : Analysis

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Grant Dentry 10/5/17 Section 2 Operation Praying Mantis Operation Praying Mantis, which occurred on April 16, 1987 was critical point in the history of the United States Navy because it was very instrumental in shaping American history due to it being the largest U.S. Naval action since World War 2. It changed how the United States fought and assessed naval warfare due to multiple grey areas concerning inbound vehicles and deciding when to attack. The operation was also significant to American history because it displayed military might like no other which served as a deterrent to other country’s Navies. Operation Praying Mantis was a significant battle for the United States and I support Symonds’s argument that American history was…show more content…
The frigate “was also relatively thin-skinned, having only five-eighths of an inch of aluminum alloy between the living spaces and the sea” (Symonds, 268). The Stark was most vulnerable to air attacks, however the ship had a system that could fire a veil of chaff into the air to throw off incoming missiles. On the night of May 17 a few minutes past 8:00 P.M. the Tactical Action Officer, Lieutenant Basil Moncrief, “received a report from an airborne warning and control system (AWACS) airplane-essentially a flying radar station-that an Iraqi F-1 Mirage fighter had departed Shaibah Military Airport in southern Iraq and was ‘feet wet’ over the Gulf, flying southward toward the Stark’s position” (Symonds, 269). No alarms were set off by the report of this air craft because of the high level of air traffic due to the war. The ship detected the Iraqi air craft on radar when it was two hundred miles out. Once the jet reached 70 miles out from the ship, the Petty Officer in charge of monitoring the radar asked Moncrief if he should send out a warning message but Moncrief said no, and to wait. When the Iraqi jet reached fifty miles out from the frigate, “Moncrief alerted Brindel (the captain), who directed Moncrief to send out a message on the international air distress frequency demanding identification” (Symonds, 269). Seconds after the warning was sent out, the pilot of the jet launched an Exocet AM39 air-to-surface missile. Shortly after a second missile was fired.

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