Operation Urgent Fury, a.k.a. the conflict in Grenada (1983) The tiny Caribbean island nation of Grenada had won its independence from the United Kingdom in 1974, and in 1979 Maurice Bishop took power. Leader of the “New Jewel Movement,” his politics were decidedly Marxist and Communist. In 1983, he was assassinated by Bernard Coard, another Marxist revolutionary, who then took over Grenada. Violent protests broke out, and, in part because the island was going Communist, and in part because there were 1,000 American citizens in Grenada (most of them medical school students), President Ronald Reagan sent in about 2,000 troops, and later sent in another 4,000. Grenada defended itself with its own army, as well as military engineers from the Communist island nation of Cuba, who were in Grenada to improve the nation’s airport. More than 100 American troops were wounded, and 20 died; 60 Grenadan troops and Cubans were killed. Amidst the successful invasion, Coard’s government fell apart and a new, America-friendly one assumed power of Grenada.