Operations Prime Chance
and Earnest Will were initiated in the late 1980's
specifically to provide protection for civilian and
military vessels transiting the Persian Gulf. For
these operations, the U.S. Army's 160th Special Operations
Aviation Regiment and the U.S. Navy SEALs.
Prime Chance was primarily
a TF 160 mission, requiring extremely low level flying
at night and for prolonged periods. Operation PRIME
CHANCE resulted in the first successful night combat
engagement that neutralized an enemy threat while
using aviator night vision goggles and forward looking
infrared devices. The Night Stalker presence deterred
numerous attacks on international shipping and slowed
the mine-laying process.
Operation Prime Chance
continues today, with an armed rapid-response capability
provided by the 4th Squadron, 2nd Armored Cavalry
flying the OH-58D(I).
Operation Earnest Will
was a much larger operation involving the conventional
military. It did, however, employ a significant contingent
from the special operations community. This involved
U.S. Navy SEALs from Naval Special Warfare Task Units
(Atlantic and Pacific), and the 160th SOAR. Also joining
the group was TF117, a regular army aviation unit
flying AH-58 Warrior helos with then-classified mast-mounted
devices capable of spotting small targets operating
in any weather conditions. The SEALs were based on
two massive barges, names Hercules and Wimbrown 7
and rotated personnel on three to four month deployments.
Missions included underway ship boardings, search
and rescue, and surveillance.
A Force Recon Platoon
was deployed in the gulf aboard various "Gator
Freighters", such as the USS Trenton. They boarded
and secured an Iranian Oil Platform during Operation
Praying Mantis, 18 April 1988. A Force Platoon also
pulled the Iranian survivors out of the water after
the Iranian mine layer Ajar was attacked by US Army
Helos. The SEALs secured the ship.
2d Armored Cavalry Home Page
- This unit now provides the armed response capability
for the ongoing Prime Chance mission. The site includes
photos from the ongoing Prime Chance mission.
Contingencies - Night Stalkers.Com
For more information on the 160th
Special Operations Aviation Regiment, click here.
Joint Task Force - FAS
study - Ever wonder what a Joint Task Force is?
Storm Joint Ops - Excellent
info - must read
In response to an Iranian missile
attack on a reflagged Kuwaiti super tanker, shelling
from USS Hoel (DDG-13) and three other U.S. destroyers
set fire to Iranian command and control platforms
in the Arabian Gulf on 19 October 1987.
to U.S. Special Operations Missions
to U.S. Special Operations Home Page