U.S. Marines, dressed in full battle gear, assaulted the beaches of Cuba early yesterday morning?
U.S. Marines, dressed in full battle gear, assaulted the beaches of Cuba early yesterday morning (17 October), in a mock invasion of the island. The exercise was staged as a demonstration by the Carter Administration to show the Soviets, the Cubans and the American public, that the issue of Soviet troops stationed inside Cuba is still a hot topic in Washington.
SYNOPSIS: Some of the American officers feared that the early morning rain would disrupt the landing, however everything went off smoothly.
The operation involved about 3,350 American military personnel -- mainly Marines and sailors. The exercise had been ordered by President Carter on October first to counter what the U.S. says is the presence of between 2,000 and 3,000 Soviet combat troops on the island. For weeks, ever since the disclosure of the fact that the Soviets had men stationed there, Carter and his Administration have come under increasingly heavy criticism for its waffling on the subject. The exercise was planned and launched just nine days after President Carter said he was taking measures to counter the build up of a Soviet presence in the area. The Soviet Union has continually denied having any combat troops in Cuba.
During the next few days the Marines will consolidate their hold on Guantanamo by building up defensive pillboxes and outposts. They will also practise river crossing and take part in air and ground manoeuvres. U.S. military observers say the presence of Cubans doesn't concern them, the whole idea was to let them see how swiftly U.S. power can be injected into the area.