On October 13, 1983, the Grenadian army, controlled by former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, seized power in a bloody coup. The violence, coupled with the Marxist tendencies of the leadership, created concern among neighboring Caribbean nations as well as the United States. There was fear that the Cuban government was gaining influence in Grenada, and, even more pressing, nearly 1,000 American medical students were considered at risk.
The Reagan administration viewed this coup as part of a worldwide threat by the Soviet Union and other Communist countries, especially Cuba. The administration opted to confront this perceived expansion of Marxist influence in the Caribbean.
Early in the morning of October 25, 1983, the United States invaded Grenada in Operation Urgent Fury. Nearly 1,200 American troops met stiff resistance from the Grenadian army and Cuban military units on the island. When the invasion force grew to 7,000, the opposition fled or surrendered. By mid-December, a pro-American government was in control.