Back in 1988, the USS Samuel B. Roberts, a U.S. Navy guided-missile frigate escorting Kuwaiti oil tankers through the Persian Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war, struck an Iranian mine which almost sank the ship.

Here’s what then President Ronald Reagan did next:

The opener:

“They must know that we will protect our ships, and if they threaten us, they will pay a price.”

With those words, President Ronald Reagan justified his approval of Operation Praying Mantis, a day-long engagement in which U.S. Navy and Marine forces delivered a powerful response to the Iranian assault of the USS Samuel B. Roberts. A hidden Iranian mine had struck the frigate in the open waters of the Persian Gulf on April 14, 1988. No sailors died, but several were injured and the ship was severely damaged.

Operation Praying Mantis remains the largest surface battle engaged in by the U.S. Navy since World War II, and its outcome was decisive. According to official reports released afterward, using a combination of anti-ship missiles, naval gunfire, and aircraft launched from several ships, including the aircraft carrier the USS Enterprise, the Navy destroyed two oil platforms used by Iran for intelligence collection, sank 4 small Iranian Navy boats, sank an Iranian frigate, and severely damaged another Iranian warship.

The rest here.



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