You want the truth? I mean, you really want to know what’s going on? I can tell you, man … because I’ve seen some shit. 19 years in the U.S. Army, seven as a Ranger, and you get in the thick of it. They’re hiding things, man. Bad things.
On October 25, 1983, 7,300 U.S. troops, with Air Force and Navy support, parachuted into Grenada under the pretext of freeing the tiny Caribbean island after a military coup. Rumor had it that Cuba was backing the new regime and the country would go communist. It was two days after the Beirut Marine barracks bombing that killed 241 servicemen. Tensions were high. President Reagan gave the order and Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopf himself led the ground assault.
All of this was big headlines for all of a weekend. The shooting was over in less than 48 hours. The U.N. Security Council voted to condemn the attacks, but the resolution was quickly forgotten.
Lost in all of that noise was the true purpose of the invasion.
What is Grenada’s chief export? Spices. Specifically, nutmeg. Grenada is the world’s largest exporter of nutmeg.
In 1983, stockpiles of nutmeg in the United States were at all-time lows. It was October: Thanksgiving was right around the corner. What’s more American than Thanksgiving? Nothing. And what’s Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie?… I think you can see where this was headed.
The fear was that military strongman Bernard Coard would leverage his country’s nutmeg-exporting power to force the US. and its partners in the region to abandon military bases in the Caribbean, making way for a Soviet presence. In covert circles, this was called the “Nutmeg Gambit.” And it damn near worked. When Coard threatened to burn the nutmeg stockpiles in the event of an invasion, our hands were temporarily tied.
But thanks to the Navy SEALS who disabled the cargo ships in St. George’s harbor, and Army Rangers like me who captured the silos where the spices were stored, the crisis was averted. The real mission was covered up and the American public never knew how close we came to having Thanksgiving without pie. And the government began to build a strategic reserve of nutmeg—and other spices as well—to make sure no foreign power could ever use our love of seasoning against us again.
Anyway, it was a crazy weekend. I probably shouldn’t tell you this, but … who would believe you, anyway, right? I should go. Stay safe and enjoy the pie.