Operation Silver Anvil

Operation Silver Anvil

Operation Silver Anvil was a non-combatant evacuation operation carried out by United States armed forces in Sierra Leone in April-May 1992. The operation successfully evacuated more than 400 people from the country.[1]

President Joseph Saidu Momoh was overthrown in a coup d'état on April 29, 1992. The evacuating force from Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR), a subcommand of United States European Command, was commanded by Brigadier General Richard W. Potter.[1] Elements from Company C, 1st Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) [1-10th SFG (A)], and the 39th Special Operations Wing (later re-designated the 352d Special Operations Group), along with communication specialists from the SOCEUR Signal Detachment, other SOCEUR staff, two MC-130 Combat Talons from the 7th Special Operations Squadron, two HC-130 tankers from the 67th Special Operations Squadron, aircrews, combat controllers, and maintenance personnel.[1]

Company C was informed of the coup in Sierra Leone's capital, Freetown, on the night of April 29 while conducting an exercise in Stuttgart, Germany.[1] Work immediately began on mission planning and within 15 hours had "performed mission analysis, configured the unit's equipment, wrote orders, issued war-stocks, loaded the aircraft, and deployed."[1] Despite the widespread civil unrest, the special operations force, under the operational control of United States Air Forces in Europe (USAFE), "developed a rapport with the local military"[1][2] and over the next two days evacuated 438 people, including 42 third-country nationals and several United States Air Force Medical Civil Action Program (MEDCAP) personnel.[1] Two C-141s flew 136 people from Freetown to Rhein-Main Air Base, Germany, while C-130 sorties carried another 302 to Dakar, Senegal.[2]


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