In the predawn darkness of 15 April 1986, the sky along the Libyan coast suddenly erupted in blinding fire and dense smoke. U.S. Navy attack aircraft from carriers in the central Mediterranean and U.S. Air Force fighter-bombers based in England had begun their attacks on terrorist facilities and military installations in or near the cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. President Ronald Reagan had ordered the operation—code-named El Dorado Canyon—in retaliation for the Libyan government’s involvement in the bombing of a West Berlin discotheque that killed one off-duty American Soldier and mortally wounded another.
America's First Strike Against Terrorism
Twenty-five years ago, the Navy played an indispensable role in the U.S. confrontation with Moammar Gadhafi, a showdown that culminated with a night of air strikes against terrorist-related targets in Libya.
Lieutenant Commander Joseph T. Stanik, U.S. Navy (Retired)