Operation Praying Mantis – 25 Years Later

Just before 5 p.m. on April 14, 1988, the guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) struck an Iranian M-08 naval mine while participating in Operation Earnest Will in the central Arabian Gulf.

USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) approaches the Panama Canal to transit from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, July 16, 2005. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg (Released))

USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG 58) approaches the Panama Canal to transit from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea, July 16, 2005. (U.S. Navy photo by Photographers Mate 2nd Class Michael Sandberg (Released))

 

The explosion blew a 21-foot hole in the side of the ship and nearly sank it. After the crew saved the ship and Roberts was towed to Dubai, Navy divers were sent to recover the remaining mines in the area. When the serial numbers on the mines were found to match those of mines seized from an Iranian minelayer the previous September, U.S. military officials planned a retaliatory operation against Iranian targets in the region. This led to the biggest surface-warfare battle since World War II, Operation Praying Mantis, 25 years ago today. (Reference: Operation Praying Mantis by Bradley Peniston)

The following video was released by Navy News shortly after the battle and recounts the events.

DN-SN-89-03126

An A-6E Intruder aircraft drops CBU-59 cluster bombs over Iranian targets.

DN-SC-93-00855

The guided-missile cruiser USS Wainwright (CG 28).

N-1601-BWN-88-000001-XX-0000

The Iranian frigate IS Sahand (F 74) burns after being attacked by the Joseph Strauss and A-6s. Sahand was hit by three Harpoon missiles, Skipper rocket-propelled bombs, a Walleye laser-guided bomb and several 1,000-pound bombs.

DM-SN-93-00985

The main building of the Iranian Sassan oil platform burns after being hit by a BGM-71 Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided (TOW) missile fired from a Marine AH-1 Cobra helicopter.

 

For more information on Navy History and Heritage visit, http://www.history.navy.mil/.