Tanker War: America's First Conflict with Iran, 1987-88

Overview

In May 1987 the US guided missile frigate Stark, sailing the waters of the Persian Gulf, was suddenly blown apart by the air force of Iraq. A fifth of the crew were killed and many others horribly burned or wounded. This started one of the most mysterious and underwritten conflicts in American history: "The Tanker War," for control of the Mideast's oil supply.

This quasi-war took place in the shadows of the mammoth Iran-Iraq War, coinciding with the last years of the Reagan ...

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Overview

In May 1987 the US guided missile frigate Stark, sailing the waters of the Persian Gulf, was suddenly blown apart by the air force of Iraq. A fifth of the crew were killed and many others horribly burned or wounded. This started one of the most mysterious and underwritten conflicts in American history: "The Tanker War," for control of the Mideast's oil supply.

This quasi-war took place in the shadows of the mammoth Iran-Iraq War, coinciding with the last years of the Reagan administration. Losing on the battlefield, Iran had decided to close the Persian Gulf against shipments from Iraq, and their oil-rich backers, Kuwait. The Kuwaitis appealed for international help to protect their tankers, the Soviet Union was first to respond. Prompting the United States to react more energetically, and America sent its own fleet.

The result was a free-for-all, as the Iranians laid mines and launched attack boats. The US Navy fought its largest surface battle since World War II, against the Iranian assault boats.

In the meantime, US Navy Seals arrived in the Gulf, at an abandoned hulk from which they would sally out to combat the Iranians. These actions have become well known in Special Forces literature, but until now the public has not realized the magnitude of this secret war.

In July 1988, nervous triggermen aboard the USS Vincennes shot an Iranian airliner out of the sky, killing 300 civilians, one month before the end of the war. It may have been the final straw to influence the Ayatollah to finally drink from his "poisoned chalice," closing it down.

Lee Zatarain, a Washington-based attorney combined recently released Pentagon documents, firsthand interviews, and adetermination to find the truth resulting in the fantastic book. The Tanker War reveals a conflict that few of us recognized at the time. Now that the war drums are sounding again, it's fortunate that we can finally read the full story of America's first war against Iran in the Gulf.

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Editorial Reviews

Kitmaker Newtwork
...a very well documented book on a subject we saw flash on the nightly news back in the 1980's...an excellent book on a very little known conflict in US Naval History.
Naval War College Review
...a compelling and immensely readable account of one of the least-known chapters of the U.S. Navy's maritime combat operations... a must read for those who have a desire or a duty to understand how recent history may shape perceptions of these protagonists in the future.
Ships and Shipping
An excitingly written and very clear description of two oft forgotten but vitally important years in the relationship between Iran and the West.
US Naval Institute Proceedings
. . . a fine job of recounting a 20 year old fight that was no doubt just another round in a continuing struggle.
Internet Modeler
. . . an excellent book on a very little known conflict in US Naval History.
IPMS
. . . well researched . . . a compelling read for the armchair enthusiast and military veteran alike.
John R. Magweb.com
...does an excellent job of describing the tension aboard US ships and helicopter/ air crews... a good read and a fast one, especially for those of us unfamiliar with the "war" in the first place.
Modeling Madness
. . . one of the best reads of the year . . . the best and most accurate account of the events of that fateful time period . . . answers a lot of questions and brings up a few as all, It is one that you simply must read.
The Northern Mariner
Well paced and factual . . . clearly understands the details of war at sea. As the United States discusses a possible conflict with Iran in the global press, the important lessons outlined . . . become particularly valuable.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932033847
  • Publisher: Casemate Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/19/2008
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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