20 July 1974 - Present
On 20 July 1974 Turkey launched a military invasion by air, land and sea against Cyprus purportedly to restore constitutional order following an Athens orchestrated coup by the Cypriot National Guard against the President of Cyprus, Makarios III.
Turkey invaded Cyprus in two waves on the 20 July and 14 August occupying 37% of the island's territory contrary to a series of UN Security Council and UN General Assembly resolutions demanding the end of all military action in Cyprus and the removal of the Turkish Army from island.
The result of the invasion was the creation of an internationally unrecognized Turkish Cypriot breakaway state in the areas under Turkish occupation and the ethnic cleansing of over 160,000 Greek Cypriots who made up the overwhelming majority of the population of these areas. The invasion also led to the displacement of about 50,000 Turkish Cypriots who left the areas under the control of the Republic of Cyprus moved to the areas under Turkish military control and settled in the homes and properties left behind by the Greek Cypriots.
In July and August of 1974 the U.S.S. Little Rock was in the Mediterranean.
The Crew Remembers:
John Meyers on 8/23/07 asked:
“Anyone remember the emergency recall for the Cyprus Crisis while the Little Rock was in Gaeta. I believe it was issued on Saturday, July 20, 1974. The Little Rock got underway two hours after the all hands recall was issued with about 95 percent of the crew making it back onboard. Anyone remember not making it back in time? I wonder what the missing crew members did to make it back onboard.”
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James “Jimmy” Reeves (SN 1974-75) replied on 8/23/07
John, I think all the Missile House gang made it back. I remember hearing the ships horn blasting from my apartment. I think we had all been warned ahead of time that we might have to go so most of us stayed close.
As for the cruise I think some of our Marines were transferred off the Rock to another ship, maybe to help with the actual evacuation I never knew. I seem to remember staying out about 3 weeks and on the return to Gaeta the Captain stopped everything and had (swim call). A Marine in a boat with a M14 on shark patrol while some of us jumped in from the fantail. Not me though , after all what's worse getting eaten by a shark or shot by a Marine, I decided to watch. OK some of you guys help me out here the memory slips sometimes.
I remember making two trips to Alexandria Egypt while I was on the Rock in 74&75 Did we make one of these trips while on the Cyprus Recall?
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John Meyers on 8/24/07 responded:
“Hi Jimmy: I suspect the marines were transferred to the USS Inchon (LPH 12) to assist with evacuation of civilians from Cyprus. Any comment from the (Little Rock) Marine contingent?
The U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus, Roger Davies urgently requested the evacuation of U.S. citizens from the island. On July 22, with the USS Forrestal providing air cover, marine helicopter squadron HMM-162 from the USS Inchon evacuated 466 people, 384 of them U.S. citizens, over a period of five hours. The Little Rock and other units of the Sixth Fleet provided operational support during the evacuation and remained on station until July 28, 1974.
Someone from the Inchon might be able to fill in some details. The Inchon at the time was assigned to Sixth Fleet Task Force 65, which was established to help the Egyptians get the Suez Canal operational.
The Sixth Fleet assist with the Suez Canal opened the door for our visit to Alexandria, Egypt. The Little Rock was there from July 29 to August 1.
A Greek Cypriot assassinated Ambassador Davies inside the American Embassy on August 19, 1974.”
Wikipedia Cyprus Coup d'Etat Page