Armed Forces: Modern Spanish Armada

A U.S. Navy Skyhawk darted above the calm waters off Spain's Mazagón beach, its lights flashing in the early dawn. On that cue, 84 U.S. Navy ships, ten U.S. merchant ships and 14 small Spanish vessels began churning about in the largest military landing operation since World War II. This was Steel Pike I—the Navy's attempt to prove that old-fashioned assault by sea still holds some advantages over the modern trend toward movement of men by air.

For two hours, 95 helicopters took off from the decks of the carriers Guadalcanal, Boxer and...

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