At midnight on the 24th of October, 1983, two companies of U.S. Army Rangers boarded USAF C-130 aircraft for a flight south. Their mission, to land on and secure the runway at Port Salinas Airport on the island of Grenada. This would set the conditions for the reception of follow on forces tasked to rescue American students, remove Cuban forces and install a democratic government.
The original plan had been to land and disembark the troops for combat operations. During the flight, the unit commander learned that the Cuban advisors had blocked the runway with construction equipment, thus preventing the landing of aircraft. This changed the operation from an air-land assault (much simpler) to a parachute operation (much more complex and dangerous). As anyone can tell you, doing inflight rigging for parachute ops while stuffed in the back of a C-130 with over 60 other paratroopers is no mean feat.
The Rangers managed to get it done with their usual fortitude and at 0530 local time, began descending by parachute to engage enemy forces. By 1000 hours, the runway had been cleared and follow on forces had begun to arrive. Within a few days and in coordination with Naval, Marine and Air Force elements, major combat operations had ceased with all objectives met and American students airlifted back home to the United States.