Operation Praying Mantis was a significant U.S. military action executed on April 18, 1988, marking the largest naval battle since World War II. The operation was a response to the escalating tensions between the United States and Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, particularly after the USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine in the Persian Gulf.
The Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) led to a heightened American naval presence in the region to protect shipping lanes and ensure the flow of oil. Iran’s aggressive tactics, including mining international waters and attacking non-combatant vessels, had increased tensions between the two countries. The mine incident involving the USS Samuel B. Roberts resulted in significant damage to the ship and the injury of ten crew members, prompting the U.S. to retaliate.
Operation Praying Mantis effectively displayed U.S. naval power and served as a strong deterrent against future Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf. The operation marked a significant turning point in the Iran-Iraq War, which would come to an end in August 1988. The lasting impact of Operation Praying Mantis demonstrated the importance of maintaining freedom of navigation and the significance of a strong naval presence in maintaining global stability.