After a five-year span of global terrorism that claimed over 300 American lives abroad, the U.S. government, acting on substantiated proof that Libya sponsored the attacks, launched Operation EL DORADO CANYON. Twenty-nine U.S. Air Force F-111 Aardvarks joined the armada of over 70 U.S. Navy and Air Force fighter and support aircraft to successfully destroy five Libyan targets in the form of air defense systems and terrorist training facilities.
It was the United States' first retaliatory air strike in response to terrorism and also the farthest mission ever flew by tactical aircraft. (6,400 miles and 13 hours in duration.).
The difficulties of the mission were great. Most of the air crews, except the flight leaders, had never before seen combat. Most had never refueled from a KC-10, and none had done so at night in radio silence.