At dawn, on October 25, 1983, US Marines, Army Rangers, Navy SEal commandos and elements of the 82nd Airborne Division invaded Grenada, a member of the British Commonwealth. The announced mission of the American suprise attack, in which troops from a number of Caribbean nations took part, was to ensure the safety of some 1,000 Americans, whose presence on Grenada (most were medical students) was considered endangered by the new marxist military government that had seized power from and murdered Prime Minister Maurice Bishop (1944-83) six days earlier. The Organization of Eastern Caribbean States and Grenada's Governor-General Sir Paul Scoon (1935-) had requested US help to combat the growing influence of Cuba and other communist countries on the island. The small Grenadian army, assisted by Cuban soldiers and workers who were constructing a large airport at Point Salines, put up fierce resistance for several days, but were eventually overwhelmed by the invasion force, which had grown from about 1,200 to over 7,000. Numerous rebles fled to the interior jungles and kept fighting; within a month the leaders of the military government were arrested, and Cubans, Russians, North Koreans, Libyans, East Germans, Bulgarians and suspected Grenadian communists had been rounded up and put in a detention camp. By mid-December 1983, all US combat forces had left Grenada, and Scoon had appointed a nine-member advisory council to govern until elections could be held.