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View Full Version : 22nd Anniversary of Panama Invasion


Green Light
12-19-2010, 19:22
December 20th, 1989 at 0017 hours the war began for us with a fire fight. That was a day never to be forgotten. We had prepared as a unit for 18 months. We lost my team sergeant on a fast rope accident rehearsing for the attacks. He lived for 10 years but was paralyzed for the rest of his life. My senior engineer was on loan to another team and he was wounded. We had a VERY politically sensitive mission that was later obviated by events - it was better that way.

We hit national radio down town. Later, after a call from JCS, we loaded up and hit the AM side of it that was still operating. It looked like our commander was going to turn down the mission (he'd turned one down before daybreak) and I wasn't going to let that happen again. I told him that I'd been an engineer for 10 years and I could organize and prosecute the mission. We did it.

Things I remember: sitting on an island on New Year's Eve 1990. Some of the guys left $40 on the counter at a store and bought some bubbly. At midnight, we cracked it open to celebrate. The next day we road across the isthmus back to Ft Davis. The Panamanians cheered us the entire way across. We were greeted as heroes. Pretty headdy stuff.

After the shooting stopped, 7th Group ran the country. Period. It was the greatest thing I've ever seen. They ran cities and villiages, restarted electrical generation, ran courts and police departments, and in a couple of cases were judges. No one could have done it like the Devil's Brigade.

Way to go 7th SFGA. Congrats to all you Panama veterans. This is a forgotten war, but it was one of the most important battles of the Latin American Campaign.

uplink5
12-19-2010, 19:29
Way to go 7th SFGA. Congrats to all you Panama veterans. This is a forgotten war, but it was one of the most important battles of the Latin American Campaign.

Amen Brother!

I was in 5th GRP and on leave, and very envious. You guys did a great job....jd

Peregrino
12-19-2010, 19:45
A/2-7. We got to the party late but still had fun. "Go forth and do great things." My Co CDR had a sense of humor/history. Besides, he didn't know enough about the situation to tell me anything more explicit - nobody did. So we sallied forth and improvised madly. Heady days indeed. Thank you Stan B. for handing us a workable situation and all the ammo you didn't want to turn in! We stayed for six months before being relieved and I wound up going back almost immediately after returning to Bragg, spending the rest of 1990 working various projects in the CZ.

Dusty
12-19-2010, 19:47
Some amusing anecdotes came out of that episode. :D

ZonieDiver
12-19-2010, 20:40
22 years! How time flies. I remember being glued to the TV watching. Seeing places I'd been and knew was cool. My main remdmbrance was of the 82nd troops being mired in the muck of the outgoing tide .

Congrats to those who really made it happen, from a member of the 'Bayonet Brigade' from years before this event.

Green Light
12-20-2010, 05:28
While getting older is the preferred alternative, it does have its drawbacks. It was 21 years - my math hasn't gotten better with age. :D

dadof18x'er
12-20-2010, 06:20
December 20th, 1989 at 0017 hours the war began for us with a fire fight. That was a day never to be forgotten. We had prepared as a unit for 18 months. We lost my team sergeant on a fast rope accident rehearsing for the attacks. He lived for 10 years but was paralyzed for the rest of his life. My senior engineer was on loan to another team and he was wounded. We had a VERY politically sensitive mission that was later obviated by events - it was better that way.

We hit national radio down town. Later, after a call from JCS, we loaded up and hit the AM side of it that was still operating. It looked like our commander was going to turn down the mission (he'd turned one down before daybreak) and I wasn't going to let that happen again. I told him that I'd been an engineer for 10 years and I could organize and prosecute the mission. We did it.

Things I remember: sitting on an island on New Year's Eve 1990. Some of the guys left $40 on the counter at a store and bought some bubbly. At midnight, we cracked it open to celebrate. The next day we road across the isthmus back to Ft Davis. The Panamanians cheered us the entire way across. We were greeted as heroes. Pretty headdy stuff.

After the shooting stopped, 7th Group ran the country. Period. It was the greatest thing I've ever seen. They ran cities and villiages, restarted electrical generation, ran courts and police departments, and in a couple of cases were judges. No one could have done it like the Devil's Brigade.

Way to go 7th SFGA. Congrats to all you Panama veterans. This is a forgotten war, but it was one of the most important battles of the Latin American Campaign.

was this when the our guys came ashore at night only to be greeted by TV cameras and lights? I'll never forget the look on their faces.

Peregrino
12-20-2010, 07:38
was this when the our guys came ashore at night only to be greeted by TV cameras and lights? I'll never forget the look on their faces.

That was Marines in Somalia.

mac117
12-20-2010, 08:26
I found a box of embossed invitations in Manny's office in the Commandancia (I may have misspelled that) took one and wrote, " Dear Gen Noreiga, We, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces would like to thank you for having us in your country over the Christmas holidays. We hope you enjoy the United States as much as we have enjoyed Panama! Airborne!" Addressed it: General Manuel A. Noreiga (Ret) c/o Dade County Detention Center, Miami, Fla. Put his official stamp on the back and mailed it to him. Never heard if he received it or not, would like to think he did!

Can't believe it's been 21 years......Best live fire exercise I ever went on!

18DWife
12-20-2010, 08:35
:lifter <3

Santo Tomas
12-20-2010, 08:37
21 years!! I feel old now.............damn

1stindoor
12-20-2010, 09:25
Just Cause...or as I, a proud member of 1st Bn remember it, Just Them.:D

Habu-MFFI 175
12-23-2010, 20:40
Our unit was attached to 3/7 at the time. We had teams all over the place, Most were at PDF garrisons from David down across to Las Tablas, in those areas..:cool: We had 1 team based out of Rio Hato and later 2/7 came in an relieved our teams and we retured back to Bragg. Those guys came to stay for a 6 month tour, most relieved each team at the garrison sites.

Whew....I retired in Feb 92 so that definately makes me feel old..:)

Habu

Noslack71
12-23-2010, 22:53
For all of you that participated in Just Cause I want to say Thank you. I was there (83-86) my wife and I were threatened and held at gunpoint twice by PDF thugs. Once at Howard stables early one Sunday morning when one of their plainclothes (I cant remember the name of the not very secret police) was drunk coming from Vera Cruz driving way too fast, and I slowed him down (my wife was not in my car, she was waiting at the stables for me). Once past the housing area, I got out of his way, and and waited until he was well out of sight, and I thought out the gate. About ten minutes later he turned around and came back, I had a unique, VW convertible that he must of saw parked at the stables. I was mucking out a stable, when I was looking at the business end of a Browning Hi Power. All I had was a pitchfork in my hands. He just wasn't close enough for me to get to him. The second time the DENI Traffic cops stopped us just before I could get in the front gate at Howard. That _ _ _ _ was pointing what looked to be an 8" Smith my wife was pregnant (with our son, whose is now an Infantryman in the 82nd with one tour in Iraq) A few locals waiting for a Chiva Chiva bus helped us a bit because my wife was very pregnant, and the Howard AP's got there as well. We had the Grace of God with us both times.
Otherwise, I'm pretty sure he would have shot me. We knew how they abused the Panamanians I wanted my own payback but, you Gentlemen did a marvelous job and introduced those bastards to some long overdue justice.
Many Thanks!

Best Regards

Noslack

lksteve
12-24-2010, 09:31
While getting older is the preferred alternative, it does have its drawbacks. It was 21 years - my math hasn't gotten better with age. :DAnd you were an engineer? LOL...that extra year is just the "P" for plenty...

"Hey Sir, watch this..."

Green Light
12-25-2010, 22:30
And you were an engineer? LOL...that extra year is just the "P" for plenty...

"Hey Sir, watch this..."

Now that's just mean! :D All the neurons were firing back in those days. :p

lksteve
12-25-2010, 22:42
Just remember...takes one to know one....;

JAGO
12-28-2010, 06:39
... one of their plainclothes (I cant remember the name of the not very secret police) ...
Noslack

Noslack 71,
IIRC, "DNI".
v/r
phil

Jefe
03-21-2011, 15:58
Was with the 193rd down there and they were by far my best days in the Army. Was OPCON to 7th GRP on/off for about 6 months post invasion and what a great time. Just doing Zone Recons with 3-4 other guys mostly. Got to go everywhere but down south.

Have gone back several times since. The ANCON Deni Warehouse which was the site of a good fight is a new highway know and the 508th Barracks at Kobbe is the National Police Academy.

I wonder what ever become of the Caymans we had as mascots.

And 20 plus years? Wow. Most people will never know how close we came to losing the entire region to the Communists in those days and how IMO but for President Reagan we might very well have.

Now they are all coming back with Chavez, Morales and re-enter Ortega.

Stras
03-21-2011, 17:02
Just Because we could...

Did the Airfield Seizure with 2/75 at Rio Hato... damn Stealth fighter missed his target and took out the comissary. spent a couple of days pulling glass shards out of bread when we ran out of MREs.

Flew under the Bridge of Americas on the way back to Howard AFB.

Damn, I feel old.... celebrated my one year in the army anniversary in Panama..

MFFJM2
03-22-2011, 13:54
During Operation Just Cause and Promote Liberty I was assigned as the XO in B Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th SFG under CPT (P) Bruce Yost, the Company CO, and LTC Roy Trumble the BN CO. I remember hearing about the Fast Rope incident. Can't believe it's been 21 years.

kgoerz
03-22-2011, 17:16
Most exciting night of my life (A-1-7 SFG) As little as there was. It was my first combat experience. Ill say it again, thank god I went to 7th SFG. At least we invade countries with good looking women:lifter

alelks
03-22-2011, 18:09
Our unit was attached to 3/7 at the time. We had teams all over the place, Most were at PDF garrisons from David down across to Las Tablas, in those areas..:cool: We had 1 team based out of Rio Hato and later 2/7 came in an relieved our teams and we retured back to Bragg. Those guys came to stay for a 6 month tour, most relieved each team at the garrison sites.

Whew....I retired in Feb 92 so that definately makes me feel old..:)

Habu

I remember when you and I & the rest of ODA 712 were training up for that one. We were practicing our room entry /clearing techniques and you caught a front sight right between the eyes. I later got a class II sprain after practicing fast roping all day long. One one mission you were going to be on the 60 and I was going to be on the SAW. Too bad that one didn't go down. We had some good times.

Electron
05-10-2011, 15:56
parts of 2nd Bn landed at Allbrook AFB then convoyed to Rio Hato. Stayed in that vicinity until Jan. '90 just into Op Promote Liberty. Other than some coatimundi, bushmasters, and a silly yellow mongrel dog running around, things were pretty much under control.

Dusty
05-10-2011, 16:15
Prohibition was, in my opinion, the most distasteful event I can remember.

Qdini
05-11-2014, 09:21
I remember the best joke going around the hanger was directed at the Charlie Company studs and that same radio station:
The Commander said "Turn it down, not burn it down"

The Jolly Green almost blowing the roof off on Christmas day.

Watching the warehouse fire when Tom S. exclaimed "My household goods are in there!"

Locked up in Battery Pratt ..........

The aftermath; my wife going to work in full "battle rattle" in an APC while I drove off in a rental Landcruiser and polo shirt. My 3 year old daughter complaining about our porch light being shot out and "They didn't clean it up".

Panama was always interesting duty!

futureSOF
05-14-2014, 13:14
Was anyone at the Vatican embassy, and if so can you pm me? Recently my dad and my grandmom said that my dads cousin who was in panama with the 82nd was pulled to the embassy because he spoke fluent Spanish

Electron
03-17-2017, 23:27
Who could forget Christmas in Panama? I was at Rio Hato with 2nd Battalion. We Convoyed there from Allbrook. I was in the EMS shop at the time. I still have an old M16 bipod and a few AK bayonets among other mementos from Panama (nothing that goes bang or boom).

One memory I will never forget is when the cash for arms thing was going on, a 10 year old kid came to the front gate dragging a couple sandbags. I had a Spanish-English dictionary and tried to talk to the kid. All he did was laugh at my attempts at Spanish. I finally got from him that he wanted some money for what was in the bags. I asked him what in those bags was worth money and he dumped them out. They were full of live grenades!

Happy days.

SC Pete
03-24-2017, 15:57
Y'All brought back a lot of Memories... Was at Pacora Bridge. MAJ H and some of the boys of A/3/7 got to start the war-- Had permission to go "hot" one hour before H hour. Would have been pointless to wait until things started. Needed to keep Dos Mil from getting to Division's jump.