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Old 12-19-2010, 19:22   #1
Green Light
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22nd Anniversary of Panama Invasion

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.
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Last edited by Green Light; 12-19-2010 at 19:25.
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Old 12-19-2010, 19:29   #2
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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
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Old 12-19-2010, 19:45   #3
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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.
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Old 12-19-2010, 19:47   #4
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Some amusing anecdotes came out of that episode.
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Old 12-19-2010, 20:40   #5
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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.
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Last edited by ZonieDiver; 12-19-2010 at 20:43. Reason: Fix
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:28   #6
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While getting older is the preferred alternative, it does have its drawbacks. It was 21 years - my math hasn't gotten better with age.
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Old 12-20-2010, 06:20   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Light View Post
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.
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:38   #8
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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.
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A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.

~ Marcus Tullius Cicero (42B.C)
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:26   #9
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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!
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:35   #10
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Old 12-20-2010, 08:37   #11
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21 years!! I feel old now.............damn
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:25   #12
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Just Cause...or as I, a proud member of 1st Bn remember it, Just Them.
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Old 12-23-2010, 20:40   #13
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Just Cause

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.. 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
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Old 12-23-2010, 22:53   #14
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Thanks

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
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:31   #15
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While getting older is the preferred alternative, it does have its drawbacks. It was 21 years - my math hasn't gotten better with age.
And you were an engineer? LOL...that extra year is just the "P" for plenty...

"Hey Sir, watch this..."
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