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United States invasion of Panama

United States invasion of Panama

Encyclopedia
The United States Invasion of Panama, code-named Operation Just Cause, was the invasion of Panama
Panama
Panama , officially the Republic of Panama , is the southernmost country of Central America. Situated on the isthmus connecting North and South America, it is bordered by Costa Rica to the northwest, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The...

 by the United States in December 1989. It occurred during the administration of U.S. President George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

, and ten years after the Torrijos–Carter Treaties were ratified to transfer control of the Panama Canal
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is a ship canal in Panama that joins the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean and is a key conduit for international maritime trade. Built from 1904 to 1914, the canal has seen annual traffic rise from about 1,000 ships early on to 14,702 vessels measuring a total of 309.6...

 from the United States to Panama by the year 2000.

During the invasion, de facto Panamanian leader, general, and dictator Manuel Noriega
Manuel Noriega
Manuel Antonio Noriega Moreno is a Panamanian politician and soldier. He was military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989.The 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States removed him from power; he was captured, detained as a prisoner of war, and flown to the United States. Noriega was tried on...

 was deposed, president-elect Guillermo Endara
Guillermo Endara
Guillermo David Endara Galimany was the President of Panama from 1989 to 1994. He ran for office in 2004 and 2009 but lost to the former President Martin Torrijos and to the incumbent President Ricardo Martinelli....

 sworn into office and the Panamanian Defense Force
Military of Panama
The Panamanian Public Forces are the national defense forces of Panama. Panama is the second country in Latin America to permanently abolish standing armies, leaving it with only small para-military forces. This came as a result of a US invasion that overthrew a military dictatorship which ruled...

 dissolved.

Background



The Torrijos–Carter Treaties, which set in motion the process of handing the Panama Canal over to Panamanian control, was signed by President of the United States Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

 and President of Panama Omar Torrijos
Omar Torrijos
Omar Efraín Torrijos Herrera was the Commander of the Panamanian and National Guard and the de facto leader of Panama from 1968 to 1981...

 on 7 September 1977.
U.S. relations with General Noriega spanned the latter half of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 between the United States and Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, when Noriega served as a U.S. intelligence asset and paid informant by the Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

. Noriega worked as an asset for the US since 1967, including when Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 was head (1976–77) of the CIA.

Noriega had sided with the US rather than the USSR in Central America, notably in sabotaging the forces of the Soviet backed government in Nicaragua, the Sandinistas, and the revolutionaries of the FMLN group in El Salvador
El Salvador
El Salvador or simply Salvador is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. The country's capital city and largest city is San Salvador; Santa Ana and San Miguel are also important cultural and commercial centers in the country and in all of Central America...

. Noriega receiving only upwards of $100,000 per year from the 1960s until the 1980s, when his salary was increased to $200,000 per year, for his loyalty and efforts against the much better funded Soviet backed proto-autocrats. Although he worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration
The Drug Enforcement Administration is a federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the United States...

 to restrict illegal drug shipments, he was known to accept a very significant amount of financial support from drug dealers themselves simultaneously, because he facilitated the laundering of drug money, and through him they received protection from DEA investigations due to Noriega's special relationship with the CIA.

Beginning in 1986, U.S. President Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 negotiated with General Noriega, requesting that the Panamanian leader peacefully step down after Noriega was publicly exposed in the New York Times by Seymour Hersh, and later exposed in the Iran-Contra Scandal. Reagan pressured him with several drug-related indictments in U.S. courts, however, since extradition laws between Panama and the U.S. were weak, Noriega deemed this threat incredible, and did not bend to Reagan's efforts. In 1988, Elliot Abrams and members of the Pentagon began pushing for U.S. invasion, but Reagan refused, due to Bush being tied to Noriega through his previous positions with the CIA and the Task Force on Drugs, and their negative impact on Bush's presidential campaign. Later negotiations involved dropping the drug-trafficking indictments. In March 1988, an attempted coup against the government of Panama was resisted by Noriega's forces. In May '89, during the national elections, an alliance of parties opposed to the military dictatorship of Manuel Noriega counted results from the country's election precincts before they were sent to the district centers. Their tally showed their candidate, Guillermo Endara
Guillermo Endara
Guillermo David Endara Galimany was the President of Panama from 1989 to 1994. He ran for office in 2004 and 2009 but lost to the former President Martin Torrijos and to the incumbent President Ricardo Martinelli....

 defeating Carlos Duque, candidate of a pro-Noriega coalition, by a nearly 3-to-1 margin. Endara was beaten up by Noriega supporters the next day in his motorcade. Noriega declared the election null and maintained power by force, making him unpopular among Panamanians. Noriega's government insisted that they won the presidential election and irregularities had been on the part of U.S.-backed candidates from opposition parties. Bush called on Noriega to honor the will of the Panamanian people.

In October 1989, Noriega foiled a second coup attempt by members of the PDF, led by Major Moisés Giroldi
Moisés Giroldi
Moisés Giroldi Vera was a Panamanian military commander noted for his coup attempt against military leader Manuel Noriega in 1989.Giroldi was born in a family of Italian descent. He was educated at the School of the Americas and joined the Panamanian Defense Forces, at the time commanded by Manuel...

. Pressure mounted on Bush, as the media labeled him a "wimp" for failing to aid Panama amidst his campaign rhetoric that called for a tough stand against known drug traffickers. Bush declared that the U.S. would not negotiate with a known drug-trafficker and denied having any knowledge of Noriega's involvement with the drug trade prior to his February 1988 indictment, although Bush met with Noriega while Director of the Central Intelligence, and was the Chair of the Task Force on Drugs while Vice President. President Bush's allegations that forces under Noriega's command had shot and killed an unarmed American serviceman, wounded another, arrested and brutally beat a third American serviceman and then brutally interrogated his wife, threatening her with sexual abuse, were cited by US Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering
Thomas R. Pickering
Thomas Reeve "Tom" Pickering , is a retired United States ambassador. Among his many diplomatic appointments, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1989 to 1992.-Early life:...

 to the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 as sufficient grounds for invasion as an act of self-defense within Article 51 of the UN charter.

Three incidents in particular occurred very near the time of the invasion, and were mentioned by US President George H.W. Bush as a reason for invasion.
In a 16 December incident, four U.S. military personnel were stopped at a roadblock outside PDF headquarters in the El Chorrillo neighborhood of Panama City. The United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 claimed that the servicemen were unarmed and in a private vehicle and that they attempted to flee the scene only after their vehicle was surrounded by a crowd of civilians and PDF troops. The PDF claimed the Americans were armed and on a reconnaissance mission. None of the US personnel were injured or killed in the incident.

U.S. Marine
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

, 2nd Lt. Robert Paz, returning from a restaurant in Panama City, was stopped and harassed. As he attempted to flee, he was shot and killed. The Los Angeles Times claimed that "according to American military and civilian sources" the officer killed was a member of the "Hard Chargers", a group whose goal was to agitate members of the PDF. It was also alleged that the group's "tactics were well known by ranking U.S. officers" who were frustrated by "Panamanian provocations committed under dictator Manuel A. Noriega", although the group was not officially sanctioned by the military. The US Marines denied that such a group ever existed.

According to an official U.S. military report "witnesses to the incident, a U.S. naval officer and his wife were assaulted by Panamanian Defense Force soldiers while in police custody".

United States' justification for the invasion


The official United States justification for the invasion was articulated by President George H. W. Bush on the morning of 20 December 1989, a few hours after the start of the operation. President Bush listed four reasons for the invasion:
  • Safeguarding the lives of U.S. citizens in Panama. In his statement, Bush claimed that Noriega had declared that a state of war existed between the United States and Panama and that he also threatened the lives of the approximately 35,000 US citizens living there. There had been numerous clashes between U.S. and Panamanian forces; one US Marine had been killed a few days earlier and several incidents of harassment of US citizens had taken place.
  • Defending democracy and human rights
    Human rights
    Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

     in Panama.
  • Combating drug trafficking. Panama had become a center for drug money laundering
    Money laundering
    Money laundering is the process of disguising illegal sources of money so that it looks like it came from legal sources. The methods by which money may be laundered are varied and can range in sophistication. Many regulatory and governmental authorities quote estimates each year for the amount...

     and a transit point for drug trafficking to the United States and Europe.
  • Protecting the integrity of the Torrijos–Carter Treaties. Members of Congress and others in the U.S. political establishment claimed that Noriega threatened the neutrality of the Panama Canal and that the United States had the right under the treaties to intervene militarily to protect the Panama canal.


U.S. military forces were instructed to begin maneuvers and activities within the restrictions of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties, such as ignoring PDF roadblocks and conducting short-notice "Category Three" military exercises on security-sensitive targets, with the express goal of provoking PDF soldiers. U.S. SOUTHCOM kept a list of abuses against U.S. servicemen and civilians by the PDF while the orders to incite PDF soldiers were in place. In regard to the Panamanian legislature's declaration of a state of war between the United States and Panama, Noriega insists that this statement referred to a state of war directed by the U.S. against Panama, in the form of what he claimed were harsh economic sanctions and constant, provocative military maneuvers (Operations Purple Storm
Operation Purple Storm
Operation Purple Storm was a series of United States Southern Command, or the United States Army South exercises in Panama in 1989 that aimed to both assert United States treaty rights and to conduct tactical rehearsals for Operation Just Cause. These exercises were claimed to be carried out to...

 and Sand Flea
Operation Sand Flea
Operation Sand Flea was a series of training exercises for the December 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States. These troop movements and practice assaults were disguised as training to defend the Panama Canal...

) that were prohibited by the Torrijos-Carter Treaties. The U.S. had turned a blind-eye to Noriega's involvement in drug trafficking since the 1970s. Noriega was then singled out for direct involvement in these drug trafficking operations due to the widespread public knowledge of his involvement in money laundering, drug activities, political murder, and the abuse of human rights. Panama, before the contended 'declaration of war' against the US, had instigated no hostile actions against any other country.

Bush's four reasons for the invasion provided enough justification for the invasion to establish bi-partisan Congressional approval and support for the invasion. However, the secrecy before initiation, speed and success of the invasion itself, and U.S. public support for it (80% public approval) did not allow Democrats to object to Bush's decision to use military force. Contemporary studies reveal a high probability that Bush decided to invade for domestic political reasons, citing scarce strategic reasoning for the U.S. to invade and immediate withdrawal without establishing the structure to enforce the interests that Bush used to justify the invasion.

Invasion


The U.S. Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

, U.S. Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

, U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

 and U.S. Marines
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 participated in Operation Just Cause. Ground forces consisted of combat elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps
U.S. XVIII Airborne Corps
The XVIII Airborne Corps is the corps of the United States Army designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world. It is referred to as "America's Contingency Corps". Its headquarters are at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.-World War II:...

, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 7th Infantry Division (Light)
U.S. 7th Infantry Division
The 7th Infantry Division was an infantry division of the United States Army. It was activated in December 1917 in World War I, inactivated in August 2006 following the end of the Cold War, and based at Fort Ord, California for most of its history...

, the 75th Ranger Regiment, a Joint Special Operations Task Force, elements of the 5th Infantry Division
U.S. 5th Infantry Division
The 5th Infantry Division —nicknamed the Red Diamond, the Red Devils, or die Roten Teufel—was an infantry division of the United States Army that served in World War I, World War II and the Vietnam War, and with NATO and the U.S. Army III Corps...

 (1st Battalion, 61st US Infantry and 4th Battalion, 6th United States Infantry (replacing 1\61st in September 1989)), 1138th Military Police Company of the Missouri Army National Guard
Missouri Army National Guard
The Missouri Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. Nationwide, the Army National Guard comprises approximately one half of the US Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organization...

, 193rd Infantry Brigade
193rd Infantry Brigade (United States)
The 193rd Infantry Brigade is a United States Army infantry brigade, which was originally constituted in the Army's organized reserves on 24 June 1922 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 193rd Infantry Brigade and assigned to the 97th Division. The brigade was reorganized and reconstituted in...

, 508th Infantry Regiment, 59th Engineer Co. (Sappers), Marine Security Forces Battalion Panama, and elements from the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment
3rd Battalion 6th Marines
3rd Battalion 6th Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Also known as "Teufelhunden", it consists of approximately 1000 Marines and Sailors...

, Marine Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams, 2nd Armored Infantry Battalion, and 2nd Marine Logistics Group
2nd Marine Logistics Group
The 2nd Marine Logistics Group is a logistics unit of the United States Marine Corps and is headquartered at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. 2nd MLG was formerly known as 2nd Force Service Support Group , reorganized with its sister FSSGs into Marine Logistics Groups in 2005...

.

The military incursion into Panama began on 20 December 1989, at 0100 local time. The operation involved 27,684 U.S. troops and over 300 aircraft—including C-130 Hercules tactical transports flown by the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing (which was equipped with the Adverse Weather Aerial Delivery System or AWADS) and 314th Tactical Airlift Wing, AC-130 Spectre gunship, OA-37B Dragonfly
A-37 Dragonfly
The Cessna A-37 Dragonfly, or Super Tweet, is a United States light attack aircraft developed from the T-37 Tweet basic trainer in the 1960s and 1970s...

 observation and attack aircraft, C-141 Starlifter strategic transports, F-117A Nighthawk
F-117 Nighthawk
The Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk was a single-seat, twin-engine stealth ground-attack aircraft formerly operated by the United States Air Force . The F-117A's first flight was in 1981, and it achieved initial operating capability status in October 1983...

 stealth aircraft flown by the 37th Tactical Fighter Wing
37th Training Wing
The 37th Training Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.The 37th TRW provides basic military, professional and technical skills, and English language training for the Air Force, other military services, government agencies, and...

, and AH-64 Apache
AH-64 Apache
The Boeing AH-64 Apache is a four-blade, twin-engine attack helicopter with a tailwheel-type landing gear arrangement, and a tandem cockpit for a two-man crew. The Apache was developed as Model 77 by Hughes Helicopters for the United States Army's Advanced Attack Helicopter program to replace the...

 attack helicopter. The invasion of Panama was the first combat deployment for the AH-64, the HMMWV and the F-117A. Panamanian radar units were jammed by two EF-111As' of the 390th ECS, 366th TFW. These aircraft were deployed against the 46,000 members of the Panamanian Defense Force (PDF).

The operation began with an assault of strategic installations such as the civilian Punta Paitilla Airport
Operation Nifty Package
Operation Nifty Package was a United States Navy SEALs-operated plan conducted in 1989 designed to capture Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. When Noriega took refuge in the Vatican embassy, deafening music and other psychological warfare were used to convince him to exit and surrender himself.The...

 in Panama City, a PDF garrison and airfield at Rio Hato, where Noriega also maintained a residence. U.S. Navy SEALS destroyed Noriega's private jet and a Panamanian gunboat. A Panamanian ambush killed four SEALS and wounded nine. Other military command centers throughout the country were also attacked. The attack on the central headquarters of the PDF (referred to as La Comandancia) touched off several fires, one of which destroyed most of the adjoining and heavily populated El Chorrillo neighborhood in downtown Panama City. During the firefight at the Comandancia, the PDF downed two special operations helicopters and forced one OH-6 Little Bird
Hughes H-6
The Hughes OH-6 Cayuse is a single-engine light helicopter with a four-bladed main rotor used for personnel transport, escort and attack missions, and observation...

 to crash-land in the Panama Canal.

Fort Amador was secured by elements of the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and 59th Engineer Company (sappers) in a nighttime air assault which secured the fort in the early hours of 20 December. Fort Amador was a key position because of its relationship to the large oil farms adjacent to the canal, the Bridge of the Americas
Bridge of the Americas
The Bridge of the Americas is a road bridge in Panama, which spans the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. Completed in 1962, at a cost of US$20 million, it was the only non-swinging bridge connecting the north and south American land masses until the opening of the Centennial Bridge in 2004...

 over the canal, and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal. There were key command and control elements of the PDF stationed at Fort Amador.

Furthermore, Fort Amador also had a large US housing area that needed to be secured to prevent the PDF from taking US citizens as hostages. This position also protected the left flank of the attack on the Comadancia and the securing of the neighborhood El Chorrillos, guarded by Dignity Battalions
Dignity Battalions
The Dignity Battalions were paramilitary combatants created by Panama's military government in the 1980s to help train workers and farmers to defend Panama against invasion by the United States...

: Noriega supporters the US forces sometimes referred to as Dingbats.

A few hours after the invasion began, Guillermo Endara was sworn in at Rodman Naval Station. It is generally agreed that Endara would have been the victor in the presidential election which had been scheduled earlier that year. The 1138th Military Police Company of the Missouri Army National Guard set up a detainee camp at Empire Range to handle the mass of civilian and military detainees. This unit made history by being the first Guard unit called into active service since the Vietnam War.

Noriega's capture


Operation Nifty Package
Operation Nifty Package
Operation Nifty Package was a United States Navy SEALs-operated plan conducted in 1989 designed to capture Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. When Noriega took refuge in the Vatican embassy, deafening music and other psychological warfare were used to convince him to exit and surrender himself.The...

 was an operation launched by Navy SEALs to prevent the escape of Noriega. They sank Noriega's boat and destroyed his jet at a cost of 4 killed and 9 wounded. Military operations continued for several weeks, mainly against military units of the Panamanian Army. Noriega remained at large for several days, but realizing he had few options in the face of a massive manhunt, with a one million dollar reward for his capture, he obtained refuge in the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

 diplomatic mission in Panama City. The US military's psychological pressure on him and diplomatic pressure on the Vatican mission, however, was relentless, as was the playing of loud rock-and-roll music day and night in a densely populated area. The report of the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Joint Chiefs of Staff
The Joint Chiefs of Staff is a body of senior uniformed leaders in the United States Department of Defense who advise the Secretary of Defense, the Homeland Security Council, the National Security Council and the President on military matters...

 maintains that the music was used principally to prevent parabolic microphone
Parabolic microphone
A parabolic microphone is a microphone that uses a parabolic reflector to collect and focus sound waves onto a receiver, in much the same way that a parabolic antenna does with radio waves...

s from being used to eavesdrop on negotiations, and not as a psychological weapon based around Noriega's supposed loathing of rock music.
Noriega finally surrendered to the U.S. military on 3 January 1990. He was immediately put on an MC-130 Combat Talon
MC-130 Combat Talon
The Lockheed MC-130 is the basic designation for a family of special mission aircraft operated by the United States Air Force Special Operations Command , a wing of the Air Education and Training Command, and an AFSOC-gained wing of the Air Force Reserve Command...

 aircraft and flown to the United States.

While some US Marine units continued their deployment, others that had been deployed since 3 October 1989, began returning on 12 January 1990. Along with units of the 193rd Infantry Brigade, 508th Airborne Infantry and 59th Engineer Company (Sapper), 16th Military Police Brigade, these units continued "police" patrols throughout Panama City, and areas west of the Canal, to restore law and order and support the newly installed government (under the moniker Operation Promote Liberty). Two of these units were 5th BN 21st Infantry (Light) of the 7th Light Infantry Division and the 555th Military Police, who had been in country since 20 December 1989. Another was Kilo Co. 3BN 6MAR, deployed initially on 1 October 1989, stayed deployed in the jungles surrounding Howard AFB until April 1990. All three of these units fought the PDF and then trained the Panamanian Police Force who were prior PDF.

Casualties


There is more agreement about the number of United States military casualties but less agreement on the number of civilian or Panamanian casualties. Reports suggest that the U.S. lost 23 troops, and 325 were wounded (WIA
Wounded in action
Wounded in action describes soldiers who have been wounded while fighting in a combat zone during war time, but have not been killed. Typically it implies that they are temporarily or permanently incapable of bearing arms or continuing to fight....

). The U.S. Southern Command, at that time based on Quarry Heights in Panama, estimated the number of Panamanian military dead at 205, lower than its original estimate of 314.

There has been considerable controversy over the number of Panamanian civilian casualties resulting from the invasion. The Southern Command estimated that number at 200. Civilian fatalities include an American schoolteacher working in Panama, and Spanish freelance press photographer José Manuel Rodríguez. According to official Pentagon figures 516 Panamanians were killed during the invasion; however, an internal Army memo estimated the number at 1,000.

The UN estimated 2,500 deaths and the Association of the Dead of 20 Dec. estimated 4,000 deaths. Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Central American (CODEHUCA) estimated 2,500–3,000 deaths and Commission for the Defense of Human Rights in Panama (Comision Nacional de Derechos Humanos de Panama, CONADEHUPA) estimated 3,500 deaths. Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights
Physicians for Human Rights was founded in 1986 by a small group of doctors who believed the unique scientific expertise and authority of health professionals could bring human rights violations to light and provide justice for victims...

 in a report issued one year after the invasion, estimated that "at least 300 Panamanian civilians died due to the invasion"; another by former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark
Ramsey Clark
William Ramsey Clark is an American lawyer, activist and former public official. He worked for the U.S. Department of Justice, which included service as United States Attorney General from 1967 to 1969, under President Lyndon B. Johnson...

 claimed over 4,000 deaths. The report also concluded that "neither Panamanian nor U.S. governments provided a careful accounting of non-lethal injuries" and that "relief efforts were inadequate to meet the basic needs of thousands of civilians made homeless by the invasion". The report estimated the number of displaced civilians to be over 15,000, whereas the U.S. military provided support for only 3,000 of these. Other estimates have suggested that between 2,000 and 5,000 civilians died, some arguing that this was a result of use of excessive force and novel weapons by the U.S military.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights. Its headquarters are in New York City and it has offices in Berlin, Beirut, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo,...

's 1991 report on Panama in the post-invasion aftermath, stated that even with some uncertainties about the scale of civilian casualties, the figures are "still troublesome" because

"[Panama's civilian deaths] reveal that the 'surgical operation' by American forces inflicted a toll in civilian lives that was at least four-and-a-half times higher than military casualties in the enemy, and twelve or thirteen times higher than the casualties suffered by U.S. troops. By themselves these ratios suggest that the rule of proportionality and the duty to minimize harm to civilians, where doing so would not compromise a legitimate military objective, were not faithfully observed by the invading U.S. forces. For us, the controversy over the number of civilian casualties should not obscure the important debate on the manner in which those people died."

Origin of the name "Operation Just Cause"


Operation plans directed against Panama evolved from plans designed to defend the Canal. They became more aggressive as the situation between the two nations deteriorated. The Prayer Book
Operation Prayer Book
Prayer Book was a series of military plans operations in Panama drawn up beginning in April 1988 as relations between the United States and Panama deteriorated. The operation consisted of four separate operations: Klondike Key, Post Time, Blue Spoon, and Blind Logic...

 series of plans included rehearsals for a possible clash (Operation Purple Storm
Operation Purple Storm
Operation Purple Storm was a series of United States Southern Command, or the United States Army South exercises in Panama in 1989 that aimed to both assert United States treaty rights and to conduct tactical rehearsals for Operation Just Cause. These exercises were claimed to be carried out to...

) and missions to secure US sites (Operation Bushmaster
Operation Bushmaster
Operation Bushmaster was the use of infantry units to supplement Military Police patrols of areas surrounding the Panama Canal and other American installations in Panama during the period of tension that culminated in the US Invasion of Panama. These patrols began in December 1987 as a response to...

). Eventually these plans became Operation Blue Spoon, which was renamed by President Bush as Operation Just Cause.

The Pentagon renamed the operation "Just Cause" in order to aid sustaining the perceived legitimacy of the invasion throughout the operation. General Colin Powell said that he liked the name Operation Just Cause because "even our severest critics would have to utter 'Just 'Cause' while denouncing us."

The post-invasion CMO (Civil-Military Operation) designed to stabilize the situation, support the government the United States has put into place and restore basic services was originally planned as "Operation Blind Logic" but renamed "Operation Promote Liberty" by the Pentagon on the eve of the invasion.

The Panamanian name for the Operation is "The Invasion" (La Invasión).

In recent years, the naming of U.S. military operations has been the source of some controversy, both internationally and domestically (see Operation Enduring Freedom). At the time operations to depose Noriega were being planned, U.S. military operations were given meaningless names. Just Cause was planned under the name Blue Spoon, and the invasion itself incorporated elements of the Operation Nifty Package and Operation Acid Gambit
Operation Acid Gambit
Operation Acid Gambit was a plan to retrieve Kurt Muse, an American civilian living in Panama and widely reported to be a CIA operative from the Carcel Modelo, a notorious prison in Panama City...

 plans.

The original operation where American troops were deployed to Panama in the spring of 1989 was called Operation Nimrod Dancer.

Local and international reactions


The invasion of Panama provoked international outrage. Some countries charged that the United States committed an act of aggression by invading Panama and was trying to conceal a new manifestation of its interventionist policy of force in Latin America. On 29 December, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted 75–20 with 40 abstentions to condemn the invasion as a flagrant violation of international law.

On 22 December, the Organization of American States
Organization of American States
The Organization of American States is a regional international organization, headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States...

 passed a resolution deploring the invasion and calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops, in addition to a separate resolution condemning the violation of the diplomatic status of the Nicaraguan Embassy in Panama by US Special Forces who had entered the building. At the UN Security Council, after discussing the issue over several days, a draft resolution demanding the immediate withdrawal of United States forces from Panama
was vetoed on 23 December by three of the permanent members of the Security Council,
France, United Kingdom, and the United States who cited its right of self-defense of 35,000 Americans present on the Panama Canal.

Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

 recalled its ambassador from the United States to protest the invasion.

Some claim that the Panamanian people overwhelmingly supported the invasion. According to a CBS poll, 92% of Panamanian adults supported the U.S. incursion, and 76% wished that U.S. forces had invaded in October during the coup. However, others dispute this finding, asserting that the Panamanian surveys were completed in wealthy, English-speaking neighborhoods in Panama City, among Panamanians most likely to support US actions.

In 2006, one author opined "President Bush had not defended the hemisphere against European aggression under the guise of the Monroe Doctrine
Monroe Doctrine
The Monroe Doctrine is a policy of the United States introduced on December 2, 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to colonize land or interfere with states in North or South America would be viewed as acts of aggression requiring U.S. intervention...

, or used the threat of Communist proliferation to take action, but instead he had used the US military to remove a hostile and problematic Latin American dictator from power because it was in the best interests of the United States to do so."

Eighteen years after the invasion, Panama's National Assembly
National Assembly of Panama
The National Assembly , formerly the Legislative Assembly , is the legislative branch of the government of the Republic of Panama.It is a unicameral legislature, currently made up of 71 members, who serve five-year terms...

 unanimously declared 20 December 2007, as a day of national mourning. The resolution was vetoed by President Torrijos.

According to Robert Pastor
Robert Pastor
Robert Alan Pastor is a former US national security advisor and writer on foreign affairs.-Education:...

, a former US national security advisor, 74% of Americans polled approved the action. Studies by Jeff Cohen
Jeff Cohen
Jeffrey Bertan Cohen, JD is an American attorney and the founding partner of Cohen & Gardner LLP. In his youth, he was a child actor best remembered for appearing as Chunk in the 1985 Steven Spielberg production The Goonies....

 and others of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting
Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting is a progressive media criticism organization based in New York City, founded in 1986.FAIR describes itself on its website as "the national media watch group" and defines its mission as working to "invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity...

 have attributed this support to mainstream media
Mainstream media
Mainstream media are those media disseminated via the largest distribution channels, which therefore represent what the majority of media consumers are likely to encounter...

 intentionally excluding critical viewpoints during television reporting preceding the invasion.

The Washington Post disclosed several rulings of the Office of Legal Counsel, issued shortly before the invasion, in regards to the U.S. armed forces being charged with making an arrest abroad. One ruling interpreted the Executive Order against Assassination of Foreign Leaders, which prohibits the intentional killing of foreign leaders as suggesting that accidental killings would be acceptable foreign policy. Another ruling concludes that the Posse Comitatus Act
Posse Comitatus Act
The Posse Comitatus Act is an often misunderstood and misquoted United States federal law passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction. Its intent was to limit the powers of local governments and law enforcement agencies from using federal military personnel to enforce the laws of...

 of 1878, which prohibits the armed forces from making arrests without Congressional authorization, is effective only within the boundaries of the US, such that the military could be used as a police force abroad — for example, in Panama, to enforce a federal court warrant against Noriega.

Aftermath



Guillermo Endara, in hiding, was sworn in as president by a judge on the night preceding the invasion. In later years, he staged a hunger strike, calling attention to the poverty and homelessness left in the wake of both the Noriega years and destruction caused by the U.S. invasion. For nearly two weeks after the invasion, there was widespread looting and lawlessness, a contingency which the United States military indicated it had not anticipated. This looting inflicted catastrophic losses on many Panamanian businesses, some of which took several years to recover.

On 19 July 1990, a group of 60 companies based in Panama filed a lawsuit against the United States government in Federal District Court in New York City alleging that the U.S. action against Panama was "done in a tortious, careless and negligent manner with disregard for the property of innocent Panamanian residents". Most of the businesses had insurance, but the insurers either went bankrupt or refused to pay, claiming acts of war are not covered.

About 20,000 people lost their homes and became refugees as a result of urban warfare. About 2,700 families that were displaced by the Chorrillo fire were each given $6,500 by the United States to build a new house or apartment in selected areas in or near the city. However, numerous problems were reported with the new constructions just two years after the invasion.

The government of Guillermo Endara designated the first anniversary of the U.S. invasion a "national day of reflection". On that day hundreds of Panamanians marked the day with a "black march" through the streets of this capital to denounce the U.S. invasion and Endara's economic policies. Protesters echoed claims that 3,000 people were killed as a result of U.S. military action. Since Noriega's ouster, Panama has had four presidential elections, with candidates from opposing parties succeeding each other in the Palacio de las Garzas
Palacio de las Garzas
The Palacio de las Garzas is the governmental office and residence of the President of Panama. It receives its name because of herons roamming freely in the courtyard...

. Panama's press, however, is still subject to numerous restrictions. On 10 February 1990, the Endara government abolished Panama's military and reformed the security apparatus by creating the Panamanian Public Forces. In 1994, a constitutional amendment permanently abolished the military of Panama. Concurrent with a severe recession in Latin America throughout the 1990s, Panama's GDP recovered by 1993, but very high unemployment remained a serious problem.

Noriega was brought to the US to await trial. One of the charges brought against him was dropped when what had been widely reported as 50 kilograms of cocaine, was revealed to be tamale
Tamale
A tamale — or more correctly tamal — is a traditional Latin American dish made of masa , which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. The wrapping is discarded before eating...

s.

Timeline


Information in this section

September 1987
  • Senate passes resolution urging Panama to reestablish a civilian government. Panama protests alleged U.S. violations of the Canal Treaty.

November 1987
  • Senate resolution cuts military and economic aid to Panama. Panamanians adopt resolution restricting U.S. military presence.

February 1988
  • Noriega indicted on drug-related charges. U.S. forces begin planning contingency operations in Panama (OPLAN BLUE SPOON).


March 1988
  • 14 March: First of four deployments of U.S. forces begins providing additional security to U.S. installations.
  • 16 March: PDF officers attempt a coup against Noriega.

April 1988
  • 5 April: Additional U.S. forces deployed to provide security.
  • 9 April: Joint Task Force Panama activated.

May 1989
  • 7 May: Civilian elections are held; opposition alliance tally shows their candidate, Guillermo Endara, beating Noriega's candidate, Carlos Duque, by a 3 to 1 margin. The election is declared invalid two days later by Noriega.
  • 11 May: President Bush orders 1,900 additional combat troops to Panama (Operation Nimrod Dancer).
  • 22 May: Convoys conducted to assert U.S. freedom of movement. Additional transport units travelled from bases in the territorial US to bases in Panama, and back, for this express purpose.

Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep 89
  • U.S. begins conducting joint training/freedom of movement exercises (Operation Sand Flea
    Operation Sand Flea
    Operation Sand Flea was a series of training exercises for the December 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States. These troop movements and practice assaults were disguised as training to defend the Panama Canal...

     and Operation Purple Storm). Additional transport units continued from this date to travel repeatedly from bases in the territorial US to bases in Panama, and back, for this express purpose.

Oct 89
  • 3 Oct: PDF, loyal to Noriega, defeat second coup attempt.

Dec 89
  • 15 Dec: Noriega refers to himself as leader of Panama and declares a state of war with the U.S.
  • 16 Dec: Marine lieutenant shot and killed by PDF. Navy lieutenant and wife detained and assaulted by PDF.
  • 17 Dec: NCA directs execution of Operation JUST CAUSE.
  • 18 Dec: Army lieutenant shoots PDF sergeant. Joint Task Force South (JTFSO) advance party deploys. JCS designates D-Day/H-Hour as 200100R Dec 89.
  • 19 Dec: U.S. forces alerted, marshaled and launched.

D-Day 20 Dec 89
  • The United States Invasion of Panama begins. The operation was conducted as a campaign with limited military objectives. JTFSO objectives in PLAN 90-2 were to: Protect U.S. lives and key sites and facilities, capture and deliver Noriega to competent authority, neutralize PDF forces, neutralize PDF command and control, support establishment of a U.S.-recognized government in Panama, and restructure the PDF. Major operations detailed elsewhere continued to the 24 December
  • JCS directs execution of OPERATION PROMOTE LIBERTY

D-Day + 14, 3 Jan 90
  • Noriega surrenders to U.S. forces.

D-Day + 23, 12 Jan 90
  • Operation JUST CAUSE ends.

D-Day + 4.5 years approx, September 1994
  • Operation PROMOTE LIBERTY ends.

Operations


All 27 objectives related to the Panamanian Defense Force were completed on D-Day: 20 December 1989; as initial forces moved to new objectives, follow-on forces from 7th Inf Div (L) moved into the western areas of Panama and into Panama City.

D-Day −1 19 Dec 89-
  • 3d Bde, 7th Inf Div (L) (4/17 Inf), Already deployed as part of peacekeeping forces in the region, Deploy to predetermined positions.
  • 2nd Bde, 7th Inf Div (L), Alerted for deployment. DRF 1 (3/27th Inf) and DRF 2 (2/27th INF) Deploys.


D-Day 20 Dec 89 –
  • 3d Bde, 7th Inf Div (L) (4/17 Inf) Begin operations in Colon City, the Canal Zone and Panama City.
  • Remainder of the 2d Bde, 7th Inf Div (L)(3/17th Inf) Deploys and closes in Panama.
  • Elements of the 317th and 314th Tactical Airlift Wings airdrop elements of the 75th Ranger Regiment on Rio Hato Airfield to neutralize a PDF unit, seize the runway, and secure Manuel Noriega's beachside facility. Special Operations Low Level (SOLL) II crews from the 317th then airland reinforcements.
  • C141s airdrop/airland elements of the 317th Combat Control Squadron, 507th Tactical Air Control Squadron, and combat units of the 82nd Airborne Division on Torrijos-Tocumen airfield to seize the runway and control tower.
  • 193d Infantry Brigade (Light) assaults Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) headquarters at La Commandancia, PDF Engineer Battalion, PDF 5th Company at Fort Amador, PDF units at Balboa and Ancon.


D-Day + 1, 21 Dec 89 –
  • JCS directs execution of OPERATION PROMOTE LIBERTY (renamed from Plan Blind Logic).
  • Panama Canal reopened for daylight operations.
  • Refugee situation becomes critical.
  • C Company, 5th Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment (193d Infantry Brigade) repels PDF counter-attack at the PDF DNTT headquarters and rescues Panamanian Vice President Ford whose convoy is also attacked
  • TF Bayonet begins CMO in Panama City.
  • Marriott Hotel secured and hostages evacuated.


D-Day + 2, 22 Dec 89 –
  • FPP established.
  • CMO and stability operations become primary focus.
  • 2d Bde, 7th Inf Div (L), deploys to Rio Hato.
  • 1st Bde (9th Regiment), 7th Inf Div (L), alerted for deployment.

D-Day + 3, 23 Dec 89 –
  • International airport reopened.
  • 2d Bde, 7th Inf Div (L) and SF elements begin ops in west.
  • 96th CA Bn assumes responsibility for DC Camp from USARSO.
  • 1st Bde (9th Regiment) 7th Inf Div (L) closes in Panama.

D-Day + 4, 24 Dec 89 –
  • Noriega enters Papal Nunciatura.
  • Money for Weapons program initiated.
  • Combined U.S./FPP patrols begin.

D-Day + 5, 25 Dec 89 –
  • Rangers secure David.
  • Operations in western Panama continue successfully.

D-Day + 14, 3 Jan 90 – Noriega surrenders to U.S. forces.

D-Day + 23, 12 Jan 90 – Operation JUST CAUSE ends.

Above information

D-Day + 4.5 years approx, September 94 – Operation PROMOTE LIBERTY ends.

United States military forces involved in Operation Just Cause



United States Southern Command
United States Southern Command
The United States Southern Command , located in Miami, Florida, is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands in the United States Department of Defense. It is responsible for providing contingency planning and operations in Central and South America, the Caribbean The United States Southern Command...

  • United States Army South
    United States Army South
    United States Army South is the Army's service component command of United States Southern Command whose area of focus includes 31 nations and 10 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean. It is headquartered at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.-Mission:...

     (USARSO)
    • XVIII Airborne Corps – Joint Task Force South
      • 525th Military Intelligence Brigade
        525th Military Intelligence Brigade
        The 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade is a unit of the United States Army which specializes in the acquisition and analysis of information with potential military value.-Mission:...

         (Combat Electronic Warfare and Intelligence) (Airborne)(FT Bragg)
        • 319th Military Intelligence Battalion
          319th Military Intelligence Battalion
          The 319th Military Intelligence Battalion is a military intelligence battalion in the United States Army and is part of the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade.-History:...

           (Operations) (Airborne) (FT Bragg)
          • A Co. 319th MI BN (Corps Tactical Operations Support Element)
          • B Co. 319th MI BN (Signal)
        • 519th Military Intelligence Battalion
          519th Military Intelligence Battalion
          The 519th Military Intelligence Battalion is a unit of the United States Army.Personnel of the 519th MI Battalion were alleged to have killed the Afghan detainee Dilawar in custody at Bagram Theater Internment Facility in December 2002....

           (Tactical Exploitation) (Airborne) (FT Bragg)
          • A Co 519th MI BN (Interrogation)
          • B Co. 519th MI BN (Counterintelligence)
          • C Co. 519th MI BN (SIGINT and Voice Intercept)
      • 16th MP Brigade Fort Bragg
        Fort Bragg (North Carolina)
        Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation, in Cumberland and Hoke counties, North Carolina, U.S., mostly in Fayetteville but also partly in the town of Spring Lake. It was also a census-designated place in the 2010 census and had a population of 39,457. The fort is named for Confederate...

        • 92nd MP Battalion Fort Clayton
          • 549th MP Company Fort Davis
            Fort Davis
            Fort Davis may refer to the following.*Fort Davis National Historic Site*Fort Davis, Alaska*Fort Davis, Oklahoma*Fort Davis, Panama*Fort Davis, Texas*Fort Davis , a neighborhood of Washington, D.C....

          • 1138th MP Company, Det. 1, Missouri Army National Guard
            Missouri Army National Guard
            The Missouri Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the United States National Guard. Nationwide, the Army National Guard comprises approximately one half of the US Army's available combat forces and approximately one third of its support organization...

            , Doniphan, Missouri
      • 1109th Signal Brigade
          • 35th Signal Brigade (25th Signal Battalion/426th Signal Battalion) Fort Bragg North Carolina
      • 142nd Medical Battalion
      • 324th Support Group
      • 470th Military Intelligence Brigade
      • 193rd Infantry Brigade
        193rd Infantry Brigade (United States)
        The 193rd Infantry Brigade is a United States Army infantry brigade, which was originally constituted in the Army's organized reserves on 24 June 1922 as Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 193rd Infantry Brigade and assigned to the 97th Division. The brigade was reorganized and reconstituted in...

         – Task Forces Bayonet
        • 1st Battalion (Airborne), 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (United States)
        • 5th Battalion, 87th Infantry
        • 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry – Detach from 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
          • C Company, 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor Regiment (Airborne) – Detach from 82nd ABN Div
          • D Company, 2nd Light Armored Infantry Battalion
            2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion
            2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion is a mechanized infantry battalion of the United States Marine Corps. Their primary weapon system is the LAV-25 and they fall under the command of the 2nd Marine Division and II Marine Expeditionary Force. The unit is based out of the Marine Corps Base...

             (USMC)
        • D Battery, 320th Field Artillery Regiment
        • 59th Engineer Company (Sapper)
        • 519th Military Police Battalion – Fort Meade, MD
          • 209th Military Police Company – Fort Meade, MD
          • 555th Military Police Company – Fort Lee
            Fort Lee
            Fort Lee may refer to:* Fort Lee, New Jersey* Battle of Fort Lee was fought on November 19, 1776 between American and British forces.* Fort Lee , a United States Army post...

            , VA
          • 988th Military Police Company – Fort Meade, MD
        • 401st Military Police Company – Fort Hood
      • 7th Infantry Division (Light) – Task Force Atlantic
        • A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 9th Cavalry
        • 2nd Brigade
          2nd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (United States)
          The 2nd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, originally known as the 13th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the United States Army, and a part of the 7th Infantry Division. The brigade was based at Fort Ord, California for most of its history....

          • 5th Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment
          • 3rd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment (DRF 1)
          • 6th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment
          • A Battery, 2-62d ADA
          • B Company, 13th Engineer Battalion
          • B Company, 7th Medical Battalion
          • B Company, 707th Maintenance Battalion
          • B Company, 7th Supply and Transportation Battalion
        • 3rd Brigade
          3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (United States)
          The 3rd Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, originally known as the 14th Infantry Brigade was an infantry brigade of the United States Army, and a part of the 7th Infantry Division. The brigade was based at Fort Ord, California for most of its history....

          • 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment
            • C Company, 2d Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment
          • 3rd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
            504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
            The 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment is an airborne infantry regiment in the United States Army, first formed in 1942 as part of the 82nd Airborne Division.-Organization:...

             – Detach from 82nd ABN Div
          • B Battery, 7th Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment
          • B Battery, 2d Battalion, 62nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment
          • C Company, 13th Engineer Battalion
          • C Company, 7th Medical Battalion
          • C Company, 707th Maintenance Battalion
          • C Company, 7th Supply & Transportation Battalion
          • 3d Platoon, Company B, 127th Signal Battalion
        • 127th Signal Battalion (-)
        • 13th Engineer Battalion (-)
        • 7th Military Police Company (-)
        • 107th Military Intelligence Battalion (-)
        • 5th Public Affairs Detachment
      • 82nd Airborne Division – Task Force Pacific
        • 1st Brigade
          • 1st Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
          • 2d Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment
          • 4th Battalion, 325th Airborne Infantry Regiment (-)
            • A Company, 3d Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment
          • A Battery, 3d Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment
          • A Battery, 3d Battalion, 4th Air Defense Artillery Regiment
          • C Company, 3d Battalion, 73d Armored Regiment (-)
          • A Company, 307th Engineer Battalion
          • A Company, 782d Maintenance Battalion
          • B Company, 307th Medical Battalion
          • A Company, 407th Supply & Services Battalion
          • A Company, 313th Military Intelligence Battalion
            313th Military Intelligence Battalion (United States)
            The 313th Military Intelligence Battalion traces its lineage back to 25 September 1942, with the activation of the 215th Signal Depot Company; the battalion was officially activated and assigned to the 82d Airborne Division on 16 October 1979...

        • 1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division
          1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division (United States)
          The 1st Brigade, 7th Infantry Division was an infantry brigade of the United States Army, and a part of the 7th Infantry Division. The brigade was based at Fort Ord, California for most of its history....

          • 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment
          • 2d Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment
          • 3d Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment
          • A Company, 13th Engineer Battalion
          • A Company, 707th Maintenance Battalion
          • A Company, 7th Medical Battalion
          • A Company, 7th Supply and Transportation Battalion
          • 1st Platoon, B Company, 127th Signal Battalion
        • Company B, 82d Signal Battalion (-)
        • 82d Military Police Company (-)

        • 511th Military Police Company – Fort Drum
          Fort Drum
          Fort Drum is a United States Army base in New York near the Canadian border.Fort Drum may also refer to:*Fort Drum, Florida, a nearly-uninhabited town in the United States*Fort Drum , Philippines...

      • Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division – Task Force Aviation
        • 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment
          • 195th Air Traffic Control Platoon
          • 214th Medical Detachment
        • 3rd Battalion, 123d Aviation – Task Force Hawk (Fort Ord)
          • E Company, 123d Aviation Regiment (-)
        • 1st Battalion, 82d Aviation Regiment
          82nd Aviation Regiment (United States)
          The 82nd Aviation Regiment is an aviation regiment of the U.S. Army.-Lineage:Constituted 1 September 1957 in the Regular Army as the 82nd Aviation Company, assigned to the 82d Airborne Division, and activated at Fort Bragg, North Carolina...

           – Task Force Wolf (Fort Bragg)
          • 1st Battalion, 82d Aviation Regiment (-)
            • Troop D, 1st Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment
          • 1st Battalion, 123d Aviation Regiment (-)
          • Company D, 82d Aviation Regiment (-)


United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

  • 6th Marine Expeditionary Battalion – Task Force Semper Fi (MARFOR)
    • I Company, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment
      3rd Battalion 6th Marines
      3rd Battalion 6th Marines is an infantry battalion in the United States Marine Corps based out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Also known as "Teufelhunden", it consists of approximately 1000 Marines and Sailors...

    • K Company, 3d Battalion, 6th Marines
    • Company D, 2d Light Armored Infantry Battalion (-)
    • G and H Detachment, Brigade Service Support Group 6
  • 1st Platoon, Fleet Antiterrorism Security Teams
  • Marine Corps Security Guard Detachment (U.S. Embassy)
  • Marine Corps Security Force Company Panama
  • 534th Military Police Company (U.S. Army) – Fort Clayton
    Fort Clayton
    Fort Clayton was a United States Army base in the former Panama Canal Zone, later part of the Republic of Panama. Fort Clayton was located northwest of Balboa, Panama, with the Panama Canal located nearby. It closed in 1999 pursuant to the Torrijos-Carter Treaties...

  • 536th Engineer Battalion (U.S. Army)
  • 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment (DRF 2)


United States Special Operations Command
United States Special Operations Command
The United States Special Operations Command is the Unified Combatant Command charged with overseeing the various Special Operations Commands of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps of the United States Armed Forces. The command is part of the Department of Defense...

  • 5th Special Forces Group (Fort Campbell, Kentucky)
  • 7th Special Forces Group (A)
  • 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)
    160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne)
    The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment is a special operations unit of the United States Army that provides helicopter aviation support for general purpose forces and Special Operations Forces. Its missions have included attack, assault, and reconnaissance, and are usually conducted at...

  • SEAL Team 4
    United States Navy SEALs
    The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

  • SEAL Team 6
    United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group
    The United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group , commonly known as DEVGRU and informally by its former name SEAL Team Six , is one of the United States' four secretive counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units .The vast majority of information about DEVGRU is highly classified, and...

  • 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-DELTA
    Delta Force
    1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta is one of the United States' secretive Tier One counter-terrorism and Special Mission Units. Commonly known as Delta Force, Delta, or The Unit, it was formed under the designation 1st SFOD-D, and is officially referred to by the Department of Defense...

  • 75th Ranger Regiment
    75th Ranger Regiment (United States)
    The 75th Ranger Regiment , also known as Rangers, is a Special Operations light infantry unit of the United States Army. The Regiment is headquartered in Fort Benning, Georgia with battalions in Fort Benning, Hunter Army Airfield and Joint Base Lewis-McChord...

  • 96th Civil Affairs Battalion
  • 4th Psychological Operations Group
    4th Psychological Operations Group
    The 4th Military Information Support Group or 4th MISG is one of the United States Army's active military information support operations units alongside with the 8th Military Information Support Group, which was activated August 26, 2011 at Fort Bragg...

  • 8th Special Operations Squadron
    8th Special Operations Squadron
    The 8th Special Operations Squadron is part of the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Florida. It operates CV-22 Osprey in support of special operations.-Mission:...

  • 16th Special Operations Squadron
    16th Special Operations Squadron
    The 16th Special Operations Squadron is part of the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB , New Mexico. It operates AC-130H Spectre aircraft in support of special operations.- Mission :...

  • 20th Special Operations Squadron
    20th Special Operations Squadron
    The 20th Special Operations Squadron is part of the 27th Special Operations Wing at Cannon AFB, New Mexico. It operates CV-22 Osprey aircraft in support of special operations.-Mission:...

  • 919th Special Operations Wing
    919th Special Operations Wing
    The 919th Special Operations Wing is an Air Force Reserve Command wing of the United States Air Force, operationally-gained by the Air Force Special Operations Command and based at Eglin AFB Auxiliary Field #3 / Duke Field, Florida.-Mission:The 919 SOW provides and maintains the MC-130E Combat...



United States Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

  • 317th Tactical Airlift Wing
    • 39th Tactical Airlift Squadron
    • 40th Tactical Airlift Squadron
    • 41st Tactical Airlift Squadron
  • 314th Tactical Airlift Wing
    • 50th Tactical Airlift Squadron
  • 146th Tactical Airlift Wing
    146th Airlift Wing
    The United States Air Force's 146th Airlift Wing is a unit located at Naval Air Station Point Mugu, California.-Mission:The 146th AW's primary mission is to provide global military airlift capability to a full spectrum of state and federal agencies...

    , California Air National Guard
  • 815th Tactical Airlift Squadron
  • 63d Military Airlift Wing
    63d Airlift Wing
    The 63d Airlift Wing is an inactive unit of the United States Air Force. Its last assignment was with Air Mobility Command, being stationed at Norton Air Force Base, California. It was inactivated on April 1, 1994.-Origins:...

  • 437th Military Airlift Wing
  • 512th Military Airlift Wing
  • 172d Military Airlift Wing
  • 363d Security Police Squadron K-9
  • 3d Mobile Aerial Port Squadron (3d MAPS)
  • 366th Tactical Fighter Wing
    366th Fighter Wing
    The 366th Fighter Wing is a Fighter Wing of the United States Air Force Air Combat Command stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho...

  • 37th Tactical Fighter Wing
    37th Training Wing
    The 37th Training Wing is a wing of the United States Air Force stationed at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.The 37th TRW provides basic military, professional and technical skills, and English language training for the Air Force, other military services, government agencies, and...

  • 1352nd Combat Camera Squadron
  • 1361st Combat Camera Squadron
  • 836th Security Police Squadron
  • 63d Security Police Squadron
  • 552d Airborne Warning And Control Wing
  • 3rd Combat Communications Group


United States Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

  • Naval Special Warfare Unit EIGHT
  • Special Boat Unit TWENTY-SIX
    Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen
    -History:Special Boat Teams can trace their history back to World War II. Motor Torpedo Boat Squadron Three rescued General Douglas MacArthur from the Philippines after the Japanese invasion and then participated in guerrilla actions until American resistance ended with the fall of Corregidor...

  • United States Naval Small Craft and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS)

Related operations

  • Operation Acid Gambit
    Operation Acid Gambit
    Operation Acid Gambit was a plan to retrieve Kurt Muse, an American civilian living in Panama and widely reported to be a CIA operative from the Carcel Modelo, a notorious prison in Panama City...

     – operation undertaken by 1st SFOD-D and the 160th SOAR to rescue Kurt Muse, a US citizen involved in the broadcast of anti-Noriega material, during Operation Just Cause.
  • Operation Blade Jewel- the return of military dependents to the US.
  • Operation Nifty Package
    Operation Nifty Package
    Operation Nifty Package was a United States Navy SEALs-operated plan conducted in 1989 designed to capture Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. When Noriega took refuge in the Vatican embassy, deafening music and other psychological warfare were used to convince him to exit and surrender himself.The...

     – operation undertaken by SEALs
    United States Navy SEALs
    The United States Navy's Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy's principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command as well as the maritime component of the United States Special Operations Command.The acronym is derived from their...

     to capture Manuel Noriega or destroy his two escape routes, destroying his private jet at Paitilla Airfield and his gunboat, which was docked in a canal. Noriega surrendered to US troops on 3 January 1990.
  • Operation Nimrod Dancer – Reinforcing the forward deployed U.S. forces with a brigade headquarters and an infantry battalion task force from the 7th Inf Div (L), a mechanized infantry battalion from the 5th Inf Div (M), and a U.S. Marine Corps Light Armored Infantry (LAI) Company. Augmentation continued with units rotating from both divisions under Operation Nimrod Sustain.
  • Operation Prayer Book
    Operation Prayer Book
    Prayer Book was a series of military plans operations in Panama drawn up beginning in April 1988 as relations between the United States and Panama deteriorated. The operation consisted of four separate operations: Klondike Key, Post Time, Blue Spoon, and Blind Logic...

  • Operation Promote Liberty – operation to rebuild the Panamanian military and civilian infrastructure.
  • Operation Purple Storm – operation to assert, display and exercise U.S. freedom of movement rights with convoys traveling in and out of Panama for that express purpose.
  • Operation Sand Flea – operation to exercise, display and assert U.S. freedom of movement rights with convoys traveling in and out of Panama for that express purpose.

See also

  • The Panama Deception
    The Panama Deception
    The Panama Deception is a 1992 documentary film that won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. The film is critical of the actions of the US military during the 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States, covering the conflicting reasons for the invasion and the depicting of the US...

    (1992) winner of the 1992 Academy Award for Documentary Feature
    Academy Award for Documentary Feature
    The Academy Award for Documentary Feature is among the most prestigious awards for documentary films.- Winners and nominees:Following the Academy's practice, films are listed below by the award year...

    .
  • Harding, Robert C. (2001). Military Foundations of Panamanian Politics. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-0765800756.
  • Harding, Robert C. (2006). The History of Panama. Greenwood Publishing. ISBN 978-0313333224.

Further reading


External links