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“Suffice it to say, the operation was an overall success. The attack took place at 1 a.m., and while there were casualties, they were relatively light: 23 American killed and 324 (Americans) wounded. At least several times that number of PDF (Panamanian defence forces) were killed or wounded, but the numbers are hard to confirm because most of the PDF who fought, did so in civilian clothing in order to blend in with the populace if things went south, Yates said.”
December 4, 2014
By David Vergun
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 4, 2014) — Twenty-five years ago this month on Dec. 20, 1989, U.S. forces commenced combat operations in Panama as part of Operation Just Cause.
The operation was significant because U.S. interests in Panama were threatened by its dictator, Manuel Noriega, and his Panama Defense Forces, or PDF, according to Dr. Larry Yates, who was there in 1989 and 1990, documenting the operation and events leading up to it on behalf of the Center for Army Lessons Learned, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Yates, now a historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History, delivered a lecture, “Crisis, Invasion, Restoration: The U.S. Military in Panama, 1989-1990,” at the Pentagon, Dec. 3, 2014.
Noriega’s PDF and militia sympathizers were harassing U.S. troops and citizens, Yates said. Noriega and his cronies were also involved in election fraud, drug dealing and money laundering.
U.S. interests that were threatened included thousands of American civilians living in Panama, some 13,000 U.S. troops stationed there at a number of U.S. bases, and, security of the Panama Canal itself, which was a vital shipping lane for vessels transiting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Aside from security concerns, the operation also was significant because it would be the first test of joint operations planning and execution, following the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986.
One of the aims of the act, according to Yates, was to minimize the inter-service rivalries and turf battles that were prevalent from Vietnam through the most recent conflict, Operation Urgent Fury in Grenada, in 1983.
Although Urgent Fury was ultimately a success, he said, a lot of flaws were uncovered in that operation, including operational planning between the services and equipment mismatches. Planners were hopeful that this operation would be much smoother.
Today, one-team, one-fight is well understood and accepted and is a critical part of the recently released Army Operating Concept, a document that describes how future Army forces will prevent conflict, shape security environments and win wars while operating as part of the joint force and working with multiple other partners. But in part, the genesis of the Army Operating Concept can be understood from lessons learned during Just Cause.
Read the entire article at: http://www.army.mil/article/139395