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Operation Just Cause

Posted by WETSU Airborne Community

Operation Just Cause: In the early morning hours of 20 December 1989, the entire 75th Ranger Regiment, followed by the reinforced Division Ready Brigade of the 82nd, conducted combat jumps to secure the Rio Hato and Torrijos-Tecumen airports in Panama. This marked the first and only combat parachute deployment of the M551 Sheridan. Fourteen tanks were deployed in total. Four were transported by C-5 Galaxy and ten were dropped by air, though two were destroyed on landing. The four M551s transported by the C-5 were secretly deployed to Panama in November 1989, where they were attached to TF Bayonet (193rd Infantry Brigade), and attached down further to TF Gator. These Sheridans took part in the attack on the Comandancia, initially supported by fire from Quarry Heights, and later displacing forward into the city. As part of Team Armor, these Sheridans later provided support to JSOC elements as they secured high-value targets throughout Panama City. The remaining eight Sheridans were delivered to Torrijos-Tocumen Airport some hours after H-hour by Low-Velocity Airdrop (LVAD) technique from C-130 transports.