Invasion of Panama; Operation Nifty Package

SirOrmondeWinter

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
3,556
I was watching Secrets of War the day (amazing how entertaining a load of stock footage narrated by Charlton Heston can be) and it was telling the story of the SEALs operation to take out Noriega's jet. I've heard a lot of criticism for the operation, that it was a mission better suited for the Rangers but according to eyewitness testimony the SEALs surrounded the hanger and then stood out in plain view on the runway in defiance of all military logic, suffering 4 dead and 8 wounded from a defending force of only 8 gunmen as opposed to 45 SEALs. Can anyone provide clarification on this?
 

Fire_Raven

Ad Honorem
Jul 2010
2,776
Oregon
A Miscalculation Of Mission For The Seals In Panama? - Chicago Tribune

Using heavily muffled outboard motors, the SEALs got to the beach undetected. One platoon set up security at the end of the runway at Paitillo. The second platoon did likewise about halfway down the airstrip. The third, led by Lt. j.g. John Connors, continued moving toward the planes and terminal at the far end. Their mission was to disable dictator Manuel Noriega`s escape plane and a half-dozen others by firing bullets into the cockpit avionics, and then to seize the terminal and control tower.
As Connors` platoon moved down the runway in line abreast, two Panamanian soldiers appeared. The SEALs` orders were to challenge before shooting.
The SEALs called out, and the two Panamanians bolted for the hangar. As the SEALs passed and began shooting up the planes, bursts of fire erupted from the hangar.
Connors was hit twice in the chest and died instantly. Three other members of his platoon were killed by the gunfire; seven other SEALs lay wounded. Within seconds, there were 11 casualties in a platoon of about 15.
 

Lawnmowerman

Ad Honorem
Mar 2010
9,842
Interesting, I know nothing about this other than what I've just read.

Connors was obviously under orders to avoid any unnecessary Panamanian casualties.

The 2 soldiers who ran off should've been followed and apprehended, but could he afford to do that??? Obviously he thought they'd ran off.

What would you have done peruse them and waste time during which reinforcements may arrive or continue with your mission
 

Fire_Raven

Ad Honorem
Jul 2010
2,776
Oregon
Yeah I barely recall this incident (mainly from random references in other sources) since I was a sophmore in high school when it occurred.
Thanks for bringing it up SirOrmond
 
Jun 2013
808
West Palm Beach, Fl
The entire planning of the invasion was not good. Mistakes were made all over the place such as burning down half the capital. Even the first use of the Stealth bombers did not work out with the bombs missing their targets. I remember listening to the news accounts of the battle and after a few days the military request thousands of reserves because things were not working out as planned. They thought it would be over quickly, but it did not turn out that way.