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Sep 87 - Senate passes resolution urging Panama to reestablish a civilian government. Panama protests alleged U.S. violations of the Canal Treaty.

Nov 87 - Senate resolution cuts military and economic aid to Panama. Panamanians adopt resolution restricting U.S. military presence.

Feb 88 - Noriega indicted on drug-related charges. U.S. forces begin planning contingency operations in Panama (PLAN BLUE SPOON).

Mar 88 -

  • First of four deployments of U.S. forces begins providing additional security to U.S. installations (14 Mar).
  • Noriega creates Dignity Battalions (DIGBATs) to augment PDF (14 Mar).
  • Selected PDF officers attempt a coup against Noriega (16 Mar).

Apr 88 -

  • Additional U.S. forces deployed to provide security (5 Apr).
  • Joint Task Force Panama activated (9 Apr).

Sep 88 - U.S. begins decreasing the number of military dependents and civilian diplomats in Panama. Incidents against U.S. personnel increase in intensity and frequency.

May 89 -

  • Civilian elections are held and the results are invalidated two days later by Noriega. DIGBATs assault opposition candidates and crowds during victory parades (7 May).
  • President Bush orders 1,900 additional combat troops to Panama (Operation NIMROD DANCER) (11 May).
  • Convoys conducted to assert U.S. freedom of movement (22 May).
  • Dependent redeployment accelerated (Operation BLADE JEWEL)(22 May).

Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep 89 -

  • Contingency planning for military operations intensify.
  • U.S. begins conducting joint training/freedom of movement exercises (SAND FLEAS and PURPLE STORMS).
  • General Maxwell R. Thurman sworn in as U.S. CINCSO (30 Sep) .

Oct 89 - Noriega defeats second coup attempt. PDF demonstrates ability to quickly move units from Rio Hato and Ft. Cimmarron (3 Oct ).

Dec 89 -

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

D-Day 20 Dec 89 -

  • TF Atlantic secures Colon, Madden Dam, Gamboa, Renacer Prison and Cerro Tigre.
  • TF Bayonet secures Ft. Amador, Commandancia, and PDF sites throughout Panama City.
  • TF Red secures Torrijos International Airport and Rio Hato.
  • TF Pacific secures Panama Viejo, Tinijitas, Ft. Cimmarron.
  • TF Black secures communications nodes, Pacora River Bridge.
  • TF Semper Fi secures Bridge of the Americas, Howard AFB.
  • 2d Bde, 7th Inf Div (L), closes in Panama.

D + 1 21 Dec 89 -

  • JCS directs execution of PLAN BLIND LOGIC.
  • Panama Canal reopened for daylight operations.
  • Refugee situation becomes critical.
  • TF Bayonet begins CMO in Panama City.
  • Marriott Hotel secured and hostages evacuated.

D + 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, 7th Inf Div (L), alerted for deployment.

D + 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 7th Inf Div (L) closes in Panama.

D + 4 24 Dec 89 -

  • Noriega enters Papal Nunciatura.
  • Money for Weapons program initiated.
  • Combined U.S./FPP patrols begin.

D + 5 25 Dec 89 -

  • Rangers secure David.
  • Operations in western Panama continue successfully.

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

D + 23 12 Jan 90 - Operation JUST CAUSE ends and PROMOTE LIBERTY begins.

Table of Contents, Volume I

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias