30 minutes before H-Hour, an aviation task force of UH-1Hs and CH-47Bs lifted
off from Ft. Sherman with a reinforced company from the 3-504th PIR. The UH-1s
were carrying 10 combat-loaded personnel each and the CH-47s were carrying
50. The mission was to clear and secure the Madden Dam to prevent damage to
the water control system for the Panama Canal. Flying the mixed aircraft formation
took expert training and split-second timing. At 0045, the lead helicopter
touched down at the dam with the CH-47s landing nearby in a clearing. A large
volume of ground fire erupted, but darkness and speedy unloading resulted in
no aircraft being hit. The entire flight was conducted under blackout conditions
with all aviators using night vision goggles (NVGs). The surprise gave the
infantry a significant tactical advantage during the ground action which followed.
assets were used extensively during the entire operation. Almost every unit
involved in JUST CAUSE utilized aviation assets for air assaults, fire support,
surveillance and resupply. Multiple air assaults were conducted on D-Day to
include three battalion air assaults after a brigade parachute assault. Air-space
management was critical. During D-Day operations, there were 185 fixed-wing
and 173 rotary-wing aircraft operating under NVGs in an area of 140 x 45 km.
air assaults save lives and aircraft. Even in an unsophisticated air defense
artillery (ADA) environment, daylight air assaults are costly.
and repetitive night flight training with NVGs paves the way for successful
night combat operations and, in turn, reduces battlefield casualties.
air assaults with seats out periodically. Static training can also fulfill
parachutes when the drop zone (DZ) will also be used as an air-assault pickup
a central tactical flight-following element to assist in airspace management.
tactical nondirectional beacons for navigation aids.
all flight safety waivers and place them in the operations order (OPORD).
dedicated unit logistics birds versus mission tasking. Contingency operations
on a nonlinear battlefield often require flexibility not associated with mission
of Contents, Volume II
and Their Effects
Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT)
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