J. David Rogers'
Military Service
Drug Interdiction Duty in Panama

In June 1991 I was Assistant Officer-in-Charge (AOIC) of Patron Det Panama operating out of Howard AFB.  The P-3s and their crews were supplied by VP-MAU at Moffett Field.  We enjoyed the protection provided by Air Guard F-16 Falcons from West Virginia and Montana.  We were all working for JTF-4 in Key West as part of drug czar Bill Bennett’s newly declared war on drugs.  Here I am pondering a geologic map of the Canal Zone while over the Galliard Cut, doing some low level sightseeing and photography.  I spent every available offduty hour at the Canal Commission Library and touring the Canal facilities with the Panamanian engineers – a great bunch of fellows.

During Panama duty we were prohibited from flying below 4,000 feet over the canal. I received diplomatic clearance one afternoon to take some low level pictures of the canal. We buzzed one of our off-duty crews touring the Pedro Miguel Locks, flying at 500 feet!  They thought we’d be put in hack and never seen again!

During my duty in Panama I also flew missions with VAW-127, the Bats.  They provided Airborne Early Warning (AEW) capability for or drug interdiction efforts for JTF-4, also operating out of Howard Air Force Base.  This shows me in flight gear with one the Bat’s E-2C Hawkeye aircraft.

Questions or comments on this page?
E-mail Dr. J David Rogers at rogersda@mst.edu.