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.
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