Anthropology Faculty Publications and Presentations


Did the Panamanian Defense Forces conduct infiltration operations at the Arraijan Tank Farm in 1988?

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This article reviews the circumstances surrounding a relatively obscure and almost forgotten US Marine Corps and Army security enhancement operation undertaken in Panama that commenced in early April of 1988. Marines were sent to Panama to protect oil and ammunition storage facilities from potential saboteurs. By April 1989 they had reported sighting armed, uniformed intruders on at least 43 occasions and receiving gunfire or discharging their own weapons during 16 incidents. Yet despite the repeated barrages of small arms fire over the course of a year, they failed to recover enemy ammunition, bodies or body parts and their own equipment and positions displayed no signs of suffering from hostile fire. This article analyzes the events from the point of view of a veteran of the operation and highlights the role that psychological operations may have played in generating the situation.


Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC

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Small Wars & Insurgencies