Small Army/Navy Post in Jungle of Panama

Way back in the early 60s, one Marine operation was quietly in operations in the jungles of Panama. An incident occurred and we were transported to the jungles of Panama. It was not the most hospital place in the world and similar in environment to Viet Nam but not as hostile, the people anyway. It was home to an Army/Navy base that was active during WWII for seaplanes during the war.

We woke up one morning with eight ships in this bay off Panama and the entrance to the Panama Canal. WE were off loaded into the jungle and put on a road to the in side of the jungle. It was a short walk of about five miles but with temps above 100 degrees, we had to stop several times to refresh ourselves with water from our canteens. I believe we all had two canteens a piece and I was finished my two canteens by the second stop.

Naturally, it was much a do about nothing, (that story in another setting), and relegated to living in the jungle for the next few weeks. WE were used to barracks style living and having to bivouac in the jungle was a little discomforting when they told you to make sure your sleeping area was at least a foot off the ground. Most times you just don’t look down but when you do look down, you see an awful lot of life that you never expected, So, you make sure sure you are off the ground.

One thing we did do was save our large c rations cans to put some holes in to hold dirt. We made holes on the bottom to allow air to flow through and poured some gasoline in them and lite them for light. It was dark place at night because when the sun went down about 4-5PM, the canopy of the jungle closed in and it went dark. AS it went dark, so came on the gasoline lamps to shed some light on your immediate area.

It was C Rations for a few days until the mess hall was set up to get regular type meals. Some people thrived on C Rations and you never saw them in the mess hall. If you had a fire going sat time, you could make an exotic meal out of the C Ration if you had some condiments. When you don’t have access to a 7-11, C Rations start looking real good.

This went on for a few days until some one had a pissing contest as to who was in charge of 2,000 grunts. I had some great pictures taken but have since lost them to time. I did manage to save a few and will share them with a link in the next few days. More of the disagreement in my next update on life in the jungles of Panama.

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