Tag Archives: OPERATION JUST CAUSE

Shadow Warriors: The Unsung Story of the 112th Signal Battalion in Panama

CPT Steve Kestner (right) and another unidentified Company A, 112th Signal Battalion soldier (left) conduct rappel training at Fort Bragg, NC (circa 1989-90). (Photo courtesy of James S. Kestner)

From Veritas, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2020. “Formed in 1986, the 112th Signal Battalion first experienced combat in Panama, during Operation JUST CAUSE, December 1989. Their support to Special Operations Command, South, validated the need for a dedicated Army Special Operations signal battalion.”

All in all, an interesting (and free) online read. 

Welcome to 1989, Delta CAR edition

A former Delta Force assaulter walks you through the awesomeness that was his CAR-15 back in the day, to include cardboard, a dive light, and bicycle innertubes.

Before he moved on to becoming the Vickers in Vickers Tactical, Larry Vickers was a career U.S. Army Special Forces guy who served with Delta Force throughout the 1980s. In the above, he shows off a recreation of his personal blaster from the period. The Colt Model 723 was basically a shortened M16A2 carbine that was more developed than the XM177E2 used by Green Berets in the Vietnam era.

His CAR-15 has plenty of things you just don’t see today outside of retro builds to include an upper with a non-detachable carrying handle and a tweaked two-position stock, and that’s just for starters.

As detailed by Vickers, he carried an Underwater Kinetics Super QXL dive light (insert giant sucking sound here as every airsofter and Delta operator fan rushes to search the web for one) that had been wrapped with black innertubes and hose-clamped to the handguard. Other mods include a jungle mag clamp set up with cardboard and 100 mile-an-hour tape and an AimPoint 2000— which the optics company says was discontinued in 1989, the same year Delta Force went into Panama.

“This was a great gun, great optic, a great piece of kit,” said Vickers. “Got me through harm’s way and got me home safely, so I am very partial to this setup.”

Delta force operators in Panama 1989, peak into a PDF cabinet filled with dollah dollah bills. Note the QXL-equipped CAR-15