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Awards of the Silver Star

for 
Conspicuous Gallantry
in Action During
Operation Just Cause
In Panama
(1989)

 

Shortly after taking office in 1988, President George H. W. Bush announced that the United States would no longer continue its support of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega, a known drug trafficker. In response to economic sanctions, Noriega declared that a state of war existed between Panama and the United States. On the night of December 19, 1988, Navy SEALS, Army Rangers and other combat elements launched airborne and seaborne invasions to capture and depose Manuel Noriega code named Operation Just Cause. In a prepared speech to the nation the following day, President Bush outlined the reasons for the military action:

  • To safeguard American citizens living in Panama

  • To defend democracy and human rights in Panama

  • To combat drug trafficking in Panama

  • To protect the integrity of the Torrijos-Carter Treaties that established the neutality of the Panama Canal Zone.

The largest military action since the Vietnam War, more than 50,000 troops supported by more than 300 aircraft participated in the action that successfully captured Noriega and accomplished the remainder of its objectives in a two-week period. Sporadic but bitter fighting resulted in 23 Americans Killed in Action and 325 wounded. Two Navy SEALS earned the Navy Cross in that action and THIRTEEN members of the multi-branch force were awarded Silver Stars.

 

Award Status Name Branch
Navy Cross   Casey, Thomas W. USN
KIA McFaul, Donald L. USN
Silver Star   Fladry, Robert R. USA
KIA Hunter, John R. USA
KIA Isaak, Garreth C. USMC
KIA Owens, Wilson B. USA
KIA Perez, Ivan D. USA
  Ringstaff, Roderick B. USA

Reports indicate that as many as 13 Silver Stars were awarded for heroism in Operation Just Cause, including 6 awards to members of the U.S. Army. The six listed above are the only recipients we have thus far identified.


Citations

CASEY, THOMAS W.
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Thomas W. Casey, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism in action while serving as Commander of Sea-Air-Land Team FOUR (SEAL-4), GOLF Platoon during Operation JUST CAUSE, in action at Paitilla Airfield, Republic of Panama from 19 December 1989 to 21 December 1989. While leading his platoon into position to disable General Noriega's aircraft and deny it as a means of escape, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Casey was engaged by heavy small arms fire. Without regard for his personal safety, he directed his platoon to return fire, firing his own weapon and killing one enemy soldier. Realizing his squad had sustained heavy casualties, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Casey directed other SEAL elements to provide covering fire as he courageously moved to rescue the wounded. As the fire fight intensified and with nearby aircraft exploding in flames, he placed himself in front of the wounded and delivered devastating covering fire, neutralizing the enemy forces and enabling the wounded to be evacuated. Lieutenant (j.g. Casey's heroic leadership and courage under fire unquestionably saved many lives, were a catalyst to the fighting spirit and resolve of his men, and were critical to his unit's mission success. By his extraordinary bravery, bold initiative, and inspiring devotion to duty, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Casey reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals


*McFAUL, DONALD L. (KIA)
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Navy Cross (Posthumously) to Donald L. McFaul (541641184), Chief Engineman, U.S. Navy, for extraordinary heroism while serving as Platoon Chief Petty Officer of Sea-Air-Land Team FOUR (SEAL-4), GOLF Platoon during Operation JUST CAUSE at Paitilla Airfield, Republic of Panama on 20 December 1898. Chief Petty Officer McFaul's platoon was an element of Naval Special Warfare Task Unit PAPA, whose crucial mission was to deny to General Noriega and his associates the use of Paitilla Airfield as an avenue of escape from Panama. After insertion from sea by rubber raiding craft, Golf Platoon was patrolling toward their objective, a hangar housing General Noriega's aircraft, when they were engaged by heavy small arms fire. Realizing that most of the first squad, 25 meters north of his position, had been wounded, he left the relative safety of his own position in order to assist the wounded lying helplessly exposed. Under heavy enemy fire and with total disregard for his personal safety, Chief Petty Officer McFaul moved forward into the kill zone and began carrying a seriously wounded platoon member to safety. As he was nearing the safety of his own force's perimeter, he was mortally wounded by enemy fire. Chief Petty Officer McFaul's heroic actions and courage under fire saved his teammate's life and were an inspiration for other acts of heroism as the assault force prevailed in this decisive battle. By his extraordinary bravery, personal sacrifice, and inspiring devotion to duty, Chief Petty Officer McFaul reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
Authority: Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Born: September 20, 1957 at Orange County, California
Home Town: Bend, Oregon
Personal Awards: Navy Cross (Panama), Purple Heart


U.S. Marine Corps

*ISAAK, GARRETH C. (KIA)
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Garreth C. Isaak, Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Scout Squad Leader of Company D, Second Light Armored Infantry Battalion, SECOND Marine Division, in action on 20 December 1989, in support of Operation JUST CAUSE, in Panama. While attempting to secure the National Department of Traffic and land Transportation number two, Corporal Isaak's squad came under intensely hostile fire. He continued to advance toward the building in order to clear it of hostile forces of unknown size. Once inside, Corporal Isaak maneuvered from room to room ensuring it was secure. His squad again encountered small automatic weapons fire from within the building. With full knowledge of the risks, Corporal Isaak continued to advance in order to neutralize the threat. As a result of his heroic conduct, Corporal Isaak ensured the objective was completed, sacrificing his life to accomplish his mission. His personal bravery and self sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself, the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
Home Town: Greenville, South Carolina
Personal Awards: Silver Star (Panama), Purple Heart


U.S. Army

Fladry, Robert Ray
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Robert Ray Fladry, Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Pilot with the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Group (Airborne), 1st Special Operations Command, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on 20 December 1989, in support of Operation JUST CAUSE, in Panama. His personal bravery and self sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 15 (October 10, 1990)


*HUNTER, JOHN R. (KIA)
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to John R. Hunter, First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Mission Pilot and Assistant S3, Headquarters and Service Company, 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Group (Airborne), 1st Special Operations Command, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on 20 December 1989, in support of Operation JUST CAUSE, in Panama. His personal bravery and self sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 15 (October 10, 1990)
Born: January 28, 1959 at Libby, Montana
Home Town: Libby, Montana
Personal Awards: Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Purple Heart


*Owens, Wilson B. (KIA)
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Wilson B. Owens, Chief Warrant Officer, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Pilot with the 1st Battalion, 160th Special Operations Aviation Group (Airborne), 1st Special Operations Command, Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on 20 December 1989, in support of Operation JUST CAUSE, in Panama. His personal bravery and self sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 15 (October 10, 1990)
Home Town: Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Personal Awards: Silver Star, Purple Heart


*PEREZ, IVAN D. (KIA)
Synopsis:
The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the Silver Star Medal (Posthumously) to Ivan D. Perez, Corporal, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a member of Company B, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Fort Polk, Louisiana, in Panama on 20 December 1989, in support of Operation JUST CAUSE. While under fire, Corporal Perez stood behind his machine gun to defend his position until he was mortally wounded. His personal bravery and self sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.
Department of the Army, General Orders No. 10 (June 20, 1990)
Home Town: Pawtucket, Rhode Island
Personal Awards: Silver Star (Panama), Purple Heart


RINGSTAFF, RODERICK B.
Citation:
The President of the United States takes pleasure in presenting the Silver Star Medal to Roderick B. Ringstaff, Specialist, U.S. Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action while serving as a Medical Aidman in Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, Fort Polk, Louisiana, in action in support of Operations JUST CAUSE in Panama, on 20 December 1989. As 2d Platoon began to assault its assigned objective at La Commandancia PDF Headquarters, Specialist Ringstaff, the Platoon Medic, was seriously wounded by intense indirect fire. Specialist Ringstaff ignored his own wounds and intense enemy fire to provide first aid to two wounded soldiers. Upon nearing exhaustion from his own wounds, Specialist Ringstaff dragged a severely wounded soldier to the aid vehicle while shouting encouragement to other wounded soldiers. Upon reaching the aid vehicle, he collapsed from his own wounds and was medevaced. Specialist Ringstaff's personal bravery and self sacrifice reflect great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States Army.

 

 

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Home Page

Hall Of Heroes

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NEWS

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FEATURE STORIES
  Profiles In Courage | Wings of ValorThe Brotherhood of Soldiers At War | Go For Broke
 Pearl Harbor  | A Splendid Little War | Shinmiyangyo-Korea 1871 | Quick Links to MOH Stories

RECIPIENT WEB SITES
Barney Barnum  |  Jack Lucas  |  Mitch Paige  |  Wesley Fox  |  Sammy Davis
Roger Donlon
Peter Lemon  |  Drew Dix  |  Mike Novosel

Medal Of Honor Calendar  |  Books By MOH RecipientsSteve Ryan MOH Posters

What Does 
A Hero Look Like?

Click on Superman To Find out


FOOTNOTES
In
HISTORY

NEW
Looking for a Hero or trying to verify awards? We have posted the names of more than 120,000 recipients of the highest awards in a BRAND NEW FREE SECTION
DECORATIONS 1862 - Present
.

Military Medals & Awards 

Information and Images of ALL Military Medals
The Purple Heart 
How to Request Records/Medals Earned
  How to Obtain Military Records of a Family Member 

Honor Roll of America's Military Heroes


Brevet Medal


DSC 


Navy Cross 


Air Force Cross 

Distinguished Service Medals

Defense - Army - Navy - Air Force - Coast Guard - Merchant Marine



Silver Star

U.S. History and Information
The History Room | U.S. Flag HistoryHistory of the Flag |
How to Display the Flag
| The National Anthem | The Pledge of Allegiance The American Creed | The Seal of our Nation | Our National Symbol
Arthur MacArthur's Flag | William Carney's Flag | FDR's Flag of Liberation]

FLAG DAY           STATE FLAGS
American Presidents
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God & Country
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MY HERO Web Page Creator 
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SEARCH
bn_search.jpg (3967 bytes)
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OR
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***
Electronic Post Cards
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Remembering 911
The Binch
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BEYOND THE MEDAL

This 5 Disc DVD Education Program has been distributed to over 17,500 Public & Private High Schools and is now available to the public!


 

HomeOfHeroes.com now has more than 25,000 pages of US History for you to view.