What was Operation Sand Flea (1989)?

Introduction

Operation Sand Flea was a series of training exercises for the December 1989 invasion of Panama by the United States.

Refer to Operation Just Cause (1989-1990).

Outline

These troop movements and practice assaults were conducted in part as training to defend the Panama Canal (a contingency then called Purple Storm), but were also intended simply to affirm the right of the US military to engage in them. Conducted in the summer of 1989, these seemingly endless movements, also known as “Freedom of Movement Drills,” overwhelmed the ability of the Panamanians to observe, analyse and understand the activities. In this way, this programme desensitised the Panama Defence Force (PDF) to the coming invasion.

The exercises were part of Operation Nimrod Dancer.

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