Moatengators; remember Venado DZ?

| February 2, 2009


I know there are some old Moatengators out there from A Co. (ABN) 3/5th Infantry and later from the 508th PIR who were stationed at Fort Kobbe in Panama and became intimate with navigating through Venado DZ’s twelve foot elephant grass at the end of the Howard AFB air strip.

Some pictures I lifted of Venado from someone’s webpage;

Well, I went out there yesterday to reminisce about the old days. Here’s what the leading edge of the DZ looks like now;

It’s kind of a strip mall of tourist stores with a few bars (yeah!) mixed in. The place we went to eat had great chuletta (pork chops) .

For those of you that don’t know the stories about Venado DZ, I’ll fill you in. The aircraft would approach from the south (over the Pacific) and the light would go green as the plane crossed over the beach. Inevitably, the first jumper would end up in the ocean. Since the Bay of Panama is reputed to have about 1000 sharks per square mile, there’d be a rescue team in the ocean in a row boat (usually dirty, nasty legs from one of the other companies) who would take their sweet time rowing the boat over to the panicky jumper. If a shark did show up, they could use the oars to drive him away. You think I’m joking, right? It was so common for us to land in the ocean, we practiced Huey jumps into Gatun Lake (super-Hollywood; PT shorts and T-shirts and jungle boots and no equipment). That way we’d be able to practice not drowning without the added feature of shark attacks.

We’re talking about an airborne company that used to jump with their mascot – a live Panamanian crocodile (cayman) wrapped in a mattress cover and strapped in under the reserve parachute of a volunteer NCO. We had a gator pit (built with “volunteer labor” from the extra duty personnel) alongside the company’s barracks that was home three caymans when I was there.

The patch in the picture at the top of this post was worn on the left pocket of our jungle OD’s.

Category: Historical

Comments (316)

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  1. carl nephew says:

    Williams, Nephew here would love to get a copy of those photos. contact me at Hey! how many guys here plan on going to the reunion Aug 1 in Colo. its posted on Facebook. I plan on going. Hope to see you guys there.

  2. John Ochranek says:

    Moatengator from ’73 thru ’77. Actually started out as a Bandidto (there were no slots in A Co). Arrived as a SGT and left as an E6, then on to flight school. I was mainly the Training NCO in HQ Platoon for our CO CPT Harris. Who remembers 1SG IJ Elder? Or when LTC Tuhoy got relieved in the field by BG Richardson? Many great memories. I have many pictures, old jump manifests with names, ranks and SSNs, used Moatengator patches. Would love to get in touch with old Moatengators from the same time frame.
    Tony Alger. I remembr you. Many of the names you mention. Cooley, Tischman, Vangrinsven, Highsmith, Pachulio, Honaker, etc. I could go thru all the copies of the Jump manifests I have and name drop everyone. Wonder where everyone is now? I completed 37 years and retired as a CW5 in ’07.
    Not too many replys in my time frame. Some great guys and great memories.

    • David Srein says:

      I remember you John….Tony too:). I was there when the LTC got relieved. Donny Rogers was there, Norman Crawford and others.

    • Richard collins says:

      Hi, I remember you and everyone you mentioned! I was there Oct 76 to Oct 78. Never wanted to leave Panama or Kobbe. So after I retired (1994) I built a house north of San Carlos. We get to panama at least once a year, that is until my wife retires, then we will move to Panama. Oh, Ft Kobbe looks the same. They (don’t know who) removed the Moatengator pool.

    • Gentlemen,

      My A 3/5th time was limited to 2 weeks as when I arrived June ’75 and they were over strength E-5’s so I went to C C. I stayed there until June ’76 when I went to Scouts CSC. Lt John Geraci would become our PL until he moved to A Co as XO.

      LTC Dill was the Bn Cdr, CSM O’Brien was Bn CSM.

      I understand Geraci made it big in computers and was living in NJ last I heard. Other A Co guys, Reggie Honaker and Vince Ochoa.

      I would run into LTC Ernest Dill at Ft Benning in the mid-80’s as a full bull.

      I would go back to Kobbe in June ’89 as the Bn Opns NCO for 1/508th where we participated in “Just Cause”. Believe it or not Carlos was still there doing boots.

      I am envious of you guys that go back on a regular basis. I was married to a Panamanian who is there now on vacation. My oldest son just went back for two weeks, his first visit in 30 years.

      • William Bruce Tallant says:

        Hello Dennis I was just looking around and saw this so had to let you know I was there 3/508th 6/1954-11/1966 see you later william “Bruce” Tallant.

    • Martin Ford (Neiman) says:

      Neiman (stepfather) 74-76, 60 gunner (Cherry Jump) 3rd Platoon then CO Harris Driver/RTO last year after Kelly Huff and James Ducharme took me under their wing. There when Top O’Brien had cayman pit/pond built. No Leg slept when we marched out to chute up. still miss the beer machine and fightin legs across ditch. No.1 in Battalion on obstacle course. Friend of Double R (Ron Ross) and crazy ass Massimo.

      • Jerry Ferguson says:

        Hey Marty.Wondered if you were still around! Just found this site and already seeing comments from a lot of the old crew.Lots of memories from those days. You still wrestling? Still remember you dropping by Arkansas on your cross country trip. Still in touch with Don Sandaal and just reconnected with Otero. Are you on fb? I’m still in Arkansas.

        • Mike "SGT Pooch" Pachuilo says:

          Well, well, Jerry Ferguson and Naked Man in the same posts. Outstanding! I remember the room, FM, AA, Fales, RR, Massimo, Sandaal and a whole host of others. Hope you guys are well. I live in Seattle, WA now. Love looking at all the picture I have of you guys being crazy down in A 3/5. I had a top notch squad full of great guys. One guy was kind of out there and I forget his name. he was in the room next to you Jerry. I met Col Dill to while flying UH-1V MEDEVAC out of Camp Hunter-Liggette, CA around 88. FM does indeed live around DC, I get a Christmas card from him every year. He did retire 05 I believe from armor then went DOD. Double dipping by now. Great to hear some real familiar names from Panama. Hope you are all well and have had a great going on 40 years since those days. Take care and airborne, Pooch

        • Martin Ford says:

          Well Well Pastor Ferguson, great to hear from ya, yes I do remember well stopping by outside Jonesboro. I B on FB n will shout to ya. FM is w/ DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency)n I am now a “G” man, Watch Officer in Dept. Of Justice Command Center”, Used my tutorage under Kelly and FM to horang a position. He He. Glad to here you’ve gotten close with the one “man” that is above us ole Airborne soles In the sky.

    • Jim Kelly Huff says:

      Yo John would love to get a copy of those jump manifest. I got some names that drifted outa my brain.

      I left A co in 76 and returned to Ft Benning and assigned to the Ranger Department till I ets in 78. VanGrisson came thru going to Ranger school in 77 and man I smoked his ass. Managed to get my ass chewed out by Col Bull Simons before I got out.
      Spent 2 great years in panama humping Kenny Harris’s radio. some great memories of Pooch, FM, Marty, Double A, Double R, Ron Fales, Trashman, Laundrybag 1st Sgt Obrien(later SGM Obrien)both the Andersons, Dave Norwood,Johnny Sadler,even Peele. ran into Masmo in ft benning crazy as ever. Lived in THE ROOM(took our door cause we were naughty). Took over the world and ruling it from South Georgia.

      No sky to high
      No muff too tuff
      for Ranger Huff(beware of the naked man)

      • Jerry Ferguson says:

        Hey Huff. (aka naked man) I remember “the room” and when the door came off. Don’t know if you remember our bet on the Arkansas vs Georgia game. Arkansas won and I won a case of beer off of you! I didn’t dare rub it in too much though. I was afraid “naked man” might come for revenge! Any idea where Ducharme is now? Glad to hear you’re doing well.

        • Jim Kelly Huff says:

          Hey Jerry damn man been forever-I still think Arkansas paid off the refs.
          FM ended up going to OCS and stayed in for a career-think he made major before he got out. Told me he ran into Capt Harris in Germany who when he saw him told him that wearin officer rank could get him tossed in jail. He is in Washington DC last I heard workin for DOD.
          Bruce Anderson and Bill Akins(double A) are both in San Antonio I see em every couple of years. Ron Fales is in Alaska-still married to Miz Janet. When I got out I went to California for 6 years and worked for rock and roll bands as road crew-stage manager and road manager(Jackson Browne Eagles ShaNaNa-haha and a pile of other bands) where I ran into Ron Ross(double R) in a freakin lumberyard-a zillion people in the san Fernando valley and I run into him!!! Saw Dave Norwood in Tennessee when I went to Ft Cambell to see Marty and Ron. Would love to find him.
          Tell Sandaal I said hey-hope he isn’t still pissed bout the merry muthafukin Christmas brownies me and FM made and fed him one of. Bunch of other guys Id really like to see-its on my bucket list.

          Guys we need to find some way to have a reunion-would be great to see all you gators before we all just fade away.

          • Jerry Ferguson says:

            Hey Huff. Good to hear back from you. You’ve done a good job keeping up with folks. Better than me anyway. Wow, FM a career officer? Amazing. I guess we all did some changing through the years.I’m a pastor now. Imagine that. It’s been fun catching up with everyone. Ron Ross told me several years ago about running into you. I had forgotten about the Christmas brownies. I will ask Sandaal if he remembers that! I would enjoy a reunion.Otero said he’d like that too. Take care brother.

  3. LOL! LOL!. RB here just want to give a shout out to all my fellow Montengators Warriors!To all who came before me,and to all who came after, AIRBORNE MONTENGATORS AATTEEEENTION PREESENT! ARRMS! SSAAALLUUTE!. To my old Platoon,Sgt.Henderson,Sgt Kelcey, Dunkley,Bennet,Nechols,West,Vialobos,Felix,Owens,Tate,Sgt Buchter,Longmire,Debrey,Newborne,Sgt Revira(RIP),Blizzard,Thomson,SKI,to my other fellow 2nd platoon I do remember in memory I see your faces.Best platoon that why we went to Uss Siapan.LOL,Our Company was the BEST!

    • reggie rendon says:

      is been a long 34 yrs r.b. I remember waiting for you and Harrington that sunday afternoon on july 29th 1979, after the Nicaraguan crisis were over, you were so combat loaded you couldn’t even walk. it took a special breed of men to be a moatengator. airborne!

    • reggie rendon says:

      john call me at 361 442 7198

      • John Roybal RB says:

        DUUUUUUUUDE ! REDON hahah Good to hear from you bro..Last time I heard from you gave me a call when I got out in 83,,Thought you going to call ball back ahahahahahh I should of got your number. Good to hear from you BRO, got your number give you a call. Right on maaaan!

  4. Goodie - 11B2P says:

    I was in Ft Kobbe in 1968 when they took all airborne qualified
    and moved them to HHC for an all airborne company. Too long ago to remember names but I remember going to jump school located at Ft Sherman that was run by the 7 or 8 Special forces
    team but I can’t find out anything more about the school. In addition, I also did a couple of the drawing in the barracks in
    HHC while I was there. Anyone know anything at all about the jump school let me know.

  5. Goodie - 11B2P says:

    To correct previous statement. I was in HHC when they moved everyone on jump status to A co to form an all airborne infantry unit to train to be a ready action strike force. Most of the troops were Viet Nam vets including NCO’s and Officers.
    We did some jumps, practice some riot control for our panama friends and lots of jungle training and did a couple of aggressor duties at the Jungle School. And in Dec 68 I got orders for Nam and ended up with the 3/506th Airborne/ Air Assault 101st Division.

  6. T. Brumfield says:

    Anybody that was there about 79-80-81 Shoot me an email——

    • reggie rendon says:

      hey! brum how are you? I remember you and sgt daniels from the weapons plt. horse playing around lol gd ole days

    • Bob Billingsley says:

      Ranger Brumfield! I remember how you used to haul an M60 around like it was a .45. I still have a great picture of you and Charlie Rose at the Ovalo Inn.

    • Carl Little says:

      Ranger brumfield! No way! You unusually large MF! You wouldn’t where your tab, but the tat on your uper left arm told the truth in your heart!!! Nothing but love brother!

      • carl nephew says:

        Is this the same Sgt. Carl Little that was SSG Hannicks roommate. He use to yell at you, Carl get some clothes on!!!

    • Orlando says:

      I was in 3rd platoon I remember u and ssgt paulino always with the serious face

  7. Dalys Guerra says:

    Is this paradise or what!!!!

  8. Larry Cicale says:

    I was with C 3/5 81-83. Here are a few other links to check out if anyone is interested. They’re on Facebook also. I couldn’t get the other Facebook link to work that Greg Griffin posted. Terry Cole, I believe we went to PNCOC together at Fort Sherman. I have a few pictures of you in the field. I posted a bunch of pic’s here while I was an instructor 87-89. This page was merged with another back when Facebook went through some changes. Quite a few pictures here also.

  9. D. Kreeger says:

    Hey Eddie Paredez,
    I remember most of it. Was the best tour in my career. Missed you guys and all the crazy shit you all pulled. If you get this contact me. Who am I kidding I was a bit crazy myself back then.

  10. robert nagy says:

    2 of 44

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    (no subject)

    Amanda Sandford
    10:39 PM (2 hours ago)

    to me
    I was a moatengator through 76/77. Captin Paul Harvey was CO. Can’t remember Tops name but, he was with the 172nd airborne in Nam. I was in first platoon second squad A team. Sargent Rob was my team leader. I was there when we were in the old screened in barracks, before we got A/C. Sorry but, I am bad with names but, I remember a few. I remember an old man, he must have been 30, named Charlie from Chicago. I drank a bottle of seco one night, saw a picture of his wife, said something very stupid and he knocked me out with one punch. I totally blacked out the whole situation and then 20 years later remembered what I said that night. Charlie, if you’re out there, I’m sorry. I was an asshole then and probably still one now. I remember Steven Rasowych (Raz), Skip Radux, Norman (West By-God Virginia) Ulrich. Remember him when we were out in the field everybody would run out of cigarettes and you would say “Hey Norm you got a cigarette?” and he would say “Yeah, have a whole pack.” I swear that man had nothing in his rucksack but cigarettes. When we came in from the field, even the black guys had Camel non filters. To this day, I can’t smoke a cigarette with a filter on it.

    Sometime in March, maybe April 77, we were in Garison. Most of the time we spent in the field but, this day was unusual, the uniform of the day was jungle fatigues, we got our web gear with empty mags (no amo) checked out our weapons and we wore our helmets. We never wore helmets on base unless we had riot training. We always wore our barrette. We were the only unit authorized to wear the red barrette in the entire southern command. Unless we jumped in, we always wore boonie caps in the field. We only wore our helmets on a jump or when we had riot training but, this day we wore our helmets on base. Sargent Rob took us towards Kobie Beach and we sat under some tress under the shade about one Kkick from Howard AFB’s back gate. Right where the road splits to go to Kobi or Veracruz. We had a radio with us and it actually worked. Those days it was about a 50/50 chance on the radio working. We sat around and talked about home and the RTO said “shut up some terrorist just hit the back gate, they stole a car in Varacruz, drove it through the 2 by 4 and plywood shack at the back gate of Howard airforce base, got out of the car, took the SP’s side arm, and shot him in the head and took off on foot into the jungle.” There was a request for an amo drop to send us, the moatengators, after these guys, we were left in one klick away, immediately the col. commanding 193rd infantry , got on the horn and said “negative, negative, stand down, this is an airforce problem, let the airforce handle it.” I said “fuck that”, and took off towards the back gate. When I got to the back gate, there was a dead airman on the ground, covered with plastic, some SP’s were standing around, looking worried, I said “do you have anyone in the woods yet?” They said “No, we’re about to go in.” I said “Give me a live mag.” The Sargent in charge of the SP’s was more than happy to hand me a 30 round mag. Just then, my team caught up with me. Sargent Rob jumped in between me and that live magazine, and said “We’ve been ordered to go back to the barracks.” I said “Fuck you, you fucking communist. I’m going after these guys.” Sargent Rob ordered my team to physically drag me back to the barracks. As I went kicking and screaming calling them all communists and faggots. When I got back to the barracks, I turned in my weapons, burned my weapons cards in front of the quarter master and declared “if you wont let me do the job I was trained to do, you don’t need me. As of this day I am officially a civilian.” As a result of this by May 17, the day before my 18th birthday, I was arrested and court marshaled for disobeying the lawful order and communication of a threat. I am convinced that this was a CIA operation. In response to the 1977 treaty between Jimmy Carter and Generalisimo Torrijos. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, including the name of the airman killed, the name of our col. name (can’t remember), or even the unit number of the SP’s at Howard AFB, please contact me at or (239)-478-065

    • reggie rendon says:

      I never saw a woman moatengator, nor in the infantry. as for the 172nd Airborne never heard of that either maybe the 173rd airborne brigade in Vietnam, as for paul Harvey, that was the guy that was newscaster at 12pm overseas, as for the rest of the story, you tell me.

  11. robert nagy says:

    thats 2394780652

  12. John Dowhy says:

    Hey all,
    I’m checking here because I just acquired a combat knife that apparently belonged to someone in this unit. It’s engraved (A co.(ABN) 3/5 INF. SP/4 Robert D Berry) I’m trying to contact either him or his family just to make sure this wasn’t stolen or lost and they’re wondering what happened to it.

    • Mark Soliday says:

      He is a freind of mine we served in WPNS PLT 76-79 he is on my facebook and I have his phone number in Wisconsin

    • Bob Berry says:

      John Dowhy, I responded to your 21 June 2013, 1:00pm query on the combat knife engraved with my information. I replied here On 14 Feb 2014, that I’m the original owner. I left it (and other possession) with a friend who was going to mail it to my PCS address; it never arrived. I was unable to track-down that friend to retrieve the knife (and the other contents of the package). PLS contact me, I would like to regain possession of the knife. Advise tour costs incurred in obtaining it, and what it would cost for me to re-gain ownership of the knife in question.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Amazing to actually find something about the 193rd. Was there 6/70-10/70 after jump school at Benning. Was a medic along with Doc Morrison. Only got 3 jumps in before leaving for Nam with Doc Ortiz. Made a payday, full dress night jump, and a Huey jump. What a righteous dz. Incredible view of the ocean with prayers for good winds. Missed making the isthmus crossing. Broke my heart.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Hi I was a motengator and I was one of the soldiers who was assigned in building that cement pool for the gator,and I was in A Co. assigned to 1st PLT. from 1974-1976 I really enjoyed my stay there and I was very sorry to see the post was closed., because I was looking forward in returning. Plus I’m looking for another motengator patch. Thanks Roy

    • montie deloach says:

      Roy I was in A Co lst PLT from 1974 to 1976 worked in the day room. I hope you bill the pool also.

  15. Sarah Keefer says:

    Anybody remember SSG Keefer? A Company Moatengator 1978……

  16. Martin Vaughan says:

    I was in BN mortar platoon, HHC 2/187th. 3Jan84-29Dec86. Went to jump school at Ft. Sherman (3/7th SF ran it). Tiger Island, San Lorenzo (Hondo), Palmerola, the Rio Hato jump, Radar Hill, La Cascada, the NCO club at Howard. Lived in Cocoli with my first wife. Anyone remember CSM Jordan? LtCol Utter was the BN CO when I got there, then it was LtCol Wagner.
    Went back to Panama this past January. Went to Kobbe/Clayton/Venado DZ. Stayed at a resort right by Rio Hato no less! Talk about deja vu! Panama has changed….you should see the PC skyline now! I have pics from my trip there if anyone is interested.

    • Jeff Dickey says:

      I was in CSC, left in 83, I try to go back to Panama every year, yes it has changed a lot. We go down during carnival, always a good time. during my last trip some jack ass lifted my camera. I hope you enjoyed your vacation.

    • Jon Kugler says:

      I remember you Vaughn – especially our many many trips to Hondo. I was 3rd PLT, A Co. 2/187

  17. What ever happened to China the barmaid at the Ovalo? What a sweetheart!

  18. Tony Alger says:

    Hey John Ochranek: Just read your message from Mar2013. I’m in FLA playing softball and golfing my butt off!!! but still have a place in COLO mountains. Sorry about the late replay, WO5, super job John. Did you fly or Special Forces? I’m with North Central Florida All Airborne Chapt of 82nd Airborne Assoc. DAVID SREIN still in WA? I’ll try to reply in a more timely manner next time.

    • David Srein says:

      I remember you John….Tony too:). I was there when the LTC got relieved. Donny Rogers was there, Norman Crawford and others.

      Tony, I am still in WA, Olympia now. Will retire this month from Department of Homeland Security. Retired from the Army in 1991.

      If I remember correctly Lanny Cardona was the CO Cdr during 1974. I think Norman C and John Dengerud went to Delta during the 80s.

      I remember Mike Pachulio

      • Mike Pachuilo says:

        David, Saw your comments, I live in WA now up in Issaquah by Seattle. Always looking for an excuse to ride my motorcycle somewhere. I work in Australia and travel back and forth every three weeks. While at home I am on my on time and can travel. SSG Crawford was my squad leader when I first got there in 74. Let me know if you would like to hook up. Can bring what picks I have around still with me. SGT Pooch

        • David Srein says:

          Dude…just saw your post….my number is (360) 292-2513. I moved from Issaquah to Olympia in 2004. Give me a call so we can hook up. Norman (Crawford) was my roommate….

        • Double A says:

          Hey Pooch,

          Glas to know you are not feeding the grass. Retired from the Army 2009. Long story.

          • Mike Pachuilo says:

            Well Bill, it has been a while since officer basic when we met up with you way back in 82. Are you still in touch with Ducharme? Would love to hear your story. I am in WA now working out in Australia off and on until March 2015.
            Take care and get back to me when you can.

  19. Hollinrake says:

    Hey massengale give me a call 508 287 4570

  20. Norman Wright says:

    Hello I was there 72 74 in supply with SSt mitchell, anyone remenber capt boreson. Any old gators are welcome to reply

    • David Srein says:

      Ranger Dave. I was with him and a couple of others the night he was driving back from the Hotel Panama Casino – drunk – in uniform and switched his uniform with Sgt Mitchell (I think it was mitchell). He was crazy but a good commander.

  21. Mike Pachuilo 74-76 says:

    Roy, #214
    I was in 1st PLT with SSG Crawford’s squad until I made E5 and went to 3rd PLT as a squad leader, with SFC Lewis. Played softball, flag football and hung out with FM, Aiken, Ranger Huff and all the other cazy guys. We put on a show one night at some club. Great times playing tennis, going to the beach and downtown to the Ancon Inn and Napoli’s. Airborne!

    • David Srein says:

      The Ancon Inn was awesome. The Dairy Queen just up the street had great milkshakes. Had my appendix removed at Gorgas in 1973. I remember going to Rio Hato for training and cutting fresh sugar cane. The beaches there were great as well as Punta Chame. Going to the town of David to visit the orphanage there and having dinner with a local family. Those were the days.

    • Jerry Ferguson says:

      Hey Pooch! I remember those guys well! I’ve stayed in touch with Don Sandaal, and just reconnected with Jose Otero. Remember them! I still have a picture of all of us with Mt Ranier in the background. What a blast! Sounds like you’re doing great. Are you on fb?

      • Martin Ford (Neiman) says:

        Hey Ferguson, Martin Neiman here you remember helping me get Ron Ross over the partition wall into our bunks he and I were drunk off our ass Ha Ha Haaa

        • Jerry Ferguson says:

          Yea Neiman I remember seeing ya’ll like that a lot! Crazy bunch of paratroopers back then. Sure don’t miss humpin that jungle in the wet season, but do miss the friends.

      • Mike Pachuilo says:

        No I am not on fb but my wife is. Look under Cheryl Pachuilo. Here picture was on my desk in Panama. I got out and we got married. Still am after 37 years. Just mention Pooch and Panama and you are in. Really great that more people from our time period in Panama are getting on this site. Prior to moving to WA I lived near Pascagoula, MS working at the ship yard down there. Let me know if you want to see some pics and send me an email address and I will scan them and send them to you. Later,

        • Jerry Ferguson says:

          Great to hear from you Pooch! I also got married not too long after getting out. Was married 36 years as of Sept 9th. Got two great kids and two beautiful granddaughters. I spent most of my time working in the private sector since getting out
          most of it in customer service. I’m now pastoring a church in the Ozark Mountains. It’s been a great life. I will go to fb and connect with you there. This is an awesome site.

        • Jerry Ferguson says:

          Hey Pooch, Jerry Ferguson here. I would enjoy seeing whatever pics you have. My email address is sent a friend request to your wife’s fb. Forgot to mention you or Panama. Would enjoy talking sometime. My cell # is 870-650-0017.I’m now back in touch with Neimann, Otero and Sandaal also. Really enjoying this site.

        • Jerry Ferguson says:

          Pooch, the gator group is talking about a reunion in June in Texas. Details are on the moatengator fb page. Think you could come? I’m talking to Otero, Neimann, and Huff about it too.

          • Pooch says:

            I will probably be on a rotating work assignment somewhere, two weeks on, two weeks off. I will definitely come if I am off work. Just let me know where and when. Maybe Massimo will wear his cape and sing again.

            • Jerry Ferguson says:

              Pooch. The date is June 4-7 in Desoto,Tx. All the details aren’t settled yet. As of right now myself, Niemann, Otero, and possibly Huff are planning to attend. That’s the only ones from our time frame that I know of. Hope you can come.

    • Martin Neiman says:

      Hey Sgt. Pachullo were you present the night “Naked Man” (Ranger Huff) terrorized the Barracks Ha Ha

      • Mike Pooch Pachuilo says:

        Of course I was present. Who could forget the site of that masked terror with cape, boots and sword. Only in Airborne.

    • Jim Kelly Huff says:

      Damit Pooch-all the other crazy guys? Hey man get in touch-I’m always lookin for somewhere to ride the Harley. And I kinda sorta remember escorting you to the blue goose one time too. o shit-that was supposed to be a secret I think.

      • Mike Pooch Pachuilo says:

        Ranger Huff, It was the “Grotto Azule” wasn’t it? Any way yes, and your clearance is revoked. Hey this past year I called up Ft. Benning to see if I could visit a Ranger graduation in honor of it being 40 years for me in May 1973. I was in Mississippi so it was not a long drive. The Ranger school said I could visit and asked me be the graduation speaker and present the distinguished graduate awards. I of course agreed. The modern Rangers in Action presentation is a cool. There had to be 1,000 people there. Ranger School is in a new area but Victory Pond is where they graduate new Rangers. The Jump School training area looks exactly the same as it did 40 years ago. I recommend a visit to anyone in the area. What a flood of memories. They even have a C-119 Boxcar on display. We jumped those into Florida for the jungle phase of Ranger school. Be safe, I am glad to know so many of us are still around. Airborne!

  22. Tony Alger says:

    Norman Wright were you in Co A 1-505th, 82nd AB in 71-72? Your name looks familiar. Mike Pachuilo, Crawford was my Sqd Ldr before going to 1st Plt. Taught me a lot of stuff. Believe he and Dengerud went to Delta Force. Lewis was my PSG also. Washington was 1st Sqd Ldr, I was 3rd Sqd Ldr back then. Ochranek was Ops NCO. Davis (Lizard) was 1SG and I do remember Huff.

    • David Srein says:

      C and D did go to Delta. I was an instructor at the Airborne School in 77 and saw Crawford just before he tested for Delta.

    • norman wright says:

      tony were you in the 505 a co 82nd 72, I was the co arms room, It was a long time ago. 937 638 3606 call if you want

    • Jerry Ferguson says:

      Tony Alger. Jerry Ferguson here. I’m sure you don’t remember me. I sure remember you. You were my first squad leader when I arrived in Panama. I was a 19 year old homesick country boy that was having a real hard time adjusting to being overseas, so far from home.I’m sure it was no fun dealing with me. But because of your patience and top-notch leadership and example, by the time you left and Sgt Pooch took over the squad, although I was far from being a perfect troop, I was at least a little more well adjusted. I know it’s been a long time coming, I’m glad this site has given me a chance to say “thanks” for everything. From what I can remember you were headed to DI school when you left. I’m sure you were an outstanding example to the new recruits there too. Airborne, Sarge!

      • Tony Alger says:

        Jerry Ferguson, sorry it took so long to reply. Been busy with softball and golf. We travel from Colorado to Florida. You were a great soldier. I have a picture of you in a 2 1/2. I’ll have to send you a copy when I get back to Colorado. Went to OCS and flew choppers. Retired in1990. Also retired from teaching middle school. Great to hear from you.

        • Jerry Ferguson says:

          Tony Alger. Good to hear from you. Thanks for the kind words.Sounds like you stay pretty busy. I got out in ’77 and went home to Arkansas. I now pastor a church in the Ozark mountains. Would enjoy seeing the picture. Take care. Look forward to hearing from you.

          • Tony Alger says:

            My last duty station was Springfield, Missouri, SMSU ROTC. Loved the area. Got my masters degree. Taught for 20 years and retired from teaching in Colorado. Loved the Ozarks.

            • Jerry Ferguson says:

              Tony,We’re only about two hours south of Springfield. It is an awesome place to live. The Moatengators are talking about a reunion in Texas in June. Details are on the Moatengator fb page. Hope you had a Merry Christmas.

  23. C CO 3BN 508th Inf. Mar’68 to Dec ’68 spent spare time at A Co. with SSgt Geraldo Lanauze a former Ke-San survivor Vietnam Central highlands. A former K street trooper, El Rancho, The Blue Goose, Rio Abajo, El Marallon housing complex located downtown Panama. Was there for the Arnulfo Arias Up rising and riots, President LBJ trips to Honduras, Rio Hato bivwacs, guard duty at the Canal. My Plt Sgt SFC Colon from Coamo PR from the 82nd paratrooper. Anybody from my era contact me at:

  24. Wayne Golon says:

    Mark Soliday (post#200) or Bill Atkinson (post#41) check out post#17! Give me a call anytime at 407-443-8020 (cell) or 407-384-3949 (work). Would like to see if we can get some members of 76-78 Moatengators Weapon Platoon together. Look forward to hearing from you. Wayne Golon, CPL, Co A, 3rd Bn, 5th Inf, Squad Leader- 2nd squad

  25. Wayne Golon says:

    I forgot to provide my email (home) or (work)

  26. Bob Berry says:

    Greetings follow Gators! Wayne Golon and I served together. During his commo check he advised about this webpage. There is Facebook pages for the Moatengators, and a separate one for Wpn Plt; if you have not yet found it.

    Can anyone assist with entry 212, contacting John Dowhy? His entry is to me, and I would like to make contact.

  27. DANIEL KNAUSS says:


    • vicki says:

      Hey Dan,

      Happy to know that you are “alive and well”.

      • DANIEL KNAUSS says:

        vicki e mail me i still love you and miss you. you are my Panama girl.old Moatengaters never die.1972-1974 A co abn 3/5 193rd inf bn the best airborne infantry co.we were LEAPNLIZARDS. made many of blasts in the ***MA**jumpin at “red devil DZ” Vernado, water jumps at DZ White at gatun lake, and skydivjng at France field. I use to skydive with “Ranger Dave” my CO of A CO ABN. he was a cool dude. So many memories, partying downtown on J street, Ancon Inn, Panama Canal Bar and the Golden Key. All the painted faced women must be up in age now!!!! hell i was 18yrs old and loved it. was in panama a total of 8yrs, 6yrs as a army brat at Ft Gulick 1965-1968 then returned 1969 to 1972 and graduated Cristobal high school 1972, then joined the big green machine** 2yrs at ft, Kobbe as a “MOATENGATOR”. I miss Panama. ANY OLD “lEAPNLIZARDS” GIVE ME A BUZZ. “PANAMA RED” WILL GO TO YOUR HEAD’


  28. David Srein says:

    Tony, I am still in WA. My number is (360) 292-2513.

    • Tony Alger says:

      Hi Dave: Saw your reply. We’re headed to Woodland Park, CO. Will Call you soon. Been in Florida for the winter playing softball and golfing. We have a home in Whidbey Island. Been renting it for 10+ years. How’s your family. AIRBORNE!

      • David Srein says:

        Call me when you can. We should get together. My son is n his third year at West Point. Graduates next My (2015).

  29. norman wright says:

    anyone remember greg miller, husbands, and shaffer, they were ther in 72 74 area, capt borreson sgt mitchell supply sgt, these were real moatengators

    • David Srein says:

      Ranger Dave Borenson – liked to drink and gamble at the Hotel Panama Casino. Mitchell was a great guy. Anyone remember Donny Rogers and Matthews?

  30. James Ollari says:

    I was in A 3/5 79 to early 82. Commo section.
    Reading the posting I reconise a lot of the names
    and it brings back memories.I still have the company photo in front of the C-130 at Howard AFB.SSG Young where are you?

  31. co b. 508th abn. ort kobbie mar. 63 to mar. 64 weapons platoon. good times long past, anyone out there remeber.

    • William Bruce Tallant says:

      I came in to co.B in June 1964 was there till Dec.1966 I’m friends with Vince Gomez ,Dan Potts ,Don Johnson Charlie Haycock .James Herman.we had some good times there.

  32. I hope all of you Moatengators will come join our Facebook group. Moatengators, Raah!


    I hope all of you Gators will join us at our Facebook page. Moatengators, Raah!

  34. Mark Soliday says:

    Moatengator WPNS PLT. 76-78 Lived in open bay screened in barracks no AC on the corner behind BN. I was on 1sgt extra duty (no article 15)digging the gator pit at the new hollywood barracks with AC lol.Just met with Roger Sharpknack today after 34 years and discussed pictures. Most of my pictures are girls,partys and girls(I am a paratrooper after all LOL) Cpt. Harvey commanding with 1SGT Elder I remember the BN riot, The panamanion that was tortured and beat up that was snuck into the barracks and the mad cook that killed the maid. We had the worlds fastest train could go from Atlantic to Pacific ocean in 1 hour. LOL I remeber black palm,elephant grass and MP barracks searches. What do you remember?

  35. Robert Finch says:

    Some wonderful years on Ft. Kobbe with 1/508th Feb 90 – Dec 93

    I so do miss the wonderful times.

  36. JULIO says:


  37. Ingemar Woods says:

    I am hoping to hear from someone who knew my brother Allen Woods 19 – 20 year old E-5 in Panama 82nd Airborne Recondo qualified and moatengator served 1972-75 (73-74 in Panama). In the late he went back in the Army 1980 served in the US Rangers for about 2 years. Allen then served as a police officer for a year but he was killed by an intoxicated driver in 1984. Allen loved his time in Panama.

  38. Ingemar Woods says:

    Correction my brother lied about his age and enlisted at 16 years old so he made buck sergeant at age 18 while in Panama. Please contact if you knew my brother.

    • Ingemar Woods says:

      My deceased brother Sgt. Allen Woods (died 1984) and cousin Sp/4 Allan Robison served in the Airborne in Panama in 1973-74. My brother was a recondo motengator I have picture of both getting ready to load into a plan and jump while in Panama it is on my facebook page.

  39. Eric Dodson says: