Military & Terrorist Attacks in Honduras

In the words of the VFW – “Americans have lost their lives in some 85 wars and assorted military actions in the past 234 years. Most of the casualties occurred in a dozen or so major wars. But that does not lessen the sacrifice of those killed in the numerous and mostly forgotten minor expeditions in the far-flung corners of the globe. Whenever any American in uniform is killed by hostile enemy action it is meaningful, and that loss must be remembered and forever recognized.” (VFW Magazine, June 2009 p.21)

– see Chronology of Attacks and Important Events Below –



The United States Pentagon determines when a service member is ‘officially’ exposed to combat (Hostile Fire or Imminently Danger) conditions through statutes, rules, regulations, and proof of this appears on orders, as HFP/IDP or documented on Leave and Earnings Statement’s (LES); all based on Unit Commanders recommendations. The President has the ultimate and final responsibility in determining when and if troops are deployed into these situations.  A service member’s (SM) orders or copies of an LES and DD 214 help determine eligibility for membership acceptance to various organizations such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Combat = Campaign or Expedition awards, Hostile Fire/Imminent Danger pay and/or the issuance of Valor Awards and Purple Hearts, for example, to service members deployed into the theater of operation and their combat support elements.

Hostile Fire Pay (HFP) is defined by the U.S. Army and DOD as, when certified by appropriate commander, a service member is:

1) Subjected to hostile fire or explosion of a hostile mine; or
2) On duty in an area in close proximity to a hostile fire incident and the member is in danger of being exposed to the same dangers actually experienced by other Service Members subjected to hostile fire or explosion of hostile mines; or
3) Killed, injured, or wounded by hostile fire, explosion of a hostile mine, or any other hostile action.

During the beginning of the Vietnam war (1963 & 1965), DOD changed its rules governing HFP, loosening the restriction allowing for all SM in a designated area (Vietnam) to receive combat honors (HFP) if other SM’s were fired upon resulting in HFP status for the entire group or country.   In 1965, DOD solidified this change to combat pay allowing for zonal qualification (Uniform Services Pay Act of 1963, DOD Instruction 1340.6 November 21, 1963 & [Commander in Chief for the Pacific request deleting many restriction May 1965 in Gould & Horowitz History of Combat Pay Institute for Defense Analysis, August 2011 p. 33]).  The Zonal qualification extended to SM’s deployed to combat support units based in other countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Laos.  For example, a SM assigned to a radar station in Thailand received combat pay, recognition and entitlements and never was subjected to hostile fire or imminent danger.  If a SM was assigned to a specific area (Vietnam) they would automatically receive combat pay (HFP) weather or not they were in Imminent Danger or subjected to Hostile Fire.  This zonal qualification lead to a new form of combat pay in 1983 called Imminent Danger pay (IDP) after the Beirut Marine Barracks Bombing and attacks began in Central America-the beginning of global terrorism.

In 1983, DOD added Imminent Danger Pay (IDP) as a qualifying combat status, defining IDP as when a SM is “subject to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger on the basis of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions.”  A Service Member can be assigned to an IDP area and not be subjected to hostile fire or explosive devise and still receive combat honors and recognition based on the threat alone.  This occurs on a regular basis today (before May 31, 2014) in some 54 designated combat zones around the world.

Below is the Specific Factors Questionnaire routinely utilized by DoD and its subordinates to determine if a foreign area should be designated an Imminent Danger Pay area.  Keep these factors in mind as you read the below listed events.  All Honduran deployments were unaccompanied.

In Honduras, unit commanders could not certify subjection to hostile fire or explosive device since many of the combat missions in or from Honduras were not authorized.  The Executive Branch and the Pentagon did not have Congressional approval to put military members in harms way and therefore could not publicly admit they were in harms way, hence no awards or recognition and no entitlements or benefits for the veterans and families.  No Gold Stars!

Congress specifically outlawed this from happening, for example in the Boland Amendments (1982 & 1984).  The Executive Branch and Pentagon could not have designated Honduras an IDP area because Congress would have objected to funding it since they were attempting to restrict activities in Honduras and Nicaragua.  Under no circumstances would Congress have authorized payments of HFP/IDP to troops who were not supposed to be equipped for combat or in a country under siege (Honduras) and martial law during a period when these missions were prohibited by that same Congress.  Limited HFP was authorized after certain events in Honduras.  The War Powers Resolution requires the President to “…notify, consult, and participate with the Congress in decisions of whether the United States should go to war or should deploy its forces in a manner that war is likely.” Section 4 of the resolution directs the President to “submit a report to Congress within 48 hours after U.S. forces have been introduced—into a foreign nation’s territory, airspace, or waters, while equipped for combat.” (50 U.S.C. 1542-3). This requirement was not fulfilled by the Executive Branch when U.S. military forces were deployed to Honduras while equipped for combat as some member’s orders clearly state.

Today (especially before May 31, 2014), many SM’s deployed to Greece, Philippines, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and other locations receive IDP and not a single gun shot or explosion has occurred in years in these countries, yet they still receive combat pay, lifelong recognition and lifelong entitlements.  In fact, in some of these countries, SM’s receive combat pay while living with their spouses and children in a ‘combat zone.’  Moreover, in some ‘combat zones’ DOD has constructed schools for the American children while they live in a so-called combat zone while receiving combat recognition & pay, Combat Zone Tax Relief and honors.  Being deployed to a combat zone today can mean additional income, tax savings and other financial benefits of up to $6,000 to $8,000 a month depending on location and rank of the SM.  Current policy indicates, the Pentagon in many circumstances, appears to be utilizing modern combat pay as a ‘recruitment and retention’ tool; not using it for its original intended purpose of recognizing the ‘hazards and hardships’ of actual combat.

The questions become; 1) was Honduras an Imminent Danger Area, 2) were some U.S. troops subjected to Hostile Fire, and 3) was this a Low-Intensity Conflict?

The following is a partial list of known incidents of hostile activity showing the Imminent Danger present in Honduras during the Central America War; important military, terrorist and other events that occurred in and around Honduras during the war.  During the war, at least 70 U.S. troops were killed and many dozens more were wounded by hostile actions in Honduras.  Pilot Jeff Schwab was KIA and at least 46 Purple Hearts were awarded by DOD.  Numerous SM’s received Hostile Fire Pay.  Two Prisoner of War Medals were awarded to members stationed in Honduras.  More than 300 U.S. military members were killed during the Central America War.  In comparison, the Kosovo Campaign Medal, was issued to thousands of U.S. military members over a ten year period had one hostile death.  The University of Maryland, Global Terrorism Database (UMD GTD) establishes that more than 300 terrorist and other attacks occurred in Honduras during the conflict.

If at least one KIA, two Prisoner of War Medals, numerous Purple Hearts are awarded and Hostile Fire pay issued during an foreign operation; a campaign or expeditionary medal should be authorized!  Unlike El Salvador, which had a significant internal civil war, Honduras with its internal insurgency, was being attacked by a foreign government – Nicaragua.

Notice that Nicaragua deployed Soviet PT-76 tanks along the Honduran border (this photo was taken in 1984) as early as 1981.  Nicaragua, Cuba and USSR didn’t consider this training and games.  Soviet tanks were not deployed along the Costa Rican border and U.S. forces in El Salvador faced no such threat.



President Jimmy Carter is in office until January 20, 1981

May 29, 1979 Six members of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in an unarmed melee attacked the Mexican Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  The FSLN would go on to become the Nicaraguan governing body (START (National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism). (2022). Global Terrorism Database 1970 – 2020 [data file]. [referenced hereafter as ‘UMD GTD’]).

July 20, 1979  Shortly after the fall of the Somoza dictatorship on July 19, 1979, it is feared that Soviet communism will soon be at the U.S. southern border (Kokomo Tribune OP/ED Communism on doorstep July 20, 1979).

July 22, 1979 Two carloads of armed ex-Somoza guardsmen attack a meeting of the newly formed Sandinista Junta cabinet members in Managua at Hotel Camino Real.  15 minute gun battle (LA Times Gunmen attack Nicaragua hotel of Junta, Sandinistas July 23, 1979).  The defense of the Nicaraguan revolution immediately began!  The ex-Somoza guardsmen would later become the Contras.

July 30, 1979 Tachito Somoza, Anastasio Somoza’s son, is reported to be “in neighboring Honduras attempting to organize an army there (Des Moines Register Ex-Nicaragua guard head reportedly plans invasion, July 30, 1979).”

July 30, 1979 Nicaraguan Sandinista Interior Minister Tomas Borge requests military aid from the U.S. Carter administration to help defend its newly formed post-Somoza governing Junta (Akron Beacon Nicaragua seeks U.S. military assistance July 30, 1979 p. A3).  The Carter Administration decided to support the Ex-Somoza members.

August 7, 1979  1,500 ex-Somoza guardsmen are reportedly regrouping and organizing in Honduras for an alleged counteroffensive (LA Times Remnants in Honduras: Nicaraguan Guardsmen, Bedraggled, Broke, Bitter August 8, 1979).

September 10, 1979  Honduran military officials report that Nicaraguan Sandinista troops fired on a Honduran customs post wounding 2 truck drivers.  Nicaragua denied the attack.  The article reports that relations between left and right governments in C.A. have been tense ( Democrat and Chronicle [Rochester, NY] Honduras rushes troops to Nicaraguan border September 12, 1979).  Honduras military rushes an estimated 600 troops to the border of Nicaragua in response (Santa Cruz Sentinel Border clash September 12, 1979).

September 12, 1979  The U.S. State Department informed a House subcommittee that the “U.S. would be encouraging a takeover of Nicaragua by Marxist, pro-Cuban forces if it refuses aid to the troubled Central America nation” (Detroit Free Press Aid to Nicaragua defended September 12, 1979).

September 15, 1979 Unknown assailants bombed a Honduran businessman’s office in Choluteca, Honduras injuring two.  Also, unknown assailants bombed the Honduran Club-Bar, Football Players hangout Casa Rosada also in Choluteca injuring nine (UMD GTD).

October 1, 1979 DOD backdates its HFP for U.S. troops serving in El Salvador to the beginning of the month when the first U.S. troops were wounded in El Salvador.

October 10, 1979 Unknown assailants using a handgun tortured then assassinated Honduran Pablo Emilio Salazar (Comandante Bravo), Former National Guard Colonel, Nicaraguan (Dissolved) National Guard in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (UMD GTD; GTD ID #197910100010).

October 15, 1979  Shootings were reported in Army barracks in Chalatenango & Sonsonate, ES.  One ES Army Captain was killed.  Army barracks in four major capitols were seized after protests against Army shootings of civilians.  El Salvador (ES) President Carlos Humberto Romero was ousted in a military coup by Army leftists rebels in San Salvador who then installed a three man Junta lead by Col. Adolfo Arnoldo Najano (Courier Journal [KY] Army coup is reported in El Salvador October 16, 1979).

October 17, 1979  Two U.S. Marine guards were shot and wounded at the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador, El Salvador.  First U.S. troops wounded in El Salvador.

November 1979 Several Nicaraguan Sandinista army units from Nicaragua crossed into Honduras in pursuit of former members of the defeated Somoza National Guard (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).

November 7, 1979  Nicaraguan Interior Minister Tomas Borge reported that 60 ex-Somoza guardsmen invaded Nicaragua from Honduras the “majority was annihilated by Sandinista troops.”  Borge also stated that the Honduran attache in Managua was involved (Indianapolis Star Somoza Backers ‘Annihilated‘ November 8, 1979).  “Relations between the leftist Sandinista government and Honduras’ rightest military regime have been strained for weeks after Nicaraguan charges that Honduran warplanes violated its airspace” (St. Louis Post Dispatch Reports Nicaraguan Raid By Supporters Of Somoza November 8, 1979).

November 5 -10, 1979  Nicaragua installs anti-aircraft weapons along its border with Honduras, reinforces troops and warns the Honduran military regime “to halt alleged airspace violations by Honduran planes.”  Third warning in five days by Borge. Honduras denied the allegations and countered that Nicaraguan Sandinista troops had often trespassed into Honduras (Arizona Republic Honduras warned by Nicaragua November 12, 1979).

1981 to 1984 Ordway Grove, Task Force 138, based at San Pedro Sula, UNITS: 138th AVN from Orlando, PURPOSE: SIGINT along El Salvador and Nicaraguan borders, SOURCE FB posts, military certificates, Ordway Grove planes ordered to leave prior to Reagan’s visit.  Operation Royal Duke was a related operation.

1981 to 1988 Intelligence Support Activity (ISA): World, UNITS: F.O.G. became ISA, Seaspray, Delta Force, SF, Task Force 160, PURPOSE: ISA classified Special OPS.

February 12, 1980  Nicaraguan Sandinista (FSLN) members kidnapped American businessman Martin Guardien in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, his family paid a ransom (UMD GTD).

March 1980  Carter administration officials reported the U.S. is rushing military aid and advisers to Honduras to quell the spread of violence from its C.A. neighbors.  “State and Defense department officials, in congressional testimony last week, also asked for military aid-but not advisers-to help El Salvador’s army fight left-and right-wing terrorism.”  Mobile Training Teams were dispatched to Honduras and not El Salvador.  John Bushnell, deputy assistant Secretary of State, made clear the two military aid programs to Honduras and El Salvador “are related” ( Arizona Republic U.S. rushing military aid to Honduras March 31, 1980 & The Washington Star U.S. is rushing Arms to Honduras March 31, 1980 p. A12).

March 1981 to December 8, 1983 Operation Grid Circuit occurs in Central America.  UNITS: 160th SO AVN BTN, Business Security International aka Yellow Fruit, Seaspray.  PURPOSE: Special OPS clandestine, related to Queens Hunter [and Quebec a safehouse in La Cieba; SOURCE: Secret Warriors p. 91] in Honduras & ISA.  SOURCE:  NYT Magazine, Who’s in Charge Here by Seymour M. Hersh, November 22, 1987; Marsh memo to Weinburger, May 9, 1983.

April 4, 1980 U.S. citizen and Texaco Executive, Arnie Quiroz is kidnapped by unknown assailants in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  Unknown assailants kidnapped Honduran Bonifacio Rochac, a coffee grower demanding $12,500 for his release (UMD GTD).

April 15, 1980 A caravan of the National Party of Honduras (PNH) members are attacked with handguns and knives by communist agitators in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

May 14, 1980  A mass killing of civilians fleeing El Salvador across a border river with Honduras kills 350 to 500 civilians is reported in El Tiempo Tegucigalpa, Honduras (Florida Today Salvadoran deaths reported June 7, 1980 p. 12A).  Known as the Sumpul River crossing massacre.

August 6, 1980 Members of the Ex-Somoza National Guard (who later would become the Contras) assassinated Nicaraguan Enrique Gonzalez a ‘former’ member of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) in El Pariaso, El Pariaso Department, Honduras (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198008060005).  This is the first known Contra / Nicaraguan killing (see also 10 OCT 79 assassination).

August 15, 1980  Eight members of the People’s Revolutionary Union, a leftists rebel group, took twelve hostages at the Organization of American States (OAS)  in Tegucigalpa in protest of the genocide by Honduran Army against Salvadoran civilians fleeing El Salvador on May 14th.  600 Salvadoran civilians were reportedly killed crossing the Sumpul River near Guatita, into Honduras.  The OAS is responsible for supervising the demilitarized zone of 1.8 miles on both sides of the border which began in 1970 after the 1969 ‘soccer war’ ( Pittsburg Press Terrorists Holding 12 At OAS In Honduras August 16, 1980).

October 1980 “Sandinista forces three times attacked Costa Rican vessels engaged in medical missions on the San Juan River (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

October 30, 1980 El Salvador and Honduras sign a General Peace Treaty in Lima, Peru under intense pressure from the U.S..  Unknown assailants attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, with firearms (UMD GTD).

October 31 & November 3, 1980 Members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF) Commandos bombed the Chilean Embassy in Tegucigalpa injuring eight people (UMD GTD).

November 1980 “The Sandinista Army attacked with machinegun fire a Costa Rican vessel sailing up the San Juan River (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

December 4, 1980 Unknown perpetrators assassinated with a knife Public Security Force (FUSEP) members Pedro Castillo Galeas and Mario Aguilar Garcia, members of a regional office, in Cane, La Paz Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

December 6, 1980 Two terrorists using a handgun assassinated Honduran businessman Rene Perdomo Paredes in Chimisales, Santa Barbara Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

December 7, 1980 U.S. citizen and Goodyear executive Clifford Bevens was kidnaped and eventually executed near Guatemala City, Guatemala.

December 17, 1980 U.S. citizen and businessman Thomas Bracken was murder by terrorists in the streets of San Salvador, El Salvador.

December 18, 1980 Five members of an unknown terrorist group (Cinchoneros) using automatic weapons kidnapped American Paul Vinelli, President of Atlantic bank (owned by Chase Manhattan) killing his bodyguard and seriously wounding his driver in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD & UPI March 4, 1981 Kidnapped American-born banker freed in Honduras).  Members of the Cinchoneros group, aided by Salvadorans insurgents conducted the kidnapping.  Some members of the Cinchoneros had close ties to the Sandinistas as early as mid-1980.  Vinelli was released in March 1981 after his family paid over $1 million (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).

December 29, 1980 Unknown assailants kidnapped four El Salvadorans workers at an auto weighing station in Amatillo, Valle Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

January 20, 1981 President Reagan takes office.

January 26, 1981 An unknown number of Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement members exploded bombs at the Libertad Park (In front of Labor and Social Welfare Ministry), a second near San Isidro Market and a third at Metropolitan Cathedral all in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

February 2, 1981 Guerrillas firebombed the ESSO Standard Oil Compound, a subsidiary of EXXON Corporation, near San Salvador, El Salvador killing two people.

February 3, 1981 a Military Intelligence MTT group arrived in Honduras for advisory purposes (Covert Action Information Bulletin, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

February 6, 1981 ABN MTT from 82nd Air Transport Div., Ft. Bragg arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

February 20, 1981 An unknown number of assailants with the Martyrs of La Talanguera bombed the offices of Polymer Plastics Company and unsuccessfully attempted to bomb the Honduran Bananna Corporation (Cohbara) both in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

February 23, 1981 a Supplies & Maintenance unit from Ft. Lee arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

February 26, 1981 MTT from Ft. Worden arrived in Honduras to provide Command & General Staff technical support (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

March 4, 1981 The UPI claims that “Police have not ruled out the possibily common criminals kidnapped Vinelli, since political abductions practiced by leftist guerrilas in nearby El Salvador and Guatemala are almost unheard of in relatively tranquil Honduras (UPI March 4, 1981 Kidnapped American-born banker freed in Honduras)[see above 25 or so incidents dating back to 1979].

March 9, 1981 President Reagan signs a “Presidential Finding” authorizing covert activities against Nicaragua and the Sandinistas.  See December 1981 for more details.

March 25, 1981 a helicopter motor maintenance unit from SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

March 27, 1981 Four members of the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement armed with automatic weapons, pistols and explosive devices hijacked Honduran airlines Boeing 737 (SAHSA) in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).  The plane was flown to Nicaragua by the Cinchoneros and Salvadoran guerrillas (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).  Demands for a ransom were made.  Also, unknown assailants with explosive devices bombed the Honduran National Assembly Building in Tegucigalpa injuring one person (UMD GTD).

April 15, 1981 Insurgent guerrillas using an Uzi and handguns attacked a Honduran police patrol vehicle in Tegucigalpa killing three and injuring nine (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198104150008).

April 19, 1981 Nicaraguan border patrols capture two Honduran soldiers inside Nicaragua who were there to collect intelligence (Nicaragua v. U.S., International Court of Justice April 9, 1984 CASE CONSERNING MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY ACTIVITIES IN AND AGAINST NICARAGUA).

April 25, 1981 MTT from 3/7 SFG arrived in Honduras and carried out various counter-insurgency OPS & a communication unit from Ft. Bragg arrived (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

May 13, 1981 a medical services unit from SOUTHCOMM arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

May 17, 1981 another MTT from 3/7 SFG arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

May 26, 1981 a light arms maintenance group from 193rd INF Panama SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras to train the Honduran SF (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

June 25, 1981 a communications group from 1978th unit from SOUTHCOM & a MI MTT group arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

July 14, 1981 a U.S. military group specialized in constructing large shooting ranges arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

July 23, 1981 a Border Patrol and Customs investigations group from SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

August 3, 1981 a helicopter motor maintenance unit from SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

August 16, 1981 small naval patrol group from Rodman Naval Base Panama arrived at Puerto Cortes Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

August 20, 1981 a MTT from SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras to provide Command & General Staff technical support (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

September 12, 1981 a radar unit from SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras and stayed at the Hotel Maya in Tegucigalpa (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29 & 30).

September 14, 1981 a communications unit from Ft. Gordon arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

September 16, 1981 Mennonite Missionary John David Troyer of Michigan was shot and killed by unknown assailants in Palama, Guatemala. February 13, 1982 American Catholic missionary Brother James Alfred Miller, 37, is murdered in Guatemala.

September 22, 1981 a helicopter motor maintenance unit from 210th Air BTN of SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

September 23, 1981 Three members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF), Popular Revolutionary Front using automatic weapons attacked a U.S. Embassy vehicle carrying five U.S. military advisors in Tegucigalpa, Honduras (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198109230008).  Two were either wounded or killed.  A declassified CIA report claims they were killed (Sanitized Copy Approved for Release 2011/06/04 : CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2, page 3).  First U.S. military casualties in Honduras (New York Times 2 U.S. Military Advisers are shot in Honduras in a terrorist attack September 24, 1981).  This event should have triggered DoD in designating Honduras an IDP area and back-dating it to September 1, 1981 as it did in El Salvador in 1979 under the Carter Administration.  Presumably, these military members received HFP.  The same group also bombed the Honduran National Congress Building in Tegucigalpa causing over $75,000 in damage.

October 1981 the joint naval-air military deployment named Halcons Vista (Falcons View) commenced in the Caribbean coast off Nicaragua.  The US had 757 military members, one US Navy troop carrier LSD-30, two U-2A spy planes, one C-130 transport carrier, one CH-47 Chinook, one PCF naval patrol boat, two 65 foot Navy patrol boats and one ATF ocean tugboat.  Honduras had paratroopers from the Army General Staff, two C-47 airplanes, two A-37 planes, three UH-1H helicopters and three 105 foot patrol boats (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

October 7, 1981 Operation Falcon’s View begins, joint naval exercise with U.S. and Honduras. First ‘official’ report of U.S. troops in Honduras (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

October 22, 1981 a MTT from 3/7th SFG carried out various counter-insurgency OPS in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

October 30, 1981 a U.S. Air Transport OPS unit arrived at the military installations of Honduran 2nd INF BTN (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

November 1981 “A leader of the Cinchonero group revealed that members of his organization were being trained in Cuba and that its leaders met regularly with Sandinista officials in Nicaragua (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

November 1981  The US delivered five F-100 SABRE fighter planes to Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

November 11, 1981  An ABN MTT from SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29).

November 19, 1981 Members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) Peoples Liberation Forces (FPL) using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit in La Virtud, Lempira Department, Honduras killing two soldiers (UMD GTD).

November 27, 1981 Unknown terrorists attacked a Honduran police unit with automatic weapons killing two and wounding two in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

December 1981 “The Costa Rican Communist Party, which sent cadres to fight with the Sandinistas in 1978-79, formed its own paramilitary unit sometime in late 1981.  The Sandinistas provide extensive training and logistical support to this brigade, which since its formation has been participating in counterinsurgency operations in southern Nicaragua against anti-Sandinista rebels (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

December 1981 Operation Red Christmas occurs during the holiday season to scare / recruit Miskito Indians into joining the fight against Nicaragua.

December 1, 1981 President Reagan signs (see below) a “Presidential Finding” authorizing CIA to “Support and conduct (military and) paramilitary operations against…Nicaragua (Presidential Finding, White House, December 1, 1981; partially declassified)(Nicaragua v. U.S., ICJ 1984).”  President Reagan ordered it in 1981 and Congress outlawed it in 1984 within the second Boland Amendment.  These activities still continued as was disclosed during the Iran-Contra hearings.

December 1, 1981 A U.S. Marine Security Guard was fired upon while in his vehicle in San Salvador, El Salvador, The Popular Liberation Forces claimed responsibilities.

*December 2,1981—A group of contras invaded the community of San Jeronimo, Nicaragua kidnapping and later torturing and killing a health-care worker (*denotes Contra attacks on civilians in Nicaragua from 1981-1984 resulting in death, injury or kidnapping; sources – Bitter Witness: Nicaraguans and the ”Covert” War, by the Witness for Peace Documentation Project; the submissions of the Nicaraguan government to the International Court of Justice at the Hague; lists prepared by clergy in Nicaragua; America’s Watch reports; Congressional testimony prepared by the Center for Constitutional Rights; the Updates of the Central American Historical Institute; and Reed Brody’s notes).

*December 4, 1981—Approximately 60 contras invaded the community of Asang, kidnapping and later killing Genaro William and Aries Escoban. They also robbed the local ENABAS warehouse of 600 quintales of rice and 35,000 cordobas in cash (Contra attacks on civilians in Nicaragua 81-84).

*December 6,1981—Aguedo Morales Reina, a Cuban elementary school teacher, was killed by contras in Chontales.

*December 8, 1981—Armed contras coming from Honduras invaded the community of La Esperanza, ordering the inhabitants to cross over to Honduras and threatening with death those who refused. They also threatened those who worked for Government agencies.

*December 10, 1981—Contras attacked and wounded Jesus Lorenzo Reyes in El Guabo, Waslala.

December 14, 1981 CIA-trained mercenaries (Contras) attacked the Nicaraguan town of San Carlos in Zelaya Norte province, kidnapped 12 persons, took them back to a base camp in Honduras and killed them (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

December 15-30, 1981 CIA backed mercenary forces (Contras) attacked additional targets inside Nicaragua always returning to base camps in Honduras (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

December 20-25, 1981 CIA trained Miskito Indian commandos raided several villages inside Nicaragua. Operation Red Christmas was meant to force other Miskito Indians to leave Nicaragua for Honduras to join other Nicaraguan defectors (Contras)(Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

*December 28, 1981—Approximately 15 contras invaded the Miskito community of Bilwaskarma, kidnapping four people, including a woman doctor, Myrna Cunningham, and a nurse, Regina Lewis. The contras took the women to Honduras, where they were gang-raped.

*December 31, 1981—Approximately 25 contras kidnapped a citizen from the community of Andres Tara. He was later found dead, his throat cut and the eyes removed from their sockets.  *Due to the graphic nature of these alleged horrific incidents, only the December 1981 sampling will be listed here.  The sources of these accounts claim similar attacks continued throughout the Central America War.

1981 visits by high ranking US military officials to Honduras: a total of 50 visits were noted with a total of 56 military personnel; 44 from SOUTHCOM and 6 from the CONUS.  Noteworthy were two visits by CINC SOUTHCOM Lt. Gen Wallace Nutting on February 11 to Honduran 2nd INF BTN Counter-Insurgency school in Marcola, the second on October 5 prior to the commencement of Halcon Vista maneuvers.  The Chief of OPS for SOUTHCOM visited on February 1, May 7 and August 15 in preparation for Halcon Vista.  Chief of Logistics of SOUTHCOM on January 29. Chief of General Staff of 193rd INF BGE. US SOUTHCOM Head of Planning Div. of MI and staff on March 11 and June 5 in Gulf of Fonseca. Deputy CINC of US SOUTHCOM and the Commander of Howard AFB visited Honduras on April 13 to meet with Honduran Army and AF CINC’s.  President of Inter-American Defense Board (JID) Lt. Gen John Meenery visited Honduras on September 24.  Gen. Vernon Walters, special emissary of the US Sec. of State, met with the Honduran Foreign Minister, then Col. Gustavo Alvarez and Honduran politicians on May 13 (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

Early 1982, the Honduran Army’s 7th and 12th INF BTN’s held joint maneuvers with the El Salvadoran Army called OPERATION SANDWICH along the border regions of San Juan de Guarta, the Sompul River, Valladolid, Mapulaca, Santa Lucia and Colomoacagua in Honduran territory (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

First nine months of 1982, “military exercises accelerated tremendously, as did air and naval espionage missions in Nicaraguan territory (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).”

1982 – 1988? Operation Quail Hunter (Shooter) occurs in (La Venta) Honduras involving US & Honduran SF was an antiterrorist training program (Wash Post March 24, 1985 U.S. Trains antiterrorists; Own Backyard p. 298)

January 2, 1982 A CIA backed force of 60 men attacked the town of Raiti, Nicaragua killing four civilians. Another force of 45 CIA backed mercenaries attacked Limbaica, stole two boats, engines, fuel and weapons and burned a bridge at Alammikamba (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

January 4, 1982 President Reagan signs National Security Decision Directive (NSDD) #17 authorizing “increase military assistance to El Salvador and Honduras…provide military training for indigenous units and leaders in and out of country…enhance U.S. and host country intelligence capabilities and sharing…encourage cooperative efforts to defeat externally-supported insurgency” and to “support democratic forces in Nicaragua.”

January 24, 1982  “A leftist movement is growing in Honduras…” and “Salvadoran troops often cross the border in pursuit of Salvadoran guerrillas.  In addition, former Somoza National guard soldiers who fled to Honduras after the Nicaraguan dictator’s fall are said to be preparing a counter-revolution and have been issuing war communique’s on their actions against Nicaragua.”  This article implies the 1979 Nicaraguan revolution never ended and is being energized from Honduran based Nicaraguan exiles (Akron Beacon Journal PARADE MAGAZINE Can Central America Be A Vietnam by Tad Szulc January 24, 1982 p. 12 & 13).

January 29, 1982 President Reagan signs NSDD #21 authorizing base improvements and construction in Honduras.

February 1982 “The principal suspect in an assassination attempt against anti-Sandinista leader ‘Negro’ Chamorro was the Nicaraguan consul in Liberia, Costa Rica; he returned to Nicaragua, and the case was never completed (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

February 5, 1982 Forty mercenaries (Contras) based in Honduras attacked the Nicaraguan border post at Las Brisas in Nueva Segovia province killing three Nicaraguan guards. Later in February similar attacks occurred at border posts in El Espino and El Zacaton (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

February 23, 1982 Photo of a detention camp of Indians located at Sumubila, Nicaragua.

February 27, 1982 the USS Navy Destroyer USS Carson was discovered in the territorial waters off Nicaragua (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

March 1982 “Honduran businessman kidnapped in Tegucigalpa by local Communists aided by Salvadoran insurgents, reportedly at Cuba urging. Two Nicaraguans were among nine arrested when Costa Rican security forces uncovered a terrorist cell in San Jose with $500,000 in arms, the largest and most sophisticated cache discovered to date in Costa Rica (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

March 14, 1982 A CIA-trained and equipped demolition team crossed into Nicaragua from Honduras and blew up two vital bridges at Rio Negro in Chinandega and Ocotal in Nueva Segovia (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984; Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

April thru July 1982 two US espionage flights by U-2 planes routinely flew over the Puerto Cabezas Nicaragua area (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

April 1, 1982 Thursday – Then Colonel Gustavo Alvarez Martinez said in a national radio address that his country is “tremendously worried” about the arms buildup in Nicaraguan and that “Honduras now is confronting an armed aggression from the Soviet Union by way of Cuba.  Because of that, if no other possibility exists to preserve peace, Honduras is in agreement that the United States, as a friendly country, intervene militarily in Central America.”

April 4, 1982 Three squadrons of the Honduran army from the border area of El Guasaule, in full army uniform, crossed into Nicaragua near Somitillo, kidnapped 21 peasants and took them back to Choluteca, Honduras (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

April 5, 1982 Armed assailants with automatic weapons attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

April 6, 1982 a US Coast Guard training group arrived in Honduras to conduct specialized training with the Honduran Navy on Night-time small vessel patrol OPS (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

April 11, 1982 the US SOUTHCOM sent a training group led by Capt. Gonzalez to Honduras to conduct Airport Resave and Surveillance training (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

April 12, 1982 the US SOUTHCOM sent military communications specialists to Honduras to train Honduran military members in the use of AN/TR S-1 radio equipment (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

April 15, 1982 the destroyer DDG-40 USS Coontz was detected in Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast territorial waters.  The frigate FFG-23 USS Lewis B. Puller was seen off Nicaragua’s Pacific coastal waters (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

April 18, 1982 a MTT group (1 of 5 groups sent) from the US SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras to conclude the second instruction course in Command and General Staff schooling of Honduran infantry officers.  By August of 1982, 10 high ranking officers had graduated (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 29 -30).

April 26, 1982 A mercenary force (Contras) of 100 men armed with grenades, mortars and machine guns attacked the Nicaraguan border post at Los Planes in Nueva Segovia province killing four persons and wounding many others. The same day another mercenary force killed four farm workers, a woman and a child in El Recreo, Jinotega province (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

May 1982 “San Jose protested border raids by Nicaraguan soldiers during late May in the provinces of Upala, Los Chiles, and San Carlos (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

May 1982 a US merchant ship arrived in Puerto Cortes with a shipment of weapons (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

June 1982 “A Sandinista patrol intercepted a Costa Rican tourist boat on the San Juan River and held tourists for several hours.  Both sides agreed to form a mixed commission to deal with possible border violations.  The Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry affirmed the continuation of Nicaraguan police and customs control of the San Juan River, presumably as part of a strategy to pursue anti-Sandinistas (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

June 8, 1982 US SOUTHCOM sent two flight training groups to Honduras to train officers in direct air support missions and on June 29th to train 40 Honduran Armed Forces regulars (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

July 1982 “Three Nicaraguan diplomats implicated in the bombing of a Honduran airline office in San Jose were expelled; a Colombian responsible for the bombing claimed that he had been recruited, trained, and directed by the Nicaraguan Embassy in San Jose (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

July 1982 a total of 83 flights landed in Honduras transporting weapons and military supplies carried by 77 C-130 and 6 C-141’s (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

July 3, 1982 Ten members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF) Froylan Turcios Group using  explosives and automatic weapons attacked an electric power plant killing sixteen Hondurans and causing over $10 million in damages (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198207030002).

July 1982 “Two major electric power substations in Tegucigalpa bombed by Lorenzo Zelaya group and Salvadoran insurgent; damage estimated at $20 million; economic counselor at the Nicaraguan Embassy subsequently implicated by two captured terrorists; Nicaraguan national, later identified as Sandinista Comandante Modesto, killed by Honduran security forces during raid of terrorists’ hideout (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

July 4, 1982 Two hundred mercenaries (Contras), armed with U.S.-made M-16’s and M-79 Grenade launchers attacked the Nicaraguan village of Seven Benk killing 15 Nicaraguans.  The fight lasted three days (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  CENTRAL POWER STATION WAS BOMBED BY MEMBERS OF THE FROYLAN TURCIOS COMMAND, A HONDURAN-BASE CELL OF THE FMLN [El Salvadoran insurgency]. SEEN AS AN ACT OF RETALIATION AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF HONDURAS FOR ITS INVOLVEMENT IN ANTI-GUERRILLA OPERATIONS (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 29; Waghelstein).

July 8, 1982 Members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF) Froylan Turcios Group using automatic weapons took hostages and attacked a Honduran police unit in Tegucigalpa killing five officers (UMD GTD). 

July 16, 1982 An 80-man mercenary force (Contras) raided the village of San Fernando in Nueva Segovia killing one villager and kidnapping three peasants before withdrawing to Honduras (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

July 24, 1982 A 100 man mercenary force (Contras) equipped with modern U.S. weapons crossed into Nicaragua from Honduras and attacked the village of San Francisco del Norte, Chinandega province killing 14 villagers (militia) wounding four and kidnapping 8 others taking them back to Honduras. Three more Nicaraguans were killed pursuing the mercenaries (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984; Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

July 25, 1982 A “Combined Deployment” of U.S. and Honduran troops began. U.S. aircraft, military vehicles, communication equipment and troops were flown into Honduras from U.S. military bases in Panama. A permanent military base was established at Durzuna, near the Nicaraguan border where most of the U.S. military equipment remained for use by the mercenaries (Contras) attacking Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  This joint “military maneuver took place in a region in Honduras where there is a large concentration of Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary forces (Contras).  This exercise consisted in an airlift of the Honduran 5th Battalion from the Department of Comayagua to the Department of Cabo Gracias a Dios and the recently constructed Fort Mocoron.  Thirty U.S. pilots, 1,500 soldiers, USAF C-130 transport planes, two heavy transport USAF helicopters, CH-47 planes from the Honduran Air Force, and two UH-1H helicopters participated in the ‘exercise.’  Moreover, during this same month the entire Honduran Army was placed on full alert on two separate occasions.  On July 29 and again on August 5, 1982; orders were given to concentrate troops and be ready to move to any point in the country within 48 hours (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31-32).”

August 1982 from February to August the number of US SFG MTT’s instructors at the RMTC went from 40 to more than 100 (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

August 1982 the CINC of Honduran Armed Forces requested 8 C-130’s be included in the next US military assistance plan (this likely didn’t happen) and US ships from Guantanamo Bay arrived in Honduran ports of Tela and Cortez with a crew of 150 men (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

August 1982 a military exercise named ACCION CIVICA (Civic Action) US and Honduran air units from Combined Deployment flew over zones inhabited by ex-National Guard and Miskito communities en route from San Pedro de Sula to Puerto Lempira.  22 US planes participated.  At this same time these units carried out rescue and security maneuvers at San Pedro Sula airport (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

August 1982 the USS Portland with 600 Marines arrived at Puerto Cortez and remained for two days.  It then participated in the UNITAS naval maneuvers in the Atlantic Ocean.  During this same period, two USAF U-2 planes flew espionage missions over Nicaraguan territory (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

August 4, 1982 Four different bombings occurred in Tegucigalpa, at least three were performed by the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF) against U.S. owned Air Florida, El Salvadoran Air terminals, a U.S. owned IBM/Pan AM building ($1 million plus in damages) and a Honduran city bus injuring a total of at least ten people (UMD GTD). Aided by Salvadoran guerrilla groups demanding end to US involvement in Nicaragua and Salvadoran affairs (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).

August 17, 1982 the destroyer DD-963 USS Spruance was detected in Nicaraguan territorial waters off the Pacific coast (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

August 22, 1982 Proof of an active insurgency in Honduras emerges in the arrest of FMLN leader Alejandro Montenegro in Honduras.

August 24, 1982 a MTT arrived in San Pedro Sula to train the Honduran 3rd INF BTN in Night Flight Missions with specific focus on ambush, incursions and air mobility OPS (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

August 28, 1982 Contra units destroyed $2 million worth of road construction equipment in the village of Lyas, 12 kilos NW of Wasala in Nicaragua (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

September 1982 a US Naval unit arrived from the US at Puerto Lempira carrying weapons for the Honduran 5th INF BTN (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 31).

September 1982 the second phase of Combined Deployment maneuvers took place relocated the remainder of the 5th INF BTN to Mocoron (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

September 2, 1982 Two different unknown assailant groups kidnapped two Honduran military soldiers in Comayaguela, a suburb of Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

September 17, 1982 – San Pedro Sula – CINCHONEROS SEIZED CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND HELD 80 HOSTAGES FOR EIGHT DAYS. DEMANDED THE RELEASE OF HONDURAN, SALVADORAN [Alejandro Montenegro: FMLN] AND OTHER LATIN AMERICAN LEFTIST ACTIVISTS, THE EXPULSION OF U.S. ADVISORS AND WITHDRAWL OF HONDURAS FROM THE NEWLY-FORMED CENTRAL AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC COMMUNITY(Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 30; Waghelstein). Seized 105 Honduran businessman, demanding the release of some 60 Honduran and Salvadoran leftist extremists.  Operation reportedly planned by Cuba, captives released after safe passage allowed by Honduran Government (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).

October 1982 the Honduran military received shipment of 10 UH-1H helicopters (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

November 4, 1982 Members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZFR) bombed and targeted four Honduran Government buildings in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

November 5, 1982 The New York Times publishes the article titled Not-So-Secret War in Honduras.

November 6, 1982 Members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZFR) bombed and targeted the Polymer Corporation and the United Fruit Company based in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, both U.S. owned and operated firms.

November 13, 1982 Unknown assailants bombed and targeted U.S. citizens at the offices of Air Florida in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

November 15, 1982 Journalists were ordered out of the border area near Guarita, Honduras also near San Marcos where at least seven Honduran soldiers of the 7th INF DIV were killed.  Other wounded soldiers were taken to a hospital in Santa Rosa de Copan. Heavy artillery was heard in the area along with military fighting to prevent El Salvadoran leftist from entering Honduras (UPI November 15, 1982, Honduran soldiers killed on border with El Salvador).”

The below telegram shows how DoD wanted to keep certain elements out of sight during President Reagans visit to Honduras.

December 1982 “Nicaragua began training groups of 20-30 Honduran guerrillas; training included combat experience against anti-Sandinista insurgents inside Nicaragua; members of several Honduran extreme leftist groups fought in Nicaragua for periods of 4-6 months, at least until the summer of 1984 (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

December 9, 1982 – 75 Miskitu children were killed when their rescue helicopter was apparently shot down near Rio Coco, Nicaragua.  The area “which had been subject to the most intensive contra invasion” from a basecamp in Honduras (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 10).

December 13, 1982 Contra forces attacked a Nicaraguan Sandinista government police frontier post in Honduras.

December 30, 1982 Five columns of mercenaries (Contras), each consisting of 125 Miskito Indians, crossed into Nicaragua from Honduras heading towards Puerto Cabezas, a strategic seaport on the Nicaraguan Atlantic Coast, to capture and hold the port (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

1982 – a total of 16 visits to Honduras by 30 high ranking US military officials, 11 from SOUTHCOM and 4 from CONUS: various visits by LTC Rousell, Commander of 3/7th SFG from Panama on February 15, March 17 to review the SF MTT’s progress of training the Honduran Army.  LTC Pat Murray US AF historian visited counterparts on March 20.  Col. Mark R. Richard Chief of PR from SOUTHCOM visited Honduras on March 20.  On April 26, Col. Derrel Sponberg and Joseph Tyron of the Security Assistance Agency from SOUTHCOM conducted a seminar for the Honduran General Staff about the US Military Foreign Assistance Program.  Col. Robert Red and LTC Burton Commander and XO of the 24th ALAS of SOUTHCOM arrived in Honduras and stayed with the Honduran General staff arrived on April 27.  Lt. Thomas Stevens of SOUTHCOM’s Latin American Military Affairs Div. visited Honduras on May 19 and August 30 to meet with the Honduran Armed Forces and Military planning for Halcon Vista 1982.  In August, ADM Harry R. Train, Atlantic Fleet Commander, first visited Tegucigalpa to meet with Chief of Honduran General Staff and also received a briefing at Honduran Naval HQ then visited Puerto Cortez Navy base and naval units in Puerto Tela, Puerto Castillo and Puerto Lempira.  On August 15, 1982 the majority of the 3/7th SFG of Panama were “transported in four C-130 aircraft to the Mesa airbase in San Pedro Sula.” (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 30).

1982 Contra basecamps located in Honduras during this period are located at: San Judas base with a Battalion size near San Pedro de Portrero Grande; Cerro Baldoquin base 700 men near San Pedro de Potrero Grande; San Marcos de Colon 400-600 men; Cacamuya base called BL-5 600 ex-guardsmen led by Alcides Espinoza; Trojes base 400-600 ex-guardsmen led by ‘Richard’ near Teoticaciente with OPS near Jalapa; the Nicaraguan Military training base at La Lodosa 130-150 ex-guardsmen led by Jose Benito “Mack” Bravo; Monte de Aquila base near Jalapa 250 guardsmen; Hacienda La Estrella base 250 ex-guardsmen near Jalapa; Cerro Los Nubarrones base near Jalapa; Auka base near Leymus 400 ex-guardsmen; Rus-Rus base near Leymus 400 ex-guardsmen and Mocoron Camp near Leymus 400 ex-guardsmen (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

1982 seven bands or groups of ex-guardsmen, with 100 to 200 members each were armed and trained in Honduras then later infiltrated into Nicaragua (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 32).

1980 – mid 1982 Military activity on the Nicaraguan northern border: 88 infiltrations causing 374 deaths; 61 troop movements; 96 attacks on border posts; 78 attacks and ambushes on Nicaraguan patrols (Covert Action, Number 18 [Winter 1983] page 33).

January 16, 1983 Mercenaries (Contras) firing 60 mm mortars attacked a truck filled with coffee pickers in Namasli, Nueva Segovia killing two children and wounding eight adults (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

January 21 – February 10 1983 Operation Ahuas Tara I commences in Honduras involving 1,600 U.S. troops and some 4,000 Honduran troops.

February 1 – 6, 1983 Ahuas Tara I, the publicly announced dates, occurs involving 1,600 U.S. and 4,000 Honduran military.  Army, Navy and Air Force American units involved.  A big airlift of Honduran troops to the Gracias a Dios Department, upgrading an airstrip at Puerto Lempira all to repel a mock invasion.  In reality, the missions were dynamically important to the overall safety of Honduras and the region.  The airstrips were utilized in real world combat support and combat operations.  The troop movements were relocated to conduct combat operations.

March 26, 1983 Nicaraguan Sandinista government troops attacked a Honduran Military patrol in Nacaome, Honduras with automatic and other military weapons killing several Honduran troops.

March 28, 1983 Leftist guerrillas of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) of El Salvador attack a Honduran Military unit in Nacaome, Honduras.

April 1983 “Costa Rica charged Nicaraguan troops were staging cross- border raids.  An unmarked Nicaraguan patrol boat fired shots and captured three US fishermen, apparently in Costa Rican waters (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

April 4, 1983 Nicaraguan letter to the United Nations Security Counsel complaining of Contra and Honduran Army incursions into Nicaragua.

April 8 & 21, 1983 Honduran based leftist guerrillas insurgency groups collaborated and formed the United Revolutionary Coordinating Board “to go ahead with the struggle in Honduras.”  On April 21, the newly formed group announced in the Managua based newspaper Barricada “the democratic paths of the people’s struggle having been exhausted, we declare a people’s revolutionary war on the military-Psuedo liberal dictatorship, its puppet army and North American imperialism.”  Their goal was the overthrow of the democratic government of Honduras.

April 17, 1983 4:00am Two Honduran Coastguard vessels entered Nicaraguan sovereign water territory in the Gulf of Fonseca and attacked Nicaraguan patrol boat P-220 wounding the captain and a crew member two miles from Cape El Papayal (U.N. Security Council letter from Nicaragua S/15719 dated 21 April 1983; note that Nicaragua filed this complaint the day after Honduras filed the below complaint)

April 19, 1983 at 11:00am while navigating in the Honduran territorial waters, a Honduran fishing vessel was “perused and persistently harrassed by a patrol boat of the Sandinista People’s Army (Nicaraguan military).”  Two Honduran military and four Nicaraguan Army boats responded and a skirmish ensued.  The boats retreated (U.N. Security counsel letter from Honduras S/15716 dated 20 April 1983).

April 20, 1983 at 6:30am three Honduran patrol boats attacked two Nicaraguan patrol boats in the Gulf of Fonseca, Farollones sector; at 9:10 and 3:50 additional Honduran patrol boats and planes joined the provocative maneuvers (U.N. Security counsel letter from Nicaragua S/15720 dated dated 21 April 1983).

April 25, 1983 Contra (FDN) units using automatic weapons attacked Nicaraguan Sandinista government forces in the central village of Las Canas, Honduras (UMD GTD).

April 1983 Daniel Ortega and Tomas Borge attend the funeral of a Salvadoran guerrilla leader in Managua, Nicaragua.  The FPL flag has a hammer and sickle.

April 29, 1983 at 02:00 hours several hundred Farabundo Marti guerrilla (FMLN) forces attacked the Salvadoran side of the Amatillo International Bridge separating El Salvador and Honduras over the Goascoran river.  “The first volleys of rifle and machinegun fire cut down the sentinels guarding the bridge, decimated the Salvadoran customs officials, and wiped out the dozen-man security police detachment sleeping in their wooden billets.  The commander of the police detachment was captured, tortured, and shot (Armor Sept – Oct 1984 p. 10).”  Nine vehicles waiting to cross the bridge the next morning were looted and burned killing all occupants.  Eight nearby housed were grenaded and burned with Molotov cocktails.  The Hondurans on the other side reported the attack to Honduran officials.  Guerrillas attempted to blow up the bridge and a small Honduran force fought them off.  One small charge blew up a six meter span of the bridge.  More fighting took place.  Honduran calvary responded and fought many hours to defend the bridge until late that night.  Ninety-six  FMLN guerrillas were killed, a dozen Salvadoran police officials and about ten civilians were all killed.

April 30, 1983 A large contingent of Contra fighters enter Nicaragua 11 km northwest of Jalapa,  Nicaragua who claims that 1,200 Contras and members of the Honduran Army entered Nicaragua while 1,000 additional Contras and 1,000 Honduran Army soldiers are providing fire support from the Honduran side with 81mm mortars and long range heavy artillery (U.N. Security Counsel letter from Nicaragua S/15742 date 2 May 1983).

May 1983 “A captured leader of the Lorenzo Zelaya group revealed that the Sandinistas had provided his organization with weapons, funds, false documentation, safehaven, and propaganda materials (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

May 12, 1983 Five border post in the Chinandega Department of Nicaragua were assaulted with automatic weapons fire coming from Honduras and in the Nueva Segovia Department twenty Contras coming from Honduras abducted Felipe Ayestas, a local farmer and took him to Honduras (U.N. Security Counsel letter from Nicaragua S/15771 dated 13 May 1983).

May 17, 1983 Unknown assailants assassinated General German Luis Sanchez Paredes of the Honduran 105th Infantry Brigade in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

May 25, 1983 Navy Seal, Lt. Commander Albert Schaufelberger, Deputy Commander of the U.S. Military Advisory Group, was shot and killed in his car in San Salvador, El Salvador. The Popular Liberation Forces is believed to be responsible. First U.S. troop killed in El Salvador. Story makes the cover of Newsweek magazine.

May 27, 1983 destroyed village of Raya Pura, Nicaragua.

June 1983  “One Nicaraguan terrorist was killed and another severely injured when a bomb intended for anti-Sandinista leaders exploded prematurely in a San Jose parking lot (CIA -RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

June 5, 1983 A force of 600 Contras crossed from Honduras into the region of El Porvenir near Jalapa, Nicaragua, using the Honduran Army for protective fire with mortars, killing 20 Nicaraguans during the invasion (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  Nicaragua claimed that Contras and members of the Honduran Army were involved in the invasion (UN Security Counsel letter 7 June 1983).

June 21, 1983 Two U.S. journalists with the Los Angeles Times and U.S. News and World Report were killed in Honduras by Sandinista troops from Nicaragua who planted a mine under a bridge (RPG and automatic weapons followed) (State Department LETHAL 1975-1985).

July 19, 1983 – Olancho Department – 91 HONDURAN INSURGENTS WITH LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FROM NICARAGUA HAD THE OBJECTIVE OF RALLYING UP TO 3,000 COMBATANTS. BY SEP 83, ALMOST ALL HAD EITHER BEEN KILLED, CAPTURED OR SURRENDER (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 30-1; Waghelstein).  Reyes Mata was the leftist guerrilla leader and American Priest Father James Carney allegedly accompanied the group.  Both were apparently killed in a battle in September.  “Sandinistas infiltrated 96 Cuban- and Nicaraguan-trained Honduran insurgents into Olancho Department in south-central Honduras; group’s objective reportedly was to establish a base of operations and an insurgent organization in the Honduran interior; most had undergone military training for up to two years in Nicaragua and at a guerrilla training facility in Pinar del Rio, Cuba; Honduran military captured or killed several insurgents, and others surrendered or starved to death in the jungle (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

July (late) – October 1983 Operation Patuca River (Operation Oloncho) was conducted near the Patuca River, Oloncho Department, Honduras.  It was reported that 96 insurgents entered Honduras to establish a military base for the FDN to operate from within Honduras.  Led by Reyes Mata, who was accompanied by ex-SF member David Baez and another member was reportedly Father James Carney.  3/7th SFG members and Honduran SF tracked them down and by September most were killed, captured or died from starvation.

“American military help extended to transporting Honduran troops by helicopter to the Rio Patuca region in the north in early September, a CBS News television crew reported. The Hondurans are conducting a counterinsurgency operation there against Honduran leftist guerrillas who, the Government says, have entered the country from Nicaragua (U.S. Will Continue Role in Honduras, Pentagon Aide Says, NYT October 5, 1983, p. 1).”

July 25, 1983 This NYT article details upcoming Ahuas Tara II activities.

July 28, 1983 President Reagan signs NSDD #100 enhancing “U.S. Military Activity and Assistance for the Central American Region” and authorizing Ahuas Tara II to begin in early August within Honduras.

August 3, 1983 Ahuas Tara II (Big Pine) begins involving 12,000 U.S. military and ends February 8, 1984.

August 23, 1983 Members of (LZRF) assassinate a bodyguard and chauffeur of Honduran President Suazo Cordova in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

August 25, 1983 Members of the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement bombed and targeted America citizens at Standard Fruit Company in La Cieba, Honduras.

August 28, 1983 Members of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) Contras using automatic weapons attacked a Nicaraguan military unit in La Zompapers, Fransisco Morazan Department, near Tegucigalpa, Honduras killing sixteen soldiers (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198308280004).

Below are excerpts from A Defector in Place: The Strange and Terrible Saga of a Green Beret Sandinista by Greg Walker, Special Forces Association Chapter 78

August 28 1983. Near Nueva Palestina, Honduras “On September 5th, Major Leonel Luque established a second task force launch site at Rio Tinto to support the hunt for Serapio Romero’s guerrilla band. U.S. Black Hawk helicopters began moving elements of the Honduran 5th Infantry to blocking points, as well as at least 50 HSF troopers to be inserted on the band’s trail as it traveled along the Patuca River’s bank. Contra patrols, tracking the guerrillas as well, were in radio communications with Nueva Palestinia and now Rio Tinto, and were likewise eager to locate the band. Overhead, the Black Hawks, having unloaded their troops, began flying aerial reconnaissance in support of the ground operation and acting as communication relay platforms given the dense jungle and mountainous terrain. On August 28th, with the help of (U.S.) signal intercepts, overflights of specially equipped U.S. Air Force C-130 surveillance aircraft flying out of Howard Air Force Base in Panama, and the provision of five U.S. Black Hawk helicopters from the 101st ABN Division (from Palmerola AB) to move Honduran forces swiftly, Reyes Mata’s group was discovered, then pinpointed. Honduran Special Forces were inserted (by U.S. military personnel) and in short order contacted the guerrillas.”

“On September 4th, it was reported the HSF had surrounded and captured the three men (of the 96, these three included Baez and Carney) in the vicinity of Arenas Blancas and Cerro Azul”

“On September 5th, Major Leonel Luque established a second task force launch site at Rio Tinto to support the hunt for Serapio Romero’s guerrilla band. U.S. Black Hawk helicopters began moving elements of the Honduran 5th Infantry to blocking points, as well as at least 50 HSF troopers to be inserted on the band’s trail as it traveled along the Patuca River’s bank. Contra patrols, tracking the guerrillas as well, were in radio communications with Nueva Palestinia and now Rio Tinto, and were likewise eager to locate the band. Overhead, the Black Hawks, having unloaded their troops, began flying aerial reconnaissance in support of the ground operation and acting as communication relay platforms given the dense jungle and mountainous terrain.

“On September 17th, the last confirmed firefight between the FAP and the Honduran Army took place near the Capapan Mountain. All captured guerrillas beginning on August 28th were now held at the clandestine U.S. / Contra air base known as El Aguacate located midway between the town of Catacamas and Rio Tinto just off the main highway.”

“Chief Warrant Officer (ret) Don Kelly, in El Salvador at the time, spoke with a fellow Green Beret who was in the area in Honduras when Baez was executed. Kelly recalls being told that Baez and seven others, ‘all very skinny,’ were captured and later killed.'”

The consistent presence of Special Forces operators from 3/7th in Honduras before, during, and after Operation Patuca River is not surprising. Charlie Company, 3/7th, had for some time been identified and trained as the battalion’s CIF, or commander’s in-extremis force for Latin America.”

“John recalled Lt Alvarez describing the mass execution being finished with pistols. All the bodies were then loaded on Blackhawk helos (I don’t believe Honduras had Blackhawks in their inventory) and flown over the nearby Honduran/Nicaraguan border. They were then thrown out over the triple canopy jungle.”

“The long-preferred Condor method of making bodies “disappear” was to use aircraft to fly the corpses out over the ocean, the jungle, or mountains and dump them from altitude. This same approach was used by right-wing death squads in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in the 1980s thanks to Condor instructors from Argentina and Chile.”  Excerpts from A Defector in Place: The Strange and Terrible Saga of a Green Beret Sandinista by Greg Walker, Special Forces Association Chapter 78

September 1983  “The Costa Rican Security Council condemned Nicaraguan Army shelling of public buildings in Costa Rican territory (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

September 3, 1983 Mercenaries (Contras) from Honduras attacked El Guayo, Matagalpa province in Nicaragua, kidnapping 18 peasants and burned their homes. All 18 were found with their throats cut (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  Members of the Morazanist Front for the Liberation of Honduras (FMLH) using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit killing ten soldiers in Piedras Azules, Oloncho Department, Honduras (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198309030002).

September 8, 1983 Two Cessna aircraft bombed the Augusto C. Sandino International Airport in Managua, Nicaragua destroying the passenger facilities. One of the planes was shot down and contained documents proving it belonged to a U.S. based CIA contract firm. On the same day CIA trained saboteurs (Contras) blew up oil storage and pipeline facilities at Puerto Sandino on Nicaragua’s Pacific Coast (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

September 1983 “Cinchoneros, claiming retaliation for the bombing of Managua’s international airport by anti-Sandinist insurgents, dynamited Honduran airlines office in San Pedro Sula (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

September 11, 1983 Leftist guerrillas of the (FMLN) from El Salvador attacked Honduran forces in Enterios Mountains, Honduras.  Also, the Morazanist Front for the Liberation of Honduras (FMLH) using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit in the Olancho Department, in western Honduras killing eleven soldiers (UMD GTD; GTD ID#198309110002.

September 18, 1983 Leftist guerrillas of the (FMLN) from El Salvador again attacked Honduran forces in Enterios Mountains and also Catacamas, Honduras.  Also, members of the Morazanist Front for the Liberation of Honduras (FMLH) using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit in Oloncho Department, Honduras killing ten soldiers (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198309180006).

September 1983 Father James Carney of St. Louis, an American, mysteriously dies in the jungles of Olancho Province, Honduras two months after crossing the border from Nicaragua with a group of leftist guerrillas led by Reyes Mata. In May 1987, a former Honduran counterintelligence agent claims Father Carney was captured, interrogated and probably executed by members of a Honduran intelligence squad (B 316).  The Honduran Army denied the claims (May 6, 1987 St. Louis Post Dispatch page 1, article by Robert Koenig).

The following is an excerpt from IN SEARCH OF HIDDEN TRUTHS by Dr. Leo Valladares Lanza and Susan C. Peacock:

“On August 1, 1983, two PRTC guerrillas deserted near the town of Catacamas and turned themselves in to the Honduran army. According to a declassified State Department telegram: “WHEN GOH [Government of Honduras] FIRST BECAME AWARE OF THE GROUP’S PRESENCE IN HONDURAS, BY THE ARRIVAL OF TWO DESERTERS AT CATACAMAS ON AUGUST 1, THEY SHARED THIS INFORMATION WITH U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE OFFICE. THE U.S. DEFENSE ATTACHE OFFICE DID NOT HAVE INFORMATION PRIOR TO THIS DATE REGARDING THIS GROUP’S PRESENCE IN HONDURAS.” Immediately after the deserter’s appearance, the Honduran military mounted the “Patuca Operation” in order to locate, capture and eliminate the PRTC guerrillas.

On August 4, 1983, the Honduran Army’s Patuca Task Force arrived in Nueva Palestina, Olancho, to set up its headquarters and to launch the counter-insurgency mission. The very next day, U.S. Army Rangers from Fort Lewis, Washington, were parachuted into Olancho. They remained there until August 16, participating in what the Pentagon called a “simulated counterinsurgency operation” with Honduran forces.  This was all part larger U.S.-Honduran military exercises which were described as follows in a declassified trip report of the Investigations Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives:

Big Pine II (Ahuas Tara II) lasted from August 1983 to February 1984. This exercise, in which approximately 6,000 U.S. Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force personnel participated, included an amphibious landing by a marine amphibious unit on the north coast, a combined field training exercise of Honduran units and U.S. Army Special Forces in a counterinsurgency exercise in a remote area of Honduras, and a combined artillery exercise of the division artillery from the 101st Airborne Division and the Honduran army.

Thus, a significant numbers of U.S. forces were present in Honduras for the duration of the Patuca Operation.”

September 26, 1983 Unknown assailants (likely Nicaraguan soldiers) using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit killing sixteen soldiers in Las Perlas de Cuyamel, Oloncho Department, in eastern Honduras (UMD GTD).

Fall 1983 to mid 1984; President Reagan authorized CIA to mine the harbors in the Gulf of Fonseca between, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador (Los Angeles Times 5 Mar 1985).

Fall 1983, the Council on Foreign Relations published a Foreign Affairs document titled At War with Nicaragua “The Reagan Administration is at War with Nicaragua.” By Richard H. Ullman

October 1, 1983 Nicaraguan Democratic Forces (FDN) Contras using automatic weapons attacked a Nicaraguan military unit  in La Zompapera, Fransisco Morazan Department, near Tegucigalpa, Honduras wounding four Nicaraguan soldiers (UMD GTD).

October 2, 1983 U.S.-directed mercenaries attacked oil storage facilities at Benjamin Zeledon on Nicaragua’s Atlantic Coast causing the loss of 324,000 gallons of fuel (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

October 3, 1983 The Nicaraguan Army shot down a military airplane that was transporting military supplies to the Contras in Los Cedros north of Rio Blanco inside Nicaragua 90 miles north of Managua. The aircraft was a Douglas DC-3C that took off from El Aguacate, Honduras. Three were captured and confessed to be ex-army officers of the Somoza National Guard (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

October 10, 1983 A combined air and sea attack demolished five oil storage tanks in the port of Corinto, Nicaragua destroying 3.2 million gallons of fuel, injuring 112 persons and forcing the evacuation of more than 20,000 townspeople due to raging fires and explosions (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

October 14, 1983 CIA trained mercenary frogmen (Contras) set under-water explosive devices destroying storage facilities again at Puerto Sandino, Nicaragua (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

October 18, 1983 Some 400 mercenaries (Contras) attacked Pantasma, Jinotega inside Nicargua killing 47 persons including farm workers, engineers and architects. They also robbed a bank and destroyed ten tractors and trucks, a sawmill, agricultural warehouses and government offices (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

October 18, 1983 Unknown assailants attacked the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

November 3, 1983 U.S. Marine Lance Corporal Thomas P. Petrucci is wounded by hostile fire on Tiger Island, Honduras in the Gulf of Fonseca between El Salvador and Nicaragua according to Pentagon papers and a Marine Corps investigation. Nine months later, on August 13, 1984 the report surfaces in newspapers. The report states that DOD reported to Congress in April (five months after the incident) that a Marine was shot by accident in Honduras last November “even though a Marine Corps investigation concluded that the victim was hit by hostile fire, according to Pentagon documents (The New York Times, 14 Aug 1984).”  Below, a combat equipped member of his unit stands guard atop of Tiger Island.


November 6, 1983 Nicaraguan Sandinista Government forces attacked the village of Las Champas, El Pariaso Department, Honduras using grenades killing two Hondurans (UMD GTD).

November 26, 1983 Twenty members of the Nicaraguan Sandinista Peoples Army (EPS) claimed responsibility for kidnapping three Honduran Union workers and killing one.  The kidnapped were Diaz Padilla, Andres Salgado, German Salgado all brick layers in Minas de Cacanuya, Honduras (UMD GTD).

December 9, 1983 The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) issues an official warning to U.S. military forces operating in Honduras stating “TERRORIST CAPABILITIES AND INTENTIONS AGAINST US FORCES LOCATED IN HONDURAS AS SUFFICIENTLY SERIOUS TO WARRANT HEIGHTENED COMMAND ATTENTION AND SECURITY PRECAUTIONS.”  This further established that Honduras should have been designated an Imminent Danger Pay area which, by its title and issuance, is a warning in itself to the deployed troops.  U.S. Army helicopter pilot Jeff Schwab was Killed in Action 33 days later on January 11, 1984 by Nicaraguan Army soldiers near Cifuentes, Honduras.

The commands notified in the above communique tell and interesting story in itself.  (It was) FM: DIA WASHINGTON DC TO: USCINCSO QUARRY HEIGHTS PN, COMJTF-11 COMAYAGUA HO.


December 20, 1983 Nine separate mercenary forces (Contras) – each consisting of approximately 400 men – invaded northern Nicaragua from Honduras. Battles ensued, 151 Nicaraguan’s were killed and 140 wounded (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

January – February 1984 More than 155 mercenary (Contra) attacks against Nicaragua troops resulted in 254 Nicaraguan deaths (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  Nicaragua was also attacking Contra & Honduran forces in the same region.

January 7, 1984 The Chilean Embassy was bombed in Tegucigalpa, Honduras by unknown assailants. On this same day, 21 year old U.S. Army soldier David Seitz from Robesonia, PA is killed in Honduras by an apparent accident.

On January 11, 1984, U.S. Army helicopter pilot Jeff Schwab, allegedly flying over Nicaragua, near the Honduran border was shot down and subsequently killed by Nicaraguan Sandinista government troops. Two other U.S. service members in the helicopter escaped. Schwab was awarded the Purple Heart posthumously and is the only U.S. service member listed by the US Archives, Defense Causality Analysis System as killed in Honduras as a result of a “terrorist” attack.  Schawb’s Purple Heart reads “FOR WOUNDS RECEIVED IN ACTION IN HONDURAS ON 11 JANUARY 1984 WHICH RESULTED IN DEATH.”  (Copy of Jeff Schwab’s Purple Heart provided by his widow, The Hutchison News 12 Jan 1984 p. 1). Nicaragua claims that Schwab was shot down over Nicaraguan air space (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  HFP was issued to Schwab and likely the others.

January 20, 1984 MSCP and Stanley-Vidmar design firms dispute over cabinet contracts with USG for “…two Navy vessels scheduled for imminent deployment to combat-ready duty stations (63 Comptroller General p 448).

January 24, 1984 – “We are at war with the communists who have invaded our organizations,” General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez Honduran CINC said (source UPI, Honduran Army Chief Says U.S. Presence Protects Nation).

February 1984  “Sandinistas attacked Costa Rican border guards at Conventillos, Costa Rica “CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

February 3, 1984 Four aircraft of the push and pull type approached from Honduras (likely from Amapala at Tiger Island) and attacked a military unit of the Nicaraguan Army in the coastal town of Manzanillo, Department of Chinandega, Nicaragua. The airplanes withdrew back to Honduras after the attack (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

February 3, 1984 Four U.S. Army soldiers were killed and six others injured when their helicopter crashed in the mountains of Honduras (New York Times 4 Feb 1984).

February 1984 The ports of Corinto, Puerto Sandino and El Bluff were mined. Five foreign commercial vessels were damaged (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

February 8, 1984 Big Pine II (Ahuas Tara II) officially ends.  The Air Force Special Operations Command officially lists Big Pine as a CONTINGENCY OPERATION.  Do any of the listed events appear to be ‘training and war games?’


This DoD Joint Publication states that an ‘Operation’ can become a CONTINGENCY OPERATION as a matter of law.

February 15, 1984 A platoon of combat Military Policeman (MP) from Panama “equipped for combat” arrive at Palmerola Air Base, Honduras.  Combat equipped MP units from Panama are deployed to Honduras on a rotational basis from 1983 to 1990 for non-training purposes.  Most were sent to protect U.S. assets, bases and military personnel, runways, radar stations, conduct occasional rescue missions, conduct convoy escorts and protect VIP’s.  These combat support missions required the MP’s to carry 45 caliber pistols, M16 and M60 machine guns with ammunition at all times.  Most of these U.S. assets are utilized to conduct the wars against Nicaragua and El Salvadoran leftist guerrillas from within Honduras.  Some examples include; planes take off from Palmerola and El Aguacate Honduras to conduct raids, surveillance, supply drops into Nicaragua and El Salvador.  Helicopters take off from these bases to inspect road building projects along the Nicaraguan border, prisoners captured in Nicaragua are brought back to El Aguacate and interrogated, radar stations provide intelligence data to Contra Forces and the El Salvadoran government, contra forces are trained here to better conduct the war.  In essence, the U.S. government orchestrated two civil wars from Honduras to help end communist expansion in Central America.  A Phase I Insurgency was officially acknowledged inside Honduras in 1986 by USCINCSO General Galvin.

March 1984 More than 6,000 Contras invade Nicaragua. Boats from San Lorenzo, Honduras attacked Nicaraguan ports on ten different occasions (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

March 7, 1984 Mercenaries (Contras) blew up a government owned fuel truck carrying 8,000 gallons of propane gas as it entered Nicaragua at Playas Somotos (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

March 10, 1984 Honduran military units helping Contra forces attack Nicaraguan forces inside Nicaragua.

March 14, 1984 – NBC News Tom Brokaw “Honduras Fighting” source Reagan Library archives

March 25, 1984 El Salvadoran Presidential Elections Round 1; Round 2 was held on May 6th.  These were highly anticipated elections, the U.S. fearing additional violence held several military ‘exercises’ and Emergency Deployment Readiness Exercises (EDRE’s) in Honduras including Operation Kilo Punch, Grenadero I and Ocean Venture totaling some 35,000 troops.  Many U.S. Navy ships participated (Washington’s War on Nicaragua book; US Civic Action in Honduras, 1982 -1985 Maj. Bernard E. Harvey Oct. 1988, State Dept. Bulletin 1984 p. 91)

March 26, 1984 A coordinated attack and bombings at five different Honduran government complexes in San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa took place. The Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement and others claimed responsibility.  FIVE SEPARATE BUT COORDINATED TARGETS STRUCK BY THE CINCHONEROS INCLUDED THE HONDURAN SUPREME COURT BUILDING AND A MILITARY SCHOOL IN TEGUCIGALPA, TWO POLICE STATIONS AND THE SALVADORAN CONSULATE IN SAN PEDRO SULA (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 32; Waghelstein); police station in Barandillas, the police station in Medina neighborhoods and the Salvadoran Consulate, in Rio de Piedra district all in San Pedro Sula; the Army offices training center and killing one at the Honduran Supreme Court building in Tegucigalpa; injuries were also reported (UMD GTD).

April 1984  “Nicaraguan naval vessels captured two Costa Rican fishing boats in Costa Rican waters (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

Spring 1984  “A Costa Rican security official claimed a Nicaraguan mortar round fell near the Pan American Highway at Pena Blancas; six border guards investigating the mortar attack came under Sandinista machinegun fire (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2.)”

April 1984 the Foreign Minister of Honduras told the UN Security Council that Honduras “is the object of aggression made manifest through a number of incidents by Nicaragua against our territorial integrity and civilian population.”

April 1, 1984 Exercise Grenadero I commences involving 3,500 U.S. troops.

April 9, 1984 Nicaragua files its case against the U.S. with the International Court of Justice (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

April 10, 1984 Unknown assailants bombed the El Salvadoran Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

April 12, 1984 A USG Official claimed that American advisors based in El Salvador “had occasionally engaged in combat missions and targeted or bombed guerrilla positions.” (New York Times 12 April 1984).

April 12, 1984 – The USS Gallery, a Perry-class fast frigate is named in Nicaraguan mining mission (The Evening Bulletin, p. A-6).

April 18, 1984 – Two U.S. Army helicopters, one with Senators Lawton Chiles (D-FL) and J. Bennett Johnston (D-LA) were struck by hostile fire and forced down near Marcala, in Honduran airspace 12 miles from the El Salvadoran border.  The other copter was carrying Dianna Negroponte, wife of U.S. Ambassador to Honduras, was shot at but missed.  Both copters made forced landings inside Honduras.  U.S. military rescue forces from Palmerola AB were dispatched to the scene to protect the downed copters and personnel (Washington Post, April 19, 1984 U.S. Army Copter is Forced Down).  Some reports claim both copters were struck by ground fire.  Why didn’t these two Democrat Senators demand President Reagan report this incident under the WPR or AECA’s?

May 8, 1984 Nicaragua shoots down a U.S. made helicopter killing five Honduran Air Force crewmen and three Honduran civilians.  The helo departed Amapala on Tiger Island, Honduras and was shot down near Potosi, Nicaragua in the Gulf of Fonseca.  A second helo escaped without damage.  “U.S. Commander” was printed on the tail of the chopper.

May 9, 1984 The U.S. Congress addresses growing concerns over American troop involvement in CA reconfirming the Constitutional obligations of the U.S. President when considering involving American troops in combat or imminent danger.  Reports to Congress were never submitted by President Reagan leading to the covert actions and secret deployments of U.S. combat equipped uniformed service members to Honduras ( U.S. Military Involvement in Hostilities in Central America: Markup Before the Committee on Foreign Affairs, House of Representatives, Ninety-eight Congress, Second Session, on H. Res. 484, May 9, 1984).

May 14, 1984 Unknown terrorists using a firearm assassinated Alejandro Puerto Calix, Regional Chief of INA (National Agrarian Institute) in the town of Tocoa [near Sinaloa], Colon Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

May 15, 1984 El Salvador sent a battalion of 1,200 combat troops to Honduras to join U.S. during training exercises in Honduras near the El Salvadoran border. Leftist guerrillas claim the U.S. exercises are a “cover for stepped-up U.S. involvement in the Salvadoran conflict.” (Wisconsin State Journal 15 May 1984 p. 4 s. 4).

Summer 1984 U.S. military buildup in Honduras so far.

Summer 1984 – 1986 Project Gray Wolf, San Lorenzo air field; remotely piloted vehicles (RPV), better known as drones, the R4E-40 Sky Eye, was the first drone flown in actual combat support missions.  All members were attached to the 138th AVN EW Co., an arm of Task Force 138, wearing civilian clothes and living at a nearby Motel, conducted reconnaissance and surveillance missions looking down on El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras relaying almost realtime data to field commanders.

June 10, 1984 Contra forces attacked a Nicaraguan Sandinista government unit at El Jocote, Honduras.

The Contra and Nicaraguan Sandinista government attacks and counterattacks continued in Honduras and Nicaragua for many years. The intensity came and went based on political and socio-economic conditions.

June 12, 1984 Suspected Salvadoran Guerrillas using M-16’s and grenades attacked a private home taking several hostages and killing three in the interior town of Cololaca, Lempira Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

June 19, 1984 several battles occurred near San Marcos de Colon, Honduras.  Nicaraguan military forces entered Honduras near Cerro el Variador, Nicaragua and engaged Honduran forces for eight hours.

July 1984 – INFILTRATION INTO EL PARAISO DEPARTMENT OF AT LEAST 19 GUERRILLAS TRAINED IN CUBA; MOST DESERTED OR WERE CAPTURED (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 33; Waghelstein). “Some 20 Honduran guerrillas trained in Cuba and Nicaragua infiltrated into Honduras, supervised and supported by Sandinista Army; group had been issued M-16’s–some of which have been traced to Vietnam–in Nicaragua; instructed to create military organizations, conduct political and military training, organize intelligence collection, and create a logistics base; Honduran military rounded up most by October 1984 (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

October 20, 1984 Four CIA employees were killed in a plane crash in El Salvador when the twin-engine aircraft they were flying went down under mysterious reasons (New York Times, 21 Oct 1984).

American soldiers were training El Salvadoran soldiers in northern Honduras at the RMTC (CREM) while El Salvador was at war with leftist guerrillas.

September 1, 1984 Two Americans were killed in a helicopter crash in Nicaragua. A Nicaraguan Contra pilot apparently flew the helicopter; the two Americans killed were Dana Herbert Parker, Jr. and James Perry Lowell, III (White House Situation Room Report, September 4, 1984), both were x-Special Forces and allegedly Alabama National Guardsmen.

November 1, 1984 Director William Webster “announced that the FBI had thwarted a drug-financed plot to assassinate the President of Honduras and overthrow his administration (U.S. Department of State Bulletin April 1985).”  The American Embassy in Tegucigalpa also noted the “Communique also relates plot to internal destabilization activities…in recent months…to prepare the internal and external conditions for such reprehensible acts (FM AMEMBASSY TEGUCIGALPA TO SECSTATE WASHDC NOV 84; SUBJECT: HONDURAN PRESS. COMMUNIQUE ON ATTEMPT TO ASSASSINATE PRESIDENT SUAZO).”

December 13, 1984 Two U.S. Navy Special Operations members are killed in an explosion in a small northeastern Honduran village during an alleged demolition accident (The New York Times 14 Dec 1984).

January 1985  “Costa Ricans exchanged fire with a small Nicaraguan Army unit that infiltrated initially by sea and later by land north of Barra del Colorado (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

January 22, 1985 A U.S. Air Force C-130A turboprop transport plane with 21 or 26 SM’s on board crashed off the northern coast of Honduras killing all.  The Reserve and Active duty members were assigned on a rotational basis to Panama and were on a mission to Honduras when it crashed at about 11 a.m. EST leaving from Howard AFB in Panama heading to a base at Trujillo, Honduras. Only 13 killed are reported in DCAS.  The remains of the deceased were sent to Panama where an investigation and autopsies were performed.

January 26, 1985 to February 15 1985  An MP from the 534th MP Company at Ft. Clayton, Panama is assigned to provide security to the United States Mortuary, 193D Infantry Brigade, Panama, “in support of the C-130 aircraft that crashed off the coast of Honduras.” (DA Form 638, Recommendation For Award, dated May 15, 1985).

March 1985 “Nicaragua fired mortars into El Paraiso and Choluteca Departments, (Honduras) according to press reports (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

April 1985 “Sandinista troops fired mortar rounds into Honduran territory, particularly around suspected anti-Sandinista concentrations; Nicaraguan patrol boats attacked Honduran fishing boats.  Seven Nicaraguan agents captured in Honduras providing training and arms to local terrorists (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

April 18, 1985 Three combat planes of the Honduran air force attacked and sank a Nicaraguan coast guard boat 10 miles southwest of Cape Gracias a Dios in Nicaragua’s sovereign and jurisdictional waters killing one and leaving one missing (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).

May 1985 “Sandinista forces launched ground assaults as well as artillery and rocket barrages into areas of suspected anti-Sandinista presence inside Honduras. Sandinistas fired on a Costa Rican civil guard patrol unit near Las Tiricias, Costa Rica, killing two (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

May 1, 1985 – U.S. declares a National Emergency against Nicaragua and terminates their Treaty of Friendship.

May 7, 1985 Members of the Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) Contras attacked a Nicaraguan military unit with automatic weapons in the Pariaso Department, Honduras near the Nicaraguan border killing five Nicaraguans soldiers (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198505070023).

June 1985  “Sandinistas fired on a Costa Rican civil guard patrol unit near Las Tiricias a second time (CIA-RDP88B00443R000401950013-2).”

June 19, 1985 Four U.S. Marines Security Guards and two U.S. businessmen were killed in San Salvador, El Salvador by terrorists claiming to be members of the Central American Revolutionary Workers Party. The reported 6-10 terrorists were armed with automatic weapons and dressed in military uniforms. A total of 13 people were killed in the attack.

July 4, 1985 Nicaraguan Sandinista government units attacked at least three separate villages of El Jicaro, Alauco and Matapalo in Honduras.

July 18, 1985 “U.S. Warns Nicaragua – no more terrorism…The warning also linked Nicaragua to plans for terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel in Honduras.”  U.S. Ambassador Harry Bergold to the Nicaraguan Foreign Ministry in Managua (Chicago Tribune July 19, 1985 U.S. Warns Nicaragua-no more Terrorism).

August 7, 1985 Forty-seven persons were abducted from the river San Juan in Nicaragua and taken into Costa Rica including 29 U.S. citizens of the Organization Witnesses for Peace (Nicaragua v. Costa Rica, International Court of Justice).

The below Public Law 99-83, August 8, 1985 statutorily acknowledges that Nicaragua “has committed and refuses to cease aggression in the form of armed subversion against” Honduras.  Thousands of U.S. military members have been present in Honduras since 1981 and never received Imminent Danger Pay!

August 16, 1985 The Nicaraguan Democratic Force (FDN) or Contras committed an assault with automatic weapons and took one hostage who was later killed also causing $70,000 USD in damage to the town of La Pradera, in Tegucigalpa, Fransisco Morazan Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

September 13, 1985 A Nicaraguan Sandinista military unit attacked a Honduran border sector police unit at El Espanolito, El Pariaso Department, Honduras with automatic weapons and mortar fire killing one and injuring eight (UMD GTD).

March 1986 – Jocon – JESUITS CONTINUE ANTI-U.S. PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN. REPORTS INDICATE CONGREGATIONS ARE BEING TOLD THAT TF 135 IS BUILDING A ROAD TO INVADE NICARAGUA (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 37-8; Waghelstein [source 7th SFG]).

March 7, 1986 – La Cumbre – FUSEP SGT KILLED BY LEFTISTS AT AN INSURGENT SAFE SITE/TRAINING AREA (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 36; Waghelstein [source 7th SFG]).

March 14, 1986 Three detachments of Contras of approximately 60 men each made an incursion into Nicaragua near La Fraternidad. The Honduran Army gave supportive fire to the attack with mortars and riffles (Nicaragua v. U.S. ICJ 1984).  ANTI-U.S. DEMO[N]STRATIONS ORCHESTRATED BY PCH AND SUPPLEMENTED BY SOPHISTICATED PROPAGANDA IN LA PRENSA, TARGETING U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 36; Waghelstein [source 7th SFG]).

March 18, 1986 – New Report – The Armed Forces will present to national and foreign reporters today a bus seized in Colomoncague, Itibuca Department, where ammunition and weapons, supposedly for Salvadoran guer[r]illas, were carried. Preliminary reports indicate that the vehicle was seized over the weekend. After a thorough search, lethal weapons were discovered hidden inside.

The national authorities, in addition to this action, have carried out several seizures of weapons destined for the FMLN, a guerrilla organization that has been [in]our territory to subvert order in El Salvador.

The number of people detained has not yet been disclosed. Colomoncague, in the country’s west, is located 2 km from the Salvadoran border. There are about 15,000 Salvadoran refugees in this sector (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 37; Waghelstein).

March 15 -24, 1986 Approximately 1,500 Nicaraguan military forces invade Honduras into the areas of Yamales and Trojes, 15 miles into Honduran territory.  Hundreds of casualties are reported on both sides. Denials are communicated on all four sides of the war.  It is reported that hundreds of Honduras forces were ferried to Capire near the fighting.   

President Reagan delivers $20 million in emergency military Foreign Assistance Act 506(a) aid to the Honduran military and authorized U.S. military personnel already in Honduras to transport Honduran military forces close to the battle areas in western Honduras, near the Nicaraguan border.  Executive Branch 506(a) emergency drawdowns are rare and typically reserved for times of foreign military crisis such as this one.  When U.S. military forces are involved, on every occasion since the creation of the 506(a) except this one, the Executive Branch has ‘forever recognized’ the military sacrifices by issuing a combat Expedition or Campaign Medal.  Click on the below images to see the details.

Honduran troops load into a deuce and a half ton truck to head into battle against Nicaraguan invaders with America Chinooks on the hilltop near Capire, Honduras in March, 1986.

March 19-20, 1986 U.S. helicopter units from Palmerola AB airlifted hundreds of Honduran military forces to Capire, Honduras to aid the friendly foreign nation during an invasion by Nicaraguan forces numbering 1,500.  Authorized by President Reagan through the Foreign Assistance Act 506(a) drawdown after an urgent request by the Honduran President, regular U.S. Army active duty forces were utilized in a combat support mission.  Reports indicate that the delivery of the forces occurred near Capire! 


The below image shows dead Nicaraguan soldiers in Capire, Honduras.

According to the Miami Herald, the U.S. airlifted the Honduran troops to Capire!  Honduran forces were engaged in combat against Nicaraguan soldiers on Honduran territory and U.S. military forces were involved.  Contra forces were also involved.

March 20, 1986 Canadian Minister Rev. William Arsenault is killed 30 kilometers east of Tegucigalpa, apparently by Contras, according to Most Rev. Luis Santos Villeda, bishop of Santa Rosa de Copan in western Honduras.

March 31, 1986 – News Report – This weekend special Honduran Army troops are looking for a group of armed men who have reportedly been sighted by peasants near the community of Esparta. The search is being conducted by troops of the 4th Infantry Battalion headquartered in the port city of La Ceiba, in northern Honduras, with help from light planes of the Honduran Air Force. … An officer of the 4th Infantry Battalion, who asked to remain anonymous, said that soldiers from his battalion are combing all the mountain area and do not rule out the possibility that “guerrilla cells” have gone into the jungle (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 38-9; Waghelstein).

April 2, 1986 – News Report – A Tegucigalpa radio station reported Salvadoran guerrillas crossed into Honduras through Mapulaca, Lempira. The guerrillas took over the town of Los Planes but were expelled by the Honduran Army Special Forces (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 39; Waghelstein).

The Honduran Army was fighting a three-front war throughout much of the 1980’s; internal civil strife, Nicaraguan Army incursions and FMLN attacks all while having to help the U.S. aid and protect the Contras.

April 9, 1986 excerpt from President Reagan’s news conference when he stated the “Nicaraguan communists sent (Government) troops into Honduras on a search-and-destroy mission to kill the freedom fighters (Contras).”  




June – August 1986 Operation Lempira, Honduras UNITS 7th SFG PURPOSE Counterinsurgency OPS SOURCE Washington’s War on Nicaragua book; State Dept. archive photo, SOF magazine article; DoD photo by John Walker.


JUNE 18, 1986 – 3/7th SF TIM HUDGENS is killed and another 3/7th SF members wounded allegedly by a Honduran soldier using a knife.  U.S. ruled it was a justifiable homicide.

June 19, 1986 – REPORTED THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN INTERNAL SECURITY GROUP (ETAS- AUXILLARY TECHNICAL SCHOOL OF SECURITY) BY THE PCH [Honduran Communist Party], FUTH [Unitary Federation of Honduran Workers] AND SITRATERCO [Labor Union of the Tela Railroad Company] LEFTIST ORGANIZATIONS TO MONITOR SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE IN THE EL PROGRESSO AREA (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 46; Waghelstein [source 7th SFG]).

July 18, 1986 An unknown number of members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) of El Salvador used automatic weapons to attack a Honduran military unit killing six in Los Filos, Lempira Department, Honduras (UMD GTD).

JTF-Bravo JMUA Award for the period August 1, 1984 to July 31, 1986 (click to read).

July 22, 1986 – News Report – Six Salvadoran guerrillas were killed in a clash with the Honduran Army, it was reported officially today in Tegucigalpa. The military clash occurred last Friday in the sector of Los Filos in the western department of Lempira on the Salvadoran border. The report by the Honduran Army states that the Honduran troops did not sustain any casualties, despite the fact that they were ambushed by the guerrillas while patrolling inside the Honduran border. It also states that the slain rebels were buried in the place where they were killed to prevent their being preyed upon by buzzards or jungle animals.

The Honduran soldiers who fought the Salvadoran guerrillas belonged to the Special Forces and the 12th Infantry Battalion. The report adds that the fighting occurred in the same region where a soldier was killed last week when he stepped on a mine made and placed by the rebels (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 47; Waghelstein).

July 24, 1986 Nicaraguan Sandinista government forces bombed a private residence in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

July 28, 1986 – News Report – “Terrorism Alert” Today the Pentagon ordered all U.S. diplomatic offices and civilian and military installations in Honduras to establish a maximum security alert due to the fear of terrorist attacks. [These orders prohibit visit to urban areas unless on specific missions. (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 47-8; Waghelstein).

August 9, 1986 – News Report – “Army and FUESP Conduct Anti-Terrorist Operation”  Upon orders from General Humberto Regalado Hernandez, the Armed Forces General Command has proceeded to carry out an operation throughout the nation to control and prevent any act of terrorism which affects the citizenry. This operation is being carried out jointly by members of the Public Security Forces (FUSEP) and soldiers of various Armed Forces Units, who are being deployed to various areas night and day and are asking citizens to show their identification papers. … Military authorities hereby urge the citizens, particularly those who have to travel at night due to their studies or work, to carry their identification papers and thus avoid problems concerning their identity (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 48; Waghelstein).


August 15, 1986 – SOURCE: Southern Command J2 – REPRESENTATIVES OF THE SANDINISTA GOVERNMENT HAVE CONTACTED VARIOUS HONDURAN RADICAL LEFTIST GROUPS AND REQUESTED THAT THEY HELP TO DESTABILIZE THE HONDURAN GOVERNMENT AND DISRUPT DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTIONARY FRONT THROUGH THE USE OF VIOLENCE.  The linkage between the Sandinistas and radical groups in Honduras is evident in this intercept (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 49; Waghelstein).

August 19, 1986 FMLN forces from El Salvador attacked at least three separate villages in Cololaca, Valladilid and Tambla in Honduras.

August 29, 1986 – SOURCE PROVIDED THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION PERTAINING TO VARIOUS SUBVERSIVE ORGANIZATIONS AND THEIR COMMAND STRUCTURE: PROGRESSIVE STUDENT MOVEMENT (MEP) TWO LEADERS, TWO ADVISORS, TWO COURIERS, ONE FINANCIAL SUPPORTER DAGOBERTA PADILLA STUDENT FRONT (FREDAP) LEADER, VICE- PRESIDENT, LEGAL ADVISOR, FOUR ASSISTANTS OMAR RIVERA, MARIO MENDOZA, AND SAUL “SOCRATES” CUELLO ARDON HAVE BEEN NAMED AS LEADERS OF THE “FIFTH COLUMN” IN EL PROGRESSO, YORO. THIS GROUP IS REPORTEDLY CONTROLLED BY HONDURAN COMMUNISTS (NFI) AND NICARAGUAN INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES At this point, things began to change. On September 28, 1986, the 7th SF Group Commander and one of the 7th’s recently returned B Detachment Commanders briefed USCINCSO with latest set of IIRs. The briefing highlighted the escalation and cumulative effects of insurgent activities. At the end of the briefing, General Galvin let it be known that he had sufficient information to believe that a Phase One insurgency existed on the north coast. His exact words were, “I now have the smoking gun I need. …” With the CinC on board, it did not take long for a major climate change to be reflected in the message traffic (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 49-50; Waghelstein [source 7th SFG]).

October 5, 1986 A plane carrying U.S. citizen Eugene Hasenfus was shot down in Nicaragua while carrying supplies to the Contras. The Sandinistas captured Hasenfus. This report eventually led to the exposure of the U.S. involved covert operations in Honduras and the Iran-Contra affairs.


October 11, 1986 Members of the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit killing four soldiers in the northern village of Yaruca, Honduras, 30 km south of the coastal town of La Cieba (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198610110001).



November 4, 1986 – A FUSEP AGENT WAS KILLED ON 2 NOV 86 BY SUSPECTED SUBVERSIVES IN THE NOMBRE DE DIOS MOUNTAINS [northern](Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 54; Waghelstein).

December 25, 1986 – U.S. Army SGT Gail Roberts is shot in the head and killed by an intoxicated Honduran.  Ruled a homicide.  She was killed in the north coast city of Tela.

December 26, 1986 Unknown assailants attacked La Presona installations in Tegucigalpa injuring one person (UMD GTD).

Early 1987 – By the beginning of 1987 SouthCom J-2, Col John Stewart, had published an extensive study entitled “Honduras: The Phase One Insurgency on the North Coast.” This publication made it official although, as noted above, General Galvin’s position had already had a salutary effect on the intelligence community.

In Honduras, combined AOH/FUSEP units with U.S. intelligence and logistics support took the offensive. These combat operations triggered a number of contacts with the guerrillas, particularly in the Nombre de Dios Mountains (northern Honduras). By the year’s end, armed field elements of the insurgency were out of business. Contra and Sandinista units still kept things stirred up on the border, however, and the war in El Salvador built in intensity. AOH units throughout the country became more effective in their dealings with the Honduran population (Reading the Tea Leaves: Proto-Insurgency in Honduras p. 55; Waghelstein).

January 12, 1987 Unknown terrorists bombed the office of La Prensa newspaper in Tegucigalpa injuring one person (UMD GTD).

March 9, 1987 (11:30pm Monday) Honduran fighter jets shot down a C-47 (DC-3) cargo plane, that came from Nicaragua, around Cucuyagua (near Palmital), Honduras in the Copan Province killing American pilot Joseph Bernard Mason and three others (NYT March 11, 1987; UPI March 10, 1987; CIA-RDP90-00965R000402690006-8).

March 17, 1987 Unknown assailants (likely FMLN) using automatic weapons attacked a Honduran military unit killing two soldiers in western Honduras near San Jose de Curaren, Honduras  (UMD GTD).

March 31, 1987 SSG Greg Fronius is killed during an FMLN attack at El Pariaso, ES.  An AC-130 gunship was called in from Palmerola Air Base, Honduras to provide air support during the combat mission (Covert Action Quarterly, October 21, 1993, Green Berets in El Salvador, retrieved 2016-02-05 at 4.48.58 PM).

U.S. Military Police guarded most of the American bases and outposts such as this one housing Reservist who were building an important road.  They were armed and loaded with ammunition.

April 28, 1987 American Benjamin Linder of Portland, OR and two Nicaraguans are killed in an attack in El Cua-Bocay region of Jinotega, Nicaragua.

May 1987 Operation Solid Shield Honduras and waters, 50,000 U.S. troops PURPOSE show of force in support of Contras during spring offensive SOURCE NYT March 22, 1987 New U.S. exercises set for Honduras; Military Review October 1994 p. 53.

May 3-4, 1987 Three U.S. helicopters with American Army crewmen flew from Palmerola AB, Honduras to Guatemala City, Guatemala to airlift 300 Guatemalan soldiers into combat near Playa Grande (Post Dispatch, May 6, 1987, U.S. Airlifts Guatemalans For Fight, page 1 and 9).

May 1987 Below is shown a Honduran anti-aircraft battery in Tegucigalpa.

June 1, 1987 The Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) of El Salvador attacked a Honduran military unit in a small village about 30km south of Tegucigalpa, in Santa Ana, Honduras killing five Honduran soldiers (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198706010004).

June 13, 1987 U.S. Army MP Staff Sargent Randall Harris was shot and killed while on perimeter patrol at Palmerola Air Base, Honduras (State Department).

June 16, 1987 Nicaragua Democratic Forces (Contras) attacked Nicaraguan military forces in La Zompapera, Fransisco Morazan Department, near Tegucigalpa, Honduras killing ten Nicaraguans (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198706160009).

As these attacks were occurring in Honduras throughout 1987, the Iran-Contra Affair hearings were underway in Congress.

July 16, 1987 A U.S. helicopter crashed and killed six America SM en route to rescue an accidentally wounded America troop near San Salvador. Among the killed was the deputy commander of the U.S. Military Group attached to the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador.  The helo and five crewmembers were all based at Palmerola AB, Honduras.

July 1987 – U.S. Army MP’s took over security in Spring of 1984 at Tiger Island after the Marines withdrew in protest over DoD mislabeling the November 3, 1983 hostile attack that wounded LCPL Petrucci.  These photos are from July 1987.

August 8, 1987 Two assailants bombed the China Palace Restaurant & Discothèque, a popular U. S. Military destination in Comayagua, Honduras wounding six Army soldiers.  Eleven people were wounded total.  No Purple Hearts awarded (UMD GTD).

August 11, 1987 In depth details surface surrounding CIA and Special Forces involvement in El Salvador in an article by Frank Smyth published in The Village Voice. Documents released by The War College based in Carlisle, PA entitled “El Salvador: Observations and Experiences in Counterinsurgency” describe the use of Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol units lead by members of the Third Battalion 7th Special Forces Group based in Panama, assigned to Honduras.

September 24, 1987 Members of the Nicaraguan Resistance (Contras) attacked a Government Collective Farm using automatic weapons and mortar fire in a western suburb of Tegucigalpa killing two (UMD GTD; GTD ID #198709240011).

September 25, 198 Members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF) aka the Popular Revolutionary Front coordinated an attack using automatic weapons on the National Directorate of Investigation police unit killing two officers in San Pedro Sula (UMD GTD).

January 14, 1988 Two members of a suspected Honduran Death Squad assassinated Labor Union Leader of the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras Miquel Angel Pavon in San Pedro Sula, Honduras with a handgun.  Two people died (UMD GTD).

January 6, 198 Members of the Lorenzo Zelaya Revolutionary Front (LZRF) aka the Popular Revolutionary Front used automatic weapons to assassinate Honduran Army Sgt. Jose Isaias Vilorio in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

February 12, 1988 Members of the (LZRF) bombed a check point at Palmerola (Soto Cano) Air Base, a U.S. and Honduran military base.

March 18 – 25, 1988 Operation Golden Pheasant occurs in response to a significant incursion / invasion of Nicaraguan troops into Honduras after entering near Bocay, Nicaragua.  It is reported that Nicaraguan troops, on retreat, were planting landmines in a 20 square mile area of Honduras.

The Air Force Special Operations Command officially lists Golden Pheasant as a CONTINGENCY OPERATION.

March 20, 1988 (Sunday) A U.S. UH-1 helicopter taking part in Operation Golden Pheasant crashed about six miles south of Juticalpa, Honduras injuring all ten military personnel onboard.

April 7, 1988 As many as 1,500 protesters and numerous assailants bombed with an incendiary device and attacked with automatic weapons against the U.S. State Department Consulate and Embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras killing four (U.S.) citizens with gunshots.  Twenty cars were burned.  The following day the Honduran Government imposed a State of Emergency (UMD GTD).

May 25, 1988 Members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) from El Salvador attacked a column of Honduran Army soldiers in Sabanetas, Honduras, La Paz Department, in northern Honduras, with automatic weapons killing twenty (UMD GTD).

July 17, 1988 U.S. troops were attacked, wounding nine, by eight members of the LZRF in San Pedro Sula, Honduras when an explosive devise was thrown under their vehicle and then fired automatic weapons at them.  5 Army & 4 Airmen (State Department).  Purple Hearts awarded.

August 17, 1988 Members of the Nicaraguan Resistance (Contras) attacked the Monterey Government Cooperative with automatic weapons in Monterey, Honduras, Cortez Department,  killing four and wounding seven (UMD GTD).  This attack occurred far from the Nicaraguan border in Northwestern Honduras.

October 15, 1988 The Patriotic Morazanista Front (FPM) assassinated U.S. Businessman Leo Mills in Tegucigalpa, Honduras with a handgun (UMD GTD).

October 20, 1988 The FPM bombed the U.S. State Department Peace Corp office in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

December 9, 1988 At least three U.S. Army soldiers were killed in a helicopter crash in northern Honduras three miles from La Ceiba. (The New York Times 9 Dec 1988).

January 25, 1989 Members of the Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement assassinated former Honduran CINC General Gustavo Alvarez Martinez and one other person using an Uzi in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

February 1, 1989 A seven-vehicle convoy of U.S. and Honduran troops were fired upon by terrorists near Yoro Province, Honduras. No injuries were reported. (State Department). This may have happened at Soto Cano Air Base?

February 18, 1989 An Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated against a U.S. troop transport contract bus targeting U.S. troops in Honduras. Three U.S. troops and two Hondurans were injured (State Department).

February 21, 1989 Members of the United Revolutionary Front bombed the Tegucigalpa City Hall causing over $1 million in damages and injuring eight (UMD GTD).

February 24, 1989 The American owned and operated Standard Fruit Company was bombed in La Cieba, Honduras.

April 11, 1989 An 11-vehicle convoy of U.S. and Honduran troops was ambushed in the Yoro Province, Honduras near San Pedro Sula. Both U.S. troops and Honduran troops returned fire. No casualties were reported. The FPM claimed responsibility and said they killed one U.S. troop and wounded three or four others (State Department).

April 16, 1989 Two assailants bombed the U.S. State Department Embassy in Tegucigalpa, killing one and injuring another of the attackers (UMD GTD).

July 4, 1989 Members of a Honduran Death Squad assassinated Honduran Edgardo Herrera, an Official with the Popular Unity Party using a handgun (UMD GTD).

July 6, 1989 Three Honduran Death Squads members assassinated Honduran Tobacco Workers Union President, Salomon Vallecillo in San Pedro Sula, Honduras using a handgun (UMD GTD).

July 11, 1989 A report published by the USG states that:

“Approximately 1,100 U.S. military personnel have been present at Soto Cano Air Base-formerly Palmerola Air Base-since 1983 (1) to support U.S. training exercises and U.S. intelligence activities in Honduras, (2) to signal U.S. resolve to support its allies against Cuban/Nicaraguan threat, and (3) to assist the Honduran military in providing humanitarian aid and civic action to remote areas. Although opinion polls indicate that this U.S. presence has been well received by most Hondurans, it is also the source of unfavorable press and has attracted occasional terrorist acts.” (GAO/NSIAD-89-170 U.S. Assistance in Central America, Government Accounting Office Ch. 2, p. 24 July 11, 1989).

July 13, 1989 Seven U.S. Military Policemen of the 549th MP Co, from Panama, based in Honduras were injured, four seriously, in a grenade attack in La Cieba, Honduras. The FPM claimed responsibility and claim to have killed one U.S. soldier and injured at least 20 U.S. troops in the past year during five attacks (State Department).  The soldiers names are Lt. Soto, Rob Engberts, Ken McCord, SSG Ford, SSG Nelson, SPC Wallenfang, SPC Barge & PFC Posey.  No Purple Hearts were awarded!

November 14, 1989 Unknown assailants bombed the Honduran Army Joint High Command in Comayagua, Honduras.

March 17, 1990 U.S. ends National Emergency against Nicaragua after democratic elections were held, yet other threats exist in Central America.

March 31, 1990 A bus carrying 28 U.S. troops was attacked by gunmen near Amarteca, Honduras. Seven wounded (State Department).  Purple Hearts awarded.

June 29, 1990 The official end to the Contra War between U.S. backed Contras and the Soviet/Cuban baked Sandinista Nicaraguan government is detailed in this article which states that 30,000 Nicaraguans were killed during the war (The New York Times 29 Jun 1990).

December 23, 1991 The Patriotic Morazanista Front (FPM) bombed five separate businesses in Tegucigalpa (UMN GTD).

January 2, 1991 Lolotique – Of the twenty-two U.S. military members killed in El Salvador during the war (1981-1992) as many as twelve were based in Honduras including LTC David Pickett, CWO4 Daniel Scott and SP4 Earnest Dawson who were killed by the communists near Lolotique, El Salvador on the return leg of a round-trip flight from Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras to San Salvador, El Salvador when they were shot down.  Scott was killed while piloting the helicopter.  LTC Pickett and then PFC Dawson survived the crash, captured by the enemy and later executed as wounded Prisoners of War.  LTC Pickett was awarded the POW Medal in 2003.  SP4 Dawson and his family were finally honored with the POW medal in 2024.  These missions originating in Honduras were combat support in nature or direct combat.

January 18, 1991 unknown assailants using a fragmentation grenade bombed the French Consulate in San Pedro Sula (UMD GTD).

March 9, 1991 Suspected elements of the Police Cobra Squadron conducted an armed assault on Copacabana Night Club using M-16’s killing four and wounding nine in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

April 18, 1991 The Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement bombed the local HQ of the National Party of Honduras in San Pedro Sula (UMD GTD).

May 3, 1991  A group of soldiers and plainclothesmen in the employ of an Honduran Army Colonel massacred five peasants and wounded eight in the village of Agua Caliente, in the worst episode of rural violence since the 1970s.

May 26, 1991 The Cinchoneros Popular Liberation Movement attempted to assassinate and wounded Roger Eludin Gutierrez, a former member, in San Pedro Sula (UMD GTD).

June 23, 1991 The Patriotic Morazanista Front (FPM) bombed a diplomatic government building in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

June 25, 1991 Members of the Patriotic Morazanista Front (FPM) attempted an assassination against a police official in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

June 27, 1991 Unknown terrorists using a handgun assassinated former contra leader from Nicaragua Francisco Ruiz Castellanos member in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

July 16, 1991 Members of an unknown terrorist group using 9mm handgun assassinated Honduran military member Sergeant Santos Efrain Zepeda Lopezin Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

July 22, 1991 Members of an unknown terrorist group using firearms assassinated a government official in San Pedro Sula (UMD GTD).

July 28, 1991 Members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) from El Salvador conducted an armed assault using firearms on civilians in Mapaluca killing 2 and wounding 6 (UMD GTD).

July 30, 1991 Members of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN) from El Salvador conducted an armed assault using firearms on a Honduran military unit in Mapaluca killing five (UMD GTD).

August 3, 1991 Members of an unknown group conducted an armed assault on a diplomatic government building in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

August 16, 1991 Members of an unknown group kidnapped and held hostages people from a diplomatic government building in Tegucigalpa (UMD GTD).

October 4, 1991 The Patriotic Morazanista Front (FPM) assassinated a government diplomat in San Pedro Sula and a civilian in Tegucigalpa using firearms (UMD GTD) and claimed responsibility for the assassination of Raul Suazo, a leader of the United Democratci Front (FUUD).  According to the communique, Suazo acted as a police informant.  The Agence France-Presse cited local news sources as saying that Suazo worked for the secret police (Direccion National de Investigacion-DNI).  Police arrested a suspect in connection with the killing.

According to the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Honduras (CODEH) assassinations attributed to the Morazán Patriotic Front (FPM) and the Cinchoneros guerrillas’ apparent victims were: Sergeant José Blas Peña Paz, shot dead in his garage on May 26; cattle rancher Pablo Padilla García; and Raúl Arnulfo Suazo Madrid, a right-wing university activist. Little is known about the violent left-wing opposition groups.  They appear to be deeply divided and, according to credible sources, possibly infiltrated by the military. Often insurgent communiques claiming credit for attacks are followed by others denying it.  For example, the FPM originally claimed responsibility for the slaying on October 4 of Suazo Madrid, but subsequently denied involvement. Similarly, the Cinchoneros claimed credit for the May 25 assassination attempt against Roger Eludin Gutiérrez Rosales, a former Cinchonero leader who had recently returned from exile and renounced the armed struggle, only to deny responsibility a week later and instead blame the armed forces.  According to CODEH, the family of cattleman Padilla García, whose June 20 assassination was claimed by the Cinchoneros, has denied that the guerrillas were responsible.  The murder on July 22 of Marco Tulio Hernández, the son of a human rights leader and an activist himself, also remains unresolved. Although the gunman was quickly apprehended, he has changed his story several times, leaving his motive in doubt.  Another was the murders of peasant activist Moisés Castillo, who while handcuffed, was allegedly pushed in front of a speeding truck by his arresting officers on February 19, 1991.  Indigenous leader Vicente Matute, who was shot dead along with his companion, Francisco Guevara, on September 30.  On December 9, a high-ranking peasant leader, Manuel de Jesús Guerra, was shot dead; according to the National Confederation of Rural Workers, he was involved in solidarity work with the electrical workers union, which is engaged in a bitter labor dispute with the government.  On July 13, the murder of seventeen-year-old student Riccy Mabel Martínez who visited the army’s First Communications Battalion to ask two officers, Colonel Angel Castillo Maradiaga and Captain Ovidio Andino Coello, to release a friend of hers who had been recruited at the base.  Her body was found hours later, reportedly unclothed and with the genitals and other organs cut out.  Five civilian suspects detained by the police in connection with the murder of five individuals in the village of El Bálsamo, Yoro, on August 18. The five men had apparently been on patrol with police agents on the night of the killings. The police later arrested and beat them until they confessed to the slayings. They were released by a judge on September 11. A police spokesman eventually acknowledged that the men had been severely beaten. A DNI agent, Elmer Burgos, was consigned to a military court because of the ill-treatment.  On July 18, police in the village of Támara, in San Pedro Sula, detained Marcelino Martínez, a CODEH representative, for a little over twenty-four hours.  The police threatened him and tried to force him to sign a document saying he had refused to show them his identity card.  It is unclear whether this ill-treatment was related to Martínez’s human rights work

In late October, 1991 soldiers seeking to oust striking miners who had occupied the El Mochito mine in the department of Santa Bárbara killed one miner and wounded twenty others at the U.S.-owned mine.

November 2, 1991  Another mass slaying this time of four peasants in the eastern province of Olancho was reported by the Honduran press to have occurred, allegedly at the instigation of an Honduran Army Colonel. Denying any official involvement, the police have detained eight suspects, two of whom later told a reporter that they had been severely tortured to extract confessions.

“There appears to have been no letup in the use of torture by the police, largely because of the authorities’ consistent failure to punish those responsible. CODEH reported 119 cases of torture between January and September 1991. The police, most often the National Directorate of Investigations (DNI), regularly torture both political and common-crime suspects to obtain confessions. Methods used include severe beatings, suffocation with a rubber hood called the capucha, and application of electric shocks. In response to public complaints about torture, President Callejas promised to restructure the DNI, but has made no visible progress.”

See News from Americas Watch, “Honduras” Inter-American Court of Human Rights Wraps Up First Adversarial Case,” September 1990; Juan E. Méndez and José Miguel Vivanco, “Disappearances and the Inter-American Court: Reflections on a Litigation Experience,” Hamline Law Review, Summer 1990; and News from Americas Watch, “Honduras: Torture and Murder,” pp. 10-11.  See Americas Watch, “Honduras: Torture and Murder by Government Forces Persist Despite End of Hostilities,” June 6, 1991, pp. 4-5. The government’s Agrarian Reform Institute (INA) had given the land in dispute to the peasant group known as El Astillero in 1977, but a corrupt agrarian reform official illegally sold it nearly a decade later to the army colonel, Leonel Galindo. Although the peasants had petitioned INA for the return of the land, the agency had taken no action at the time of the massacre. 

The 1991 data above was retrieved from on May 12, 2024.

A known 46 Purple Hearts were awarded to U.S. Service Members operating in Honduras during the conflict.

May 21, 1995 CBS 60 Minutes airs the segment titled The Pentagon Turned its Back on Them convincing Congressman Robert K. Dornan (R-California) to push legislation through Congress until President Clinton signed the 1996 Defense Authorization Act, in part, awarding combat medals to U.S. troops who were killed, wounded and served in El Salvador.

May 6, 1996 U.S. Troops who participated in the El Salvadoran civil war conflict finally receive honors and medals (recognition) in a ceremony held in Washington D.C.  22 SM were killed in El Salvador where 5,000 U.S. troops served from 1981 to 1992. President Clinton signed the 1996 Defense Authorization Act ordering the Pentagon to issue Armed Forces Expeditionary Medals to all troops who served in El Salvador from January 1981 to February 1992. (Washington Post, Public Honors for Secret Combat 5 May 1996 p. 1).

Sources:  U.S. State Department Attacks on Americans; University of Maryland Global Terrorism Database (S.T.A.R.T.) program UMD GTD; International Court of Justice (Nicaragua v. United States 1984); Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium (TRAC); WAGHELSTEIN: READING THE TEA LEAVES: PROTO-INSURGENCY IN HONDURAS 2012 and Covert Action Information Bulletin, Number 18 [Winter 1983].

How can you help?

Please help us advocate for recognition as Veterans of this Low-Intensity Conflict by sending a letter to your U.S. Congress or Senate representative in support of our mission by asking Congress to issue an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal to all U.S. troops who served in Honduras from 1981 to 1992.  This will help the families of the killed and wounded, those veterans attempting to receive proper combat honors and recognition for their sacrifices during the decade that ended communism.  Support VFW Resolution 419 – Honduras!

Central America War (1979 – 1992)