December 19, 1989

Airlift begins for Operation Just Cause, in which USAF plays a major role, including air strikes, airlift, airdrops, and aerial refueling. The F-117A stealth fighter is used operationally for the first time. In the largest night-combat airdrop since World War II, USAF aircraft transport 9,500 airborne troops from various locations to Panama in fewer than 36 hours. An AC-130H crew (mission #1J1600GA354) of the 16th Special Operations Squadron receives the 1990 Mackay Trophy. Active, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve Command special operations crews participate in Just Cause.