Posted by: Sailing Camelot | December 8, 2012

Fort Sherman – November 24th

Rainy Season in Central America is no laughing matter.  There’s absolutely nothing to smile about this continuous, relentless, overabundant rainfall. 

I am grumpy, feeling stuck in a very wet place where nothing dries… Yes, I know, we’re safe and comfortable here in the Marina while the storms are raging out there, yet I’m still seeing mostly the negatives. I feel like we’re wasting time.

But this place is full of history and Tom is more than willing to shrug into his raincoat and brave the downpour to go explore the surroundings.  Any excuse is good to break the boredom, so off we go.

Shelter Bay Marina is situated on Fort Sherman grounds; there still are plenty of reminders of the American Military presence.

 

Officers' accommodations on Kennedy Loop

Officers’ accommodations on Kennedy Loop

 

Tom leading the way in the jungle. Those tracks used to be train tracks.

Tom leading the way in the jungle. Those tracks used to be train tracks.

 

I won’t go into detail, there is far too much history to cover it all properly here, but Fort Sherman used to be home to the Jungle Operation Training Center .

JOTC, founded in 1951, was the U.S. Army’s training center for light infantry and special operations units from 1953 to 1999. Here both U.S. and allied Central American forces were trained in jungle warfare, with an enrollment of about 9,000 a year. Inactivated on April 1st, 1999, Fort Sherman was handed over to Panama on Jun 30th, 1999.

More recently, Fort Sherman was used in the filming of the James Bond film Quantum of Solace.

 

Battery Stanley, reclaimed by the jungle.

Battery Stanley, reclaimed by the jungle.

 

Battery Stanley

Battery Stanley

 

Much of the base has been reclaimed by the rain forest, but a short walk up in the jungle the remains of Battery Stanley and Battery Mower can still be found.

There isn’t much left, but Tom spends a considerable amount of time investigating every inch possible, recounting all he learned about what took place here back in the day.

 

What's left of Battery Mower

What’s left of Battery Mower

 

Tom had to explore every square inch of it...

Tom had to explore every square inch of it…

 

For Tom – former 82nd Airborne Paratrooper – this is as close to religious ground as it gets.

 

Tom searching the premises, looking like the Airborne MP he used to be...

Tom searching the premises, looking like the Airborne MP he used to be…

 

Once a soldier, always a soldier, I guess. Airborne, All The Way!

 

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