National Guard Returns from Panama
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Three California Air National Guard planes carrying 60 Guard members returned Saturday from a disputed two-week trip to Central and South America, a vice commander said.
The first of the C-130 cargo planes landed at Van Nuys Airport about 3:30 p.m. after a 10-hour flight from Howard Air Force Base in Panama.
The planes, which belong to the Guard’s 146th Tactical Airlift Wing, stopped in Panama and nine other Latin American countries, delivering supplies to U.S. embassies, said wing Vice Cmdr. Tandy K. Bozeman.
″It was a super operation,″ which included an unscheduled flight to Jamaica to supply cots for 4,000 people left homeless in a flood, he said.
The Guard has delivered supplies and conducted training missions in Latin America since 1978 without objections. This year, Americans for Democratic Action and the National Lawyers Guild sought to challenge the governor’s power to send the troops out of the country.
Superior Court Judge Warren Deering temporarily rejected the challenge and set a July 14 hearing for further arguments.
Bozeman defended the guard, saying training troops keeps the country prepared in the event of war.
″It’s valid and valuable to keep us war-ready,″ he said. ″We get to work with the people we’ll have to work with if the situation worsens down there.″