"Life Magazine" - March 17, 1941
Another part of the Canal Zone's Military History

     On March 5, 1941 President Dr. Arnulfo Arias of the Republic of Panama eased a big U.S. defense worry.  In a manifesto he declared Panama would co-operate in hemisphere defense by providing the U.S. air bases in Panama's territory.  This set U.S. military minds at rest for two reasons: 1) the U.S. would get needed bases and 2) the U.S. would not have as much troubled with President Arias as it once was feared it might.
     The Panama Canal is vital to U.S. defense because it enables a one-ocean Navy to fight in two oceans.  To protect the Canal against air raiders, the U.S. must station planes outside the Canal Zone to intercept bombers before they get near the Canal.  Already the U.S. has at least one base outside the Zone (Rio Hato).  under the new arrangement it will have other bases, listening posts, communications centers and anti-aircraft stations scattered all throughout the isthmus jungles.
     The U.S. had fears of trouble with President Arias, who is a graduate of Harvard Medical School, because after his election last autumn Dr. Arias adopted a strong nationalist, "Panama for Panamanians" policy.  He did not seem disposed to help the U.S.  Now that he is so disposed, the first line of Canal defense will be pushed farther out in front of the big guns
which guard the Canal Zone's two coasts.

     Although this short article didn't mention other airfields besides Rio Hato, there were others such as Albrook, Pacora, Miller (Ft. Clayton) and France Fields.  There may have been others that I don't know about.
     I found this article to be a wonderful piece on Canal Zone history.  Wonderful pictures of the big guns.  This is unusual, as most of these areas were secret and censorship was widespread during these turbulent times.     

Panama's President Aria reviews U.S. troops.  Left: General Jarman; right: General Van Voorhis, Commander of the Zone.

There was a baseball field in Fort Clayton named after General Jarman.  We held our annual Directorate of Community Activities (DCA) Fairs there until 1998.

Click the thumbnail for a larger image

Presentation Bonus

These are some never seen before photos taken after the war.  They were taken by unknown persons and were taken during dismantling time of the old gun emplacements.

Another "Military History of the Canal Zone" lesson presented by CZ Images.