Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

#StillServing: The VFW Podcast

Dec 22, 2021

Just imagine it is December 1989, and you think you are just going out on a regular training mission. As it turns out, you are getting ready to jump into combat. That is what happened to SEAC (Ret.) John Wayne Troxell when he was a young Staff Sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division. And thus began Operation Just Cause and the invasion of Panama. John and his unit were the only people to ever jump into combat with armored vehicles.


But before John shares his remarkable story with Host Rob Couture, VFW National Commander Fritz Mihelcic offers updates as to what he’s been doing since the time of the summer convention.


Fritz Mihelcic, VFW’s National Commander


  • Fritz confirms that any VFW member can be presented as a candidate for an office within the organization. [2:35]


  • Video calls and online communication may suffice but there is nothing like meeting people face-to-face, as Fritz recalls from his trip to Hawaii. [8:58]


  • Over 150 WWII veterans attended the 80th anniversary of Pearl Harbor on the pier across from the USS Arizona Memorial. [13:13]


  • Fritz details his route as he compiles the list of priorities from the service organizations the VFW works to assist. [16:01]


  • Words of wisdom and a personal holiday greeting from VFW National Commander, Fritz Mihelcic. [28:45]


John Wayne Troxell, SEAC (Ret.)


  • John describes the days leading up to Operation Just Cause in Panama and shares his role in the forced-entry mission. [32:42]


  • Operation Just Cause was the first to air-drop a Sheridan Mini Tank. [40:38]


  • As the vehicle commander, just after landing, John’s crew was created by the soldiers who arrived at the tank first. [54:11]


  • For John, Operation Just Cause in Panama was more dangerous than Desert Storm in Iraq. [58:27]


  • John was finally able to call his family on Christmas Eve after not communicating with them since before the operation. [1:13:31]


  • Final words from John about leadership and training. [1:20:47]


For more information or continue the conversation, please visit:

Veterans of Foreign Wars Website

VFW Podcast Page

@VFWHQ on Twitter

VFW on Facebook

@RobCoutureVFW on Facebook

VFW Unmet Needs Program

Call 1-888-JOIN-VFW

Text “NEEDS” to 20222 to donate to the Unmet Needs Program

Todays VFW Share Your #StillServing Story

Sport Clips VFW Help A Hero Scholarship

Afghan Resettlement Initiative