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ADRIFT IN THE PANAMA CANAL

April 3rd, 1977

Joseph J. Wilson, Jr.

 

Note: This is a true story of an incident that happened to me in 1977 while I was stationed in the Canal Zone of Panama. I was lucky enough to have written things down just a few days after this incident happened, or I wouldn't have been able to recall the pertinent details.


While serving in the US Army, I arrived at my new duty station at Fort Davis in the Panama Canal Zone in September 1974. This was a huge change in climate from what I had left at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington.


Like many others I began fishing in the Atlantic Ocean from the breaker walls. I continued fishing for about a year before I took up snorkeling and spear fishing in Gatun Lake. I was able to snorkel in the ocean too.


It was nearly 2 years later that I took the PADI course at Fort Gulick and became a certified diver. I thank God for receiving this training as it would be instrumental in saving my life a short time later.


Here's where the story really begins. Just a few months before my 3 year tour was about to end I got into a bit of trouble after what would be my last official scuba diving trip.


Everyone simply called him "Scotty" although his name was Sidney Scott. At this time he was a medic with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 10th Infantry at Fort Davis.


At the time of this incident I was a Military Customs Inspector with the Atlantic Transportation Office and assigned to Company D, 193rd Infantry Brigade at Fort Davis.


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