Injuries and illnesses incurred by an army ranger unit during Operation Just Cause

Mil Med. 1995 Aug;160(8):373-80.


Detailed knowledge of anticipated casualties is essential for the medical officer preparing to support a mission. To accurately describe the injuries inflicted upon the 2/75th Ranger Battalion involved in Operation Just Cause, 471 (75.5%) Rangers were personally interviewed. The average Ranger was 23 years old, an E-4 with 3 years of active duty service, and in a good to excellent fitness category. The majority went into battle with little sleep or food. Injuries forced 9.5% out of combat, and limited another 9.9%. The overall unit casualty rate was 35%, with 217 Rangers suffering 281 injuries. Most of the injuries were musculoskeletal (sprains) and non-surgical, with 90% occurring during the insertion. The lower extremity, particularly the ankle, was the most frequently injured area. It is hoped that this study will assist those who are planning to support future, similar nighttime parachute operations.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Military Personnel*
  • Panama / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Warfare*
  • Wounds and Injuries / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / etiology*