Details/Information for Canadian Forces (CF) Operation NICARAGUA 1979

CF Overseas Operations have most often operated within the construct of an international mandate. As such, the International Information is presented first in order to provide the context of the Canadian Operation (displayed second). Eventually, all rotations associated with the particular Canadian operation will also be displayed.

International Information

International Operation Name: NICARAGUA 1979

Mandating Organization: Government of Canada

Mandate: To deliver humanitarian aid to Nicaragua.

Region Name: Central America

Location: Managua, Nicaragua

Mission Date: 18 August 1979 - 26 August 1979


The Annual Historical Report for 436 Squadron for 1979 as well as the annual report of the Department of National Defence “Defence 1979” both indicate that medical and relief supplies were flown to Managua, Nicaragua from 18 to 26 August for earthquake victims. Air Transport Group Headquarters indicates the total was 153,000 pounds of relief supplies.

The United States Geological Survey does not indicate that there were any significant earthquakes in Central America except for one on 1 July near the Panama-Costa Rica border. Damage and casualties from this earthquake were minor, as well as being situated at least 300 miles from Managua.

The major cause of damage in Nicaragua in the months preceding the August airlift was the fighting in June and July as the Sandinista guerrillas openly challenged the regime of President Anastasio Somoza Debayle, marching on the capitol Managua. By the time Somoza fled on 17 July, the Sandinista controlled 27 cities around the capitol and most of southern Nicaragua. The fighting of this period had left thousands dead and over half a million people homeless.