The assault at Torrijos-Tocumen began just under one hour after H-hour; see above 1720th history (p.
Watson and Tsouras reported a total of 1,700 Rangers dropped at both Torrijos-Tocumen and Rio Hato at H-hour. Of that number, 700 jumped at Torrijos-Tocumen; about 1,000 at Rio Hato.
Note that Watson and Tsouras' work refers in one passage to 1,700 Rangers jumping at H-hour (at Rio Hato and Torrljos-Tocumen) followed by 2,000 Airborne troopers in the second jump at Torrijos-Tocumen; another section, however, refers to a total of 4,000 that "parachuted in.
for the first assault waves on Omaha 10:12 a.m.
Just prior to H-Hour, in-country Army units were flown from Albrook AFS to the Pacora Bridge, some 15 km north of Tocumen/Torrijos airfield, to block a counterattack by the PDF Battalion 2000.
The 48-man team landed on the coast immediately south of the civilian airfield just before H-Hour and moved towards the hangars at the end of the field.
There had been essentially no CA expertise on the SOUTHCOM staff at H-Hour: one Army officer in J5 had been working CA staff actions on a part time basis.
As H-hour approached, soldiers went about their last-minute preparations.
But to his dismay, it was still long before H-Hour when the enemy fled in strength.
This contingency had been addressed during the planning process: The brigade commander had stated that early activity would not initiate H-Hour prematurely, especially since the operation depended upon the synchronized arrival of other units flying in from the United States.
"We marched for two hours or more with frequent stops finally arriving at a shallow ditch (the commonest cover on the flats of the Beachhead) at 3:00 a.m.--the ditch which was to be our position at H-Hour
(6:30 a.m.) and some 150 yards in back of the exact frontline.