Surveillance Begins

The Scene: In this clip, taken shortly after the AirScan plane arrives on the scene, the plane begins scanning Santo Domingo to check and see if there are any guerrillas. The men in the plane decide that there are guerrillas in the town, though they have changed into civilian clothing to avoid being recognized. This contradicts military testimony, in which officers participating in the operation said they did not believe there were guerillas in the town.

The Players: Gavilan (Sparrowhawk): Cessna Skymaster piloted by Barbaro Jose Orta, with Maj. Cesar Gomez and Charles Denny on board. Gomez is link between Skymaster and other Colombian Air Force planes. Denny is controlling video camera.

Orta: South of the bridge are bad guys. The thing is that they are well positioned in the jungle. I told him they are very well embedded in the woods. Right.
Denny: Yeah, I can't see them.
Orta: He can't see them.
Denny: That's nothing but jungle
Orta: That's jungle
Denny: Thick jungle. It's thick jungle until you get down to this little town here.
Orta: We're going to look towards the town, to see what's in the town. Do you want to look in the town, and around the town. Maybe the trucks, maybe they're picking up some wounded G's (guerrillas) or something.
Denny: Yeah, okay
Orta: Or whatever, you know.
Denny: I got four civilians standing in the road down here.
Orta: Hold the fire for a minute.
Denny: I got a bunch of people here, but they're mostly all civilians. I don't see any guerrillas.
Orta: Further down the road there's a group of people off the left wing about a mile and a half. Do you see the collection of folks out there? Look straight off the left wing, the first house, the second house on the left.
Denny: Yeah, they got a little red truck there.
Orta: Yeah. Any G's there?
Denny: I don't see any. They're mostly all civilians. There's one guy that's got his shirt off there, he's wearing dark trousers. Now he's putting his shirt back on.
Orta: Do you want to go over there and check them out..
Denny: Yeah, we can. They look like all civilians, though.
Orta: They seem like all civilians here.
Gomez: Yes. They changed clothes.
Orta: Yeah, they changed, they all changed clothes.
Denny: Probably, but…I got about one, two, there's about three or four guys sitting on the side of the road there. On the east side of the road. They're like sitting down.
Orta: That's the problem I think we have here, is that these guys have gone home and changed clothes.
Denny: Yeah, they don't want to fight no more.