I don't know who it was you ran into from A Co. on the northern side of the airfield. Myself, I never made it north of the Pan-American highway. Even though I was a little more than two-thirds of the way back in my stick, I still landed on the damned taxiway
south of the highway. My Platoons objective was on the southwest side of the airfield (where the enemy prisoners were kept after the fight). So after I plowed into the pavement I linked up with my Gunner and Ammo Bearer and we went west. On the western edge of the airfield we linked up with our PL and about 15 others from our Platoon. That was when a pickup truck drove in front of our position and we (my gunner and myself as AG) opened up on him. This was the same pickup that was driving on the airfield as we were jumping. They had a guy in the bed armed with an AK-47 shooting at everyone as they landed. These guys hit the canopy of a Seargent in my platoon before he could pop his canopy releases. They drug him a short distance down the airfield while the guy in the bed of the truck was shooting at him (Welcome to Panama Gringo!!). Well, they made it past us and then they were promtly hit with a LAW rocket (you might remember the wreckage). I think it was our 1SG that hit him. Anyways, from there we went and took our objective. I understand completely what you mean about those tense linkups. As my gun team was moving west across the airfield we would run into other Rangers moving out to their objectives. So like dumb asses we would call out "Bulldog" and then we would follow that up with "Glory Boys", which was the name of my Platoon. We would do that so anyone in our Platoon would recognize us immediately and we would linkup instead of just running by each other in the night. A couple of times we did this with no problem. Then we came across a few Rangers moving out and we called out, "Bulldog", and then we followed that up with, "Glory Boys". We were then greeted with a very tense, "WHAT???!!!". Our response was, "Bulldog! Bulldog! Bulldog! Bulldog! Bulldog!". Then the WHAT???!!! Ranger let us know he almost shot us.
We didn't do that anymore.
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
I have a photo of that truck. You can see the parachute behind it, sans the towed jumper. If I remember the full story correctly, there was a LBG that was in the bed with an AK shooting at the NCO as we was being dragged down the road. After all was said and done, a bunch of us cut up the parachute and kept the strips for good luck. I still have mine.