Recent Titles in The Greenwood Press “Daily Life through History” Series Civilians in Wartime Asia: From...
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Recent Titles in The Greenwood Press “Daily Life through History” Series Civilians in Wartime Asia: From the Taiping Rebellion to the Vietnam War Stewart Lone, editor The French Revolution James M. Anderson Daily Life in Stuart England Jeffrey Forgeng The Revolutionary War Charles P. Neimeyer The American Army in Transition, 1865–1898 Michael L. Tate Civilians in Wartime Europe, 1618–1900 Linda S. Frey and Marsha L. Frey, editors The Vietnam War James E. Westheider World War II G. Kurt Piehler Immigrant America, 1870–1920 June Granatir Alexander Along the Mississippi George S. Pabis Immigrant America, 1820–1870 James M. Bergquist Pre-Columbian Native America Clarissa W. Confer
POST–COLD WAR Stephen A. Bourque
The Greenwood Press “Daily Life through History” Series American Soldiers’ Lives David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler, Series Editors
GREENWOOD PRESS Westport, Connecticut • London
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bourque, Stephen A. (Stephen Alan), 1950– Post–Cold War / Stephen A. Bourque. p. cm. — (The Greenwood Press “Daily life through history” series, ISSN 1080–4749. American soldiers’ lives) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978–0–313–33290–6 (alk. paper) 1. United States—History, Military—20th century. 2. United States—History, Military— 21st century. 3. United States—Foreign relations—1989– 4. United States. Army—Military life—History—20th century. 5. United States. Army—Military life— History—21st century. 6. Soldiers—United States—History—20th century. 7. Soldiers— United States—History—21st century. I. Title. E840.4.B68 2008 355.00973—dc22 2007048839 British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data is available. Copyright © 2008 by Stephen A. Bourque All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, by any process or technique, without the express written consent of the publisher. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2007048839 ISBN: 978–0–313–33290–6 ISSN: 1080–4749 First published in 2008 Greenwood Press, 88 Post Road West, Westport, CT 06881 An imprint of Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc. www.greenwood.com Printed in the United States of America
The paper used in this book complies with the Permanent Paper Standard issued by the National Information Standards Organization (Z39.48–1984). 10
Dedicated to my students at the United States Army Command and General Staff College
Timeline 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
The Cold War Army: An Overview The Years 1989–1991: Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm The Years 1992–2006: Interventions and Insurgencies Organizing the Army from 1989 to the Present Recruiting Training The Soldiers The Soldier at Home in the Military The Soldier and Technology Going to War The Post–Cold War Veteran
xvii 1 9 29 49 67 85 105 117 135 147 163
More than once during the military campaigns undertaken by American armies, leaders in both civilian and martial roles have been prompted to ask in admiration, “Where do such people come from?” The question, of course, was both rhetorical and in earnest: the one because they knew that such people hailed from the coasts and the heartland, from small hamlets and sprawling cities, from expansive prairies and breezy lakeshores. They were as varied as the land they represented, as complex as the diversity of their faiths and ethnic identities, all nonetheless defined by the overarching identity of “American,” made more emphatic by their transformation into “American soldiers.” They knew and we know where they came from. On the other hand, the question for anyone who knows the tedium, indignity, discomfort, and peril of military service in wartime is more aptly framed, “Why did they come at all?” In the volumes of this series, accomplished scholars of the American military answer that question, and more. By depicting the daily routines of soldiers at war, they reveal the gritty heroism of those who conquered the drudgery of routine and courageously faced the terrors of combat. With impeccable research and a deep understanding of the people who move through these grandly conceived stories—for war, as Tolstoy has shown us, is the most grandly conceived and complex story of all—these books take us to the heart of great armies engaged in enormous undertakings. Bad food, disease, haphazardly treated wounds, and chronic longing for loved ones form part of these stories, for those are the universal afflictions of soldiers. Punctuating long stretches of loneliness and monotony were interludes of horrific violence that scarred every soldier, even those who escaped physical injury. And insidious wounds could fester because of ugly customs and ingrained prejudices: for too long a span, soldiers who happened to be minorities suffered galling injustices at the hands of those they served, often giving for cause and comrades what Lincoln called “the last full measure of devotion,”
despite unfair indignities and undeserved ignominy. And sadly, it is true that protracted or unpopular wars could send veterans returning to a country indifferent about their sacrifices, sometimes hostile to the cause for which they fought, and begrudging even marginal compensation to their spouses and orphans. But quiet courage, wry humor, tangible camaraderie, and implacable pride are parts of these stories as well, ably conveyed by these gifted writers who have managed to turn the pages that follow into vivid snapshots of accomplishment, sacrifice, and triumph. Until recently the American soldier has usually been a citizen called to duty in times of extraordinary crisis. The volunteer army of this latest generation, though, has created a remarkable hybrid in the current American soldier, a professional who nevertheless upholds the traditions of American citizens who happen to be in uniform to do a tough job. It is a noble tradition that ennobles all who have honored it. And more often than not, they who have served have managed small miracles of fortitude and resolve. Walter Lord’s Incredible Victory recounts the story of Mike Brazier, the rear-seat man on a torpedo plane from the carrier Yorktown in the battle of Midway. He and pilot Wilhelm Esders were among that stoic cadre of fliers who attacked Japanese carriers, knowing that their fuel was insufficient for the distance to and from their targets. Having made their run under heavy enemy fire, Esders finally had to ditch the spent and damaged plane miles short of the Yorktown in the rolling Pacific. He then discovered that Brazier had been shot to pieces. Despite his grave wounds, Brazier had managed to change the coils in the radio to help guide the plane back toward the Yorktown. In the life raft as he died, Mike Brazier never complained. He talked of his family and how hard it had been to leave them, but he did not complain. Instead he apologized that he could not be of more help. In the great, roiling cauldron of the Second World War, here was the archetype of the American soldier: uncomplaining while dying far from home in the middle of nowhere, worried at the last that he had not done his part. Where do such people come from? We invite you to read on, and find out. David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler Series Editors
On September 11, 1990, President George H. W. Bush addressed a joint session of Congress, describing what he accomplished during his recent talks in Helsinki with Soviet general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev. Against a backdrop of a disintegrating Communist system in Europe and a defiant Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, the talks between the two leaders went well. The president was exuberant when he told the listening legislators and the nation, “Out of these troubled times . . . a new world order . . . can emerge: a new era, free from the threat of terror, stronger in the pursuit of justice, and more secure in the quest for peace.”1 We know today that this was not to be a period of peace, and the post–cold war era was to be one of the most tumultuous in American history. This book examines soldiers’ lives at the end of the cold war era, beginning with President George H. W. Bush’s administration, which, after eight years of military and diplomatic confrontation during the presidency of Ronald Reagan, witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It was not, however, to be a time of peace. The president sent the army into Panama in 1989 to protect American lives and secure the canal. The following year, he ordered the American military to defend Saudi Arabia and, six months later, evict the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait. American troops continued to be stationed in Germany and Korea, while the navy operated fleets in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans. Later historians may come to see this period as the apogee of American power as it demonstrated its ability to effectively employ its armed might anywhere in the world. Certainly, at the time, Operation Desert Storm was hailed as an amazing achievement of American arms and a validation that the United States was the world’s only superpower. American soldiers not only remained in southwest Asia, but before he left office in January 1993, President Bush sent American troops to Somalia.
Certainly no one expected the incoming president, William Jefferson Clinton, who had campaigned on the slogan “It’s the economy, stupid,” to embark on any more foreign adventures. Yet, during his term, in a style reminiscent of the Indian Wars of the 1860s and 1870s, American soldiers confronted a wide array of opponents in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Simultaneously, the United States’ military forces continued to confront Saddam Hussein’s rump regime in northern Iraq through inspections and no-fly zones. After eight years of the tumultuous Clinton presidency, the experienced foreign policy team of President George W. Bush promised a respite from the interventionist policy of his predecessor. Then came al-Qaeda’s destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. President Bush unleashed America’s military might against the Taliban–al-Qaeda regime in Afghanistan and, in April 2003, against Saddam Hussein’s government. On May 1, President George W. Bush dramatically landed on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln and, with a banner proclaiming “mission accomplished” hanging from the carrier’s superstructure, announced the end of combat operations in Iraq. Events were to prove that combat operations were not over, and American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines continued to fight and die in both Iraq and Afghanistan for the remainder of Bush’s two terms in office. What this premature announcement had signified was an end to the period after the cold war when the military power of the United States seemed omnipotent around the world. Certainly the idea that American forces were trained and equipped to fight primarily large-scale conventional wars was slipping from most doctrinal field manuals. In 2007, the current trends were on counterinsurgency and military operations other than war. After more than 50 years on European and Korean soil, anticipating large-scale conventional combat, American forces began closing down their installations and returning to the United States.2 This book begins with a timeline of events during the period covered by this book so as to place events into a more easily scanned context. The first chapter is a look at the cold war U.S. Army that prepared for a war that never came. Emanating from the ruins of the draftee force that fought in Vietnam, it continued to improve, until it considered itself superior to the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. That belief was never tested as the Soviet Union broke apart without a shot being fired. However, dictators in Panama and Iraq offered the army a chance to show what it could do. Chapter 2 discusses Operations Just Cause, Desert Shield, and Desert Storm, all campaigns that validated the army’s expenditure in weapons, equipment, and quality soldiers. The new American soldier overwhelmed the Panamanians and soundly thrashed the Iraqis in two campaigns that remain as hallmarks of military proficiency. However, it had little chance to recover, as intervention upon intervention followed in rapid succession: Kurdistan (1991), Somalia (1993), Haiti (1993), Bosnia (1995), and Kosovo (1999). Following al-Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the army embarked on a perpetual state of war and began combat operations in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003). Each event was different and, cumulatively, altered the nature of the army, so that by 2003 and the transition into the insurgencies of Iraq and Afghanistan, it was no longer the same force it had been at the beginning. Chapter
3 is a brief summary of these combat operations, which saw fewer soldiers fighting and more conducting so-called peace operations. The next chapters look in more detail at soldiers’ lives. Chapter 4 describes the army these soldiers joined and looks at its organization, types of units, kinds of equipment, and the different roles these things played. Recruiting and joining the force is the focus of chapter 5, which describes the nature of the all-volunteer army and the journey of the soldier from entrance station, through basic combat and advanced training, to the unit. Training, the most important peacetime role of the army, is the subject of chapter 6. The army spends an incredible amount of energy and resources on making sure that soldiers have the skills for modern war. The nature of the soldier is the focus of chapter 7: Who were these soldiers? What was their rank structure? What was the role of women in this new army? How were minorities treated? Was there a place for homosexuality in the service? How soldiers lived is described in chapter 8, which covers the various military installations and the details of army posts. What was life like for the soldier and his or her family during this period? No discussion of the post–cold war soldier would be complete without a discussion of microchip technology, found in chapter 9. Certainly this was one element that separated these soldiers from those in previous eras, and one that was constantly changing. The final two chapters look at the results and consequences of going to war in the post–cold war era. What was it like to deploy from home to go to war not once, but many times over a long career? How did families adjust? What were the differences between the deployment for soldiers of Desert Storm and those at the end of the period? The concluding chapter presents a discussion of post–cold war veterans and the world they returned to. What was it like to be a veteran of this period? The book concludes with an extensive bibliography of topically arranged books and articles, both in print and online. Unlike for other books in this series, the ending of this period was less than precise. President George W. Bush’s declaration of “mission accomplished” proved a significant error, and the fighting for the post–cold war soldier is not over. Military units and individual soldiers have continued to rotate in and out of Afghanistan ever since they arrived in October 2001. In the fall of 2007, many American soldiers, especially if they were careerists, were on their third or fourth rotation to Iraq and engaged in something between an insurgency and a full-scale civil war. Readers should also realize that there is no more rapid time for change in a military service than during war, and this army had been at war for almost 18 continuous years as of this book’s writing. Equipment, doctrine, organizations, and procedures that were in place in 1989 when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down no longer existed with the fall of Baghdad in 2003. New weapons, new vehicles, new radios, and different uniforms all marked the intense changes that took place during this period. The personal computer was brand new when this period began, and e-mail was still an inefficient and clumsy way to communicate. In 2007, every soldier had an e-mail account, and the army ran one of the most sophisticated information networks in the world. How things have changed.
The same is true for the men and women who earned the name “soldier.” Those who entered the service at the beginning of the period were approaching normal military retirement in 2007. Many of them had seen more combat than any other generation of American soldier. The vaunted “Band of Brothers” of World War II fame saw less than six months of intense combat. This group of baby boomers and Generation Xers, with battles on Medina Ridge, in Mogadishu, Najaf, Fallujah, and Tora Bora, will match experiences with the greatest generation anytime. Those who liberated German concentration camps in 1945 will relate to those post–cold war soldiers who comforted the survivors of Srebrenica 50 years later. Soldiers who jumped into Panama as young men and women fought in Somalia and helped take down the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is a tired generation of soldiers, to whom America owes a debt it will never be able to repay. Military history is usually about history’s great captains or campaigns. Bookshelves groan with the weight of books about the Pattons and Lees, or about battles such as Gettysburg or Normandy. What is often lost in the great stories of battles and generals is the daily life of the soldiers and junior officers who occupied, in the words common at the end of the cold war, “the tip of the spear.” What was war like from their perspective? What did they think of their military service? What was their training like? How did they and their families live? How good was their equipment? What kinds of education and training did they receive? How did technology affect the soldier and his or her family? These and many more questions, often overlooked, are essential to understanding the experience of war. This book looks at this period and asks the simple question, What was the soldier’s experience at the end of the cold war? NOTES 1. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 370. 2. George W. Bush, Remarks by the President of the American Legion at the 86th Annual National Convention (Washington, DC: White House, 2004).
I have been fortunate to have had the help of a wide variety of historians and friends in preparing this manuscript. At the U.S. Army’s Center of Military History, the chief of military history, Dr. Jeffery Clark, has been one of my staunchest supporters for over 10 years. His staff, especially his library staff, run by Frank Shirer and Patricia Ames, provided me with work space and the time to peruse their extensive collection of materials. David Keogh, at the U.S. Army Military Institute, helped find the many reference files on this piece of recent history. Britt McCarley, Ben King, Ann Chapman, and Claire Samuelson, at the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, provided me all the information I needed on the dynamic changes in training programs in the army over the last 20 years. Dan Mortensen, from the U.S. Air Force’s Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama, listened to innumerable presentations and comments on military operations during the 1991 Gulf War and was a great advocate of my writing. At the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Dr. James Willbanks, the director of the Department of Military History, encouraged and supported my writing efforts. Other members of the department, especially Sean Kalic and Jon House, read and commented on various portions of this manuscript. I also thank the staff of the Combined Arms Research Library, who provided a superb environment for research and writing. My office mate, Susan Rosell, helped with correcting my prose and giving me guidance on writing mechanics. At the Combined Arms Research Library, Mike Brown and the rest of the staff provided assistance in locating a variety of references. At Greenwood Press, Anne Thompson was my most devoted supporter and continued to provide the encouragement and guidance that brought me back on track as I wandered through my manuscript. David and Jeanne Heidler, the series editors, gave me all the intellectual and textual support I needed to complete this manuscript.
Special thanks to my good friend and coauthor on a previous endeavor, John Burdan, for his tireless interviews with soldiers from the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry and his permission to use some of the material he gathered for the squadron history. Also, these interviews would never have been transcribed without the support of John Votaw and the 1st Infantry Division Museum at Wheaton, Illinois, and Kelly Winkelblack of California State University, Northridge, who transcribed them. I must also thank my wife, Debra, who has tolerated my love of research and writing and has read and listened to countless renditions of my developing prose. Our nation is blessed to have an incredibly talented and dedicated officer corps. As this manuscript is in preparation, the young majors in this corps have been either engaged in or supporting combat operations for most of their careers. Some have never had a normal stateside assignment in their 12 years of military service. Most have little understanding of what a peacetime army is or how normal families live. All have been extremely supportive of my efforts to tell their stories. To these brave men and women, I humbly dedicate this work.
Dec. 27, 1972 April 30, 1975 May 15, 1975
July 1, 1976 July 7, 1976 April 18, 1978 April 28, 1978 July 16, 1979 July 19, 1979
Nov. 1, 1979 Nov. 4, 1979 Nov. 5, 1979
Last soldier drafted into the army six months earlier than legislative authority for the end of the draft, which expired in June 1973. Last American troops leave Saigon. Mayaguez incident. SS Mayaguez captured by Cambodian (Khmer Rouge) forces with 39 crewman on board. U.S. Marines attempt to rescue crew, resulting in 18 killed and 50 marines wounded. This is generally considered the last incident of the Vietnam War. Field Manual 100-5, Operations (Active Defense). Considered the beginning of the revitalized United States Army. The first 119 women enter the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Panama Canal Treaty. Ratified by the U.S. Senate, it gave full control of the Panama Canal to Panama by 2000. Disestablishment of Women’s Army Corps and beginning of integration of women into regular army. Saddam Hussein takes control in Iraq. Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua, a left-wing popular movement to overthrow what was considered a corrupt government headed by General Somoza. Maxell Thurman takes command of Recruiting Command. Beginning of serious recruitment efforts in the all-volunteer army. Iranian militants seize American embassy in Tehran. Beginning of the hostage crisis. The Carter administration begins planning and initial training of a hostage rescue mission under the command of Colonel Charles Beckwith.
Dec. 25, 1979 March 4, 1980 March 24, 1980
Sept. 22, 1980 Jan. 20, 1981 Jan. 5, 1982 Aug. 20, 1982 Sept. 1, 1983 Oct. 23, 1983
Oct. 25, 1983
Dec. 15, 1983 April 15, 1986
Nov. 1, 1986
Feb. 10, 1988
May 26, 1988 Aug. 20, 1988 Jan. 20, 1989 Feb. 15, 1989 May 10, 1989
Oct. 1, 1989 Oct. 7, 1989
Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Presentation of the “Hollow army” speech by General Shy Meyer before the House Budget Committee. Iran rescue mission (Eagle Claw). The operation is launched, forces land at a predetermined desert airstrip in Iran, and forces suffer several mechanical and unfortunate mishaps that result in the loss of vital equipment and men for the operation. The mission is aborted. Iraq invades Iran. Beginning of Iran-Iraq war, which lasts until 1988. President Ronald Reagan inaugurated in the United States. First army rotation at the National Training Center. Field Manual 100-5, Operations (Air Land Battle). Forms basis for success in Operation Just Cause and Desert Storm. Political situation in Grenada deteriorates. Bomb attack on U.S. Marine barracks and French headquarters in Beriut, Lebanon. Suicide bombers kill 241 U.S. Marines, along with 58 French soldiers. Operation Urgent Fury. 6,000 U.S. forces invade Grenada. Island is secured after 60 hours of combat. Eighteen soldiers and marines killed and 83 wounded. Problems in cooperation between services set the stage for passage of Goldwater-Nichols Act in 1986. Last of the U.S. forces leave Grenada. Operation El Dorado Canyon. Bombing of Tripoli, Libya, by U.S. Navy and Air Force aircraft in retaliation for Libyan-sponsored terror bombing of West Berlin nightclub frequented by American servicemen. Goldwater-Nichols DOD Reorganization Act of 1986. Makes Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff a principle advisor to the president and requires better inter-service cooperation. Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega turns to Cuba, Nicaragua, and Libya for military support after his indictment by a U.S. grand jury for drug smuggling. Beginning of Somali Civil War. Iran and Iraq accept cease-fire, effectively ending their eight-year long war. President George H. W. Bush, who was President Reagan’s vice president, assumes office. Last Soviet troops leave Afghanistan. Exercise Nimrod Dancer. Nineteen hundred combat troops from 7th Infantry Division, 5th Infantry, and 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force are deployed to Panama as a show of force. General Colin L. Powell assumes chairmanship of Joint Chiefs of Staff. He is the first chairman under new Goldwater-Nichols Act. End of Soviet military support to Warsaw Pact. Beginning of the end of communist regimes in Eastern Europe.
Nov. 9, 1989 Dec. 15, 1989 Dec. 16, 1989 Dec. 20, 1989
Jan. 3, 1990 Aug. 6, 1990
Nov. 19, 1990
Jan. 7, 1991 Jan. 17, 1991
Feb. 24, 1991 Feb. 26, 1991 Feb. 27, 1991 March 2, 1991 March 3, 1991 March 4, 1991 March 5, 1991 March 20, 1991 March 30, 1991 April 5, 1991 April 7, 1991 June 25, 1991
Collapse of the Berlin Wall. Noriega declares “state of war” with the United States. Assaults on Americans in Panama. Operation Just Cause. Over 22,500 U.S. forces invade Panama and overthrow Manuel Noreiga’s dictatorship. U.S. casualties were 23 killed and 220 wounded. Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. forces. Signals the end of combat operations in Panama. Operation Desert Shield. Following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait several days earlier, the United Nations (UN) authorized forces to defend Saudi Arabia and deter further Iraqi aggression. By November, over 220,000 U. S. forces, and thousands from other participating nations, are deployed in Saudi Arabia. Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Beginning of the long process of removing U.S. troops from Europe where they had been stationed since 1945. Operation Proven Force. Military operations in support of Operation Desert Storm conducted from Turkey. Operation Desert Storm. UN-authorized operation to evict Saddam Hussein’s forces from Kuwait. Over 380,000 U.S. forces and another 110,000 allied forces confront Iraq’s 550,000 man force. It begins with an air operation that lasts until February 23. Beginning of ground offensive on Operation Desert Storm (the 100 hours). Destruction of the Iraqi Tawakalna Mechanized Division by the U.S. VII Corps. Battle of Medina Ridge. Destruction of the Iraqi Medina Armored Division by the U.S. VII Corps. Battle of Rumaylah. Twenty-fourth Division against the Hammurabi Armored Division. Cease-fire negotiations between General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Iraqi military representatives at Safwan Airfield, Iraq. Shia uprising in southern Iraq against regime of Saddam Hussein. It is brutally repressed by Iraqi forces still loyal to Hussein. Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq. Iraqi troops begin suppression of Kurdish revolt. Mass Kurdish exodus to border mountain ranges. Creates worldwide expression of outrage and sympathy. UN Security Resolution 688 condemns Iraqi repression of Kurds and authorizes the use of force to protect them. Operation Provide Comfort. Over 12,000 U.S. and 10,000 allied forces provide protection and nourishment for Kurdish civilians. Slovenia and Croatia independence. Beginning of break-up of Yugoslavian Republic. Yugoslavian Army attacks to restore national unity.
Dec. 1, 1991 Feb. 21, 1992
April 1, 1992 April 5, 1992 April 24, 1992 April 27, 1992 May 1, 1992 July 1, 1992 Aug. 15, 1992 Aug. 27, 1992 Sept. 14, 1992 Dec. 3, 1992
Dec. 9, 1992 Jan. 20, 1993 Feb. 1, 1993 May 4, 1993
June 5, 1993
Aug. 22, 1993 Oct. 3, 1993
Dec. 15, 1993 Jan. 6, 1994 March 25, 1994
Operation Homeward Bound. Beginning of withdrawal from Europe. United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR I). Authorized by the United Nations to enforce cease fire between Croatian and Yugoslavian forces. End of Somali Civil War. Bosnia declares its independence. Bosnian Serbs begin campaign to detach territory to form a greater Serbia. UN Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM I). UN Security Council Resolution 751 delivers relief supplies to Somalia. Joint Task Force LA provides army support during Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. Provide Promise supplies food and medicine to Bosnian refugees in the Balkans. Operation Provide Relief provides American relief to Somalia. Operation Southern Watch secures Iraqi airspace and protects Shiites in southern Iraq. United Nations Protection Force II (UNPROFOR II). Extension of UN-authorized Balkan mission to provide stability in Bosnia. Unified Task Force (UNITAF). Organized in Somalia under the direction of the United States to coordinate military and non-governmental organization support to Somalian refugees. American marines land at Mogadishu, Somalia. President William J. Clinton takes office. Joint Task Force Provide Promise. Controlled U.S. military operations in former Yugoslavia. UN Operations in Somalia (UNOSOM II; Continued Hope). U.S. forces turn over control of Somalian operations to United Nations command. Attack on Pakistani soldiers in Somalia. Two separate attacks by forces loyal to Somalian warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed kill 23 and would 56 Pakistani soldiers in a direct challenge to UN operations. U.S. Special Operations (SOF) Task Force Ranger dispatched to Somalia to apprehend Aideed. Task Force Ranger raid into Mogadishu fails as Aideed’s forces ambush U.S. soldiers. Result was 18 dead and 69 wounded Americans and supporting Malaysian and Pakistani forces have 2 killed and 7 wounded. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin resigns as a result of failed operations in Somalia. Task Force Able Sentry provides security for former Yugoslavian Republic of Macedonia. Last Americans leave Somalia.
Oct. 10, 1994 July 6, 1995 Aug. 29, 1995
Oct. 1, 1995 Nov. 21, 1995 Dec. 2, 1995 Dec. 31, 1995
Dec. 20, 1996
June 20, 1998
Aug. 7, 1998 Aug. 20, 1998 Dec. 16, 1998
March 24, 1999
April 3, 1999 June 3, 1999
June 11, 1999
Oct. 12, 2000 Jan. 20, 2001
Operation Uphold Democracy. UN-authorized operation to restore democracy in Haiti. Bosnian Serb massacre of over 8,000 Muslim Bosnians at Srebrenica. The incident creates international outrage and a demand for action. Operation Deliberate Force. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) operation designed to force Bosnian Serbs to cease their aggression against the Muslim population. Training begins for Task Force Eagle. This force would provide U.S. support to operations in Bosnia. Dayton Peace Accords to end the war in the Balkans. U.S. forces prepare to deploy Task Force Eagle. Operation Joint Endeavor and United Nations Implementation Force (IFOR), including Task Force Eagle, ordered to Bosnia. 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, and 1st Armored Division (main element of Task Force Eagle) cross the Sava River as part of Operation Joint Endeavor. Ultimately the United States deployed over 18,500 soldiers to this part of the former Yugoslavia. Operation Joint Guard. Implementation force in Bosnia changed to the United Nations Stabilization Force. U.S. forces in Bosnia reduced to approximately 10,500. Operation Joint Forge. Beginning of open-ended NATO commitment to maintain the peace in Bosnia. U.S. forces reduced to approximately 1,000 soldiers. Bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania by alQaeda. Operation Infinite Reach. President William J. Clinton orders cruise missile attacks on al-Qaeda sites in Afghanistan. The United States launches Operation Desert Fox, primarily an air and missile attack against Iraq in response to Iraqi refusal to cooperate with UN inspectors. Operation Allied Force. NATO air bombing operation to compel Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic to end the persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. Task Force Hawk. Deployment of U.S. ground and helicopter forces in preparation for army combat against Yugoslavian forces. Yugoslavia agrees to Allied terms, including presence of an international security force, KFOR for Kosovo Force. Deployment of this NATO force was called Operation Joint Guardian. Advanced party for Task Force Falcon, U.S. contribution to Operation Joint Guardian, arrives in Kosovo. This United States-led task force would have combat elements from the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Russia, Greece, and Poland in addition to U.S. soldiers. Attack on USS Cole in Aden Harbor, Yemen, by suicide team from al-Qaeda, kills 17 sailors and wounds 39 others. President George W. Bush takes office.
Sept. 11, 2001
Oct. 7, 2001 Oct. 19, 2001 Oct. 22, 2001 Nov. 10, 2001 Nov. 14, 2001 March 2, 2002 Dec. 11, 2002 March 20, 2003 March 23, 2003 March 24, 2003 March 28, 2003 April 2, 2003 April 7, 2003 April 9, 2003 May 1, 2003 May 23, 2003 July 1, 2003 Dec. 14, 2003 April 4, 2004
April 28, 2004 Oct. 9, 2004 Nov. 7, 2004 Dec. 30, 2006 Jan. 10, 2007
The World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., are attacked by three commercial airliners hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists , causing the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans. A fourth hijacked airplane is crashed by resisting passengers, with no survivors. Operation Enduring Freedom. U.S. operations to topple Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Special Forces detachments arrive in Afghanistan. Northern Alliance offensive against Taliban. Mazar-e Sharif falls to Northern Alliance. Liberation of Kabul. Operation Anaconda. U.S. operation to destroy al-Qaeda forces along Pakistani border and capture Osama bin Laden. Hamid Karzai takes power in Afghanistan. Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). American and British campaign to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein. Ambush of 507th Maintenance Company. Worst single American combat incident during OIF. Iraqi defeat of U.S. 11th Aviation Brigade attack. Brings into question doctrinal concept of the “deep attack.” 173rd Airborne Brigade parachutes into northern Iraq to support Kurdish militia. Initial U.S. attacks on Baghdad. Attack into center of Baghdad. Regime essentially defeated. U.S. Marines topple statue of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. President George W. Bush lands on USS Abraham Lincoln in San Diego and announces “mission accomplished” in Iraq. Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority director Lewis Paul Bremer III issues Order Number 2, disbanding the entire Iraqi Army. Beginning of Iraqi insurgency. Saddam Hussein captured by U.S. forces. First Battle of Fallujah, Iraq. U.S. soldiers and marines attack to capture city and avenge killing of American contractors. Ended on May 1, when the U.S. Government decided to pull back forces in the face of Iraqi government protests. Abu Ghraib prison cases of torture and prisoner abuse by U.S. forces exposed. Hamid Karzai elected as first president of Afghanistan. Second Battle of Fallujah, Iraq. U.S. forces capture city and eliminate insurgents. Saddam Hussein executed by hanging after Iraqi trial. President Bush announces troop surge and new strategy to contain Iraqi insurgency.
THE COLD WAR ARMY: AN OVERVIEW
It was obvious to all present in 1990 on the day that President George H. W. Bush declared the “New World Order” that the cold war, the struggle that the United States and Soviet Russia had waged for over 45 years, had ended. One reason for the apparent American victory was the American soldier, with his superb equipment, organization, doctrine, leadership, and training. The Soviet Union, according to some observers, simply could not keep pace with the resurgent cold war army. This military excellence had not always been the case and was a direct development of a protracted series of improvements and modifications in all aspects of the American military. POST-VIETNAM PARALYSIS Following the army’s military victory over Iraq in 1991, which we will discuss in the next chapter, many army leaders reflected over the causes of their dramatic success. Most senior officers credited it with the determined and comprehensive restructuring of the army in the years following Vietnam. The context of this victory can be found in the reaction to the latter years of the Vietnam conflict, the renewed focus of army doctrine, and the structure of the U.S. Army at end of the cold war. Any discussion of the army of the late cold war era, therefore, must begin in the jungles of Vietnam. For the entire decade of the 1960s, the United States expended its military and diplomatic capital in a vain effort to stop the North Vietnamese from attaining their dream of a unified Communist state. As early as 1969, President Richard M. Nixon realized that the American military had to change and began to lay the foundations of what would become the modern professional army.1 By the early 1970s, a war-weary government realized that the American people would not sustain the war any longer and ordered the military to disengage. In the spring of 1975, the last Americans escaped from Saigon, leaving thousands of South Vietnamese supporters to the mercy of the Communists. While the reasons for this outcome
Soldiers on patrol in Vietnam, 1971. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
would be a continual subject for debate, the fact remained that in spite of overwhelming American military technology, economic power, and physical size, the North Vietnamese had forced the armed forces of the United States out of Southeast Asia. The U.S. Army’s combat performance, in its latter years, was suspect and tainted by incidents of battlefield atrocities, indiscipline, drug abuse, and racial strife. No matter what the enemy did, the American public expected its soldiers to reflect the nation’s values and ideals. Reports of officer “fraggings,” failure to obey orders, and events such as the My Lai Massacre tarnished that image. Newspaper photographs of soldiers with peace signs on their helmets and smoking marijuana only confirmed this impression in the minds of much of America.2 Leaders who remained with the army when it returned in 1973, while not completely agreeing with its negative image, realized that it was no longer an effective element of national power. Thanks to a decision by President Richard Nixon, the American military was now an all-volunteer force and had to depend on enlistments, rather than selective service, better known as the draft. We will discuss the nature of the all-volunteer army in a later chapter.3 With the controversial war only recently concluded, the army found it difficult to enlist quality soldiers, and units were rife with racial and ethnic tensions. Many units found themselves understrengthed and forced to promote less than qualified soldiers into noncommissioned officer positions. The army was short of quality leaders as many, disillusioned with multiple tours of senseless combat, had left the service for the civilian economy. Combat equipment was worn out and becoming outclassed by the large amounts of quality tanks, fighting vehicles, artillery, and aircraft that was streaming out of the Soviet Union’s factories. In addition, it was obvious to most thoughtful leaders that the American public no longer supported its army and considered military service an unsavory profession.4 In Europe, which most military experts believed to be the most dangerous theater of war, the majority of the army’s heavy forces were committed. Two U.S. Army corps with over four combat divisions and two armored cavalry regiments, along with an equal
THE COLD WAR ARMY
Soldiers in the Vietnam War. (Photofest)
number of troops from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, defended West German territory. Across a massive fence line, named the “iron curtain” by Winston Churchill, the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact deployed the largest combat force in the world, led by the five armies of Group of Soviet Forces Germany, with over 7,000 first-class battle tanks, and supported by the national armies of East Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Supporting this massive force were the large reserve forces of the other Communist states and the Red Army’s massive reserves. The U.S. Army, Europe, depleted by years of acting as a staging and support area for operations in Vietnam, had little prospect of stopping a Soviet assault without resorting to theater-level or strategic nuclear weapons. The Warsaw Pact forces simply had more forces and were better equipped, with a more relevant doctrine, or way to fight.5 By 1975, the United States had been waging an ideological war against the Soviet Union and Red China for 25 years, with mixed results. On the positive side of the equation, there had been no massive nuclear war between the adversaries, as many had predicted. American troops still guarded the iron curtain in Europe and defended a line carved out during a bloody conflict on the Korean Peninsula. However, the long-term prospects did not look good, as Soviet troops smashed attempts at liberalization in Eastern Europe, most notably in Czechoslovakia in 1968. Communists were pouring military and economic support into the Middle East in an effort to bring that region under its political and economic sway. Army officers watched as Soviet power increased, as new
missiles, aircraft, and tanks were rolling off the assembly lines in impressive numbers, and—bothering Western observers—these were of excellent quality. The Soviet Union now had a powerful navy, equipped with many submarines that routinely challenged American vessels. In December 1979, the Soviets confirmed their aggressive intentions by engineering a coup in Afghanistan and backing it with force. There was little, initially, that the United States could do. The same was the case as the Castro-backed Sandinistas took control of Nicaragua that same year.6 Meanwhile, an Iranian resistance movement overthrew its American-backed ruler and instituted a new Islamic Republic. In November 1979, a radical crowd stormed the American embassy in Tehran and held 100 of its employees hostage. There were few options for the administration of President Jimmy Carter. In an emotional meeting attended by the military’s senior leaders, Army Chief of Staff General Edward C. “Shy” Meyer told Carter that only 40 percent of the army was deployable and that these troops could not be sustained in a combat zone. He ended his briefing by the chilling words, “Mr. President, basically what we have is a hollow Army.”7 Events were to prove Meyer’s words prophetic in April 1980. Responding to public pressure, including from Ronald Regan, who had begun campaigning for the presidency, the Carter administration directed that a task force train and organize to rescue the hostages in Tehran. The task force was an ad hoc, multiservice organization that was poorly trained for the job. Part of the plan called for the raiding party to land in central Iran at a remote location called “Desert One.” Here the four C-130 aircraft and eight large RH-53D Sea Stallion helicopters were to refuel prior to the final effort to grab the hostages. The raid was a disaster. By the time the rescue force arrived at the designated location, only five of the eight helicopters were on the ground and serviceable. The landing zone was on an Iranian highway, and civilian traffic disrupted operations and compromised security. Most unfortunately, a helicopter crashed into a fuel-laden C-130. The result was a tragic explosion that destroyed both aircraft and killed a number of servicemen. The commander decided to evacuate on the remaining cargo aircraft. They left behind in the Iranian desert eight dead, the remaining helicopters, all of the classified electronic gear, and American military prestige.8
THE RENEWED FOCUS FOR THE ARMY IN THE 1970S Even before the debacle at Desert One, senior officers had begun to revitalize the army’s doctrine and organization as the last troops left Vietnam. With the U.S. military now made up of volunteers, it had no choice but to discard its World War II–era persona and make military service more attractive to America’s youth. Many of the reforms were cosmetic, such as improved barracks and mess halls—renamed “dining facilities”—and the elimination of KP, or “kitchen police.” More important were the intellectual reforms that would guide the service for the next 20 years. What caught the attention of the army’s senior generals was the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. In just three weeks of fighting, both sides had lost more tanks, crew, and equipment than existed in the entire U.S. Army, Europe.9
THE COLD WAR ARMY
Rather than reevaluate the conduct of the war in Vietnam and attempt to learn from these problems, the American defense establishment rejected the concept of lowintensity conflict and refocused on the more serious, but least likely, probability of war in Europe. Senior officers were convinced that if faced with such an onslaught in Europe against better-equipped Soviet forces, American troops would be hard-pressed to hold the line and be forced to “go nuclear” early in the conflict.10 Led by Vietnam-era veterans, such as generals Donn Starry and William E. DePuy, the army began developing a military doctrine to fight the Soviet Union in Western Europe called “Active Defense.” The authors of this doctrine argued that the United States should discard the illusion that its forces could slowly mobilize and deploy to Europe in time to stop the Red Army. The experience of the 1973 Arab-Israeli War indicated that America’s fight could be over after the first engagement, an engagement that might determine the outcome and dictate the political settlement. Therefore the army had to “win the first battle of the next war.”11 Now the U.S. Army had a single-minded focus on one enemy—the armed forces of the Warsaw Pact—and on one problem—stopping them in Europe. Almost as soon as the field manual (FM 100-5 Operations, 1976) arrived, it sparked a debate throughout the American defense establishment. Some critics were concerned that it was too defense-oriented. Others argued that it placed too much emphasis on the first battle, which the United States could initially win, but then later lose as the Soviet follow-on forces took advantage of their numbers to wear out or maneuver to the rear of American forces. These and other criticisms of what most observers agreed was an unprecedented evaluation of the army’s way of making war sparked furious debates in military journals and service schools.12 Emanating from this debate was a further doctrinal revision, eventually called “AirLand Battle.” Announced in 1982 and refined in 1986, it gave the army an aggressive method of fighting wars that combined its overwhelming firepower with forces possessing great maneuverability. It was a unifying concept that focused all military schools, weapons procurers, leaders, and soldiers on the single task of defeating Soviet-style forces anywhere in the world, but especially in Europe. What made this field manual unique in American history is that its writing not only showed the influence of recent military operations, but looked back at the writings of military theorists such as Carl von Clausewitz and Antoine-Henri Jomini. Their ideas, which originally found expression in the 1820s and 1830s and included the culminating point, centers of gravity, and lines of operation, now found expression in the centerpiece of the army’s way of war. For the first time in American military history, the army introduced the concept of operational art, or that level of war between strategy and tactics that is concerned with the maneuver and employment of large units. It was also a doctrine that emphasized joint operations, or the conduct of war in conjunction with the other services.13 Another major element of change was the Goldwater-Nichols Act. This 1987 law fundamentally changed the structure of the American defense establishment. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for the first time, provided independent advice to the president and the secretary of defense. The doctrine also, for the first time, ensured
that the military forces of the United States would fight as a joint force with a unified focus.14 The new army was not simply a creature of doctrine. Later chapters will describe the various aspects of the army that made it so proficient. These included its new weapons systems, especially the M1 Abrams tank, M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, Apache attack helicopter, and other modern systems that gave it the edge against a Soviet-equipped force. In addition to equipment, training and education for all ranks underwent a major overhaul. To support the new force, a new concern with quality housing and the health and welfare of soldiers and their families became important. Finally, the quality of the soldier himself or herself continued to improve as soldiers decided that a tour in the military was part of their long-term plans.
THE END OF THE COLD WAR By the summer of 1989, the U.S. Army had recovered from its preoccupation with Vietnam. Its military units were as good as any in the world, and its leaders believed it would give a good accounting for itself if war were to come across the Atlantic. Just as it seemed that the army had regained its poise and direction, international conditions again began to change. After more than 40 contentious years of political and military domination by the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe began to break away. The internal problems faced by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1989 would have stressed even the most resilient of governments. His implementation of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring) permitted the public to comment on topics that Russian citizens never had discussed before. Certainly the explosion at the nuclear facility at Chernobyl in 1986, and the ineptitude in the government’s reaction, had caused many to question the quality of the government. The costly decadelong war in Afghanistan, with the Red Army’s draftees returning maimed and embittered, contributed to the government’s domestic problems. Gorbachev removed the last Soviet troops in February 1989, after an enormous cost in lives and treasure to the fragile state.15 He also signaled to the Communist leaders of the East European states that they could no longer count on Soviet units to support their regimes, a point he made on October 7 with East German party secretary Erich Honecker. Almost immediately, the citizens of the once-feared Warsaw Pact began to overthrow dictatorial regimes as Soviet divisions garrisoned within their territories stood idly by. Poland led the way, followed by Hungary, which opened its frontier with East Germany on September 10. East Germany followed with major riots in Liepzig on October 16. Without the Red Army’s backing, there was no support for using force to quell the growing rebellion. Surrendering to the popular demands, the German Communists opened the Berlin Wall on November 9. Over 4,000,000 East Berliners swarmed through the gates and inaugurated one of the greatest spontaneous celebrations of the century. Within days, the Berlin Wall began to tumble down, as did Communist control over the remainder of Eastern Europe.16 Although no one could predict the outcome, it was obvious that the military situation in Europe was changing. Already, President George H. W. Bush, who took over
THE COLD WAR ARMY
Checkpoint Charlie, the gateway between East and West Berlin. (Ceren Tutal)
from Ronald Reagan in January 1989, had begun talks to reduce the American military commitment in Central Europe. Anticipating the end of military confrontation, the U.S. Army had already begun to prepare for a reduction of its commitment to Europe, a process that it would formalize with the Soviets in the Treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe, signed by the president in Paris on November 19, 1990. Although the outlines of the New World Order were somewhat hazy, it was apparent to most leaders and the public that things were going to change.17 This was the context, therefore, of the army that America fielded at the end of the decade. Reorganized in response to an embarrassing defeat in Asia, trained and equipped to fight a major land war in Europe, and finding itself as the best its country ever fielded, the army was the best it had ever been. Now, as the Soviet empire began to collapse, it found itself without a comparable threat. Already, in 1989, Congress began asking when it was coming home. NOTES 1. Frank N. Schubert and Theresa L. Kraus, The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1995), 25–26. 2. Stanley Karnow, Vietnam, a History, 2nd rev. ed. (New York: Penguin, 1997). George C. Herring, America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam 1950–1975, 2nd ed. (New York:
Newberry Awards Records, 1986). Richard A. Gabriel and Paul L. Savage, Crisis in Command: Mismanagement in the Army (New York: Hill and Wang, 1978). 3. Robert K. Griffith Jr., The U.S. Army’s Transition to the All-Volunteer Force, 1968–1974, ed. Jeffery J. Clarke, Army Historical Series (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 40–44. Bernard Rostker, I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2006). 4. Tom Clancy Jr. and Frederick M. Franks, Into the Storm: A Study in Command (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997), 83–91. James Kitfield, Prodigal Soldiers (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 121–31. Vincent H. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989, ed. Susan Carroll (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 3–5. Richard Lock-Pullan, “ ‘An Inward Looking Time’: The United States Army, 1973–1976,” Journal of Military History 67 (2003): 483–511. 5. Charles E. Kirkpatrick, “Ruck It Up!”: The Post-Cold War Transformation of V Corps, 1990–2001 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006), 4–14. Stephen A. Bourque, Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 7–11. Stewart Menaul, Russian Military Power (New York: Bonanza Books, 1982), 237– 40. Schubert and Kraus, Whirlwind War, 25–26. 6. Kitfield , Prodigal Soldiers, 201. 7. Ibid., 198–99. 8. Ibid., 215–28. Richard A. Gabriel, Military Incompetence: Why the American Military Doesn’t Win (New York: Hill and Wang, 1985), 85–103. Mark Bowden, “The Desert One Debacle,” Atlantic Monthly, May, 2006. 9. Griffith, U.S. Army’s Transition, 102–14. Lock-Pullan, “Inward Looking Time,” 490–93. 10. Andrew J. Bacevich, The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 42– 47. 11. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 100-5, Operations, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1976). William E. DePuy, “Letter from General DePuy to General Abrams Which Analyzes the Arab-Israeli War,” in Selected Papers of General William DePuy, ed. Richard M. Swain (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 1974), 71–74. John L. Romjue, From Active Defense to Airland Battle: The Development of Army Doctrine 1973–1982 (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1984), 3–4. Paul H. Herbert, Deciding What Has to Be Done: General William E. DePuy and the 1976 Edition of FM 100-5, Operations, Leavenworth Papers (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 1988). 12. Romjue, From Active Defense, 13–21. Lock-Pullan, “An Inward Looking Time,” 505–9. 13. U.S. Department of Army, FM 100-5. Baron de Jomini, The Art of War, trans. G. H. Mendell and W. P. Craighill (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1862). Carl Von Clausewitz, On War, indexed ed., trans. Michael Howard and Peter Paret (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993). 14. Colin Powell and Joseph E. Perisco, My American Journey (New York: Ballantine Books, 1996), 398–99. James R. Locher III, “Taking Stock of Goldwater-Nichols,” Joint Forces Quarterly 13 (1996): 10–17. 15. Patrick Brogan, World Conflicts: A Comprehensive Guide to World Strife Since 1945 (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998), 124 –34. 16. Robert O. Paxton, Europe in the Twentieth Century, 4th ed. (New York: Harcourt, 2002), 650–56. William Joe Webb, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1990– 1991, ed. W. Scott James (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 3–4. James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), 153–76. 17. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 370.
THE YEARS 1989–1991: OPERATIONS JUST CAUSE, DESERT SHIELD, AND DESERT STORM
The basic outlines of the U.S. Army did not change very much during the latter years of the cold war. A soldier could essentially count on a series of predictable tours in Germany or Korea, balanced by extended assignments with units stationed at posts in the United States or protracted attendance and assignment at the branch schools scattered around the country. This predictable lifestyle changed with end of the cold war, as soldiers found themselves on repeated combat tours while the United States tried to cope with the turmoil following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The first years of this era found the United States engaged in two operations that tested the cold war army. OPERATION JUST CAUSE, 1989–1990: THE FIRST TEST FOR THE NEW ARMY American troops literally jumped into the post–cold war era only six weeks after German citizens tore down the Berlin Wall. Serious problems between Panama and the United States began on February 5, 1989, when grand juries in Miami and Tampa indicted Panama dictator Manuel Noriega as a drug trafficker and issued warrants for his arrest. For over nine months, tension between the two countries continued to intensify, until December 15, when Noriega’s rump legislature proclaimed that a state of war existed with the United States and that “bodies of our enemies” would end up in the Panama Canal. The next day, a Panamanian Defense Force (PDF) check point stopped four American officers and ordered them out of their car. When they refused and drove away, the Panamanians opened fire, killing a marine lieutenant. The PDF also arrested a navy officer and his wife, who witnessed the event, and brought them to a local police station, where he was beaten and she sexually assaulted. President George H. W. Bush decided it was time to act and, with plans and troops already in position, ordered the
immediate apprehension of Manuel Noriega and the execution of Operation Just Cause to begin on December 20, 1989.1 On December 19, almost 13,000 soldiers from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Lewis, Washington, Fort Ord, California, and Forts Stewart and Benning in Georgia began assembling to join the 13,000 American servicemen and women stationed in Panama. The first unit in the air was a battalion from the 75th Ranger Regiment from Fort Lewis, Washington, on C-130 cargo aircraft shortly after 1:00 A.M. Soon, over 200 transport aircraft, loaded with paratroopers and equipment, were on the way for the initial assault. The size of the approaching air armada was difficult to hide, and Noriega received information that the American troops were on the way, but he dismissed the reports and failed to take any serious defensive measures. Convinced that the Americans would never invade, he spent the evening in the arms of a prostitute, rather than at his command and control bunker.2 To capture the Panamanian dictator and disarm his forces rapidly, Lieutenant General Carl Stiner, commander of XVIII Airborne Corps, organized his assault forces into five separate task forces, four conventional and one, the Joint Special Operations Task Force, consisting of special operations troops from all services.3 These ad hoc organizations were essentially groups of small units designed to accomplish specific missions and would, almost simultaneously, assault Panama’s military structure, contribute to the capture of Noriega, and set the conditions for the restoration of an American-friendly government. Operation Just Cause would be this organization’s first combat test, and it began at a military base called Rio Hato, 45 miles west of Panama City. Following an attack from F-117A Stealth fighters, two battalions of the 75th Ranger Regiment parachuted onto the enemy compound a little after 1:00 A.M. After five hours of battle, 250 enemy soldiers surrendered, while another 200 escaped into the countryside. In the fight, the 75th Rangers lost 4 killed and 18 wounded, while the jump injured another 26.4 Simultaneously, Navy SEALs attacked Balboa Harbor and Paitilla airfield in the Panama City area. After several hours, the Americans killed or captured all of the defenders, blocked the runway, and disabled Noriega’s jet. The price was high, however, as the American attackers lost four dead and eight wounded in the brief attack, a high cost for such a small unit.5 Two airfields, Omar Torrijos International and the adjacent Tocumen Military, were critical targets for the invasion force. As with all actions that morning across Panama, the attack began just before 1:00 A.M. Two AH-6 Little Bird attack helicopters, part of the army’s 160th Aviation Regiment, and one AC-130H Spectre gunship raked various targets on both airfields. Just as the aircraft fires lifted, four companies from the 75th Ranger Regiment parachuted from 500 feet, a very low altitude, onto the runways. Within a short time, they secured most of the objectives and almost captured Noriega, who had left his love nest and almost ran into an American roadblock. Fighting was limited as the Rangers captured their objectives, securing the PDF barracks and killing or capturing any enemy soldiers who were still in the area.6 Once the rangers were on the ground, the plan called for the 82nd Airborne Division ready brigade to drop as one assault at 1:45 A.M. However, winter weather in the United States delayed and interrupted the deployment. The first parachute assault arrived 15 minutes late, and then the remainder spread over five separate drops, ending at 5:00 A.M.7
THE YEARS 1989–1991
With the arrival of the brigade headquarters, the army paratroopers and rangers combined into Task Force Pacific and began clearing objectives to the west of Panama City.8 Task Force Pacific secured several other key objectives that morning. The most difficult was at Tinajitas, home of the PDF’s 1st Infantry Company, almost 200 strong. Approaching by helicopter, the Americans began taking accurate fire before they arrived at the landing zone, wounding the UH–60 Black Hawk helicopter company commander. The defending Panamanians killed two Americans, one by a sniper and the other by mortar fire, as soon as the helicopters were on the ground. Almost all of the helicopters were hit by enemy fire, and at least three were out of service. While the paratroopers secured the area, fighting on the fringes would continue for several days.9 Another assault, at Fort Cimarron, east of Tocumen-Torrijos, was much smoother, and the facility was captured by a battalion of the 325th Infantry with little opposition.10 The three-battalion Task Force Bayonet, consisting of 5–87th Infantry, 1–508th Infantry, and 4–6th Infantry, supported by a platoon of M551 Sheridan light tanks, a special operations AC-130 gunship, and Apache and Little Bird helicopters, had the task of seizing the Comandancia, the PDF command post. In the heart of urban Panama City, the Comandancia was the most strongly fortified installation in the country, defended by three PDF rifle companies and a variety of other units and well supplied with weapons of all types.11 Shortly before 1:00 A.M., the three battalions left Fort Clayton and other staging areas and began heading for their objectives. Meanwhile, the AC-130 gunships and AH-6 Apache helicopters pounded the Comandancia. The AC-130 carries a 105-mm howitzer, and the Apache fired the new Hellfire missile, all of which created quite a show for the approaching troops. Unfortunately, while dramatic, the effect of the fire was marginal and did little other than destroy targets on the roof and top floor. The defenders shot down one of the Apaches that ventured too close, and it crashed inside the compound, but the two crew members escaped with their lives. As the ground troops approached, coordination between them and the supporting aviation broke down. Thinking it was engaging Panamanian vehicles, an AC-130 opened up on an American platoon and raked three M113 armored personnel carriers with machine gun fire, wounding 21 out of 26 soldiers. The problem of fratricide between air and ground forces would be a major problem throughout the post–cold war era. By 6:00 P.M., the Americans controlled the Comandancia and the supporting installations after some of the fiercest fighting of the day. With its capture, the PDF lost their centralized command and control and their ability to influence the action.12 The final combat on the Pacific coast was Task Force Semper Fi. This small force, consisting of a marine rifle company and a light armored vehicle company, had the mission of securing terrain around Howard Air Force Base and Bridge of the Americas, the major avenue of escape and reinforcement on the coast through Panama City. On the way to the bridge, they engaged a Department of Traffic and Transportation station, defended by an aggressive PDF unit, losing a marine in the fight. The marines secured their objectives by dawn.13 Across the Isthmus, Task Force Atlantic, made up of two light infantry battalions, began attacking a wide assortment of targets, designed to secure the entrance of the canal and break the back of the local resistance. In addition, it had to protect the large
number of American civilians located in the area. Colonel Keith Kellogg, commander of the task force, was determined to hit all of his objectives as rapidly as possible to preclude any effective enemy resistance. The 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry drew the mission of securing the various objectives in the Colon area. Its biggest target was the Panamanian naval infantry base on Coco Solo. When its C Company arrived on the waterfront, some of the enemy had already jumped into their assault boats and began firing. In response, 1st Platoon, C Company, 4–17th Infantry opened up with a Vulcan antiaircraft gun and M60 machine guns. Soon the fight was joined by platoons attacking the facility from different directions. By dawn, the naval base was secure, as were other facilities in and around the port city.14 The 504th Infantry drew the mission of securing key facilities along the Canal Zone, to include Madden Dam, Renacer Prison, and the American housing area at Gamboa. At the prison, they freed 64 prisoners, including two American citizens. By 10:29 A.M., the task force reported all of its missions accomplished.15 At the end of the day, the consensus was that the PDF fought much harder than expected. In spite of overwhelming American combat power, they resisted for hours before surrendering or escaping into the countryside. The invaders killed 53, wounded 55, and captured over 1,200 members of the PDF. In some cases, the PDF defended their positions for three or four hours, killing 19 and wounding another 99 American soldiers. On December 20, more troops from the 7th Infantry Division and the 16th Military Police Brigade began arriving in Panama to provide general security and begin rebuilding the state. Noriega, the master of deception, continued to elude American forces, until he sought refuge in the papal Nunciatura in Panama City on December 24. For several days, there was a dramatic standoff, to include a psychological operations unit blaring hard rock music at the facility. Finally, on January 3, 1990, Noriega emerged from the papal sanctuary and was whisked away to trial in the United States.16 Operation Just Cause, the first American intervention since the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1987, demonstrated that the various elements of the Department of Defense were beginning to work together in an effective manner. The new, highly trained U.S. Army fought well against a much smaller enemy. This was a popular war and helped to reverse the poor relationship between American citizens and their army. Most of the fighting only lasted a day. Yet generally hidden from most observers was a flaw in American military operations and planning that would come back to haunt the army in the next decade. The intention of operations in Panama was to get in, accomplish the obvious military mission, and then depart. The reality was that leaving the theater of operations was simply not that easy, and the Department of Defense was forced by the postwar situation to provide support to rebuild the area and restore order. These so-called nation-building operations were usually unwanted, unplanned for, and improvised. This self-imposed dichotomy between fighting and rebuilding would haunt the army, and its soldiers, for the next decade.17
THE YEARS 1989–1991
OPERATION DESERT SHIELD, 1990: A DEMONSTRATION OF POWER AGAINST IRAQ On August 2, 1990, the Medina and Hammurabi Armored and the Tawakalna Mechanized Divisions, the best units in the Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command, crossed the border and invaded Kuwait. Simultaneously, Iraqi commando units attacked government installations in Kuwait City by helicopter. After limited governmental resistance in the city, the Iraqis swept across the desert landscape and moved forward to the Saudi Arabian border. Incorporating Kuwait as its “Nineteenth Province,” the Iraqi Baathist regime began a systematic program of absorbing the small kingdom’s wealth and population. It also controlled or threatened a major portion of the world’s supply of oil. The scale of the Iraqi military deployment indicated that Saddam Hussein had the option of continuing the attack south to Saudi Arabia. The most likely objectives of an Iraqi attack would be the Saudi ports of al-Jubayl and Dhahran on the coast of the Persian Gulf. A successful attack would end the kingdom’s export of oil from the eastern provinces and directly threaten other oil producers on the Arabian Peninsula. Such a strategic situation was unacceptable to the American government.18 Shown satellite imagery of Iraqi divisions arrayed along his kingdom’s border, King Fahd of Saudi Arabia agreed to receive American forces. His decision set in motion Operation Desert Shield, which had four major objectives: (1) develop a defensive capability to deter Saddam Hussein from
Soldiers from 101st Airmobile Division celebrate after a successful operation. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
attacking Saudi Arabia; (2) defend Saudi Arabia if deterrence failed; (3) build a military coalition to participate in regional defense; and (4) enforce economic sanctions against Iraq, as prescribed by the United Nations Security Council.19 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, the American commander, determined that his first requirement was to deter Saddam from continuing his offensive south. Ground forces, led by the 82nd Airborne Division from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, began arriving in Saudi Arabia on August 9. This division had only a limited antitank capability, and soldiers joked that they were “speed bumps” in the path of a determined Iraqi assault. Certainly there was not enough serious combat power on the ground those first few weeks to effectively defend the eastern portion of the kingdom. The first heavy ground forces arrived in late August, when a brigade of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force was ready for operations in the vicinity of al-Jubayl. On August 20, the lead units of the 101st Airborne (Airmobile) Division and the 24th Infantry (Mechanized) Division, all under the command of Lieutenant General Gary Luck’s XVIII Airborne Corps, began arriving near Dhahran. The arrival of these two army units, with their Apache attack helicopters, M2 Bradley fighting vehicles, and M1A1 Abrams tanks, along with the large quantity of fighter and bomber aircraft in theater, ensured that an Iraqi attack wound not succeed.20 Not since the original move to Vietnam in August 1964 had so many American forces left the continental United States at one time. Not only was the scope of the troop commitment large, but also the scale of the area of operations was beyond the experience of almost anyone in the U.S. Army. The size of the deployment was also unprecedented in the last quarter of the century, with the coalition committing an equivalent of 15 combat divisions. In addition, most of these were heavy divisions, with a robust accompaniment of fuel, ammunition, and supply trucks and thousands of other support vehicles. The cumulative result of terrain and concentration meant that almost every soldier in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait could actually see the magnitude of the deployment and actually watch armored divisions maneuver in the desert. Almost every American soldier traveled on the Tapline Road, the most important supply route from the port, to his or her assembly area. Like the beaches at Normandy or the Pusan Perimeter in Korea, watching the influx of soldiers heading to the front made a profound impression on almost every soldier.21 By the end of October, General Schwarzkopf had sufficient forces, including Allied forces from a large international coalition, on hand to decisively defeat and destroy any potential Iraqi invasion. As impressive as this combat power was, it did not appear sufficient to force Saddam out of Kuwait. At the beginning of November, the Iraqi Army had over 500,000 soldiers, 4,000 tanks, 3,000 artillery pieces, and 2,800 armored personnel carriers in the Kuwait area of operations, organized into approximately 40 combat divisions. The Iraqi Army arrayed these forces in a series of defensive sectors along the border and extending in depth back to the Euphrates River. In the center of the sector, the Republican Guard Forces Command deployed three heavy and several light divisions, poised to counterattack any Allied thrust into Kuwait.22 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Colin Powell and Schwarzkopf, therefore, let Secretary of Defense Richard B. Cheney know that they would require
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significant reinforcement if the president wished to eject the Iraqis from Kuwait. On November 8, President Bush notified the world that the United States had decided to send additional forces in the Gulf region to wage an offensive campaign. The centerpiece of this reinforcement would be Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr.’s US VII Corps from Stuttgart, Germany. The 1st and 3rd Armored Divisions, the 2nd Armored Division (Forward), and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment from Germany would join the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) from the United States in making up the corps’ combat power. The British also contributed their reinforced 1st Armoured Division to this large combat force. The French 6th Light Armored Division joined the XVII (Airborne) Corps, while the 1st Cavalry Division, less its 2nd (Tiger) Brigade, which supported the marines, reverted as Schwarzkopf ’s reserve.23 Operation Desert Shield, therefore, was not about fighting, and there were no battle casualties. Less than one month after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, General Schwarzkopf assembled a coalition of land, air, and maritime forces in southwest Asia robust enough to defeat an invasion by the world’s fourth largest army. With the deployment of the VII Corps, the American government, in an amazingly short time, moved a second army corps into assembly areas and set the conditions for rapid military success on Operation Desert Storm. It was a dramatic demonstration of the political and military capabilities of the United States at the end of the cold war. OPERATION DESERT STORM IN IRAQ, 1991: THE LAST COLD WAR CAMPAIGN As the middle of January 1991 approached, the Allied coalition amassed a considerable arsenal of combat power. Over 2,000 combat aircraft and a large naval force, equipped with cruise missiles and carrier-based aircraft, prepared to gain control of Iraqi airspace and destroy the equipment and facilities Saddam Hussein needed to wage war. More than 70 percent of the 472,000 ground forces came from the United States, outnumbering the 336,000 Iraqi defenders. On paper, the Iraqi and coalition forces were evenly matched in tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, with approximately 6,000 on each side. Hussein’s forces outgunned his opponent’s in artillery tubes, 2,475 to 1,186. However, superior Western target acquisition and fire control methods made such a comparison invalid.24 The reality was that the fighting ability of the Allied soldier was far superior, and the U.S. Army fought the cold war battle it had prepared for against a well-armed but poorly trained Iraqi army. Army attack helicopters led the first strike into Iraq early on January 17, 1991, destroying a critical early-warning radar site. Within minutes, Tomahawk cruise missiles and F-117 stealth fighters crossed the border and destroyed other elements of the Iraqi air defense system. Soon, every part of the Allied air armada was involved, attacking a wide range of strategic targets. Within 10 days, coalition aircraft had air supremacy and could fly where they wanted, with little fear of interception by Iraqi aircraft. Although the front-line troops took a serious pounding by Allied aircraft, the regime’s main operational force, the Republican Guard Forces Command, remained at a relatively high level of combat readiness, in spite of having to hide from the coalition’s air forces.25
M1A1 tank crews prepare for operations. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
Articles and books published soon after the war portrayed the ground offensive as one rapid sweep across southern Iraq and Kuwait. In fact, the ground offensive was actually a complex, phased scenario that took over a full month to execute. The initial step in this operation was the movement of the 1st Cavalry Division north, to the sector just west of the Wadi al Batin. From there, it conducted a deception operation to attract the attention of Iraq’s degraded intelligence collection assets and cause their commanders to focus on that sector. Next, the 1st Infantry Division sent combat units west of the 1st Cavalry to secure a new logistics facility in the VII Corps attack sector. Then, each of these two divisions conducted a series of limited actions in front of their existing positions to confuse further the Iraqi commanders as to the intended direction of the American attack. With the border area secure, the remainder of the VII Corps and the entire XVIII Corps moved several hundred kilometers from their Desert Shield locations in the east to their Desert Storm sectors west of the Wadi al Batin. Meanwhile, the two Arab corps and the U.S. Marine Corps moved into position between the wadi and the coast, south of the Kuwait border. Only then, in late February, was Schwarzkopf prepared to throw the Iraqi Army out of Kuwait.26 Opening Battles While the details of this campaign are beyond the scope of this manuscript, readers should visualize the ground offensive in two connected but separate phases. First came
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a series of dramatic battles with the large, but generally ineffective, Iraqi regular army along the border on February 24, 1991, followed by the penetration of these defenses and a movement past the initial defenses on February 25. These battles generated the many prisoners that provided the footage for television broadcasts in the United States, indicating that the Iraqi Army was in tatters. The second phase was the destruction of two of Iraq’s three Republican Guard heavy divisions on February 26 and 27, the elimination of Iraqi forces from Kuwait and a pursuit to the Euphrates River on February 27 and 28, and a short fight between the 24th Infantry Division and the Hammurabi Division after the cease-fire on March 2. These battles were generally beyond the vision of the American public and senior officers in distant command posts. They were also much more intense and bloody. Across the front, the coalition struck at dawn on February 24 toward objectives deep in Iraq. The French, reinforced by the truck-borne 2nd Brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division, crossed the border unopposed. By noon, they had captured Objective Rochambeau, 90 miles beyond the border on the road to As Salman.27 That same morning, the 101st Airmobile attacked deep to seize an objective that became the division’s forward operating base (FOB Cobra), 165 kilometers into Iraq and halfway to the Euphrates River. From this location, the division used its air mobility to transport troops to a critical blocking position (AO Eagle), where the main road between Baghdad and Basra (Highway 8) and the Euphrates River meet.28 Like the 101st Division, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) had the mission of racing to Highway 8 to block the movement and escape of Iraqi forces on that critical highway. At 3:00 P.M., the division moved forward with three brigades on line. The weather was terrible, and blowing sand reduced visibility to only a few hundred yards. Yet, by 11:00 P.M., the division was on Phase Line Lion, about halfway to the Euphrates, encountering few enemy soldiers.29 Along the Kuwait border, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force (1st and 2nd Divisions), supported by the 1st Brigade, 2nd Armored Division attacked with its ultimate goal of capturing the al-Mult’a Pass and the roads leading out of Kuwait City. Well across the border, it fought swirling battles among burning oil wells as older American M60A1 tanks and wheeled reconnaissance vehicles destroyed a large number of Soviet-made T-62 and T-55 tanks.30 About the same time, Joint Forces Command–East also attacked and began driving Iraqi defenders back along the coastal highway. Joint Forces Command–North, especially the Egyptian 3rd Mechanized and 4th Armored Divisions, attacked into western Kuwait and generally maintained their alignment with the marines in the center.31 To the west, along the Wadi al Batin, the 1st Cavalry Division continued to play its part in General Schwarzkopf’s deception plan and kept the Iraqi forces focused on the area south of Kuwait and the Wadi al Batin.32 In the center of the coalition’s line, Lieutenant General Franks organized the VII Corps into two separate attacks. The 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) cleared the western end of the Iraqi defensive belt and opened up a supply route into Iraq. The British Desert Rats passed through the Big Red One and attacked due east to clear the zone along the border and destroy the defenders that were confronting the 1st Cavalry Division. While the breach operation was in progress, the 2nd Armored Cavalry led the 1st and 3rd Armored Divisions through an unprotected
portion of the front farther west. Once they were through the border area, the two armored divisions pulled on line and advanced in a northeast direction in search of the Republican Guard.33 February 25 was a day of movement in the west as the American forces strived to find the three Republican Guard heavy divisions. The XVIII Airborne Corps on the west flank continued its rapid turning movement at a breakneck pace. The 24th Infantry and 3rd Cavalry Divisions conducted an almost unopposed movement toward the Euphrates River.34 The VII Corps led off with the 2nd Cavalry, reinforced by the 210th Field Artillery Brigade. One incident that morning was indicative of the entire confrontation between American and Iraqi soldiers during Operation Desert Storm. As they moved forward, one of the 2nd Cavalry’s troops literally ran into a company of enemy infantry and its MT-LB armored personnel carriers. Although they had just been under air and artillery attack, the Iraqis apparently were not expecting ground combat so soon. They had posted no security, they had no heavy weapons manned, and the officers were not providing any apparent supervision. It was obvious to the attacking cavalry troopers that the enemy company had no idea they were approaching when, without challenge, the Americans drove their Bradley fighting vehicles into the area where the Iraqis were digging. The enemy infantrymen simply looked up, took no action, and continued digging, possibly believing the American vehicles were Soviet made infantry fighting vehicles or some other system in their own army. Certainly no officer or sergeant took any action to start defensive operations, and the Iraqi infantry, oblivious to the arriving Americans, acted as if nothing had happened. Obviously, the cavalry troopers identified the infantry as enemy and opened fire, essentially knocking this Iraqi company out of operation.35 February 26 and 27 was the major confrontation as the army fought two of its three large battles. These engagements between heavily armored opponents reflected the way American planners had long imagined the next war would be: heavy forces slugging it out with heavy armor, self-propelled artillery, and airpower. It was exactly the kind of battle for which American forces had been trained and equipped. Little did most soldiers realize that this was to be the end of the old way of fighting wars. In conflicts over the next 20 years, no other power would be foolhardy enough to match its armed forces directly against the military might and technology arrayed by the United States.
Tawakalna The Tawakalna Mechanized Division blocked the VII Corps’ advance on the evening of February 26. In spite of weeks of aerial bombardment, the most powerful division in the Iraqi Army prepared to defend the western approach into Kuwait. The fight began when Colonel Leonard (Don) Holder’s 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and Lieutenant General Thomas G. Rhame’s 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized) attacked the southern sector of the Tawakalna’s battle line, called “Objective Norfolk.” The cavalry made the initial contact with the Iraqis and overran several unsuspecting battalions in what has been called the battle of 73 Easting. As the regiment maintained contact, the 1st Infantry Division passed through, and by 10:30 P.M., its five heavy battalions and the divisional
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cavalry squadron were fighting through two Iraqi brigades. The 1st Brigade commander, following just behind his lead battalions, thought he was “watching a vintage black and white movie. Everything seemed to move in slow motion.” Such was the thunder of battle that “there was no noticeable sound that anyone could recall.”36 As they slowly advanced, M1A1 tank commanders acquired the thermal images of the Iraqi tanks or infantry fighting vehicles long before they were themselves spotted. Platoon leaders, team commanders, and even battalion commanders issued unit-wide fire commands. Before the defending Iraqis had any idea what was happening, their whole line of vehicles exploded. By dawn, the combined attack of the 2nd Armored Cavalry and the Big Red One had destroyed almost four Iraqi armored or mechanized brigades. In addition, they captured what remained of the massive logistics installation at the confluence of the IPSA Pipeline, al Busayyah and Saudi border roads. The Republican Guard’s left flank was gone, and the way was now open for exploitation.37 At the same time that the 2nd Armored Cavalry was making contact with the Tawakalna, Major General Paul Funk’s 3rd Armored Division was in contact in the adjacent sector. By 4:30 P.M. on February 26, Funk’s lead battalions had found the center of the Iraqi division’s defenses, consisting of approximately 8 Iraqi heavy battalions, facing the attacking 3rd Armored Division’s 10 battalions. In a space of only 270 square kilometers, enemy defenders had massed over 122 tanks, 78 BMPs, and hundreds of other combat vehicle and fighting systems. Several different weapon systems covered almost every meter of ground. Thousands of infantrymen had dismounted from their combat carriers and, once on the ground, constructed dug-in company strong points and prepared to use their Sagger antitank missiles and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs) to engage the attacking Americans. Finally, there were approximately a dozen field artillery batteries arrayed along the rear of the Tawakalna’s operations zone in this sector. The Iraqi defenses were thus thick, and General Funk had no soft or exposed Iraqi flanks to exploit.38 Funk, of course, did not intend to fight the battalions on equal terms. His main effort was in the northern portion of his sector, where Colonel Robert W. Higgins’s 2nd Brigade moved across the line of departure at 4:45 P.M. Higgins’s three battalions and supporting artillery gave the Iraqis a demonstration of a classic coordinated combined arms attack during the next four hours, as disciplined tank and Bradley crews moved through the enemy’s defenses. Tank companies bounded forward by platoons, using their thermal sights and stand-off range to engage Iraqi vehicles on their own terms. Out-ranged and fighting blind, the Republican Guard soldiers returned fire without any noticeable effect. Attack helicopters and Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launchers destroyed Iraqi artillery almost as soon as it fired. As the brigade line moved forward, Iraqi infantry emerged from their hiding places and tried to engage American armor from close range but had little chance of success, with the line of Bradley fighting vehicles, moving just behind the tanks, killing them with machine gun fire.39 Nevertheless, the Iraqi 29th Brigade commander continued to resist the American advance, directing several counterattacks by armored and mechanized platoons and companies. Many of those were effectively targeted against the 2nd Brigade’s flank, but concentrated tank, Bradley, and artillery fire stopped these attacks before they could
interfere with the 2nd Brigade’s progress. Beyond the range of the advancing tank and Bradley crews, attack helicopters and artillery continued to suppress or destroy any Iraqi units that moved or appeared to threaten the advance. Given the depth of the American attack, the Iraqi brigade had no way of countering its effects and no choice but to stand and fight or surrender. Most enemy soldiers continued to fight, but to no avail.40 At the same time as the 2nd Cavalry and 3rd Armored Division attacked the Tawakalna’s forward defenses, the Iraqis’ northern-most battalion lay in the path of the 1st Armored Division. Although Major General Ronald Griffith’s primary objective was the Medina Division about 30 kilometers father west, his easterly movement brought his division through the area held by the right (northern) flank battalion of the Tawakalna Division. The one battalion of the 29th Mechanized Brigade that occupied positions in this intermediate sector, however, was too good a target to pass by, and it lay in the path of Colonel Dan Zanini’s 3rd Brigade. While Zanini maneuvered his battalions into position, the 1st and 2nd Brigades continued to move east toward the Medina.41 While most of the brigade provided suppressing fire, 45 Abrams tanks from 1st Battalion, 37th Armor attacked on line, moving at less than 10 kilometers per hour. Behind that wall of steel came the task force’s infantry company mounted on its Bradleys, following about 1000 meters behind the tanks to help destroy any threat to the tanks from their rear. The three tank companies rushed forward in the dark and began engaging hot spots 2,000–3,000 meters, almost two miles, away. Only after the gunners came much closer, less than 1,500 meters from the thermal images, could they positively identify the targets as T-72 tanks and BMP fighting vehicles. By 9:30 P.M., the battalion reached the Iraqi vehicles located behind a low ridge and protected by an antitank minefield. The M1s lost their range advantage and were now in a close fight.42 As was the case with the entire Tawakalna Division, the Iraqi soldiers fought to the best of their capabilities. Many tanks had kept their engines off to defeat the American thermal sights. American tankers, however, were often able to locate those vehicles because of the strange white spot, the tank commander’s head, seemingly suspended in thin air.43 However, when not found first, the Iraqis were able to turn their turrets by hand and engage the M1s close in their flanks and rear. Iraqi infantry moved in three- to five-second rushes in the hope of moving close to the attacking American armor. Burning vehicles and explosions washed out the thermal sights, making target acquisition difficult. In the confusion of the fight, 3rd Armored Division Apache helicopters, working in the sector just to the south, unleashed a barrage of Hellfire missiles, damaging four M1A1 tanks. The quality of the American armor was obvious as all four tank crews walked away with only minor injuries.44 That Iraqi battalion, however, never had a chance. It was receiving direct fire from at least three American battalion task forces.45 Several field artillery and attack helicopter battalions had engaged it throughout the depth of its position. Moreover, it was assaulted by a tank battalion with arguably the best gunnery skills in the entire U.S. Army.46 When the American battalion emerged on the far side of the objective, the Iraqi unit was in shambles. By 11:00 P.M., the objective was clear, prisoners were rounded up, and the 1st Brigade prepared to continue its mission east. The 1st Battalion, 37th Armor lost four tanks and six soldiers wounded. Because of good luck, good training, and the
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effectiveness of the Abrams’ enhanced armor, there were no American fatalities. In the sector swept by the 1st Brigade, two Iraqi tank companies and one mechanized infantry company were burning hulks: approximately 24 T-72 tanks and 14 BMPs. Part of one BMP company escaped and fled due east, away from the brigade.47 Therefore, soon after the 1st Armored Division’s attack started at 8:00 P.M. on February 26, the 3rd Armored Division launched its attack just to the south. One hour later, the 1st Infantry Division passed through the 2nd Cavalry and captured all of Objective Norfolk. The Tawakalna Division’s commander, who probably perished in this battle, had been decisively engaged by a force four times the size of his command from the beginning of the battle until his unit was annihilated during the early morning hours of February 27. He never had an opportunity to maneuver, use reserves, or even use his artillery to any effect. His spirited defense, however, confirmed Franks’s concern that the Republican Guard did not enter the battle already defeated. They did not run away and fought with extreme bravery. The Tawakalna also had good equipment, although its soldiers proved no match for the American troops in tank gunnery and other combat skills. In Lieutenant General Franks’s most significant tactical success of the war, he massed six heavy brigades and a cavalry regiment directly against it, while flanking it to the north and south with two more brigades. Franks used a little luck and good tactics to effect a double envelopment on this once proud Iraqi unit. By attacking it in depth, with attack helicopters and long-range artillery systems, the VII Corps provided a textbook example of land combat at the end of the twentieth century. By dawn, the devastating effects of synchronized combat power stretched along 40 kilometers of the 73 Easting.
Battle of Medina Ridge The second major battle took place late in the afternoon of February 27, 1991. The Medina Armored Division, one of Saddam’s three heavy Republican Guard divisions, anchored a defensive line just west of the Rumaylah oil fields. Extending south for almost 50 kilometers, just west of the Kuwait border, the battle line continued with surviving units from the 10th, 12th, and 17th Armored Divisions and other Iraqi units. Despite the destruction of the Tawakalna, the Iraqi High Command still hoped to stop the Americans long enough to evacuate most of its troops from Kuwait.48 Around 11:30 A.M., soldiers of the Medina’s 2nd Armored Brigade began preparing lunch. Although previously under attack from the air, they obviously believed that precautions were now unnecessary. It was so rainy and overcast that the American A-10 aircraft were unable to find and attack them, and feeling secure, they failed to deploy units forward of their main defensive line to warn of an attack. The brigade arrayed its combat vehicles to take advantage of a low ridge—a rear slope defense. Such a defensive arrangement seeks to draw an attacker’s lead vehicles over a hill and into a prearranged kill zone, while the following vehicles, still on the back of the hill, are unable to observe the engagement. Defenders can improve the effectiveness of these kill zones by using mines and other engineered obstacles as well as prearranged artillery fire to destroy and disrupt the following units. However, as was the case with most Republican Guard units, the 2nd Armored Brigade prepared
its positions poorly. Its own vehicles were dug in only superficially and used very few obstacles. Iraqi unit commanders had not verified their weapons’ ranges to the top of the hill and were unaware that their battle line was too far back from the ridge to hit the attacking American armor when it crested the top. While these may have been some of Iraq’s best troops, their tactical ability, especially in the defense, was not up to the standard expected of an elite force.49 Colonel Montgomery Meigs’s 2nd Brigade was nearing the ridge at almost the same time as the Medina’s 2nd Armored Brigade began its lunch. Meigs had no idea that this large Iraqi formation was less than 7,000 meters away since visibility was poor, and vehicle commanders could see no more than 1,500 meters without the aid of thermal sights. At 12:17 P.M., the 4th Battalion, 70th Armor moved over a small rise with three tank companies abreast. As the battalion reached the top of the ridge, its thermal sights went wild with images of hundreds of Iraqi vehicles 3,000 meters away. Even with binoculars, the tank commanders would have missed the hidden target array. But now, thanks to thermal imagery, an entire reinforced armored brigade lay arrayed as if stationary targets on a tank range at Grafenwöhr or the National Training Center.50 The American tankers opened fire, interrupting the Iraqis’ lunch. With an effective gun range of less than 2,000 meters, the Iraqi crews in their T-72 tanks were unable to hit the American vehicles on the ridge. Although they returned fire toward the flashes of the M1A1s’ cannons, most of their rounds landed harmlessly in the dirt in front of the American line. Meanwhile, the American tankers showed discipline, control, and deliberate gunnery. There was no special haste, as they picked off their targets with impunity, beyond the Iraqis’ range.51 To the south, the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor moved to the top of the same hill and also began to acquire targets in the valley. The battalion’s D Company, the first on the hill, destroyed two BMPs about 2,700 meters away. Suddenly, the valley came alive as Iraqi crews fired back. As each company came on line, they replied to the ineffective Iraqi shooting with platoon and company volleys of tanks and anti-tank missies. Bradley crews registered missile hits out to 3,300 meters, over two miles away. For almost 40 minutes, the battalion fired away at the hapless Iraqi defenders.52 Meanwhile, a third American task force, 1st Battalion, 35th Armor, pulled on line in the southern portion of the brigade sector. At ranges of 2,600–2,800 meters, these crews engaged an Iraqi mechanized battalion in the valley.53 The Iraqis called for artillery fire, and the guns, all preregistered, overshot their targets, causing no initial damage. The 2nd Battalion (155 SP), 1st Field Artillery joined the counterartillery fire battle by shooting at any Iraqi battery their target acquisition radars could identify. As in previous engagements, the Iraqis adjusted none of the artillery missions, so identification was rather easy. Within a few minutes, the Old Ironsides counterbattery fire destroyed the Medina firing batteries, allowing the Americans to shift the artillery fire to help Meigs’s committed battalions.54 Colonel Meigs positioned himself behind his center battalion, where he could observe as much of the battle as possible. Although he was unable to see it all, he had probably the best view of a battle of any brigade commander in the war. While his tank crews and artillery pounded the 2nd Armored Brigade, he struggled to direct Apache helicopters and air force ground attack aircraft into the battle. However, they did not
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show up until after 1:00 P.M., after Meigs’s “Iron Brigade” eliminated the Iraqi 2nd Armored Brigade.55 Meanwhile, Colonel James Riley’s 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division encountered the Iraqi defensive line just south of Meigs’s unit. In this sector, many of the vehicles were still facing south, as though the attack was coming up the Wadi al Batin. Using the stand-off capability of the M1A1 and Bradley, the brigade shot first at almost maximum range, killing several T-72s and T-55s before they were able to rotate their turrets and return fire. A handful of T-72s were out in the open, apparently receiving supplies, and were quickly destroyed by U.S. armor. The remaining Iraqis fought back but were incapable of hitting the Americans so far away.56 In the southern part of the 1st Armored Division sector, Colonel Daniel Zanini’s 3rd Brigade struck the left of the Medina’s line around 1:00 P.M. Here, as in the 1st Brigade sector, the foe constituted a mixture of units caught generally out of position, and the earlier scenario repeated itself as tankers continued to methodically engage and destroy Iraqi tanks and fighting vehicles. Now Apache helicopters joined the firing line, sending Hellfire missiles over the heads of the American tankers. Air force close support aircraft arrived and began attacking Iraqi forces beyond the range of the U.S. ground troops. After only a few hours of intense combat, the Medina Armored Division and several smaller units essentially ceased to exist, as the valley was littered with hundreds of burning tanks and armored personnel carriers.57 Already, by 1:00 P.M. on February 27, the rest of the corps was well into its exploitation phase. At one level, it had been a series of small tactical successes. Better gunnery, better drill, better training, and better equipment had all contributed to the overwhelming success of the VII Corps’ armor and infantry crews. At another level, the success reflected the sophistication of the corps and division commanders and their staffs. Each tactical engagement was part of an operational concept that simultaneously massed overwhelming combat power against the enemy’s front and struck them with artillery and air throughout the depth of the battle position. Franks and his commanders fought the battle exactly as the U.S. Army doctrine, developed in the years after Vietnam, said they should fight it.
Battle of Rumaylah By February 28, the Allied coalition had defeated the Iraqi Army. Across the entire battle front, Iraqi units were in headlong flight toward the Euphrates Valley, with most concentrated around the city of Basra. Kuwait was free of organized Iraqi units. The U.S. VII Corps occupied all of northern Kuwait, and the XVIII Corps’ 24th Infantry Division, reinforced by the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, blocked the escape routes south of the Euphrates River. At 8:00 that morning, the war ended, as President George Bush declared a unilateral suspension of hostilities and offered the Iraqi government a chance to negotiate a permanent cease-fire. Two of the Republican Guard’s three heavy divisions were in shambles. The third division, the Hammurabi, was caught in the “Basra Pocket.” The 24th Infantry (Victory) Division (Mechanized), commanded by Major General Barry McCaffery, had provided the bulk of XVIII Corps’ ground combat punch. From
the beginning of the ground war until the cease-fire, it had moved almost 250 miles into Iraq, to the banks of the Euphrates River. After capturing the major air fields at Jalibah and Tallil, it continued to move southeast toward Basra along Highway 8.58 Although the cease-fire went into effect on February 28, Iraqi units continued to shoot at the Americans in the hours that followed. In the early morning hours of March 2, a brigade or more from the Hammurabi Division tried to force its way out of the Rumaylah oil fields, through the Victory Division’s positions on Highway 8. Apparently, they were trying to cross over a repaired portion of the Hammar Causeway to assist in suppressing the growing Shia rebellion in southern Iraq.59 It ran right into the 24th Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade, commanded by Colonel John Le Moyne. American attack helicopters, artillery, and long-range tank and TOW fires wreaked havoc among the Iraqi soldiers. For several hours, this unit’s T-72 tanks, BMPs, and support vehicles tried to move through the American unit without success. Finally, at 10:45 A.M., Le Moyne unleashed his 4 – 64th Armor Battalion. Maneuvering from the south of the Iraqi forces, the battalion delivered the coup de grâce in a scorching flank attack that cut right through the disorganized Iraqis and swept up to the edge of the causeway. Sweeping through the fire and devastation, the American tankers destroyed every item of equipment not burning, as thousands of panic-stricken Iraqi soldiers ran toward Basra. At the end of this fight, over 185 armored vehicles, 400 trucks, and three dozen artillery pieces lay scattered on the desert floor.60 The battle of Rumaylah signified the end of combat operations during Operation Desert Storm. The next day, Iraqi military officer sat down with General Schwarzkopf in a tent at Safwan airfield. While the war appeared to be a military success, the political benefits were not so apparent. The failure to force an admission of defeat by the Hussein regime ensured that the United States would remain militarily involved with Iraq for the next dozen years. NOTES 1. Ronald H. Cole, Operation Just Cause: The Planning and Execution of Joint Operations in Panama, February 1988–January 1990 (Washington, DC: Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1995), 9–27. Bob Woodward, The Commanders (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991), 121–74. R. Cody Phillips, Operation Just Cause: The Incursion into Panama (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2004), 8–9. 2. William Joe Webb, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1990–1991, ed. W. Scott James (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 16–17. Cole, Operation Just Cause, 30–35. Phillips, Operation Just Cause, 17–19. 3. Lawrence A. Yates, “Operation Just Cause in Panama City, December 1989,” in Block by Block: The Challenges of Urban Operations, ed. William G. Robertson (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2002), 333. 4. Cole, Operation Just Cause, 38–39. Phillips, Operation Just Cause, 34. 5. Yates, “Operation Just Cause,” 338–41. 6. Phillips, Operation Just Cause, 20–22. Thomas Donnelly, Margaret Roth, and Caleb Baker, Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama, February 1988–January 1990 (New York: Lexington Books, 1995), 193–213. 7. Donnelly et al., Operation Just Cause, 193–213. Yates, “Operation Just Cause,” 340–41. 8. Donnelly et al., Operation Just Cause, 217–20, 226–27. 9. Ibid., 220–26, 229–32. Cole, Operation Just Cause, 41.
THE YEARS 1989–1991
10. Donnelly et al., Operation Just Cause, 227–29. 11. Cole, Operation Just Cause, 40. 12. Yates, “Operation Just Cause,” 344 – 45. Phillips, Operation Just Cause, 23–27. 13. Donnelly et al., Operation Just Cause, 183–87. 14. Ibid., 243–54. 15. Cole, Operation Just Cause, 40. 16. Ibid., 57–63. 17. Peter Huchthausen, America’s Splendid Little Wars (New York: Viking, 2003), 125–26. Richard H. Shultz Jr., In the Aftermath of War: US Support for Reconstruction and NationBuilding in Panama Following Just Cause (Maxwell Air Force Base, AL Air University Press, 1993), 63–73. 18. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 303–15. 19. U.S. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to Congress (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1992), 19–20. H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Peter Petre, It Doesn’t Take a Hero (New York: Bantam Books, 1992). 20. Charles Lane Toomey, XVIII Airborne Corps: From Planning to Victory (Central Point, OR: Hellgate Press, 2004). 21. Peter S. Kindsvatter, “Notes and Operations: Operation Desert Storm” (VII Corps, 1991). Author’s own primary document. 22. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 70–73. John C. Davidson, The 100 Hour Ground War: The Failed Iraqi Plan, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 23. Peter S. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War: Deployment and Preparation for Desert Storm,” Military Review 72 (1992): 2–16. 24. U.S. Army Central Command, ARCENT Morning Brief (February 24, 1991), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Thomas A. Keaney and Eliot A. Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1993), 7. Anthony H. Cordesman and Abraham R. Wagner, The Lessons of Modern War, vol. 4, The Gulf War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 117. 25. Keaney and Cohen, Gulf War Air Power Survey, 1–26. Cordesman and Wagner, Gulf War, 619–20. 26. Stephen A. Bourque, Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 189–91. 27. Toomey, XVIII Airborne Corps, 309–14. 28. Ibid. Major General J. H. Binford Peay III, Commander, “A Narrative/Significant Activities Summary, Sequence Number: 202,” U.S. Department of the Army 101st Airborne Division AWC. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, Swain Papers. Major General J. H. Binford Peay III, June 5, 1991. 29. Lieutenant General Gary E. Luck, Daily Situation Report 262200z, February 1991, U.S. Department of the Army XVIII Corps Main Command Post-G3, Carlisle Barracks: U. S. Military History Institute, Swain Papers. Toomey, XVIII Airborne Corps, 340–43. Jason K. Kamiya, A History of the 24th Mechanized Infantry Division Combat Team during Operation Desert Storm (Fort Stewart, GA: 24th Infantry Division, 1991), 47–48. 30. Toomey, XVIII Airborne Corps, 510–11. Charles H. Cureton, With the 1st Marine Division in Desert Shield and Desert Storm: U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990–1991 (Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps, 1993), 64–88. 31. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, 265–67. 32. Davidson, 100 Hour Ground War. John C. Wirick, “1st Cavalry Division in the Battle of Ruqi Pocket,” U.S. Department of the Army HQ, First Cavalry Division, Carlisle Barracks: U.S. Military history Institute, Swain Papers. First Cavalry Division, Chronology of the 1st Cavalry Division, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 33. Bourque, Jayhawk!, 189–99. 34. Schwarzkopf and Petre, It Doesn’t Take a Hero, 527. Rick Atkinson, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), 406–7. It was an inappropriate comparison since Franks commanded a corps and McCaffrey a division.
35. Davidson, 100 Hour Ground War, 111. Steve Vogel, “A Swift Kick: The 2d ACR’s Taming of the Guard,” Army Times 5 (1991): 28. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., Commander’s SITRREP 39 (242100z–252100z, February 1991), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Colonel Leonard D. Holder, Operation Desert Storm, 2nd ACR Operations Summary, 23 Feb–1 Mar 91, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Peter S. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War: Ground Offensive,” Military Review 72 (1992): 25. 36. Lon E. Maggart, “A Leap of Faith,” Armor 101 (1992): 28 37. Lon E. Maggart, “A Leap of Faith,” Armor 101 (1992): 28. John Sloan Brown, Desert Reckoning: Historical Continuities and the Battle for Norfolk, 1991 (Newport, RI: Naval War College, 1992). VII Corps, Frago 144-91 VII Corps Continues Attack North and East to Destroy Enemy Forces in Zone. VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Scales, Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994), 291. Gregory Fontenot, “Fright Night: Task Force 2/34 Armor,” Military Review 73 (1993): 47. 38. Stephen A. Bourque, “Correcting Myths about the Persian Gulf War: The Last Stand of the Tawakalna,” Middle East Journal 51, no. 4 (1997): 566–83. 39. Major General Paul E. Funk, April 4, 1991. Major General Paul Funk, Chronology of 3ad Operation Desert Spear, 24–28 Feb 91, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Third Armored Division HQVII Corps, Colonel Robert Higgins, 2d Bde 3ad History, Operation Desert Shield December 1990–27 February 1991, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Scales, Certain Victory, 280. 40. Funk, Chronology. Higgins, 2d Bde 3ad History. Davidson, 100 Hour Ground War, 120–21. 41. Major General Ronald H. Griffith, Daily Staff Journal, Main Command Post, G3, 1st Armored Division HQ, 1st Armored Division, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Captain Carlos A. Abinader and Sergeant First Class Steve D. Kennedy, “Official Journal of Our Dragon Battalion (1st Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment),” First Armored Division Third Brigade S3, 1–34 Armor/Third Brigade, First Armored Division AWC, Swain Papers. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., Commander’s Sitrep #4 (202100z–212100z Jan 91), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Richard M. Bohannon, “Dragon’s Roar: 1–37 Armor in the Battle of 73 Easting,” Armor 101 (1992): 11. Davidson, 100 Hour Ground War, 120. Guy C. Swan III, 1st Armored Division Battle Summary for Combat Operations Conducted in Support of Operation Desert Storm 23–28 February 1991, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 42. Bohannon, “Dragon’s Roar,” 12–13. Scales, Certain Victory, 268. Abinader and Kennedy, “Official Journal.” Tom Carhart, Iron Soldiers: How America’s 1st Armored Division Crushed Iraq’s Elite Republican Guard (New York: Pocket Books, 1994), 246 – 47. 43. Thermal imagery requires some amount of heat. With their engines off, armored vehicles generally have the same temperature as the surrounding countryside and therefore do not show up on the sights. 44. Bohannon, “Dragon’s Roar,” 13–16. Swan, “1st Armored Division.” 45. Task Force 4th Battalion, 18th Infantry from the 3rd Armored Division in the south and 1st Battalion, 7th Infantry and 1st Battalion, 37th Armor from the 1st Armored Division. 46. D Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor was the army’s selection for the upcoming Canadian Army Trophy Competition. This was a demanding, NATO-wide tank gunnery competition. 47. Bohannon, “Dragon’s Roar,” 17. Brigadier General Stanley F. Cherrie, Daily Staff Journal, 27 February, VII Corps Tactical Command Post, VII Corps After Action Report. Combined Arms Research Library, Fort Leavenworth, KS, 1991. Entry 19. 48. Lieutenant General John Yeosock, “Briefing: Desert Storm Intelligence Summary,” U.S. Army Central Command, U.S. Department of the Army. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, Swain Collection. Davidson, 100 Hour Ground War, 133–34. 49. Davidson, 100 Hour Ground War, 132. Scales, Certain Victory, 293. 50. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division interview. Roy S. Whitcomb, Operation Desert Viper, June 5, 1991, After Action Report. VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Scales, Certain Victory, 292–93.
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51. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division interview. Whitcomb, Operation Desert Viper. 52. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division interview. Volley fire is nothing more than all of the weapons in a unit firing at the same time. It creates a great psychological impression on the attacker and, if effective, a negative one on the defender, who starts to fear the effects of the next volley. 53. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division interview. 54. Carhart, Iron Soldiers, 279–302. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division interview. Scales, Certain Victory, 293. 55. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division interview. Carhart, Iron Soldiers, 279–302. 56. Steve Vogel, “Killer Brigade: 3d Infantry Division ‘Phantoms’ hunt the enemy,” Army Times, November 11, 1991, 16. 57. 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division, interview by Norm Johnson, March 26, 1991, Washington: Center for Military History. 58. Kamiya, A History, 40. 59. Cordesman and Wagner, Gulf War, 648– 49. 60. James Blackwell, “Georgia Punch: 24th Mech Puts the Squeeze on Iraq,” Army Times 20 (1991): 312–14.
THE YEARS 1992–2006: INTERVENTIONS AND INSURGENCIES
Operation Desert Storm proved to be the only war fought as the authors of AirLand Battle Doctrine intended. It was the only one with large formations, major encounters between mechanized units, identifiable front lines, and large targets that the artillery and air force could engage with all of the weapons they had available. The new post–cold war era found the army engaged in a series of small, messy conflicts that were difficult to define, fought with various international partners with competing aims against enemies that had their own method of resisting American forces. Usually, these conflicts devolved into humanitarian and peacekeeping operations—tasks that the warrior-soldier was little prepared to perform. In addition, although soldiers had a wide array of sophisticated weapons and equipment, they struggled against an enemy who refused to play by the rules of conventional combat. In addition, the army embarked on a radical reduction in force that would see its strength decrease from 770,000 in 1989 to only 499,000 in 2003. While American soldiers would depart Iraq in May 1991, little did they realize they were now entering a new post–cold war era of constant deployments for peacekeeping and nation building that would last for the next 15 years. The most obvious reason for these continued deployments is that the government of the United States entered the post–cold war era without a clear strategic vision. Without a guidepost, such as the Truman and subsequent administrations had following the development of the strategy of containment in the 1950s, both President George H. W. Bush and President William Jefferson Clinton seemed to bounce aimlessly from one crisis to the next.1 Following the cease-fire negotiations after Desert Storm, most American soldiers looked forward to returning to their normal duty assignments. Almost immediately, they began the task of packing up equipment, destroying abandoned and captured Iraqi equipment, and preparing to move out of Iraq and to the ports in Saudi Arabia. While international diplomats worked out the formal arrangements at the United Nations (UN),
the XVIII and VII Corps patrolled a military demarcation line, or MDL, throughout March and April.2 Little did most suspect that the concept of a routine between home station and deployments was about to change. The cease-fire terminating hostilities during Desert Storm took place at the March 3, 1991, meeting between coalition commanders General H. Norman Schwarzkopf and General Kalhid bin Sultan and the Iraqi delegation consisting of Lieutenant General Sultan Hashim Ahmad, an Iraqi army deputy chief of staff, and Lieutenant Colonel Salah Abbud Mahmud, commander of III Corps, on the Safwan airfield. During this discussion, Schwarzkopf presented the Iraqi representatives with a map showing a temporary boundary line that would separate coalition and Iraqi military forces. Until both sides agreed on a permanent cease-fire, opposing units would stay 1,000 meters away from a military demarcation line. Schwarzkopf wanted to prevent unintended engagements such as had taken place the day before in the 24th Infantry Division’s sector.3 With great hesitation, the Iraqi commission agreed to the temporary boundary, and American soldiers patrolled this MDL throughout March and April. Almost as an afterthought, the Iraqis asked if they could fly their helicopters. Schwarzkopf, without consulting his experts or even his co-commander, agreed. This snap decision would have severe consequences.4 Until the meeting at Safwan, the coalition’s units remained where they were at the end of hostilities. Once the Iraqi delegation agreed to terms, everyone started to move. Lieutenant General Gary Luck’s XVIII Corps, which had been the first units on the ground in August, were the first to depart. Therefore, on March 7, Lieutenant General Frederick Franks’s VII Corps assumed control of the entire MDL.5 The 2nd Cavalry patrolled the Euphrates River from As Samawah, east to An Nasiriyah, backed up by the 1st Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade. The 1st Armored Division secured the sector from Highway 8 to Ar Rumaylah, while the 3rd Armored Division, which had replaced the 1st Infantry Division in the Safwan area, occupied the corps’ right flank. Located in the center of the sector, at Assembly Area Allen was patrolled by the remainder of the 1st Infantry Division.6
THE SHIITE UPRISING AND REFUGEE SUPPORT, 1991 The army’s first challenge was the Shiite uprising, or intifada, as it was sometimes called. The importance of this relatively unknown event became obvious to the outside world after the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 and its subsequent involvement in a dramatic insurgency and power struggle between the majority Shiite and minority, but powerful, Sunni religious groups.7 This outburst took place along the Euphrates River in March 1991, and the Iraqi Army that remained loyal to the regime after its defeat in the Persian Gulf War ruthlessly repressed it.8 Although many of the details remain obscure, it began at the end of February, as a protest of regular army soldiers southwest of Basra. Apparently, they believed Saddam Hussein and his Republican Guards had abandoned them during the scramble out of Kuwait. This protest sparked a spontaneous, leaderless demonstration of Shiite frustration with the regime.9 Soon, cities such as al-Zubayr, An
THE YEARS 1992–2006
Nasiriyah, As Samawah, An Najaf, and Karbella were all involved in heavy fighting.10 For a variety of reasons, President Bush decided not to support the rebels, and the insurgency began to fall apart. The presence of Iraqi government attack helicopters, permitted by the Safwan agreement, gave Saddam’s loyal troops the mobility and firepower they needed to control the uprising.11 While the revolt caught Hussein’s government off guard, the regime soon recovered. It reconstituted the army, especially the survivors of Republican Guard units, and began a brutal program to destroy all involved. Often, these forces conducted operations in full view of coalition troops, just across the MDL. American soldiers watched as Iraqi tank and helicopter units attacked Shiite strongholds using, in some cases, the chemical weapons they never employed against the coalition forces. For almost a month, Saddam Hussein unleashed all the power at his disposal against his fellow countrymen.12 Emotionally, American soldiers would have relished the chance to inflict punishment on Hussein’s vindictive troops. However, almost any overt action could find the U.S. Army engaged in a civil war, the length, cost, and outcome of which was uncertain. It would have gone into Iraq alone since most of the coalition would not have followed. Certainly events following Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 bore out the wisdom of the time.13 It was a road down which the U.S. government, in 1991, did not wish to travel. The revolt’s suppression caused thousands of Shiites to flee Iraq for safety in Saudi Arabia and Iran and it fueled a rebellion of the Kurdish people in the north. American soldiers did, however, indirectly participate in the Shiite uprising by performing refugee triage and providing medical support to those who tried to escape the fighting. The refugee problem began almost as soon as the Shiite rebellion began. In the XVIII Corps’ sector, the 82nd Airborne Division began receiving refugees fleeing An Nasiriyah and the repression by the Iraqi Army on March 4. These Iraqi civilians came in search of food, water, medical treatment, and protection from Iraqi Army reprisals. The 82nd Division settled them in an abandoned construction camp near Suq as-Shuykll, about 35 kilometers southeast of An Nasiriyah and just south of the MDL. Soldiers named the settlement Camp Mercy, and depending on the intensity of the fighting north of the MDL, its population ranged from as few as 200 to as many as 6,000. From February 28 until March 24, when the VII Corps relieved the 82nd Division, doctors and medics treated more than 1,100 refugees for maladies ranging from minor illnesses to gunshot wounds. They also provided these unfortunate civilians with thousands of meals and clean drinking water.14 Refugees began crossing into the VII Corps sector on March 3. Basra, 25 kilometers to the north, was the scene of some of the earliest heavy fighting between the Republican Guard and the Shiite insurgents. As the fighting became more intense, waves of refugees streamed across the MDL. For example, on the night of March 24, the outposts from the 2nd Cavalry watched an intense battle in the town of As Samawah across the demarcation line between attacking Iraqi soldiers and Shiite defenders. The next day, over 1,000 refugees began moving south out of the town toward American lines. By late afternoon, the 2nd Dragoons had almost 2,500 refugees and 350 Iraqi soldiers requesting prisoner of war status.15 Ultimately, over 33,000 Shiites sought refuge within the American lines.16
The swell of Iraqi civilians placed the two corps commanders in a difficult position. On one hand, they expected the Iraqi government and the coalition powers to sign a formal cease-fire agreement within days, which would require all U.S. forces to leave Iraq.17 On the other hand, the law of war requires that an occupying power, which the United States was, care for the civilians who are displaced by the conflict.18 The administration of this problem was further complicated by the impending departure of the XVIII Corps, which gave responsibility of the entire demarcation sector to Franks and his VII Corps. Lieutenant General Franks, acutely aware of all of these responsibilities right from the start, grew increasingly uncomfortable as the refugees continued to arrive with no indication of when the recent belligerents would sign a formal cease-fire agreement. Realizing he was the senior U.S. military commander in Iraq, Franks took steps to establish refugee camps and a temporary civil-military government in occupied Iraq. He formed a task force at the corps tactical command post that consisted of the Corps G5 (Civil Affairs), a member of the Staff Judge Advocate staff, and logistics personnel to coordinate the corps’ civil-military responsibilities.19 Ultimately, the corps established two refugee centers, at Safwan in the east and Rafha in the west. The first of these refugee centers was near the town of Safwan. Only a day’s walk from Basra, refugees from the fighting in that city began to appear on March 3. The 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division established a temporary refugee center in the narrow sector between the Kuwait border and the demarcation line.20 As the refugee problem grew, division, corps, and army assets began arriving to assist the 2nd Brigade. Ultimately, the area contained three mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) units, which provided basic medical care. Truckloads of food and water arrived, providing the refugees with some of the best nourishment they had had in months. VII Corps soldiers distributed not only army-issued rations, but also baby food, local foods, lentils, and rice.21 On March 19, Colonel William Nash’s 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division replaced the 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division in the Safwan area and assumed the mission of humanitarian relief. The number of refugees at Safwan, which ultimately approached 20,000, soon overwhelmed Safwan’s original refugee sites. In March, the 3rd Brigade established another site at an abandoned Indian construction camp about a kilometer north of the Kuwait-Iraq border.22 By now, the corps had coordinated the kind of support operation that was needed to provide adequate assistance for as long as it was required. Civil affairs teams from the 352nd Civil Affairs Brigade provided the expert advice needed to administer the camps. These units also sent medical and civic action teams out into the countryside to distribute food, water, and medical care. The 332nd Medical Brigade’s MASH and other medical support worked to improve the health of the local civilians. Finally, 3rd Armored Division engineers and civil affairs teams cleaned up Safwan’s water supply and reopened the town’s school.23 The Safwan humanitarian mission is another often overlooked aspect of the VII Corps’ role in southwest Asia. By the time the Safwan camp formally closed on May 7, the soldiers of the 1st Infantry and 3rd Armored Division had registered more than 24,000 Iraqi civilians and had distributed almost 1,000,000 individual meals, 173,000 cases of bottled water, and 1,136,000 gallons of potable water. The mobile hospitals and
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medics treated more than 23,400 Iraqi civilians with everything from diarrhea to lifethreatening wounds.24 However, Safwan was not the only camp in operation. To the west, the VII Corps also operated a refugee site north of the border, near Rafha. On March 23, VII Corps assumed the occupation mission for all of southern Iraq. The 11th Aviation Brigade, augmented by the French 1st Combat Helicopter Regiment, relieved the French 6th Light Armored Division on the MDL’s western flank. The 11th Brigade’s civil affairs team took charge of an ongoing humanitarian operation at the small town of As Salman. Just as Safwan provided the focus for refugees in the east, As Salman provided a conduit in the western area of the occupation zone. As in the case of Safwan, civil affairs teams serviced the refugee centers and spread out in the countryside, organized to deliver food, water, and medical treatment along 200 kilometers of the north–south highway between the Saudi border and the MDL at the Euphrates River in the north.25 By the end of March, the Saudis had established a large, semipermanent refugee holding facility, known as Rafha I, just inside the Iraqi border. This camp was in the 11th Aviation Brigade’s sector, and they took over the direction of providing humanitarian support. The situation was the same as in Safwan as VII Corps soldiers continued to provide food, water, shelter, and, most of all, security to more than 17,000 Iraqi civilians.26 The permanent cease-fire agreement with Iraq called for coalition forces to depart Iraqi territory by the end of April and for the UN to assume responsibility for occupied Iraq. The United Nations (UN), much to Franks’s consternation, was not prepared to take care of the refugees. Franks believed he had a moral and legal right under the laws of war to continue to protect these civilians from certain death or abuse by the Iraqi government.27 Understandably, the Saudis were also hesitant to create a refugee zone in their, relatively, underpopulated country. The refugee problems in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Gaza Strip were, essentially, a warning to the Saudi government. In addition, the scale of the refugee problem had caught the Saudi Arabian authorities, like the United States, by surprise. By late April, however, the Saudi government had agreed to house those Iraqi refugees who did not wish to return to Iraq.28 The VII Corps’ task was now to move the refugees from Safwan, As Salman, and Rafha I to Saudi territory just north of Rafha. First, the corps had to construct a temporary camp until the Saudis could construct their permanent facility. The 2nd Armored Division (Forward), now detached from the 1st Infantry Division, built a temporary camp, Rafha II, just inside Saudi Arabia, adjacent to the proposed site of the Saudi camp. This center was a large facility, about one by one and a half kilometers, surrounded by a concertina barbed wire fence and capable of accommodating 30,000 refugees. Engineers placed 13 rubberized, 3,000-gallon fabric tanks known as SMFTs (semitrailer-mounted fabric tanks) on top of sand berms around the perimeter of the camp. Gravity-fed water flowed from the SMFTs to faucets and shower facilities inside. A perimeter road ringed the camp, and another bisected it. On each side of the bisecting road, refugees were grouped by family and organized into subcamps known as counties. Each county had its own water, showers, and latrines.29 Refugees began arriving at Rafha II almost immediately upon its completion. Some drove cars, but most traveled by military and civilian trucks and buses. American military
police registered the refugees and gave each an identification card and a Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) with a bottle of water on arrival.30 Commanded by Brigadier General Gene Blackwell, the 2nd Armored Division soldiers processed a total of 20,000 civilians into Rafha II, with over 4,000 a day arriving at the peak of the operation. When the flood of refugees threatened to overwhelm Rafha II, Blackwell built a smaller camp, Rafha III, to provide a short-term holding area.31 Finally, on April 28, the Saudi government was ready to assume control of the refugee operation. Supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, and the UN High Commission on Refugees, the Saudi facility was ready on April 28. The 1st Brigade, 3rd Armored Division supervised the move from Safwan to the new camp. Safwan refugees who chose to go to Saudi Arabia were making a lifelong decision never to return to Iraq. Those who wished to return to their homes in Iraq were offered gasoline and all the food and water they could carry. The rest were flown from the Safwan airfield by air force C-130s over about a 10-day period. Over 8,400 Iraqi civilians flew to the new camp in Saudi Arabia.32 On May 10, General Blackwell handed over responsibility for all the camps and their refugees to the Saudi government.33 As of 2007, many of these refugees remained as guests of the Saudi government in much more permanent camps around Rafha.34
KURDISTAN, 1991 While the American government watched the slaughter in the south, the pressure from the international community forced the United States to act in the north. One aspect of Desert Storm was a supporting operation, called Operation Proven Force (1991), that maintained air superiority over northern Iraq and targeted Iraqi missiles and chemical and biological weapons, and interfered with air defense and Iraqi troop movements. Seeing the American presence, and aware of the Shiite uprising in the south, the Iraqi Kurds also sought to remove Hussein’s troops. Beginning around March 5, the Kurdish revolt continued to grow as Kurds deserted from their military units. By March 20, the revolt was in full form. Kurdish rebels seized a number of major cities in the north. The battered Iraqi units withdrew, waiting for reinforcements after the completion of the Shiite suppression in the south. As in the south, the Kurdish revolt was poorly coordinated and received no support from external coalition forces.35 It was on March 20 that the Iraqi forces returned to restore order in Kurdistan. Following the suppression of the revolt in the south, Iraqi forces, including surviving units of the Republican Guards, began to regain the terrain captured by the Kurds. In addition to tanks, artillery, and armored vehicles, the Iraqi forces used helicopters to carry troops and attack helicopters to engage Kurdish units on the ground. In addition, the Iraqi helicopters attacked groups of Kurdish refugees, keeping them moving north and east. As the Iraqi Army continued to attack, the Pesmerga (Kurdish fighters) urged the Kurdish citizens to evacuate the area, and by the end of the month, almost 1,000,000 refugees were seeking protection in the mountains. While Iran, working with the UN, took care of refugees arriving in that country, Turkey limited the influx of refugees. While the
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Turkish and international relief agencies had planned on a refugee influx, no one expected the half million destitute Kurds that found themselves stranded in the mountains without food, water, or shelter. Following on the heels of the repression in the south, the fate of the Kurdish refugees was attracting the attention of the rest of the world. The UN Security Council condemned the Iraqi behavior on April 5.36 Two days later, there were almost 2,000,000 Kurdish refugees trying to escape northern Iraq. Responding to international pressure, President George H. W. Bush ordered the implementation of Operation Provide Comfort. Ultimately, over 21,000 military personnel from 13 countries participated in the event, including 12,000 Americans. Although the American administration did not wish to get mired in the region, the growing international outcry became intense. When Secretary of State James Baker toured the site, he was appalled by the devastation. At one point, he recoiled as Kurdish women tried to throw their infants on board Baker’s helicopter for safety. Baker, and the administration, now decided to act.37 The operation began without a plan of any kind. The president said that it was “an interim measure designed to meet an immediate, penetrating humanitarian need.” American aircraft began dropping relief supplies on April 7, with British, Canadian, Italian, and French aircraft joining during the next two days. Soon, the amount of humanitarian support flowing into Turkey was beyond the capability of the Allied aircraft to distribute. On April 9, the U.S. European Command defined objectives for Operation Provide Comfort that included stopping the dying and suffering in the mountains, resettling the refugees in temporary camps within northern Iraq, and returning the refugees to their original homes. Those on the ground also found an implied task of developing and securing a safe haven for these refugees in northern Iraq. Taking charge of the American effort was the command’s deputy commander, Lieutenant General John Shalikashvili, who assumed command on April 18. His staff was directed by the V Corps deputy commander, Major General Jay Garner. From the beginning, Shalikashvili and Garner saw the key to their success in getting the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) involved in the process. Operating from a forward base in Silopi, Turkey, supplies began to flow into Kurdistan. Over three dozen humanitarian organizations were on the ground providing relief by the time the two American commanders arrived in the region.38 By mid-April, the biggest problem faced by the coalition’s forces and the NGOs was the resistance by the Iraqi military to the returning Kurdish refugees and problems of coordination among the various international agencies. Now organized into two subordinate organizations with different missions, Joint Task Force Alpha focused on dispensing humanitarian assistance and helping the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) work with the refugees. The other force, called Joint Task Force Bravo, kept the Iraqis away from the Kurds. At a meeting in the village of Zakho between Shalikashvili and Iraqi officers on April 19, the coalition made it clear that the Kurds were returning and that Saddam’s military had to stay at least 30 kilometers away. By May 6, the coalition had carved out a 70- by 160-kilometer safe area for the Kurdish refugees. A month later, the UN assumed responsibility for all refugee support. By the middle of July, most American forces were on their way home. However, many soldiers and airmen remained in the
area to monitor refugee support and keep watch on the Iraqi military. These extensive commitments continued until December 1996.39
SOMALIA, 1991–1994 No sooner had American troops returned to the United States than the new world order began to fall apart in Africa in 1991. The former Italian colony of Somalia was a state in name only, being in reality a large group of tribes and clans. Strongman Mohammed Siad Barre seized power in 1969 and, depending on his own clan for support, implemented his own form of socialism. In 1977, he invaded neighboring Ethiopia, hoping to acquire the Somali-dominated Ogaden region. The Ethiopians, backed by Soviet arms, Cuban soldiers, and East German advisors, forced Barre’s forces back across the border in a humiliating defeat.40 Formed during the war, the Somali National Movement looked to rid the country of the Barre regime. On May 26, 1988, this organization attacked a government garrison in northern Somalia, setting off civil war. The corrupt regime progressively disintegrated as the rebels continued to make progress. By the end of 1990, while most American citizens were caught in the drama of Desert Shield, U.S. Marines evacuated almost 400 noncombatants from the embassy in Mogadishu in an operation called Eastern Exit. Siad Barre abandoned the fight in April 1992 and went into exile in Nigeria. Essentially, Somalia had no functioning government since 1990.41 By the spring of 1992, the situation inside Somalia was nothing short of catastrophic, as starvation was rampant. News reports showed the effects of starvation with pictures that rivaled those of the liberation of German concentration camps in 1945. Responding to public pressure, the UN Security Council issued Resolution 751 on April 27, granting authority for armed intervention to deliver relief supplies. The first few months were generally a failure, as the few troops on the ground were incapable of providing the security to enable the supplies to get through. Experienced with this kind of operation in Kuwait only recently, the U.S. Department of Defense believed it could deliver supplies, provide security, and turn the operation over to the UN in short order. Americans began to airlift supplies in August in an operation called Provide Relief. This was only marginally successful, as supplies still could not reach the people who needed it. The last straw for the UN was when the warlord Mohammed Farah Aideed shelled the port of Mogadishu and closed the port to shipping on November 15.42 By the end of the year, over 300,000 Somalis had perished, and the United States was under great pressure from the international community to intervene. The nation, under President George H. W. Bush, had a record of successful interventions in Panama and Kurdistan, and it seemed like the right thing to do. The president agreed to send forces but wanted American troops to enter Somalia as soon as possible and then be replaced by UN peacekeepers in the shortest feasible time. This operation was named Restore Hope and focused on the delivery of food and other aid to the ravished region. The president announced this coalition to the world on December 4, and the first ground troops, U.S. Marines, landed at Mogadishu five days later. The primary army unit was
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initially the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, New York. The commanding general, Major General Steven L. Arnold, and a large part of the division, over 10,000 men and women, arrived in mid-December.43 President William J. Clinton replaced President Bush on January 20, 1993. His administration was committed to multilateral activities and working through the UN. The administration believed, for the long term, that it was essential to wean the organization from depending exclusively on the United States for these kinds of missions. While in some ways, the situation was improving, as international aid was reaching those in need, on another level, American and coalition pressure was constraining the flexibility of the various Somalia warlords. Riots in February and March indicated that tension was actually increasing, especially in the capital. Nevertheless, on May 4, the United States transferred responsibility for operations in Somalia to the UN in what was called “United Nations Operation Somalia II” (UNOSOM II). While it had helped many Somalis survive and put an end to the mass starvation, the situation on the ground was far from stable. Over 21,000 American servicemen out of 37,000 from all of the 20 nations supporting the operation had served in Somalia.44 Although the UN was technically running the operation, American troops were still in the country, as the situation deteriorated. On June 5, Aideed’s forces ambushed a Pakistani unit, killing 23 of their soldiers and wounding 44 others. The following day, the UN Security Council, pushed by the United States, approved Resolution 837, adopting a more aggressive military stance toward the Somali strongman.45 While the politics and strategy for this move are beyond the parameters of this manuscript, this resolution created an adversarial situation between the UN and Aideed as the UN added a mission to their humanitarian efforts of hunting him down. American aircraft attacked Aideed’s headquarters in June. The warlord retaliated in a series of attacks in July and August, and the UN commander issued a warrant for his arrest. In August, Secretary of Defense Les Aspen directed deployment of a special operations task force to Somalia in response to Aideed’s attacks. Named Task Force (TF) Ranger, it had the mission of capturing Aideed and his key lieutenants. The major problem was that TF Ranger did not fall under the command of the UNOSOM II commander. A few weeks later, the commander of the 10th Mountain Division requested a Bradley tank team for force protection. The light infantrymen in Mogadishu had no armor protection to provide support against the increasingly heavily armed Somali gunmen. The secretary of defense disapproved this request.46 Other than the pictures of starving Somali families that blanketed the television news shows in 1992 and 1993, the most dominant images concerned the events of TF Ranger’s raid into Mogadishu. These events, captured by Mark Bowden’s book Black Hawk Down and the movie by the same name, portrayed the violence of urban combat. The raid was an attempt to capture two of Aideed’s important subordinates in the center of Mogadishu. It began at 3:30 P.M., October 3, when helicopters carrying rangers took off from the airport. Shortly thereafter, a ground convoy, consisting primarily of unarmored high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle (HMMWVs), also headed for the center of the city. Rangers arrived at the targeted building and captured several Somalis.
A few moments later, the force came under intense fire, and a militiaman’s rocket-propelled grenade knocked down one of the Black Hawk helicopters. It was to be a harrowing night, as a handful of American soldiers and helicopter pilots fought thousands of Somalis and their supporters. It required the American commander to ask for support from the only mechanized forces in the area, four Pakistani M48 tanks and 28 Malaysian armored personnel carriers, to rescue the exhausted American troops. When it was over, two helicopters were destroyed and a number were badly hit, 18 U.S. Army soldiers were killed, and another 84 were wounded. Somali losses are hard to determine, but conservative estimates are 500 killed and over 700 wounded. The Somalis also showed that they were prepared to fight and die against the American force.47 The next day, the Department of Defense ordered the deployment of a M2 Bradley mechanized company augmented with a M1 tank platoon to Somalia. President Clinton addressed the nation on October 7 and announced that he was ending the mission by March 31, 1994. Secretary of Defense Les Aspin, who was widely blamed for not approving the armored support, resigned on December 15. On March 3, the last American troops departed.48 The Somali adventure was, at the time, seen as an anomaly, and many blamed bad leadership by President Clinton and his administration. Yet, from a distance, there is a more serious problem—a lack of vision. Certainly Clinton had as an advisor one of the most experienced military advisors available in General Colin Powell, so not all blame can go to his administration. The American military eschewed reliance on proven technology and sufficiently trained soldiers for special operations units and their flashy equipment. There was a trend to fight conflicts like these on the cheap, with as little force as possible. In addition, there was a confusing relationship between American goals and the politics of the world community, as represented by the UN. The U.S. government showed a propensity to use military force, rather than continue the diplomatic negotiations between the UN and Mohamed Aideed that had been in progress before May 4. Finally, and most important, neither the Bush nor Clinton administration had been able to formulate a comprehensive vision of the post–cold war world and the use of American military force. This problem would continue for the next decade.
HAITI, 1994–1995 The troops had only recently returned from Somalia when they were again alerted for military operations in 1994. This time, it was to restore the legitimate Haitian government to power. Regime change, a task that the United States had not performed since World War II, was the focus of Operation Restore Democracy. Elected in Haiti’s first free elections in December 1990, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was able to spend only nine months in office before being overthrown in a coups led by his military chief, Lieutenant General Raoul Cedras, the following September. The UN then spent the next three and a half years alternating between negotiating and threatening the Cedras government to convince them to stand down and restore Aristide, to no avail. The UN Security Council issued Resolution 940 on July 31, 1994, asking its members to “use
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all necessary means” to evict the military regime from Haiti. A secondary reason for the American intervention was to halt the increasing flow of poor Haitians jumping into makeshift boats and trying to make their way to the United States. By January 1992, the navy and coast guard had picked up over 14,000 at sea, and the George H. W. Bush administration began repatriating these “boat people” back to Haiti. In July 1994, following a deadly sinking, with the loss of 150 Haitians at sea, Clinton’s government changed this policy and began sending these refugees to a holding center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other locations across the Caribbean.49 Many of the soldiers the Department of Defense chose to send to the Caribbean were the same that had been in Somalia, the 10th Mountain Division from Fort Drum, New York, and special operations forces from various bases in the United States. The plan called for either forced or permissive entry, and the commanders did not know until hours before landing that the Cedras regime accepted that its days were numbered and agreed to an American departure timetable. The army soldiers flew into the capital of Port-au-Prince in Black Hawk helicopters launched from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower on September 14, 1994.50 The 10th Mountain’s soldiers had difficulty in making the transition from combat in Somalia to peace operations in Haiti. It was confusing for the population, and the Americans and the former enemy were now walking the streets trying to maintain order. There were numerous confrontations between the Americans and the population, and between the U.S. soldiers and the Haitian police, called the Fad’H (Armed Forces of Haiti). The rules of engagement (ROE, an acronym that was much used during the post–cold war era) were often confusing. In one, much publicized instance, American soldiers stood by on September 20, while Fad’H attacked a peaceful crowd celebrating the change of government. The result was many injured civilians, one man dead, and a population confused about America’s role. The confusion continued as Major General David C. Meade, still smarting from operations in Somalia, placed protecting his force as his most important priority, rather than working with the Haitian population.51 The 10th Mountain Division was not the only American presence in Haiti, as special operations forces and U.S. Marines worked with the population and the new government to speed Cedras’s departure. A multinational coalition from a host of countries joined the American effort, bringing the total outside troops to over 21,000 in October, with 20,000 being American. In November, the 25th Infantry Division (Light) from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, replaced the 10th Mountain. By January 1995, most American forces, other than special operations, had been withdrawn, and responsibility was turned over to the multinational force in March.52
BALKANS, 1991–2004 It is somewhat ironic that the last general European conflict of the twentieth century would take place in the same region in which the first one took place. The breakup of the Yugoslavian Republic after 1980 unleashed all of the ethnic tensions that the former Communist regime had suppressed. Slovenia and Croatia declared independence in
June 1991, inducing the Yugoslav Army to respond. The Slovenes won their independence first in a short fight. The war between Croatia, which had a large Serbian minority, and the federation was longer and bloodier, but by December 1992, all players accepted the independence of both of these states. However, the situation was not resolved so quickly in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which experienced some of the most violent armed conflict and atrocities committed against civilians that Europe had witnessed since World War II.53 America’s intentions had been to let the Europeans take the lead in regards to this conflict. But this was not to happen, as the Bosnian Serbs and Croats drove the Bosnian Muslims from many of their farms and villages, instigating a reign of ethnic cleansing that left the rest of the world generally appalled. The UN protective force (UNPROFOR), in place since September 1992 was generally impotent and was, in fact, prohibited from using force to stop the violence. The nadir of the struggle took place in the town of Srebrenica in July 1995, when Bosnian Serbs massacred almost 7,500 men and boys in the greatest mass murder in Europe in over 50 years.54 Along with other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the United States began an air offensive to force the Bosnian Serbs to stop besieging Sarajevo and bring them back to the peace table. After three weeks of aerial punishment, coupled with an extremely successful offensive by a retrained Croatian Army, the Serbians had had enough. They, along with all belligerents, agreed to meet at Wright Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. From the American soldier’s perspective, the outcome, officially known as the Dayton Peace Accord, signed in December 1995, signaled the approval of a NATO implementation force (IFOR), which included American troops.55 The 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored Division crossed the Sava River on December 31, 1995, leading the reinforced American division into Bosnia-Herzegovina. Attached to the division was a mixed unit called the Nordic Brigade, a regiment from Turkey, and a Russian parachute brigade. This was a potentially dangerous mission, and the division lost its first soldier from a land mine even before the main body crossed the river. It was also a huge undertaking, with the initial deployment of 24,000 soldiers and equipment requiring over 400 trains, 7,300 railcars, 500 buses, 1,700 tractor trailers, and over 1,300 aircraft flights. The division’s initial task was to separate the warring factions into their own sectors. This was a peace enforcement mission, and the American soldiers found themselves, in rather primitive winter conditions, manning checkpoints and conducting armed patrols. It was an extremely dangerous mission, as the former belligerents were used to getting their way by force. For example, in one instance, a truckload of Bosnian Serbs tried to bypass a checkpoint. The sergeant in charge ordered the 22 armed men out of the truck. One of the Serbs told the American sergeant in perfect English, “I’ll kill you.” Supported by the four other members of the checkpoint, the 1st Armored Division soldier said, “I don’t think so,” and repeated the order to get out of the truck. They soon collected two dozen firearms and ammunition. The entire deployment required all the skill, patience, and professionalism soldiers anywhere have ever had to exhibit.56 Although the Clinton administration expected the American commitment to be over in a year, the situation on the ground required that the soldiers remain. Ethnic hostility, large caches of weapons, and over 750,000 land mines kept the troops extremely busy.
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The 1st Infantry Division replaced the 1st Armored Division in December 1996, as the mission took on a new perspective, called the Stabilization Force, or SFOR. Now the force began more nation-building and civic action projects and continued to work with the local population on minefield awareness and discovery. It also continued to confront ethnic hostility, such at the town of Brcko, which was the focus of a number of riots and injuries to American troops. In June 1998, the mission changed again to Operation Joint Forge, which essentially became an open-ended commitment to support NATO in its peace-enforcement mission. American troops began to withdraw, as NATO took more control and the United States became embroiled in Iraq and Afghanistan. By late 2004, less than 1,000 U.S. Army soldiers remained in Bosnia. During operations in Bosnia, American junior leaders, lieutenants, captains, and sergeants, took on rolls with operational and strategic ramifications. Routinely, they operated without clear guidance, based on only mission orders from their commanders. This trend, common to peace enforcement, would take on more significance in the post–cold war era.57 In 1999 American soldiers deployed to another part of the former Yugoslavia: Kosovo. Strife between governing Serbs and Albanian residents led to another round of ethnic cleansing and a NATO air campaign to force the Belgrade government to back off. American soldiers, first as part of an Apache attack helicopter unit called Task Force Hawk, and later as a peace enforcement contingent, called Task Force Falcon, worked to divide the warring sides. Called Operation Joint Guardian, American forces continued to participate in this NATO-led mission through 2007.58
AFGHANISTAN, 2001 President George W. Bush and his advisors assumed control of the U.S. government in 2001 in the spirit of no more interventions in places like Bosnia and Somalia. With veteran leaders such as Richard Cheney as vice president and Colin Powell as secretary of state, most observers believed the new Republican administration would focus on improving the military’s ability to respond to worldwide incidents, a process called “transformation.” Al-Qaeda’s attack on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington on September 11, 2001, completely changed the nation’s focus. While the nation grieved, adjusted, and reorganized, the military’s first target in the so-called global war on terror would be the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. From the beginning, the U.S. government looked to hunt down those responsible for the attack. It soon became obvious that al-Qaeda, an Islamic organization determined to erase Western influence in the Middle East, was responsible for the attacks on September 11. They had attacked the United States before: its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and the destroyer USS Cole in the port of Aden in 2000. The Bush administration decided to destroy this organization and the government that protected them, the Islamic Taliban of Afghanistan. Remembering the difficult history of foreign forces in that region—the British in the nineteenth century and the Soviets in the twentieth—the Department of Defense sought ways to minimize the involvement of American ground forces but still accomplish the mission.59
American air and missile attacks began operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda on October 7, 2001, kicking off Operation Enduring Freedom. These attacks, like those launched by the Clinton administration in 1998, were not very effective. The most sophisticated weapons systems have limited value in a third world state with terrain as rugged as Afghanistan. But this time, the United States was going to put boots on the ground. Operating from staging areas in friendly Uzbekistan, several special forces A teams, each consisting of 12 experienced soldiers, deployed to Afghanistan. They made contact with tribal warlords who had opposed the Afghan government for years. Almost immediately, the special forces soldiers showed their value by directing all the air power available in the American air force and navy inventory on the frontline Taliban soldiers. Unlike the previous bombing efforts, these were precision strikes directed by army soldiers with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) devices and laser designators. The massive amount of precise air attacks, including strikes from B-1 and B-2 bombers and an array of fighter bombers, broke the back of the Taliban’s will to resist. The world’s media was soon being entertained with photos of bearded special forces soldiers riding horses alongside Afghan insurgents in old-style mounted cavalry charges. By November 10, the important city of Mazar-e Sharif fell to the so-called Northern Alliance and its supporting American soldiers.60 Meanwhile, another special forces team infiltrated into Afghanistan and joined up with another warlord north of Kabul. Using the old Soviet air base at Bagram as a base, they targeted Taliban fighters defending the capital at Kabul. By November 13, these Islamic defenders had been totally demoralized by the intense American air strikes, and they fled south, as the Afghan insurgents liberated the city the next day. In early December, the new Afghan government, led by Hamid Karzai, was in control. Many of the Taliban fled to the region bordering Pakistan to reorganize and regroup. Meanwhile, American and British special forces teams, along with indigenous Afghan forces, hunted down those Taliban units remaining in the country’s heartland. In many ways, the defeat of al-Qaeda and its Islamic defenders was the kind of victory the United States wanted to attain. Only a few hundred American and Allied Western troops, supported by massive amounts of air power and the ground efforts of local fighters, destroyed a hostile government in only 76 days of fighting.61 The war was not over, however. Now freed from the problems of government, the enemy assumed the role of insurgent and continued to rebuild their strength in the rugged mountains near Tora Bora, supported by friendly Pakistani tribesmen across the border. By November 2001, the United States had over 50,000 service members from all branches in Afghanistan. Yet most of these troops were combat support, and the army had only elements of two brigades available for combat. Perhaps the speed of the Taliban’s initial demise emboldened American planners, who decided to use this limited force to destroy the enemy in its sanctuary. Operation Anaconda began on March 2 and was an attempt to destroy about 200 enemy fighters. The elements, arrogance, and inexperience in this kind of fighting proved more challenging than anyone expected. It also demonstrated the limits of the intelligence system as the actual Taliban–al-Qaeda strength turned out to be over 1,000 determined, veteran soldiers. Allied Afghan warlords—there
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was no Afghan army yet—proved incapable or unwilling to close with the enemy, and there were simply not enough American ground soldiers. Al-Qaeda did not run, but put up an extremely determined resistance, with supporting accurate sniper and mortar fire. Most of the enemy were able to get away across the Pakistani border. By 2007, despite more than five years of combat operations, American, and NATO, forces continue to battle al-Qaeda groups in the Afghan border areas.62 IRAQ, 2003 Before the war was over in Afghanistan, President George W. Bush shifted operations back to Iraq. The purpose of this war, and its conduct, remains quite controversial as of 2007. Exactly why the United States invaded Iraq—fear of weapons of mass destruction, frustration with Saddam’s defiance of the international community, determination to finish the war of 1991, support of al-Qaeda in its attack on the United States—were all reasons presented by the government.63 Operation Iraqi Freedom, 2003 Whatever the reason for the war, the initial operation was executed as well as any in American history. On March 20, believing that Saddam Hussein and his sons were located at one location, General Tommy Franks, commander of United State Central Command, ordered his forces to attack. Thirty-six Tomahawk land attack missiles opened the assault, thus beginning Operation Iraqi Freedom. The next day, the U.S. 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and 1st (U.K.) Armoured Division crossed the border into Iraq in what would become known as a “rolling start,” essentially ahead of the main air operation. Other units, such as the 101st Airmobile Division and 82nd Airborne Division, would follow and come under command of Lieutenant General William S. Wallace’s V Corps. The Iraqi forces fought hard and, supported by bad weather, slowed the American advance and achieved some tactical success on their own.64 The ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company, on March 23, was the worst single American combat incident of the attack, with 11 soldiers dead, 7 captured, and 9 wounded in one short battle. Special operating forces rescued one of the soldiers, Private First Class Jessica Lynch, on April 1, in what would become a controversial event long after combat had ended. The public affairs officers in the Pentagon elaborated on the incident in an attempt to use it as propaganda. They exaggerated Lynch’s battlefield conduct in order to turn her into a national hero. They also released camera footage of the rescue, indicating that it was much more dangerous and complex than it actual was. More accurate details of both her ordeal and rescue would later come to light and contribute to America’s increasing lack of support for this conflict. She would testify before a congressional subcommittee in April, 2007, as part of an investigation into the Pentagon’s mismanagement of public relations.65 On March 24, Iraqi air defenses, essentially small arms machine gun fire, defeated an attack by the 11th Aviation Brigade. Most of the attacking Apache helicopters were seriously damaged and did not reach the objective. This defeat called into question the
entire army doctrine of “deep attack,” which had been a cardinal principle since 1982.66 Meanwhile, the American forces continued to roll north, while the British troops secured the area around Basra. On March 28, the 173rd Airborne Brigade parachuted into northern Iraq and opened a northern front in the conflict to protect and reassure the Kurdish population.67 In spite of fierce fighting by Iraqi irregular forces, who fought better than the regular army, the last days of the Iraqi regime began on April 2. While the 3rd Infantry Division began its attack on Baghdad Airport, the 1st U.K. Armored Division isolated Basra, and the 101st Airmobile and 82nd Airborne Divisions secured the American lines of communication. Two days later, the 3rd Infantry and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force isolated the city. On April 5 and 7, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division ran two “thunder runs,” essentially free-fire attacks into the city. After the second attack, the brigade remained in the center of Baghdad. The world witnessed the dramatic destruction of Saddam’s statue, pulled down by a marine tank retriever, on April 9. By the end of the next day, the fighting in the city was essentially over.68 For a short time, things continued to improve in Baghdad and the remainder of Iraq. Recognizing these changes, the president provided one of the greatest photo opportunities by landing on the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1 and, under a large sign proclaiming “mission accomplished,” declared that combat operations in Iraq were over. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Although American forces captured Saddam in December, peace did not follow. American politicians had determined that the army was not going to be part of nation building, and there were not enough forces available to prevent looting and the rise of an insurgency.69 By 2004, the United States had been unable to prevent Iraq from falling into its own civil war. American soldiers would remain in Iraq, and individual soldiers would rotate in and out for several years. By 2007, some soldiers had served four or more combat tours, ranging from 6 to 18 months in length. American casualties would continue to rise, with almost 3,700 dead and another 35,000 wounded by mid-year. While the civil war/insurgency continued in Iraq, the Taliban appeared to be reorganizing in Afghanistan, where American troops, now backed by NATO troops, continued to be engaged on the ground. Ever since, the United States has been involved in a different kind of war, more akin to the wars on the Indian frontier or in the Philippines following the Spanish-American War. The post–cold war era ended with the president’s announcement in 2003. The period, therefore, from 1989 to 2003 was a period of unprecedented engagement for those soldiers who volunteered to serve their country. Soldiers with only five years’ service would have more campaign ribbons than most 20-year veterans of the cold war army. What was it like to be a solider during this period? How did they train? Where did they work? How did they live? These are all good questions for the following chapters. NOTES 1. The most terse and least informative chapter in President Bush and Brent Scowcroft’s memoirs is the one on the postwar period, “After the Storm.” It says next to nothing about the decisions not to intervene during the Shiite uprising or the development of Operation Provide
THE YEARS 1992–2006
Comfort. See George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 488–92. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007), 332. 2. H. Norman Schwarzkopf and Peter Petre, It Doesn’t Take a Hero (New York: Bantam Books, 1992), 564–65. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., VII Corps, interview by Peter Kindsvatter, KKMC Saudi Arabia, April 30, 1991. Historical Office, U.S. Training and Doctrine Command: Transcript. Fragmentary Orders, Frago 156–91 VII Corps Continues Its Enemy Equipment and Munitions Destruction, March 4, 1991. VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 3. XVIII Corps, Daily Situation Report-022200z Mar 91, XVIII Corps Main Command PostG3 Army Daily Situation Report. On March 2, the day before General Schwarzkopf and the Iraqi generals were to sit at Safwan to discuss terms, the U.S. 24th Infantry Division fought a short battle with the Iraqi Hammurabi Division. For postwar controversy on this battle, see Seymour M. Hersh, “Overwhelming Force: What Happened in the Final Days of the Gulf War?,” New Yorker, May 22, 2000. 4. Schwarzkopf and Petre, It Doesn’t Take a Hero, 564–65. Khaled bin Sultan, Desert Warrior: A Personal View of the Gulf War by the Joint Forces Commander, trans. Patrick Seale (New York: Harper Collins, 1995), 422–424. 5. VII Corps, Fragplan 8: Assumption of XVIII Airborne Corps Sector, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. VII Corps, Frago 160-91, VII Corps Relieves XVIII Airborn Corps in Sector Beginning 9 March, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 6. VII Corps, Frago 167-91, VII Corps Forces Continue Their Zone Clearance Operations, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Peter S. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War: Post-Cease-Fire Operations,” Military Review 72 (1992): 4. 7. Phebe Marr, The Modern History of Iraq (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2004), 362. The Shia are the major dissident sect in Islam and trace their origin to Ali, the last of the original Caliphs, cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad. They are the major religious group of neighboring Iran. See Albert Hourani, A History of the Arab Peoples (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1991), 22–25. Other English spellings include “Shi’is” and “Shi’a.” 8. Anthony H. Cordesman and Abraham R. Wagner, The Lessons of Modern War, vol. 4, The Gulf War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 961–62. Graham E. Fuller and Rend Rahim Francke, The Arab Shi’a: The Forgotten Muslims (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), 103. 9. Marr, Modern History of Iraq, 241–48. U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), “Defense Department Briefing: March 5, 1991.” Ben Fenton, “The Gulf; Saddam’s Tanks Move to Quash Basra Rebels,” Daily Telegraph, March 6, 1991. Tom Masland, “Danger for Saddam,” Newsweek, March 18, 1991, 25. Helen Chapin Metz, ed., Iraq, a Country Study, Area Handbook Series (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990), 95–97. Fuller and Francke, Arab Shi’a, 103–4. 10. Marr, Modern History of Iraq, 246–47. Cordesman and Wagner, Gulf War. 11. Lawrence Freedman and Efraim Karsh, The Gulf Conflict, 1990–1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993), 419–20. Anthony H. Cordesman, After the Storm: The Changing Military Balance in the Middle East (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993), 451–52. VII Corps, Daily Staff Journal, VII Corps Tactical Command Post, VII Corps Tactical Command Post, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 12. Cordesman, After the Storm, 445; Colin Powell and Joseph E. Perisco, My American Journey (New York: Ballantine Books, 1996). 13. Robert H. Scales, Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994). 14. VII Corps, Daily Staff Journal, VII Corps Tactical Command Post (24 March 1991), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. John C. Davidson, The 100 Hour Ground War: The Failed Iraqi Plan, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 15. Fuller and Francke, Arab Shi’a. 16. Franks interview, April 30, 1991.
17. Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, August 12, 1949. Details are contained in U.S. Department of the Army, The Law of Land Warfare, Field Manual 27-10 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1956), 146. 18. Franks interview, April 30, 1991. 19. Scales, Certain Victory, 328. 20. Franks interview, April 30, 1991. VII Corps SITREP 74, March 31, 1991. 21. Scales, Certain Victory, 328–29. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War,” 7. 22. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War,” 7. Franks interview, April 30, 1991. 23. Scales, Certain Victory, 332. 24. Ibid., 330. 25. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War,” 9. Scales, Certain Victory, 330. 26. bin Sultan, Desert Warrior, 444. Franks interview, April 30, 1991. 27. Ibid,, 444–47. Scales, Certain Victory, 330–31. 28. Scales, Certain Victory, 330. 29. Ibid., 330–32. 30. Ibid., 332. 31. VII Corps, Frago 226-91 Relocation of Refugees from Border to New Camp, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Kindsvatter, “VII Corps in the Gulf War,” 12–13. Franks interview, April 30, 1991. 32. Scales, Certain Victory, 332. 33. bin Sultan, Desert Warrior, 444. 34. Gordon W. Rudd, Humanitarian Intervention: Assisting the Iraqi Kurds in Operation Provide Comfort, 1991 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2004), 24, 29–31. 35. Ibid., 30–36. Resolution 688 (April 5, 1991). 36. Ibid. 37. Ibid., 42–51. Donna Miles, “Helping the Kurds,” Soldiers 46, no. 7 (1991): 13–20. Gordon Rudd, e-mail message to author, March 7, 2007. Charles E. Kirkpatrick, “Ruck It Up!”: The PostCold War Transformation of V Corps, 1990–2001 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006), 170. Scales, Certain Victory, 341. 38. Scales, Certain Victory, 341–50. Rudd, Humanitarian Intervention. Kirkpatrick, “Ruck It Up!,” 170–71. 39. Robert F. Baumann, Lawrence A. Yates, and Versalle F. Washington, “My Clan against the World”: US and Coalition Forces in Somalia, 1992–1994 (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004), 9–16. Walter S. Poole, The Effort to Save Somalia (Washington, DC: Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2005), 5–6. 40. Patrick Brogan, World Conflicts: A Comprehensive Guide to World Strife Since 1945 (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998), 97–103. Peter Huchthausen, America’s Splendid Little Wars (New York: Viking, 2003), 165. 41. Huchthausen, America’s Splendid Little Wars, 165–69. 42. Brogan, World Conflicts, 97–103. Poole, Effort to Save Somalia, 21–23. Baumann et al., “My Clan against the World,” 38–43. Richard W. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 10. 43. Brogan, World Conflicts, 97–103. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia, 14. 44. Brogan, World Conflicts, 97–103. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia, 16. 45. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia, 16. Stephen L. Arnold, US Army Forces, Somalia, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) After Action Report, Summary (Fort Drum, NY: U.S. Department of the Army, 1993), 155. 46. Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999). Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia, 19–23. Arnold, US Army Forces, 1138–39. 47. Arnold, US Army Forces, 39, 156. Brogan, World Conflicts, 97–103. 48. UN Security Council, Resolution 940 (Authorization to Use Force in Haiti). Walter E. Kretchik, Robert F. Baumann, and John T. Fishel, Invasion, Intervention, “Intervasion”: A Concise History of the U.S. Army in Operation Uphold Democracy (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1998), 210–12. 49. Kretchik et al., Invasion, 93–160. 50. Ibid., 98–107. 51. Ibid., 215–23. Oliver Ramsbotham and Tom Woodhouse, Encyclopedia of International Peacekeeping Operations (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1998), 109.
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52. Huchthausen, America’s Splendid Little Wars, 186–211. R. Cody Phillips, BosniaHerzegovina: The U.S. Army’s Role in Peace Enforcement Operations, 1995–2004 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2005), 5–16. 53. Huchthausen, America’s Splendid Little Wars, 185–193. Robert Baumann, George W. Gawrych, and Walter E. Kretchik, Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004), 48–54. 54. James P. Herson, “Road Warriors in the Balkans: The Army Transportation Corps in Bosnia (1995–1996),” Unpublished manuscript, 2007): 52–53. Phillips, Bosnia-Herzegovina, 5–16. 55. Phillips, Bosnia-Herzegovina 1, 19–22. 56. Ibid., 36– 42. 57. Richard W. Stewart, ed., American Military History, vol. 2, The United States Army in a Global Era, 1917 to 2003, Army Historical Series (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2005), 464. Richard W. Stewart, The United States Army in Afghanistan: October 2001–March 2002, Operation Enduring Freedom (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2004), 7–8. 58. R. Cody Phillips, Operation Joint Guardian, The U.S. Army in Kosovo (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2007), 1–57. 59. Stewart, The United States Army in Afghanistan, 10–13. Charles H. Briscoe, Richard L. Kiper, James A. Schroder, Kalev I. Sepp, Weapon of Choice: U.S. Army Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2003), 125–27. Robert D. Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond (New York: Vintage, 2005). 60. Stewart, The United States Army in Afghanistan, 14–25. Stewart, American Military History, 464–70. 61. Stewart, The United States Army in Afghanistan, 29–44. Stewart, American Military History, 473–76. Sean Naylor, Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda (New York: Berkley Caliber Books, 2005). 62. Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books, 2006), 4–74. 63. Stewart, American Military History, 465. 64. Gregory Fontenot, E. J. Degen, and David Tohn, On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004), 154–60. Stewart, Global Era, 482–83. Anthony H. Cordesman, The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons, Significant Issues Series (Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 2003), 77. 65. Nancy Gibbs, “The Private Jessica Lynch.” Time Magazine, online edition. November 17, 2003, 162 (20). Available at http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,10006147,00. html. CBS News “Jessica Lynch Sets the Record Straight” at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/ 2007/04/25/earlyshow/main2725423.shtml, accessed 2 December, 2007. 66. Cordesman, Iraq War, 80–82. 67. Ibid., 90–112. Fontenot et al., On Point, 336–47. 68. Stewart, Global Era, 492–93. 69. Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), 149–202.
ORGANIZING THE ARMY FROM 1989 TO THE PRESENT
What young men and women discovered when they emerged from their entry-level training, a topic we will discuss in a later chapter, was an organization that was the combination of sophisticated analysis, budgetary concerns, and military tradition. Historically, armies expend a great deal of effort developing the right organization. On the basis of doctrine, or a vision of the kinds of battles the ground forces expected, it determined the right amount of tanks, infantry, artillery, and other branches of the service. It determined how many soldiers each unit would get, of what type and what rank. Arriving at the wrong organization could put an army at a severe disadvantage against an opponent on the battlefield that no amount of soldier bravery could overcome.1 The previous army organization, called the Reorganization Objective Army Division (ROAD), emerged during the presidency of John F. Kennedy and had grown out of the World War II, Korean, and early cold war experience. This structure served the army well throughout the Vietnam era but was no longer seen as capable of providing the rapid response and flexibility required in the post-1973 war environment. For 10 years, officers in the Pentagon and at the various service schools argued about the best way to match the increasingly sophisticated equipment with the new all-volunteer force. The result was a new organization, called the “Army of Excellence,” that took effect in 1983 and would be the unit framework at the end of the cold war and the basis for changes into the next decade.2 The first decision a soldier had to make upon joining the army concerned his or her branch of service. The U.S. Army of the late 1980s had over 330 specific skill fields called “military occupational specialties,” or, in army jargon, MOS. The army grouped them into various career fields such as personnel, communications, and so on.3 The chosen MOS determined much about the soldier’s destiny, including initial training, assignments, quality of life, and promotion prospects. Although the army was trying to
downplay the differences of these fields and make all of them more warrior-like, these specialties generally aligned along traditional groupings of combat, combat support, and combat service support.4 Let us briefly look at what kind of fields soldiers could serve in the post–cold war army. COMBAT ARMS Infantry The traditional combat arms of armor and infantry formed the core of maneuver units. When soldiers joined the infantry, their first assignment would be to Fort Benning, Georgia, for training at the Infantry School. While there, they trained in one of two special tracks: light or mechanized infantry. Each of these fields had evolved in such a way that each possessed unique skills, weapons, and tactics. All but the mechanized forces, which accompanied tanks on the battlefield, were considered as light infantry. By 1989, the standard infantry battalion had essentially disappeared from the U.S. Army, and the half dozen that remained were split between the Berlin Brigade in Germany and the Sixth Infantry Division in Alaska. Within two years, these battalions would disappear, as the troops in Berlin were no longer needed and the Alaskan battalions converted to a modified organization to support the new light infantry division organization. The cause of their demise was their large size, approximately 874 soldiers, and their excessive support requirements.5 The failure of American forces on Desert One, observations of Soviet activities in Afghanistan, and the potential for military operations in other parts of the world indicated that the nation needed an infantry force that it could deploy rapidly in response to a regional crisis. After years of discussion and debate, the infantry structure, which emerged in 1983, consisted of three major components: light, airmobile, and airborne. The light infantry battalion was the heir to the ground forces that had slogged their way through World War II and the jungles of Vietnam. At the squad level, the differences between the new and old organizations were in the number of soldiers and the quality of the firepower. The new doctrine reduced the squad from 12 to 9 soldiers. The advantage of this smaller organization was an ability to maneuver with two teams: one moving, while the other provided overwatching fire. The squad leader controlled his organization by communicating by voice command or hand signals to his two team leaders. Revised squad tactics, which the army had learned and forgotten in the years since World War II, became the cornerstone of instruction at all training centers after the elevation of General William E. DePuy to commander of the new U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) in 1974. Terms such as traveling, traveling overwatch, and bounding overwatch became fundamental skills for all soldiers, and by 1989, these new tactics were the foundation of small unit maneuver.6 Although smaller than earlier organizations, the modern squad possessed excellent firepower, with seven M16A2 rifles, two equipped with M203 grenade launchers, and two M249 squad automatic weapons. The individual infantryman would also carry an array of grenades, mines, and M72 light antitank weapons, or LAWS.7 A
ORGANIZING THE ARMY FROM 1989 TO THE PRESENT
second lieutenant, assisted by his platoon sergeant, commanded the light infantry platoon. Together, they controlled three rifle squads and a small headquarters consisting of a forward observer team, a medic, two M60 machine gun teams, and a radio-telephone operator. If the unit was airborne or on air assault, the machine gun teams moved to a weapons squad and added two M47 DRAGON medium antitank missiles. The DRAGON was a wire-guided missile that replaced the Vietnam-era 90-mm recoilless rifle. Weighing a little more than 25 pounds, it was a bulky system and difficult to fire. However, its 140-mm high-explosive antitank warhead and 1,000-meter range made it an extremely valuable weapon for the light infantryman. The infantry were never happy with the DRAGON, and by 1998, the army replaced it with the much more effective Javelin anti-tank guided missile.8 A captain commanded the light infantry company from his small headquarters. In addition to his three platoons, he controlled additional firepower with a mortar section of two M224 60-mm mortars. The lightweight M224 could lob high explosive rounds out to 3,500 meters and gave the infantry leader his own responsive artillery. To the soldier, the most important person in the 130-soldier company was the first sergeant, who watched over every aspect of his professional life. Along with his platoon sergeant, these senior noncommissioned officers were constantly inspecting his equipment and living space if he lived in the barracks. It was, however, much leaner and unlike the infantry company of the Vietnam era, with all administration and supply now consolidated at battalion. The old company clerk was a relic of the past.9 Three infantry companies and a headquarters company formed the light infantry battalion. The headquarters had a small staff, a scout platoon, and a mortar platoon with four 81-mm mortars. The army had 19 of these 567-man battalions in 1989. Without question, these were lean units, designed primarily to get soldiers on the ground quickly.10 One variation of the light infantry was the air assault battalion, which many soldiers wanted to join because of their esprit and opportunity for more exciting use. The army had 21 of these battalions, primarily in the 101st Air Assault Division and the 25th Infantry Division. These units were heirs of the air mobility concept introduced in the army during the early years of the Vietnam War and made famous by Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway’s book We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young and the 2002 movie of the same name, starring Mel Gibson. In Vietnam, these units used the UH-1 “Huey” helicopters to fly deep into selected locations and fight the Viet Cong or North Vietnamese People’s Army. Once on the ground, these light forces used Cobra attack helicopters, artillery, and air force attack aircraft to generate enough firepower to fight the, often, larger enemy forces.11 By 1989, infantry soldiers could elect to go to air assault training and join one of these battalions, which were configured generally the same as the light infantry battalions. Its major difference was in how it got to the battlefield. Using the new UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and the old, but remodeled, CH-47 Chinook medium helicopter, airmobile commanders could move more troops and equipment farther and faster than their Vietnam-era predecessors. The Black Hawk was over 20 knots faster than the old UH-1 Huey and could carry a full 11-man infantry squad over 110 nautical miles in less
than an hour and return for another load. The CH-47 Chinook had been in the army’s inventory since the 1960s but was now receiving its fourth upgrade to the “D” model. Its value was its ability to carry, or sling load under the aircraft, light vehicles, towed artillery, or ammunition and food pallets to support the assault infantry. Once the troops were on the ground and the helicopters gone, the airmobile infantry battalion fought like regular infantry and required extensive combat support, especially from the air, to generate combat power against a determined foe.12 The last kind of light infantry unit soldiers could volunteer for was the airborne. These units attracted some of most aggressive and motivated soldiers. Airborne soldiers came in three varieties: the regular airborne, the more specialized rangers, and the special forces. Nine out of 10 of the airborne battalions operated under control of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Just like their World War II predecessors, who jumped into Normandy and Holland, the army had the capability to drop these soldiers on the ground, anywhere in the world, without regard to airfields or ports. The soldiers underwent rigorous training at Fort Benning, Georgia, that included three weeks of airborne training and five jumps from air force cargo aircraft. At the end of the training, they were certified as parachutists and received their jump wings and were generally sent to an airborne company. Organized as light infantry, they routinely practiced parachuting into enemy territory, gathering and organizing their equipment, and then moving to combat. One battalion of these troopers was kept at constant readiness so as to be on the way to anywhere in the world in 18 hours as the nation’s strategic reaction force.13
Special Operations Forces One other infantry category that formed part of the army’s airborne structure in 1989, and saw extensive use in Panama, Kurdistan, Somalia, and Afghanistan, was its Special Operations Forces (SOF). The infantry component of this force consisted of two very different kinds of troops, rangers and the special forces. Rangers were the army’s shock troops. These soldiers, all volunteers, were considered by all as the toughest fighters. Certainly they had the most extensive physical fitness and small-unit training of any unit in the army. Their baptism of fire as a new organization was Operation Just Cause, where they secured Rio Hato and Torrijos Airport. As light troops, however, they had little staying power on the ground, as operations in Mogadishu later demonstrated. Soldiers who join the 75th Ranger Regiment do one thing when not in combat: train. They exercise daily, practice fire their weapons, and practice skills. They rehearse different kinds of missions such as hostage rescue, intelligence collection, and limited attacks to capture or destroy special targets. With each of the three battalions ready to deploy on only 18 hours notice, Rangers find themselves sent on practice missions from the artic to the jungles. Usually the training unit parachutes from Air Force aircraft into the training area, executes the practice mission, then have an after-action review, and fly home. Soldiers in Ranger units have very high morale and consider themselves the army’s elite troops. 14 With a completely different mission were the Special Forces, the famous Green Berets. Organized into four special forces groups, they were primarily not fighters, but
ORGANIZING THE ARMY FROM 1989 TO THE PRESENT
advisors and trainers. They received extensive experience during the Vietnam War and remained the mainstay of international training activities and covert military operations throughout the cold war. During Operation Desert Storm, these soldiers worked with Saudi Arabian, Syrian, Egyptian, and other non–North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) units to improve coordination among the entire coalition. Throughout this period, the Green Berets found themselves on the front line in the war against militant Islam and drug warlords. Their focus was on winning the allegiance of the local population and having them combat terrorists with as little American intervention as possible. During the early stages of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, small special forces elements advised indigenous Afghan forces in their successful ouster of the Taliban government.15 Taken together, the special operations forces became increasingly important, as the focus of American policy changed from its focus on heavy combat to fighting insurgencies. But the bedrock of the American army remained the conventional force, and many infantrymen joined the heavy maneuver forces that rode into battle in tracked vehicles. By 1989, the venerable Vietnam-era M113 armored personnel carrier was still in use but on its way out as the primary infantry carrier. This aluminum-hulled, lightly armored vehicle was designed to transport infantry soldiers to the battle area, behind battle tanks. At the appropriate time, the infantry would dismount and, using the tanks’ armor for cover, help secure the objective or defend it from counterattack.16 This vehicle was no longer satisfactory, and most mechanized infantry soldiers used the Bradley fighting vehicle, or BFV, named for the World War II leader general of the army Omar Bradley, who had passed away only several years earlier, in 1981. The standard version was the M2, designed for the infantry. This was a large vehicle, over nine feet high, and carried a nine-man infantry squad, including the gunner, driver, and vehicle commander. Although not as heavily armored as a tank, it was a powerful fighting machine. The commander and gunner operated from a turret that controlled a 25-mm Bushmaster automatic cannon, a 7.62-mm machine gun, and a TOW17 antitank missile. In addition, the onboard infantry squad could participate in the fight using six firing ports on the sides and rear of the vehicle. Most important, it was fast and possessed almost the same speed and mobility as the new M1 tank. By 1990, over 44 battalions had turned in the M113 for the new M2. The M3 cavalry fighting vehicle (CFV) carried more ammunition, a three-man crew, and two additional scouts.18 Four Bradleys and 36 soldiers made a platoon, commanded by a lieutenant. One vehicle served as the platoon headquarters, and there was one for each of the three squads. The platoon almost always fought as a unit and was seldom broken up. The biggest command decision a platoon leader usually had to make was to stay mounted or stop the carrier and let the infantry move on the ground. Once the squad dismounted, the fighting vehicles provided covering, then called “overwatching,” fire, while the dismounted elements maneuvered to the objective. The dismounted platoon had only 23 soldiers and was limited in the amount of combat it could sustain without Bradley supporting fire. Keeping this limitation in mind, the BFV was an incredibly powerful machine, and its TOW missile system, of which it carried two ready to fire, could destroy most of the
world’s armored vehicles. Its 25-mm Bushmaster cannon could be fired on the move and carried 300 armored piercing and high-explosive rounds ready to fire. The Bushmaster was extremely effective against enemy fortifications. It gave the infantry platoon the capability to, as pointed out by one captain, “reach out and touch” fortifications out of range of most enemy weapons. On Desert Storm, fire from this potent system caused enemy bunkers to collapse.19 Three platoons and a small company headquarters made up the mechanized company. Unlike the organization of the 1970s, the company no longer had a weapons platoon or a maintenance section. It was purely a fighting organization and could fight either as a pure mechanized infantry company or, by exchanging platoons with tank companies, as a mechanized company team. The company commander could also expect other elements to ride along with him into battle. These could be, depending on the unit’s mission, an engineer squad, a Stinger team or Vulcan section for air defense, a field artillery fire support team (FIST), and a maintenance and medical team.20
Armor While most maneuver soldiers were in the infantry, the glamour arm of the army at the end of the cold war was armor. Armor warfare received great emphasis following the United States’ withdrawal from Vietnam and the dramatic armor encounters during the 1973 Arab-Israeli War. When the reformers during this period looked at their probable Warsaw Pact enemy, they realized that they based their entire way of war on tank and mechanized forces.21 The Active Defense doctrine specified that the tank was the “primary offensive weapon in mounted warfare” and “all other elements of the combined arms team must be employed to support and assist the forward movement of tanks.”22 In 1989, a tank battalion had 58 of these 67-ton monsters. A tank crew had four members and, unlike infantry squads or most other units, required exactly four to operate effectively. All members were connected by an intercommunication system that they operated through their combat vehicle crew, or CVC, helmet. The driver operated the automotive portion of the vehicle and responded to the direction of the tank commander. He was also responsible for alerting the crew to obstacles and hidden enemy just forward of the tank. The junior member of the tank, the loader, maintained and loaded the ammunition into the main gun and a 7.62-mm machine gun that fired from the loader’s hatch. The loader responded to the commander’s direction as to what kind of ammunition to have loaded in the main gun. The gunner, usually a sergeant grade E5, used his laser range finder and thermal imagery sight to identify targets, day or night, and destroy them with the main gun. For personnel or thin-skinned vehicles, he could also use his 7.62-mm machine gun. The senior member of the crew was the tank commander, either a senior sergeant or lieutenant, who could also view targets through the thermal sights. In commanding the tank, he made all the decision as to how to move, what targets to engage, and what kind of ammunition to use. In addition, he maintained contact with his platoon leader by hand signals or FM radio.23
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The tank platoon in 1989 consisted of four tanks, a decrease of one from the Vietnamera army. The platoon leader, a lieutenant, commanded one of the tanks, while a platoon sergeant in the grade of E7 commanded another. The two other tanks, often called wingmen, since they operated on the wings of the platoon leader or platoon sergeant, were controlled by staff sergeants (E6). As with the crew, the platoon needed exactly 16 soldiers to operate, no more, no less. It had no place to carry extra soldiers to replace losses in case one of the regular crew was sick or injured. Such temporary replacements had to come from the company or battalion. The captain commanding the company had four platoons under his control, with a total of 5 officers and 57 enlisted soldiers. He and his executive officer each had their own M1A1 tank. The E8 first sergeant also controlled two HMMWVs, an M113 armored personnel carrier, and a 5-ton truck, which carried the supply sergeant and armorer. The modern tank company was a bare-boned organization with none of the extras that characterized the 91-soldier Vietnam-era company.24 Like the mechanized infantry battalion, the tank battalion had four maneuver companies and a headquarters company, all commanded by a lieutenant colonel. Embedded within the headquarters company was a scout platoon and a heavy mortar platoon with six M107-mm self-propelled mortars. The headquarters company also coordinated the battalion command post, a maintenance section, a supply section, and any other units that senior headquarters would attach for a specific mission.25 The armor soldier could also be assigned to a cavalry platoon. In 1989, these came in two varieties: armored and divisional. Divisional cavalry troops, primarily equipped with the M3 Bradley CFV, was the division’s primary ground reconnaissance unit. In spite of warnings from World War II and Vietnam-era cavalrymen, the army pulled all the tanks from divisional cavalry squadrons to use in other combat organizations. This new divisional cavalry organization was no longer assigned directly to the division commander, but to a new organization: the Aviation (sometimes referred to as the 4th) Brigade. Nevertheless, this squadron, organized into two ground troops and two air troops, was the division commander’s primary organization for conducting reconnaissance and security operations. However, without tanks, its ability to conduct heavy combat in a high-intensity environment was limited. As mentioned previously, in addition to the divisional squadron, each tank and mechanized infantry battalion also had a scout platoon with six M3 CFVs. The CFV was similar to the infantry fighting vehicle, except it had less room for soldiers and more for ammunition.26 The other kind of cavalry unit was the armored cavalry regiment. In 1989, three of these heavy units were still in the army’s active organization: the 2nd, the 3rd, and the 11th. Each armored cavalry regiment, or ACR, had the same roles as the divisional unit: reconnaissance and security. However, because of its heavy combined arms organization, the regiment could also conduct the same heavy combat operations as a mechanized division, with the exception of those missions that were infantry-specific. The typical armored cavalry squadron had 41 tanks, 38 CFVs, and a field artillery battery of eight M109, 155-mm self-propelled howitzers. Each regiment had three of these ground squadrons and an engineer squadron. It was a powerful and flexible organization.27
Artillery Throughout history, field artillery has been a branch that attracted the most technically and mathematically inclined soldiers. It was also the most lethal since a small artillery battery had the capability of killing many soldiers and destroying a large amount of equipment with each and every round. The advent of precision weapons and multiple munitions warheads only increased its effect. Each maneuver brigade had a direct support artillery battalion. Along with the 24 M109A2 155-mm self-propelled artillery systems, this battalion contained over 250 other vehicles, including fire support vehicles (FIST-V), command tracks (M577), ammunition trucks, fuel trucks, and tracked ammunition carriers. The actual tactical direction of this large organization was usually in the hands of the unit executive officer because the commander’s second role was even more important. He was the brigade commander’s key to the division’s fire support system. Not only could he call for his own battalion’s fire, but he could quickly channel fire from all of the other division and corps artillery units, if available. Since World War II, the field artillery has been at the core of the U.S. Army’s way of war. Better than any other military in the world, American artillerymen have been able to mass indirect fire, from a variety of sources, on a single target. During the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam, the artillery branch continued to improve its ability to deliver accurate fire in support of infantrymen on the ground. During the 1980s, this ability continued to evolve as the artillerymen worked to better coordinate their activities with both aviation and ground units as well as with counterfire against enemy artillery. The apogee of this artillery performance was during Operation Desert Storm, with the VII Corps using eight brigades of artillery, including one British divisional artillery brigade, to destroy and disrupt Iraqi units throughout the depth of the battlefield. During Desert Storm, the primary weapon systems were the M109, 155-mm self-propelled howitzer, the new multiple-launch rocket system (MLRS), and, used primarily by National Guard units, the M110 203-mm self-propelled howitzer. These systems could attack targets at ranges between 8 and 20 miles away. Also used for the first time was the Army Tactical Missile System, or ATACMS, which could reach enemy units over 50 miles beyond the American front line.28 The artillery battalion was a complex organization that included far more than its artillery weapons. Each battery had a fire direction center that controlled the fire of its six guns. It also had an ammunition section, with trucks and trailers capable of moving the heavy artillery shells and propellant to the vehicles. Soldiers working in the ammunition section would be performing tasks of carrying and loading shells, at the firing battery, a task that had changed little since World War II. The field artillery (FA) battalion looked simple on paper but was actually quite complex. A FA battalion was normally placed in direct support of a maneuver brigade. It was that commander’s responsibility, through his command post, to coordinate all the indirect fire that the brigade required, including mortars, attack helicopters, and air force aircraft. To provide observed fire, the FA battalion sent fire support teams to forward units in modified M113 armored personnel carriers to act as forward observers with units on the line. In addition, each battalion
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had access to the findings of the firefinder radars, assigned to the target acquisition battery, which located enemy artillery fire. The battalion also had the standard complement of maintenance, communications, medical, and administrative soldiers.29 Air Defense Artillery Air defense artillery soldiers, trained at Fort Bliss, Texas, were responsible for clearing the skies of enemy aircraft that could interfere with the conduct of operations on the ground. By 1991, air defense artillery rested on two basic systems. At the tactical level, Stinger teams worked with individual companies and troops. This fire and forget rocket was small enough to be carried by individual soldiers and relatively easy to use. The reality of American air dominance is such that these missiles, along with the M163 Vulcan gun system, were almost never used during the post–cold war era. The only aircraft that flew were those that the United States wanted to fly.30 The second kind of system, and far more important during this period, was the Patriot air defense system. The Patriot was a dramatic element in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, intercepting a number of Iraqi-launched Scud missiles targeted against both Saudi Arabia and Israel.31 Aviation Soldiers found aviation to be a very attractive branch. Only officers and warrant officers piloted army aircraft, while enlisted soldiers served as crew chiefs on Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters and observers on OH-58 reconnaissance helicopters. The most important helicopter system in the army was the AH-64 Apache attack helicopter. Equipped with sophisticated night vision systems and armed with Hellfire missiles, rockets, and a 30-mm chain gun, the Apache was designed to be a tank killer and was an extremely deadly aircraft. Aviation soldiers took their advanced training at Fort Rucker, Alabama. COMBAT SUPPORT Combat arms soldiers had fighting as their primary responsibility. Other soldiers had to fight, but their primary role was to perform other tasks that allowed the infantry, armor, artillery, and attack helicopters to do their jobs efficiently. These soldiers were considered by the military as performing the role of combat support. These branches allowed women to participate at all levels, and they could be found in the heat of battle and confronting enemy soldiers and hostile civilians. Engineers One of the most important groups were the engineers, who received their training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. These soldiers were responsible for three specific tasks in the army: first, they ensured that the military forces could move where they wanted to, a mission called “mobility.” Using M9 armored combat earthmovers, combat
engineer vehicles, explosives, mine-clearing equipment, and a host of other standard or experimental equipment, engineers breached enemy obstacles and allowed the combat units to move into enemy-controlled territory. It was the combat engineer units that directed the breaching of the border berm along the Iraqi border in 1991.32 Once the battle passed, the engineers used standard construction equipment to build and improve roads and bridge rivers. For example, the 1st Armored Division engineers constructed the longest pontoon bridge since World War II to cross the Sava River in 1995 and allowed the Americans to occupy their sector in Bosnia. Once in their sector, the engineers used their mine detectors and mine-clearing devices to open the roads to an adjacent areas for the movement of the troops on patrol.33 The engineers’ second mission was counter mobility. This is the opposite of mobility, and it involved the use of mines, explosives, and heavy machinery. In this role, the same construction troops took on the role of destroyer: blowing up bridges, constructing barriers to movement, and emplacing minefields. The third mission was survivability and involved the construction of combat fighting positions, command posts, and other facilities that allowed a force to perform its role in the field.34
Signal Soldiers Signal soldiers, trained at Fort Gordon, Georgia, were responsible for establishing and maintaining communications between units of all sizes. Communications in the modern era has become incredibly complex and ranges from simple land-line telephones that World War I–era soldiers would understand, to simple radios of the Vietnam era, to an whole array of digital, cellular, and computer-based systems. Means of sending information have changed from simple wire and radio waves to optical fiber, microwave, and satellite methods. This information all has to be secure from enemy interference or interception and capable of rapid processing in computer-based information systems. In addition, most of these systems need to be flexible, based on military movements.35
Military Police Soldiers in military police (MP) units had a difficult time during the post–cold war era, and there were never enough to go around. While not formally combat soldiers, they were in the front lines from the beginning of the period and always in danger. Trained at Fort McClellan, Alabama, they were responsible for police duties that were specifically military in nature, such as route reconnaissance, watching the various roadways after they were open, maintaining the traffic flow on the main supply routes, and controlling stragglers. In this era, working with the large numbers of refugees displaced by fighting was a major task. They had major security responsibilities, especially within areas claimed to be secure by major combat forces. They were the first responders in the event of a terrorist attack and also led many convoys on dangerous routes. MPs ran the prisoner of war and internee collection points, manned the military jails and prisons, and supervised the evacuation of these personnel to other locations. Finally, they were
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the military’s basic law and order organization, which included traffic control, criminal investigation, and the confinement of military prisoners. All of these tasks brought them into dangerous situations.36 Military Intelligence Specialists Not always in the line of fire, but extremely important to the modern American army, were the military intelligence specialists. These young men and women, and there were many women in this branch, turned information gathered from various sources into intelligence that commanders could use to understand the environment they operated in. In most traditional conflicts, the “G2,” or intelligence staff, focused on three main elements: the enemy, the weather, and the terrain. This information was normally obtained by human means such as contact with enemy forces, prisoner interrogations, aerial reconnaissance reports, and some radio interception. In the post–cold war era, the intelligence tasks were more difficult. Now the G2 had to manage a variety of collection devices, including ground surveillance radars, electronic emissions intercepts, electronic jamming devices, ground and airborne direction finding and attack systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, satellite imagery, and a variety of human intelligence. In addition, with the army deployed in a variety of peacekeeping, humanitarian missions, tactical commanders also depended on the intelligence soldier for information about the local area and its inhabitants. Cultural awareness was a term used often in the post–cold war era.37 Chemical Corps Soldiers Many of the United States’ potential opponents had the capability to use nuclear, biological, or chemical agents. Following the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, and the realization of the Soviet’s chemical warfare capability, the U.S. Army has placed increasing emphasis on protecting its soldiers from this kind of attack. In the post–September 11 era, with the rise of international terrorism and the potential for hostile groups to gain and use these so-called weapons of mass destruction, these responsibilities for protection became increasingly important. The Chemical Corps soldiers, trained at Fort McClellan, Alabama, had the responsibility of protecting American soldiers from these threats. Assigned at almost every level of command, Chemical Corps soldiers helped to maintain protective equipment and clothing, prepared for the daunting task of decontaminating military equipment, and coordinated the training of soldiers required to operate in a contaminated environment.38 Civil Affairs Units One other group that became more important in the post–cold war era were soldiers assigned to civil affairs units. Soldiers assigned to these units, usually from the National Guard or Army Reserve, had the responsibility of working with local friendly inhabitants. Their duties could range from assisting with establishing effective health
services to supervising the erection of a public school. After Operation Desert Storm, these soldiers worked with the thousands of refugees driven out of Iraq by the Shiite revolt in the south and the Kurdish revolt, as part of Operation Provide Comfort, in the north. These soldiers became essential during relief operations in Somalia, peacekeeping in Bosnia, and in the effort to rebuild the Iraqi and Afghan governments at the end of military operations.39 COMBAT SERVICE SUPPORT Modern armies do not place most of their soldiers in front-line combat units, or even in the combat support organizations. A very large proportion of these soldiers are those who, in modern jargon, sustain the force. In fact, it is normal for most soldiers in a deployed theater of operations to be those who are providing the infrastructure for the army to operate in the field. The list of these functions is long, but it gives an idea of where most soldiers are actually working.40 Equipment Specialists and Mechanics In post–cold war years, every unit had soldiers from the Ordnance Corps and trained at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, assigned to maintain their complex equipment. At the basic level, most units had a small-arms repair specialist, often as an additional duty, to fix the unit’s personal and crew weapons. Each battalion had its own maintenance section that took care of repairing and servicing the unit’s tracked and wheeled vehicles, aircraft, and other heavy equipment. Combat and combat support battalions had mechanics trained to service the vehicle turrets and heavy weapons. Most units had someone to repair radios and communications equipment. Each division had several battalions devoted to providing what the army calls direct support maintenance. Maintenance soldiers at this level provided more sophisticated and complex repairs, such as repairing tank engines or restoring vehicle radios. All of this work can be done by the unit in a deployed, combat environment. Finally, there was a whole array of general support and depot-level maintenance that could essentially rebuild vehicles and major items of equipment. Soldiers working in these organizations were generally given titles like mechanic, repairman, or technician.41 Explosive Device Specialists and Ammunition Supervision and Maintenance Ordnance Corps soldiers performed two other major service support functions. They were the ones that destroyed explosive devices such as old mines and ammunition. Called explosive ordnance disposal, or EOD, these specialists became more important in the post–cold war era. On one level, they trained to respond to random terrorist bombings. On another, they worked during peacekeeping operations to locate and destroy some of the tens of thousands of mines that litter old battlefields. A second responsibility of Ordnance soldiers was ammunition supervision and maintenance. They were the ones that ensured it was shipped properly, stored properly, and handled by all units
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safely. They maintained ammunition supply points and kept track of the wide range of munitions used by the army. In addition, they inspected this ammunition to ensure that it was usable by the soldiers in the field. When it was no longer useable, they coordinated with EOD specialists for its destruction.42
Supply Specialists Supply specialists, generally quartermaster-branch soldiers trained at Fort Lee, Virginia, managed the incredible array of products and materials that kept the army operating. Traditionally, these products were organized into various classes of supply. Food was the first class of supply and included food service specialists, who organized its procurement and distribution, through ration supply points, to unit cooks and dining facilities. The second class of supply was very general and ranged from mechanics toolboxes to clothing, chemical defense equipment, and unclassified maps. The soldiers who managed these items were generally referred to as supply clerks, and they used a wide array of computer programs to monitor, process, and order these supplies. The next category of supply, called Class III, comprised fuel and other petroleum products such as oil and grease. Soldiers in this field, petroleum supply specialists, worked in a variety of capacities, including driving the large HEMTT fuel trucks, for use in the combat zone, and large fuel tankers. They supervised fuel supply points and aviation fuel supply points and controlled and coordinated the distribution of supplies. They were also responsible for maintaining the purity of this fuel since, if contaminated, it could destroy tank and aircraft engines. The next category of supply (Class IV) comprised building materials used by engineer soldiers. Class V supply items were the ammunition managed and distributed by the Ordinance soldiers. Items procured for purchase by soldiers, called Class VI, were also shipped into each theater of operations. Major equipment, such as tanks, aircraft, and trucks, were considered as the seventh category of supply. Supply specialists also managed the procurement and distribution of water.43
Quartermaster Soldiers and Field Services Quartermaster soldiers in the post–cold war army performed a wide range of tasks, called field services, that allowed the combat and combat support soldiers to accomplish their missions. These began with the essential tasks of cooking and distributing food and purifying and locating water supplies. These functions were generally done at all levels of the organization. These were the soldiers, not those in the personnel field, that took care of those soldiers who died in the service. Mortuary activities included taking care of the soldier’s body and his or her personnel effects. These all needed to be treated with respect and precision to avoid serious morale problems among the soldiers and their families. During combat, this process included locating, identifying, and registering the graves of deceased soldiers. These soldiers were the ones who, long after combat was over, continued to investigate old battlefields to find those missing in action. Fort Lee– trained soldiers planned and supervised the aerial delivery of all kinds of supplies by
air landing, helicopter, or parachute. They operated field laundries and shower points. Finally, they established field tailor shops to repair military clothing and exchange facilities to replace those no longer repairable. Supply soldiers performed a large array of tasks that were essential to the operations of the army.44 Transportation Services Fort Eustis, Virginia, trained those soldiers who chose transportation as their career field. These soldiers managed a complex system that tied in to the Defense Transportation System, the central clearing house for all military movements. On one level, these soldiers operated control headquarters to ensure that unit moves happened in a smooth and logical manner. For example, movement control centers identified main and secondary supply routes and granted units and convoys permission to use them for specific periods. This practice reduced congestion and ensured that they arrived with minimal disruption. These soldier also operated terminals, essentially facilities at ports and airfields, that received military equipment and units. The casual reader may be surprised at the size of the army’s “navy” of harbor vessels used to unload ships and conduct port operations. One of the transportation branch’s key tasks was to manage what they called “nodes.” Essentially, these were the locations where different kinds of transportation means, such as air, rail, truck, and ship, all came together. To most army soldiers, the most visible aspect of this branch was the many truck companies that supported the modern force. Army units employed thousands of trucks of all sizes, most operated by transportation branch soldiers. Less obvious was that these soldiers also had the capability to manage and repair railroads in the theater of operations.45 Health Services Health services were essential to the army’s operations. This was a complex system, with most soldiers trained at the Army Medical Department Center and School, located at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Soldiers in this field performed a wide range of tasks, including treating wounded soldiers from the battlefield and evacuating them back to hospitals in the field and in the United States. They operated these hospitals and worked at all levels. They supplied all medical units and facilities with medicine and supplies. They operated dental clinics and veterinary clinics in the field and at remote sites. They supervised preventive medical measures to maintain the soldiers’ health in the field, the same kinds of functions that any public health department would perform in the United States. Finally, they also operated mental health facilities for those soldiers involved in combat operations.46 Human Resources Like any large organization, the post–cold war army had a large human resources organization. These soldiers received their training at the Adjutant General School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Assigned at battalion and above, they ensured that soldiers
ORGANIZING THE ARMY FROM 1989 TO THE PRESENT
were properly assigned according to the complex authorization tables that dictated each unit’s organization. They managed unit replacements and operated replacement detachments. They maintained unit strengths and attempted to maintain accounting of soldiers in transit, on leave, sick in the hospital, or who became causalities. Although the quartermaster soldiers took care of the deceased soldier’s personnel remains and effects, it was the adjutant general soldier who managed the casualty system, to include the notification of next of kin and arranging for casualty assistance officers. In addition, these soldiers took care of all personnel services, which included awards, promotions, reassignments, and identification documents as well as special investigations. They also ran the army postal system, controlled the unit band, and monitored the soldiers’ morale and helped to provide appropriate recreation such as gyms and movie theaters.47 Finance and JAG Services The post–cold war army needed a variety of other services to operate. It had a finance branch that supervised dispersal of funds to soldiers, contractors, and even civilians in the field during peacekeeping operations. Of increasing importance during this period were the legal services provided by Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) lawyers and soldiers. Especially during peacekeeping and counterinsurgency operations, military lawyers guided the commanders and assisted the troops in a variety of ways. They assisted with wills, powers of attorney, civil disputes, contracts, and any other traditional form of legal assistance. Of course, they also represented those soldiers charged with crimes. When deployed overseas, JAG soldiers worked with host countries and their citizens to navigate the complex world of local laws and customs. Army chaplains provided religious support and counseling to soldiers and their families and acted as advisors to unit commanders on the command’s health and welfare. Of course, the army had a number of military bands designed to contribute to the morale of the individual soldier.48 What the reader should gather from this short summary is that the army of the post–cold war era was an incredibly complex organization. Combat units, using tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, attack helicopters, and field artillery cannons and rockets, attacked the enemy force. Combat support units, such as intelligence, engineers, and MPs, helped the combat arms soldiers accomplish their tasks. Finally, the service support soldiers provided the infrastructure to make all of this happen. What changed in the 1990s and into the next millennium was that all of these young men and women were in the line of fire. There were no rear areas, as any place where soldiers worked and lived was a target for an insurgent or a long-range missile. NOTES 1. Jonathan M. House, Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century, ed. Theodore A. Wilson, Modern War Studies (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001). 2. Glen R. Hawkins and James Jay Carafano, Prelude to Army XXI: U.S. Army Division Design Initiatives and Experiments, 1917–1995 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 19–26. Vincent H. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989, ed.
Susan Carroll (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 63–64. John L. Romjue, The Army of Excellence: The Development of the 1980s Army (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1997). 3. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 116. 4. Ibid., 63–85. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 100-5, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1986), 27. 5. John B. Wilson, Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades, Army Lineage Series (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 390–91. Dwight D. Oland Jr. and David W. Hogan, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1992 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 33–39. U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Student Text 101-1: Organizational and Tactical Reference Data for the Army in the Field (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1989), 4–22. 6. William E. DuPuy, “Briefing at Fort Polk, Louisiana, 7 June, 1973,” in Selected Papers of General William E. DuPuy, ed. Richard M. Swain, Donald L. Gilmore, and Carolyn D. Conway (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1994), 62–63. The author participated in these “new” tactics during his Reserve Officers’ Training Corps summer camp in the summer of 1974. 7. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-8, the Infantry Platoon and Squad, with change 1 ed., Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1992), chap. 2, Appendix B. Donald S. Pihl and George E. Dausman, eds., United States Army: Weapon Systems 1990 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990), 39–41. 8. George C. Wilson, Mud Soldiers: Life inside the New American Army (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989), 154–56. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-8, chap. 2, Appendixes A and B. U.S. Army Material Command, “Army Weapons and Equipment,” Army 52 (2002): 286. U.S. Army Material Command, “Army Weaponry and Equipment,” Army 40 (1990): 322. 9. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-10, the Infantry Rifle Company, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1990), 1–9 to 1–11. U.S. Army Material Command, “Army Weaponry and Equipment,” 263. 10. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 63–82. DTOE 07015C000 Infantry Battalion, Infantry Division, Light, October 2005. 11. Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway, We Were Soldiers Once . . . And Young (New York: Harper Perennial, 1992). John M. Carland, Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide: May 1965–October 1966, United States Army in Vietnam (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2000), 113–50. 12. Pihl and Dausman, United States Army, 94–97. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-10, 1–10. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 71-100-3, Air Assault Division Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1996), chap. 1. 82nd Airborne Division, Annual Historical Summary, ed. William T. Steele (Fort Bragg, NC: 82nd Airborne Division, 2002), chap. 1. 13. XVIII Airborne Corps Annual Historical Review 1997 (Fort Bragg, NC: HQ, XVIII Airborne Corps, 1998), 69–116. 14. R. Cody Phillips, Operation Just Cause: The Incursion into Panama (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2004), 21, 32. Http://www.soc.mil/75thrr/75th_home.html, accessed 3 December, 2007. 15. Charles H. Briscoe, Richard L. Kiper, James A. Schroder, Kalev I. Sepp, Weapon of Choice: U.S. Army Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2003), 93–202. An excellent overview of the Green Berets in the period after September 11, 2001, is found in Robert D. Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond (New York: Vintage, 2005). 16. U.S. Army Material Command, “Army Weaponry and Equipment,” 339. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 71–1, the Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1977), 4–12. By 1989, over 80,000 of these vehicles had been built and were in service around the world. 17. TOW is short for “tube-launched, optically tracked, wire command–link guided.” 18. Pihl and Dausman, United States Army, 17. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-7j, the Mechanized Infantry Platoon and Squad (Bradley), Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1993), Appendix B.
ORGANIZING THE ARMY FROM 1989 TO THE PRESENT
19. Captain John E. Bushyhead, Interview by Robert Cook, Transcript, Washington, DC: U. S. Army Center of Military History, March 29, 1991. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-7j, chap. 1, 1–5. Tom Clancy, Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment (New York: Berkley Books, 1994), 74–78. 20. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 71-1, the Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company Team, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1998), chap. 1. 21. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 100-5, Operations, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1976), chap. 2. 22. Ibid., 4–7. 23. U.S. Department of the Army, ARTEP 17-237-11-Mtp Tank Crew Training Plan, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2003). U.S. Department of the Army, FM 3-20.12 Tank Gunnery (Abrams), Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2005). 24. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 3-20.15 Tank Platoon, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2001), chap. 1. 25. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 71-2, the Tank and Mechanized Infantry Battalion Task Force (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1988), chap. 2. Center for Army Tactics, Student Text 100-3: Battle Book (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1989), chap. 3. 26. Peter S Kindsvatter, The Army of Excellence Divisional Cavalry Squadron—A Doctrinal Step Backward? (Fort Leavenworth, KS, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1985). U.S. Department of the Army, FM 71-100, Division Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1990), 2–5. 27. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 100-15, Corps Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1989), 3–5 to 3–6. 28. Anthony H. Cordesman and Abraham R. Wagner, The Lessons of Modern War, vol. 4, The Gulf War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996), 712. Stephen A. Bourque, Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 192–93. 29. U.S. Department of the Army, DTOE 06302C00 HHB, Infantry Division Artillery, Heavy Division (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1996). U.S. Department of the Army, Field Artillery Battalion, Toe 06365a100, Etc. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1996). U.S. Department of the Army, Field Artillery Battery, Field Artillery Battalion, 155mm, SelfPropelled, Toe 06367a100/06367a200 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1996). Frank N. Schubert and Theresa L. Kraus, The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1995), 260–63. 30. Stephen K. Conver, “Army Weaponry and Equipment,” Army 41 (1991): 286–88. 31. Schubert and Kraus, Whirlwind War, 264. 32. Bourque, Jayhawk! 33. Robert Baumann, George W. Gawrych, and Walter E. Kretchik, Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004), 96 34. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 71-100, Division Operations, 1–19 to 1–20. 35. Ibid., 2–11. 36. Ibid., 1–16 to 1–17. 37. Ibid., 1–14 to 1–15. 38. Ibid., 1–16. 39. Ibid., 1–18. 40. General information for the following paragraphs comes from a variety of military texts, including U.S. Department of the Army, FM 3-0, Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2001), U.S. Department of the Army, FM 100-10, Combat Service Support, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1988), and Raymond K. Bluhm Jr. and James B. Motely, The Soldier’s Guidebook (Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1995). 41. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 4-0, Combat Service Support, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2003), 8–1 to 8–10. 42. Ibid., 8–10 to 8–16. 43. Ibid., 6–1 to 6–9.
44. 45. 46. 47. 48.
Ibid., 6–10 to 6–14. Ibid., 7–1 to 7–8. Ibid., 9–1 to 9–11. Ibid., 10–1 to 10–7. Ibid., 11–1 to 14–3.
Most Western nations have required their young men to serve in the armed forces during time of war, ever since the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century. In the United States, Congress passed conscription acts to raise troops during both the Civil War and the First World War. In both cases, these laws expired at the end of the conflict, and the army returned to voluntary recruitment as its primary method of raising soldiers in peacetime. At the beginning of the Second World War, the threat of war with Germany and Japan persuaded Congress to expand the size of the military establishment, and it enacted the Selective Service Act of 1940. This law continued, with a two-year break, from 1946 to 1948, in effect as the primary means of raising troops through the Second World War and Korea with little opposition from the American public. By the Vietnam era, the government was “drafting” about 300,000 men a year into the armed forces. The war in Vietnam, coinciding with the baby boomers’ coming of age, made the draft exceedingly unpopular. Rising casualty rates, real and perceived deferment inequalities, and the civil rights movement all created an atmosphere of resentment by those chosen to serve or under the threat of national service. Certainly the quality of the soldiers entering service was uneven as high school dropouts were twice as likely to join the service as college graduates. Soon after Richard Nixon assumed the presidency, he began to study ways of eliminating what had become a political problem.1 The government drafted the last soldier into the army on December 27, 1972, six months earlier than the expiration of the federal law. From then on, a period that coincided with the military’s withdrawal from Southeast Asia, the U.S. Army selected only volunteers.2 By 1989, the army had almost 770,000 soldiers on active service, only 50 percent of its combat strength at the height of the Vietnam War a decade earlier. While smaller, however, its soldiers were qualitatively superior to any other army in the nation’s history. It was a more complex force, with soldiers enlisting for a variety of reasons and coming from not only all regions of the nation, but also all races and both sexes. It consisted only of volunteers, with a greater percentage of the enlisted soldiers
possessing a high school education than in previous eras, and almost all of its officers had a college degree.3 WHO JOINED THE ARMY, AND WHY? In 1989, three-quarters of the officers and slightly less than half of the enlisted soldiers were married, with slightly more than 990,000 wives and children, now called “family members,” rather than the more pejorative term “dependent.” Over 32,000 of these soldiers were single parents, a phenomenon almost unheard of in earlier years, and another 28,000 were married to other service members. While it was still a white man’s army, blacks made up 31 percent of the force, and all other minorities 8 percent. Racial and ethnic tensions were less of a problem than ever before. White male dominance of the service continued to erode with women increasing to almost 11 percent of the force. Yet, in spite of the absence of a draft, the army continued to attract enough men and women to join the force and was attractive enough to induce them to stay beyond their initial obligation.4 This chapter, therefore, investigates three main questions: Who, why, and how did young men and women join the army? The first years of the new all-volunteer force did not go well. Recruiting for the general force was down, there were growing shortages of soldiers with critical skills, and the Carter administration was generally ambivalent to the military’s dilemma. Efforts were being made to lower recruiting standards and eliminate incentives to remain with the military as a career such as the 20-year retirement option. Senator Sam Nunn from Georgia, generally opposed to the direction the army was heading, indicated he believed the new army was doomed by starting hearings in 1978, stating, “There now appears to be a growing consensus that the All-Volunteer Force, as currently constituted, may fail to provide an adequate foundation for the future national security needs of our Nation.”5 Certainly, as it was currently configured, some members of Congress believed it was just too expensive.6 Two things reversed the confusion that staffing the army was inducing. First was the international standoff with Iran and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the winter of 1979, which forced the Carter administration to reconsider the use of force in international affairs. Army Chief of Staff General Shy Meyer’s warning to both the president and Congress of a “hollow army” had helped to change its defense orientation. The army’s budget grew from $23 billion in 1976 to $32 billion in fiscal year 1980, partially as a response to the inability of the force to face challenges in the world. It was a condition only highlighted by the fiasco of the hostage rescue mission in the spring of that year.7 Recognizing that the army also had internal problems, Meyer, who should be considered as one of the era’s most effective leaders, determined to overhaul the Army Recruiting Command. In 1979, he sent Major General Maxwell R. Thurman to take command of the troubled agency. An incredibly talented and driven officer, Thurman was, according to Bernard Rostker, who helped design the 1980s organization, “the most important person in the history of the All Volunteer Force.”8 In a brilliant move, Thurman hired a Madison Avenue advertising firm to help entice soldiers to enter. During production, however, Thurman did not let the advertisers
run the program alone. For example, in the middle of viewing one agency-produced recruiting movie, Mad Max, as Thurman was known throughout the army, demanded that the “soldier,” who was really only a skinny actor, be pulled and that only beefy, real warriors appear in the army’s recruiting films. This program, as everything else in the recruiting program, bore the mark of this intense officer. Americans who came of age in the 1980s will remember the army’s advertisements. First shown on television at the end of the 1980–1981 college football season, these television spots highlighted young soldiers jumping out of airplanes, scaling off mountains cliffs, and splashing across streams in tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. It targeted not only men, but also young women working on radarscopes, directing traffic, or helping in a hospital. Magazines and radio stations also carried the ubiquitous advertisements that hit at the heart of that generation’s dilemma: how to challenge yourself, get the education you need, and start on the road to success. It did not hurt that these ads were also exciting and thoughtprovoking and had a great sound track. At the end of each action-packed video clip or radio spot came a catchy jingle that challenged America’s youngsters to “be all you can be, in the army.” Stressing adventure, challenge, and the educational rewards of joining the army, the effort was one of the most successful advertising campaigns in American history.9 Key to the success of the program was the army recruiter. Immediately upon taking control, the new commander visited every one of his 57 recruiting battalion commanders and made the officers personally responsible for acquiring new soldiers. Under Thurman, the recruiting sergeants now became an intensively trained, motivated, and managed group. For an officer, failure to perform in a supervisory position would essentially terminate his or her career. In one of his first acts, he ordered that every officer in the command enlist one soldier in the service in the next 30 days or leave the organization—and probably end his career. By 1980, Recruiting Command was filling the army with highquality soldiers, and Thurman could claim responsibility for creating, for the first time in many years, a quality perception of the U.S. Army by the American people.10 However, Thurman’s Recruiting Command, with slick slogans and well-trained recruiters, would have no effect if their product, military service, did not have some appeal. What induced young men and women to join the service? Generally, we find that the promise of a better future, educational benefits, and financial bonuses were the most common reasons for this generation of Americans. Enlisting in the Service Washington Post journalist George C. Wilson lived for a year with a company of soldiers in 1987 during their training experience. Beginning at Fort Benning, Georgia, he watched them go through basic and advanced training. Since it was a “cohort” unit, designed to stay together through basic training to their first assignment, he then traveled with them to Fort Riley, Kansas, as the company became part of the First Infantry Division. He wanted to know how new members of the all-volunteer army compared with those of the draftee army a generation earlier. In addition to spending time talking to soldiers,
Wilson asked each of his young companions to fill out a questionnaire explaining the reasons why he joined the army. What Wilson discovered was that his subjects reflected the hopes and dreams of many recruits throughout America’s history. Some wished to get away from problems at home and start a new life. Others were tired of dead-end jobs in both the country’s small towns and urban areas. Some found themselves strapped to support young families on the minimal wages they were qualified to earn with their high school diplomas. Others came from poor or lower-middle-class families and wanted to take advantage of the military’s educational benefits. Some simply knew they lacked the discipline to succeed in a competitive economic world. Finally, there were those that simply wanted to experience danger—to test themselves, as young men had done since the beginning of time. At their core, all of these young men sought opportunity and, unlike most of their peers, were willing to take the chance to leave home and seek it. As Wilson noted, “They had no automatic up-escalator to step onto that would whisk them painlessly to colleges, to high-paying jobs, to homes in the suburbs with cars in the driveway. They had to risk their lives to get a chance at sharing the American dream.”11 Wilson’s informal study reflects the official data that soldiers enlisted because of solid advertising that appealed to their need to earn respect and a sense of adventure. These two generations, the last children of the World War II baby boom and the boomers’ children, believed that education was the ticket to success. The World War II,
Soldiers in training, 1989. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
Korean War, and Vietnam War soldier benefited from one of the great social programs of all time, the GI Bill. The educational benefits prompted the postwar veterans to return to college en masse, creating an educational boom in the United States. Universities and junior colleges sprouted in communities across the country to take care of the rising demand. The program continued into the Vietnam era as veterans in the thousands returned to school. That law then came to an end on December 31, 1978, with over 17,000,000 veterans of three wars receiving educational assistance. The new program, established by the Veterans’ Educational and Assistance Act of 1976, did not provided soldiers leaving the army with benefits as robust as those available to their fathers and older brothers.12 The Department of Defense, under the severe funding constraints during the Carter years, experimented with a variety of educational programs for service members. None of them was very successful, until Representative G. V. “Sonny” Montgomery of Mississippi pushed through a revised program of educational benefits that was attractive to the new recruit of the all-volunteer army.13 For those needing money for college, the Montgomery GI Bill was extremely popular. For the first year, soldiers were required to contribute $100 a month to the fund. After completing a three-year enlistment, the Veterans Administration matched the soldier’s $1,200 contribution with $9,600. The army also had an additional program, called the Army College Fund, which worked in conjunction with the Montgomery GI Bill and tied additional educational benefits to enlistments in certain shortage career fields. In 1989, this program could add another $14,000 into the soldier’s pocket after he or she left the service, bringing education at a state college or university well within reach of the average veteran. These programs were extremely popular, and between 90 and 95 percent of all new enlistees participated in one or both. The Montgomery GI Bill benefits continued to increase during the period, from $250 per month for full-time attendance at a college or university in 1990 to $650 per month in 2000 and $1,075, or a total of $38,700, in 2006. While the Army College Fund benefits varied depending on specialty and the recruiting situation, the combined programs alone could net a recruit in 2006 almost $73,000 for college. It was quite an incentive to enlist, given the rising cost of education. The Army Reserve and Army National Guard would also kick in an additional $50.00 per month for those who stayed in for the duration of their contract. Those with a college degree already could enlist in a critical field and have the army repay their existing student loans at a rate of 33 1/3 percent per year for three years. Total benefit by 2006 was $67,000.14 As one officer who started her career as an enlisted soldier pointed out, “I used the enlisted [track] as a stepping stone that served me well. I have taken advantage of the education as the [Army] paid me for my AA, BA, and MA.”15 An additional motivator to enlist was the bonus program. From the earliest days of organized national armies, recruiters used cash payments, beyond the soldier’s pay and allowances, to entice them to join the military. With the advent of the all-volunteer army, these bonuses were just as effective. Like the Army College Fund, the army tied enlistment bonuses to specific shortage career fields. In 1989, these cash payments ranged from $1,500 to $8,000 for initial-entry recruits. Several of George Wilson’s
questionnaire respondents remarked that one reason they joined was that they “wanted the $5,000 bonus for joining the infantry.” By 2006, the clever soldier could combine various bonus options and receive over $40,000 in his or her pocket for a four-year enlistment.16 Finally, one theme common among many soldiers, and those seeking commissions, was simple patriotism. One young major remarked, “I wanted to serve my country. . . . I am the first on both sides of my family to be born in the US. I know that my cousins and other relatives do not have the opportunities that this great country has provided me.”17 Another soldier who enlisted in 1988 said she “joined to serve.”18 Women in the Service One group that George Wilson did not talk to was women soldiers. Until April 28, 1978, females were second-class service members, belonging to the Women’s Army Corps, with a host of limitations on where and in what fields they could serve. With the army’s abolishment of that segregated branch, women now had the opportunity to serve alongside their brothers in the all-volunteer army.19 Certainly most women joined the service for some of the same reasons as the men. In many instances, it was the opportunity to compete in the same world as men and get a good job, while others joined because of a variety of employment and educational opportunities. However, there were also other, gender-specific reasons for joining. Women who matured to young adulthood in the 1970s were reaping the benefits of the feminist movement. Betty Friedan’s influential The Feminine Mystique (1963) incited publicity over the Equal Rights Amendment, and rapidly opening opportunities inspired many young women to reject, or at least delay, the standard early marriage–motherhood–stay at home pattern of their predecessors.20 As one officer reported, she was determined to get away from “farming and factory work.”21 It was an exciting time for this female generation, and the all-volunteer army offered them many paths to achieve fulfillment and equality with their male counterparts, and serve their country. By 1989, women were an accepted part of military life, and the army had opened up most assignments, except for battalion close-combat units such as infantry and armor. Over 10 percent of all soldiers were female, and that number continued to increase to over 13 percent by 1996. While some officers resisted the integration into the army’s field army, it was a process made more important by requirements of the all-volunteer army. Both the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) and the U.S. Military Academy were now options for women who wished to serve their country as officers.22 The army allowed women to train as parachutists, and the first two earned their jump wings at Fort Benning in 1973. The army sent most of the early female airborne soldiers to serve as parachute riggers for the XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg. By the early 1980s, more and more women soldiers were taking the challenge and attending jump school.23 The army had opened up over half of all duty positions to female soldiers by 1989. Initially, personnel managers used a “risk rule” to determine if these soldiers could
be assigned to a certain military skill and a specific military unit. This rule weighed the probability of a woman’s “risk of direct combat and the exposure to hostile file or capture,” in the words of one army spokesman at the time.24 Before 1988, any unit that had the words infantry, armor, cannon artillery, or combat engineers in its title was automatically barred from accepting female soldiers. A more in-depth review conducted by Training and Doctrine Command earlier that year argued that most organizations had units where women could serve without undue exposure.25 These rules would later be revised, and by the end of the 1991 Gulf War, several women would be wounded, captured, and killed in action. Black Americans gave the all-volunteer army their overwhelming support. With only 12 percent of the American population, they constituted 26 percent of the force. In addition to the reasons shared with white soldiers, they had powerful reasons for joining the service. By 1989, no sector of American society was more racially integrated than the army. The fact that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Colin Powell, was a black army officer gave substance to the rhetoric of equality. Studies indicated that not only were they looking for equal pay for equal work, a desire they shared with their female counterparts, but they were also looking for education. Black high school graduates were attracted to military service by the promise of educational benefits. In another study, African Americans chose, when they could, noncombat assignments, such as clerks and medical specialties, that they could translate into advancement in the civilian world when they left the service.26 Officers Officers of all branches received their commissions from one of four possible sources: the ROTC program, conducted at most major universities; the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York; Officers Candidate School (OCS); and finally, in cases where there was a professional need, such as with nurses or doctors, they could be offered a direct commission. Each year, about 14,000 high school students applied for the 1,300 openings at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. The young cadets, among the best and brightest of America’s youth, were welcomed to their new environment in a hail of orders, changes of clothing, and haircuts. At the end of the first day, they were already in uniform and ready for the ritual of “beast barracks” that began their transition from civilian to officer.27 As one would expect from a military school, it was an extremely structured program, with each class expected to adopt certain norms of behavior. Every behavioral and academic act for four full years was controlled by the student chain of command. In 1975, President Gerald Ford directed that the armed forces admit women to their academies, and the first 119 female cadets, or approximately 10 percent of the class, arrived at West Point in the fall of 1976. Four years later, 62 new female second lieutenants joined the service.28 By far, ROTC was the most common source of commissioning. Variations of university-level commissioning programs had been in existence since Norwich University
included military science courses in its academic program in 1819. Civilian college-based commissioning programs continued to grow in an uneven manner through the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Morrill Act in 1862, directing the “land grant” colleges, those that had received parcels of land from the federal government, to include military studies in their courses. The official ROTC is a product of World War I legislation, to provide the nation with a large, standardized cadre of officers who could augment the regular army in time of war. This program continued to grow haphazardly through World War II and into the cold war. The program became controversial during the Vietnam War and emerged from that conflict somewhat disorganized.29 As with the rest of the army, the ROTC program underwent a major reorganization and rejuvenation in the 1980s. The energy for implementing these emanated from Major General Robert E. Wagner. Wagner arrived as commander of the Fourth ROTC region (Fort Lewis, Washington) after commanding the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and serving as assistant division commander for the 3rd Infantry Division. He was the stereotypical cavalryman: profane, impatient, and brilliant. He had been one of the leading critics of the army’s doctrine of Active Defense and had helped to spur the transition to AirLand Battle. Wherever he had been in command, he created controversy, and the sleepy Fourth Region was no exception. As soon as he arrived in 1983, he implemented a wide range of recruiting and training programs to shake it out of its routine rut. He was so successful that in 1986, the army chief of staff named him commander of a revitalized organization, now called Cadet Command.30 Wagner saw Cadet Command not as a source of reserve officers that could be mobilized in time of war, but as being responsible for “turning out leaders for America’s first line of defense.” The new commander sought to implement the best of the field army into the educational process. Emphasizing traditions, esprit de corps, new flags, and patches, Wagner sought to inspire the cadets and bring them on par with the military rigor found at West Point and OCS. He fully implemented the new precommissioning standards (Military Qualification Standards I) and a rigorous leadership assessment program.31 Students joined for a variety of reasons, just like any potential soldier. What made this method attractive to college students was the scholarship offered to many students, which could considerably reduce the cost of their education. Soldiers on active duty could apply for the Green to Gold program, which allowed soldiers to receive a scholarship for college. Depending on the program, many continued to receive their monthly pay as soldiers as well as additional funds. Scholarship students also received a subsidy to cover living expenses. In the 1980s, it was $100 per month, but by 2007, it had grown to between $300 and $500 per month, based on academic year. Approximately 20 percent of all cadets were women.32 Cadets attended military science courses as electives. During the first two years, they learned basic military skills, the fundamentals of leadership, and some of the basic aspects of military operations. The program during the junior year centered on leading small units. Courses included command and staff, law of war, use of weapons, leadership, and military tactics. Following the junior year, all cadets attended ROTC
summer camp, conducted at Fort Lewis, Washington.33 For most, it was the first time away from their university detachments and the first time to experience active duty with the army. Cadets rotated through a variety of leadership positions and experienced a wide range of military activities. Like all training events, these were physically and mentally demanding and, in many ways, were the officer’s basic training. After summer camp, cadets returned for one more year of ROTC, which helped to ease their way into the officer corps. Military science instructors now lectured on training, military justice, ethics, the basics of personnel management, and installation support. Once the cadet graduated, he or she was the equivalent of a graduate of West Point.34 In 1987, while West Point graduated 1,000 new lieutenants, and OCS produced approximately 600, America’s university system commissioned over 8,000 officers, over 1,300 of them women, and sent 4,200 into the active force, while the remainder remained in the reserve forces. The number of colleges and universities that offer ROTC has varied over the years. Approximately 400 schools offered these courses in 1994, and Cadet Command graduated less than 4,000 officers. By 2006, the number of active schools continued to drop to 262, also supporting approximately 1,700 “satellite” campuses providing some measure of participation by students at schools near the main campuses.35 The third method of gaining officers was through the Officer Candidate Program. This course, conducted at Fort Benning, Georgia, was the army’s most flexible method of accessing new officers. The number of officer candidates, and their receiving branches, could be controlled according to the need of the service. This 14-week course blended field and classroom training that was designed to stress as well as educate future leaders. Officer candidates had already been through enlisted basic training and many had already served a period in a regular unit. The goal of the course, therefore, was to change the candidate’s way of thinking from enlisted to officer. It was an extremely stressful course, and every minute of every day, from 5:00 A.M. until 10:00 P.M., was accounted for and regulated. Most of the day was spent in class, study hall, and two physical training sessions. In 1990, only 288 officers joined the active service in this manner.36 HOW DID THEY JOIN THE ARMY? Recruiting Command While often the power of the advertising message, pressure from peers who had joined the service, or simple curiosity would lead a young man or woman into a recruiting station, the necessity to fill recruiting goals was too important to be left to chance. Each year of the post–cold war era, the army required between 20,200 (1999) and 34,400 (1989) first-term enlistments.37 The burden for finding young people fell on the recruiting sergeants. Trained at the Recruiting and Retention School, first at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana, and after 1995, at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the school trained more than 8,000 recruiters each year.38 Using all of the modern sales techniques, these experienced soldiers developed “leads” on whom to contact. High school class lists, newspapers, and tips from soldiers entering service all helped to flesh out lists
of who to contact. The recruiters spent hours on the road, setting up booths at shopping malls, local colleges, and important sporting and entertainment events, handing out army advertising material and gathering names of potential contacts.39 In addition, soldiers returning from advanced training or their first assignment could request 10 days of permissive duty at home as a “hometown recruiter.” These first-term soldiers made contact with old friends and visited old hangouts to help find potential enlistees. The young soldier could answer the prospect’s questions and then transfer him or her over to the recruiter.40 Back at the office, the sergeants would begin to contact the potential recruit. The first contact was usually a postcard or small brochure highlighting some opportunity and asking the young person to give the sergeant a call. Once telephone contact was made, the next step was to arrange a personal meeting. While it might be held at the recruiter’s office, aggressive sergeants had no problem visiting the potential soldier in his or her home, in the presence of parents. At this session, they would discuss the wide range of programs and enlistment options, including service with the Army Reserve. The goal was to simultaneously allay the prospect’s fears and sell the enlistment choice that was most attractive to the individual and most required by the service. If the prospect, and his or her family, was interested, the next step was a visit to the recruiting station.41 Recruiting Command, originally located at Fort Sheridan, Illinois, but moved in 1992 to Fort Knox, Kentucky, organized the country into five recruiting brigades and an overseas detachment. Each brigade directed between 8 and 11 recruiting battalions, headquartered in most of America’s major cities. A typical battalion had 275 uniformed recruiters and approximately 20 civilians. Like a regular unit, each battalion consisted of subordinate companies located near major population centers. Finally, the individual recruiting companies established recruiting stations, as many as 50 per battalion, in easy to find locations such as strip malls and shopping centers.42 When the prospect arrived at the recruiting station, the sergeant discussed the possible fields and options for which he or she was eligible. The recruiter would also begin to review the applicant’s application and identify potential disqualifying problems such as trouble with the law, problems with educational qualifications, or a history of medical or psychiatric treatment. If the prospect passed the initial screening, the next step was the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test to determine which of the hundreds of army fields were most promising. It was essentially a multiple choice test that evaluated word knowledge, mathematical ability, and a variety of other aptitudes such as automobile repair. Recruiters urged their prospects to take the test early, while still in high school, if possible.43 Once the prospect and recruiter arrived at an agreement, the next step was the initial contract. This document established the relationship between the recruit and the service and laid out, in writing, the term of enlistment and all of the options and programs the army would provide. Once this was accomplished, the recruiter began to hand the new enlistee off to the Military Entrance Processing Stations, or MEPS. The Department of Defense had 65 MEPS located across the United States. The role of these stations was to ensure that each applicant met the physical and moral
standards of each service and federal law. Before the potential enlistee signed the initial contract, the recruiter forwarded to the MEPS an application form and supporting documents, especially medical records, to identify any items of disqualification. If all was well, the recruiter scheduled the first visit. The enlistee spent the morning receiving a comprehensive medical evaluation. This included checking for weight and body fat as well as evidence of surgeries or physical problems not previously identified. In the afternoon, the potential enlistee started with the career field selection. This interview could modify the previous discussions with the recruiter and the original contract. This was the document that the enlistee needed to review carefully to ensure that all promised schools, programs, assignments, and term of service were exactly right. The next stop was a preenlistment interview. Here he or she received a personal briefing on the Uniform Code of Military Justice, fraudulent enlistment, personal conduct, and any other dos and don’ts that were important. If additional testing was required by a potential job, it would be arranged at this point. Once this station was satisfactorily completed, the recruit returned to the service counselor to review the final enlistment contract. Then the enlistee moved to a waiting area, where he or she received a short block of instruction on the oath of enlistment, how to stand at attention, and how to take the oath. A sergeant moved several recruits at a time into a ceremony room, where a commissioned officer administered the oath of enlistment. The last act of the process was the signing of the appropriate blocks of the enlistment contract by both the enlistee and the administering officer.44 The soldier spent the night before he or she shipped out to the basic training installation in a hotel arranged for by the government. Early the next morning, the new enlistee returned to the processing facility and received a final medical check to ensure that there had been no major changes since the last visit, which could have been several months earlier. Next, the soldier had a series of interviews to review basic information such as beneficiaries for life insurance or problems with the enlistment contract. The last interview gave the new soldier one last chance to reveal any problems in his or her past such as legal or physical problems. In addition, the counselor inquired about the conduct of the recruiters and other members of the initial processing facility. The last discussion concerned the Uniformed Code of Military Justice, the legal code that covers those in uniform, and what would happen if the enlistee decided to change his or her mind and return home, thus being absent without leave (AWOL), or attempt desertion.45 Depending on distance, a group of new enlistees would travel by bus or air to one of several basic training posts mostly located in the United States’ southeast quadrant. Generally, they were assigned based on the enlistment branch: infantry recruits headed for Fort Benning, Georgia; armor to Fort Knox, Kentucky; artillery and air defense to Fort Sill, Oklahoma; engineers to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; and all others to Fort Jackson, South Carolina. At the end of the trip, they were met at the bus station or airport terminal by a noncommissioned officer and transported to the barracks at the reception station.
Basic Combat Training The new soldiers spent about three days at the reception station. One of the first items of the first day the army officially called the “Moment of Truth briefing,” given by a noncommissioned officer, as follows: The Department of Defense requires me to do a Moment of Truth Briefing. This is your chance to reveal anything to me that you may have withheld from your recruiter in order to gain enlistment into the United States Army. If you withheld anything from your police record or your medical records; if you gave the wrong age, wrong citizenship, wrong number of dependents, did not reveal that you were prior service or withheld an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, I need to know about it. At this time does anyone have anything they need to let me know about? If so raise your hand, I will merely take down your line number now and privately discuss your problem with you later after this briefing.46
Like their brothers of old, the males were marched to the barbershop and got the classic buzz cut that left the head essentially bald. Then the troops marched to the uniform issue point—the formations were still a bit ragged—and began to “draw” (army slang for “pick up”) their initial issue of uniforms. These were the green, brown, and black battle dress uniforms, or BDUs, that the army adopted in the early 1980s, replacing the Vietnam-era fatigues. The new recruit received everything he or she needed for the first few weeks of training. In addition to four complete uniforms, recruits received seven brown undershirts and seven undershorts, one belt, seven pairs of brown socks, two pairs of black boots, field jacket, gloves, field cap, physical fitness uniform, including running shoes, and a duffel bag to carry it all. Later, after five weeks of training, the new soldier would receive his Class A, or dress, uniform and a pair of black shoes. In 2005, the army reported the cost of this uniform set as $1,283.49. The female uniforms cost a little more, at $1,551.49.47 According to the prescribed schedule, the new soldiers moved through a regulated process. At a variety of individual stations, soldiers moved through orientation, received additional physical tests, and received a variety of immunizations. Female soldiers took pregnancy tests and were checked, like all soldiers, for the HIV virus. All received eye tests and ugly black eyeglasses, if required. Some soldiers took additional classification and personnel selection tests. The next day, they visited the finance and personal affairs sections. There they filled out a host of forms for insurance and allotments and arranged for their pay to be sent to the bank. Old army payday rituals had disappeared and were outdated by the middle of the 1980s. By the third day, the recruit was finishing up his or her processing. Recruits sent spouses and parents orientation packets, received their identification cards, and resolved any personal problems that would interfere with basic training. Finally, they were assigned to their basic training company and prepared for the next morning.48 The first person the soldier met when he or she arrived at the training company area was the drill sergeant. These hardworking career noncommissioned officers had the difficult task of transforming their raw recruits into soldiers in only eight or nine
weeks. Taught the basics of their job at a nine-week drill sergeant academy, they wore distinctive “Smoky the Bear” hats that marked them to the trainee as the most important person in his or her life. The drill sergeants had almost no free time while a company was in its training cycle. Every hour of their waking day was generally devoted to the care and maintenance of their trainees. It was generally a two-year assignment, and then the sergeant returned to regular army units.49 Basic combat training, or BCT, is a common experience shared by millions of American men and, in the last quarter of a century, women. In a relatively short period, civilian ideas and lifestyles were put on hold, as the military service molded the young recruit into a motivated junior soldier. It was a period of stress, as drill instructors kept all the new arrivals off balance and out of their comfort zone. Fundamental was the understanding of rules, the basics of military discipline, and learning how to work as a team. It was quite a shock to the system, as drill sergeants turned the lights on at four o’clock in the morning and required their charges to jump out of bed, clean themselves and the barracks, and get ready for the first formation around 5:00 A.M. Moving to the dining facility, still called the mess hall by the old-timers, they ate and were back at the barracks an hour later. Sometime in the morning, depending on the training schedule, the soldiers would be in their physical training uniforms for an hour of “PT.” Unlike the Vietnam-era army, soldiers ran in boots only in unique circumstances. Usually, the exercise period was conducted in issued exercise uniforms and running shoes. This minimized injury and reduced wear and tear on the heavier uniforms and boots. By 9:00 A.M., the soldiers were in class, which could mean anything from a classic college-style classroom, to a parade field, to an obstacle course. Around the middle of the day, it was time for lunch, which might have meant a sit-down meal in the dining facility or a packet of meals ready to eat (MREs) issued at a field site. In the afternoon, the trainees continued their instruction and practiced what they had learned. Much of the training stressed the new soldiers’ physical and mental abilities, and by late in the afternoon, they were exhausted. They returned to the company area for dinner. After eating, the soldiers spent their time cleaning their weapons and gear, studying course materials, and getting ready for the next day. Those who had not done well during the day would often spend some special counseling time with their drill sergeant. Lights were generally out around 9:00 P.M. The schedule continued through the weekend, with allowance on Sunday for church and some personal time in the afternoon.50 The next eight weeks were spent in developing a building block of skills and activities that were designed to be physically and mentally challenging as well as filled with practical knowledge the soldier would use throughout his or her career. While the actual schedule changed during the 1990s, the basic events were generally the same. High on the list of priorities was marksmanship training, and all soldiers had to achieve an acceptable score (called qualifying) on the rifle range with the M16 rifle. For many, it was not an easy skill, and almost 100 hours of training time was devoted to bringing everyone to an acceptable level. Much of the training practice was done on simulators to reduce ammunition costs and transit time to the range. Competition and pressure to
excel were high, and the top marksman in each company and battalion received an appropriate reward at graduation.51 Soldiers performed a wide range of outdoor, physically demanding events, which included a variety of obstacle courses, land navigation courses, practice at throwing grenades, combatives such as hand-to-hand combat, use of padded sticks to simulate combat, and physical training competitions. The goal was to toughen the body and mind and get the trainees to work as a team. Mixed into this physically demanding activity was serious training and practice of specific training skills. During the post–cold war era, the manual for what and how to train was the Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks, Skill Level 1. While the details and specific tasks changed over the years, they generally included the following: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
conduct and the law of war first aid chemical-biological-nuclear defense survivability and basic combat tasks land navigation communication equipment identification use of hand grenades and land mines care and use of the M16 rifle care and use of machine guns care and use of grenade launchers use of night vision equipment casualty reporting defensive operations52
The seventh week was made up of a variety of confidence tests and the “record” physical fitness test. Soldiers who could not pass the test or were still overweight were in danger of recycling to a later course. The last training week focused on a final check of what they had learned during BCT in a three-day field training exercise. During this period, the drill sergeants tested the trainees on all the major topics to which they had been exposed. Trainees rotated through a series of stations, where they had to demonstrate proficiency to the standards specified in the Soldier’s Manual. On Friday morning, they headed back to the barracks. The last week was spent cleaning and turning in equipment, cleaning weapons, and preparing for graduation. Graduation was a public ceremony, where family and friends were invited to watch the graduating class receive awards and end their basic training experience. Following the impressive ceremony of motivated young men and women, everyone headed for the company area. There, drill sergeants mingled with the parents, spouses, and friends and talked about the exploits and experiences of what had probably been the most significant two months in most of the soldiers’ young lives. For most soldiers, it was the first time they could leave post and stay out, usually still in uniform, until
early in the evening. Then they returned to the company area and prepared for their movement to a new base for advanced training.53
NOTES 1. Robert K. Griffith Jr., The U.S. Army’s Transition to the All-Volunteer Force, 1968–1974, ed. Jeffery J. Clarke, Army Historical Series (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 4–13. Charles C. Moskos, A Call to Civic Service: National Service for Country and Community (New York: Free Press, 1988), 40 – 41. 2. William Gardner Bell and Karl E. Cocke, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1973 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1977), 61– 63. 3. Christopher Jehn, Memorandum for the Secretary of Defense, Subject: Fiscal Year 1989 Active Component Recruiting and Reenlistment Results, December 18, 1989. Bernard Rostker, I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. CD-ROM (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2006). William J. Perry, Annual Report to the President and the Congress (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, 1995). George C. Wilson, Mud Soldiers: Life inside the New American Army (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989), 63– 64. 4. William Gardner Bell, Department of the Army Historical Summary, Fiscal Year 1970 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1973), 3, 57. Vincent H. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989, ed. Susan Carroll (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 109–12. Robert L. Goldrich, The Persian Gulf War and the Draft, ed. Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1991). 5. U.S. Senate, Hearing: Status of the All Volunteer Armed Force, Subcommittee on Manpower and Personnel of the Committee on Armed Services (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1978). Rostker, I Want You!, 373. 6. U.S. Senate, Hearing, 96. 7. James Kitfield, Prodigal Soldiers (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 199–204. Budget figures come from U.S. Department of the Army historical summaries for fiscal years 1976, 1978, 1979, and 1980. 8. Rostker, I Want You!, 387. Kitfield, Prodigal Soldiers, 208. 9. Jenelle L. Flocke, “The Madison Avenue Brigade: The Army’s Advertisers,” Soldiers 43, no. 5 (1988): 18–20. Tom Evans, “All We Could Be: How an Advertising Campaign Helped Remake the Army,” On Point: The Journal of Army History 12, no. 1 (2006): 8–10. 10. Rostker, I Want You!, 387. Kitfield, Prodigal Soldiers, 209–14. 11. Wilson, Mud Soldiers, 49, 63–64. 12. Richard L. Fernandez, Issues in the Use of Post-Service Educational Benefits as Enlistment Incentives (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1980), 1–32. James T. Patterson, Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974, ed. C. Vann Woodward, Oxford History of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 10:14, 55, 68. 13. Moskos, A Call to Civic Service, 101–2. 14. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 111–12. Elroy Garcia, “Paying for School,” Soldiers 48, no. 9 (1993): 36. Peggy Flanigan and Donna Miles, “Building the Volunteer Force,” Soldiers 48, no. 7 (1993): 48–49. Rostker, I Want You!, 512–13. Major Michael Bianchi, note to author,April 15, 2006. Benefit data for 2000–2006 from Department of Veterans Affairs Web site (http://www.gibill.va.gov/GI_Bill_Info/benefits.htm/) and army benefits Web page (http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/education_money.jsp). Both sites accessed February 18, 2007. 15. Major Melissa Fahrni, note to author, March, 15, 2006. 16. Wilson, Mud Soldiers, 64. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 112. Flanigan and Miles, “Building the Volunteer Force,” 48–49. Bonus rate for 2006 from Army benefits Web page (http://www.goarmy.com/benefits/money_bonuses.jsp). Site accessed February 18, 2007. 17. Major Jennifer Finch, note to author, March 30, 2006. 18. Major Melissa Fahrni, note to author, March 15, 2006. 19. Karl E. Cocke, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1978 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1980), 77–83. 20. Rhonda Cornum and Peter Copeland, She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1992), 93–94. Carol Barkalow and Andrea Raab, In the Men’s House
(New York: Poseidon Press, 1990), 18. George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi, America, a Narrative History, Brief Fourth Edition, 4th ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1997), 1077–80. Debra Anderson, note to author, March 1, 2006. Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Yvonne Doll, note to author, January 29, 2007. 21. Major Zandra Johnson, note to author, March 23, 2006. 22. Tom Kiddo, “You’ve Come a Long Way Soldier,” Soldiers 43, no. 3 (1988): 8–11. 23. Margaret G. Tippy, “Army Women Say ‘Airborne!’” Soldiers 44, no. 3 (1989): 48–49. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 109. Connie L. Reeves, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1996 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 47. 24. Tom O’Brien, “New Jobs Open to Women,” Soldiers 44, no. 2 (1989): 10. 25. Ibid., 11. 26. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 113. Wilson, Mud Soldiers, 63. Rostker, I Want You!, 611. 27. Donna Miles, “R-Day, Making of a West Point Cadet,” Soldiers 43, no. 10 (1988): 6–9. 28. William Joe Webb, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1990–1991, ed. W. Scott James (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 36. Barkalow and Raab, In the Men’s House, 20. U.S. Military Academy Web page: http-//www.usma.edu/publicaffairs/ publicityimages/press_kit_files/chronology of significant events for women at west point.doc. webloc/ (accessed December 3, 2007). 29. Arthur T. Coumbe and Lee S. Harford, U.S. Army Cadet Command: The 10 Year History, Cadet Command Historical Study Series (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Cadet Command, 1996), 7–18. 30. Ibid., 54–68. The author served under Wagner in the 2nd Cavalry and can attest to the stir he created wherever he went. 31. Ibid., 69–95. 32. Gil High, “Cadet Command: A Talk with Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wagner,” Soldiers 43, no. 6 (1988): 23–24. Major Michael Bianchi, note to author, April 12, 2006. U.S. Army Web site, http:// www.goarmy.com. 33. During the 1980s, summer camp was also offered at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, and Fort Riley, Kansas. 34. Steve Hara, “Summer Camp,” Soldiers 44, no. 1 (1989): 7–11. 35. L. Martin Kaplan, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1994 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2000), 40–42. David Santos, “ROTC’s Proud History,” Soldiers 61 (10) (2006): 39. Coumbe and Harford, U.S. Army Cadet Command, 300. U.S. Army, “Army ROTC,” http://www.goarmy.com/rotc/ (accessed March 4, 2007). Major Michael Bianchi, note to author, April 12, 2006. 36. Webb, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 36. Larry Lane, “Going for Gold Bars,” Soldiers 48, no. 2 (1993): 38–41. 37. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 111. Jeffery A. Charleston, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1999 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006), 28. 38. U.S. Recruiting and Retention School Web page, http://www.rrs.army.mil/ (accessed February 19, 2007). 39. Ronald D. Fricker Jr. and C. Christine Fair, Going to the Mines to Look for Diamonds: Experimenting with Military Recruiting Stations in Malls (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2003). 40. Donna Miles, “Recruiting at Its Toughest,” Soldiers 47, no. 4 (1992): 6–8. Douglas Ide, “Duty at Home,” Soldiers 49, no. 10 (1994): 28–29. 41. Miles, “Recruiting at Its Toughest,” 6–8. Tod Ensign, Military Life, the Insider’s Guide: What You Should Know before You Enlist! (New York: Prentice Hall, 1990), 10–12. 42. General recruiting command organization and the composition and location of individual battalions, companies, and stations on its Web page, http://www.usarec.army.mil/ (accessed February 19, 2007). 43. Ensign, Military Life, 11, 15–19. 44. Ibid., 19–21. Heike Hasenauer, “Processing In,” Soldiers 47, no. 1 (1992): 34–35. http://us military.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/Joining_the_United_States_Military.htm.
45. Raymond K. Bluhm Jr. and James B. Motely, The Soldier’s Guidebook (Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1995), 43. Ensign, Military Life, 37–38. 46. U.S. Department of the Army, Army Regulation 612–201, Initial Entry/ Prior Service Trainee Support, 6. 47. Ibid., 5–6. Memo from Army G4, Subject: FY 06 Clothing Bag. http://www.armyg1.army. mil/hr/uniform/FY06%20CLOTHING%20BAG.txt. 48. Ibid., 5–24. 49. William H. McMichael, “Still a Tough, Demanding Job,” Soldiers 47, no. 3 (1992): 28–32. 50. Ensign, Military Life, 44–48. 51. Ibid., 48. Author’s visit to basic training graduation, January 2007. On a personal note, this writer won his battalion’s marksmanship award in his basic training class, which graduated in 1969. The appropriate plaque is proudly on my office wall almost 40 years later. 52. U.S. Department of the Army, Stp 21-1 Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Skill Level 1, Soldier’s Training Publication (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1987). U.S. Department of the Army, Stp 21-1 Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Warrior Skills, Skill Level 1, Soldier’s Training Publication (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2006). 53. Ensign, Military Life, 48. Author’s visit to basic training graduation, January 2007.
Probably none of the army’s changes in the post-Vietnam era were more significant than in the realm of soldier training. When the soldier left basic training, or the officer reported to active duty, he or she entered the massive army training system run by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, or TRADOC. Prior to 1973, the army ran its training operations—one hesitates to use the word system—through a collection of headquarters that regulated how soldiers learned their skills and another on how doctrine was developed. As part of the post-Vietnam restructuring, both the doctrine (what the army should be doing) and the training (how they should train to accomplish those tasks) fell under the new TRADOC, first headed by General William E. DePuy, the author of the doctrine called Active Defense mentioned in an earlier chapter. It was this new organization that integrated training management, doctrine, and training support under one headquarters.1 Since World War I, American soldiers trained under the Army Training Program. Detailed regulations specified how many hours of instruction soldiers were to receive at training centers and units. For example, units were to ensure that their soldiers received two hours of chemical-biological-radiological defense training quarter. In many units, the soldiers simply assembled in the company day room, and the training noncommissioned officer (NCO) turned on a two-hour movie. The problem with using hours as the basis of training was the absence of any measurement that assured that the soldier actually learned anything during the training process.2 In 1975, the army published a revised edition of Field Manual 21-6, How to Prepare and Conduct Military Training. On the basis of studies conducted at the Infantry School, this generally unknown document revolutionized the army’s entire education system. At the soldier level, the system rested on a simple training philosophy: training needed to be organized by specific tasks, each task had to be performed under certain conditions, and each task had specific performance standards. The soldier’s achievement of these standards could then be evaluated to determine his or her proficiency. Some had to be done perfectly, such as put on, clear,
Soldiers in training at Ft. McClellan, AL, 1995. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
and check a NBC (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical) protective mask within nine seconds. Others had some margin of error that was acceptable. However, all training tasks were now measurable, and unit commanders had a basis for reliably determining their units’ states of training. The standards were specified in a series of “soldier’s manuals” that applied to all soldiers (Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks), which guided much of the basic training instruction, and then specific tasks for each career field.3 INDIVIDUAL TRAINING By 1994, TRADOC was a massive organization that controlled a wide range of posts and training facilities. It supervised 19 major subordinate commands, ranging from the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth to the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. It administered five military schools such as the Command and General Staff College and the Sergeant’s Major Academy. It also controlled 19 branch schools, such as the Armor and Infantry schools, and a variety of smaller special activities, such as Cadet Command’s four regions. That year alone, over 379,000 soldiers received training of one kind or another, making it one of the largest educational institutions in the world. Again, in 1994, it published 44 major training manuals, ranging from FM 100-22, Peace Operations down to FM 23-10, Sniper Training, making it a major publisher in its own right. Employing over 75,000 soldiers and civilians, with an annual budget over $2,400,000,000, it was a major element in the success or failure of America’s military effort.4 Advanced Individual Training The morning after graduation from basic training, the soldier moved on to his or her next phase, advanced individual training (AIT). While basic training was common to all
new soldiers, there were many different AIT courses, at least one for each of the army’s 250–368 enlisted military occupational specialties (MOSs), conducted at 16 separate military bases.5 The new soldiers attended AIT under one of two possible scenarios: one station unit training or travel to a new post. The high-density career fields, such as armor, infantry, artillery, and engineers, used one station unit training, or OSUT. Here the soldiers moved, at most, to another part of post and a new group of instructors. For example, the basic training company that journalist George Wilson observed in 1987 simply separated the basic from the advanced phase of initial entry training by taking a well-deserved day pass with their family and friends. They remained in the same barracks and simply embarked on a new program with different instructors.6 In other instances, especially where the major fields had different branches, the soldiers departed the basic training barracks and moved to a new company under the control of an entirely new chain of command. For example, MOS 19D was the nomenclature for the cavalry scout, part of the armor career field. All of the scout’s initial entry program, consisting of basic training and AIT, took place under the one-station concept at Fort Knox. Training information came from the 19D Soldier’s Manual, Skill Level 1. By the time this young soldier left his training company (women could not be trained as cavalry scouts), he had been trained and tested on 186 specific tasks. These ranged from relatively simple tasks, such as assembling adjoining map sheets, to maintaining the intercom system on a tracked
Drill Sgt. Michael Chapa gets the attention of a new basic training unit at Fort Knox, Kentucky, 2006. Army commanders at Fort Knox debuted a revamped basic training regimen that includes a gentler introduction to army life and fighting in urban environments. (AP Photo/Patti Longmire)
vehicle, to the much more complex and sensitive task of interviewing civilians and nongovernment officials for potential intelligence information.. When the new scout reported to his unit, the 19D Soldier’s Manual served as the basis for individual training in the unit.7 In other cases, basic training graduates had to move either to a new post or, as a minimum, to a completely different organization on another portion of the post. For example, by 1997, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, was the largest basic training post in the United States. While Fort Benning produced 28 training companies, Jackson graduated 38. From this installation, basic training graduates headed to a variety of posts across the country. Personnel and finance career field soldiers moved from their basic training companies across post to the Soldier Support Institute to learn the essential elements of administration and pay. Others headed across the country to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to the Intelligence Center and School to learn about intelligence analysis and interrogation. Soldiers destined for the communications fields traveled south to Fort Gordon, Georgia, while the supply fields headed for the Quartermaster Center and School at Fort Lee, Virginia. Most air defense career field soldiers took basic training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, along with other artillery soldiers. Upon graduation, they headed southwest to Fort Bliss, Texas. Altogether, TRADOC operated 16 separate advanced training schools in 1994, graduating almost 58,000 soldiers.8 For example, those soldiers in the administration field graduated from basic training at Fort Jackson after practicing and testing on more than 140 separate tasks, many similar to what the cavalry scout and trainees across the army were exposed to. After graduation, soldiers in MOS 42A, human resources specialist, moved to the Soldier Support Institute and the Adjutant General School on another part of the post. This
Tait Sherrer, left, dismantles his M16 along with others in his company during basic training at Fort Knox, Kentucky, 2006. (AP Photo/Patti Longmire)
school trained men and women in how to take care of other soldiers’ personnel records and generally support the administrative functions required to operate an organization as large as the U.S. Army. At the Adjutant General School, they used their own soldier’s manual to learn how to perform another 21 MOS-specific tasks. These included recommending soldiers for assignment, processing evaluation reports, and preparing casualty reports.9 After advanced training, most soldiers had the chance for a well-deserved leave. Depending on the career field and course, these young men and women had been away from home between five and six months, often without leave. Parents, friends, and siblings were often struck by the differences in the graduate from the army’s school system. Most obvious, he or she was in better physical condition after a regimen of daily exercise and eating balanced meals. The soldier seemed more confident and organized, with a sense of pride in what had already been accomplished. Leave would pass quickly, however, and the soldier would again say good-bye and travel to another new post and a new experience at one of the army’s many posts in the United States or around the world. Noncommissioned Officer Education System This was the best-trained generation of sergeants in American military history. The reason was the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. Promotion to almost every rank led to attendance at a corresponding military course. Soldiers selected for sergeant (E-5) attended the primary NCO course, or PNCOC. This four-week course was for all new NCOs and was applicable to all combat arms fields, and generally concentrated on basic field skills. Those new sergeants not eligible for PNCOC attended the
Quartermaster soldiers train at Fort Lee, VA, 2005. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
Primary Leadership (PLC) or the Primary Leadership Development Courses (PLDC). As their titles imply, they were all about leadership and management. Finally, all junior sergeants could attend either a resident or extension Primary Technical Course, or PTC. These courses were designed to improve the new leader’s ability to perform the critical sergeant-level tasks in each specialty. Therefore the new NCO, usually with only four or five years of service, assumed his or her leadership duties with at least eight weeks of additional, targeted training.10 Those moving on to staff sergeant (E-6) attended either the Basic NCO Course (BNCOC) or, for noncombat arms sergeants, the Basic Technical Course (BTC). These courses were generally conducted at the specific service school and were focused on developing squad leaders, tank commanders, section leaders, and those in other supervisory positions. Those staff sergeants promoted to sergeant first class had their files reviewed by a selection board for the Advanced NCO Course, or ANCOC. This course, also conducted at specific service schools, focused on developing the NCOs to train and supervise platoons or similarly sized units. Those sergeants first class selected for master sergeant (E-8) were eligible to attend the First Sergeant Course. This eight-week program, conducted at either Fort Bliss or Vielseck, Germany, completed the educational system for most NCOs. All of these courses, from primary through first sergeant, stressed not only academics, but physical fitness. Failure to meet the physical requirements before arriving at the school usually resulted in the soldier being barred from attendance and returned to his or her unit. In most cases, this would end his or her opportunity for further promotion. There were few fat sergeants in this army.11
The barracks at chemical school. (Dave Hartsell)
The crown jewel of the NCO education system was the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. Founded in 1973, this school trained highly qualified master or first sergeants (E-8) to assist unit commanders from battalion to the most senior levels in leading soldiers. The goal was to develop a broad professional and intellectual perspective among the army’s senior sergeants. It was the only school where sergeants from all branches and commands would attend. The effect was to develop a common vision of the professional NCO that would emanate from one source and flow through the NCO chain to the most junior leader as a result of daily contact and the NCO development program.12
Officer Training American officers had the opportunity to attend one of the finest and most comprehensive educational systems of any army, or organization, for that matter, in the world. At every level, officers attended at least one course designed to prepare them for the assignments they would face in the next few years of their career. Upon commissioning, all new second lieutenants reported to one of the TRADOC branch schools for their officer basic course, or OBC. Armor officers headed for the Armor School at Fort Knox, intelligence officers to the Intelligence School at Fort Huachuca, ordnance lieutenants to the Ordnance School at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and so forth. At these courses of varying length, the new officers improved on the general skills taught during their precommissioning program and learned how to be branch officers. For example, each year, the 16-week Infantry Officer Basic Course (IOBC) at Fort Benning took approximately 2,000 recent college graduates and turned them into second lieutenant infantry platoon leaders. Before they graduated, each officer needed to demonstrate proficiency with infantry tactics, land navigation, communications, physical training, chemical warfare, and basic equipment maintenance. The basic course covered an array of basic skills from operator maintenance and vehicle driving to troubleshooting and operating all major items of vehicle equipment. Most important, they had to be leaders. Those infantrymen heading for mechanized units attended an intensive, 10-day Basic Bradley Transition Course. There soldiers learned the basics of this complex system. Using an array of sophisticated simulation devices as well as the actual weapons, they learned how to use all the weapons systems on the M2 Bradley fighting vehicle.13 In addition, some officers remained after the basic course for additional training such as the four-week Battalion Maintenance Officer’s Course at Fort Knox or the fiveweek Mortar Platoon Leader’s Course at Fort Benning. The most demanding course an officer or enlisted soldier could attend was Fort Benning’s eight-week Ranger School. Admission standards were high, and the soldier had to apply through his chain of command (the course was not open to women). He had to be in superb physical condition and receive an extensive physical before attending. He already had to be proficient in an array of basic combat skills extracted from the soldier’s manual to include working with mines, small arms, machine guns, and an array of communications and intelligence tasks. The course consisted of three phases. The first period, lasting 20 days at Benning, began with extensive training in individual skills and physical testing and conditioning.
Among the physical tasks were a blindfolded three-meter drop into water with weapon and all equipment. Once in the water, the soldier had to remove the blindfold, simulating darkness, and swim to the side without losing his weapon or equipment. The prospective rangers also had to run five miles in less than 40 minutes. The second phase was conducted in the north Georgia mountains near Dahlonega. For 20 days, the soldiers conducted patrolling and combat operations, including escape and invasion. For the final 17-day training period, the students moved to the swamps of western Florida on Eglin Air Force Base, where they continued the demanding training. For most of the 66 course days, the soldiers were on the move and eating only what they could find or carry.14 After 35 years of service, General Frederick M. Franks Jr., who had been badly wounded in Vietnam and continued on active duty to command a cavalry squadron, a regiment, the 1st Armored Division, and the VII Corps on Operation Desert Storm, recalled that Ranger School was the “best peacetime training I ever had. . . . I learned more about myself and more about small-unit tactics and how people will react under stress, physical and emotional stress, short of combat that I found directly related to combat more than any other peacetime training.”15 As part of the many changes following the Vietnam War, the army structured officer training and education in the same general manner as enlisted training. Starting in 1978, TRADOC grouped all commissioned training into three general Military Qualification Standards, called, in military jargon, MQS. The first level, MQS I, encompassed all precommissioning training at ROTC, Officer Candidate School, and West Point. The next level, MQS II, prescribed tasks and standards for lieutenants and captains. Finally, MQS III targeted field-grade officers: majors and lieutenant colonels. The goal of this ambitious program was standardization of officer skills across the army and the development of a relationship between competencies from the lowest to the highest level. Although this program seemed to serve the army well through the early 1990s, it was not universally accepted by its leadership. In 1994, the entire MQS system was set aside and the education program managed as part of TRADOC’s educational system.16 Following the basic course, officers reported to their first tour of duty. After three or four years in the field, they returned to their branch school for the officer advanced course, or OAC. During a six-month tour, captains gleaned the latest information and doctrine on how to command a company or serve as a battalion staff officer. This instruction included a wide range of subjects, including leadership, tactics, and the senior branch-specific skills. As in the case of the basic courses, captains could attend more specific courses after completion of OAC. For example, after completing the 20-week Armor Officer Advanced Course at Fort Knox, officers with assignments to cavalry units could attend the 3-week Cavalry Leader’s Course. Officers attending the Signal Officers Advanced Course at Fort Gordon could remain another four weeks to attend the four-week Tactical Signal S3, which prepared officers to coordinate communications of senior tactical headquarters.17 After several years back in their units, most captains, during the 1980s and 1990s, attended the Combined Arms Services Staff School, better known by its acronym, CAS3, at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This eight-week course taught captains from all branches
how military staffs operated. It was the first school setting where officers had a chance to get to know their peers from other branches and develop a common understanding of how they were supposed to function, by army standards, as battalion and brigade staffs. In its original mode, it was taught in a small-group environment by former battalion commanders. As time went on and the army reduced its strength, it was no longer possible to have these valuable former commanders in the schoolhouse. Although most officers believed it was an excellent course, TRADOC discontinued this course in 2004.18 As officers were promoted to major, the army’s personnel system divided officers into two groups. Each year, a board of officers selected the new majors for the Command and General Staff College, or CGSC. Depending on the overall army strength, these boards chose approximately 40 percent of new majors to attend the resident course at Fort Leavenworth. Different selection boards would review an officer’s records in three successive years. After the third time not chosen, officers had to either take it through the school’s correspondence course program or attend courses offered by local Army Reserve units. Nonselection for this course was extremely disappointing to those affected. Essentially, they now knew that they had little chance for selection to battalion command, and selection to the rank of lieutenant colonel was not a sure thing. For the almost 1,000 officers who attended the resident course, it was, to use a phrase common at the time, the best year of his or her life. The school organized into 16-person staff groups, with a mixture of officers from a variety of branches, services, and even other countries. The first half year was spent in required courses, common for all army majors. These included tactics, logistics, international relations, leadership and military history. During the second portion of the year, which only resident students experienced, officers took electives based on their own needs and desires. While in the course, a small percentage of students pursued a master’s of military arts and science degree. The overall goal of the course was to transform the officer’s thinking from small-unit leader to the manager of battalions and brigades. Beyond the academics, it gave the majors and their families a chance to spend more time together and enjoy a broader array of personal and professional activities. Since this was essentially the top half of the officer corps, one could assume that each staff group contained a host of the army’s future senior leaders. Those who were not selected for attendance, and had very little chance of eventually commanding units at battalion level, took the first half of the resident course by correspondence.19 Officers with the greatest achievement and potential could attend two additional courses. The first was the School of Advanced Military Studies, or SAMS. Following a highly competitive examination and interview process, selected majors could spend a second year at Fort Leavenworth in an intensive period studying the art of war as it pertained to senior headquarters. During the 1991 Persian Gulf War, these “Jedi Knights,” as they were called, demonstrated their worth in planning operations at all levels of command.20 After completion of battalion command, the army sent the most promising new colonels to Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, for the Army War College. This yearlong program prepared officers for division and higher command and for working on the
staffs at the higher levels of the army and other services. Courses included Fundamentals of Strategic Thinking, Theory of War and Strategy, Leadership, National Security Policy, and a host of electives and other sophisticated courses that would assist these officers when they found themselves serving in the Pentagon.21 What the reader should gather from this short discussion is that the U.S. Army of the post–cold war era had one of the most extensive training and educational programs of any organization in the world. On any given day, almost 100,000 soldiers would be attending any number of career or technical courses. Built on well-conceived training publications, taught by experienced officers and NCOs, and supported by a large organization with impressive resources, soldiers arrived in their units, at all rank levels, as well trained as any in the world. This individual training did not end when the soldier arrived at his or her unit. Most unit training schedules carved out “sergeant’s time,” which gave NCOs the chance to verify their soldiers’ proficiency in their basic tasks. Using formal and informal skill qualification tests, or SQTs, units tested individuals on what they must know for their current grades as well as what they should know for promotion. Some courses, such as Ranger School and Officer Candidate School, required unit commanders to verify that prospective students could achieve certain specific soldier’s manual tasks.22 COLLECTIVE TRAINING While individual training continued throughout a soldier’s career and was the foundation for everything that the army did, what made the organization successful was its collective training program. Like individual skills, the training and evaluation of unit performance changed dramatically in the years following the army’s return from Vietnam. Every level of command from company through division evaluated its combat mission and identified the specific, and most probable, tasks it would need to perform on the battlefield. They called this the Mission Essential Task List, or METL. For example, a tank company might have as its primary wartime mission acting as a brigade reserve. Its primary METL task would possibly be the military operation “movement to contact.” Using published training publications, such as the Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP) manual for the tank company, the company commander would then develop a training plan to address each of the 40 tasks that his unit must perform properly to succeed on the battlefield or in a graded exercise. These tasks included conducting a tactical road march, attacking an enemy position by fire, performing actions on contact, and a host of others. Each of these tasks was also broken down to a host of subtasks and individual skills. This training program, which extended from crew all the way to division staff, provided a structured approach to designing and evaluating training programs. The unit’s training plan fit into a cycle of assessment, planning, and execution of the training and reassessment. No training session was complete, large or small, without an after action review that allowed the trainers/evaluators to discuss the event with those trained. It was a dynamic program that ensured that every small unit knew what it was supposed to do and how it fit into the overall mission.23
Home Station Exercises Most collective training began on local training facilities on or near army bases. For most units, it began on the firing ranges. By 1990, TRADOC had helped change the simple ranges of the Vietnam era to sophisticated training complexes. Using the army’s published standards, all crews had the chance to practice and qualify, a measured performance standard, on their assigned vehicle or weapon. For example, Bradley and tank crews fired their weapons systems in a series of progressive events called “gunnery tables.” Not simply shooting exercises, these events sought to develop proficiency in crew duties such as acquiring and engaging targets, using all of a vehicle’s weapons and fire control systems, and selecting the correct ammunition for the target. These firing tables progressed from relatively simple exercises, such as engaging one stationary target with one weapon, to complex qualification events using all the weapons systems of the combat vehicle and requiring its crew to function as a seamless whole. Qualification tables usually required the crew to destroy multiple stationary and moving targets while on the move. Ranges ran day and night, using all weapons in both offensive and defensive scenarios. These were demanding tests, and failure to qualify during a gunnery period was a serious situation that resulted, at a minimum, in the crew receiving additional training and another opportunity to pass. It could also have consequences for promotion and advancement for the vehicle commander, and even for the platoon or troop commander.24 While the ground troops fought their battles on the range complex, the helicopter crews participated in aviation gunnery. For example, in air cavalry units, each gunnery table required at least two aircraft, an OH-58C Kiowa scout helicopter and one or more AH-1 Cobra or AH-64 Apache attack helicopters organized into a Scout Weapons Team, or SWT. The scout helicopter coordinated with ground troops in the area, located the enemy force, and alerted the attack helicopters to the presence of enemy forces. The air scout crew then guided the attack aircraft to a firing location and helped it identify and acquire the enemy force. The final element of many gunnery periods was the platoon battle run. Using standards found in the ARTEP (Army Training and Evaluation Plan) manuals, commanders and their operations officers developed demanding scenarios that trained and tested platoons to operate as a cohesive team. During a battle run, the platoon conducted offensive and defensive maneuvers using live ammunition. It gave the leaders the chance to test all of their systems and practice controlling their units under stressful conditions. Although those doing the shooting were the stars of the show, all elements of a typical battalion or squadron were involved practicing the skills they would need on the battlefield. Support platoons supplied food, ammunition, and fuel, and medical platoons set up aid stations and treated troopers on the firing line. Command posts controlled ranges and firing exercises and coordinated with the senior headquarters. Finally, commanders and senior NCOs were able to measure the competency of their subordinates and make changes during training.25 Gunnery periods set the stage for larger training exercises. For example, before they were ordered to the Persian Gulf in 1990, the 1st Infantry Division ran a series
of field training exercises, called “Gauntlet,” in October. Its original purpose was to help Colonel Lon E. (Burt) Maggart’s 1st Brigade Combat Team prepare for its scheduled National Training Center (Fort Irwin, California) deployment in November. The division’s staff controlled, evaluated, and managed the exercise, while the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry provided the opposing force, usually called OPFOR. The cavalry’s role was to replicate an enemy motorized regiment and challenge the brigade in a series of simulated offensive and defensive battles. The division more than doubled the squadron’s combat capability, assigning its commander two tank companies, a mechanized infantry company, an antitank company, and an engineer company to use in the aggressor role. In these mock engagements on Fort Riley’s small training area, commanders from crew to brigade had the chance to practice leading in the field. At the end of each engagement, leaders sat through evaluator-led critiques, or after action reviews. They considered the comments, adjusted their tactics and command techniques, and got ready for the next round of maneuver. More important than winning mock engagements was the value of the training. The leaders practiced their logistics and maintenance procedures, operated the squadron’s tactical operations center (called the TOC), rehearsed the air troop’s flight operations plans, and performed a host of details that a unit simply cannot simulate in garrison. The leaders became more comfortable with one another and worked out the procedures they would need in a few months in Saudi Arabia.26 The late cold war–era soldier had access to an unprecedented array of training devices that assisted in replicating battlefield skills during peacetime. For mechanized soldiers, one popular item was the Simulator Network, or SIMNET. From a series of complexes at Forts Knox, Benning, Stewart, and several other installations in the United States and Germany, computer programmers could link individual tank or Bradley crews on a network and allow them to fight a simulated enemy force as individual platoons or as part of a larger team. Each sealed simulator station, which looked like a large box, was configured like a vehicle crew compartment. Using only the same optical devices they would have on real combat vehicles, the crew had the illusion of moving, acquiring targets, cooperating with adjacent vehicles and platoons, and conducting the range of tasks they could be expected to perform in battle. The advantage, of course, was that they did not have to leave the confines of the installation, spend money on training ammunition, or inflict wear and tear on their equipment. While no substitute for physically training on the real equipment, it was a way to develop teamwork and hone required skills.27
Combat Training Center During World War II, the army carved out a huge area in California and Arizona as a training area for armored divisions. The Desert Training Center was the largest American training facility during the war, encompassing much of the Mojave Desert. Consisting of several camps—Camp Young, with over 28,000 square miles, was the largest—it trained parts of 20 divisions suffering in an austere environment. With the war shifting to Europe, the center closed in 1944. In the remote northwest corner of
the training area, 37 miles north of the Route 66 town of Barstow, California, was an antiaircraft gunnery range named Camp Irwin.28 During the post-Vietnam recovery, the military returned to this open area and set up the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California. The nature of modern military operations made it almost impossible to get realistic maneuver training on any small training areas associated with military bases. In addition, problems with environmental protection and communications regulations also limited the land available to the army. The remote area of the old Camp Irwin site seemed ideal for the army’s needs. Once a host of bureaucratic problems were ironed out, the first battalion began training in 1981. By 1988, when Lieutenant Colonel James R. McDonough wrote his book about the NTC called The Defense of Hill 781, the facility was the best battalion training system available to any army anywhere. Several elements contributed to the intensity of the experience.29 Throughout the year, 14 stateside brigades rotated from their home stations to the NTC for a demanding series of simulated “battles” that matched their training proficiency with a dedicated OPFOR. Using Soviet-inspired tactics and vehicles modified to resemble Warsaw Pact vehicles, these American soldiers’ only purpose in life was to defeat these regular army units. By all accounts, the OPFOR developed into some of the best-trained and most efficient soldiers in the world. Certainly they knew how to fight on their own terrain. The NTC depended on sophisticated training devices to monitor and evaluate this simulated combat. Most important was the multiple integrated laser engagement system (MILES), which allowed soldiers and vehicles to “kill” opponents by using lasers instead of bullets. In addition, cameras and other detection devices allowed umpires not only to monitor the conduct of the battle, but also use these data to reconstruct what happened. Once the fight was over, leaders returned to a central location for a detailed after action review that caused the participants to relive the event, explain what happened, and develop strategies for improvement. These four-week rotations, of which two consisted of nonstop field training, were easily the most demanding exercises undertaken by any army in the Western world. They formed the basis for developing both training strategies and new equipment.30 So successful was the NTC that the secretary of the army approved another similar facility at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, for the collective training of nonmechanized units called the Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC). By 1989, nine battalions were rotating through this demanding training facility.31 For a number of reasons, the more established Fort Polk seemed like a better facility for light maneuver training, and the JRTC moved there in 1993 and continued simulated combat operations.32 In Europe, all of the army’s training areas were commanded by the Seventh Army Training Command. The major gunnery training area was at Grafenwöhr, Germany. Located an hour east of Nuremburg, it consisted of over 50,000 acres. An old Nazi-era training area, it became the mainstay of American tank and artillery training throughout the cold war.33 Hohenfels, 100 kilometers farther east, was the only battalion-level maneuver facility in Europe. Its 40,000 acres were set up to allow force-on-force training, which lasted approximately one week. Each American battalion cycled through this
training area every 14 months.34 The smallest of the three major training areas, with only 18,000 acres, was Wildflecken, located just a short distance from the East German border near Fulda. Like most of these, it was developed by Hitler’s army during its rearmament phase in the late 1930s. Located in rugged terrain, soldiers called it the “Rock” and generally hated training there, especially in winter. Although small, it was large enough for tank and artillery practice firing. The army returned it to the German government in 1994, which now uses it as a United Nations training center.35
Training in a Combat Zone What might surprise many is that soldiers do not stop training when they arrive in a combat zone. Depending on the time available, before active operations, they continue training with a new sense of purpose. The experience of the soldiers from VII Corps prior to the 1991 Gulf War is typical of the experience of many throughout the period. At the most basic level, soldiers trained on individual skills needed to survive and defeat Iraqi soldiers in the upcoming fight. Using the soldier’s manuals as their guide, NCOs drilled their charges in small arms care and use, first aid, NBC operations, and hundreds of other repetitive and mundane tasks.36 This kind of training is usually not very dramatic or exciting. Under the direction of their NCOs, infantry assembled and disassembled their M16 rifles, tank loaders practiced selecting the proper ammunition and loading it into the main gun’s breach, and tank and Bradley gunners honed their vehicle identification skills. Across the corps, these and thousands of other skills were practiced until they became second nature. Building on the individual training came the crew and squad exercises. The firing of their weapons was their most important training task. Good combat unit commanders have always emphasized gunnery skills. Frederick the Great, for example, argued that “infantry that can load the fastest will always defeat those who are slower to reload.”37 The 1973 war between Israel and its Arab neighbors convinced General DePuy, at the beginning of the TRADOC training revolution, that firing first and accurately was still a fundamental principle of warfare.38 Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., the corps commander, believed in the value of live-fire training just before combat operations.39 He insisted that his solders sharpen their weapons skills with live fire as soon as they arrived in their staging areas from the ports. He believed that gaining confidence in their weapons systems, some that they fired for the first time, was critical. In addition, training ammunition is often different from the ammunition used in combat. Most of Franks’s soldiers had never fired the more powerful service ammunition during peacetime. Franks wanted his soldiers to experience its kick “before we crossed the line of departure.”40 Soon after the corps’ arrival in Saudi Arabia in December 1990, the G3 training staff began coordinating with the Saudi Arabian authorities for establishing firing ranges. Understandably, the Saudi government wished to limit the number of training areas as much as possible since ranges, both active and inactive, are dangerous. Once the firing has stopped, the target area often contains unexploded ordinance that can cause injuries long after the firing unit has departed. The Saudi commander at King Khaled
Military City worked with Franks and his staff in obtaining the appropriate land for this important training.41 Each of Franks’s four divisions built ranges for firing their combat systems.42 Although relatively primitive in comparison to the great ranges the army trained on in Europe and the United States, they were sufficient for the task at hand. Divisional and corps engineer units assisted in constructing earthen berms, to restrict the flight of various projectiles, and in setting up different kinds of targets. For tank and Bradley ranges, the engineers constructed these ranges as close to the standards that the Armor and Infantry school prescribed as possible.43 For example, on January 2, the corps ordered the 7th Engineer Brigade to build a tank gunnery range for the 2nd Cavalry. Its heart would be a 100-meter-long berm, 15–20 meters high and 10–15 meters deep. It was to be ready in only a week. The engineers finished the job on time, and by January 17, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, firing on that range, completed all of its tank calibration and M2/M3 zeroing.44 The corps’ artillery also had the opportunity to fire its M109 howitzers and multiple rocket launchers (MLRS). On the basis of the unit task list, each battalion shot a variety of rounds, including dual-purpose improved conventional munitions (DPICM), Copperhead, and rocket-assisted projectiles (RAP).45 Even more complex than the training received by maneuver and artillery crews was the training undertaken by the corps’ aviators. First was the basic task of flight training. Army aviators are always practicing, and almost every flying hour during peacetime operations is some kind of training event. However, flying in the desert environment was extremely treacherous and an important training task in itself. Making this problem more difficult was the fact that many aviators had not flown for about a month, while their aircraft were on ships coming to Saudi Arabia. Most attack helicopter operations were to take place at night, so many of the corps’ aviators went to “reverse cycle” (i.e., sleeping during the day, flying at night) training to help prepare them for these missions. Flying at night is daunting even for the experienced aviator. Night optics, while excellent for finding targets, distort the pilot’s depth perception and confuse his orientation to the horizon.46 Basic night flight training thus became an early priority of all corps aviation units. Beyond flying, the Cobra and Apache gunners needed the opportunity to fire their weapons. The cost of tube-launched, optically tracked, wire command–link guided (TOW) missiles, fired from Cobra helicopters, and Hellfire missiles, fired from Apache attack helicopters, restricted the number that were fired during peacetime. In addition, most gunners had only fired target practice missiles. Now, at the assembly area ranges, Franks ordered each attack helicopter crew to fire one service missile. Like their ground counterparts, the firing of service ammunition increased the crew’s proficiency and confidence as the beginning of the ground campaign approached.47 The training of the engineer crews was also quite demanding. Soldiers had to learn to operate the new M-9 Armored Combat Earthmover (ACE) and maneuver it as part of a mechanized company team. They practiced mine clearing by hand and with the mine line charge (MICLIC). The MICLIC was essentially a trailer pulled by a tank. Once near the enemy’s minefield, the operator fired a rocket that pulled a line charge, like a long rope, across the sector they wanted to cross. Once the line rested across the barrier,
the operator detonated the charge. In theory, the explosive neutralized mines to a depth of 110 meters, creating a lane eight meters wide.48 In practice, the MICLIC was only marginally effective. At one point, it appeared as though it would be of no use during the 1st Infantry Division’s attack across the Iraqi’s forward defenses, which was an essential element of the corps’ attack plan.49 In spite of extensive practice and assistance from outside experts, special U.S. Marines familiar with this equipment, the 1st Infantry Division soldiers’ ability to use this device ranged from a low of 50 percent in early training up to less than 90 percent before the ground campaign.50 Not only the combat soldiers and crews were training. Across the corps, soldiers rehearsed the tasks they needed to know by heart in the upcoming weeks. Medical personnel practiced the difficult task of triage, separating those wounded soldiers who will survive with immediate treatment from those who probably would not. Other soldiers went over the grim graves registration procedures, especially the task of temporarily burying and marking the graves of American and Iraqi soldiers killed in combat.51 The soldiers of the U.S. Army spent most of their duty days practicing to go to war. Almost everything they did, from cleaning weapons, changing tank engines, firing on ranges, and performing first aid to simply rendering a salute to a senior officer was a form of training. Unlike wars of the past, the soldiers who headed into battle in Panama, Iraq, Somalia, and the Balkans were trained on their weapons and equipment. Officers had attended a host of military schools and been exposed to military art at all levels. When things went wrong during an operation, and they sometimes did, the fault was not with the soldiers’ preparation. EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE It really did not matter if one was assigned to a light or heavy unit, maintenance was an essential element in most soldiers’ lives. The army had to operate in all climates and all kinds of weather, and even in training, the elements could take a toll on the equipment. For mechanized units, time in the motor pool was a normal part of each duty week. At their most basic level, activities in the motor pool revolved around cleaning and lubricating. To most leaders, a dirty or disorganized vehicle interior was an indication that it was not ready for operations. Everything had to be stowed in its assigned location, according to the load plan. Weapons tubes had to be clean and oiled. Radios were dust-free, and lubricant was applied to the proper connectors. Outside the vehicle, the soldiers made sure everything that should have grease had it. Exposed connectors were covered, tire pressure checked, and track tension adjusted. Engine compartments were opened and all fluid levels adjusted; dirty connectors were cleaned. These maintenance and cleaning procedures were supervised by the crew’s senior sergeant and done in accordance with the guidelines of the crew manual, referred to as the −10.52 Sometimes the vehicle or equipment required a scheduled service. Just like modern automobiles, the army’s tanks, personnel carriers, and trucks required certain maintenance tasks on a regular basis. Normally performed under the supervision of battalion-level
sergeant mechanics, the crew brought the vehicle to the large maintenance garage, called a bay. There, using the directions in the organizational maintenance manual, or −20, the crew and maintenance personnel conducted a whole array of service activities. These often included making oil changes, replacing various belts and hoses, and repairing electric connections. Changing the oil on an armored vehicle was no simple task as often, the entire engine had to be removed from the vehicle, using large cranes or the unit recovery vehicle, so the crew could gain access to the oil drain plug. In addition, this scheduled maintenance gave the crew the opportunity to apply any new parts or equipment that had arrived for the vehicle.53 A third motor pool event was essential repairs. A vehicle or other item of equipment that was nonoperational, or “deadlined,” in soldier jargon, was a red flag that required immediate action by the entire chain of command. At the end of each day, the battalion maintenance officer compiled a list of this equipment and notified his or her commander and executive officer. In addition, he sent this list, through staff channels, to a higher level. Only a few nonoperational items of equipment could cause the entire command’s readiness status to fall to unacceptable levels. Commanders who could not maintain unit readiness could expect to lose their jobs and end their careers. Therefore, for example, once a howitzer crew determined that it had a leaking road-wheel seal and it could not move a long distance, the entire artillery battalion’s maintenance effort would be directed to ensure that they replaced that seal immediately. If the part was not available, the repair parts clerk would send out a high-priority requisition so that this vehicle would not remain on the deadline report for more than a day or two.54 NOTES 1. Anne W. Chapman, Carol J. Lilly, John L. Romjue and Susan Canedy, Prepare the Army for War: A Historical Overview of the Army Training and Doctrine Command, TRADOC Historical Study Series (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1998), 5–9. 2. Ibid., 69–70. Ann W. Chapman, The Army’s Training Revolution, 1973–1990: An Overview, TRADOC Historical Study Series (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1994). Previous training was conducted under U.S. Department of the Army, FM 21-6, Techniques of Military Instruction (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1967), and a host of circulars and training tests. The author personally experienced this worthless training during his enlisted tour in Germany from 1969 to 1971. 3. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 21-6, How to Prepare and Conduct Military Training (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1975), 4–15. William DePuy, Romie L. Brownlee, and William J. Mullen III, Changing an Army: An Oral History of General William E. DePuy (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1988), 183–84. U.S. Department of the Army, STP 21-1 Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Skill Level 1, Soldier’s Training Publication (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1987), 340–41. U.S. Department of the Army, STP 21-1 Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Warrior Skills, Skill Level 1, Soldier’s Training Publication (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2006). 4. James T. Stensvaag, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Annual Command History (1994) (Fort Monroe, VA: Military History Office, 1997), 32, 168–80. 5. Vincent H. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989, ed. Susan Carroll (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 130. Raymond K. Bluhm Jr. and James B. Motely, The Soldier’s Guidebook (Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1995), 364–69. Stensvaag, U.S. Army Training, 172. The precise number of MOSs was in constant flux, depending on new equipment, organizations, and employment doctrine.
6. George C. Wilson, Mud Soldiers: Life inside the New American Army (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989), 112–18. 7. U.S. Department of the Army, STP 17-19D1-SM Soldier’s Manual: Cavalry Scout MOS 19d Skill Level 1, Soldier’s Training Publication (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2004). 8. Stensvaag, U.S. Army Training, 32–33, 172. 9. U.S. Department of the Army, Stp 21-1 Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Warrior Skills, 2–2 to 2–14. U.S. Department of the Army, STP 12-42A12-SM-TG Soldier’s Manual and Trainer’s Guide: Human Resources Specialist Skill Levels 1/2, Soldier’s Training Publication (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2003), i–ii. 10. Dan Cragg, The NCO Guide (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1986), 57–58. 11. Ibid., 58. 12. Ibid., 59–60. Arnold G. Fisch Jr. and Robert K. Wright Jr., The Story of the Noncommisioned Officer Corps: The Backbone of the Army (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1989), 27–28. 13. Donna Miles, “Benning’s Bradley U.,” Soldiers 44, no. 4 (1989): 28–29. Stensvaag, U.S. Army Training, 38. Dave Schad, “Learning to Lead,” Soldiers 43, no. 3 (1988): 28–31. 14. Stensvaag, U.S. Army Training, 173. U.S. Department of the Army, Da Pam 351-4 U.S. Army Formal Schools Catalog (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1995), 45–46, 86. 15. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., Interview by author, September 12, 1994. 16. Chapman, Army’s Training Revolution, 84–85. U.S. Department of the Army, STP 21-IIMQS, Military Qualification Standards II, Manual of Common Tasks, for Lieutenants and Captains (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1991), 1–1 to 2–4. 17. U.S. Department of the Army, Da Pam 351-4, 75, 84. 18. Ibid., 184. U.S. Army Command and Staff College, CGSC Circular 351-1, Catalog: Academic Year 1988–1989 (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and Staff College, 1988). 19. U.S. Army Command and Staff College, CGSC Circular 351-1. The author currently teaches military history at CGSC and taught tactics in the late 1980s. 20. Ibid. 21. U.S. Army War College. http://www.carlisle.army.mil/usawc/daa/external_site/Resident_ Education_Program07.shtml, accessed 4 December 2007. 22. U.S. Department of the Army, DA Pam 351-4, 46. 23. U.S. Department of the Army, ARTEP 71-1-MTP Mission Training Plan for the Tank and Mechanized Infantry Company and Company Team, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2003). U.S. Department of the Army, FM 25-100, Training the Force, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1988). U.S. Department of the Army, FM 25-101, Battle Focused Training, Field Manual (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990). U.S. Department of the Army, FM 7-0 Training the Force, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2002). 24. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 3-20.12 Tank Gunnery (Abrams), Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2005). U.S. Department of the Army, ARTEP 17-237-11-MTP Tank Crew Training Plan, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2003). 3rd Infantry Division HQ, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) Annual Report (Fort Stewart, GA: Center of Military History, 2002) David W. Marlin, History of the 4th Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment in Operation Desert Shield/Storm (Carlisle Barracks, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1992), 12–44. 25. Captain Michael A. Bills, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, August 26 1995, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. Marlin, History of the 4th Battalion. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 3-04.140 Helicopter Gunnery, Field Manual (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2003). 26. John Burdan, “History of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry—Draft Manuscript,” unpublished paper, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, 1998. Marlin, History of the 4th Battalion. 27. Phil Prater, “SIMNET: Stepping into the Future,” Soldiers 44, no. 3 (1989): 6–8. 28. Rod Crossley, “The Desert Training Center in World War II,” La Posta 28 (1997): 1–5. Ann W. Chapman, The Origins and Development of the National Training Center, 1976–1984 (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1992), 25–30.
29. Chapman, Origins and Development. James R. McDonough, The Defense of Hill 781 (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1988). 30. Frank Cox, “Go Devils at NTC: 9th Infantry Division Battles in the Desert,” Soldiers 43, no. 10 (1988): 14–18. Ann W. Chapman, The National Training Center Matures, 1985–1993, TRADOC Historical Monograph Series (Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1992). 31. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 256–57. 32. Stephen E. Everett and L. Martin Kaplan, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1993 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 47–52. 33. Frank Cox, “The ‘Other’ Graf,” Soldiers 43, no. 2 (1988): 41– 44. 34. Everett and Kaplan, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 52. 35. Donald Maple, “The Rock in the Clouds,” Soldiers 43, no. 7 (1988): 45. 36. U.S. Department of the Army, STP 21-1 Soldier’s Manual of Common Tasks: Skill Level 1. Robert H. Scales, Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994), 150. 37. Jay Luvaas, Frederick the Great on the Art of War (New York: Free Press, 1966), 78–79. 38. William E. DePuy, “Implications of the Middle East War on U.S. Army Tactics, Doctrine and Systems,” in Selected Papers of General William E. DuPuy, ed. Richard M. Swain, Donald L. Gilmore, and Carolyn D. Conway (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1994), 103. 39. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., tape recording, April 2, 1991. 40. Frederick M. Franks Jr., Commander’s SITREP #1 (172100z–182100z Jan 91), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 41. Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks Jr., transcript, April 5, 1991. 42. Frederick M. Franks Jr., Commander’s SITREP #4 (202100z–212100z Jan 91), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 43. Franks, Commander’s SITREP #1 (172100z–182100z Jan 91). 44. U.S. Department of the Army, FRAGO 9-91 7ENG Bde Construct a Tank Gunnery Range for 2ACR and Construct Two MEDEVAC Hospitals for 2 COSCOM, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Franks, Commander’s SITREP #1 (172100z–182100z Jan 91). 45. II Corps Artillery, Operation Desert Storm: A Fire Support Perspective, VII Corps Briefing VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. Franks, Commander’s SITREP #1 (172100z–182100z Jan 91). Anthony H. Cordesman and Abraham R. Wagner, The Lessons of Modern War, vol. 2, The Iran-Iraq War (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1990), 710–17. The Copperhead is a laser-guided artillery round used to destroy individual targets. DPICM rounds carry approximately 88 small bomblets that disperse over a relatively wide area, suppressing troop activities and destroying light vehicles and equipment. The RAP is a projectile with an extended range. The rocket assist increased the range of the M109 (155-mm) round from 14.6 kilometers to 23.5 kilometers. 46. Franks, Commander’s SITREP #4 (202100z–212100z Jan 91). 47. Ibid. 48. Donald S. Pihl and George E. Dausman, eds., United States Army: Weapon Systems 1990 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990), 82–83. 49. Franks, Commander’s SITREP #4 (202100z–212100z Jan 91). 50. 1st Infantry Division, Lessons Learned during Operation Desert Shield/Storm (Fort Riley, KS: U.S. Department of the Army, 1991), 36. Frederick M. Franks Jr., Commander’s SITREP #19 (042100z–052100z Feb 91), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 51. VII Corps, Frago 6-91 Mandatory Graves Registration (GRREG) Training, VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 52. Dave Schad, “Battery B,” Soldiers 43, no. 7 (1988): 7–8. 53. Ibid. 54. Ibid.
This book has been using the term soldier without a clear definition of whom we are describing. Certainly it is someone who serves in an army. It also implies that he or she, generally, does so in uniform. It also assumes that this person has a contractual relationship with the government. This idea of soldiers as fighting employees of the state was developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe and found its way to America with the British and French armies before the American Revolution. By the cold war, the U.S. Army soldier was a member of one of four distinct groups identified by rank: junior enlisted soldiers, noncommissioned officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers. However, each soldier was also a member of other groups. Gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and religion were all ways in which soldiers were counted and identified by themselves and by the army. RANK The Junior Enlisted Force Certainly rank was one way of identifying the soldier. At the most basic level was the type of document that bound him or her to the government. For most of the army, it was the enlistment contract, and at the lowest level of this structure was the junior enlisted force. These were the young men and women on their first enlistment, and usually in grades E (enlisted)-1 to E-4. In 1996, over 228,000 out of 422,000 soldiers fit this category. These were the army’s workers: the riflemen, clerks, medics, and repairmen who formed the backbone of the force. Almost all had high school educations or general education development equivalency (GED) certificates.1 Especially in the early years, soldiering was difficult. Most of the junior soldiers lived in the barracks and, even in the age of the post–cold war army, had their barracks rooms inspected on a regular basis. As they have always done historically, they carried
the heavy load of the army in the field, moving supplies, loading heavy ammunition, and standing shifts of guard duty. During deployments, they were the ones manning machine guns, firing the mortars, and confronting the enemy. These young soldiers, whether on the streets of Mogadishu reacting to the intense fire of the militia ambush in 1993 or driving M1 Abrams tanks during the thunder run through Baghdad in 2003, were the core of the post–cold war army. Leaders, at all ranks, in all of these conflicts, consistently praised the dedication and quality of their soldiers whenever they had a chance.2 The Noncommissioned Officer As a soldier’s enlistment was coming to an end, he or she had to make the decision on remaining in the service or separating and returning to civilian life. If the soldier remained, and was eligible for promotion to sergeant, E-5, he or she moved into the realm of the noncommissioned officer, or NCO. The NCO was the army’s equivalent of the factory foreman. By 1989, the U.S. Army had totally professionalized its NCO corps. These almost 292,000 soldiers, from corporal (E-4) through master/first sergeant (E-8), were the essential small-unit leaders that had daily contact with each and every soldier. Over 3,250 sergeant-majors (E-9) served as the principal advisors to commanders at every level, from battalion to chief of staff of the army. In this force, unlike some others in the world, every soldier reported to a sergeant. Senior sergeants at platoon, company, and higher levels reported to commissioned officers. At the most basic level, sergeants were promoted though the ranks based on experience and demonstrated skill. They were the ones who ensured the young soldiers were present for duty, in the right uniform, and prepared for the day’s missions. They were the soldiers’ first counselors and mentors. They supervised the individual and crew training and directly supervised the thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment that an army small unit used. In battle, it was the sergeant that led most troops into battle. It was not an exaggeration to say that the strength of the American army was built on the backs of the NCO corps.3 It had not always been that way. In the latter years of the Vietnam conflict, “noncoms” were often part of the problem. In a number of noted instances, it was the sergeant who disobeyed orders, led the mutiny, or directed the atrocity.4 As part of the comprehensive overhaul of the post-Vietnam era, the army addressed its NCOs. First, it instituted a leadership program, called the Noncommissioned Officer Development Program, or NCODP, to improve the quality of the sergeants within the units. Initially a stopgap measure to problems with education and discipline, it placed responsibility for the development of all sergeants squarely on the shoulders of unit commanders and their senior soldiers.5 While the NCODP was somewhat of a stopgap measure, the Noncommissioned Officer Education System, or NCOES, was a serious effort to rectify the sergeant’s lack of formal training and education. Historically, noncoms learned their trade by experience under the guidance of senior sergeants. Occasionally, they went to a military school, but generally, they learned their leadership skills in the field. It was very informal and was fine as long as there were extended periods of peace and unit stability. The Vietnam War broke whatever system existed, as sergeants left the service in droves and young, less
experienced soldiers moved into leadership positions. The new NCO education system, the details of which are described elsewhere in the text, provided structure and organization to the sergeant’s professional existence. More than anything else, this system, which paralleled the officer education pattern, created a truly professional NCO corps.6 One way to measure the dedication of these NCOs is to look at what happens on the battlefield. The examples of bravery and dedication are endless. During the 1991 Gulf War, First Sergeant Gary Parkey, A Troop, First to Fourth Cavalry, First Infantry Division was moving to catch up with his unit cutting the Basra Road between Kuwait and Iraq. In his HUMMWV, with only his driver, he encountered a lone Iraqi BMP (an infantry fighting vehicle) with the crew on the ground having a meeting. When the Iraqis saw the first sergeant’s truck, they immediately began running toward their tracked vehicle, equipped with machine guns and a 76-mm gun. The BMP’s turret was already pointed in the Americans’ direction. Parkey told his driver to speed up and drive between the Iraqis and their BMP. Seeing the American jump out of the truck, with only his rifle, the Iraqis panicked and thrust their hands into the air and surrendered. It turned out to be a command vehicle, and Parkey captured an Iraqi general.7 One of the most dramatic demonstrations of dedication during this era took place on the streets of Mogadishu. Seeing the crashed helicopter below them about to be overrun, Master Sergeant Gary Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall Shughart jumped from their helicopter to the ground and established a small defensive perimeter around the crashed chopper. Outnumbered by the thousands of Somalia militia, they fought until ammunition began to run low and the weight of the Somali assault became too great. They both gave their lives fighting to hold that position and save the life of the surviving pilot. The pilot did survive, and Gordon’s and Shughart’s families received their Medals of Honor for their bravery.8 It was the professional NCO, in all of these conflicts, more than any other group, who was wounded and died for the army and the nation. More sergeants and staff sergeants are listed than any other rank. This was true during Desert Storm, Somalia, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.9 Whether ranger sergeant, platoon sergeant, tank commander, or maintenance NCO, in all of the postwar conflicts, it was the sergeant who carried America’s load around the world. Warrant Officers Between the noncoms and the officers was another rank, the warrant officer. Warrant officers are highly trained specialists and, unlike commissioned officers, function only in that one specialty. Their jobs include helicopter pilots, criminal investigators, air traffic controllers, and a host of other skills requiring a combination of experience and training. Fifteen of the army’s branches had warrant officer positions, including engineer, judge advocate general, ordnance, military intelligence, and special forces. Warrant officers have five grades, from entry-level warrant officer 1 to chief warrant officer 5, and the army has approximately 12,000 of these specialists on active duty, or less than 3 percent of the active force.10
Officers As they have been since the earliest days of the republic, officers were the army’s managers. You could trace the chain of military command from the president, through the secretary of defense, to the individual theater commanders, to division generals, down to the platoon second lieutenant. Each officer had a commission that established that direct relationship of “special trust and confidence” between the president and the individual. These officers came in three varieties. At the small-unit level was the company grade officer. Two-thirds of all officers, about 42,000, were at the rank of second lieutenant, first lieutenant, and captain. They were the ones that fought the battles. After about 10 years of service—and actually, time was always variable, depending on the army’s needs—the captain could be promoted to major. Majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels were the field grades, and these 26,000 officers provided primary direction to all of the army’s units, from battalion through brigade, and were the principal staff officers at all levels. Finally were the generals, who had responsibility for concentrating and employing forces in the field and organizing them in the United States. The four grades of general, brigadier, major, lieutenant, and full general, consisted of only 603 men and women.11 GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION Women While army service was still primarily a male enterprise, women continued to break down the traditional barriers. In 1990, over 11 percent of the army was female, and in 1999, more than 20 percent of new enlistees were women. Official policy was that women were precluded from participating in direct combat. Yet that was more difficult to enforce, as they filled a host of combat support and combat service support leadership positions. There was no possibility that military units could remove their women from the ranks when it was time to deploy to a combat zone. Therefore Captain Linda Bray, a military police company commander, led her soldiers on an assault against a Panamanian installation during Operation Just Cause. Her leadership in this small firefight was certainly in line with her training and seemed to be exactly what she, her soldiers, and the army expected. Yet her exploits were quite controversial in an American society that did not realize that allowing women to serve in the military meant that they would actually be fighting and in harm’s way. Bray was not alone, and many other women were also under fire in Panama and won awards. Yet American society and many of the traditional army officers still could not accept women, and their comments and attitudes toward her indicated that the army may have more women assigned, but they were not yet fully accepted. The army began to study these restrictions, but this study was not done when the military headed to the Persian Gulf a few months later.12 The army sent 26,000 female soldiers to the Persian Gulf in 1990 and 1991, and according to all official reports, they performed splendidly. The biggest problem continued to be the American public’s recognition of the role of women in the service and the sensational reporting from some of the news media. The best single source for understanding
the integration of female into the male service is Women in the Military, written by Jeanne Holm, a retired air force general. In it, she describes how one reporter thrust a microphone into Major Marie T. Rossi’s face and demanded to know “how she felt as a women doing a job normally done by men in combat.” Rossi was obviously surprised since as a field-grade helicopter pilot, she had been doing these tasks for most of her working career. Rossi died in Iraq a few days later, on March 1, 1991, when her Chinook helicopter crashed when it hit a microwave tower in bad weather just after the war came to an end. Her family, and the army, buried her in Arlington National Cemetery.13 Female soldiers, and their male comrades, were ahead of American society in this regard. Women formed even a higher percentage of the reserve force, over 13 percent, and the president had called them up also. In total, 8.6 percent of the total force sent to southwest Asia was female. Although no one questioned the role of fathers leaving their children behind so they could serve their country, the news media was full of reports of women leaving their children behind. Yet, as General Holm points out, “Despite the press’s tendencies for exaggeration in general, the media images projected of women in the Gulf accurately portrayed what was going on.” More and more, women were seen as soldiers first by other members of the unit and were no longer the oddity they had been at the beginning of the all-volunteer army. In the end, they took casualties; 5 percent of all soldiers killed, wounded, or captured were female. Major Rhonda Cornum and Specialist Melissa Coleman were two of the prisoners released by the Iraqis at the end of the war in March 1991. They did their job, and did it well.14 During peacekeeping operations in Bosnia, these soldiers from all kinds of units were especially helpful as they worked with the women and children survivors of the most horrible European conflict since World War II. For example, one service support unit, the 181st Transportation Battalion, worked out of Camp Tampa, not too far from Tuzla. The informal unit history is full of examples of its female soldiers providing gifts and supplies for the local women, many of whom had been raped and lost their spouses. Local children flocked to these American women in uniform, and the pictures from the period clearly show the fun that the soldiers and the children were having in the midst of so much pain. These women in uniform, many with their own children at home, brought a perspective and empathy to their mission that most men simply could not provide.15 The pace of integration of women in the service continued in the post–cold war era, and by 1999, the 68,935 women on active duty constituted 14.7 percent of the active force. By August 2005, more than 11,000 women had served in Iraq, with 37 killed in action and another 270 wounded. One of the most famous stories of the war was the Iraqi ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company and the subsequent rescue of one of its survivors, Private First Class Jessica Lynch.16 And, like their male counterparts, they distinguished themselves. Private First Class Teresa Broadwell Grace won the Bronze Star with V (Valor) Device for her actions on October 16, 2003, while providing suppressive fire from her M249 machine gun on the streets of Karbala. In another celebrated incident, Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester, 617th Military Police Company, Kentucky National Guard, led a counterattack against an insurgent ambush south of Baghdad in June 2005. For her bravery, the army awarded her the Silver Star, the first such award for a woman since World War II.17
While military women were accepted by most male soldiers, as in civilian life, there were always cases of overt sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual assault. Women were prohibited from serving in the infantry, armor, or rangers, ensuring that they were not eligible for the most senior positions. The army was still, especially in those close combat units, very much a male culture and dominated by the same rough young men that have fought wars for centuries. While women were part of the environment, they were not at the center of military culture. The 1991 Tailhook scandal, when navy officers at a Las Vegas convention openly harassed and assaulted women in the halls, including 14 female navy officers, was a scene repeated in countless bars and strip joints around military bases throughout this period. In some cases, the harassment had official implications, such as the 1996 accusations of rape and abuse by female recruits at Aberdeen, Maryland, which resulted in widespread investigations across all army installations. In other cases, it was simply the same sexual violence that one found in the civilian world but that female soldiers did not expect from their fellow soldiers. The cumulative effect was to make female soldiers aware that they were not always included as equals, no matter what the pay and official documents said. The statistics on the amount and intensity of sexual harassment and violence are contradictory, depending if their source is from the government or civilian organizations. The fact that it even exists is troubling to army officials and the women involved.18 Homosexuality Homosexuals have always served in the army, yet, as reflected by traditional American culture, they were seen by much of the nation as immoral and a danger to the country’s values. Certainly, especially since World War II, the military has opposed same-sex relations. However, social movements in the 1970s and 1980s as well as the effect of television and movies made the idea of such relationships more acceptable to many. Yet soldiers were generally from conservative stock, and the army, or at least, its leaders, wanted nothing to do with it. These attitudes were enshrined in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which considered such conduct punishable under Article 125 (Sodomy). Other army rules and regulations, including Title 10 of the U.S. Criminal Code, dictated that homosexual conduct was grounds for dismissal. The Clinton administration arrived in 1993 determined to change these rules. Yet the resistance from within the military itself made it extremely difficult. By 1999, the services had agreed on a policy called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which left the whole issue in limbo and placed commanders and soldiers in an ambiguous position.19 While it is difficult to account for the number of homosexuals, some estimate that there are about 65,000 gay men and lesbian women in all branches of the service. Certainly the number of discharge cases in the mid-2000s gives some indication. The U.S. military discharged an average of 1,000 men and women, from all branches of the service, for homosexuality each year between 1997 and 2001. Once the pace of war in Iraq and Afghanistan picked up, these discharges fell by 30 percent. Some of those discharged were badly
needed by the service such as those Arab linguists removed in 2006 at a time when the army needed them very badly to help fight on the ground.20 Military medical care continued to be good, but soldiers of this era encountered a threat that veterans of previous conflicts did not have to face: AIDS, caused by HIV. This blood-transmuted disease of the 1980s was a new and seemingly impregnable threat. For the army, it was extremely dangerous, as unsafe sexual practices, poor hygiene, or a contaminated blood supply could permit the virus to spread and destroy the force. Wounded soldiers in battle depend on clean blood, and the threat of contaminated plasma entering the system had many leaders extremely concerned. As soon as the military’s medical community understood the parameters of this epidemic, the service began taking steps to limit its damage. Soldiers received intense education on how to avoid contamination from their sexual partners. Periodic testing of all service members became a normal event every two years or before deployment. Finally, those soldiers who contracted the disease were treated at state-of-the-art medical facilities such as Fitzsimons Army Medical Center at Fort Carson. Infected soldiers could remain on the job as long as possible, but they were prohibited from overseas duty or assignment to a number of assignments, including ranger units or Reserve Officers’ Training Corps detachments. As the disease progressed, the infected soldier could receive a medical discharge with some sort of pay and long-term care with various army or Veterans Administration hospitals. Since it was a new disease, the army did not attempt to prosecute soldiers for becoming HIV-positive. However, they did court-martial soldiers who disregarded orders to warn sexual partners of their condition and take the appropriate precautions to keep from spreading it.21 Ethnicity The United States is a melting pot of nationalities, and the army has always been a natural draw for immigrants. It is relatively easy to identify the percentages of those of different ethnic backgrounds in the service, but more difficult to determine why they join. America’s black population has a long tradition of joining the service, and in 1999, they made up 26.5 percent of the army, although they were only 14.2 percent of the population as a whole. Certainly there was a strong tradition that, in spite of white racism and hostility, extends back at least to the Civil War, the Buffalo Soldiers of the westward expansion, and several noted units in both world wars. The integration of the army of Korea and Vietnam, which paralleled the turmoil of the civil rights era in America, opened many doors for black veterans now entitled to the GI Bill. Certainly the image of General Colin Powell and other black officers was a prime indicator that race was not a barrier to achievement in the U.S. Army. This tradition continued into the all-volunteer army, and young African American men and women joined the service in search of opportunity, independence, and education. At the beginning of the 1991 Gulf War, civil rights leaders used the problem of black overparticipation as one of the reasons to oppose the conflict. Their fear was that with such a large percentage of black high school graduates on active duty, they would take inordinately high losses. That, of course, did
not happen. Casualty reports from Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 to 2006 indicated that African American soldiers made up about 10 percent of battle deaths.22 Although Hispanic Americans are the fastest rising group in America, over 14.9 percent of the population in 1999 and growing, they made up only 7.7 percent of the active force. This disparity in percentages was a major concern for army officials since projections were that by 2050, they would make up almost one-quarter of the total American population. One reason for the desire to increase recruitment of Hispanic young men and women was they were excellent soldiers and had the highest rate of reenlistment of any other ethnic group. While many had the same reasons for enlisting, such as the prospect of better education and more opportunities, they may not have had the same traditions of service as, say, African Americans. By 2006, army recruiters were actively seeking ways to bring these good soldiers into the service.23 Religion The army does not actively publish the religious affiliation of its soldiers. Officially, the federal government and its military have no religious affiliation and do not sponsor any special church or denomination. In 2001, the Population Reference Bureau estimated that 35 percent of the military was Protestant and 22 percent Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox. Approximately 11 percent were “other” Christian religious, including Church of God and Seventh Day Adventist. About 21 percent declared themselves either atheists or agnostics and had no religious preference.24 SERVICE LIFE As an all-volunteer force, post–cold war soldiers were well paid. While the Department of the Army argued that soldiers still received 10 percent less in compensation than their civilian counterparts, total compensation, to include tax breaks, housing allowances, government housing, and reduced medical costs, made those claims quite questionable. This was certainly true as soldiers gained in rank and experience. Military compensation covered a broad array of programs far more comprehensive than a paycheck. In some cases, these were simple cash payouts that included basic pay, enlistment and reenlistment bonuses, combat pay, and specialty pay such as parachute jump or flight pay. In other instances, the soldier could either receive cash or the same benefit materially. These included quarters allowance or substance allowance. Those soldiers that remained on active duty for an extended period also received deferred compensation, or retirement pay, when they left the service. This amount usually ranged from 50 to 75 percent of the soldier’s basic pay. Finally, there was a large package of supplemental benefits that the service member and his or her family received simply because of the service connection. These included medical care at a much reduced cost compared to their civilian counterparts, savings at the commissary and post exchange, eligibility for Veterans Administration–sponsored home loans, and protection from state income taxes and other fees. All in all, a soldier’s total compensation package was favorable to what average Americans received in the civilian
workplace. Unlike the Vietnam-era army, soldiers no longer stood in line to get paid by a company officer. Now, each month, they received a computer-generated sheet called a leave and earnings statement, or LES. The government deposited the actual money into the individual’s back account.25 Levels of Pay A private with less than two years of service would make $724.20 per month in base pay in 1989. While it seemed low, these younger troops spent their first few years in the army living in barracks and had little need for automobiles and other expensive hobbies. It was a far cry from the $102 per month privates received during the early years of the Vietnam War. After three years of service and several promotions to the most common enlisted grade of specialist (E-4), the soldier’s pay had risen to over $1,000 per month. If he or she lived off-post, the soldier could bring home an additional $219 to help pay the cost of housing, an amount that was slightly greater if he or she was married. Pay continued to rise in different ways as the soldier remained on active duty. Each year, the army received a cost of living raise. In 1989, it had been 4.1 percent, and a year later, it was 3.6 percent of the soldier’s basic pay. In addition, every two years, the soldier was given a longevity increase. For example, a sergeant (E-5) with five years of service had a basic pay of $1,143 per month. Once he or she passed six years of service, that increased to $1,218. Promotion to staff sergeant (E-6) could bring an additional $125 per month plus an increase in the soldier’s housing allowance. A senior NCO, such as a master sergeant (E-8), who might also be a unit first sergeant, with 20 years in the army had a base pay of over $2,100 per month.26 Officer pay was also far more generous than at any other time in American history. Brand-new second lieutenants brought home almost $1,400 per month in basic pay. By the time they were captains, about four years later, this pay had jumped to over $2,400, plus an additional $600 if they were married and living off-post. They received the same longevity and cost of living raises as their enlisted counterparts. By the time they reached the rank of major (O-4), they could live a comfortable life and afford to buy a home with the combined salary of $3,671 per month, or $44,000 per year, quite comparable to civilian salaries. Those who reached the rank of colonel (O-6), with over 26 years of service, ended their career with an annual salary of just under $70,000 per year, a very reasonable salary for the late 1980s.27 By the new millennium, these pay scales had increased significantly. Soldiers entered the service making $1,300 per month, sergeants (E-5) brought home around $2,100 per month, and master sergeants (E-8) lived on over $4,000 per month. New lieutenants started at just under $2,500 per month, but within four years and promotion to captain, they were grossing $4,300. Lieutenant colonels, just before retirement at about 25 years of service, had a gross basic pay of $7,300 per month, or $87,000 per year. To all of these amounts, the army added housing allowances, subsistence allowances, and special pays such as flight, parachute, and combat. If deployed overseas to a combat zone, this money was all tax-free.28
Clothing and Equipment The soldiers’ uniforms continued to change during this period. By 2000, the green and black “battle dress,” or BDU, uniform that came into use during the latter days of the cold war was in full use and had been significantly improved and modified over the years. From top to bottom, the combat soldier wore a four-pound helmet, unofficially called the Kevlar because of its composition. To veterans of World War II, this helmet had an eerie similarity to those worn by their German enemies. It was always covered with a cloth fabric that matched the uniform. Over the basic BDU, the soldier added 16.4 pounds of body armor, 2 pounds of knee and elbow pads, gloves, and a 4-pound pair of black boots. He or she also had a rain suit and an improved chemical warfare protective suit that was to be worn when needed, adding another 10 pounds of clothing.29 Beyond the clothing, the soldier going into battle or on patrol also had to carry a host of equipment. Infantrymen added a 1.5-pound night vision system that folded up or down on a hinge, mounted on the front of the helmet. He often carried a new intercommunication system that allowed the infantryman to talk to other soldiers within the squad and that added another 1.4 pounds. Every soldier carried a M40 protective mask, for protection in the event of a chemical or biological attack, a bayonet that served a variety of purposes, and a personal weapon such as the M4 Carbine or the M16A2 rifle. On his or her back, the soldier carried a modern pack, called the MOLLE (for modular, lightweight, load-carrying equipment system), which included a plastic bladder, replacing the standard canteen. The empty weight of these last items was approximately 17 pounds. Given ammunition, extra clothing, food, water, and the assorted other items that a typical soldier carried into battle, it was not unusual for him or her to add 60–80 pounds of equipment to the soldier’s actual body weight.30 THE POST–COLD WAR SOLDIER Soldiers, therefore, were a complex group that included Americans of different ethnic backgrounds, education levels, genders, and characteristics, just like any large corporation. Once in the service, the army organized them by rank and military occupational specialty, and then further arranged them by unit of assignment. Individually, they were extremely different. Collectively, they wore the same uniform, had similar training, and worked for the same boss. What made this group different from other Americans, especially in the post–cold war era, was that they were the ones who signed up to serve their country at war. Unlike the generations of the Civil War, World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam, this generation of soldier served by choice and were a minority in themselves. Only 1,100,000 Americans served in all active forces in 2005 (408,000 in the army), and another 1,100,000 served in the reserve forces (army, air force, marine, and navy reserves and the Army and Air National Guard). Therefore, for America’s post–cold war conflicts, less than 1 percent of the American population carried 100 percent of the burden. Without a draft, the probability that the post–cold war generation of Americans would serve their nation, as soldiers, was rather remote.
NOTES 1. Connie L. Reeves, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1996 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 49. 2. Mark Bowden, Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999), 125–31. Michael R. Gordon and Bernard E. Trainor, Cobra Ii: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq (New York: Pantheon Books, 2006), 374–89. 3. Frank Cox, “The NCO Corps,” Soldiers 44, no. 5 (1989): 6–10. Reeves, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 49. 4. Arnold G. Fisch Jr. and Robert K. Wright Jr., The Story of the Noncommisioned Officer Corps: The Backbone of the Army (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1989), 20–21. 5. Dan Cragg, The NCO Guide (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1986), 55–56. Cox, “The NCO Corps,” 6–10. 6. Cragg, NCO Guide, 55–56. 7. CSM Gary Parkey, A Troop, 1st Squadron 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Riley, September 30, 1994, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. 8. Bowden, Black Hawk Down, 164–65, 193–95. Richard W. Stewart, The United States Army in Somalia (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 19–22. 9. U.S. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to Congress (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1992), Appendix A. http://americanmemorialsite. com/somalia.html “Iraq Coalition Casualty Count,” http://www.icasualties.org/oif/. Both accessed May 2007. 10. Cragg, NCO Guide, 53. Jeffery A. Charlston, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1999 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006), 30. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 22-100, Military Leadership (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1990), http://usawocc.army.mil/whatiswo.htm. 11. Cragg, NCO Guide, 53. 12. Charlston, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 25. Thomas Donnelly, Margaret Roth, and Caleb Baker, Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama, February 1988–January 1990 (New York: Lexington Books, 1995), 153–54. Jeanne Holm, Women in the Military: An Unfinished Revolution, rev. ed. (Novato, CA: Presidio, 1992), 434–36. William Joe Webb, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1990–1991, ed. W. Scott James (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997), 41–44. 13. U.S. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, Appendix R. Holm, Women in the Military, 438. James E. Wise Jr. and Scott Baron, Women at War: Iraq, Afghanistan and Other Conflicts (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2006), 98–99. 14. Holm, Women in the Military, 442. Webb, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 42. U.S. Department of Defense, Conduct of the Persian Gulf War, Appendix A. See Rhonda Cornum and Peter Copeland, She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story (Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1992), for a personal account of a captured female soldier. On a personal note, my wife, Debra, served as a personnel officer with the 1st Infantry Division and was one of the last Big Red One soldiers to leave the Persian Gulf in 1991. 15. James P. Herson, “Road Warriors in the Balkans: The Army Transportation Corps in Bosnia (1995–1996),” 2007. 16. Gregory Fontenot, E. J. Degen, and David Tohn, On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004), 154–60. 17. Wise and Baron, Women at War, 20–21. Ann Scott Tyson, “Soldier Earns Silver Star for Her Role in Defeating Ambush,” Washington Post, June 17, 2005. 18. Linda Bird Francke, “Women in the Military: The Military Culture of Harassment, the Dynamics of the Masculine Mystique,” in America’s Military Today: The Challenge of Militarism, ed. Tod Ensign (New York: New Press, 2004), 135–167. CGSC Students, e-mails and notes, 2006. Interview with Major General Richard Siegfried and Brigadier General Evelyn Foote, PBS News Hour, September 11, 1997 http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/military/july-dec97/harassment_9-11.html. 19. U.S. Department of Defense, Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, 2000). Major General John G. Meyer Jr., “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Hot Topics: Current Issues for Army Leaders 1–11 (2000): 2–11. Tod Ensign, America’s Military Today: The Challenge of Militarism (New York: New Press, 2004), 199–229.
20. Donald J. Mrozek, “Transgressive Perspectives on Sexual Orientation in the U.S. Military Since 1972,” in Missouri Valley History Conference (Omaha, NE: March, 2007): unpublished. “U.S. Military Continues to Discharge Gay Arab Linguists, and Congress Members Seek Hearing,” International Herald Tribune, May 23, 2007, online ed. Anne Scott Tyson, “Sharp Drop in Gays Discharged from Military Tied to War Need,” Washington Post, March 14, 2007. 21. Donna Miles, “On the Front Lines against Aids,” Soldiers 43, no. 5 (1988): 6–9. Donna Miles, “AIDS: The Army’s Action Plan,” Soldiers 43, no. 5 (1988): 9–11. 22. George C. Wilson, Mud Soldiers: Life inside the New American Army (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989), 69. Bernard Rostker, I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2006), 610–14. Martin Binkin, “Minorities and Gays in the Military: Who Will Fight the Next War?,” in America’s Military Today: The Challenge of Militarism, ed. Tod Ensign (New York: New Press, 2004), 181–96. Hannah Fischer, United States Military Casualty Statistics: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, ed. Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2006). 23. Rostker, I Want You!, 737–38. Lizette Alvarez, “Army Focuses on Recruitment of Latinos,” New York Times, February 13, 2006. 24. David R. Segal and Mady Wechsler Segal, America’s Military Population (Washington, DC: Population Reference Bureau, 2004), 25. 25. Vincent H. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989, ed. Susan Carroll (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 161. Martin Binkin and Irene Kyriakopoulos, Paying the Modern Military, Studies in Defense Policy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution, 1981), 14. Clay Lacy, “How to Read Your L-E-S,” Soldiers 43, no. 3 (1988): 33–36. 26. Sondra Miller, “What’s New,” Soldiers 45, no. 1 (1990): 54. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary, 161. Office of the Secretary of Defense, Military Compensation Background Papers, 3rd ed. (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Defense, 1987), 59. 27. Miller, “What’s New,” 54. 28. “Basic Pay—Effective January 1, 2007,” http://www.dfas.mil/militarypay/2006military paytables/2007MilitaryPayCharts-1.pdf 29. “Today’s Soldier,” Soldiers 55, no. 1 (2000): 42–43. 30. “The Year in Review,” Soldiers 55, no. 1 (2000).
THE SOLDIER AT HOME IN THE MILITARY
Emerging from training, post–cold war soldiers headed for one of the hundreds of army installations arrayed around the world. In the United States, most of these were still called “forts,” although there was often no relationship between the installation and the Old West. Overseas, they reported to units stationed on barracks or camps, organized into military communities. No matter where they were, the soldiers lived within a world of units and supporting facilities that governed much of their lives when not in the field. WHERE DO THEY LIVE? Living on the Post All soldiers began their service on one of four Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) posts. All infantrymen reported to Fort Benning, Georgia, for both basic training and advanced individual training. The army established the infantry school in 1918, but it only came into its own with the arrival of Colonel George C. Marshall in 1927. Aided by young officers who would go on to lead the army in World War II, such as Omar Bradley, Joe Collins, Joe Stillwell, Terry Allen, and a host of others, Marshall revamped the school’s training program and set the stage for its performance 15 years later. Airborne training, Officer Candidate School, and ranger training were all added in later years.1 In addition to the courses discussed earlier, such as basic training, ranger, and the Officer Advanced Course, Fort Benning offered soldiers a wide range of infantry training programs. Most famous was the Airborne School, where soldiers spent three weeks training and jumping from military aircraft. The Infantry School also operated courses that revolved around the Bradley fighting vehicle, mortar, antitank warfare, and physical
fitness. Finally, Benning was also the home of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, until 2001 when it was called the School of the Americas, organized to train officers from Latin America. Under either name, this school has been controversial since some of its former graduates have gone on to careers as South and Central American military strongmen and abusers of their fellow citizens. It actually strives to counter those tendencies among its students. In addition to its training courses, Fort Benning was the headquarters of a mechanized infantry brigade and a ranger battalion. At any one time, there were 27,000 military and 6,800 civilians working on-post. Over 29,000 soldiers graduated from its courses in 1994.2 Other TRADOC posts were similar to Fort Benning. All had their primary mission of conducting basic, and some advanced, training to entering soldiers. Those heading for assignment to the armor career field headed for Fort Knox, Kentucky, where the First Armor Training Brigade conducted basic training and advanced individual training for armor crewman, Stryker vehicle crewman, cavalry scouts, and tank and Bradley mechanics. At Fort Sill, Oklahoma, the 428th Field Artillery Brigade taught artillery soldiers, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, trained new engineers, and almost all other new soldiers conducted basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.3 For advanced individual training, the soldier could be assigned to any one of 16 different posts, depending on his or her specific career field. All infantry, armor, engineer, and artillery soldiers remained at the same post where they had just completed basic training and continued without a move, as did the personnel and finance specialists remaining at Fort Jackson. Almost everyone else experienced their first movement between army posts and the hurdles of clearing the old post. For many soldiers, this would be the first time they actually traveled any distance on their own. For example, military intelligence soldiers signed out of Fort Jackson, boarded a plane in Columbia, South Carolina, and flew on a commercial aircraft to Tucson, Arizona. There they took a bus on an hour-long drive to Fort Huachuca, just north of the Mexican border. There they could take a wide variety of courses, including those for an intelligence analyst, imagery analyst, ground surveillance systems operator, tactical unmanned aerial vehicle operator, counterintelligence agent, signals intelligence analyst, and many others. Courses varied in length from only a week to six months or more. Officers and soldiers could take more than one course while at the Intelligence School, for example, an officer could finish his or her basic course and then continue on to a more focused interrogator course of instruction. While the intelligence soldiers headed for Fort Huachuca, supply and transportation soldiers headed to the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Virginia, and the Transportation School at Fort Eustis, Virginia, respectively. Signal and communications specialists trained at Fort Gordon, Georgia, while those in chemical, military police, and engineer fields found themselves at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, not too far from Springfield.4 While some soldiers remained at the training installations and supported the instruction of other soldiers, most moved on. During the post–cold war era, the concept of “power projection,” or the ability to send soldiers overseas to participate in the army’s many operations, became increasingly important. Therefore military personnel specialists worked diligently to assign as many recently trained soldiers and officers directly to
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a unit in the tactical army. These units were generally assigned to divisions and separate brigades based on installations controlled by Forces Command, or FORSCOM, in the army’s lexicon, in the United States or at several divisions still deployed overseas. For light forces and immediate reaction contingences, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, was the army’s most important post. With the major headquarters of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Special Operations Command, it provided forces involved in every operation in every part of the world. Its most important tactical units were the 82nd Airborne Division and the 3rd and 7th Special Forces. This was the home of the airborne soldier, and almost everyone assigned here was a volunteer and expected to jump from an aircraft on a regular basis. Other contingency forces were located at Fort Drum, New York, where the 10th Mountain Division trained for operations in Somalia, Haiti, and, later, Afghanistan. Fort Campbell, Kentucky, housed most of the army’s airmobile forces as well as other special operations forces. Other light forces were scattered around the county at Fort Lewis, Washington, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Fort Shafter, Hawaii.5 Heavy forces, tanks, and mechanized infantry found their home at major installations in the South. In the east was Fort Stewart, Georgia, 40 miles from the port of Savannah. From there, the 24th Mechanized Division deployed in the early stages of Operation Desert Shield. In 1996, the army renamed this division the 3rd Infantry, and in 2002, it headed to Iraq, where it took the lead in the overthrow of Saddam’s regime. After Fort Stewart, the next most important and largest heavy post was Fort Hood, Texas, home of two full armored-mechanized divisions. Heavy units were also found at Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Fort Riley, Kansas.6 The biggest change between the cold war and post–cold war armies was essentially the end of the German deployment. As late as 1989, the army had over 214,000 soldiers stationed at dozens of overseas military bases, primarily in central and southern West Germany. Ever since the early years of the cold war, most American soldiers could assume a European tour as part of a 20-year career. Armored cavalry regiments, assigned to V and VII Corps, patrolled the iron curtain along the East German and Czechoslovakian borders. To the rear were four combat divisions prepared to move to their general defensive positions on short notice. At least once a month, soldiers in these units were called out on alert. Racing to arms rooms and motor pools in the early morning, they would move their vehicles and equipment out of their barracks, generally World War II–era German kasernes, or barracks, and assemble at a local staging area. Once organized into their tactical units, they then conducted road marches to tactical assembly areas near their ultimate locations. Routine periods in garrison were punctuated by deployments to training areas, such Hohenfels, and tank, Bradley, and field artillery gunnery at ranges such as Grafenwöhr. Each fall, units from the United States would fly to Germany as part of the annual REFORGER (return of forces to Germany) exercise, move to the equipment storage sites near the French border, and join European-based units in training maneuvers. American families, living in self-contained communities, could enjoy as much or as little of the local culture and environment as they wanted. For many soldiers and their families, there was a sense of stability in this cycle of rotation to Europe, the United States, and then back to Germany.7
The end to this routine characterized the post–cold war era. Changes in the strategic situation, with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of the two German states, began the 15-year trend in force reduction. The army was beginning to inactivate or reassign European units just as Saddam Hussein was invading Kuwait in the summer of 1990. The VII Corps’ deployment to southwest Asia in 1990 foreshadowed its inactivation, which took place in April 1992. Along with the corps, the 3rd Armored and 8th Infantry Divisions left the army’s roles that year. By 1994, there were only about 65,000 soldiers remaining in Germany, and congressional pressure was increasing to bring them all home.8 A number of military posts in Germany survived the drawdown. One of the most important, and typical of military communities during this period, was Baumholder. For most of the cold war, it housed a brigade and supporting elements of the 8th Infantry Division. With the restructuring in 1992, the units changed names, and the 1st Armored Division took control, and Baumholder became the largest American post outside of the United States, housing 13,000 soldiers and family members. Families could either live in one of the 1,900 sets of government quarters or on the local economy. Just like an American post, the community had a commissary, post exchange, medical and dental clinics, and a typical selection of other support activities. It had its own golf course and indoor swimming pool. What it offered, and was not available in the United States, was quick access to some of the world’s greatest tourist sites. Paris, Brussels, the Black Forest, and Amsterdam were only several hours away. Although the soldiers trained hard and found themselves on many deployments during his period, assignment to Germany soldiers still considered “good duty” during the post–cold war.9 Since the 1950s, the army has maintained several dozen camps, essentially operating bases, in South Korea. Most of these are scattered around Seoul and act as the home for the 2nd Infantry Division. Over 31,000 army troops occupied these camps in the early 1990s, but this had fallen to less than 23,000 by 2004. While these bases were well established and had all the basic facilities that existed in the United States, few of them had any dependents. Except for some officers and senior noncommissioned officers assigned to the major headquarters, these tours were generally without family members.10 A third category of military base developed during his period, similar to those operated in Korea since the 1950s: the forward operating bases (FOB) in deployed areas. Once the soldier returned from duty, whether it be manning a traffic checkpoint, conducting mounted or dismounted presence patrols, maintaining a communications site, or raiding a suspected weapons cache, there needed to be a place to relax. The army has a tendency to make these large facilities with robust “morale, welfare, and recreation,” or MWR, activities. These include recreation centers, gymnasiums, and movie theaters. A big attraction at these locations in the modern era were Internet cafés, which will be discussed later. While these bases had all the facilities available on a typical military post, what was missing were soldiers’ families. What was usually present were representatives from various other government agencies and nongovernment organizations such as the Red Cross or Doctors without Borders.11
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The general pattern for these bases was that the soldiers arrived on a barren parcel of land, generally near an abandoned or damaged airport, and then began to improve their surroundings. Up went sleeping tents, dining tents, and latrines, often quite primitive. Soon the field kitchens were operational and a shower point established. Little things became important in these early stages of base development. One officer in the early days in Bosnia commented that one of his big successes was “tricking local laborers into dumping gravel at our battalion headquarters site” to use in improving the muddy ground around the area. Often it was the little things—wooden planks to make a floor for a tent or a bunch of shipping pallets arranged to make a little deck above the mud—that soldiers remembered years later. And of course, mail delivery had great importance. Failure to get the mail delivered on time would be one of the great complaints of soldiers in the field.12 Next came the morale and welfare items, like television sets, laundry service, and a small post exchange, usually selling junk food and cigarettes. In most places, when the security situation allows, the army hires local nationals to provide much of the support. Soldiers living in the area around al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia, just before moving to the field for Operation Desert Storm found their food prepared by Saudi contractors. Returning after the war, the same area had transformed into a massive support area with laundry service, snack bars, and even camel rides. A soldier on the Bosnian intervention remembered waking up to Muslim women—many had been raped by Serbian fighters or lost family during the fighting—cooking breakfast.13 As time went by, construction units, usually contractors such as Kellogg, Brown & Root, arrived and began to build up the facility. By the time army rangers conducted their raid to capture Mohamed Farah Aideed in 1993, the main forward operating base at Mogadishu airport supported over 19,000 American and 23,000 United Nations soldiers and support personnel. Essentially, it was a small city, with all the accompanying problems of medical support and the requirement for food and clean water. Eagle Base, outside of Tuzla, Bosnia, grew into a huge facility with juice bars, several Internet cafés, a gymnasium, and theater.14 Beginning in 2003, more than one-third of the entire army, and a large proportion of the reserves and national guard, found itself fighting around the world. By the end of 2006, this meant that 152,000 were in Iraq, while several thousand more served in Afghanistan. One of the results of these massive deployments was the creation of large FOBs in the principal combat zones. In Afghanistan, the largest of these bases were at Kandahar and Bagram airfields. Over 5,000 American soldiers and airmen called Bagram home. This was a massive facility, built on the ruins of the old Soviet airbase. Its large hospital was state-of-the-art, and it had all of the morale, health, and welfare items that any American post would require. Living quarters were mass produced “B-huts” made from plywood. For those who visited, the facility was in a constant state of construction and repair.15 These FOBs took on a new life of their own as American forces moved into Iraq in 2003. Within a year, there were almost 100 of these bases, ranging from Camp Victory at Baghdad Airport, which housed thousands of soldiers, to smaller ones of 500 troops
Moving day, Fort McClellan, AL, 1996. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
or less. Kellogg, Brown & Root was the primary contractor, turning old Iraqi bases into facilities that could sustain American troops for the duration of the conflict.16 HOW DO THEY LIVE? By 2000, army posts had become rather complex organizations. They were so large that each had its own commander and staff, who were different from the post’s major tactical unit or training organization. Fort Riley, consisting of 92,216 acres in east central Kansas, was rather typical in this regard, and we will examine it in some detail. However, the reader can apply its general characteristics to posts from Fort Lewis in Washington to Fort Stewart on the other end of the nation, in Georgia. These posts were also similar to most military communities in Germany, except that local civilians, and even communities, were intermingled with the military activities. Forward bases had all the essential facilities, except for those concerning family support. Let us investigate one sample post to see what kind of life the soldier lived when not in the field. Fort Riley, Kansas: A Typical Post Fort Riley, located a little more than 100 miles east of Kansas City, was typical of many of the army’s major garrisons. Formed to protect trade and travel on the Santa Fe and Oregon Trails in the 1850s, it was an important installation before and during the Civil War. It continued to play a role in the settlement of the western United States and in both world wars. Following the Vietnam War, the 1st Infantry Division assumed control of the post, and it has generally, with a few exceptions, remained as the primary combat organization at Fort Riley. Every major post in the army has a similar tale to tell, and visitors can find on each one a post museum, and historian, describing the fort’s contributions to the army and the nation.17
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This post was a small city, with, in 2005, over 12,500 military assigned to the post and another 7,800 family members living on-post with their military sponsors, with an additional 7,800 living off-post. In addition, the various agencies supporting the post’s soldiers employed over 8,300 Department of the Army civilians. Finally, the army takes great pride in taking care of its retirees, and over 20,000 of these former soldiers, sailors, airmen, or marines lived within a reasonable drive of the post and used its many facilities. Through these post facilities, the U.S. government spent over $1.4 billion each year in the local area. Payroll, construction, health care, and education were the primary recipients of these funds.18 Almost half of the soldiers and their families assigned to Fort Riley lived off-post in the nearby communities of Manhattan and Junction City. Manhattan, with approximately 50,000 full-time residents, also hosted the 23,000 students at Kansas State University. Its excellent school system, relationship to the local college, and excellent homes made it a choice location for officers and senior noncommissioned officers looking to own a home and raise a family. Bars and stores generally focused on the large number college students in the town, rather than on the smaller military population. It had a small, enclosed shopping mall and an array of decent places for eating and entertainment. Those that lived there had a 30-minute commute, if the traffic was light. Junction City, on the other hand, was right outside the post’s main gate and had all the trappings of the classic army town. It was much smaller than Manhattan, with only 19,000 residents, yet it bore the brunt of soldiers looking for bars or entertainment after duty hours. Almost all of its inhabitants had some connection to those that worked on-post. It also had an amazing array of restaurants and hotels for such a small town.19
Housing Assignments The remainder of the soldiers lived on-post, and all housing assignments depended on the soldier’s rank. At the top of the pyramid were a number of old historic homes dating back to the 1880s and 1890s. Greatly retrofitted, these five-bedroom homes were occupied by the posts most senior officers, generally full colonels and general officers. Lieutenant colonels and majors also lived in the area of these historic homes, most of them in four-bedroom homes with a great deal of space. Captains and lieutenants found themselves in a wide array of quarters, beginning with old duplexes built in the 1800s to more recent quarters constructed in the 1980s and 1990s. Senior noncommissioned officers had quarters equivalent to the company-grade housing. Enlisted soldiers, grades E-4 to E-6, had a fine choice of two-, three-, and four-bedroom homes, most of them duplexes, with garages. Most were the product of the expansion of soldiers’ quarters in the 1980s and, compared to what other junior soldiers had available on the local economy, were quite acceptable. Bachelor officers or noncommissioned officers also had the opportunity to live in one of the small apartments available onpost. Altogether, Fort Riley had over 3,000 sets of family quarters for all ranks. Each group of on-post homes had its own chain of command that watched over the living environment. Soldiers were under serious pressure to maintain the quality of their living
environment and to monitor the conduct of their families. Those that were creating a disturbance would find themselves discussing their family problems with a whole array of family counselors and their chain of command.20 Junior enlisted soldiers lived either off-post, in one of the host of apartments in Junction City, or in one of the 5,590 barracks rooms available. Construction and modernization of barracks continued to be one of the army’s most important priorities, beginning with the development of the voluntary army barracks, or VOLAR, which replaced the old wooden bay-style buildings from the World War II and Vietnam eras. These facilities now resembled college dormitories, with space for personal privacy, large rooms, large closets, better furniture, and nice touches such as better day rooms, landscaping, and ample parking. If a soldier was authorized to move out of the barracks, the army would give him only an extra $583.00, essentially what they were charging him or her for the cost of the barracks.21 Commissaries and Post Exchanges While most Americans have heard about post exchanges, it is doubtful that most citizens have any grasp of the scale of the facilities that each post has available. Set up originally to support soldiers in remote areas, it had now become one of the soldiers’ benefits and one of the factors counselors used to get them to reenlist and stay in the army. Fort Riley’s commissary rivaled any supermarket in the area in regards to the quality and quantity of food and, in addition, often stocked items that catered to the tastes of world-traveling soldiers and their families. Army commissaries grew out of the food distribution systems used to supply posts in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when posts were isolated from most of the civilian economy. For those families living on-post, the local commissary was the only source of most of their food, other than what was grown in their own gardens. By the twenty-first century, this was no longer the case. The Defense Commissary Agency, housed at Fort Lee, Virginia, touted commissary privileges as one of the benefits of service. It promised active and retired soldiers and their families a “safe and secure shopping environment” as well as annual savings over civilian supermarkets of as much as $3,000. Fort Riley’s commissary, well equipped and stocked, was typical of those on most military bases.22 Where to eat is always an issue for soldiers. One source of food in garrison was the old army mess hall, renamed during the era of the all-volunteer army the “dining facility.” In addition to simply changing its name, the army placed a great deal of emphasis on the professional training of its cooks and supervisory sergeants. All cooks underwent an extensive course at the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee.23 While soldiers had the option of eating in their unit dining facility, they could also take advantage of the many fast-food establishments that were scattered across post. Burger King, Blimpie’s, Popeye’s, Taco Bell, and Baskin Robbins were just a few of the dozen of these facilities that attracted the young soldiers. After hours, if they chose not to head off-post to the bars in Junction City or the college hangouts in Manhattan’s Aggieville, they could visit
THE SOLDIER AT HOME IN THE MILITARY
the Rally Point, a sports bar with 41 television monitors and three big screens capable of delivering lots of sports and entertainment to the young crowd. There was also dancing available on Friday and Saturday nights. The old officer’s club, as in most posts across the country, was a thing of the past and had become a simple conference center, so any hope of fine dining had left this post around the beginning of Desert Storm.24 Like the commissary, the post exchange grew out of ad hoc arrangements dating back to the earliest days of the army. The post sutler, essentially a private businessman, was a common feature on posts across the West. As the army moved to World War I, such arrangements proved to be inadequate for soldier morale, and the War Department studied how to best provide soldiers the opportunity to buy personal items. A new Army Exchange Service began operations in June 1941 and continued to grow during the war. With the establishment of the new air force in 1947, the support organization assumed the name of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, generally referred to as AAFES. By 2003, it had grown into a huge organization that included not only the traditional post exchange, but gas stations, fast-food restaurants, movie theaters, and a host of affiliated contractual organizations. Its revenue that year was $7,900,000,000, and it was running operations in every corner of the world, to include Iraq and Afghanistan.25 The main post exchange (PX) was the equivalent of a department store. In Fort Riley’s case, it was truly closer to their living areas than the marginally better shopping in Junction City and Manhattan. The PX stocked reasonably priced and styled clothing for men, women, and children. In the tradition of these exchanges, it had a large selection of televisions, stereo equipment, compact disks, and other electronic products. All of these items were sold at costs generally less than the civilian stores, and without sales tax. Near the exchange were a whole series of other facilities, including a barbershop, laundry, and flower shop. Soldiers could also purchase snack food, beer, gasoline, and tobacco products at any of the three shopettes, similar to the typical 7-11 store, dispersed across post. These had extensive operating hours and were generally located near troop concentrations or on the routes to the facilities of Junction City or Manhattan. The old officer’s club was a conference center and had a small restaurant open for lunch.26 Military Medical Care Since World War II, American soldiers have had some of the best military medical care in the world. The all-volunteer army, with its large percentage of married soldiers, made it imperative that this care be extended to the soldiers’ families. As the 1980s came to an end, military dependents had some of the best medical care in the world. Many so-called army brats found their first home at one of the dozens of military hospitals located from Germany to Japan. These were often sophisticated facilities, with maternity wards equipped and staffed to administer to the 10 percent of births requiring intensive care. Fort Riley had Irwin Army Community Hospital, a medium-capacity facility that could, in an emergency, be expanded to over 250 beds. It offered soldiers and their families all of the services available in any small city’s hospital. These included well
Robin Williams shakes hands and poses for photos with some of the troops gathered at the Camp Liberty Post Exchange in Baghdad, Iraq, during a USO tour, 2004. (AP Photo/DOD/ Sgt. Dan Purcell, U.S. Army)
baby, emergency room, dermatology, vision and hearing, immunization, OB/GYN, orthopedic, and many other services. Soldiers and their families received their health care through the Department of Defense’s TRICARE system. Each soldier received a primary care manager, a doctor, who performed routine examinations, monitored the patient’s health, and coordinated visits to specialty clinics. Retirees would continue this system with the option of purchasing one of three levels of service. Even the most expensive level, TRICARE Prime, cost the veteran and his or her family only $460.00 per year, a bargain in an age of expensive health care.27 Recreation on the Post Like all army posts, Fort Riley had an amazing array of recreation facilities to keep soldiers occupied when not in the field. Compared to a normal community, the soldier and his or her family had a far greater array of free, or inexpensive, opportunities for quality recreation. The list of available facilities is quite impressive: it had five fitness centers, which had all of the weights, exercise equipment, basketball courts, and exercise classes that one would expect at the best health clubs. In addition, it boasted 15 racquetball courts, 10 softball fields, 7 tennis courts, 2 indoor swimming pools, 2 outdoor swimming pools, an 18-hole golf course, a bowling center, an automotive center, an arts
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and crafts center, and a horse riding stable. The post had a strong fish and wildlife program, with hunting and fishing being major, sponsored forms of recreation. It supported a trout fishery, quail and deer hunting, and one of the largest elk herds anywhere in the country—and the only place they could be hunted in Kansas. Certainly, compared to the army post of old, it was a rather sophisticated organization.28 Issues for Families on the Post The army prided itself on taking care of families, and Fort Riley had a robust array of services to support families. Students could attend grades K–8 in one of the post’s six public schools, chartered as Geary County Unified School District 575. Students attended high school in Junction City. The post also had a large child care facility for youngsters and three youth centers for both the younger children and teenagers. For families, living in Fort Riley was a safe and controlled existence, in great contrast to the environment found outside the gates.29 One final aspect of living on an army post was the move. Soldiers and their families in the last years of the cold war could expect to relocate once every three years. There were essentially two kinds of moves, called permanent change of station, or PCS. The first form was relatively easy, from one stateside location to another. The government had a scale, based on rank, which specified how much property they would move. The soldier presented his or her orders at the transportation office and scheduled an orientation briefing. At the briefing, the soldier and spouse were given a pile of inventory forms, rule books, and advice on how to prepare for moving day. The family then prepared a detailed inventory of their household goods and returned it to the transportation office. Several days or weeks before moving day, the contracted carrier would visit the soldier’s home and confirm the inventory. The second kind of move, overseas, was much more complicated. Here the limitations on what the government would transport were more restricted. Normally, the family would have things they just did not need to transport, such as bedroom furniture, dining room furniture, and the like, since government quarters overseas often had enough of those items on hand, and they were probably already available in the new quarters. All of the extra items were packed, protected, and sent to “non-temporary storage,” to be retrieved after the family returned from overseas. In addition, the soldier was usually authorized to ship the family automobile, a complicated event that required a drive to an authorized shipping port and processing the car for a long journey by ship. Once at the new duty station, frustration and excitement simultaneously gripped the family. Things seldom went smoothly as the new quarters might not yet be available and they had to live, without their goods, in temporary quarters. Sometimes, especially in regard to overseas travel, goods were lost or delayed. Once everything arrived, family treasures were invariably broken or damaged, and the soldier had to submit claims for damage. Approximately 25 percent of all shipments had damage that required the soldier to submit a claim for compensation. On the other hand, the army spouse and children became experts at setting up the new nest and getting the new quarters in order.
Of course, the move back to the United States might be even more complicated. After three or four years in Europe or Asia, most military families accumulated a large amount of items that they needed to send back to America. First, there were all kinds of restrictions on plants, fruits, and vegetables, and usually, they were left in Europe. Pets, generally dogs and cats, required special processing to make sure they had the appropriate immunizations and a special reservation for their flight home. Automobiles needed to meet certain standards of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and then be delivered to a special processing center for shipment. Other items, while not regulated, might be bulky and cause the soldier to exceed the family’s shipping weight allowance. In that case, he or she could expect a bill from the government. And of course, there was often the collection of European wine that could be difficult to ship and require a customs duty on the other end.30 The more the soldier moved, the more proficient the family became at the task, and it was not unusual for soldiers to move five to eight times in a 20- to 25-year career. By the end of this period, the army was looking for ways to limit the number of soldier moves to save money.31
Duty Day: The Soldier’s Workday The weekly training schedule dictated the soldier’s daily and weekly routine when in garrison. Depending on the unit, the training phase or deployment cycle the unit was in, and the time of year, this schedule varied considerably from soldier to soldier. For many service support soldiers, their daily routines varied little. For example, soldiers working in the personnel center devoted most of their time to supporting those in other units by processing personnel requests, promotions, and other personnel actions. Usually once or twice a week, the personnel shop would close so that sergeants could train and monitor the performance of their subordinates.32 Combat arms and combat support units spent most of their duty day, when in garrison, training and preparing for their wartime tasks. This could mean anything from a day at the range to training on different skills at a local facility or training area. Mechanized and armored soldiers spent a great deal of time on their vehicles. Sometimes they practiced various skills. Other times, and quite often, they preformed basic maintenance on the equipment. So given that there were so many differences, what could a typical day at home station look like? In most units, those living in the barracks were out of bed around 5:00 A.M. Those living off-post had an even earlier wake-up, depending on their driving time to the post. The old days of living in one large barracks and a sergeant turning on the lights were gone. Now, each soldier had his or her own alarm clock, often backed up with the units CQ, or charge of quarters, walking the hallway and banging on the door. By 6:00 A.M., everyone was standing outside the company orderly room in his or her gray physical training (PT) uniform. PT could be conducted in a variety of methods. Sometimes the soldiers would simply practice the basic exercises that the army required on its PT test. For variety, other exercises could also be added to work other parts of the soldiers’ bodies. On other occasions, soldiers could conduct squad or platoon
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competitions. Basketball in the winter and flag football in the summer were popular options. Building teamwork was just as important as physical fitness. The army viewed these morning assemblies as a great opportunity to train junior leaders. Therefore, whenever possible, junior noncommissioned officers led the formation. On other occasions, it was a chance to build larger unit morale, so the event would be run at the company level. Most units on a recurring schedule, such as on paydays, would conduct a battalion-level run, giving the lieutenant colonel or sergeant major the opportunity to address the entire command and get a sense of how it looked and behaved as an organization. Finally, on a regular basis, there was either a practice or “for record” physical fitness test. No matter what, all of these activities were an integral part of the soldier’s life.33 This was a very healthy army. Smoking was disappearing among the officer corps and discouraged by the army’s chain of command. Soldiers were encouraged to eat healthy, and units monitored their members’ weight and lifestyle. In addition, each year, soldiers took an army physical fitness test consisting of three major events: sit-ups, push-ups, and a twomile run. Passing scores for each event were identified for specific age groups and by sex. In 1988, the average for men in the 22–26 age group was 56 push-ups, 64 sit-ups, and a two-mile run in 14.1 minutes. Failure to pass such a test would result in adverse scores on the soldier’s efficiency report and could actually be cause for dismissal from the service.34 Some soldiers did not go to PT, but instead went to sick call. This is where the medics had a chance for a quick diagnosis of the individual’s problem and could either send the soldier back to bed, refer him or her to the larger health clinic, or give out some basic medicine or treatment and send the individual back to work. Those troopers with a habit of going to sick call could find themselves getting a little special attention from their chain of command. Sometime around 7:00 A.M., soldiers were in the unit dining facility or at some local place to get a cup of coffee and something to eat. The unit dining facility in the post–cold war era was still one of the best deals available for breakfast, providing good food, and lots of it, for a very reasonable price. Most units held the first few hours of the day as prime-time training. The specific kind of training event varied, but the intent was to block out the first four hours of the day to concentrate on mission-essential tasks. During prime-time training, soldiers were generally not allowed to schedule any appointments that would take them away from the task at hand. At its most basic level, this training could be called “sergeant’s time.” Platoon, squad, and crew sergeants worked with their younger soldiers to ensure they were proficient in their most basic combat tasks. Often conducted in motor pools or near the barracks, these training events could range from basic assembly and disassembly of the unit’s weapons, to crew drill on their primary item of equipment, to the use of more general tasks such as radio procedures or chemical warfare defense.35 Sometime around 11:30 A.M., the unit leaders assembled their groups (squads, crews, platoons), cleaned up their training area, and left for lunch. Some soldiers headed back to the unit area and the dining facility for the day’s special. Others, especially the younger soldiers, headed for the standard base fast-food joints such as Burger King and Subway. If the main gate was close to the soldiers’ work area, several might hop in a car and drive to a larger selection of food places off-post.
Afternoon training was usually less structured than the morning plan. In the afternoon, for example, soldiers were generally encouraged to make any appointments they might need for them and their families at the local health or dental clinic. Mechanized and armored soldiers often returned to the motor pool to perform maintenance more specific to their individual vehicle or weapons system. Infantrymen might head to the arms room to clean and repair weapons systems. In most cases, unless they were working on an important item of equipment that needed repair or were conducting night training, the soldiers were generally back in the company area in time to salute the flag as the guard pulled it down to the strains of Retreat and To the Colors. Unless the soldier had some kind of evening duty, such as CQ, he or she was free for the evening.
Other Jobs for Soldiers Soldiers had an array of duties they needed to perform in additional to routing training. Each company unit had a CQ, usually a sergeant, who monitored the barracks and company area in the evening. He or she also had a junior enlisted person, called a runner, for assistance. Battalions had captains or lieutenants serving as staff duty officer, or SDO, who monitored the individual companies. Brigades, divisions, and senior headquarters usually had a major or lieutenant colonel performing similar duties, and this individual was called the field officer of the day, or FOD. Standard guard mounts, kitchen police, or KP, and other routine tasks of the old army had essentially disappeared and been replaced by contract employees. It was the rare post that still had military police soldiers standing guard at the front gate.
Casualty Assistance and Notification One duty that the army would not operate by contract was the performing of casualty assistance and notification duties. Assisting the families of those soldiers killed in action was one home station duty that became increasingly common during the post–cold war era. During World War II, Korea, and the early stages of the Vietnam conflict, families often found out about a soldier’s demise through a telegram from Western Union, often delivered by a taxi driver. In this era of cellular telephones and computer-based voice and e-mail, it was always possible that a family found out from an unofficial source about the death of their soldier. Army leaders, however, tried to avoid such impersonal ways of dealing with death among its soldiers. There was a two-step process in assisting families when a soldier had died in combat. First, one officer or senior noncommissioned officer was detailed as the casualty-notification officer. His or her duty was relatively simple but extremely painful. Dressed in his or her best “Class A” uniform, the selected officer went to the home and verified that he or she was speaking to the right person, such as a parent or spouse. Then, as compassionately as possible, he or she said the words that no soldier’s family wants to hear but all know are possible: “On behalf of the secretary of the army, I regret to inform you that. . . . You have my deepest condolences.” The officer then remained as the family members dealt with their grief. The notification officer would also
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remain with the family until they had called friends and other family members to make sure they were not left alone.36 When the causality-notification officer departed, the family would probably have no more contact with him or her. This officer was directly related to bad news and bad memories. A new officer now entered the scene, the causality assistance officer. This individual would visit the family within 24 hours of the notification officer’s visit and work with them to help get their lives back in order. On one level, the assistance officer ensured that the grieving family received all the official benefits and support that they were authorized by law. These may include financial payments, insurance payments, medical support, and veterans’ assistance, and the awards and decorations that the soldier had received. They often assisted with making the funeral arrangements, especially if the soldier was to be buried at a national cemetery. Beyond those official duties, the officer had the responsibility of working with the family to assist with their specific problems. For example, the family may need help moving from government quarters to a new house. The assistance officer would take the lead in making that transition as easy as possible. This officer’s relationship with the family might have lasted for three months or even longer.37 Support for Forest Service Another task performed by units when at home station was providing support to the U.S. Forest Service in fighting fires in America’s national forests. It was tough, physical work, exactly the kind that soldiers excelled in. These fires were usually in the mountainous regions of the West, and climbing steep slopes in the intense heat was difficult work. The forest service’s crew bosses, who were responsible for training and directing the soldiers’ efforts, were always appreciative of the army’s discipline and work ethic. Some soldiers enjoyed the change of pace from practicing battle drills. As Private First Class Lawrence Rotunno from the Second Battalion, 27th Infantry from Fort Ord commented, “It was something new, a change of pace.”38 In many ways, how soldiers lived in at-home station is difficult to capture. The wide range of assignments and duties made each experience different, in spite of the standardization that was found on army posts, making generalizations difficult. Making the process of analysis more difficult was the army’s pace, or operational tempo, during this era. The rapidity with which this small army deployed to war, returned, and recovered, trained, and then redeployed made the prospect of a normal garrison little more than a dream for many. NOTES 1. Forrest C. Pogue, George C. Marshall: Education of a General, 1880–1939 (New York: Viking Press, 1963), 247–63. U.S. Army Infantry School, “U.S. Army Infantry Home Page,” https://www.infantry.army.mil/infantry/index.asp. Dan Cragg, Guide to Military Installations, 4th ed. (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1994), 113–14. 2. U.S. Army Infantry School, “U.S. Army Infantry Home Page.” “U.S. Army Posts and Installations,” Army 51, no. 10 (2001): 236. James T. Stensvaag, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Annual Command History (1994) (Fort Monroe, VA: Military History Office, 1997), 173. 3. “U.S. Army Posts and Installations.”
4. U.S. Department of the Army, Da Pam 351-4 U.S. Army Formal Schools Catalog (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1995), 108–12. 5. “U.S. Army Posts and Installations,” 229–230. 6. Dan Cragg, Guide to Military Installations, 6th ed. (Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000), 96, 236–37. “U.S. Army Posts and Installations,” 229–230. 7. Stephen P. Gehring, From the Fulda Gap to Kuwait: U.S. Army Europe and the Gulf War (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 11, 46–49. Charles E. Kirkpatrick, “Ruck It Up!”: The Post-Cold War Transformation of V Corps, 1990–2001 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006), 2–14, 34–49. 8. Stephen A. Bourque, Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 451. Kirkpatrick, “Ruck It Up!,” 14–29. 9. U.S. Army Installation Management Command, “U.S. Army Garrison, Baumholder, Germany,” http://www.baumholder.army.mil/sites/local (accessed July 2007). 10. Global Security, “US Forces Korea Facilities,” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/fa cility/korea.htm (accessed July 2007). Global Security, “US Forces Order of Battle,” http://www. globalsecurity.org/military/ops/korea-orbat.htm (accessed July 2007). 11. Robert D. Kaplan, Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond (New York: Vintage, 2005), chaps. 5 and 8. 12. Steven Piotrowski, “Temporal Tales Frm the Backwaters of the Post Cold War American Army,” paper submitted for A689 Mil Ops Post-Cold War Era (Fort Leavenworth, KS: United States Army Command and General Staff College, 2007), 5–10. Brian E. Warfel, “A Soldier’s Perspective on Operations Conducted during the Post Cold War Era,” paper submitted for A689 Mil Ops Post-Cold War Era (Fort Leavenworth, KS: United States Army Command and General Staff College, 2007), 12–20. 13. Bourque, Jayhawk!, 446. Piotrowski, “Temporal Tales.” 14. “Task Force Eagle,” http://www.tfeagle.army.mil/units/eagle/mwr. Kaplan, Imperial Grunts, 197. John Brown, ed., United States Forces, Somalia After Action Report and Historical Overview: The United States Army in Somalia, 1992–1994 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2003), 186. 15. Kaplan, Imperial Grunts, 197–99. 16. Leonard Wong and Stephen Gerras, Cu @ the Fob: How the Forward Operating Base Is Changing the Life of Combat Soldiers (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2006). Global Security, “Iraq Facilities,” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/iraq-intro.htm (accessed July 2007). 17. This short summary is from Fort Riley’s Web page: http://www.riley.army.mil/OurPost/ History.aspx. 18. Fort Riley Garrison, Fort Riley, Kansas, Economic Impact Statement (Fort Riley, KS: Analysis Plans and Integration Office, 2006). This author was also assigned to Fort Riley in the early 1990s and has revisited it on many occasions. 19. Author’s notes (and town Web pages). 20. Fort Riley Garrison, Economic Impact Statement. Also, Riley housing Web page: http:// www.riley.army.mil/Services/Fort/Housing.aspx 21. Subcommittee on Readiness and Management Support, Committee on Armed Services, Statement by Mahlon Apgar, IV, Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations and Environment), 106th Cong., 2nd sess., March 10, 2000. “Military Pay Tables,” http://www.armytimes.com/static/ money/pay (accessed May 2007). 22. “Commissaries. com,” http://www.commissaries.com/about_us.cfm (accessed March 2007). 23. Donna Miles, “Army Cooks,” Soldiers 43, no. 7 (1988): 21–23. 24. “Welcome to Fort Riley!,” http://www.riley.army.mil (accessed February 2007). 25. AFEES, “2003 Annual Report,” http://www.aafes.com/pa/history/docs/annual/03.pdf. Also, “AAFES Milestones,” http://www.aafes.com/pa/history/milestones.asp (accessed February 2007). 26. Fort Riley Garrison, Economic Impact Statement. 27. Donna Miles, “Giving Army Babies the Right Start,” Soldiers 44, no. 4 (1989): 52. Commander, Irwin Army Community Hospital, Information Handbook (Fort Riley, KS: Irwin Army Community Hospital, 2005). 28. Fort Riley Garrison, Economic Impact Statement. 29. Ibid.
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30. Heike Hasenauer, “Homeward Bound,” Soldiers 44, no. 5 (1989): 32–34. 31. Joanne Wisner, “Moving,” Soldiers 43, no. 5 (1988): 21–23. Heike Hasenauer, “PCS on Course,” Soldiers 43, no. 6 (1988): 6–7. Donna Miles, “Recouping the Loss,” Soldiers 43, no. 6 (1988): 32–33. 32. Author’s notes. 33. Dave Schad, “Battery B,” Soldiers 43, no. 7 (1988): 7–8. 34. “Where Do You ‘Fit’ In?,” Soldiers 43, no. 1 (1988): 48. 35. Schad, “Battery B,” 7–8. 36. Heike Hasenauer, “Reaching Out to the Bereaved,” Soldiers 57, no. 6 (2002): 18–19. 37. Ibid., 19–22. 38. Saralynne S. Standley, “Firefight: Light Fighters from the 7th Infantry Division Battled an Unexpected Enemy in the West’s Forests Last Summer,” Soldiers 43, no. 1 (1988): 7–9.
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Time magazine awarded the accolade of “Person of the Year” for 2003 to the American Soldier. Better than any other commentary, one of the photos in the middle of the issue symbolizes the true effect of technology on the soldier’s way of life. In a dark room, a young, somber soldier uses his laptop computer to send a message home to his family.1 Nothing symbolizes the changes in soldiers’ lives during this era more than the ease of communications back to the United States based on the personal computer. In their work on military revolutions, Williamson Murray and Macgregor Knox identified five major military revolutions. From their perspective, revolutions are major events that transform society as a whole, and certainly social, cultural, and economic historians would generally agree that certain events, such as the rise of the nation-state, the French Revolution, and the Industrial Revolution are landmark occurrences that had a profound effect on world history. It is quite possible, although it is still too soon to tell, that the era from the mid-1980s until the first decade of the twenty-first century is just one of those periods. Historians in future centuries may refer to this period as the digital revolution and compare it with the print revolution of the fifteenth century.2 THE MICROCHIP AND THE ARMY The military embraced personal computers from their inception. The military has a long history of using computers. In fact, many of the earliest machines were developed for the Department of Defense in the 1950s. But what did the commercial evolution of the personal computer mean for the armed services? By the mid-1980s, typewriters were beginning to disappear from military offices, replaced by desktop computer workstations that consisted of monitors, computers, and printers.3 By the beginning of Operation Desert Shield in 1990, personal computers were present in army offices, supporting both tactical and administrative organizations. The introduction of new laptop computers allowed most large headquarters, such as those controlling corps and divisions, to
deploy to southwest Asia with their computers. Staff officers used these machines to process every conceivable kind of information, from personnel strengths to ammunition expenditures. Most obvious was the proliferation of computer-generated briefing slides presented to commanders on overhead projectors, with copies printed on plain paper for other staff officers. These replaced traditional briefings read from a script or graphically portrayed on maps and butcher-paper charts displayed on an easel.4 In addition, military planners jumped at the potential to integrate this new technology into their tactical operations. In the early 1980s, the army dispensed with the old morning report, prepared at company level, that chronicled soldiers’ arrival, departure, deaths, promotions, and awards in favor of a computer-automated system centralized at division headquarters. Known as SIDPERS, for Standard Installation/Division Personnel System, this program utilized punch cards and operated on large mainframe computers, such as the IBM 360 series, which were compressed into several semitrailer vans.5 The supply and maintenance staffs had similar systems to monitor and manage repair parts and all classes of supply. These were bulky systems that were not very efficient in a tactical environment because of their large size, limited mobility, and vulnerability. By 1990, these systems were on their way out as microcomputer technology began reducing the size of these support facilities. The Personal Computer Moves into Army Life The army was reluctant to employ small computers to the tactical battlefield. The army’s position was that it needed a hardened, specially developed system to operate inside mechanized command post vehicles such as the M577 command post and the various tactical trucks then in the inventory. They did not believe that commercially purchased computer equipment could withstand the rigors of combat. Also required was a system that would integrate information as well as assist in the preparation and dissemination of plans and orders throughout the tactical spectrum. The solution was the Maneuver Control System (MCS), first developed in the late 1970s. In spite of the army’s great expenditure of money and testing time, the early models did not work very well in the field. The 1980 tests in Europe with the VII Corps were less than spectacular, failing to demonstrate that these systems could contribute to improved command and control. These early versions continued to have problems through 1988, when the army fielded a new variation, called System 10, which it deployed on Operation Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf.6 By the beginning of 1990, the personal computer was an integral component of every military office and most soldiers’ homes. In addition to a number of increasingly sophisticated games, off-duty soldiers became accustomed to using the computer for writing, taking care of personal finances, and e-mail. Improvements in telephone modems, systems with faster processors and larger storage memory, and the ability to tap into the Internet’s new World Wide Web contributed to an increased sophistication of the average soldier’s use of modern computer technology. Knowing what was available in the civilian market in terms of memory storage, speed, and ease of use caused computer users to demand a similar level of performance from their military equipment.7
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The briefing room of Gen. David Petraeus at his headquarters in Mosul, 2001. (AP Photo/Mandatory Credit/ Gary Knight/VII)
Developing Computer Systems in the Military As each of the army’s functional areas8 tried to employ this new technology separately, it became obvious that the organization as a whole was losing control. The field artillery had its own computer system, the intelligence community had several programs in place, and the operational community continued to try to make the MCS reliable. By 1989, the service, guided by an evolving command and control master plan, began developing the Army Tactical Command and Control System (ATCCS)9 to integrate the developing computer networks supporting maneuver, air defense, intelligence, combat service support, and field artillery.10 Coordinated by the Communications-Electronics Command at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, this new concept was designed, in the words of the army’s 1989 Annual Report, “to reduce the proliferation of unique hardware and software and to procure commercially produced common hardware and software when possible.” 11 The U.S. Army headed to Operation Desert Storm with two separate types of systems: those commercially produced and those developed specifically for the military. Fortunately, deploying units took many commercial computers to southwest Asia. For example, when the staff of the 142,000-person VII Corps, the element that would execute the main assault against the Iraqi Republican Guard, arrived in its field command post, it was unable to communicate regularly with its subordinate commands (divisions, cavalry regiment, aviation brigade, etc.) and the port area along the coast. So undependable were communications systems that each time a message had to be sent, corps action officers were required to attempt calling on telephones, using the MCS system, sending
the messages by facsimile machines, and giving a hard copy to the receiving unit’s local liaison officers in the hope of getting the message through to the intended recipient. What ultimately emerged as the best way to communicate was the new untested and unauthorized e-mail system, sent on civilian-made computers. Many of these were the new generation of laptop machines. These personal computers became the most consistently effective means for sending information between major commands and even to other headquarters back in the United States.12 As in garrison, staff officers continued to use these civilian machines as the primary means of processing and preparing information for presentation to the commander. Almost all senior headquarters (separate brigade, division and above) contained extensive samples of these briefing slides in their after action reports.13 However, while the off-the-shelf systems contributed to the army’s operation, the Army Tactical Command and Control System, especially the MCS, did not work as promised. For example, it was much too bulky for the average battalion-level unit to use. It came in a number of boxes that required a dedicated, but not authorized, vehicle to carry the computers and supporting equipment. It required considerable time to set up, making it effectively useless when the headquarters was moving. Once stopped at the new battalion location, a crew from the division’s signal battalion had to link the computer’s sending devices to its FM radio, land-line, and other multichannel communications transmitters.14 Some units never got the radio links to work, and when they did, it required a dedicated radio frequency because it took so long to send messages over the air. Most units were unable to get the maps and planning aids to work with any degree of efficiency. By the end of the war, operators had learned to send messages to higher headquarters with some level of proficiency. However, the system still did not live up to its developers’ advertisement to provide “battlefield information by collecting, processing and displaying data generated within the air/land combat environment.” 15 Command at the lower levels, battalion and company, still depended on map sheets and grease pencils, just as in Vietnam over two decades earlier. In many cases, sufficient maps were unavailable, or the wrong scale, and commanders used butcher paper to fill in the missing map sheets so they could plan their unit’s advance. The new Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers saved the operation because they did not depend on maps, but used satellite information to plot unit locations and the best route to take to a new position.16 By 2003, the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Army Tactical Command and Control System had grown into the Army Battle Command System, with more than a dozen different integrated elements. One of the most effective components was the Force XXI Battle Command Brigade and Below (FBCB2) system. In many ways, this was a major improvement on the MCS of the Desert Storm era. These computers came in different configurations, depending on the hierarchical level of the command. In the 3rd Infantry Division, the principal army unit in the invasion, battalions received a simple version referred to as the “BLUEFOR,” or Blue Force tracking system. Although battalion commanders went into the war with little training on this complex system, by the end of the attack into Iraq, they were able to use it with a degree of competence.
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Now, rather than rolls of paper maps that had to be unpacked and assembled, commanders had digital map sheets of all of Iraq and Kuwait in their data banks and available for display on their computer screens. Operators could zoom in for detail and out for a bigger picture, without changing map sheets. With an integrated GPS, the computer could now help to guide battalion forces, making the compass truly obsolete, and locate other friendly forces on the battlefield.17 Unfortunately, the BLUEFOR system still did not meet all the needs of battle commanders. The computer’s memory was too limited and allowed the sending of only small messages. Even the simplest orders and map displays required the operator to send multiple messages. This procedure was not convenient or practical to a generation of officers used to working with high-speed Internet connections back at their home stations. While on the move, the system was slow to refresh its navigation software with the latest information from satellites, causing units to occasionally head in the wrong direction. The software was unstable and prone to system crashes. One commander also noted, “It is about the most non-intuitive operating system and interface that I have ever used. Even the simplest task took multiple steps to accomplish.”18 Nevertheless, because of their extensive experience with computer systems, unit leaders recognized the benefit of this system’s currently limited capabilities. They also realized how important the computer would be in the future in commanding and controlling units along with processing friendly and enemy information. If anything, it appears that soldiers were impatient for the army to catch up with the World Wide Web and the most modern computer technology. One indication of this impatience was the number of commercial systems used for tactical and operational functions. Laptop computers were used in all headquarters for every conceivable function that, only a few years before, was done on map sheets and with paper and pencil.19 By the mid-1990s, service members depended on the Internet and its e-mail capability to send everything from short notes back home to large files to colleagues in another office. The problem, of course, was the danger of computer hackers, who make an art of breaking in to servers with the purpose of stealing or inspecting information, and also the ever-present danger of computer viruses, which can shut an entire system down. In an attempt to preclude such damage, the Department of Defense changed how information was sent between military computers. The Defense Information Systems Agency, founded in 1991 by assimilating a variety of other agencies, directed that the military send its data over one of two systems: the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) for classified information and the Nonclassified Routing Network (NIPRNet) for routine information. The Defense Department required installations and units to abandon their commercial Internet service providers and migrate to the new military system.20 At senior headquarters, the SIPRNet system came into its own during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Mobile routers and systems, operated from a variety of trucks and command posts throughout Iraq and Kuwait, linked senior headquarters throughout the region. The secure and instantaneous nature of these computers allowed commanders and staffs to engage in real-time discussions. In fact, these computers used a standard civilian program, Microsoft Chat, to carry on these secret discussions. Of course, there
are a few problems in adapting civilian software to military, some quite funny. For example, the failure of a user to choose an icon to represent himself on the screen, when online, resulted in the computer program making the choice. Enlisted operators were quite amused when their screens showed field artillery colonels, in the middle of the battle coordinating fire, being represented by images of “big-breasted blondes.”21 The 2002 war in Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq was this system’s first extensive test. From the soldiers’ perspective, the NIPRNet fundamentally changed their lives from previous conflicts. Whenever they were not on the move, troopers flocked to army-established Internet cafés, went online, and sent information and images home. Rather than the weeks that regular mail took to reach the field, those in uniform could communicate with their family members in only a few minutes. At the Internet cafés, troops often waited several hours to use one of the available computer stations. So important were these Internet cafés that the army often established them before setting up shower facilities. Laptop computers were everywhere. There was no accurate count of the number brought privately to Iraq. One young sergeant that worked in the “Green Zone,” that relatively secure area where most of the command and control elements were located in Baghdad, estimated that between 30 and 40 percent of all soldiers had personal computers. Of course, those in a command post or stationary environment had a higher percentage compared to those working in security or combat roles.22 THE MICROCHIP AND THE SOLDIER Telephone Systems Army veterans who served in Germany during the height of the cold war will always remember the alerts. Those who did not live in the barracks had to have a telephone in their quarters, usually procured from the German Bundespost at relatively exorbitant rates. The unit’s off-post members’ phone numbers were religiously entered on an “alert roster,” arranged in a chain of notification, and updated by the company clerk as soldiers rotated through the command. Once a month, at some obscenely early hour of the morning, the charge of quarters, or CQ, would receive a telephone call from the senior command staff duty officer. Usually, the message had some code word that indicated the type of response required. For example, “marne dawn” might indicate that all soldiers in the command were to report to the barracks and stand by for further instructions, while “marne advance” could indicate that the objective was to get all of the unit’s vehicles combat loaded and moved from the motor pool to an assembly area off-post. With the appropriate code in hand, the CQ called the names at the top of each chain, startling the sleeping soldier, and his family, and repeated the code. Each soldier then called the name under his until the entire unit was awake and on the move. The last soldier on the list called back to the CQ and reported that the chain of notification was complete. The means for this process was the land-line telephone, which had not significantly changed since the early 1930s. No matter what the nature of the phone, they had the same limitation: they were point to point connected by a wire system. The practical implications were that a soldier who wanted to communicate had to find a phone to call someone else. Conversely, if
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someone wanted to call the soldier, there had to be a system in place with some assurance that the soldier would be on the other end. While this all seems obvious, there were some practical, and accepted, difficulties. For example, imagine the company commander who walked from his office down to his motor pool to inspect his tanks. During this half hour walk, he had no access to a phone. Once in the motor pool, there was usually one phone in the motor shop. After stopping in to speak with his maintenance sergeant, he might then jump inside one of the tanks to conduct an inspection. Meanwhile, back at battalion headquarters, the commander wanted to talk to the captain. His adjutant would first call the company headquarters and might find someone there who could positively announce that the company commander was in the motor pool. The adjutant’s next call to the motor pool might not be very productive, as one of the mechanics, who had not seen the captain, had no idea he was even in the area. Often, it was possible for the company commander to unintentionally avoid detection by his colonel for an hour or so.23 Soldiers deployed overseas had their own problems communicating back home. During Desert Storm, they stood in line for hours at large telephone banks, waiting to call home. These, of course, were only available when the unit was stationary, they were not involved in combat operations, and they were close enough for soldiers to get to the telephones themselves. These phone banks followed the army to Bosnia and Kosovo, but they began to lose their utility for the soldiers with the advent of the cell phone.24
Cell Phones The cellular telephone changed everything about communications at the beginning of the new millennium, and the effects and consequences of its introduction have not yet been totally realized. In the military, unit commanders and other leaders were now always at their superiors’ call. Officers and senior noncommissioned officers were expected to carry cell phones, and they were generally expected to be turned on.25 As important was the effect the cell phone had on the individual soldier. Now they could phone home at will, as long as there was a cellular tower in the area. Obviously, it was good for soldiers to be able to phone home to coordinate with loved ones. On the other hand, soldiers got into the habit of calling home during the duty day, causing problems. Sometimes they would report gunfire directly to the families. Occasionally, during operations in Bosnia, the soldiers’ loved ones would hear firing in the background. No matter what, it gave the impression that the trooper was in danger.26 While military operations were going on in Afghanistan and Iraq, telecommunications companies, often working for military contracts, continued to erect the towers that allowed the cell phones to communicate. Since everyone used these towers, including the insurgents, they were fairly safe from destruction. What they allowed was unparalleled direct communication between the soldier and his family while in the combat zone. Standing in the middle of the Kuwait desert, just south of the Iraqi border in 2003, one officer described how he killed an hour calling home to talk to his family before he headed north. In another case, a signal officer described how one soldier was calling his wife from a communications center near
Fallujah, west of Baghdad. While talking, they started receiving mortar rounds fired by insurgents in the city. Telling his wife, “Gotta go,” he threw the phone down and got back to work. Unfortunately, he forgot to turn the phone off. On the other end, his wife heard the mortar explosions, shooting, yelling, and all the activity that goes with a firefight. To make it worse, he did not call her back for several days.27 Cell phones were a mixed blessing for the army. On one hand, they were a great way for soldiers to stay in touch with families while they were deployed. On the other, it meant that the military had lost control of soldier information in the field. Reports of casualties, setbacks, and even photos of unacceptable behavior could be sent back home before commanders could even get involved. Internet Use In November 1999, the army established its own Internet site, called the Army Knowledge Online, or AKO. Its goal was rather modest: to develop a method to provide its soldiers with access to information for education, library access, and keeping in touch with other service members, without the need to subscribe to a private Internet service such Compuserve or America On-Line, which were popular at the time.28 In 2001, the service required all soldiers to have such an AKO e-mail account. Now, in theory, every soldier could be reached with important information.29 What this system mirrored was the massive Internet revolution that was taking place in civilian society. This new system did several things for the soldier. First, all of his or her personnel records were available through AKO. No longer did a career soldier, noncommissioned or officer, have to write or call Washington to get a chance to review his or her file. Now, the soldier could check his or her files online to make sure information, and his or her photograph, were current. A second element was education. Most of the army school system’s hundreds of courses came in a correspondence format, so that soldiers could get this information when not at the service school. In the past, this had been expensive, with large sums spent on printing and shipping materials. Now, this material was available through AKO, making it easy to use and available to all with a computer.30 Now all of the army’s information, especially what it wanted to get to the soldier in the field, could be posted to one location. By 2003, AKO had grown to a one-stop information Web site with essentially every aspect of military service, including finance, personal information, family support, education, health care, and legal support all available in one place.31 As early as 2001, the army began to experience the problems it had created with requiring e-mail accounts and using this method of communicating. Issues such as spamming or sending of unwanted mail, using the government computer for unauthorized purposes, sending chain letters, and passing on classified or restricted information were just some of the problems beginning to bother military administrators.32 Dramatic Changes in Soldiers’ Lives through Technology The effect of these computers on soldiers’ lives has been dramatic. At the end of the cold war, deployed soldiers spent their downtime in their base camps and headquarters
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reading, writing letters, or playing cards. When someone at the unit headquarters had the equipment, there might be a movie or the opportunity to play videotapes from home. By 2004, the situation was significantly different, as troopers could occupy their time with a wide range of electronic diversions. Even without online access, they used their laptop and office machines to play a wide range of computer simulations, listen to music, and watch movies in DVD format. Once online, the world was at their fingertips, and they could operate as if they were at home: downloading files, checking the Internet, or communicating with family and friends by instant message and digital cameras attached to their computers. These changes also meant that they had access to unfiltered and uncensored information. Everything from national elections at home to firefights and hostage beheadings a few miles away were available on their computer screens.33 What bothered army leaders during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan were the security aspects of these personal computers. The problems that prompted the creation of the Department of Defense’s Information Systems Agency did not disappear, but became more pronounced as technology continued to change. The introduction of thumb drives, personal digital assistants, or PDAs, cell phone cameras, and wireless Internet connections enabled soldiers with access to transmit information around the world instantly. One of the modern ways of communicating was the blog, essentially an online diary that anyone could read. It was easy for an unthinking soldier to write things like, “Long day today, and tomorrow we move to Najif where we will spend the night.” Everyone who read this knew where the soldier and his or her unit was and where they were going. It gets worse since many Internet cafés overseas and cell phone companies were owned and managed by local residents. The threat of sensitive information falling into the wrong hands was very real. Soldiers were constantly reminded about operations security, or OPSEC, and not to give out critical information online or over cell phones. When they did, they could expect to be punished through the UCMJ system.34 Soldiers’ off-duty lives, as far as technology went, mirrored civilian life. Whether living in barracks rooms, apartments off-base, or even in forward operating bases while deployed, they often had the full spectrum of modern entertainment systems available. By 2005, these included flat-screen televisions, their own laptop computers with full Internet access, and their own cell phones. The typical soldier had an extensive collection of DVD movies and thousands of hours of music on MP3 files and compact disks. He or she also had the ever popular action games that could either be played on their computers or with special game equipment.35
Digital Cameras Soldiers have always gone to war with cameras, and military authorities have usually tried to limit the photographs coming home. World War II German authorities tried to censor the photos coming home from the Russian front. American soldiers since World War II have always sent photographs home. What was different about the post– cold war era was the speed of sending these photographs, their quality, and the effect they had back home. Some were positive images that the military leadership loved, such
as the video of the special operations troops rescuing Private First Class Jessica Lynch on April 1, or the U.S. Marines toppling Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad on April 9, 2003.36 On the other hand, photographs from digital cameras showed American soldiers abusing Iraqi captives at Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad in the spring of 2004, setting off an intense political storm. From 2004 through 2006, thousands of video clips, shot by soldiers in Iraq, appeared on a number of Web sites, through Yahoo, Google, YouTube, MySpace, and others beyond the view of much of the public. Those who searched could find images of everything from convoys, to firefights, to raids on Iraqi homes. One young soldier, Dan Thompson, even wrote a book about his experiences and created a Web page complete with his video clips. The army brass was not amused and looked for ways to eliminate or restrict this kind of individual expression, which did not always reflect favorably on the war effort in Iraq and Afghanistan.37 Nothing causes militaries to change more than a long war, and this era was no different. What was different about the post–cold war era was that changes in the civilian market directly affected the soldiers on the battlefield and in garrison. What was also different was that the pace of change was astonishing. New cellular technology sold at home in June was in Iraq and in use within months. Soldiers and their families expected—no, demanded—immediate access to each other even in the middle of the most intense military campaign. This interconnectivity created an environment so dynamic and changing that senior officers no longer could be assured that they controlled the information that their solders had access to or were dispensing to friends and family. By the writing of this book in 2007, the U.S. Army had yet to come to grips with the informational environment as it affected its own soldiers. Implications for soldiers’ lives in the next decades are extremely uncertain and, at the same time, exciting. NOTES 1. James Nachtwey, “A Soldier’s Life. What It’s Like at Close Range with the Troops Who Patrol Baghdad’s Meanest Streets,” Time, December 29, 2003. 2. MacGregor Knox and Williamson Murray, The Dynamics of Military Revolution: 1300–2050 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001). 3. This author worked in a variety of staff and education assignments during this period and observed this transition firsthand. 4. Paul E. Christopher, VII Corps Main Command Posts during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1992), 20. Stephen A. Bourque, Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002). 5. U.S. Department of the Army, SIDPERS Handbook for Commanders, vol. DA, Pamphlet 600-8-20 (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1986). 6. Thomas P. Christie, Dot&E Fy01 Annual Report, 2001, Washington, DC: Director of Operational Test and Evaluation. Donald S. Pihl and George E. Dausman, eds., United States Army: Weapon Systems 1990 (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990), 148–49. This author participated in these tests while assigned to Headquarters, 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment. 7. A solid overview of the development of the Internet is found in Katie Hafner and Matthew Lyon, Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet (New York: Touchstone, 1996). Captain Vincent Tedesco, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, June 29, 1996, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. 8. Called Battlefield Operating Systems, or BOSs. In 1990, these consisted of maneuver forces, mobility/countermobility/survivability, fire support, air defense, intelligence, combat
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service support, and command and control. U.S. Department of the Army, FM 100-15, Corps Operations (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1989), 3–4 to 3–19. 9. Ibid., 4–4. 10. The five systems are the MCS; the Forward Area Air Defense Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence System (FAADC2I); the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS); the All Source Analysis System (ASAS); and the Combat Service Support Control System (CSSCS). 11. Vincent H. Demma, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989, ed. Susan Carroll (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998), 233–34. 12. Christopher, VII Corps Main Command Posts, 20. Tedesco, interview, June 29, 1996. This author witnessed a personnel officer in Saudi Arabia spend over three hours online, sending a personnel report to his senior headquarters in Kansas. 13. The Third Army staff prepared a briefing every morning for Lieutenant General Yeosock, each with a fancy opening slide, done on the computer, e.g., see U.S. Army Central Command, Tactical Command Post—G3 Ops Duty Logs (25 February 1991), G3 Operations, Swain Papers, (Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College). 14. FM radio was the standard method of sending information, wirelessly, over short and intermediate distances in a tactical environment. Longer-distance communications between brigades, divisions, and corps were by either wire or precision microwave transmitters connected to the Joint Tactical Communication (Tri Tac) system. Pihl and Dausman, United States Army, 145–47. 15. U.S. Army Material Command, “Army Weaponry and Equipment,” Army 40 (1990): 299. Tedesco, interview, June 29, 1996. 16. Captain Kenneth Pope, A Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, October 5, 1993. Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, tape recording. Vincent Tedesco, interview, June 29, 1996. 17. U.S. Army Material Command, “Army Weapons and Equipment,” Army 52 (2002): 289–94. John W. Charlton, “Digital Battle Command: Baptism by Fire,” Armor 112 (2003): 28–29. 18. Charlton, “Digital Battle Command,” 29. 19. Mark Scott, Notes 2004–2006. Joshua Davis, “ ‘If We Run Out of Batteries, This War Is Screwed’,” Wired, June, 2003. 20. Russ Martin, “Provider Change Increases Computer Security,” Hilltop Times, October 5, 2000. U.S. Department of Defense, “Defense Information System Agency (Home Page),” Defense Information Systems Agency, http://www.disa.mil/index.html. 21. Davis, “‘If We Run Out of Batteries’.” 22. Scott. 23. Author’s personal experience. 24. Author notes, CGSC students, e-mails and notes, 2006. 25. Ibid. 26. James P. Herson, “Road Warriors in the Balkans: The Army Transportation Corps in Bosnia (1995–1996),” Unpublished manuscript, (2007): 162. 27. Students. 28. Lisa Beth Snyder, “Introducing AKO,” Soldiers 55, no. 10 (2000): 21–25. 29. “AKO E-mail Use Increases,” Soldiers 45, no. 7 (1990): 13. 30. “Distance Education Contract Awarded,” Soldiers 56, no. 2 (2001): 13. 31. “Army Web Sites,” Soldiers 58, no. 1 (2003): 14–15. 32. Lisa Beth Snyder, “E-mail Etiquette,” Soldiers 56, no. 8 (2001): 24–25. Snyder, “Introducing Ako.” 33. Scott. 34. Ibid. Jason Christopher Hartley, Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq (New York: HarperCollins, 2005), 295–317. 35. Hartley, Just Another Soldier, inside cover. 36. Gregory Fontenot, E. J. Degen, and David Tohn, On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004), 160. Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin Press, 2006), 134. 37. Ricks, Fiasco, 134. Dan Thompson, American Interrupted: A Soldier’s Journal of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Spring 2003 until Summer 2004 (Zeist, Netherlands: Eurotrotter, 2005); see Thompson’s Web page at http://www.american-interupted.com (accessed June 2007).
10 GOING TO WAR
From 1975, at the end of the Vietnam War, until 1989, most soldiers spent short periods of noncombat time, from 30 days to 6 months, away from home and their families. The opportunity for such absences ranged from simple, weeklong maneuver exercises, to scheduled month-long gunnery training at a range, to several weeks at the National Training Center or REFORGER exercise in Europe. Other soldiers, stationed in large housing areas in Germany, patrolled the iron curtain separating West Germany from the Warsaw Pact opponents in the east. Usually, tours of border duty were 30 days at a time, once or twice a year. Every summer, the army sought individuals or entire units to support an array of reserve component training and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps summer camps. Of longer duration were six-month unit deployments in support of national commitments in places such as Central America or the Sinai Desert. Generally, the longest absences were to unaccompanied tours, most often in Korea. When the soldier departed, the spouse and children remained at home. No matter how painful the absence, however, they knew that they could expect the soldier back home in a predictable period of time. During a three-year assignment to a combat brigade, the typical soldier could expect to spend about one of those in the field or on some kind of deployed duty. That cold war routine changed in 1989 with the beginning of Operation Just Cause. Throughout the post–cold war period, soldiers routinely found themselves ordered to active combat zones for unspecified periods. So common were these combat operations that it was rare for a soldier to avoid serving in a dangerous area every few years. This chapter examines what the departure process was like for the soldier involved, what the effect of the absence was on the home front, and what it was like to return home. Moving the unit to the combat zone was a major task that had to be done according to a logical plan. Military history is full of examples of units showing up in a theater of war without the personnel, supplies, or equipment it needed to do the job. Future president Teddy Roosevelt’s assault on San Juan Hill, leading the dismounted 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish-American War in 1898, is only one example of a
unit fighting on the battlefield without the equipment it needed. Those cavalry soldiers scaling those heights, without horses, had problems with the deployment process. Certainly it was an experience no officer or soldier wished to replicate. THE DEPLOYMENT PROCESS The buildup to Operation Desert Storm was one of the first cases of many units deliberately moving to the theater of war since Vietnam. While the rapid reaction forces, especially the rangers and the 82nd Airborne Division, had participated in the Grenada invasion of 1983 and Just Cause in 1989, most armored and mechanized units had not gone to war since Vietnam, or even earlier. Although units in the United States had deployed to Europe on REFORGER exercises, this was an experience, for soldiers and their families, that was generally unfamiliar. A look at the process of one unit, the First Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Riley, Kansas, gives us an indication of what soldiers throughout this period experienced. While specific details of each deployment were different, depending on the installation and which conflict was examined, the general processes were generally the same. Traveling to Saudi Arabia was a 6,500-mile trip that took place in several phases. The units from the Big Red One started by moving equipment to the port of Beaumont, Texas, for shipment. Then the soldiers would depart Fort Riley and fly to Saudi Arabia, where they unloaded their Bradley fighting vehicles, trucks, and aircraft from the ships
U.S. soldiers aboard a cargo plane en route to the Middle East. (Maja Carter)
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and received the new tanks and other equipment that was waiting for them. Finally, when the soldiers had all they needed and were ready to fight, each battalion-sized unit would travel to the desert of northern Saudi Arabia to a region marked on the division’s maps as a TAA (tactical assembly area). Then they were prepared to move to attack positions and attack into Iraq. Ever since it had returned from Vietnam in the early 1970s, the 1st Infantry Division, like other European and American-based units, had prepared to return to Europe in support of a potential war with the Warsaw Pact. One aspect of this long-standing mission was that the equipment was painted in shades of green, dark brown, and black. The new mission in southwest Asia required repainting so that vehicles would blend in with the desert environment. In addition to the color, the new paint’s composition provided a simple resistance to chemical weapons effects. The division’s G3 section, Fort Riley’s director of logistics, and individual unit commanders managed to have all of the 1st Infantry Division’s 6,800 tracked vehicles, wheeled vehicles, and engineer equipment painted in the desert sand motif. Working round the clock in three post locations and several unit bays, the entire repainting process took only 10 days, using 22,079 gallons of paint. To match their equipment, the soldiers received an initial issue of two complete desert camouflage uniforms.1 After the vehicles were painted at the various facilities in and around Fort Riley, each divisional unit returned them to its motor pool to prepare them for shipment by sea transport. For each commander, an early priority was loading wartime, or service, ammunition into each tank, Bradley, and mortar carrier.2 Unlike the routine deployments in the past, this was not a simple administrative move, but one to a war zone where crews might have to fight soon after their arrival. Next, soldiers ensured that all of the required tools, radios, cables, and repair parts were cleaned, packed up, and correctly stowed with the weapons system. Any items considered as hazardous had to be given special packing consideration. Of course, as soon as a crew thought they had packed their vehicle with everything they needed, some other item, usually a new piece of equipment, would show up, and they would have to revise the load plan and fit it in somewhere. Crews also painted a standard identification number and an inverted V on all vehicles, part of a coalition-wide standard marking system. Once a company, battery, or troop was ready, it requested certification, and a trained unit inspector would then check each vehicle for proper loading and hazardous materials placards, and verify the absence of unauthorized items, such as pornography and alcohol, that were strictly forbidden in Saudi Arabia. Once approved, the inspector attached a metal seal, and the equipment was ready for loading onto a railcar.3 Soon, trains arrived at the rail loading dock at Fort Riley’s Camp Funston. While this loading process was complicated and potentially dangerous, there were plenty of experienced soldiers to move it along since the army routinely used railcars to move equipment to the National Training Center and in Europe to its training areas. Each unit organized several rail loading teams, each consisting of a noncommissioned officer and three soldiers who the division had trained and certified to safely do the job. Their first task was to locate all of the required equipment, including vehicle tie-down cables, large wooden blocks, and vehicle shackles; usually, there were four of these hook-like
appendages on each vehicle. Unfortunately, they were also detachable, and over the course of several years, they often disappeared. Without them, the truck or Bradley could not be properly secured on the train. In addition, there was the normal friction that accompanies these operations such as unserviceable railcars and vehicles leaking oil. However, after several long days and sleepless nights, each company-sized unit had its ground equipment secure on the train and on the way to Beaumont, Texas. Once there, another group of division soldiers loaded the vehicles onto the ships.4 In a way that would cause great concern among its leaders, the division’s equipment lost its unit integrity in the loading process. Vessel loadmasters brought equipment on board ships based on the space available, without considering that the unit might need to organize, quickly, upon arrival. As a result, rather than a cohesive organization sent to sea and ready to fight on the other end, the unit’s fighting power was broken down among the 18 different vessels that carried the Big Red One to the Persian Gulf. Of course, by the time the trains arrived in Beaumont, it was fairly obvious that there was no need for the command to be configured as if in an amphibious landing since Operation Desert Shield had apparently deterred any planned Iraqi attack. Since carrying capacity and speed of deployment were now more important than combat capability, the loadmasters did the best they could to fit all the odd-sized vehicles into the fewest ships possible. That rationale was lost, however, on the officers watching their units’ growing disorganization.5 In addition to shipping ground vehicles and equipment, the division had to transport its aircraft and special support equipment. Soon after Thanksgiving 1990, a team of aviators and aviation mechanics flew to Ellington Field near Houston, Texas, to serve as the division’s advanced party for the helicopter deployment. On December 4, the division’s 4th (Aviation) Brigade began its journey to Texas, with the remainder of the aircraft flying south three days later. By December 9, all the aircraft were at Ellington, being prepared for ocean shipment. Once all the maintenance issues were resolved on each aircraft, and they taped the blades to prevent wear and tear in the desert, the aircraft were moved to the port. There, with the blades folded, they were wrapped in plastic to protect them from the elements, heated until the plastic shrank close to the metal (shrink-wrap, they called it), and loaded onto the ships.6 People are not machines, and their deployment was more complicated. All of the division’s soldiers, except for a small rear detachment, were going to Saudi Arabia. Only the rear detachments, consisting of soldiers who had some kind of medical condition, remained behind. Some thought they were staying behind since they had approved dates to leave the service. However, the Department of Defense changed these plans as each service issued an order called “stop-loss” that essentially prevented anyone from departing. Each commander had to ensure that each soldier’s financial and family affairs were in order and that each had the clothing and other personal equipment he or she needed. Then it would be time to load him or her on the appropriate airplane. From the time of President George H. W. Bush and Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney’s announcement on November 8, 1990, until the division was in the air, its leaders had to respond to an amazing array of personal problems.
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Of course, from the beginning, it was important to respond to the concerns of the soldiers’ families. Almost as soon as Bush and Cheney were off the air announcing the deployment, the family members started telephoning the soldiers’ units. The calls that Captain Doug Morrison, commander of the division cavalry squadron headquarters and headquarters troop, received were typical: “What about my son?” one mother demanded to know. “What is going to happen?” Another grandmother called to express concern that her grandson was going to be all right. Even the wife of his first sergeant, Richard Colangelo, dropped by the unit in tears. Since nobody knew much, other than that they were heading to the Arabian Peninsula, there was little information that leaders could share, except that their loved ones were departing with the unit.7 Each divisional soldier passed through a series of stations called “preparation for overseas movement,” or POM. At one desk, sergeants checked and rechecked uniforms and individual field equipment, called TA-50 in army jargon, and the list of required items seemed endless. Each soldier had four uniforms with all patches and name tags sewn on, two pairs of boots, eight pairs of socks, six pairs of undershorts, two field jackets, his web gear to carry his pack, two canteens, a sleeping bag, shelter half, chemical protective overgarments, protective mask, helmet, and so on and so forth. All of this personal equipment was supposed to fit into two duffel bags and a rucksack. This list did not include the other items wanted or needed by the trooper, including extra socks; wool caps; extra gloves; batteries for tape players, radios, and cassette players; and books. These items were either stashed away in the shipping vans and vehicles that were heading for the port or were mailed by the soldier to his unit address in Saudi Arabia.8 Continuing their POM, soldiers went to numerous additional stations, manned by staff specialists and designed to protect the individual’s health and welfare. Military lawyers ensured that wills and insurance were up to date and prepared powers of attorney to take care of any legal problems that might arise while they were gone. Finance clerks checked troopers’ records and verified that their paychecks were deposited directly into a bank account that their wives would have access to. Each soldier made arrangements to take care of his automobile and, if needed, store it in a guarded lot on-post. Those who were unmarried (or married to another service member who was also deploying) and lived in the nearby northeast Kansas towns of Junction City or Manhattan moved out of their apartments and put their personal items in storage on-post. Sergeants directed those in the barracks to pack up their gear and move it to storage areas in the unit supply and arms rooms. Finally, each trooper visited the dispensary, where he received the required shots. Ultimately, each company commander validated his unit’s individual administrative readiness for deployment to the battalion commander, who reported the results to the Division G3 or operations officer.9 The division’s advanced party, called DANGER Forward, began deploying on December 12. Their task was to conduct the initial reconnaissance of the division’s assembly area and to arrange for the arrival and reception of the main body in Saudi Arabia. They crammed their personal gear and supplies into officers’ HMMWVs and tied them down inside air force C5A or C141 aircraft. Generally flying through Torrejon, Spain, they arrived in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, a day or two later.10
PREPARING THE FAMILIES Few civilians can understand the trauma experienced by the family of an absent service member. The father—or mother, as there were now many dual-service families and households with a female soldier—was no longer present for the important events that families universally experience, for an annual deployment that could mean no Christmas, Thanksgiving, or Forth of July holiday for the whole family. The absent service member missed the children’s birthdays, special school events, and even the birth of a new baby. While these kinds of absences were historically common during wartime, what made it different for these soldiers was the repetitive nature of these absences and, after 1989, their uncertainty. When soldiers went to war, no one really knew when they were going to come back.11 Especially in the case of deployments to a combat zone, saying good-bye was difficult. Soldiers were torn between their duty to their peers and the difficulty of leaving families. Hidden behind the visible preparations and departure activities were many similar incidents, as families struggled with the emotional and financial problems of deploying to a combat zone. Unlike the era of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, most Americans of the early 1990s had little memory of the effect of going to war on young families. One of the major differences in the post–cold war era was the number of deployments, hence the number of good-byes, that soldiers inflicted on their families. This was especially difficult for children, who learned that their parent’s absence would mean missing major events in their young lives. Of course, there was also the fear that they would not return. Therefore, in the middle of the formal hustle and bustle that involved moving the unit, soldiers continued to wrestle with all kinds of personal issues, as they struggled to get ready for war. The preparation for traveling to a strange part of the world and combat included more than just shipping equipment and training units. There was also a need to prepare new soldiers mentally for combat. Senior leaders usually accomplished this by counseling and advising their younger troops. Unlike at the end of this period, there was little recent combat experience left in the army. Those Vietnam veterans still with soldiers, often the most senior noncommissioned officers, gathered them in small groups and talked with them about doing their jobs, of being afraid in combat, and of their desire to bring them all home. The young, 18- to 25-year-old soldiers were often riveted in place by what they had to say. For the first time in their lives, war was no longer just a prospect and training as if it were a game; it was real, and the young now looked to the veterans for advice and to bring them through it all.12 As Christmas approached, Major General Thomas G. Rhame, the division commander, encouraged his battalion commanders to grant as much leave as possible for the soldiers, as long as it did not interfere with the division’s program for moving to Saudi Arabia. Everyone wanted a few quiet days with family before departure, and most battalion commanders authorized a three-day holiday for their units, with most soldiers spending their Christmas in the local area. Some made quick trips back home, to other parts of the country, to say their final good-byes.13 Families went through the motions of
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trying to make the Christmas celebration as normal as possible, but it was not normal, and a number of the troops could not get away, and some had already departed.14 The Family Support Group With the increased number of soldiers with families in the post–cold war era, the army developed spouse-based organizations called family support groups. These operated a so-called chain of concern within the framework of the formal chain of command to handle many of the problems that arose since “Dad (or Mom) can’t come home.” These worked at each level. For example, a battalion headquarter’s maintenance platoon might have had a chain of concern headed by the maintenance warrant officer’s wife. Each staff section would have a similar group, usually headed by the spouse of the principal staff officer. Each company commander had a support group usually formed under the direction of the unit first sergeant and platoon sergeant’s wives. All of these battalion-level support groups and chains of concern were joined at the brigade level. At senior headquarters, the commanding general’s wife was often at the top of the chain and had direct access to many support agencies such as the Red Cross and Army Mutual Aid.15 This system found its first test on Operation Desert Storm. Across the country and in the American Kasernes in Germany, the army’s chain of concern, now operated by the spouses of the deployed soldiers, continued to operate. Along with officers and noncommissioned officers left behind with the unit, the garrison staff, and local players, such as chaplains, attorneys, and representatives from the local community, resolved most problems that arose in soldiers’ families. Each post established a family assistance center, manned by volunteers, who helped to find the kind of support the soldier’s spouse and children required. These problems ranged from problems of working within their incomes to child care services, medical problems, and working with local landlords and communities. For example, the army had many single soldiers who left their children in the care of other relatives. The family support groups and assistance centers were instrumental in helping the caregivers, who knew little about the military bureaucracy, get the care they needed. Some young wives had never actually balanced a checkbook before, or had paid the family bills, all tasks that the absent soldier had taken care of. And more than 14,000 women gave birth during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, while their husbands were away. These were all issues that family support groups and assistance centers worked to resolve so that the consequences of the absence were reduced.16 No matter how brave the remaining spouse tried to act, the departure was a time of profound sadness. Once the soldier was gone, she—or increasingly, he—began to cope with the situation the spouse was left. The more mature officers and noncommissioned officers usually had relationships that could weather the separation. Often, they had jobs or were deeply involved in their children’s activities. Others were fulfilled by their role in the family support groups. Younger spouses had more difficulty in handling the separation, and they would find themselves seeking solace in another. The classic Dear John letter was alive and well in the post–cold war era. The deterrent for the wayward
spouse was that while the soldier was away, she continued to get the financial benefits of the relationship. If she truly opted for divorce, she would lose those benefits. Of course, the children, of which this generation’s soldiers had many, were the real losers in this process. As in previous generations, stay-behind spouses looked forward to their husbands’ return with a mixture of excitement, fear, and apprehension. For months, or even a year, the soldier’s wife had learned to operate on her own, making decisions and running the house. Like Rosie the Riveter of the World War II era, these women had taken over the man’s role. Now, as the soldier returned, a major source of friction were the changes in roles. He expected to pick up as the man of the house he had been before he departed. She had gained new confidence in her abilities and was comfortable in running things. The result was friction within the relationship as they tried sort their lives out.17 A heavy snowstorm delayed the division’s scheduled departure for 24 hours. The next day, December 29, was cold and clear at Fort Riley, when the unit’s main body began its deployment to Saudi Arabia.18 Most families came to the unit barracks where the deploying soldiers were assembling to say good-bye. The nagging personal problems continued right up to departure. While everyone was forming up, one sergeant’s mother called his unit’s office with an urgent request that he call home. The soldier had to wait in line for almost an hour to return the call at the phone booth, waiting while others said a few last words with loved ones on the few phones available to call off-post. Finally, he got through to his mom, and now faced a dilemma as she told him that his grandmother had died and that they wanted him to come home. Torn between his family and his soldiers, the noncommissioned officer decided to stay with his troops, although his first sergeant offered to send him home for the funeral and let him catch up later. He believed his duty was to his soldiers, and he did not want to let them down at the most important moment in their career.19 The division’s soldiers boarded buses and rode over to the aircraft hangers at Fort Riley’s airfield. There they waited in a reception area manned by volunteers from the Red Cross, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and other old soldiers, such as retired Lieutenant General Richard Seitz and other community leaders. Seitz was a prominent member of the retired military community and had led a bayonet charge during the Battle of the Bulge in 1945 and went on to serve in Korea and Vietnam. He had stories to entertain and motivate the young troopers. While they waited until being ordered to the departure airfield, some troopers passed the time talking to families and girlfriends who came to wait with their loved ones. Others just collapsed in a corner, trying to get a little sleep. Just before he left headquarters, one company commander found out that he had promotion orders for one of his soldiers. There, in the cold hanger, with bags packed high and soldiers tired of hurrying up to wait, the unit had an impromptu promotion for one of its own.20 Next stop was Forbes Field in Topeka, Kansas, about an hour east of Fort Riley. It was a quiet bus ride. In the dark, most soldiers were lost in their thoughts or just tired, now caught up in something far larger than any of them could control. Then they were off the buses and into the reception area for another muster. Finally, there was a briefing and a last check by customs agents and the drug dogs. Just before they got on
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the aircraft, a snowstorm delayed the departure, and everyone, again, found a place to relax. Then they got clearance to fly, and the tired, somewhat dazed soldiers formed up again.21 On the first aircraft, although there were senior officers on board, one young captain had the duties of flight commander. For one last time, he called off the names of the soldiers as they boarded the aircraft: “Bassett, Beasley, Cobb, Collins, Davis, Dozier, Dixon” and on and on as almost 400 soldiers climbed into the Boeing 747. He then looked over his shoulder and saw his wife, who had made the journey from Fort Riley, watching him call these names for the last time. How many would come back? Holding back his emotions, he waved, climbed on board, and closed the door with everything on board. One of the pilots thought the aircraft was a little heavy, about 2,000 pounds overweight, and was not sure it would be able to take off. However, in the cold early morning hours of December 29, the aircraft was in the air, and the division’s main body was on its way.22 The story of how this division went through the deployment process was played out on every army post in Europe and the United States. Determined soldiers went through an often rehearsed process, this time with a firm mission in mind. Spouses and children tried to be supportive and watched from the sidelines as their men and women prepared to depart. In the back of everyone’s mind was the realization that some may not come home and that the good-bye could be the last. In the case of the First Infantry Division, 18 soldiers did not come home. Deployments after Desert Storm, 1991–2003 Almost as soon as Desert Storm was over, the army began a rapid series of going and coming back from military operations. Deployment to Kurdistan, Haiti, and Somalia was generally the show of the XVIII Corps, and it had long-established procedures for these kinds of combat actions. The 10th Mountain Division, a light infantry unit from Fort Drum, New York, had not seen combat, and its first operation would be in Somalia. While remembering the recent Desert Storm victory parades, few Americans paid much attention to these soldiers distributing supplies and attempting to break up the warlords. Those on the ground, and their families, knew the level of danger and stress they were experiencing. Right after Somalia came Haiti. What made the deployment to this Caribbean island extremely stressful on the members of the 10th Mountain Division was that they had just returned from street fighting in downtown Mogadishu only a few months earlier. It was one of the first times we can actually see the effect of recent combat on the performance of a unit. Soldiers with only a few years in the service were beginning to get more and more combat experience. Deployment to Bosnia, 1995 Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army, Europe in 1995 expected to spend their tour on training exercises and supervising the reduction of military forces in Europe. Yet the operations in Bosnia changed all that. As described earlier, the conflict in former
Yugoslavia rivaled the worst atrocities ever witnessed in Europe, and the president sent American soldiers to the war-torn region in 1995. There were few illusions among soldiers and their families that they were going into a dangerous environment of warring groups, lots of weapons, and a countryside strewn with land mines. When the soldiers departed, the families demonstrated all the anguish that is present whenever units deploy to war.23 Because the journey was within Europe, some expected it to be a simple movement compared with the ferrying of supplies across the Atlantic. However, the rail shipment of units in December 1995 was a more complicated experience than the one experienced by the First Infantry Division at the beginning of the decade. Loading of the trains was fairly routine, although these exercises always had their share of confusion as vehicles being loaded did not match the plans and schedules in the hands of the movement control headquarters. Weather was cold, material handling equipment was insufficient, and everyone was in a hurry. The result was that things left behind, called “frustrated cargo,” had to be retrieved later. More of a problem was the situation on the rail lines themselves. The French railway system was going through a series of periodic strikes, and the German system was in the process of privatization. The Hungarian system, in the process of transforming from the Communist-directed model, was stressed trying to adjust. At the receiving end, everything was in reverse, and the army was simply unable to get its trains unloaded fast enough. The backlog of trains, in tying up the Hungarian railway system, got so severe that the U.S. ambassador to Hungary demanded that the military get them unloaded faster or stop sending any more trains. Soldiers also moved to Hungary by other means. The air force’s new C17 aircraft carried soldiers and cargo from Germany to Kaposvar-Taszar in Hungry, which was Task Force Eagle’s staging area. Many of the soldiers who had planned to go by rail went by air since the situation was so backlogged and confused on the ground. Other troops drove the European roads, at 50 miles per hour, from their home stations to Hungary. It took about three days to cover the 1,400 kilometers. While all of the units arrived, it was a very frustrating experience for all. As one battalion commander commented, the deployment, rather than a great success, as military officials were proclaiming, was “more of triumph of the human spirit over an insane system, one that only narrowly averted catastrophe.”24 Family support groups in Europe, as they had at Fort Riley in 1990 and Fort Drum later, continued to prosper. They took care of dispelling rumors caused by reports of firing in the vicinity of the soldiers. They worked family problems, provided counseling where needed, supported wives in maternity wards, organized group dinners, and essentially maintained a spirit of community among the spouses and children. A new twist was the organization of video-teleconferences between soldiers in the field and families back at home station. This was still relatively exotic technology in 1995, so families had to travel to a central location, such as Campbell Barracks in Heidelberg, to execute the conference. These family groups also sponsored the making of home videos to send to soldiers in Bosnia. Meanwhile, in Bosnia or Hungary, units helped soldiers make their own videos to send back to their families. Family support organizations did not forget the single soldier and worked out arrangements between families and single soldiers
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in the field. The “adopting” families sent their trooper routine letters and packages of goodies, and helped to coordinate sending special supplies and other items. The work and kindness of these family support groups affected how the soldiers operated in the field and was a link to their other lives.25 Deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001–2007 Following the assault on the World Trade Center in 2001, the army found itself again in battle, this time in Afghanistan. Early involvement was by members of the Special Operations Command and limited to small numbers of veterans. This changed over the course of the year, and regular soldiers from the 101st Airmobile and, again, the 10th Mountain Division found themselves back in combat. Going to war in this environment was different and involved a strange combination of nation building, counterinsurgency operations, and intense combat. While not getting the same attention of Operation Iraqi Freedom, those sent to this command found themselves in fighting and in stressful situations as severe as any soldiers sent anywhere. Although the initial reports were of victory and success in driving Taliban and al-Qaeda forces out of the country, the reality was quite different. Warlords remained in control of much of the country, opium production was setting records, and the Taliban remained, and continued to grow stronger in nearby Iraq. As of 2007, American forces continued to rotate in and out of Afghanistan, and they, and their families, wondered when it was going to end.26
U.S. soldiers, with several American contractors and an Afghani interpreter. (Maja Carter)
U.S. soldiers making friends with local children in Afghanistan. (Maja Carter)
Military personnel with an Afghani interpreter. (Maja Carter)
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The buildup for Operation Iraqi Freedom began in January 2003. Troops from the 3rd Infantry Division, with its headquarters at Fort Stewart, Georgia, began moving into Kuwait that month. Other units, such as the 101st Airmobile Division, began soon after. Their story was generally the same as for those who went earlier on Operation Desert Storm. Soldiers formed up at their units and said good-bye to their families. But this deployment was different. Many of these soldiers had been on other deployments or had seen battle before. Some had already returned from their first fight in Afghanistan and were on their way to the next quick victory. Their families had seen many of these deployments also. One sergeant with 17 years of service had already been to Somalia, Haiti, and Bosnia and had managed to accumulate four children between tours.27 However, these deployments were different than those that had taken place in the previous 13 years. Once the army defeated Saddam’s regime, there was no real plan on what to do next. A whole series of military and political mistakes and miscalculations, beyond the scope of this book, turned the initial American victory into a true quagmire of Vietnam-era proportions. Rather than the quick victory promised to the American people by administration spokespersons, the war dragged on into a full-scale insurgency against U.S.-led forces. Simultaneously, the Iraqis themselves had fractured on the basis of religion and historic culture and were now also conducting their own civil war. The problem was that American soldiers could not leave, until some sort of internal stability was established. Since there was no clear definition of victory in this confusing melee, President George W. Bush and his advisors continued to rotate the relatively small American army in and out of Iraq.28 By November 17, 2006, the original Operation Iraqi Freedom was beginning its sixth set of rotational tours and had over 152,000 soldiers serving on the ground. The simple size of the army dictated that soldiers would serve several tours. Starting in January 2007, the stakes for soldiers became higher as President Bush announced that he was increasing the number of the soldiers on the ground by a modest “surge” of forces. Now led by General David H. Petraeus, the army had the authority to conduct operations with a clear vision of what they were trying to accomplish. As part of that operation, the army extended combat tours from 12 to 15 months.29 The evidence is still not available as to the long-term effects of these multiple rotations on American soldiers. For one, the army has had problems getting young men and women to join. In August 2007, as an indication of its desperation, the service authorized enlistment bonuses of $20,000 each if recruits would join and agree to go to basic training immediately. For some badly needed skills, these bonuses were as high as $40,000 each. Reenlistment programs were similar, and a soldier who reenlisted in a combat zone could earn a quick $10,000 to $20,000 tax-free. Some exceptional soldiers could even qualify for as much as $250,000. As a result of these huge cash incentives, the army was able to maintain its combat strength. Regarding enlistment and retention, money may be a prime motivator of why some of these new soldiers fought.30 While many were concerned with the buying of the American soldier, other statistics bothered observers of the effect of the war on the army. While the soldiers were, essentially, bribed into enlisting and remaining on active duty, others were flatly prohibited
from leaving by a variety of stop-loss programs. Soldiers who thought they were going to retire or separate found themselves forced to remain with their units and put their civilian plans on hold. When they had the chance, junior officers began leaving the service in record numbers. In response to the officer shortage, promotion rates rose to levels not seen since the Vietnam era. In other words, less experienced lieutenants were becoming captains and then promoted relatively quickly to major. Selection rates for lieutenant colonel were at an unprecedented 90 percent of those eligible. Rather than eliminate underachieving officers, the army was essentially forced to promote and retain them. Furthermore, many observers of the American military believed that there were serious problems in training proficiency and equipment readiness that made the army less of the efficient organization it needed to be.31 The last soldiers of the post–cold war era, therefore, have not come home, but, as of the writing of this book, remain on duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. We do not yet know the outcome of their experience. What is certain, unlike previous generations, is that they and their families have had multiple experiences with this gut-wrenching experience. Unlike those who marched off to Civil War and both world wars, there are no bands or parades. This group of soldiers simply says good-bye to their families, reports to the staging area, and flies away for 12–15 months of an experience that most Americans will never sense. NOTES 1. Richard Grimmett, Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798–2004, ed. Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2004). 2. Director of Plans and Training Management, Phase I, Mobilization and Deployment (Operation Desert Shield/Storm), After Action Report (Fort Riley, KS: U.S. Department of the Army, 1991). 3. David W. Marlin, History of the 4th Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment in Operation Desert Shield/Storm, USAWC Military Studies Program (1992: U.S. Army War College, 1992). 4. Captain Michael A. Bills, B Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, August 26,1995, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. 5. Private First Class William A. Ball HHT, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Riley, KS, August 12, 1995, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. Colonel James Mowery, 4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, Desert Storm Highlights (Draft), VII Corps After Action Report. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, 1991. 6. Director of Plans and Training Management, Phase I, Mobilization and Deployment, 33. 7. Mowery, 4th Brigade. Captain Christopher R. Philbrick HHT, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, February 12, 1994, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. Stephen Greuning, C Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Riley, KS, January 7, 1994, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. CW2 Gary Notestine and CW3 Wayne Grimes, D Troop, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, December 18, 1994, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews, unedited transcript. 8. Captain Douglas Morrison, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, March 31, 1994, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews. 9. Debra L. Anderson, personal notes. Anderson was a member of the 1st Infantry Division’s G1 staff.
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10. Author’s notes. 11. Major William Wimbish HHT, 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry, interview by John Burdan, Fort Leavenworth, KS, September 28, 1993, Colonel Robert R. McCormick Research Center, Burdan Interviews. 12. Donna Miles, “Staying Behind,” Soldiers 44, no. 5 (1989): 22–25. 13. John Burdan, personal note to author, June 2000; 14. Morrison, interview. 15. Ibid. 16. Ibid. 17. Frank N. Schubert and Theresa L. Kraus, The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1995), 217–19. 18. Miles, “Staying Behind.” 19. Morrison, interview. 20. Ball, interview. 21. Morrison, interview. 22. John Burdan, “History of the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry,” Unpublished manuscript, 1998. 23. Morrison, interview. 24. James P. Herson, “Road Warriors in the Balkans: The Army Transportation Corps in Bosnia (1995–1996),” Unpublished manuscript, 2007, 104. 25. Ibid., 100–5. Charles E. Kirkpatrick, “Ruck It Up!”: The Post-Cold War Transformation of V Corps, 1990–2001 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006), 412–15. Quote by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Jones in Herson, “Road Warriors,” 105. 26. Herson, “Road Warriors,” 162, 266–68. 27. Rick Atkinson, In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat (New York: Henry Holt, 2004), 22–24. 28. Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq (New York: Penguin, 2006). This remains the best single volume on how the victorious campaign changed into an insurgency. 29. Linwood B. Carter, Iraq: Summary of U.S. Forces, ed. Congressional Research Service (Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2005). Global Security, “U.S. Forces Order of Battle,” http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iraq_orbat.htm. Karen Demirijian, “Army Is Offering a Quick $20,000,” Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2007, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ nationworld/chi-recruit_sataug04,1,4985783.story. 30. Demirijian, “Army Is Offering.” David Moniz, “Soldiers Re-enlist Beyond U.S. Goal,” USA Today, August 5, 2007, http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2005–07–17-soldiersre-enlist_x.htm. 31. Bryan Bender and Renee Dudley, “Army Rushes to Promote Its Officers,” Boston Globe, August 5, 2007, http://www.mindfully.org/reform/2007/army-promotes-Officers13mar07.htm. Kirsten Scharnberg, “Army in Retreat over ‘Stop Loss’,” Chicago Tribune, August 8, 2007, http:// www.chicagotribune.com/classified/jobs/news/chi-stoploss. Lawrence J. Korb, Peter Rundlett, Maz Bergmann, Sean Duggan, and Peter Juul. Beyond the Call of Duty: A Comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the Army in the Administration’s War of Choice in Iraq (Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2007).
11 THE POST–COLD WAR VETERAN
Senior army leaders remembered how they came home from Vietnam in the 1960s and 1970s. Soldiers came home as individuals or in small groups. There were no parades of welcome, only protesters venting a popular disgust with the war and those who fought. It was a memory that never left the veterans of that ill-fated conflict. The Vietnam-era leaders were determined that this kind of treatment should never again happen to America’s soldiers. Initially, the army and the nation treated the Gulf War veterans with the respect they deserved. Major parades in New York and Washington, in the tradition of similar events after the Civil War and World War II, sought to correct the earlier errors. After the initial parades, soldiers and equipment were sought for local parades, and especially for the Fourth of July celebrations in cities and towns across America. But these national celebrations ended in 1991. Although the army has continued to be in combat through the present 2007, the parades stopped. So many deployments, an absence of any obvious political victories, and the long duration of these conflicts have made it difficult to have any kind of national celebration. What, then, has been the fate of the veteran of the post–cold war era? As of the end of 2004, the United States had over 24,300,000 living veterans. Approximately 4,400,000 were from the post–cold war era. Each year, approximately 80,000 soldiers leave the active service, while another 80,000 do the same in the National Guard and Army Reserve.1 The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq increased the number of war veterans even more since, as of 2007, many soldiers had completed two or more combat tours. HOMECOMINGS When soldiers returned from the Vietnam War, especially toward the end of the conflict, they often encountered civilian hostility. Once released from the out processing station, it was often a good idea for them to change into civilian clothes for the long ride home. Many veterans of this era have stories of being verbally or even physically
Soldiers march in Washington D.C. Victory parade, 1991. (Courtesy of Soldiers)
abused at bus stations and airports. Leaders of the army that fought Desert Storm were determined that their soldiers not go through the same experience. Across the country, and in posts in Germany, families and civilians welcomed their soldiers home in style.2 The veterans of the 1st Infantry Division were typical of the period. After each flight of returning soldiers landed in Topeka, Kansas, the soldiers boarded buses and drove the 65 miles to the military airfield at Fort Riley. All along the way, flags and banners bedecked Interstate 70. “Welcome Home Big Red One!” “Well Done! We are proud of you!” The banners continued all the way to the gymnasium that served as a stage for the final ceremony. Getting off the bus, the soldiers turned their personal weapons and protective masks over to armorers waiting by the bus unloading area. Then they formed up one last time.3 Those who have not been part of one have no idea how intense and emotional a welcome home ceremony can be. As the troopers marched into the aircraft hanger decorated for the ceremony, the crowd went wild. Lee Greenwood’s song “Proud to Be an American” blared in the background as the troopers lined up. In the bleachers, wives, girlfriends, friends, and children clapped and screamed. Flags and color were everywhere. Then the division commander took center stage and asked the happy, rambunctious crowd to settle down. First, he asked for a moment of silence to remember those division soldiers who had died in the service of their country in Iraq. Then he publicly, in front of their families, thanked the soldiers for their superb performance over the last several months.
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The troops could feel the pride and love of their families and friends in the stands as Major General Thomas Rhame spoke about their recent combat experience. Then he called for the color guard. Five troopers, with flags and rifles, marched forward and stood in front of the division commander. The sergeant in charge barked out commands as the color bearers lowered the encased national and divisional flags. With the help of his command sergeant major, Rhame pulled off the protective canvas casings and stood back. The guard sergeant ordered the uncased flags elevated. Now, the 1st Infantry Division, one of the proudest and most decorated units in the U.S. Army, was home. Raising his hand in salute, Rhame barked, “Duty first!” followed by, “Dismissed!” The crowd went wild as soldiers broke ranks and families jumped from the bleachers. Soldiers and loved ones collided in hugs, tears, and kisses. Little children, who had not seen their father for months, if at all, were not quite sure how to react to the whole scene, while older ones struggled to get a word in edgewise. It was an experience that became a precious memory for all who were present.4 Similar ceremonies continued in the United States and Europe throughout May. Chicago became the first city to hold a major celebration, with General Colin Powell as the grand marshal, on May 10, 1991. Los Angeles had its parade on May 19. One of the largest military parades in the history of the country took place in Washington, D.C., on June 8. General H. Norman Schwarzkopf led representatives from each of his commands past the presidential reviewing stand and then took his place alongside the nation’s political leaders. Another event took place in New York City, in classic tickertape style, two days later. For the remainder of that summer, communities large and small sought detachments of soldiers, dressed in desert camouflage uniforms, along with a few items of equipment, for local parades and displays.5 As units began deploying in and out of other parts of the world over the next decade, the ceremonies continued, but they would all be local. Certainly the national leaders recognized what the soldiers were doing. President William J. Clinton greeted the veterans who returned from Somalia and their families in March 1994. But while Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush would participate in other homecoming ceremonies, most future ceremonies focused on small units. What made these and following events different from the Vietnam era was that these were primarily unit rotations. During the war in Southeast Asia, the army repeatedly, as they had during World War II and Korea, sent soldiers to war as individual replacements. What became obvious was that this kind of rotation policy was counterproductive to soldier efficiency and morale.6 For example, when the 181st Transportation Battalion, a Germany-based truck unit, returned home from Bosnia in December 1996, it was a locally important, but nationally unknown, event. Leaving Taszar, Hungary, in December, the soldiers began their 15-hour bus ride back to Mannheim, Germany. As the busses headed down Jacob Trumpfheflerstrasse to Turley Barracks’ main gate, homemade banners were everywhere, welcoming the soldiers home. Armed Forces Network Radio had reporters covering the event as the soldiers drove into the main gate. The battalion’s children ran alongside the busses with colored chemical light sticks in their hands, screaming at the top of their lungs. As soon as the busses stopped, the unit first sergeants took charge
and imposed a sense of order as the soldiers tuned their weapons and sensitive items over to teams of supply clerks. Assembling again into unit formations, they marched into the local gymnasium to the sounds of screaming families and the blaring V Corps Band. The corps support command commander, Brigadier General John Deyermond, took the podium and gave a short speech and then dismissed the formation. Single soldiers headed for their refurbished barracks, complete with newly painted rooms, beds made, packages of Christmas cookies, and sodas stocked in their new refrigerators. Most did not waste much time and headed to downtown Mannheim to celebrate. Married soldiers gathered their spouses and children and headed home. All had to adjust after a long year away.7 One aspect that made these homecomings different in the post–cold war era, in addition to most being conducted away from the glare of American media reporting, was their temporary nature. From the beginning of this period, specialized units, such as rangers, special forces, civil affairs, and engineers, found themselves rotating in and out of dangerous areas at a relatively rapid pace. Family readiness groups, a term used by some commands to indicate the changing role of these organizations from the former support groups, went though a preparation cycle similar to their soldiers’. In the case of the ranger regiments, by 2005, some of their members had gone through four or five homecomings. These took a toll on the morale of the soldiers and their families.8 SEPARATION FROM SERVICE In the first years after Operation Desert Storm, the army, attempting to cash in on an anticipated “peace dividend,” began asking soldiers to leave. The scale of the reductions was dramatic: from a high of almost 770,000 soldiers in 1989, the army slashed the force by over 37 percent, down to 479,000 in 1999. To help induce soldiers to leave the service, the army offered a variety of incentives. Some were offered large cash bonuses, and others, early retirement. In fiscal year 1992, 52,000 enlisted soldiers and over 1,000 officers left the service this way. As a last resort to reduce the force, in the case of officers, the army convened reduction in force, or RIF, boards to select officers for involuntary separation. For example, 244 army majors were forced to leave the service in fiscal year 1992. Majors were an especially sensitive group since most of these officers had not spent enough time on active duty to move into the retired group. A final way to reduce the force, in the case of officers, was by double failure to be selected for promotion to the next higher grade. Needless to say, the years between 1992 and 1995 were tumultuous for those who remained on active duty, as many good officers and noncommissioned officers left the service.9 The problem for army planners is they sometimes had too many trained soldiers, and other times, too few. When they needed soldiers, one way to stop those on active duty from leaving was stop-loss. Certainly the government has used similar systems in the past. During the world wars, soldiers were essentially in the service for the duration of the conflict. The difference was that the war had an end state: the defeat
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of Germany and Japan. There was also a clear termination date for Desert Storm in 1991, the first time the army prevented soldiers from departing in recent history. The problem with the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan was that there was no clear definition of victory, or end date. Soldiers, up to that time, had enlisted expecting to be able to leave the service when their obligations were up. All that changed with Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, as the service decided when someone could get out of the army. In February 2003, the army used this device to keep soldiers on active duty, anticipating the invasion of Iraq. In June 2004, the service enacted another such order to keep soldiers on station as the insurgency continued to grow in both countries. Approximately 34,000 active-duty soldiers and 50,000 reservists were prevented from leaving the service by early 2007. Needless to say, it had a negative effect on soldiers’ morale.10 One of the major inducements to keep soldiers on active duty was the prospect of retirement after 20 years of service with a stable income. By the end of 1999, the nation supported almost 600,000 retirees. Most officers and enlisted soldiers retired with 22 years of service, in their early forties and still young enough to start a second career. During the 1980s and 1990s, Congress sought ways to reduce the high cost of this system and passed a number of modifications. By 2007, the turmoil of these years created three variations in the original system, each quite confusing and the ultimate difference between them not very great. Essentially, the retiring soldier could receive 40 percent of his or her last 36 months average of basic pay per year. Each additional year after 20 the soldier served, the amount increased 3.5 percent, until a maximum of 75 percent of base pay after 30 years of service. Mandatory retirement depended on age and rank, but most soldiers retired by the time they were 55.11 Pay and Benefits for Veterans When he or she separated from the service, the veteran had one of the most generous financial packages available from any organization. For example, a master sergeant (E-8) with 28 years in uniform and approximately 47 years old, retiring in 2005, received $3,020 a month for the rest of his or her life. The army treated officers even more generously; a lieutenant colonel (O-5) with 26 years of service took home $4,394 per month. While this was generous, most soldiers considered it part of their compensation for the hardships of combat tours and often difficult assignments.12 There were some aspects of this financial arrangement that many veterans were simply not prepared for. While generous, the pay was generally not sufficient to support the relatively young retiree, who probably still had a family, with children in high school or college. Finding a new job for a 50-something was always a daunting task. Many veterans were also surprised to discover that their wives or husbands were not entitled to their retirement pay after their deaths. The government did offer a survivor benefit plan for spouses, but it was controversial with retirees, given its many restrictions, high cost, and relatively low level of benefits. Many veterans opted for other alternatives such as basic term life insurance. In addition, the retiree now discovered that he or she was
no longer getting paid for housing, rations, special pays, and other military income that he or she took for granted. Finally, often for the first time in his or her life, the former soldier was required to pay state and local income taxes. It was a bit of a shock for many when they brought home their first retirement check.13 Medical care for retirees and their families generally continued as it had been before the service member separated from the service. Retirees paid $403.00 per year to insure their families and themselves. While there were various rules, as in any insurance plan, retirees were assigned a primary care physician, either at a nearby military base or in the civilian community. This doctor coordinated all health issues for the former soldier and family. Usually, there were small co-payments for services and prescriptions acquired on the local economy. Compared to the health services available to the general public, this was a generous plan and a significant reason why soldiers remained on active duty, experiencing the horrors of war and multiple rotations.14 When soldiers retired or separated from active duty, many did not leave the military environment, but simply exchanged one uniform for another. Former soldiers possessed a wide range of skills that private business and industry found extremely difficult to obtain from the civilian population. These included maintenance of sophisticated electronic equipment, general equipment maintenance and repair, military supply operations, intelligence, and law enforcement. Even for rather routine tasks, such as truck drivers, basic clerk activities, and security guards, the former soldier brought a sense of discipline and understanding of the military’s role that was quite valuable. While there is a long tradition of military organizations using contractual assistance, it became more important with the advent of the sophisticated military equipment that entered the service during the latter stages of the cold war. During Operation Desert Storm, almost 1,000 American contractors found themselves deployed in support of military operations.15 Veterans’ Jobs Following Active Service With the arrival of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the hiring of contractors, often referred to as outsourcing, became a prominent feature of American military operations. Rumsfeld’s goal was to get as many uniformed soldiers away from support jobs and into the field as possible. Simply comparing the ratio of military personnel to contract workers on the ground in Iraq gives an indication of how large the contract role changed. During Operation Desert Storm, the ratio was 1 contractor for every 100 uniformed military man or woman. By Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, that ratio had mushroomed to over 1 contractor for every 10 soldiers, or more than 20,000 nonuniformed support personnel in Iraq. Tens of thousands more worked in the Washington, D.C., area and around military bases worldwide. Experienced soldiers could make a great deal of money using their skills in the contractual environment. Companies such as Halliburton, Blackwater, and others paid former soldiers as much as $30,000 per month or as little as $50,000 per year, depending on their skills and the areas where their expertise was needed. When employed overseas in a combat zone in support of
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American forces, this pay was usually tax-free. Of course, this work can be dangerous, and as of May 2007, over 917 contractors had been killed and another 12,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.16 In addition to becoming a contractor, many former soldiers simply removed their uniforms and continued to work for the federal government. Many agencies, such as the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security, actively recruited former soldiers for the many duties that often paralleled what they did while on active duty. By 2000, the government consolidated all hiring activities on one World Wide Web page called USA Jobs (www.usajobs.com), which allowed the former soldier to match his or her skills. Under Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, many military assignments, such as medical support, school instruction, and general administration, were converted to civilian positions. Rumsfeld’s goal was to get as many in uniform as possible into the force in the field and away from support jobs in the rear. Soldiers separating from the service were actively encouraged to apply, often for jobs that would not even require them to change their office. Military retirees flocked to these new positions, changing the demographics of hospital staffs and service school faculty across the nation.17 VETERANS’ MEDICAL SUPPORT It seems as though every war has its own unique form of illness that affects veterans in the years after they return home. Poison gas caused illness in World War I, while those who fought in the South Pacific in the Second World War had to cope with malaria. Veterans of the Vietnam conflict also had to fight diseases native to the jungle environment, but also had to cope with problems caused by the American forces that resulted from the use of a special defoliate called Agent Orange. The federal government and the Veterans Administration (VA) contested the increasing number of complaints from veterans, until Congress passed the Agent Orange Act of 1991. This law forced the VA to take these complaints seriously and begin providing relief if the veteran believed he was affected by these chemicals. However, it took years of litigation and intense political pressure to get the action. In the meantime, veterans suffered, and their complaints often were dismissed.18 Gulf War Syndrome The 1991 Persian Gulf War had a similar case, called Gulf War syndrome. As soldiers began returning from southwest Asia in 1991, some began to complain about a wide array of problems. They ranged from simple fatigue and muscle pain to a wide range of neurological problems, such as numbness in the arms, and gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea. The VA, repeating their behavior during the Agent Orange problem, was simply not helpful when many veterans came looking for help. Like the controversy surrounding Agent Orange, there was no middle ground. Administrators within the VA, probably worried about the potential for lawsuits or expensive medical
procedures, fought veterans’ efforts to treat their various issues. Bureaucracy that it is, the VA spent most of its effort attempting to define, in scientific terms, the problem, rather than simply treating each individual. A presidential advisory committee was formed and issued its final report in January 1997 but was, unfortunately, quite inconclusive. All of the scientific evidence argued that there was no such thing as Gulf War syndrome.19 Yet there is little doubt that thousands of soldiers believed they had some sort of illness caused by their operations in the Persian Gulf.20 No one agrees on what causes the veterans’ complaints, although almost everyone agrees that most of those who complained believed they had problems. Most experts believed that soldiers’ exposure to some kind of chemical hazard was a primary cause. One of the culprits in this theory was a captured Iraqi ammunition storage site located at Khamisiyah, blown up by soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division on March 14, 1991. Reliable evidence suggests that this site contained a wide range of chemical munitions, including sari, cyclosarin, and mustard gas. The Pentagon conducted a detailed study of the destruction, including models that identified where the wind was blowing and which units were probably affected. However, these were not the only possibilities, as soldiers found themselves exposed to other chemicals such as various vaccines and pyridostigmine bromide used as part of chemical warfare defense. In addition, the sabot rounds from M1 tanks were constructed with depleted uranium, and these rounds left telltale radioactive signatures on their targets. Finally, many units found themselves camped in the vicinity of oil well fires, set by retreating Iraqi forces. These fires, especially when the wind reversed, covered the soldiers with thick black smoke and residual oily soot. Any and all of these factors could be expected to affect soldiers’ health.21 The Gulf War syndrome continues to be controversial. According to some statistics, soldiers downwind from Khamisiyah, or stationed at the port of al-Jubayl in Saudi Arabia, are significantly more likely to be disabled than other veterans. Children of male Gulf War veterans have a higher incidence of birth defects, and other Gulf War veterans have a much higher percentage than expected of the illness generally referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. To make matters worse, the army essentially lost track of what vaccines soldiers received, who took what pills, and what soldiers were exposed to what toxins. No matter what the actual statistics say, the fact is that many soldiers believed they were sick, and the stream of governmental denials and general rudeness by the VA has created an atmosphere of suspicion and distrust among many veterans.22 Posttraumatic Stress Disorder after Afghanistan and Iraq Combat Service If Gulf War syndrome was the issue during Operation Desert Storm, then posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was the main concern during combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Toward the end of their first tour, and during subsequent tours, soldiers began to exhibit a variety of symptoms that indicated that they might not be mentally healthy. The list of problem behaviors included drug and alcohol abuse, irritability, loss
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of interest in things they used to enjoy, and simply avoiding people. This illness was not new and had been exhibited by soldiers in both world wars, Korea, and Vietnam. What made this problem different was that the victims were not draftees who could easily be replaced, but highly trained, professional soldiers.23 The actual number of soldiers suffering from these problems is questionable. A survey conducted by the army in June 2004 suggested that one out of every eight combat soldiers exhibited some PTSD symptoms. By August 2007, three years after this study, the army reported that 2006 had more suicides, 99, than at any other time since the Vietnam War, when the force was much larger and most soldiers only had to serve one tour.24 Medical Care for Injured Veterans Medical care for soldiers was a controversial aspect of the post–cold war era. On one hand, medical operations on the battlefield had never been better. By 2005, an injured soldier had a 90 percent chance of survival, as compared to a 78 percent chance during the 1991 war and far less of a chance in previous conflicts. In World War II, the ratio of wounded to killed was two to one, and by Vietnam, it had improved to three to one. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, the ratio had jumped to seven wounded for every one soldier killed, with a survival rate of over 90 percent, easily the greatest rate of any army any time in history. The reasons for the better survival rate had to do with better-trained medics, more sophisticated hemorrhaging control agents, and rapid battlefield evacuation. The number of wounded continued to grow as the post–cold war period ended. By March 2007, over 24,500 soldiers had been wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as another 3,400 contractors, who were often former soldiers. In addition to the physically wounded, an estimated 180,000 other soldiers developed a host of unseen injuries such as traumatic brain injury, personality disorder, and PTSD.25 These numbers simply began to overwhelm the military’s health care system, which consisted of hundreds of Department of Defense and VA hospitals and clinics. Complaints of slow and indifferent care and bug- or rodent-infested, dirty facilities began to find their way to members of Congress and the press. The Washington Post brought the problems into the open with an exposé in February 2007, which described in graphic detail the neglect experienced by many wounded soldiers in the medical system and, especially, at its premier facility, Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Responding to the uproar, President George W. Bush appointed a commission of prominent Americans to investigate the military health care system. The new secretary of defense, Robert Gates, fired the hospital’s commander. Soon after, the army’s surgeon general, the secretary of the army, and the secretary of veterans affairs all resigned. The president and other members of his staff visited the wounded soldiers in Walter Reed and spent much of the summer trying to reassure the American public, soldiers, and their families that the government cared and was taking care of its wounded soldiers.26
THE NEW AMERICAN VETERAN The story of the post–cold war veteran is still being written. Those who entered in time to watch the Berlin Wall fall and jump into Panama are just approaching retirement age as this book goes to press. All the information needed to make an accurate evaluation of these veterans will not emerge until the dust engulfing Baghdad, Kabul, and Washington settles and historians have the opportunity to sift through the mounds of information that continues to accumulate in archives and soldiers’ homes. Yet, as someone who served and studied the soldiers of this period, a few observations and predictions may help the reader place these soldiers’ lives in some kind of context. First, the demographic breakdown of these soldiers is fundamentally different than previous generations. Women continue to play an increasingly important role in the army, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to open doors for their personal and collective advancement. The new veteran is also from an increasingly diverse background. In addition to African American soldiers, an increasing number of veterans of Hispanic descent are joining the ranks of returning veterans. Now almost one-third of new veterans are from minority groups, and the old, predominately white and male veterans organizations, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars of
The cover of Time Magazine’s “Person of the Year” issue, dated December 29, 2003. (Photo by James Nachtwey/Time Inc./Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
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the United States, have recognized these changes and are beginning to modify their programs and recruiting to accommodate these new soldiers.27 These veterans have an interesting relationship with the public. On one hand, as a result of intensive media attention during Operation Desert Storm, combat in Somalia, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, most Americans have an idea of the essential role played by these veterans and demand that they be treated properly, as evidenced by the scandal over Walter Reed Hospital. Yet, unlike other eras, when young citizens arranged their lives with selective service in mind, few American men and women have actually served or are related to those who have served in a combat zone. Unlike the draftee veterans, these returning soldiers will perhaps be viewed as outside the mainstream of American society. Certainly many veterans already feel this estrangement. As many soldiers returning from Iraq, and trying to reenter civilian America, remark, “It is not a nation at war, but the Army at war.”28 Which leads to a final comment about soldiers’ lives in the post–cold war era. The day of the citizen army in the United States, at least as represented by this generation of soldiers, is over. This highly trained, equipped, and compensated force is a potent tool for the American government. There is no military force in the world capable of defeating it in open combat. At an ever-increasing pace, the army continues to develop sophisticated techniques of combating the array of insurgents, terrorists, and malcontents that seem to inhabit every corner of the earth. The trend, across the board, is for more professionalism. However, these twenty-first-century centurions are no longer members of American society at large. More and more of the new enlisted soldiers enter the service from fringes of middle-class society such as immigrants and the poor. Intensive training, socialization, and continued activity make even the soldier from America’s heartland more out of step with society at large. When their service time is over, more and more decline to leave the service, but reenlist for one or more tours. The average American no longer has the responsibility, even if for only two years, to become a soldier. Increasingly, how soldiers live will become a mystery to most American citizens. This is a fact with serious consequences for the army and the nation. In many ways, the soldiers of the post–cold war era have come full circle. After the celebrations after Desert Storm, the parades stopped. Rather than victory celebrations, most units simply withdrew from the combat zone and returned home. After being welcomed back home by their families, the individual soldiers either prepared for another tour or quietly left the service and tried to reenter a society that has little understanding of the nature of their military experience. Like their fathers in Korea and Vietnam, the veterans of Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq will not have their victory parades in the streets of Washington or New York. However, there is little doubt that after all this generation of soldier has experienced, this nation will be hearing from him, and from her, for decades to come. NOTES 1. U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Abstract of the United States (Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007), table 508. Departure statistics are approximate and reflect the annual need to recruit soldiers to offset the number leaving the service each year.
2. Frank N. Schubert and Theresa L. Kraus, The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1995), 226. 3. John Sack, Company C: The Real War in Iraq (New York: William Morrow, 1995), 213–15. Author’s notes. 4. Ibid. Author’s notes. The author was a member of one of the 1st Infantry Division’s flights back to Fort Riley. 5. Schubert and Kraus, Whirlwind War, 226. “Gen. Powell Visits Chicago for Gulf Veterans Parade,” New York Times, May 11, 1991. “Big Crowd Salutes Desert Storm Veterans,” Los Angles Times, May 19, 1991. Robert H. Scales, Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War (Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994), 340. 6. William J. Clinton, “Remarks to Soldiers and the Families at Fort Drum, New York, March 19th, 1994,” American Presidency Project, University of California, Santa Barbara. 7. James P. Herson, “Road Warriors in the Balkans: The Army Transportation Corps in Bosnia (1995–1996),” Unpublished manuscript, (2007): 269–70. 8. Major David Doyle, “Interview: Ranger Deployments on OIF and OEF,” in Combat Studies Institute, interview by Daniel Goergen (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, Digital Library, Operational Leadership Experience Project, 2005). 9. William S. Cohen, Annual Report to the President and Congress (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2000). Stephen E. Everett and L. Martin Kaplan, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1993 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 23–29. Dwight D. Oland Jr. and David W. Hogan, Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1992 (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002), 117–30. 10. Jeff Schogol, “Gates Wants Military to Minimize Stop-Loss Program,” Stars and Stripes, January 27, 2007, Mideast ed. Ann Scott Tyson, “Army Using Policy to Deny Reserve Officer Resignations,” Washington Post, May 11, 2006. Doyle, “Interview: Ranger Deployments on OIF and OEF.” 11. “Situation Report,” Soldiers 55, no. 1 (2000): 17. U.S. Military Retired Handbook (Arlington, VA: Military Handbooks, 2007), 8–11. 12. “Fiscal Year 2004 Military Pay Charts,” http://usmilitary.about.com/od/fy2004paycharts/ (accessed July 2007). 13. U.S. Military Retired Handbook, 24–31. 14. “Welcome to Tricare.mil.” https://www.tricareonline.com/portal.do (accessed December 2007). 15. Deborah C. Kidwell, Public War, Private Fight? The United States and Private Military Companies, Global War on Terror Occasional Paper (Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2005), 18–20. 16. Mathew Uttley, Contractors on Deployed Military Operations: United Kingdom Policy and Doctrine (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2005), 1. Kidwell, Public War, 29–32. John M. Broder and James Risen, “Contractor Deaths in Iraq Soar to Record,” New York Times, May 19, 2007, http://nytimes.com/2007/05/19/world/middleeast (accessed July 2007). 17. “Military to Civilian Conversations,” http://cpolwapp.belvoir.army.mil/mil-civ (accessed July 2007). “Careers at the CIA,” https://www.cia.gov/careers/jobs/index.html (accessed December 2007). The author’s own department has 50 percent of its faculty as retired military officers. 18. Environmental Agents Service, Agent Orange, Information for Veterans Who Served in Vietnam (Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, 2003). 19. David H. Wegman, Nancy F. Woods, and John C. Bailar, “How Would We Know a Gulf War Syndrome If We Saw One?,” American Journal of Epidemiology 146, no. 9 (1997): online at: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/syndrome/etc/journal.html. 20. Charles Sheehan-Miles, “Part 2: Gulf War Illnesses,” in America’s Military Today: The Challenge of Militarism, ed. Tod Ensign (New York: New Press, 2004), 249–261. 21. WGBH Educational Foundation, “Last Battle of the Gulf War: Frontline’s Definitive Account of What’s behind the Bitter Gulf War Syndrome Controversy,” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ pages/frontile/shows/syndrome. 22. Sheehan-Miles, “Part 2,” 251–61. WGBH Educational Foundation, “Last Battle.” Author’s notes.
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23. Jerry Moon, “Taking Care of Your Soldiers’ Mental and Emotional Health—Before, During and After a Combat Deployment,” Army 57 (2007): 51–53. B. G. Burkett and Glenna Whitley, Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History (Dallas, TX: Verity Press, 1998), 139–47. Keith Armstrong, Suzanne Best, and Paula Domenici, Courage after Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families (Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, 2006), 14–16. 24. “1 in 8 Returning Soldiers Suffers from PTSD,” http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/5334479/. Pauline Jelinek, “War Stress Pushing Army Suicides Higher” http://www.washingtonpost.com/ wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/16/AR2007081600266.html. 25. Kevin C. Kiley, “Quality Health Care at Home and in Combat,” Army 55, no. 6 (2005): 55–57. Ilona Meagher, “The War List: OEF/OIF Statistics,” http://ptsdcombat.blogspot. com/2007/03/war-list-oefoif-statistics.html. Anne V. Hull and Dana Priest, “Walter Reed and Beyond,” Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/walter-reed/index. html. 26. Hull and Priest, “Walter Reed and Beyond.” 27. Personnel and Readiness Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, “Population Representation in the Military Services,” U.S. Department of Defense, http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/ poprep2002/. 28. Author’s notes.
GENERAL POST–COLD WAR HISTORIES AND REFERENCES Bacevich, Andrew J. The New American Militarism: How Americans Are Seduced by War. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. Baker, James A., III. The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995. Bell, William Gardner. Department of the Army Historical Summary, Fiscal Year 1970. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1973. Bell, William Gardner, and Karl E. Cocke. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1973. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1977. Brogan, Patrick. World Conflicts: A Comprehensive Guide to World Strife Since 1945. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 1998. Bush, George, and Brent Scowcroft. A World Transformed. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998. Charlston, Jeffery A. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1999. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006. Cocke, Karl E. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1978. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1980. Demma, Vincent H. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1989. Edited by Susan Carroll. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1998. Everett, Stephen E., and L. Martin Kaplan. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1993. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002. Kaplan, L. Martin. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1994. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2000. Kirkpatrick, Charles E. “Ruck It Up!”: The Post-Cold War Transformation of V Corps, 1990– 2001. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2006. Kitfield, James. Prodigal Soldiers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. Oland, Dwight D., Jr., and David W. Hogan. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1992. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002.
Paxton, Robert O. Europe in the Twentieth Century. 4th ed. New York: Harcourt, 2002. Powell, Colin, and Joseph E. Perisco. My American Journey. New York: Ballantine Books, 1996. Ramsbotham, Oliver, and Tom Woodhouse. Encyclopedia of International Peacekeeping Operations. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1998. Reeves, Connie L. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1996. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002. Stewart, Richard W., ed. American Military History. Vol. 2, The United States Army in a Global Era, 1917 to 2003. Army Historical Series. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2005. Webb, William Joe. Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year 1990–1991. Edited by W. Scott James. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997.
THE COLD WAR ARMY Bowden, Mark. “The Desert One Debacle.” Atlantic Monthly, May 2006, 62–78. DePuy, William E. “Letter from General DePuy to General Abrams Which Analyzes the ArabIsraeli War.” In Selected Papers of General William DePuy, ed. Richard M. Swain, 69–74. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 1974. Gabriel, Richard A. Military Incompetence: Why the American Military Doesn’t Win. New York: Hill and Wang, 1985. Gabriel, Richard A., and Paul L. Savage. Crisis in Command: Mismanagement in the Army. New York: Hill and Wang, 1978. Griffith, Robert K., Jr. The U.S. Army’s Transition to the All-Volunteer Force, 1968–1974. Edited by Jeffery J. Clarke. Army Historical Series. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997. Herbert, Paul H. Deciding What Has to Be Done: General William E. DePuy and the 1976 Edition of FM 100-5, Operations. Leavenworth Papers. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 1988. Herring, George C. America’s Longest War: The United States and Vietnam 1950–1975. 2nd ed. New York: Newberry Awards Records, 1986. Karnow, Stanley. Vietnam, a History. 2nd rev. ed. New York: Penguin, 1997. Kitfield, James. Prodigal Soldiers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995. Locher, James R., III. “Taking Stock of Goldwater-Nichols.” Joint Forces Quarterly 13 (Autumn 1996): 10–17. Lock-Pullan, Richard. “ ‘An Inward Looking Time’: The United States Army, 1973–1976.” Journal of Military History 67 (2003): 483–511. Menaul, Stewart. Russian Military Power. New York: Bonanza Books, 1982. Romjue, John L. From Active Defense to Airland Battle: The Development of Army Doctrine 1973–1982. Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1984. Rostker, Bernard. I Want You! The Evolution of the All-Volunteer Force. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2006. U.S. Department of the Army. FM 100-5, Operations. Field Manual. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1976. ———. FM 100-5, Operations. Field Manual. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1982. ———. FM 100-5, Operations. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1986. Wilson, George C. Mud Soldiers: Life Inside the New American Army. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989.
OPERATIONS 1989 Panama Cole, Ronald H. Operation Just Cause: The Planning and Execution of Joint Operations in Panama, February 1988–January 1990. Washington, DC: Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1995. Huchthausen, Peter. America’s Splendid Little Wars. New York: Viking, 2003. Woodward, Bob. The Commanders. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1991. Yates, Lawrence A. “Operation Just Cause in Panama City, December 1989.” In Block by Block: The Challenges of Urban Operations, ed. William G. Robertson, 325–73. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2002.
1990 Desert Shield–Desert Storm Atkinson, Rick. Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993. bin Sultan, Khaled. Desert Warrior: A Personal View of the Gulf War by the Joint Forces Commander. Translated by Patrick Seale. New York: HarperCollins, 1995. Blackwell, James. “Georgia Punch: 24th Mech Puts the Squeeze on Iraq.” Army Times December 2, (1991): 12–14, 20, 22, 61. Bohannon, Richard M. “Dragon’s Roar: 1–37 Armor in the Battle of 73 Easting.” Armor 101 (1992): 11–17. Bourque, Stephen A. “Correcting Myths about the Persian Gulf War: The Last Stand of the Tawakalna.” Middle East Journal 51, no. 4 (1997): 566–83. ———. Jayhawk! The VII Corps in the Persian Gulf War. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002. Carhart, Tom. Iron Soldiers: How America’s 1st Armored Division Crushed Iraq’s Elite Republican Guard. New York: Pocket Books, 1994. Clancy, Tom, Jr., and Frederick M. Franks. Into the Storm: A Study in Command. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1997. Cordesman, Anthony H., and Abraham R. Wagner. The Lessons of Modern War. Vol. 4, The Gulf War. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996. Cornum, Rhonda, and Peter Copeland. She Went to War: The Rhonda Cornum Story. Novato, CA: Presidio Press, 1992. Cureton, Charles H. With the 1st Marine Division in Desert Shield and Desert Storm: U.S. Marines in the Persian Gulf, 1990–1991. Washington, DC: U.S. Marine Corps, 1993. Donnelly, Thomas, Margaret Roth, and Caleb Baker. Operation Just Cause: The Storming of Panama, February 1988–January 1990. New York: Lexington Books, 1995. Fontenot, Gregory. “Fright Night: Task Force 2/34 Armor.” Military Review 73 (1993): 38–52. Freedman, Lawrence, and Efraim Karsh. The Gulf Conflict, 1990–1991: Diplomacy and War in the New World Order. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993. Gehring, Stephen P. From the Fulda Gap to Kuwait: U.S. Army Europe and the Gulf War. Washington, DC: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1998. Hersh, Seymour M. “Overwhelming Force: What Happened in the Final Days of the Gulf War?” New Yorker, May 22, 2000. Keaney, Thomas A., and Eliot A. Cohen. Gulf War Air Power Survey. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1993. Kindsvatter, Peter S. “VII Corps in the Gulf War: Deployment and Preparation for Desert Storm.” Military Review 72 (1992): 2–16.
———. “VII Corps in the Gulf War: Ground Offensive.” Military Review 72 (1992): 16–37. Maggart, Lon E. “A Leap of Faith.” Armor 101 (1992): 24–32. Phillips, R. Cody. Operation Just Cause: The Incursion into Panama. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2004. Sack, John. Company C: The Real War in Iraq. New York: William Morrow, 1995. Scales, Robert H. Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994. Schubert, Frank N., and Theresa L. Kraus. The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1995. Schwarzkopf, H. Norman, and Peter Petre. It Doesn’t Take a Hero. New York: Bantam Books, 1992. Shultz, Richard H., Jr. In the Aftermath of War: US Support for Reconstruction and Nation-Building in Panama Following Just Cause. Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, 1993. Toomey, Charles Lane. XVIII Airborne Corps: From Planning to Victory. Central Point, OR: Hellgate Press, 2004. U.S. Department of Defense. Conduct of the Persian Gulf War: Final Report to Congress. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1992. Vogel, Steve. “A Swift Kick: The 2d ACR’s Taming of the Guard.” Army Times 5 August (1991): 10–13, 18, 28–30, 61.
Kurdistan, Somalia, and Haiti Arnold, Stephen L. U.S. Army Forces, Somalia, 10th Mountain Division (LI) After Action Report, Summary. Fort Drum, NY: U.S. Department of the Army, 1993. Baumann, Robert F., Lawrence A. Yates, and Versalle F. Washington. “My Clan against the World”: US and Coalition Forces in Somalia, 1992–1994. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004. Bowden, Mark. Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1999. Brown, John, ed. United States Forces, Somalia After Action Report and Historical Overview: The United States Army in Somalia, 1992–1994. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2003. Kretchik, Walter E., Robert F. Baumann, and John T. Fishel. Invasion, Intervention, “Intervasion”: A Concise History of the U.S. Army in Operation Uphold Democracy. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1998. Miles, Donna. “Helping the Kurds.” Soldiers 46, no. 7 (1991): 13–20. Poole, Walter S. The Effort to Save Somalia. Washington, DC: Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 2005. Rudd, Gordon W. Humanitarian Intervention: Assisting the Iraqi Kurds in Operation Provide Comfort, 1991. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 2004. Stewart, Richard W. The United States Army in Somalia. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2002.
The Balkans Baumann, Robert, George W. Gawrych, and Walter E. Kretchik. Armed Peacekeepers in Bosnia. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004.
Phillips, R. Cody. Bosnia-Herzegovina: The U.S. Army’s Role in Peace Enforcement Operations, 1995–2004. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2005.
Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) and Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) Atkinson, Rick. In the Company of Soldiers: A Chronicle of Combat. New York: Henry Holt, 2004. Briscoe, Charles H., Richard L. Kiper, James A. Schroder, and Kalev I. Sepp. Weapon of Choice: U.S. Army Special Operations Forces in Afghanistan. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2003. Cordesman, Anthony H. After the Storm: The Changing Military Balance in the Middle East. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1993. ———. The Iraq War: Strategy, Tactics, and Military Lessons. Significant Issues Series. Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 2003. Fontenot, Gregory, E. J. Degen, and David Tohn. On Point: The United States Army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2004. Fuller, Graham E., and Rend Rahim Francke. The Arab Shi’a: The Forgotten Muslims. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. Gordon, Michael R., and Bernard E. Trainor. Cobra Li: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq. New York: Pantheon Books, 2006. Kaplan, Robert D. Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond. New York: Vintage, 2005. Marr, Phebe. The Modern History of Iraq. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2004. Metz, Helen Chapin, ed. Iraq, a Country Study. Area Handbook Series. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990. Naylor, Sean. Not a Good Day to Die: The Untold Story of Operation Anaconda. New York: Berkley Caliber Books, 2005. Ricks, Thomas E. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. New York: Penguin, 2006. Stewart, Richard W. The United States Army in Afghanistan: October 2001–March 2002, Operation Enduring Freedom. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2004.
ORGANIZATIONS Bluhm, Raymond K., Jr., and James B. Motely. The Soldier’s Guidebook. Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1995. Carland, John M. Combat Operations: Stemming the Tide: May 1965–October 1966. United States Army in Vietnam. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2000. Clancy, Tom. Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment. New York: Berkley Books, 1994. House, Jonathan M. Combined Arms Warfare in the Twentieth Century. Edited by Theodore A. Wilson. Modern War Studies. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2001. Kindsvatter, Peter S. The Army of Excellence Divisional Cavalry Squadron—A Doctrinal Step Backward? Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1985. Pihl, Donald S., and George E. Dausman, eds. United States Army: Weapon Systems 1990. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1990. Romjue, John L. The Army of Excellence: The Development of the 1980s Army. Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 1997. Swain, Richard M., Donald L. Gilmore, and Carolyn D. Conway, eds. Selected Papers of General William E. DePuy. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 1994.
U.S. Army Material Command. “Army Weaponry and Equipment.” Army (1990): 258–372. ———. “Army Weapons and Equipment.” Army 10 (2002): 268–345. Wilson, George C. Mud Soldiers: Life inside the New American Army. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989. Wilson, John B. Maneuver and Firepower: The Evolution of Divisions and Separate Brigades. Army Lineage Series. Washington, DC: U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1998.
RECRUITING Barkalow, Carol, and Andrea Raab. In the Men’s House. New York: Poseidon Press, 1990. Bluhm, Raymond K., Jr., and James B. Motely. The Soldier’s Guidebook. Washington, DC: Brassey’s, 1995. Coumbe, Arthur T., and Lee S. Harford. U.S. Army Cadet Command: The 10 Year History. Cadet Command Historical Study Series. Fort Monroe, VA: U.S. Army Cadet Command, 1996. Ensign, Tod. Military Life, the Insider’s Guide: What You Should Know before You Enlist! New York: Prentice Hall, 1990. Evans, Tom. “All We Could Be: How an Advertising Campaign Helped Remake the Army.” On Point: The Journal of Army History 12, no. 1 (2006): 8–15. Fernandez, Richard L. Issues in the Use of Post-Service Educational Benefits as Enlistment Incentives. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1980. Flanigan, Peggy, and Donna Miles. “Building the Volunteer Force.” Soldiers 48, no. 7 (1993): 48–49. Flocke, Jenelle L. “The Madison Avenue Brigade: The Army’s Advertisers.” Soldiers 43, no. 5 (1988): 18–20. Fricker, Ronald D., Jr., and C. Christine Fair. Going to the Mines to Look for Diamonds: Experimenting with Military Recruiting Stations in Malls. Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 2003. Garcia, Elroy. “Paying for School.” Soldiers 48, no. 9 (1993): 34–36. Goldrich, Robert L. The Persian Gulf War and the Draft. Edited by Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 1991. Griffith, Robert K., Jr. The U.S. Army’s Transition to the All-Volunteer Force, 1968–1974. Edited by Jeffery J. Clarke. Army Historical Series. Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1997. Hara, Steve. “Summer Camp.” Soldiers 44, no. 1 (1989): 7–11. Hasenauer, Heike. “Processing In.” Soldiers 47, no. 1 (1992): 34–36. High, Gil. “Cadet Command: A Talk with Maj. Gen. Robert E. Wagner.” Soldiers 43, no. 6 (1988): 22–24. Ide, Douglas. “Duty at Home.” Soldiers 49, no. 10 (1994): 28–29. Kiddo, Tom. “You’ve Come a Long Way Soldier.” Soldiers 43, no. 3 (1988): 8–11. Lane, Larry. “Going for Gold Bars.” Soldiers 48, no. 2 (1993): 38–41. McMichael, William H. “Still a Tough, Demanding Job.” Soldiers 47, no. 3 (1992): 34–36. Miles, Donna. “R-Day, Making of a West Point Cadet.” Soldiers 43, no. 10 (1988): 6–9. ———. “Recruiting at Its Toughest.” Soldiers 47, no. 4 (1992): 6–8. Moskos, Charles C. A Call to Civic Service: National Service for Country and Community. New York: Free Press, 1988. O’Brien, Tom. “New Jobs Open to Women.” Soldiers 44, no. 2 (1989): 10–11. Santos, David. “ROTC’s Proud History.” Soldiers 62, no. 10 (2006): 39–43. Tippy, Margaret G. “Army Women Say ‘Airborne!’.” Soldiers 44, no. 3 (1989): 48–49.
HOME STATION Cragg, Dan. Guide to Military Installations. 4th ed. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 1994. ———. Guide to Military Installations. 6th ed. Harrisburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2000. Fort Riley Garrison. Fort Riley, Kansas, Economic Impact Statement. Edited by Analysis Plans and Integration Office. Fort Riley, KS: Fort Riley Garrison, 2006. Hasenauer, Heike. “PCs on Course.” Soldiers 43, no. 6 (1988): 6–7. ———. “Homeward Bound.” Soldiers 44, no. 5 (1989): 32–34. ———. “Reaching Out to the Bereaved.” Soldiers 57, no. 6 (2002): 18–22. Kaplan, Robert D. Imperial Grunts: On the Ground with the American Military from Mongolia to the Philippines to Iraq and Beyond. New York: Vintage, 2005. Miles, Donna. “Army Cooks.” Soldiers 43, no. 7 (1988): 21–23. ———. “Recouping the Loss.” Soldiers 43, no. 6 (1988): 32–33. ———. “Giving Army Babies the Right Start.” Soldiers 44, no. 4 (1989): 50–52. Schad, Dave. “Battery B.” Soldiers 43, no. 7 (1988): 7–10. Standley, Saralynne S. “Firefight: Light Fighters Form the 7th Infantry Division Battled an Unexpected Enemy in the West’s Forests Last Summer.” Soldiers 43, no. 1 (1988): 7–9. Stensvaag, James T. U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Annual Command History (1994). Fort Monroe, VA: Military History Office, 1997. U.S. Army Infantry School. “U.S. Army Infantry School Home Page.” https://www.infantry.army. mil/infantry/index.asp. “U.S. Army Posts and Installations.” Army 51 (2001): 236–43. U.S. Department of the Army. DA Pam 351–4 U.S. Army Formal Schools Catalog. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Army, 1995. “Where Do You ‘Fit’ In?” Soldiers 43, no. 1 (1988): 48. Wisner, Joanne. “Moving.” Soldiers 43, no. 5 (1988): 21–23. Wong, Leonard, and Stephen Gerras. Cu @ the Fob: How the Forward Operating Base Is Changing the Life of Combat Soldiers. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2006.
TECHNOLOGY Charlton, John W. “Digital Battle Command: Baptism by Fire.” Armor 112 (2003): 26–29, 50. Christopher, Paul E. VII Corps Main Command Posts during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1992. Cringely, Robert X. Accidental Empires. Rev. ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. Davis, Joshua. “ ‘If We Run Out of Batteries, This War Is Screwed’.” Wired, June 2003, 96. Hafner, Katie, and Matthew Lyon. Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet. New York: Touchstone, 1996. Hartley, Jason Christopher. Just Another Soldier: A Year on the Ground in Iraq. New York: HarperCollins, 2005. Jensen, Richard. “The Microcomputer Revolution for Historians.” Journal of Interdisciplinary History 14, no. 1 (1983): 91–111. Knox, MacGregor, and Williamson Murray. The Dynamics of Military Revolution: 1300–2050. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001. Nachtwey, James. “A Soldier’s Life. What It’s Like at Close Range with the Troops Who Patrol Baghdad’s Meanest Streets.” Time, December 29, 2003, 42–57. Snyder, Lisa Beth. “Introducing AKO.” Soldiers 55, no. 10 (2000): 21–25. Thompson, Dan. American Interrupted: A Soldier’s Journal of Operation Iraqi Freedom from Spring 2003 Until Summer 2004. Zeist, Netherlands: Eurotrotter, 2005.
U.S. Army Material Command. “Army Weaponry and Equipment.” Army 40 (1990): 258–372. ———. “Army Weapons and Equipment.” Army 52 (2002): 268–345. U.S. Department of Defense and Defense Information Systems Agency. “Defense Information System Agency (Home Page).” http://www.disa.mil/index.html.
GOING TO WAR Bender, Bryan, and Renee Dudley. “Army Rushes to Promote Its Officers.” Boston Globe, March 13, 2007. Demirijian, Karen. “Army Is Offering a Quick $20,000.” Chicago Tribune, Aug. 4, 2007. Director of Plans and Training. After Action Report, Phase I, Mobilization and Deployment (Operation Desert Shield/Storm). Fort Riley, KS: U.S. Department of the Army, 1991. Global Security. “U.S. Forces Order of Battle.” 2007. http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/ iraq_orbat.htm. Grimmett, Richard. Instances of Use of United States Armed Forces Abroad, 1798–2004. Edited by Congressional Research Service. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, 2004. Korb, Lawrence J., Peter Rundlett, Maz Bergmann, Sean Duggan, and Peter Juul. Beyond the Call of Duty: A Comprehensive Review of the Overuse of the Army in the Administration’s War of Choice in Iraq. Washington, DC: Center for American Progress, 2007. Marlin, David W. History of the 4th Battalion, 37th Armored Regiment in Operation Desert Shield/ Storm. USAWC Military Studies Program. Carlisle, PA: U.S. Army War College, 1992. Miles, Donna. “Staying Behind.” Soldiers 44, no. 5 (1989): 22–25. Moniz, David. “Soldiers Re-enlist Beyond U.S. Goal.” USA Today, July 17, 2005. Scharnberg, Kirsten. “Army in Retreat over ‘Stop Loss’.” Chicago Tribune, June 3, 2007.
THE POST–COLD WAR VETERAN Armstrong, Keith, Suzanne Best, and Paula Domenici. Courage after Fire: Coping Strategies for Troops Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and Their Families. Berkeley, CA: Ulysses Press, 2006. Burkett, B. G., and Glenna Whitley. Stolen Valor: How the Vietnam Generation Was Robbed of Its Heroes and Its History. Dallas, TX: Verity Press, 1998. Cohen, William S. Annual Report to the President and Congress. Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2000. Doyle, Maj David. “Interview: Ranger Deployments on Oif and Oef.” In Combat Studies Institute, ed. Daniel Goergen, Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combined Arms Research Library, Digital Library, Operational Leadership Experience Project, 2005. Environmental Agents Service. Agent Orange: Information for Veterans Who Served in Vietnam. Washington, DC: Department of Veterans Affairs, 2003. Hull, Anne V., and Dana Priest. “Walter Reed and Beyond.” Washington Post, February 18, 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/walter-reed/index.html. Kidwell, Deborah C. Public War, Private Fight? The United States and Private Military Companies. Global War on Terror Occasional Paper. Fort Leavenworth, KS: Combat Studies Institute, 2005. Kiley, Kevin C. “Quality Health Care at Home and in Combat.” Army 55 (2005): 55–58. Meagher, Ilona. “The War List: OEF/OIF Statistics.” http://ptsdcombat.blogspot.com/2007/03/ war-list-oefoif-statistics.html.
Moon, Jerry. “Taking Care of Your Soldiers’ Mental and Emotional Health—Before, During and After a Combat Deployment.” Army 57 (2007): 51–53. Office of the Undersecretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness. “Population Representation in the Military Services.” U.S. Department of Defense. http://www.defenselink.mil/prhome/ poprep2002/. Sheehan-Miles, Charles. “Part 2: Gulf War Illnesses.” In America’s Military Today: The Challenge of Militarism, ed. Tod Ensign, 249–61. New York: New Press, 2004. “Situation Report.” Soldiers 55, no. 1 (2000): 16–19. U.S. Census Bureau. Statistical Abstract of the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007. U.S. Military Retired Handbook. Arlington, VA: Military Handbooks, 2007. Uttley, Mathew. Contractors on Deployed Military Operations: United Kingdom Policy and Doctrine. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2005. Wegman, David H., Nancy F. Woods, and John C. Bailar. “How Would We Know a Gulf War Syndrome If We Saw One?” American Journal of Epidemiology 146, no. 9 (1997): Online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/syndrome/etc/journal.html. WGBH Educational Foundation. “Last Battle of the Gulf War: Frontline’s Definitive Account of What’s Behind the Bitter Gulf War Syndrome Controversy.” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/ pages/frontile/shows/syndrome.
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, 91 Abu Ghraib Prison, 144 Act, Goldwater-Nichols, 1987, 6, 12 Advanced individual training (AIT), 86 – 88 Afghanistan, 4, 6, 41– 44, 50, 52 – 53, 68, 110, 119, 121, 125, 140 – 41, 143 – 44, 157 – 60, 163, 167, 169 – 73 African-American soldiers, 73, 111–12, 172 Agent Orange, 169 Aideed, Mohammed Farah, 36, 38, 121 Air defense artillery, 57 Al-Qaeda, 41– 43 American Legion, 172 Antiaircraft gun, Vulcan, 12, 54, 57 Aristide, President Jean-Bertrand, 38 Armor, 54 – 55 Armored personnel carrier, M113, 11, 53, 55, 57 Armored reconnaissance vehicle, M551 Sheridan, 11 Army Knowledge Online (AKO), 142 Arnold, Major General Steven L., 37 Artillery, 56 – 57 Aspen, Secretary of Defense Les, 37 – 38 As Salman, 17, 33 Aviation, 57 Bagram Air Base, 42, 121 Baker, Secretary of State James, 35 Balkans, 39, 100 Barre, Mohammed Siad, 36 Basra, 17, 23 – 24, 30 – 32, 43 – 44, 107 Battalion, 1st, 34th Armor, 22 Battalion, 1st, 37th Armor, 21
Battalion, 1st, 508th Infantry, 11 Battalion, 2nd, 1st Field Artillery, 22 Battalion, 2nd, 70th Armor, 22 Battalion, 4th, 17th Infantry, 12 Battalion, 4th, 6th Infantry, 11 Battalion, 4th, 70th Armor, 22 Battalion, 5th, 87th Infantry, 11 Battalion, 181st Transportation, 109, 166 Baumholder, Germany, 120 Benefits, 69 – 73, 112, 124, 131, 154, 167 Berlin, 6, 50 Berlin Wall, 6, 10, 120, 172 Black Hawk Down, 37 Blackwell, Brigadier General Gene, 34 Blue Force tracker (BLUEFOR), 139 Bosnia-Herzegovina, 40 – 41, 58, 60, 109, 121, 141, 155 – 56, 159, 165, 173 Bosnian Muslims, 40 Bosnian Serbs, 40 Bray, Captain Linda, 108 Brigade, 1st, 2nd Armored Division (Tiger), 15 Brigade, 11th Aviation, 33, 43 Brigade, 16th Military Police, 12 Brigade, 210th Field Artillery, 18 Brigade, 332nd Medical, 32 Brigade, 352nd Civil Affairs, 32 Brigade, 428th Field Artillery, 118 Brigade, Berlin, 50 Brigade, Nordic, 40 Bush, President George H. W., 1, 29; Army organization, 6 – 7; Haiti, 39; Operation Desert Storm, 15, 23, 151; Operation Just
Cause, 9; Operation Provide Comfort, 35; Shiite Uprising, 31; Somalia, 36 – 38; Stop Loss, 150 Bush, President George W.: deployments, 159; healthcare, 171; homecoming, 164; Operation Enduring Freedom, 41; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 43, 159 Camp Mercy, 31 Carter, President James E. (Jimmy), 4, 68, 71 Cedras, Lieutenant General Raoul, 38 – 39 Cell phones, 141– 43 Cheney, Richard B.: Secretary of Defense, 14, 150 – 51; Vice President, 41 Clausewitz, Carl von, 5 Clinton, President William Jefferson (Bill), 29, 37 – 41, 110 Clothing, 114 Colangelo, First Sergeant Richard, 151 Cold war, 2, 10, 15, 96, 98, 105, 114, 119 – 20, 127, 140, 142 – 43 Coleman, Specialist Melissa, 109 Combat service support organizations, 60 – 63 Combat support units, 57 – 60 Combat training centers, 96 – 98 Commissary, 112, 120, 124 – 25 Computers, 135 – 40, 142 – 43 Congress, United States, 7, 43, 67 – 68, 120, 167, 169, 171 Contractors, 63, 121, 168 – 69, 171 Cornum, Major Rhonda, 109 Corps, VII, 15 – 21, 23, 30 – 33, 56, 92, 98, 119 – 20, 136 – 37. See also Franks, Lieutenant General Frederick M., Jr. Corps, XVIII Airborne, 10, 14, 18, 72, 119. See also Luck, Lieutenant General Gary Croatia, 39 – 40 Daily duties, 128 – 31 Dayton Peace Accord, 40 Defense Department Systems Agency, 139, 143 Dependent schools, 127 Deployment: Afghanistan, 157; Bosnia, 40, 155 – 56; Desert Shield/Storm, 13 –15, 120, 148 – 52, 154 – 55; Germany, 119; Haiti, 155; medical, 111; National Training Center, 97; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 159; Panama, 10; Somalia, 37 – 38 DePuy, General William E., 5, 50, 85, 98 Desert One, 40 Desert Shield, 9 –16, 36, 119, 135, 150, 153 Desert Storm, 15 –18, 29 – 30, 34, 53 – 55, 56, 60, 92, 107, 121, 125, 136 – 38, 141, 148, 153, 155, 159, 164, 166 – 68, 170, 173 Deyermond, Brigadier General John, 166 Digital cameras, 143 – 44
Division, 1st (Mechanized) Infantry, 15 – 21, 30, 32 – 33, 41, 96, 100, 123, 148 – 49, 164 – 65 Division, 1st (UK) Armoured, 15 –18 Division, 1st Armored, 17, 20 – 23, 30, 40 – 41, 92, 120 Division, 1st Cavalry, 15 –18 Division, 2nd Armored (Forward), 15, 33 Division, 3rd Armored, 15, 17 – 24, 30, 32, 34, 120 Division, 6th (French) Light Armored, 15, 33 Division, 7th Infantry, 12 Division, 10th Mountain, 37, 39, 119, 155, 157 Division, 24th (Mechanized) Infantry, 14, 17 –18, 23 – 24, 30, 119 Division, 25th Infantry (Light), 39, 51 Division, 82nd Airborne, 11, 14, 17, 31, 43 – 44, 52, 119, 148, 170 Division, 101st Airborne (Airmobile), 14, 17, 43, 44, 51, 157, 159 Doctrine, Active Defense, 5, 54, 74, 85. See also FM 100-5 Operations, 1976 Doctrine, AirLand Battle, 29, 74. See also FM 100-5 Operations, 1982 and 1986 Enlisting, 69 – 72 Equipment maintenance, 100 –101 Ethnicity, 111–12 Europe, U.S. Army (USAREUR), 3, 5, 7, 35, 98 – 99, 120, 128, 136, 147 – 49, 155 – 56, 165. See also Germany Fad’H (Armed Forces of Haiti), 39 Families: casualties, 61, 107, 130 – 31; communications with, 141– 42, 144; homecoming, 164 – 66, 173; housing, 6, 120, 123 – 24; retirees, 168; soldier deployments, 147 – 48, 154 – 60; supporting facilities, 63, 70, 124 – 28, 130, 171 Family Support Groups, 153 FM 100-5 Operations, 1976, 5, 54, 74, 85. See also Doctrine, Active Defense FM 100-5 Operations, 1982 and 1986, 29, 74. See also Doctrine, AirLand Battle Ford, President Gerald R., 73 Fort Benning, Georgia, 10, 50 – 52, 69, 72, 75, 77, 88, 91– 92, 96, 117 –18 Fort Bliss, Texas, 57, 88, 90 Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 10, 14, 52, 72, 119 Fort Carson, Colorado, 119 Fort Drum, New York, 37, 39, 119, 155 – 56 Fort Eustis, Virgina, 62, 118 Fort Gordon, Georgia, 58, 88, 92, 118 Fort Huachuca, Arizona, 88, 91, 118 Fort Irwin, California, 96, 97 Fort Jackson, South Carolina, 62, 75, 77, 88 – 89, 118
Fort Knox, Kentucky, 76 – 77, 87, 88, 91– 93, 96, 118 Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, 86, 92 – 93 Fort Lee, Virginia, 61, 88, 118, 124 Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, 57, 77, 118 Fort Lewis, Washington, 10, 74, 75, 119, 122 Fort McClellan, Alabama, 58 – 59 Fort Ord, California, 10, 131 Fort Riley, Kansas, 69, 119, 122 – 27, 148 – 49, 154 – 56, 164 Fort Rucker, Alabama, 57 Fort Shafter, Hawaii, 119 Fort Sheridan, Illinois, 76 Fort Sill, Oklahoma, 77, 88, 118 Fort Stewart, Georgia, 119, 122, 159 Forward operating base (FOB), 17, 120 Franks, General Tommy, 43 Franks, Lieutenant General Frederick M., Jr., 15, 21, 23, 30, 32 – 33, 96, 99 –100 Funk, Major General Paul, 19 Garner, Major General Jay, 35 Gates, Robert, 171 Germany, 3, 6, 10, 15, 50, 68, 90, 96, 98, 119 – 22, 126, 140, 147, 153, 156, 164 – 67. See also Europe, U.S. Army Global Positioning Systems (GPS), 42, 138 – 39 Goldwater-Nichols Act, 1987, 5, 12 Gorbachev, Mikhail, 6 Gordon, Master Sergeant Gary, 107 Grace, Private First Class Teresa Broadwell, 109 Grafenwöhr, 22, 97, 119 Greenwood, Lee, 164 Griffith, Major General Ronald, 20 Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, 39 Gulf War Syndrome, 169 – 70 Haiti, 38 – 39, 119, 155, 159 Helicopter, AH-6 Little Bird, 10 –11 Helicopter, AH-64 Apache, 6, 11, 14, 20, 22, 43, 57, 95, 99 Helicopter, UH-60 Black Hawk, 11, 51 Hester, Sergeant Leigh Ann, 109 Higgins, Colonel Robert W., 19 Hispanic soldiers, 112, 172 HMMWV, 37, 55, 151 Holder, Colonel Leonard D. (Don), 18 Homecoming, 163, 165 – 66 Homosexuality, 110 –11 Housing, 6, 12, 112 –13, 120, 123 Hussein, Saddam, 13 –15, 24, 30 – 31, 34, 43, 120, 144 Infantry, 50 – 54 Infantry fighting vehicle, BMP, 19–22, 24, 107
Infantry fighting vehicle, M2/M3 Bradley, 6, 14, 18 – 20, 22 – 23, 37 – 38, 53, 55, 91, 95 – 96, 98 – 99, 117 –19, 148 – 50 Internet, 120 – 21, 139 – 40, 142 – 43 Iraq: Kurdistan, 34 – 36, 60; Operation Iraqi Freedom, 31, 43 – 44, 109, 112, 119, 121, 125, 138 – 41, 143 – 44, 157, 159, 164 – 65, 167 – 73; Operations Desert Shield/ Storm, 1, 13 – 24, 56 – 58, 98 –100, 107, 109, 149 – 50; post-war, 29 – 30; Shiite uprising, 30 – 34, 60 Iraqi Armored Division, Hammurabi, 13, 17, 23 Iraqi Armored Division, Medina, 13, 20 – 23 Iraqi Mechanized Division, Tawakalna, 13, 18 – 21 Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command (RGFC), 13, 14 – 24, 30 – 31, 34, 137 Joint Task Force Alpha, 35 Joint Task Force Bravo, 35 Jomini, Baron de, 5 Kabul, 42, 172 Karzai, Hamid, 42 Kellogg, Colonel Keith, 12 Korea, 3, 9, 14, 49, 56, 67, 71, 111, 114, 120, 130, 147, 152, 154, 165, 171, 173 Kurdistan/Kurdish people, 31, 34 – 36, 52, 60, 155 Kuwait, 13 –19, 21, 23, 30, 32, 36, 107, 120, 139, 141, 159 Le Moyne, Colonel John, 24 Luck, Lieutenant General Gary, 14, 21, 30 Lynch, PFC Jessica, 43, 109, 144 Maggart, Colonel Lon E. (Burt), 96 Maneuver Control System (MCS), 136 – 38 Marine Corps, U.S., 9, 11, 14 –16, 18, 36, 39, 43 – 44, 100, 114, 123, 144 McCaffery, Major General Barry, 23 Meade, Major General David C., 39 Media, 42, 108 Medical care and treatment, 62, 76 – 77, 111–12, 120 – 21, 125, 131, 153, 168 – 69, 171 Meigs, Colonel Montgomery C., 22 – 23 Meyer, General Edward C. (Shy), 4, 68 Military demarcation line (MDL), 30 – 31, 33 Military Qualification Standards (MQS), 92 Mogadishu, 36, 37, 52, 106 – 7, 121, 155 Morrison, Captain Douglas, 151 Moving, 127 – 28 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), 19, 56, 99
Nash, Colonel William, 31 National Training Center, 22, 96 – 97, 147, 149 NATO Implementation Force (IFOR), 40 Nixon, President Richard M., 1, 2, 68 Nonclassified Routing Network (NIPRNet), 139 – 40 Nongovernmental organizations (NGO), 35, 120 Noriega, Manuel, 9 –10, 12 North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), 40 – 42, 44, 53 Objective Norfolk, 18, 21 Officer Candidate School, 75 Operation Anaconda, 42 Operation Desert Shield, 9, 13 –16, 36, 119, 135, 150, 153 Operation Desert Storm, 10, 15 – 24, 30, 34, 53, 54, 56, 60, 92, 121, 125, 136 – 38, 141, 144, 148, 153, 155, 159, 164, 166 – 69, 173 Operation Eastern Exit, 36 Operation Enduring Freedom, 42, 167 Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), 31, 43, 107, 112, 138, 139, 157, 159, 167, 168, 171, 173 Operation Joint Forge, 41 Operation Just Cause, 9 –12, 52, 108, 148 Operation Proven Force, 34 Operation Provide Comfort, 35, 60 Operation Provide Relief, 36 Operation Restore Democracy, 38 – 39 Operation Restore Hope, 36 – 37 Panama, 9 –12, 36, 52, 100, 108, 172 Parkay, First Sergeant Gary, 107 Pay, 71, 74, 78, 88, 110, 112, 113, 129, 131, 151, 167 – 69 Pesmerga, 34 Post exchange (PX), 112, 120 – 21, 125 Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), 170 – 71 Powell, General Colin, 14, 38, 41, 73, 111, 165 Preparation for overseas movement (POM), 151 Rafha, 32 – 34 Ranks: enlisted, 105 – 6; officers, 107 – 8 Reagan, President Ronald, 7 Recreation, 63, 120, 126 – 27 Recruiting, 67 – 69 Red Crescent, 34 Red Cross, 34, 120, 153 – 54 Reduction in force (RIF), 166 Refugee, 31– 35 Regiment, 2nd Armored Cavalry, 15, 18 –19, 21, 30 – 31, 74, 99
Regiment, 3rd Armored Cavalry, 24 Regiment, 75th Ranger, 10, 52 Regiment, 160th Aviation, 10 Regiment, 325th Infantry, 11 Regiment, 504th Infantry, 12 Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), 73 – 75 Return of forces to Germany (REFORGER), 119, 147 – 48 Rhame, Major General Thomas G., 18, 152, 165 Riley, Colonel James C., 23 Rossi, Major Marie T., 109 Rules of engagement (ROE), 39 Rumaylah Oil Fields, 21, 23 – 24, 30 Rumsfeld, Donald, 168 – 69 Russia, 1 Safwan, 24, 30 – 34 Sarajevo, 40 Saudi Arabia, 13 –14, 29, 31– 34, 57, 96, 99, 121, 148 – 52, 154, 170 Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, 39 Schwarzkopf, General H. Norman, 14 –17, 24, 30, 165 Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet), 139 – 40 Separation from family, 166 Separation from service, 154 Shalikashvili, Lieutenant General John, 35 Shiite/Shiite uprising, 30 – 32, 34, 44, 60 Shughart, Sergeant First Class Randall, 107 Slovenia, 39 Somalia, 36 – 39, 41, 60, 100, 107, 155, 159, 165, 173 Soviet Union (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics), 1, 3 – 7, 9, 36, 41– 42, 50, 68, 97, 121; equipment, 17, 18, 59. See also Russia; Warsaw Pact Special forces, 41– 42, 52 – 53, 107, 119, 166 Stabilization Force, 41 Standard Installation/Division Personnel System (SIDPERS), 136 Starry, General Donn, 5 Stiner, Lieutenant General Carl, 10 Sunni, 30 Taliban, 41– 42, 44, 53, 157 Tank, M1 Abrams, 6, 14, 19, 20 – 23, 38, 53, 55, 106, 170 Tank, M60A1, 17 Tank, T-55, 17, 23 Tank, T-62, 17 Tank, T-72, 20 – 24 Task Force Ranger, 37 – 38 Thurman, Major General Maxwell, 68 – 69 Tora Bora, 42
TOW antitank guided missile, 24, 53 – 54, 99 Training: basic, 69, 77 – 78, 80, 85; collective, 94 –100; individual, 86 – 90; noncommissioned officers, 89 – 91; officers, 91– 94 TRICARE (military health insurance), 126 Turkey, 34 – 35, 40 United Nations (UN), 29, 33 – 40 United Nations Operation Somalia II (UNOSOM II), 37 United States Army Forces Command (FORSCOM), 119 United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), 50, 85 – 86, 88, 91– 93, 95, 98, 117 –18 United States Military Academy, 73 UN Security Council, 14, 35 – 37, 39 U.S. Department of Defense, 12, 38 – 39, 41, 71, 76, 78, 126, 136, 139, 143, 150, 169, 171 U.S. European Command, 35 Veterans, 5, 44, 71, 111–12, 114, 131, 140, 152, 154, 157, 163 – 65, 167 – 73 Veterans Administration, 71, 111–12, 169
Veterans of Foreign Wars, 154, 172 Vietnam, 1– 6, 14, 23, 130; casualty assistance, 130; deployments, 147 – 49, 152, 154, 159 – 60; ethnicity, 111; Fort Riley, 123 – 24; noncommissioned officers, 106; organizations, 50, 53 – 56, 58; recruiting, 67, 71, 78 – 79; service life, 113 –14; training, 85, 94 – 95, 97; veterans, 163, 165, 169, 171, 173 Wagner, Major General Robert, 74 Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 171, 173 War, 1973 Arab-Israeli, 4, 5, 98 Warsaw Pact, 3, 5 – 6, 54, 97, 147, 149. See also Russia; Soviet Union Wilson, George C., 69 – 72, 87 Women in the Army, 10, 37, 49, 57, 59, 63, 68 – 69, 72 – 75, 79 – 80, 89, 91, 105, 108 –12, 121, 125, 153 – 55, 172 – 73 World Trade Center, 41, 157 Wright Patterson Air Force Base, 40 Yugoslavian Republic, 39 – 40, 156 Zanini, Colonel Dan, 20, 23
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
STEPHEN A. BOURQUE is an associate professor and curriculum developer in the Military History department at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He is the author of several books, including The Road to Safwan: A Cavalry Squadron in the Persian Gulf War and articles in the Quarterly Journal of Military History and the Middle East Journal.