Task Force 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment Monograph .

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/Task Force 3-505 Parachute Infantry RegimentMonographCaptain John C. Paglianite

Task Force 3-505 Parachute Infantry RegimentOn 2 August 1990, the Republic of Iraq's military forces,under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, seized the small, oilrich Emirate of Kuwait.The international community found thisaction unacceptable for two particular reasons.First, it gave ahostile government well over 20% of the world supply of crude oiland placed Iraq in a favorable position to conduct combatoperations into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 1This would havegiven Saddam Hussein possession of approximately 40% of theworld's crude oil if he were successful.Second, it deposed a·government that was friendly to the United States.Six days after the invasion of Kuwait, President Bushcommitted American troops to the defense of Saudi Arabia.The82nd Airborne Division, America's guard of honor, became thevanguard of the largest deployment of American combat troopssince Vietnam.Over the next four months, the international community, inconjunction with the United Nations Security Council, passedseveral resolutions demanding the unconditional surrender ofKuwait and the removal of Iraq's forces from Kuwait.responsew s Iraq'sa clear act of defiance: it built up its forces inthe Kuwait theatre of operations and continued to improve itsdefensive positions along the Kuwait-Saudi Arabia border.In October 1990, the United Nations Security Council passed1Conway, p.72.

2a resolution authorizing any means necessary, including the useof force, to remove Saddam Hussein from Kuwait.During the firstweek of November 1990, President Bush responded by sending onemechanized infantry division, one armored division, and one airassault division to supplement the 82nd Airborne Division alreadyin the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.These troops included thousandsof National Guard and Reserve forces.The 7th Corps, whichincluded the 1st and 3rd Armored divisions, was also ordered tothe Persian Gulf (see Figure 1).It was evident now, with twofull American Corps in theatre (the 18th Airborne Corps,commanded by Lt. General Gary Luck; and the 7th Corps, commandedby Lt. General Fredrick Franks), that the United States forcesand allies were quickly moving from a defensive to an offensiveposture.Operation Desert Shield had begun for the 82nd AirborneDivision and 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment on 4 August 1990.My company, Charlie 3-505, had been conducting night live-fireexercises at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.Around 2230 hours onthe night of 4 August, I received a Warning Order from mycommander, Captain Charles Dydasco, to prepare for movement tothe Battalion Area.Shortly after midnight, in a torrentialdownpour, we began movement back to our billets.We wereimmediately locked in and began the H-hour alert sequence inpreparation for the deployment.Deployment tasks and trainingactivities continued until 13 August when we began deployment tothe Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.The 82nd Airborne Division drew the"line in the sand" that deterred Saddam Hussein from invading

3Saudi Arabia.Prior to being committed to the Persian Gulf, 3-505Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted very little battle orientedtraining.From May until mid-July 1990, the battalion supportedROTC advanced camp.Not until late July 1990 did the battalionbegin any effective collective training.Although paratrooperswere effectively trained in their individual tasks, there was notadequate time to train effectively for collective MissionEssential Task List (METL).Additional training on these taskswould have demonstrated the weaknesses in our Standing OperatingProcedures (SOP).Forty-five days after deploying to Saudi Arabia, I wasassigned as the company executive officer of Charlie Company.This event is significant only when considered in conjunctionwith the transition the Battalion and, particularly, CharlieCompany were undergoing.Our Battalion Commander, LTC LaPlante,had assumed command in April of 1990, and our Battalion ExecutiveOfficer, Major Smith, had assumed his duties in July of 1990,only weeks before deployment.Equally significant is the factthat the Battalion's Sergeant Major, SGM Allen, had also assumedhis duties in July of 1990.Captain Dydasco had only receivedthe guidon of Charlie Company in March of 1990. 'The first order of business for this relatively new chain ofcommand was to understand and improve upon the existing Battalionand Company SOPs.However, the deployment of the entire Divisiondid not allow 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment to complete theIntensified Training Cycle needed to completely integrate its new

4leadership.Again, if that opportunity had been afforded, theweakness in our SOPs would have been discovered and correctedprior to the ground war as opposed to during, when it riskedsoldiers' lives.From September to December 1990, the training focused onsmall unit training and live-fire exercises, with specialemphasis placed on the attack of Iraq's strong points.This wasa key training event during our External Evaluation in Decemberof 1990.On 8 January 1991, 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regimentreceived orders to depart from Champion Main and to move toThumamah, Saudi Arabia, and prepare for future combat operations.Thumamah is located 70 kilometers south of Riyhad (see Figure 3).Using ground transportation, the convoys took from 8 to 12 hoursto cover the 280 miles from Champion Main to Thumamah.Althoughthe order was given with no notice, elements of the battalioncompleted the occupation of Thumamah within 48 hours of the orderto move.Panther Base was the name given to the Brigade Area ofOperations at Thumamah.We continued to conduct small unittraining and live-fire exercises and began sustained airbornetraining.The air campaign phase of Operation Desert Storm beganaround 0200 hours, 17 January 1991, while we were at PantherBase. 2 We responded to the air campaign by continuing2stars and Stripes, January 1990, p. 1.

5individual and collective training in preparation for the groundwar.On 1 February 1991, the Battalion received the order to movefrom Panther Base to Tactical Assembly Area Plum (TAA Plum),located southwest of Rafha (see figure 3).moving on 4 February 1991.The Battalion startedMost of the paratroopers andequipment flew by C-130 Hercules from King Khalid InternationalAirport.I escorted the battalion's Class IV material 486 milesby ground convoy to TAA Plum to Attack Position Wheeler.The priorities of work in TAA Plum focused on preparationfor combat.for war .Charlie Company, 3-505, hunkered down and preparedInspections, rehearsals, pre-combat checks, weaponsserviceability firing, and training continued in anticipation ofthe ground assault.On G- 1, 23 February 1991, Charlie Company, 3-505 ParachuteInfantry Regiment, crossed the line of departure/line of contactas part of the brigade convoy north along Main Supply Route (MSR)Texas.We continued to move east to MSR Virginia (see Figure 4).On G 3, 27 February 1991, the battalion received an order to moveASAP toward objective Gold, Mea Suq Ash Shuyuk in the vicinity ofTali! Airfield (see Map 2), to conduct a movement to contact toprevent elements of the Republican Guard (ABN) from withdrawing ·north across the Euphrates River.We did not move until G 4, 28February 1991.Each company in the task force was given a sector to conducta movement to contact along a parallel zone with the limit ofadvance as the Euphrates River.The 1st Platoon from Charlie

6Company had been detached and reassigned to the Delta CompanyAnti-Armor unit to provide dismount security for the TOW weaponssystems.Prior to initiating the movement to contact, thecompany Fire Support Officer, 1st Lt. Roy Alston, submitted atarget list to the supporting Battery, Alpha-1st/319th.1st Lt.Alston targeted the two main objectives in our area of operation:a small bridge which spanned a levy and a road intersection.1stLt. Alston also plotted targets short of the line of departure,from · the line of departure to the march objectives, and beyondthe objectives.Captain Dydasco then instructed 1st Lt. Alstonto lay on the initial target and change priority targets on hiscommand. 3The company moved approximately six kilometers when theanti-armor section that was leading north toward its objectiveradioed back.Lt. Kelly, the anti-armored platoon leaderattached to our company, said that the recent rains had made thelow areas soft and that he had two M996 (Humvees) stuck.Westopped and put out ' local security, and I moved up in a five-tontruck with a squad from 2nd Platoon as security.We pulled outthe Humvees, then pulled back into the safety of the companyperimeter.Local civilians were starting to gather and pointingtowards the area where the vehicles had been stuck. They did not ·speak English, and the Task Force linguist was still at theBattalion Command Post.This made communication impossible.Captain Dydasco gave a fragmentary order (frago), dismounted the31st Lt. Roy Alston.

7remaining two platoons, and moved through the low area.Heinstructed me to take the company's five-ton trucks, along withthe Delta Anti-Armor platoon, and a squad from 2nd Platoon, underthe control of 2nd Lt. Rakocy, for security, and move south towhat appeared to be a Petroleum, Oil, and Lubricant (POL) site tofill up the vehicles and then rejoin the company.I suggested toCaptain Dydasco that I only take two five-ton trucks, all thefive gallon cans, a Humvee, and a squad from 2nd Platoon, minusLt. Rakocy, for protection.with his platoon.I thought 2nd Lt. Rakocy should beThis could have given the company an overwatchor support by fire position if needed while they moved north.was moving south and believed the risk was not as great.ICaptainDydasco overruled my recommendation.Now the company movement to contact, in conjunction withTask Force movement to contact, had been reduced to one completeplatoon, a platoon minus, and a headquarters section minus withnothing larger than a 7.62mm machine gun to be used in directfire mode.The mortar section was with me.It seemed that themajority of combat fire power was moving south with me and notnorth with the maneuver element and Captain Dydasco.I maneuvered the five-ton trucks and the Stinger sectionwith the DeltaAnti-Armor section pulling security in lead and.0 trail.lI decided to sacrifice security for speed because most ofthe area had been cleared previously, and the threat was minimal.We had been correct by map recon, and the area was a POLsite.The POL site had three 400-500 gallon tanks of diesel butno pumping apparatus.We tied 550 cord to the tops of the five

8gallon cans and lowered them down into the tanks.was slow but effective.The processWe had security posted, and the TOWswatched the high speed avenues of approach.We were almost two-thirds finished when I received a radio transmission from CaptainDydasco instructing me to bring up the Delta Platoon andremainder of the Headquarters element to set up a support by fireposition.Charlie Company's lead platoon was receiving directfire to its front.1st Lt. Hughey was the platoon leader incommand of the lead platoon.I confirmed the grid and called 2ndLt. Rakocy (the 2nd Platoon leader) and 1st Lt. Kelly (Anti-ArmorPlatoon Leader).I gave a quick frago and decided that we woulduse the roads (see Map 1).quicker.They both agreed that this would beWe assembled the troops, gave them a very quick briefof the situation, and moved out with a Delta section, comprisedof a Mark 19, a 40mm grenade launcher, a .50 caliber machine gun,and a Stinger Humvee.The five-ton trucks followed the Humveewith the remainder of the Delta Platoon trailing.I traveled inthe Stinger Humvee so I would have access to a radio.Wemaneuvered to the position directed by Captain Dydasco and hisradio transmission.I did not have the luxury of a GlobalPositioning System (GPS), but I was positive that we were in thespecified area and could support the company. ·Dydasco and let him know we were in position.I radioed CaptainThe company netwas busy with traffic, mostly 1st Lt. Hughey sending situationreports back to Captain Dydasco.Captain Dydasco ordered 1st Lt.Hughey to move back to the south side of the road but did not say

9why. I made a decision that I would later regret.Withoutauthorization from Captain Dydasco, I moved the anti-tank platooncloser to the company to establish a support by fire position.Ibelieved that this action would better support the company andplace me in a position to support the operation more effectively.However, I did not have access to the fire support net, and I wasunaware that all guns of the 105mm battery had been requested asan "at my command" mission by the company fire support officerand were targeted at the area in which I was going to enter.noticed OH-58 Delta hovering in the nearby area.II thought itwas in the process of lasing a target for an Apache.Then I sawa soldier from 2nd Platoon trying frantically to get myattention.I realized that something was wrong and turned theDelta Platoon around and moved back to our original support byfire position (see Figure 5).Fortunately, the 105mm fires nevermaterialized.In the few hectic moments before Delta Platoon turnedaround, dozens of messages flooded to battalion and batteryheadquarters, attempting to stop the fire mission. 5The presence of the OH-58D indicated that the brigade hadbecome involvedas well. Release authority for employment of ·Army Air was held at the Brigade level.It is unclear whether the fire mission ended due to the4tt. Tony Hughey51st Lt. Roy Alston.

10repeated pleas over the radio by our company FSO or whether theOH-58D pilot had identified the United States soldiers fleeingthe target area and then alerted the other units involved.Ultimately, Colonel Hale, the Brigade commander, cancelled themission. 6The only element that should have called for fire inthis situation was the 3rd Platoon, with the consent of thecompany commander.The compa

Division and 3-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment on 4 August 1990. My company, Charlie 3-505, had been conducting night live-fire exercises at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Around 2230 hours on the night of 4 August, I received a Warning Order from my commander, Captain Charles Dydasco, to prepare for movement to the Battalion Area. Shortly after midnight, in a torrential downpour, we began .

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