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Old 05-09-2009, 06:24 PM
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Default The Longer Version Part 11

Apr-Jun 1997
The Longer Version Part 11

In keeping with its goal of establishing a basis for long-term sustainability of military bases throughout CONUS, the Pentagon’s Department of Contingency Planning (DCP) actively intervened in the placement of soldiers who could not be returned to front-line service. A large number of casualties from the December campaign in Germany would never see the battlefield again. Nevertheless, many of them could make important contributions in the strategic rear.

Not surprisingly, there were several hundred infantry who either had been released from their hospitals or who were ready for release by the end of the first quarter of 1997. Some would never serve again. Others would be confined to administrative duties for the remainder of their service. However, a sizeable body of wounded infantry was capable of contributing their knowledge and experience in a training environment. Among them were many men who strongly desired to continue to fight the war in any way they could. Naturally, these men tended to be assigned to Fort Benning, where they were quickly attached to the Infantry Center and School. By April, every school on post, from Basic & AIT to ANCOC (Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course) to the Infantry Officer Advanced Course to the Ranger school, had one or more of these riflemen with their combat patches and empty sleeves or pant legs driving home the hard lessons of combat to infantry in training.

The DCP arranged to send a few of these men to Fort Huachuca. In the event of Red Star (a strategic East-West nuclear exchange), combat veterans would be critical for retraining support personnel in internal security missions. Since White Star (a conventional war between the Warsaw Pact and other Soviet allies and NATO along with other Allied nations) had begun already, veteran riflemen could be usefully added to the cadre of any of the battalions conducting Basic.

One standout among the invalid infantry sent to Fort Huachuca was Staff Sergeant (SSG) James Whitehawk. Whitehawk came to Huachuca from the 10th Mountain Division, which had been engaged in combat in Norway since the start of US involvement in the war. He enlisted in the Army as an 11B in 1987 and was sent to Korea immediately after Basic & AIT. The young rifleman went to the Rangers after his year-long tour in Korea was ended, and he fought with the Ranger Regiment in Panama during Operation Just Cause (1989-1990). After his enlistment was up, Whitehawk returned to his home in Arizona and joined the LRS (Long Range Surveillance) Detachment of 40th Infantry Division (Mechanized) [CA ARNG]. Although Whitehawk declined to volunteer for Desert Shield/Storm, he opted to serve in Somalia. When the Bundeswehr crossed the Inter-German Border in October 1996, the young National Guardsman volunteered for the Regular Army. Whitehawk was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division, and he went into combat with the rest of the division when the US joined the fight in Europe. Whitehawk lost his left hand to a bursting mortar round in early March, 1997.

The DCP arranged for Whitehawk to be sent to Fort Huachuca for convalescence. He was asked to provide assistance for training being conducted on-post. Also, he was asked to participate in cyclical recruiting efforts among the Navajo and other First Nations peoples in Arizona. Whitehawk readily settled into his new role at Fort Huachuca. His presence and efforts would be of great import to Fort Huachuca in the days to come.

Specialist Thomas Pattatucci, a native of Denver, CO, came to Fort Huachuca by way of 3rd Infantry Division (Mech). After a single stultifying semester of community college, Pattatucci enlisted in the Army in 1994. He found his home in an infantry battalion scout platoon, which is where he was serving when 3rd ID joined the war in Germany in December 1996. Pattatucci lost an eye during combat east of Berlin in late January, 1997. Once he was able to return to duty, he was asked by an MI representative to go to Fort Huachuca for assist in training. Pattatucci agreed.

A disproportionate percentage of the invalid infantry coming to Huachuca in the first half of 1997 were LRS veterans. Also among the invalid troops arriving at Huachuca were mortar crew, howitzer crew, cavalrymen, and combat engineers. DCP and the MI Center & School justified what seemed to some at the Pentagon as an unreasonable use of the human resource by pointing out the close link between intelligence and the combat arms. Each Basic Training company at Huachuca belonged to a battalion that was training MI soldiers.1 Exposing the new soldiers to combat arms veterans—especially LRS—would help to drive home the deep connection between the collection and processing of information and the successful prosecution of operations on the battlefield. PERSCOM (Personnel Command) bought the argument and continued to send to Fort Huachuca the people DCP requested, although not always in the desired numbers.

Typical of the small number of invalid tankers arriving at Huachuca in the second quarter of 1997 was Corporal Kwame Desmond. A native of Cleveland, OH, Desmond joined the Army after graduating high school in 1994. He spent his first two years in the Army as a tanker at the Army’s National Training Center (NTC) outside Barstow, CA. At the time, the Opposing Force (OPFOR) was transitioning to the use of the new LAV-75. Shortly before the war spread to Europe, Desmond was transferred to the 7th Infantry Division (Light) and became a crewman in an LAV-75 in the division’s light tank battalion. Desmond lost a foot when his track ran over an anti-tank mine in February, 1997. After being fitted with a prosthetic, Desmond volunteered for reassignment to a TRADOC post. By this time, Fort Knox was practically overrun with invalid and convalescing tankers. It was agreed that Desmond could complete the next phase of his physical therapy at a hospital in Tucson, then move to Huachuca to assist in training. His knowledge of the LAV-75 and armored warfare also would become highly useful to Fort Huachuca.

Specialist Sarah Hood was one of a growing number of MPs sent to Fort Huachuca as the number of EPW housed on-post increased. Born in western Kentucky in 1975, Hood was a tall, athletic girl who had little interest in academics despite a reasonably high level of intelligence and good test scores. Hood dropped out of high school to roam the country with her boyfriend, who had graduated already. After a number of misadventures, Hood returned home in 1994. She earned her GED and joined the Army as an MP, ironically. Hood was assigned to the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, where she started learning Korean on her own. She volunteered for a second tour in Korea. When war came to Korea, Hood served with distinction in combat against North Korean commandoes raiding rear areas. She was wounded by an AK-47 round to her left shoulder and shipped to CONUS for rehabilitation. Once Hood was capable of resuming light duty, she was “temporarily” reassigned to Fort Huachuca, where her language skills would be useful in dealing with North Korean EPW.

Other noteworthy individuals not part of the US Army had arrived on-post by the end of the second quarter of 1997. Among them were members of the sister services of the US military. Others were members of the militaries of allied nations who could not return to front-line duty in their own countries.

Major Lum Peng of the People’s Liberation Army (People’s Republic of China) was sent by his government as a courtesy to the US. Many nations had two-person liaison teams at Fort Huachuca. Soon after the Sino-Soviet War began, the PRC sent a liaison team to the MI School and Center. Senior Sergeant Chao, an outgoing and gregarious man, quickly made friends with many of the important figures at Fort Huachuca. He became aware of the post’s efforts to build sustainability and to increase MI soldiers’ awareness of the connections between MI, reconnaissance, and the infantry. He suggested to the post command sergeant major that General Thomason make a request to have an infantryman assigned to the Chinese liaison officer slot at Fort Huachuca. Thomason made the request, and the PLA dispatched Major Lum. Lum, then a company commander, had been wounded during the fighting in Manchuria in mid-1996. He had participated in Operation Red Willow and had a highly respectable service record. Lum had lost an ear and an eye and had suffered grievous burns on the right side of his body. He had spent several months recovering. During that time, Lum wrote a book entitled The Rifle, the Bayonet, the Grenade which outlined his approach to training, planning, and tactics. Although the book could not be published at the time for security reasons, in an unusual move the PLA agreed to send Lum to Huachuca with an English version of the manuscript so that the American allies could better fight their mutual enemy. Major Lum’s advice and experience would prove of inestimable value to Fort Huachuca in the days to come.

The US Marine Corps made use of Huachuca’s facilities through a MARDET (Marine Detachment). In April, Gunnery Sergeant Clifford Black became the senior NCO of the Huachuca MARDET. Black was a career Marine and a rifleman who had fought in Desert Shield/Storm. In December, 1996 Black was deployed from Camp Lejeune to Europe along with the rest of 4th Marine Amphibious Brigade. Soon afterwards, the 4th MAB was engaged in heavy combat against Soviet forces in Norway. Black lost a kidney to shell fragments in late January, 1997. Once he had recovered sufficiently to resume light duty, the DCP requested that he be sent to the Huachuca MARDET. Though Black was not an MI Marine, the DCP argued that the presence of a combat veteran and infantryman would set a favorable tone among the Intel Marines training at Huachuca. The Corps agreed, and Black was sent.

DCP’s policy of selectively placing personnel with specific skills at selected posts did not go unchallenged. However, the ranks of the walking wounded were growing quickly in early 1997. Congress pressured the Pentagon to adopt policies that would keep troops who could no longer serve in combat serving usefully rather than being mustered out on disability. CONUS was full of able-bodied soldiers, airmen, seamen, and Marines who could be replaced by wounded combat veterans. In effect, DCP’s policy of identifying likely candidates to support its initiatives rode on the Pentagon’s emerging manpower and fiscal conservation measures. As the year went on, more and more combat veterans reported for duty at Huachuca. Although many of them would be unavailable for field duty, they brought to Huachuca a host of skills the post would need badly in the event of Red Star.

1 Later in 1997, non-MI soldiers began to be added to the rosters at Fort Huachuca. It was impossible to sync the length of Army Basic Training with the length of the MI Advanced Individual Training being conducted on-post. In a few cases, AIT was shorter than Basic. More often, MI AIT was longer than Basic. If the Basic Training companies that had been established at Huachuca were used exclusively for MI, inevitably there would have been drill sergeants and training facilities idled by the lack of space in the AIT roster. With the fighting overseas consuming manpower at a high rate, the Pentagon wanted all Basic Training companies in the US filled to capacity and operating constantly. As a consequence, numbers of non-MI troops began to cycle through Huachuca by the end of the second quarter of the year.


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Old 05-09-2009, 09:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webstral
More often, MI AIT was longer than Basic.

Webstral
That's very true -- MI training is long and intensive. My friend Gladys went to Huachuca to become an intel analyst -- and near what was supposed the end of her AIT (which was already six months long), her instructors picked up on something myself and our friends already knew -- she's able to make anyone talk about almost anything, simply by being outgoing and friendly. So then they cross-trained her as an interrogator -- another almost-six months at Huachuca. She left with two MOSs and an interesting set of skills.

And just to be a bit off-topic, she found out at REFORGER one year that there is enough room for sex in an Abrams...
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