"Once we got below 17 or 18,000 feet, it was just rain down below us -- it was pretty easy to see," Rodriguez said. That lasted about a minute with August temperatures zooming into the 100s. Mike Daniels. Rodriguez and his team flew out on a defensive counter-air mission to protect U.S. Intelligence assets south of the Iraq border at high noon on another clear blue day. Instead, as a 23-year-old lieutenant, he led a scout platoon of Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters in an Apache battalion in the 24th Infantry Battalion (Mechanized). "I really literally fell into it.". But the pilots hadn't trained much on the bullseye concept in the 1980s, Fox said. I'm at .9 Mach or .91, so I'm close to supersonic, but I'm not supersonic.". "You got a MiG kill!' Finally, the Army brought in a synthetic substance that hardened into pavement. "We were just sitting there, and it was killing us.". 2nd A.C.R. James Bond Gives Up on April Release.  At the airfields, it encountered entrenched resistance from the Iraqi 37th and 49th Infantry Divisions, as well as the 6th Nebuchadnezzar Mechanised Division of the Iraqi Republican Guard. On 26 February, the 24th Infantry Division advanced through the valley and captured Iraqi airfields at the Battle for Jalibah Airfield and Tallil. ", "As far back as I can remember, I wanted to fly airplanes," said Fox, the naval aviator. The 140-page full-color book looks back at the Victory Division’s defense of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the attack to free Kuwait. "I guess in the vernacular of air-to-air squadrons, we were the lucky ones," Rodriguez said. Appler, Thomas, A Look at the 24th Division After Korea, Part 1 . The CIA reported he had died on impact. At that point, everyone started to check the news to see what they might be in for, he said. The order that they are listed in are from west to east. They also flew support -- running liaison, picking up packages, running passengers to the airfield. "The whole geostrategic balance was kind of shifting there a bit, and Saddam just had the incredibly bad timing to decide to invade Kuwait at the same time that we were kind of at the peak of our Cold War strength, anticipating something against the Soviets.". At about 11 or 12 miles out, they could see the MiGs, and they hit them with AIM Sparrow missiles. They had been killed when they hit the ground. Consisting of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Company A and Company C of the 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment, Company A of the 2d Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, the 3d Platoon of Battery A of the 1st Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, and Company A of the 5th Engineer Battalion, Task Force Tusker attacked entrenched Iraqi forces on 26 February 1991 to seize battle position 143, effectively severing the Iraqi Euphrates River Valley line of communication to the Kuwait Theater of operation and destroying the major combat elements the Republican Guards Forces Command's elite 26th Commando Brigade. "And then, of course, we started to see the desert on fire," he said, referring to the oil wells Hussein had set aflame. "So, a complex tactic that many would have probably said, 'Now, there's no way they could do that.' He couldn't see it. That night, Feb. 20, "Hal went up with one team of Apaches, and Dennis went with another and they did the routes," Wellman said. "'Bandits, Manny, one-eight-five, 25 southbound,'" Fox said. It was a brilliantly blue day, sun glancing off sea and sand, and Fox flew alongside planes that would keep his F/A-18 Hornet -- and the bombs he carried -- safe. … I said, 'OK, what's going on?' The war was historic: Iraq lost 259 aircraft, with 36 being shot down. "We were able to fly our Apaches without talking," Wellman said. Like, 'Jesus, what an ass!'". It was exhilarating. Iraqis then led Marines to the site, and the pilot was returned home. On the ground, intel worked hard to get the pilots what they needed. Three platoons in, Wellman was champing at the bit. All rights reserved. I look back at my own experience as a young lieutenant and I'm like, 'God, you sucked.' Maps weren't as big of an issue for his squadron because they flew high -- at 30,000 or 40,000 feet, so they weren't looking for landmarks. Unknown to Fox, his first missile saw the MiG and went after him. So that's what he did. But this was the first time that I ever expended ordnance in personal combat experience.". "At some point, they hit what was apparently ground fog up in Iraq, and the aircrews became separated. One or two scouts flew with three or four Apaches. But at the company level, you're pretty much in the dark. "You always have to fly the helicopter," he said. "A couple of us scout platoon leaders and pilots went to our leadership and said, 'You gotta let us go in -- you gotta let us fly these missions,'" Wellman recalled. Because of their training, because of the thousands of times they had performed the same maneuvers in peacetime practice sessions, they had completed their mission "pretty much flawlessly.". If you have ever worn the Taro Leaf shoulder patch this site is for you. During the ground counterattack, the attack helicopters, in conjunction with a small ground element, protected the southeastern flank of the counterattack force by sealing the battlefield from other Iraqi forces in the area. But then, because Wellman was the most junior pilot on the team, the other pilots asked him to "pause mission." 24th Infantry Division Mechanized You Tube. The United States set up hospital ships and field hospitals along the Iraqi-Saudi Arabia border in preparation for a blood bath. Quickly coordinating an engagement area with the responsible ground Commander, the attack battalion established a battle position to the northwest of the oil fields, effectively cutting the enemy's escape route across the Hammar Causeway. He wanted action, and Panama, Libya, and Granada had all been skirmishes that had no time for tanks. Retired Army Lt. Col. Fred Wellman had wanted to be anywhere but a heavy mechanized division. Ground troop movements 24–28 February 1991 during Operation Desert Storm. , For extraordinary heroism while engaged in military action against Iraqi ground forces in the Rumayiah oil fields on 2 March 1991. Many survivors will see at least $400 more in their Feb. 1 annuity payments. , bombing shelters Hussein thought would be impervious to attack. Between 30,000 and 100,000 Iraqi fighters were killed, most during the air war, and an estimated 100,000 Iraqi civilians also died from wounds or lack of food and water, as well as medical supplies, because of the war. This is the official website of the 24th Infantry Division Association. Fox had reason to. "We had to be ingenious, like, how do you land without any dusting out?". Their brains are frazzled; they're losing friends: Don't get distracted. "Hey, Rico, party's off," the officer told him. But when he landed, another officer killed his plans. "From the sky, the answer is, 'It sure sucks to be down there.'". The Humvee was stolen from a National Guard Armory in a Los Angeles suburb. Everyone had three 2,000-pound bombs -- three Mk-84s. Every morning, they would clear the weapons training range because Bedouins would wander in at night. He shifted out of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program and into the Air Force program, and he eventually qualified for flight school. And you kill the long-range radars. "Lock, there's a guy at nine miles, he's at Mach 1.3," Fox said. The American pilots didn't know if they were enemy planes, but they were making unusual mistakes, as if inviting the Americans to come at them. , The 1st Bn., 24th Aviation Reg destroyed 32 Iraqi tanks, 49 BMPs, 37 trucks, 8 Frog Missile launchers, numerous other assorted artillery pieces, anti-aircraft guns, and support vehicles. I am sure she is with him now looking down on us. The 24th Infantry Division traces its lineage to Army units activated in Hawaii. Instead, they had used their ship -- referred to as "Zulu" -- as the bullseye. They had just returned from desert training at the National Training Center. But in August 1990, he got a call to come into work in the middle of the night. Other brigades put their Apaches on airfields, but Wellman's unit headed out to the desert and set up tents. "So I took a Sidewinder shot, 'Fox Two'" -- Fox Two is the radio call when a pilot fires a heat-seeking missile -- and the missile came off the rail. "I keep telling the Sidewinder, 'Look down the radar line of sight,' and he didn't see anything," Fox said.  A hospital bus with medics and wounded Iraqi soldiers who had already surrendered to another American platoon was also destroyed by gunfire, which later troubled many U.S. , Iraqi Republican Guard forces were engaged within the Hammar Marshes of the Tigris–Euphrates river system in Iraq while attempting to reach and cross the Lake Hammar causeway and escape northward toward Baghdad on Highway 8. Welcome to the 24th Infantry Division Association If you have ever worn the Taro Leaf shoulder patch this site is for you. "'You don't think they'd send us?'" "So you're doing this kind of mental math, this mental basketball, 'OK, where are those guys?'" Then, they went after "Scud trucks" -- trucks from which Scuds could be launched and that were scattered throughout western and southern Iraq. Maj. Marie Therese Rossi-Cayton was the first woman to serve as an aviation unit commander in combat, and she died in that role when her CH-47 Chinook hit an unlit microwave tower while she was flying at night on March 1, 1991, in Saudi Arabia. "I didn't have a passion to fly as a kid growing up," he said. "I remember being very short-tempered. But then the situation changed significantly as experienced Iraqi pilots tried to draw Rodriguez and his wingman, Craig "Mole" Underhill, into a trap. Nominate Them For A $1,000 Prize From AARP, 3 Militia Members, Including Marine Vet, Charged with Plotting Capitol Breach, Dorothy Schmidt Cole, Oldest Living Marine, Dies at 107, Family Separation Allowance Now Covers COVID-19 Restriction of Movement Orders on Ships, You Can Find These Surprising Artifacts at the Coast Guard's Museum. They talked about the missiles they launched, the friends they lost, the lessons they learned, and the personal battles they've fought in the years since. "So [McCaffrey] decided he wanted to fly Apaches into Iraq along the air routes at night -- the invasion routes -- to do route reconnaissance," Wellman said. Division engineers perform mine clearing tests during Desert Storm prior to the beginning of the ground war Ground operations during Operation Desert Storm, with the 24th Infantry Division positioned at the left flank. "We worked those aircraft hard. He says, 'I don't know.' After they landed, they immediately put the jets on alert. "We don't know what their flight plan was really telling them to do. "You got a lot of people green behind the ears going into combat. "As we were going into Iraq, it was clear there were Iraqi air force airplanes airborne," he said. came in on the radio. ), Historical Reference Book (Fort Stewart, Ga., 1992), copy in CMH. "Just as I squeeze the trigger on the Sparrow, the Sidewinder hit him, so there's a big explosion," Fox said. "One of the reasons we took a month to do the air war was to soften them up," he said. It's maneuverable and reliable and all the things that -- it's a marvelous jet. During their debrief, the two American pilots learned that it had been a coordinated attack, designed to bring them into the Iraqi integrated air missile defenses. The Apache cockpits were filled with red lights. The 24th Infantry Division combined the usual mechanized infantry division components of an aviation brigade and three ground maneuver brigades plus combat support units. The sand hindered helicopter landings as it rose up in gritty, blinding clouds. Wellman gave the OK, and they replaced him with CW2 Hal Reichle -- a more experienced pilot -- and Spec. The Iraqis, using pilots as well as integrated air defense systems and missile defenses, tried to defeat the alliance pilots, but, "We were able to neutralize that piece of it," he said. I am sad to report that Lily Lambert Gold Star Mother of our fallen Brother John Hutto passed away on january 16th 2021. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan wants to know if the Taliban is "living up to its commitments.". But then he saw the secondary target, a big hangar.  The 24th Infantry Division's Task Force Tusker attacked entrenched Iraqi forces on 26 February 1991 to seize battle position 143, effectively severing the Iraqi Euphrates River Valley line of communication to the Kuwait Theater of operation and destroying the major combat elements of the Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command's elite 26th Commando Brigade. "I had a close call myself on a night where it was just blacked out and I couldn't see shit.". This devastating aerial attack assured the destruction of the Republican Guard Forces Hammurabi Division and the remnants of several other infantry divisions. The decision marks the second time she has been denied parole. "Normally, it was like a train going by," he said. And that can happen to you too. They decimated Saddam Hussein's air force, bombing shelters Hussein thought would be impervious to attack. Editors Note: This article first appeared on The War Horse, an award-winning nonprofit news organization educating the public on military service. He attributes their success, including a "98.9% launch rate for every mission that we were tasked to support," to the people on the ground making sure he could fly -- everyone from mechanics to cooks. "How well you train is a direct indicator of how well you will fight," Fox said. The division insignia is based on the taro leaf, emblematic of Hawaii. © Copyright 2021 The War Horse. So we wound up in exercises fighting British F-4s and Italian F-104s.". Wellman remembered saying. "I knew he was a bad guy," Fox said.  At least six Hammurabi Republican Guard battalions were destroyed. 77 in HQ, 24th Infantry Division (Mech. She had expressed a desire to attend our 30th Reunion and meet many who served with her son. But without the benefit of combat-experienced service members after years of peace, there was no one at the unit level to prepare them for the momentum of war, as well as the heartache that followed. "I was always anticipating that there would be some sort of dust-up with the Soviets," he said. Pretty quickly, Fox realized things would be rough all day. They were in the air, so we were up there protecting them 24 hours after our jets landed.". She flew mail, passengers and cargo to aircraft carriers.  Surviving Iraqi soldiers were either taken prisoner, fled on foot or swam to safety.. On a mission, he saw canals that had been filled with oil that Hussein planned to ignite -- the Saddam Line, which would need to be blown up with incendiary bombs dropped by C-130s. 101st Airborne Div. "And I was scared to bejesus in my cockpit.". "I think it's pretty certain that it was an Iraqi MiG-25 that shot him down that night," Fox said. In the early hours of that day -- Jan. 17, 1991 -- another pilot from Fox's squadron, Capt. While moving through Objective Gold, a large logistics center between Talil on the west and Jalibah airfield on the east, the 24th Infantry Division found 1,700 bunkers full of munitions, weapons, petroleum and other war stocks. And the Iraqi pilots turned out to be much more advanced than anyone expected -- working in coordinated attacks to trick American pilots into dangerous airspace. Within hours, the attack battalion destroyed 32 Iraqi tanks, 49 BMPs, 37 trucks, 8 Frog Missile launchers, numerous other assorted artillery pieces, anti-aircraft guns, and support vehicles. As they got closer to their target, they encountered more aircraft, moving slowly. His father, a career Army officer who retired as a lieutenant colonel, had served in Vietnam, but he never talked about it, Rodriguez said. Rotating attack helicopter companies into the battle position, enemy forces were engaged with 30mm cannon fire, 2.75 inch rockets, and Hellfire missiles. Good tone: He knew he had a shot lined up. "It takes a lot longer to just say this than it actually happened," Fox said. As Hussein missed the deadline to pull out of Kuwait, Desert Shield became Desert Storm on Jan. 16, 1991. Retired Air Force Col. Cesar Rodriguez had no idea he wanted to be a pilot. Battle "And what you train to in peacetime is what you do in combat.". He barely ate. "I always thought that he would somehow figure out a way to finagle it and wiggle out of it somehow. But it was still different from Desert Storm. "I've been in crisis before. During Desert Storm the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment provided artillery support to the 24th Infantry Division throughout the invasion of Iraq. And the Americans hadn't trained for everything: Smoke from oil fires lit by Hussein grew so thick that the sun disappeared and pilots had a hard time seeing past the beaks of their planes. By the end of combat operations, the 24th Infantry Division advanced 260 miles and destroyed 360 tanks and other armored personnel carriers, 300 artillery pieces, 1,200 trucks, 25 aircraft, 19 missiles, and over 500 pieces of engineer equipment. "I immediately was looking low. After a mission in Kosovo, Rodriguez would be one of three pilots to get three air-to-air hits -- the most hits since the Vietnam War. "So the airplanes that were on alert status on different bases around the region came together, and we went and attacked this particular target.". The F18 jets flew in along the EA-6B Prowlers, which jammed electronic signals from the Iraqi integrated air defense system so the Iraqis could not find them. As the ground troops were set to roll in, pilots started to receive intelligence about the booby traps Hussein had placed just about everywhere -- from ship mines in the Persian Gulf to the tank and toe-popper mines laid for the ground troops. "He is no threat to me, and I came here to drop bombs," Fox said. , Coordinates: 30°41′53″N 47°19′18″E / 30.69806°N 47.32167°E / 30.69806; 47.32167, Task Force Tusker Valorous Unit Award Citation, 1st Battalion, 24th Aviation Regiment Valorous Unit Award Citation, 1st Battalion, 24th Aviation Regiment Units Cited, harvnb error: no target: CITEREFKrausSchubert1995 (, http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/iraq/hammurabi.htm, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1991/03/18/outflanking-iraq-go-west-go-deep/5e34b6b1-9a58-4d53-b4cd-fd9e3df1072a/, "Wages of War - Appendix 2: Iraqi Combatant and Noncombatant Fatalities in the 1991 Gulf War", http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19910508&slug=1281985, "XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS CHRONOLOGY (March 1991)", "Desert Storm/Shield Valorous Unit Award Citations", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Battle_of_Rumaila&oldid=985434314, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment (HHC, 4-64th AR), 3rd Platoon, Battery A, 1st Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Team B), Company A, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment (Team A), Company C, 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment (Team D), Company C, 4th Battalion, 64th Armor Regiment (Team C), Fire Support Teams, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery Regiment, Tactical Air Control Party, Detachment 3, 507th Tactical Air Control Wing, U.S. Air Force, Headquarters Service Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Aviation Regiment, Company A, 1st Battalion, 24th Aviation Regiment, Company B, 1st Battalion 24th Aviation Regiment, Company C, 1st Battalion, 24th Aviation Regiment, Company D, 1st Battalion, 24th Aviation Regiment, This page was last edited on 25 October 2020, at 23:02. He blew it.". And some of them knew how to do their jobs well and had proved it in the war against Iran, but with the training Rodriguez's team had had, "I'll just say it bluntly: We would have kicked anybody's butt," he said. Iraq had invaded Iran in 1980, using Soviet-era equipment, but as the country gained support in its fight against the Ayatollah Khomeini's hardline government, the United States under President Ronald Reagan supported Hussein with money and equipment, such as howitzers and Huey helicopters, sold through Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Considering that he grew up in West Texas and didn't see the ocean until he went to the Naval Academy, this seems particularly prescient. But as a pilot, the chief warrant officers -- technical experts who often have time as enlisted service members before they commission -- were older and had more time in the cockpit than Wellman did. Another Scud was launched against Israel, and strikes continued in the following days against both countries, ultimately killing 31 people. Target hit with expended ammunition. It's like all the time, so it became rote.". Both Rodriguez and Draeger had one air-to-air kill as they headed out. Because it was 1990, every day, Rodriguez's air tasking order came on a floppy disk flown in by a Learjet. Wellman's father had served in the Marines during World War II; he lost one uncle with the Marines in Korea, and a second was an Air Force pilot who died when his bomber crashed. We'd go to battalion headquarters trying to get updates because they had the TV going up there. On 21 September 1975 the 24th Infantry Division was activated at Fort Stewart, Georgia, as part of the program to build a sixteen-division force. Together with the penetration of VII Corps units deep into Iraq, the combat actions anchored the coalition left flank and completed the encirclement of Iraqi forces in Kuwait and southern Iraq. "Once everybody disconnected from my com system, and it was just me inside the cockpit … when I was in my quiet zone, I was -- I'll just use the term bluntly -- I was scared shitless," he said. This is the order of battle for the ground campaign in the Gulf War between Coalition Forces1 and Iraqi Forces2 between 24–28 February 1991. During the 100-hour Operation Desert Storm, 24th Infantry Division lost 16 soldiers. They made their way to the threat, but they also searched for clear skies, eventually working down from 35,000 feet to about 15,000 feet, in and out of thunderstorms and clouds and rainstorms. That meant four-and-a-half- to five-hour sorties -- considered long in the days before the global war on terror -- and making sure all the other parts fit together. The E2 Hawkeye pilot -- who flew high above for traffic control and to watch for problems -- warned the jets they had company. And it's embarrassing. "'You know, you and Rhory sounded eerily calm,'" Rodriguez recalled that Till said. Well, you kill the sensors. Fox and the other pilots moved in quickly toward the target, and Fox was about to drop his bombs. It contains information about the 24th infantry Divison's wartime activities, copies of selected Taro Leaf publications, our Reunions, its officers, TAPS information, many first hand stories by our members of their actions in the Korean War, WWII World War Two, Desert Storm, and many other types of information. The Saratoga "hustled over" to the Persian Gulf without having any playbook for action in the Middle East. Because of new technology in the F-15s that the other pilots didn't have, Rodriguez's team was close to undefeatable. XVIII Airborne Corps 24th Mechanized Infantry 82nd Airborne Div. Years later, in 2009, an Iraqi told U.S. Marines the Iraqi had witnessed Bedouins quickly bury Speicher's remains. It was the third day and Rodriguez's sixth sortie.  The 24th Infantry Division's Task Force Tusker would be awarded a Valorous Unit Award for its efforts. The deadly riot in the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 attracted a variety of far-right extremists who shared a devotion to Trump. "I remember when we prepared for our combat missions certifications -- our qual tests -- all of our scenarios that were given to us by the Air Force and others were really all Cold War-Eastern European-type of approaches," he said. Nine American artillery battalions would fire thousands of rounds and rockets during this particular engagement.
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