Monday, April 26, 2004

War News for April 26, 2004 Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian President gets the Wolfowitz Welcome near Karbala. Bring ‘em on: Spanish troops kill two insurgents in Diwaniyah firefight. Bring ‘em on: US convoy attacked by roadside bomb near Fallujah; witnesses report US casualties. Bring ‘em on: One US soldier killed, three wounded by roadside bomb ambush near Baghdad. Bring ‘em on: Firefights erupt as US Marines begin patrols in Fallujah. Bring ‘em on: Ten US soldiers wounded in Baghdad bombing. Bring ‘em on: One Iraqi policeman killed, five Iraqis wounded by RPG fire in Kirkuk. Bring ‘em on: Bulgarian troops under mortar fire near Karbala. Bring ‘em on: British soldier wounded by roadside bomb ambush near Basra. Bring ‘em on: Ten US Marines wounded in Fallujah firefight. Attacks against Coalition troops now average 37 to 42 each day. US troops enter Najaf to relieve withdrawing Spanish garrison. Britain considers sending 2,000 more troops to Iraq. Georgia increases troop contingent in Iraq. US troops will assume control of Najaf and Kadisija provinces after Spanish withdrawal. Slovakia reviews troop commitment in Iraq. Senior CPA advisor quits. “Last Thursday, when it came time for Diamond to return, he did not get on the plane. Instead, he was in his office at the Hoover Tower, disillusioned over the desperate turn of events he had witnessed and what he feels was a country allowed to spin out of control, in large part, he says, because of the Bush administration's unwillingness to commit a big enough force to protect Iraqis from militias and insurgents.” How long before the White House start a smear campaign against this guy? IGC announces new national flag for Iraq. Personally designed and hand stitched by Ahmed “Betsy Ross” Chalabi, no doubt. Commentary Analysis: "Bush would be wise to trust the Americans who now know Iraq best - the military commanders in the field. They can channel money and other assistance to political, tribal and religious leaders around the country. The army general chosen to oversee training of Iraqi security forces after June 30, Major General David Petraeus, showed how to make this strategy work when he was commander of US forces in northern Iraq. These reconstruction efforts will be more important after June 30, not less." Opinion: “El Salvador and Ethiopia and Latvia and Slovakia are a few of the window-dressing countries listed who essentially said, ‘Put me on that guest list, as long as I don't have to bring anything.’ I'm wondering, how do we, the American people, get off that list?” Casualty Reports Local story: Arkansas Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: South Dakota Guardsman dies in Iraq. Local story: New York Coast Guardsman killed in Iraq. Local story: Wisconsin Guardsman wounded in Iraq. Local story: Oklahoma Marine wounded in Iraq. Local story: Tennessee Marine wounded in Iraq. Kinda Off-Topic General Bell is pissed. “In the wake of a four-month extension to the division’s combat tour in Iraq, Gen. B.B. Bell brought his top support staff in to deliver that message personally and tackle concerns, gripes and questions from family support leaders while, in separate meetings, issued stern marching orders to rear detachment commanders and local base officials to take care of the families… ‘We will suspend the rules and cut through the red tape,” said Bell, promising them “real action, not a bunch of bullshit.’… One rear detachment soldier told him that the Army was trying to send her away from Germany to her next duty assignment before her husband, also a soldier, returns from duty in Iraq. Calling to his top personnel officer, Brig. Gen. Russell Frutiger, Bell said, ‘This soldier has got a problem that needs to be fixed right away. She’s getting screwed. … She’s going to stay here until her husband gets back.’… One wife in Friedberg complained that the local schools were releasing the times for sporting events only within 24 hours of the games. ‘We’re crazy, we’ve lost our minds,’ roared Bell at Russ Hall, the Installation Management Agency director for Europe. Hall’s response was quick: ‘We’ll fix it now,’ promising schedules six weeks in advance.” The only reason I’m posing this article is because I knew General Bell when he was assistant division commander in the 3d Infantry and I was the division tactical deception officer, and I have witnessed many royal and memorable ass-chewings administered by General Bell. Now that he has four stars, it appears he has expanded his target population to include one-star and senior civilian ass. Since you asked... If you took all the Army’s doctrine for high-intensity conflict contained in Field Manual 100-5, Operations , and distilled it to it’s essence, it would look like this: Hit the other fellow as hard as you can, as fast as you can, where it hurts him the most, when he isn’t looking. The tactical deception officer provides the necessary distraction. It was one of the most enjoyable jobs I had in my entire career. Assigned as a staff officer in the Plans section of the division G-3 (Operations) I also commanded a platoon of mostly senior NCOs of many different branches - Signal, Engineers, Infantry, Artillery, Intelligence and Transportation. The platoon table of organization provided this mix of senior NCOs so the platoon would have an internal planning capability that encompassed most of the divisional combat operations. From my point of view this arrangement was great because they were all seasoned soldiers and I never had to sweat the stupid shit, like cold-weather injuries or some knucklehead getting himself lost on maneuvers. Additionally, NCOs are superb scroungers, and these guys and gals ranked among the best. In our garrison facility, they had arranged the wall lockers to conceal the door to an entire room full of unauthorized but desirable equipment, spare parts, radio gear and all the little luxury items that provide for a comfortable existence in the field. I discovered this room one day when I counted the windows on the building and found there were more windows on the outside than on the inside. I couldn’t believe all the shit they had stashed in there. I also had a lot of really cool toys like inflatable tanks, Humvees, and helicopters, decoys that looked exactly like a command post carrier until you were 10 meters away, and two trailers of high-fidelity sound equipment that I would run out in front of the Opposing Force (OPFOR) listening posts at night and play tapes that made them believe an entire company of tanks was assembling for an attack. I had an array of radio emulators that when properly programmed and emplaced made the OPFOR signal intelligence weenies operating their direction-finders template a battalion in a place where there were really only trees. I even had fake heads wearing fake helmets that I could put into fake fighting positions. (The NCOs used them to play some very, very tasteless practical jokes in garrison.) OPFOR reconnaissance hated my guts. Best of all, I had a division commander who really supported tactical deception. First, this meant that I was properly resourced, and second, since the commanding general believed in deception so did the staff and all the subordinate commanders. (That’s how the Army works, folks.) In the staff process that develops a division operations order, there’s a briefing where the staff presents the CG with three detailed courses of action along with the pros and cons of each. After he made his decision, the CG would turn around and tell me, “I want to do COA 1 but I want the other guy to think I’m doing COA 2. Make it happen.” I think the crowning achievement of my tenure as a tactical deception officer occurred at Hohenfels Training Center when I was supporting 3d Squadron, 4th Cavalry during a deliberate defense operation. We scammed the OPFOR into believing we were conducting a forward defense when were really conducting a defense in depth. Initially, the cavalry commander placed three troops forward and told his troop commanders to do a lot of talking on the radio. During the night, he pulled back two troops, expanded the third into a screening force across the squadron front and had everybody change radio frequencies and assume radio listening silence. Meanwhile, I emplaced radio emulators in their old positions tuned to the previous frequencies, deployed tank decoys and constructed a forward squadron command post. It worked like a charm and we applied a world-class ass-whooping. At the post-mission After-Action-Review, the umpire officers described exactly how we had fooled the OPFOR. At the conclusion, an enraged OPFOR colonel approached me and stuck his finger in my chest. “Listen, you son of a bitch,” he growled. “From now on, I’m putting a price on you and your goddam blow-up dolls.” 86-43-04. Pass it on.


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