Operation Desert Spring is part of an on-going operation in Kuwait that was established following Operations Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Its mission is to maintain a forward presence and provide control and force protection over Army forces in Kuwait.
Under Exercise Intrinsic Action, Army battalions rotated into Camp Doha for training with the Kuwaitis while brigade command elements rotated into various locations in the country. Following command, control and communications improvements at Camp Doha, the base became the standing headquarters of a brigade-sized unit under Operation Desert Spring, which succeeded Exercise Intrinsic Action on 01 October 1999.
In recognition of the critical mission in Kuwait performed by C/JTF-KU, CJCS Execute Order DESERT SPRING was published in August 1999. EXORD DESERT SPRING authorized continuous deployment of combat forces to Kuwait, formally established C/JTF-KU, and authorized full time manning of C/JTF-KU (Fwd) at Camp Doha, Kuwait. The battalions still rotate through, but not the brigade headquarters. The advantages of having a permanent headquarters include stable staffing and operations. The change cut slightly the number of soldiers who deploy in a rotation -- a headquarters element normally isn't that big.
The Kuwait prepositioning site continues to set the standard for maintaining and distributing a brigade's combat equipment. ARCENT's ability to rapidly deploy a Brigade Combat Team to Kuwait is well proven and exercised regularly. Soldiers, flown to Kuwait from their home bases in the United States, can draw their equipment and move to pre-assigned fighting sites within hours of landing.
The United States normally has around 3,000 troops in Kuwait, a number that is regularly augmented by the 2,000-3,000 troops deployed for the training exercise codenamed "Desert Spring".
Company C of the 1st Infantry Battalion recently returned from Operation Desert Spring in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, where they served from May to October 2000. While in southwest Asia the Joliet and Kankakee units provided security for Patriot missile batteries. The Illinois National Guard 1st Battalion, 131st Infantry is an air assault infantry battalion has units in six eastern and central Illinois communities, including Joliet, Bartonville, Delevan, Bloomington, Kankakee and Pontiac. The battalion is organized similar to a World War II infantry battalion, with four rifle and mortar companies and one heavy weapons or anti-armor company. The unit falls under the stateside command and control of the 66th Brigade.
Armed and combat ready, Task Force 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor proved their competence and polished skills as they set out to deploy once again. Operation Desert Spring became a reality for the soldiers of Task Force 2-70 as they stood in formation at departure ceremonies on the Cavalry Parade Field 27 July 2000. Task Force 2-70 deployed to Kuwait to continue their mission of Intrinsic Action, where they will deter regional aggression, reassure the Kuwaiti Coalition partners, and conduct joint/combined training.
About 160 Nebraska Army National Guard soldiers left in May 2001 for a 6 month duty in Kuwait. The 1st Squadron of the 167th Cavalry Regiment are headed to Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Spring.
TF 3-8 Cavalry troops completed an Operation Desert Spring rotation from 15 April to 15 August 2001. They were replaced by Task Force 3-8 from Fort Hood, Texas, and 1-12 out of Fort Carson, CO. Their window to return home was between April 1 and 15 May 2002. The 3-8 Cavalry barely had returned home from a Desert Spring rotation before being sent back to Kuwait for another deployment. The battalion core was there from April to August 2001 and returned in November 2001.
Deployed Fort Riley soldiers came home in time to spend the holiday season with their loved ones after a four-month Operation Desert Spring rotation in Kuwait. Approximately 1,100 members of Task Force 1st Battalion, 34th Armor began returning to the Home of America's Army 15 December 2001. Each group of 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division returning soldiers had similar receptions. After arriving at Topeka's Forbes Air Field, the weary travelers were bussed to Hanger 817 at the Fort Riley's Marshall Army Air Field. TF 1-34, known as Task Force Centurion, returned from Kuwait where they had been stationed since August 2001. They were part of a rotation that is in the region to deter aggression, demonstrate regional stability and provide reassurance to the Kuwaiti coalition partners. The task force conducted a variety of training, including maneuver and live fire exercises to enhance the task force's war-fighting edge. TF 1-34 worked closely with their Kuwaiti counterparts by sharing their professional war-fighting training and expertise to assist them in defending their homeland.
America sent 2,000 more troops to Kuwait to take part in a military exercise in November 2001, a brigade combat team under the 1st Cavalry Division's 2nd "Black Jack" Brigade. The units in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team trained almost around the clock at Fort Hood to prepare for the deployment in the week to 10 days between getting the deployment order and moving out. Their arrival brought the number of US personnel in Kuwait to about 7,000. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team includes the 3rd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery; 15th Forward Support Battalion; Company B, 312th Military Intelligence Battalion; Company A, 62nd Engineer Battalion; Company B, 13th Signal Battalion; Battery C, 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery; and elements of the 545th Military Police Company. It also includes The units assigned to Task Force 3-8 Cavalry: the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry (3-8 Cavalry) three companies from 3-8 Cavalry (Headquarters and Headquarters Company, A and D); Company A, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry; Company A, 91st Engineer Battalion; A/1-5 Cavalry and elements of other units.
About 2,000 soldiers from the 1st Cavalry Division from Fort Hood, Texas, headed to Kuwait to help reinforce US troops already on the ground and keep Saddam Hussein from trying to take advantage of the US engagement in Afghanistan. A 1st Cavalry Brigade Combat Team and other supporting elements from Fort Hood's III Corps supported US forces already in Kuwait, participating in Operation Desert Spring. This was not a routine scheduled deployment for the 1st Cavalry. Instead, the 1st Cavalry's mission is to augment the troops already in Kuwait. It's a little robust deterrence to prevent the Iraqi dictator from moving his troops to threatening Kuwait. The stated mission of Desert Spring is to increase military cooperation and understanding between two friendly allies. The 1st Cavalry's deployment to Kuwait, which was totally by air, was completed within 10 days to two weeks. The troops can move so quickly because they do not need to take most of their heavy rolling stock with them. The soldiers will fall in on the Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other equipment that has been permanently stored in Kuwait, mainly at Camp Doha, since Desert Storm ended. Located 20 miles west of Kuwait City, Camp Doha is the Army's main logistics base in Kuwait, as well as serving as the Army's forward presence in the Middle East. Camp Doha has a working population of more than 2,000 civilian and military personnel.
Soldiers from a Fort Hood Unit arrived safely in the Middle East. The third battalion, eight cavalry regiment, of the first Cavalry Division and supporting units arrived in Kuwait early Thanksgiving Morning 2001. In an unexpected deployment, the 3-8 Cav Task Force went to Kuwait to support Operation Desert Spring. The 3-8 Cav combined with Task Force 1-12 from Fort Carson Colorado. Together, they formed a Brigade Combat Team minus. The purpose of the Brigade Combat Team Minus is to provide a more robust deterrent to Iraq given the recent redistribution of U.S. forces, and to assure our allies that we remain committed to the defense of Kuwait. The soldiers from the 3-8 Cav and its supporting units showed outstanding flexibility by deploying from Fort Hood to Kuwait during the holidays. The 3-8 Cav's rotation in Kuwait was expected to last from four to six months.
The 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry from Fort Carson, CO, also joined the 2nd Brigade Combat Team in Kuwait. The Mountain Post hosted a farewell ceremony for soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat Team 13 December 2001. The send-off provided well-wishers an opportunity to say good-bye to the approximately 1,000 soldiers from 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry who deployed to Kuwait in Support of Operation Desert Spring. The Warriors will participate in a four-month deployment to provide forward presence and force protection for Army forces in Kuwait.
About 35 members of a Wisconsin Army National Guard unit deployed in January 2002 for a four-month mission in the Middle East. The guardsmen from the 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation, were ordered to active duty for Operation Desert Spring in Kuwait. The unit's mission is to deter Iraqi aggression in the region and, if deterrence fails, defend Kuwait. It was the third of four rotations to Kuwait for the Madison-based unit, which began its Kuwait mission in July 2001. The unit has 14 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters and about 250 members in Wisconsin, along with one company and seven helicopters in the Indiana Army National Guard.
Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment of the California Army National Guard is an air assault team, trained to be flown by helicopter units far onto the battlefield. The 159 men can be deployed, emergency or not, to strategic hotspots around the globe for many months at a time. This unit went to Kuwait on a five-month security mission in support of Operation Desert Spring. Bravo Company was scheduled for a January deployment to Kuwait before September 11th.
The 3rd Infantry Division has routinely sent troops to Kuwait since the early 1990s. In 1998 the division deployed to Kuwait in response to Saddam Hussein's expulsion of UN weapons inspectors. The division also rotated troops through the Intrinsic Action exercise, along with other Army units. The 3rd Division was relieved from the rotation in 2000 and 2001 because of its peacekeeping mission in Kosovo. As of early 2002 it was announced that the division would be the only Army unit training in Kuwait. Until the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks, the Army assembled a Desert Spring force with soldiers from about five different units. Under the new policy, 3rd Infantry will rotate the three brigades and one brigade from Fort Reilly, KS, in and out of the region.
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