Military


Army Central Command - ARCENT
Third United States Army
"Third...Always First"
Coalition Joint Task Force 7 [CJTF 7]
[Coalition Force Land Component Command (CFLCC)]

The Third Army/ARCENT headquarters consists of both Active and Reserve Component soldiers and Department of Defense civilians. This staff of over 500 personnel manages day-to-day operations and planning for CENTCOM Land Forces. On 11 November 2001 Lt. Gen. Paul T. Mikolashek moved from his headquarters at Fort McPherson, GA, to Kuwait, taking most of his staff of 700 with him.

Third Army/ARCENT maintains four forward deployed subordinate commands that perform vital operational missions: C/JTF-Kuwait, ARCENT-Kuwait, ARCENT-Saudi Arabia, and ARCENT-Qatar. These forward headquarters enhance engagement with host nations, contingency planning, and transition-to-war capabilities by providing initial command, control, facilities, and services for reception, staging, onward movement, and integration (RSOI) of early arriving forces. During wartime, Reserve Component (RC) war-trace units, in addition to Active Components (AC) units, are essential members of the Third Army team, a force of some 300,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines. Seamless integration of Reservists has improved Reserve Component capabilities and added depth to the force.

As the Army Service Component Headquarters of the United States Central Command, Third Army (Army Central Command - ARCENT) remains the only fully deployable numbered army. Deployable at a moment's notice anywhere a crisis arises, providing command and control for all U.S. Army forces entering a theater of operations and establishing the linkages to the joint war fighting commander. Third Army is capable of performing as the Joint Forces Land Component Command, or Command of a Coalition / Joint Task Force coordinating the combined efforts of all land forces within a theater of operations.

Coalition Force Land Component Command (CFLCC)

Cobra Base houses CJTF-7 headquarters. CJTF-7 was previously named the Coalition Forces Land Component Command and was the headquarters unit responsible for all land combat unit operations.

Although major combat maneuvers associated with Operation Iraqi Freedom have come to an end, danger continues to exist within Iraq. Unexploded ordnances including mines, grenades and bombs are still threats, as are random attacks by remnants of the former regime. Lt. Gen. David Makiernan, commanding general of Coalition Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7), described Iraq as "one large ammo and weapons cache." There may be as many as 24 million guns in Iraq today. There was nobody in prison, "courtesy of the previous regime," Maj. Gen. William Webster, deputy commanding general of operations for the CJTF-7, dryly commented.

Third Army has been functioning as USCENTCOM's Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC) since the beginning of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF).

Focusing primarily on the Middle East, Central Command and Third Army's area of responsibility (AOR) is a large and complex region. It stretches from the Central Asian States to the Horn of Africa. The AOR encompasses an area of approximately 6 1/2 million square miles consisting of 25 countries populated by over 522 million people speaking 12 major languages and representing seven major religions. Within this strategically important region lay the historical crossroads of three continents, the majority of the world's oil and natural gas reserves, and the primary maritime link between Europe and Asia. Resources, differing geography, religious influences, and historical conflict have shaped this region for centuries and continue to do so today. The Third Army/ARCENT Area of Responsibility (AOR) includes 25 countries in South and Central Asia, the Persian Gulf, and Northeast Africa. The region's strategic location and abundant oil reserves make it critically important to the world's economy. The complex array of cultural, political, ethnic, and religious influences requires constant vigilance to counter potential threats to political stability within the region.

In keeping with American National Security Strategy, Third Army supports U.S. Central Command through a Peacetime Engagement Strategy, which encompasses three fundamentals of the National Military Strategy. ARCENT SHAPEs the regional environment by maintaining a continued forward presence, conduct joint and coalition exercises throughout the region, provide humanitarian assistance when needed, develop close partnerships with responsible nations, assist in demining efforts, and provide support to sister services. It prepares to rapidly RESPOND by developing and executing war plans and contingency missions as required. By PREPARING now, ARCENT greatly enhances the ability to maintain and sustain stability, resolve conflict, and stand ready to meet and defeat aggression across the full spectrum of conflict.

Third Army's history as 'Patton's Own' during World War II is the same Army that orchestrated the largest modern land battle in history, defeating the Iraqi forces during Operation DESERT STORM. ARCENT was a key player in the execution of Army operations in Desert Shield and Desert Storm. It developed the theater logistics concept and ensured all Army operations were closely coordinated with the other services. As the CENTCOM action agent for the ground campaign plan, ARCENT defined clear objectives and planned synchronized actions in detail. Joint and combined coordination activities were not solely the function of ARCENT; other component responsi-bilities overlapped and were shared in many cases by Third Army in its other roles as theater army and numbered field army.

Third Army/ARCENT has remained engaged in Southwest Asia since the end of the Gulf War. To enhance regional deterrence, ARCENT utilizes a comprehensive Peacetime Theater Engagement Plan to shape the security environment. Peacetime engagement is conducted by maintaining a robust forward presence, executing joint and coalition exercises, through military-to-military contact, by monitoring security assistance, providing humanitarian assistance to nations in the region, and by constant coordination/support with the other services.

ARCENT maintains a robust forward presence on the Arabian Peninsula. Army Forces Central Command-Kuwait (ARCENT-Kuwait), headquartered at Camp Doha, is responsible for RSOI and administrative support of Army forces deploying to Kuwait, oversight of the contract that maintains the brigade prepositioned fleet, and installation support for Camp Doha. Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait (Forward) (C/JTF-KU (Fwd)) is also based on Camp Doha. Established during Operation DESERT THUNDER I and continuously manned since February 1998, C/JTF-KU (Fwd) provides a forward command and control headquarters capable of rapid expansion to execute joint, combined, and coalition combat operations and maintains area situational awareness by daily coordination with the Air Force and Navy Joint Task Forces in Saudi Arabia and Baharain, respectively. C/JTF-KU (Fwd) also has tactical control of all Army forces deployed in Kuwait and U.S. Marine forces when ashore in Kuwait.

ARCENT also maintains a forward headquarters in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Army Forces Central Command-Saudi Arabia (ARCENT-Saudi Arabia), headquartered at Eskan Village, exercises administrative control of Army forces operating in Saudi Arabia. The ARCENT-Saudi Arabia headquarters also conducts coordination with the host nation for U.S. Patriot missile assets and security forces forward deployed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Additionally, ARCENT-Saudi Arabia plans and executes reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of these deploying forces.

Army Forces Central Command-Qatar (ARCENT-Qatar), headquartered at Doha, Qatar, is responsible for base support for another heavy brigade set and division base of pre-positioned equipment. ARCENT-Qatar is prepared to conduct reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of forces deploying in support of operations, exercises, and contingencies. In conjunction with the other Third Army/ARCENT forward commands, ARCENT-Qatar is prepared to facilitate rapid movement of personnel, equipment, and supplies by land, sea, or air throughout the CENTCOM AOR countries.

Joint and Coalition exercises provide the framework upon which Third Army/ARCENT builds its warfighting capability and supports USCENTCOM. During Fiscal Year 2001, ARCENT conducted ten joint, combined, and coalition exercises and two seminars in the United States and in the AOR. Third Army/ARCENT focuses on training all levels, from company small unit tactics to large-scale multi-national exercises.

Military-to-military contact also supports Peacetime Engagement Strategy by improving relations with countries in the AOR through seminars, and individual and small group meetings. This interaction allows for discussion of issues, develops individual relationships, and builds trust, confidence, and cohesion between ARCENT and those militaries of countries throughout the AOR.

Third Army/ARCENT also monitors security assistance provided by the United States Government in the form of foreign military funding, foreign military sales, international military education training, and excess defense articles. These security assistance programs improve the self-defense capabilities of individual nations and enhance their ability to participate in a cooperative defense of the region.

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, the Department of Defense recommended that the Headquarters of the 3rd Army be relocated to Shaw Air Force Base, SC by 2011. Its former station, Fort McPherson, GA, would be closed permenantly by 2011. Due to the Base Realignment and Closure Act of 2005, Third Army will move from its current location on Fort McPherson, Georgia to Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, South Carolina. This move is currently in progress and will be completed September 15, 2011. Army Soldiers, Families, Department of the Army Civilians and contract personnel will move seamlessly. Third Army will continue all ongoing functions supporting persistent conflicts and the defense of the Nation.

Third Army in the Cold War

From the banks of the Rhine in 1923 to the banks of the Neckar in 1947, Third Army had spilled the blood of many gallant men, and had, for the second time, played a major role in the defeat of an enemy that had amazed the world with its tenacity and power.

On 15 March 1947, Headquarters, Third Army, was relieved from assignment to the United States Forces European Theater and transferred to the Zone of Interior. Also that day, Headquarters, Headquarters Company, and Special Troops, Third Army, were organized at Atlanta, Georgia, and replaced the inactivated units of Seventh Army.

The Seventh Army in June of 1946 had replaced the Fourth Service Command Headquarters which was located in the Old Post Office and six other buildings in downtown Atlanta. In September 1946, part of the headquarters moved to Fort McPherson, and as the Separation Center there wound down and space became available, the remainder of the staff move on post.

The organization of the Third Army units was the same as that of the Seventh Army units. Personnel and equipment of the Seventh Army units were transferred to the corresponding Third Army units. Lt. Gen. Oscar W. Griswold assumed command of Third Army immediately upon the organization of Third Army Headquarters.

The mission of the Third Army was to serve as the administrative headquarters for an area that covered the seven southeastern states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee.

With the move to Fort McPherson, Lt. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, Jr., returned to the post to serve as Commanding General of Third Army and Fort McPherson from December 1947 to August 1950. General Gillem had enlisted as a Private in the 17th Infantry at Fort McPherson back in 1910.

In order to meet postwar budget limitations imposed by Congress on the military, the size of the Army force was cut drastically. Personnel ceilings were placed on both military and civilian personnel. The preconceived idea of using civilians to replace military personnel was prohibited and personnel ceilings could not be exceeded regardless of the availability of funds. Levies on the Army area command for the oversea shipment of personnel were necessary in fulfilling oversea commitments, which had priority over zone of interior operations. Replacements for personnel lost were not available within or outside the Army area. The steady decline of personnel necessitated constant reorganization of troops.

The inadequacy of the Armed Forces and the growing tension in international affairs influenced Congress to such a degree that sufficient funds were appropriated in June 1948 for the Army to enter into an expansion program. The second peacetime draft within ten years was authorized by Congress. Demobilization was at an end and the ranks of Third Army began to swell with young vigorous citizen-turned soldiers.

During the period from October 1948 to November 1949, Third Army determined through the conduct of a Territorial Command Test (Operation TACT) how to place under the command of an Army Commander all units, activities, and installations within the geographical limits of the Army area, and prepared a standing operating procedure for use as a guide at Department of the Army. From the experience gained, Army Commanders' responsibilities over installations within their respective areas were expanded.

Following the outbreak of hostilities in Korea in June 1950, the attention of the Army Commander and his staff was turned immediately to the expansion of the Armed forces and limited mobilization. Many installations were reactivated and reserves were recalled to active duty.

The experience gained at Third Army Headquarters during the periods of demobilization, expansion, and economy in a short period of three years, prepared the Third Army Commander and his staff for the arduous task of mobilizing and training sufficient troops to cope with the national emergency that arose as a result of the Korean crisis. The experience also prepared Third Army personnel for the Economy Program that followed the lull of hostilities in Korea in July 1953.

There were no primary changes in the mission of Third Army during he middle 1950's. Emphasis was placed on the supervision of training and support of the National Guard, Reserve, and Reserve Officers' Training Corps.

During the 1970s, with the reorganization of the Army structure, the U.S. Army Forces Command was activated as a new major headquarters, replacing the Third U.S. Army. The mission of FORSCOM was to prepare Army forces for mobilization and commitment in support of national policy.

Fort McPherson assumed an additional mission in the summer of 1974 with the designation of the Atlanta Army Depot as a sub-installation of Fort McPherson. Base operations support and command of the post became the responsibility of Fort McPherson. The former depot was concurrently renamed "Fort Gillem" in honor of Lt. Gen. Alvan Cullom Gillem, Jr., who had served as the commanding general of Third U.S. Army and Fort McPherson during the late 1940s.

Third Army History - Central Command

On 3 December 1982, a special ceremony was held at Fort McPherson to mark the return to Active Army status of Headquarters, Third U.S. Army under the command of Lt. Gen. M. Collier Ross. Distinguished guests at the event included former Third Army Commanders, Gen. (Ret.) Herbert B. Powell and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Louis W. Truman.

The new headquarters was established in Building 363, 1881 Hardee Avenue, Fort McPherson, and its new mission was to serve as the Army component in a unified command, the United States Central Command, which has responsibility over a vast overseas area covering parts of Africa, Asia, and the Persian Gulf.

For its part, Third Army could draw upon a reservoir of Army units, and became responsible for planning, exercising, and rapidly deploying these units in crisis situations.

Third Army again demonstrated its professionalism during Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM in 1990/1991. With the Iraqi invasion in August 1990, Third Army would once again lead soldiers into combat.

Then commanded by Lieutenant General John J. Yeosock, Third Army began deploying from its Atlanta headquarters in August 1990 to assume its role as U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT), the senior Army headquarters in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.

ARCENT's initial mission was to build combat power in the region, defend critical oil and port facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia, and to transition to a defense in sector. Third Army was responsible for building the forward logistical base to support arriving Army units. The support base for these units was in the United States, a distance of 12,000 miles/31 days by sea or 7,400 miles/14 hours by air.

During the first 90 days of DESERT SHIELD, ARCENT coordinated the reception and sustainment of a force equal to what had taken a year to deploy during the Vietnam War.

With the president's announcement in November to deploy more units for a possible offensive, ARCENT put the final touches on its ground plan.

Its plan called for a deep, wide sweep into southern Iraq. ARCENT's multinational combat forces consisted of two corps headquarters (the XVIII Airborne Corps and the VII Corps), nine divisions (82nd Airborne, 101st Air Assault, 24th Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored, 3rd Armored, 1st British Armored, and 6th French (Light)), and two armored cavalry regiments (the 2nd ACR and 3rd ACR).

Third Army's mission was to close with and destroy Iraq's Republican Guard. Simultaneously, U.S. Marine Corps and multinational coalition forces were to cross into Kuwait to support ARCENT's main attack.

Its war plan successfully deceived the Iraqis regarding disposition of allied ground forces. After the start of the air war, Jan. 17, 1991, ARCENT prepared to take the offensive. In less than three weeks, 250,000 soldiers, 10,000 tracked vehicles, and 50,000 wheeled vehicles moved from assembly areas in Eastern Saudi Arabia to attack positions 360 miles Northwest along the Iraqi border.

The ground war was launched Feb. 24 and ended just 100 hours later on Feb. 28.

Quick and decisive, this was the largest armored battle in the history of warfare with ARCENT and allied ground forces exceeding all expectations.

Following the Gulf War, ARCENT oversaw the restoration of life support facilities in Kuwait and cared for Iraq's displaced civilians. It also transitioned the United Nations Observation Mission forces into the buffer zone along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.

Third Army/ARCENT remained engaged in Southwest Asia since the end of the Gulf War.

In October 1994, ARCENT was again called upon to command, control, and deploy Army forces to Kuwait in support of freedom during Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR.

Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR was initiated in response to Saddam Hussein's "saber rattling" and posturing of Iraqi military forces along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. This act of aggression threatened to upset the delicate balance of peace in the region.

ARCENT's rapid generation and deployment of a formidable Army force clearly demonstrated U.S. resolve and commitment to its friends and allies in the region.

Less than one year later, Saddam Hussein again deployed Iraqi forces close to its border with Kuwait. In August, Third Army/ARCENT provided command and control for a rapid deployment of a heavy brigade task force. Once more, Iraqi threats were decisively met while ARCENT simultaneously conducted a major training exercise in Egypt, "BRIGHT STAR 95," involving military forces from 6 other nations. This contingency operation validated critical procedures for deployment, particularly the off loading of equipment from floating prepositioning ships and its distribution to arriving soldiers. The deployment of a "Fly-Away Package" of key contingency staff also validated procedures for a rapidly deployed command and control group able to conduct combat operations immediately upon arrival. VIGILANT SENTINEL's immediate, measured, and effective response to Iraqi aggression quickly convinced Hussein to withdraw his forces from the Kuwaiti border.

In September 1996, Iraq violated United Nations sanctions by deploying forces north of the 36th Parallel and attacking ethnic Kurds in Northern Iraq. In response to Hussein's refusal to cease these attacks on the Kurdish people, the U.S. launched cruise missile strikes against selected military targets inside Iraq. As tensions remained high in the region, a heavy brigade task force was deployed to Kuwait under the command of Third Army/ARCENT to deter potential retaliatory attacks on Kuwait. Hussein soon capitulated, withdrawing his military forces south of the 36th Parallel. Again, we had been instrumental in stabilizing a dangerous situation.

When Saddam Hussein blocked United Nations weapons inspections, tested the resolve of coalition commitment by violating the no-fly zone, and publicly threatened to shoot down U2 reconnaissance over-flights in the Fall of 1997, CENTCOM responded with a land, sea, and air strike force of more than 35,000 U.S. and coalition forces. In support of this powerful multi-service, multinational ground force, General Anthony C. Zinni, Commander-in-Chief, CENTCOM, established a permanent Coalition/ Joint Task Force (C/JTF), headquartered at Camp Doha, Kuwait, and commanded by Lieutenant General Tommy R. Franks, Commanding General, Third Army/ARCENT.

In addition to the U.S. and coalition forces already in Kuwait, a brigade task force from 3d Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga., rapidly deployed to Kuwait. Departing from Hunter Army Airfield, the brigade task force deployed 4,000 personnel and 2,900 short tons of equipment on 120 aircraft. Within 15 hours of landing at Kuwait City International Airport, the unit had drawn prepositioned equipment and was in battle positions in the desert. On Feb. 28, Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait was prepared to defend Kuwait with a ground force strength of more than 9,000 personnel.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom, and Kuwait rounded out the C/JTF by providing liaison teams, aircraft support, special operations elements, Chemical/Biological, Base Defense Units, MASH units, and medical personnel.

Added to forces on the ground was equipment for two more brigades (one Army and one Marine) afloat in the Arabian Gulf with the Maritime Preposition Force. These ships were poised to link up with soldiers and Marines who would draw their equipment and head to the front if required. Attack air provided by Navy, Air Force, and Coalition assets rounded out this formidable force.

This was the largest multinational force assembled in Southwest Asia since the conclusion of the Gulf War.

The demonstrated capability to quickly deploy combat forces from around the world successfully deterred Iraqi aggression and helped reinstate compliance with the UN Weapons Inspection Program. In November 1998, when the work of the UN inspectors was again interrupted, Third Army quickly returned to the Gulf to convince Saddam that the United States stood ready to enforce the terms of the cease-fire.

As Saddam Hussein violated United Nations sanctions and threatened regional stability, we began deploying to Kuwait and preparing for combat operations. Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait, in place since DESERT THUNDER I, played a key role in the rapid deployment, reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of forces.

Units deploying to Kuwait included advance parties from the 3d Infantry Division and the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), personnel from the Theater Support Command (TSC), Air Support Operations Center (ASOC), and Marine Forces. In addition, the redeployment of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in the Gulf was placed on hold and a second Marine Expeditionary Unit was ordered to the Gulf as reinforcement.

While forces were deploying to the Arabian Gulf region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein.

Following negotiations, Saddam Hussein agreed to allow uninterrupted resumption of United Nations weapons inspections. In mid-Nov, as the crisis defused, there were 2,300 personnel deployed to Kuwait in support of C/JTF-Kuwait.

When Iraqi aircraft began challenging the established no-fly zones, and Iraqi Air Defense systems fired on allied aircraft in Dec. 1998, U.S. and U.K. forces responded with a massive display of firepower.

Allied air force and navy aircraft, and Cruise Missiles engaged command and control, communications, and selected Republican Guards targets on the morning of Dec. 16. These concentrated attacks against Iraqi targets continued until the early morning of Dec 19.

During the campaign, Third Army again deployed forces to defend Kuwait, and to reassure Allies in the Gulf region.

By late December 2003, C/JTF-Kuwait consisted of approximately 6,000 personnel, including the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Coalition Forces Land Component Command wrapped up its stay at Camp Doha and nearly one thousand service members completed the move to Camp Arifjan by the end of April 2004. The move improved the command and control for Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, Third Army/ U.S. Army Forces Central Command, or ARCENT, commanding general.

Operations in the 1990s

Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR

In October 1994, ARCENT was again called upon to command, control, and deploy Army forces to Kuwait in support of freedom during Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR. Operation VIGILANT WARRIOR was initiated in response to Saddam Hussein's "saber rattling" and posturing of Iraqi military forces along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border. This act of aggression threatened to upset the delicate balance of peace in the region. ARCENT's rapid generation and deployment of a formidable Army force clearly demonstrated U.S. resolve and commitment to its friends and allies in the region.

Operation VIGILANT SENTINEL

Less than one year later, Saddam Hussein would again deploy Iraqi forces close to its border with Kuwait. In August, Third Army/ARCENT provided command and control for a rapid deployment of a heavy brigade task force. Once more, Iraqi threats were decisively met while ARCENT simultaneously conducted a major training exercise in Egypt, "BRIGHT STAR 95," involving military forces from 6 other nations. This contingency operation validated critical procedures for deployment, particularly the off loading of equipment from floating prepositioning ships and its distribution to arriving soldiers. The deployment of a "Fly-Away Package" of key contingency staff also validated procedures for a rapidly deployed command and control group able to conduct combat operations immediately upon arrival. VIGILANT SENTINEL's immediate, measured, and effective response to Iraqi aggression quickly convinced Hussein to withdraw his forces from the Kuwaiti border.

Operation DESERT STRIKE

In September 1996, Iraq violated United Nations sanctions by deploying forces north of the 36th Parallel and attacking ethnic Kurds in Northern Iraq. In response to Hussein's refusal to cease these attacks on the Kurdish people, the U.S. launched cruise missile strikes against selected military targets inside Iraq. As tensions remained high in the region, a heavy brigade task force was deployed to Kuwait under the command of Third Army/ARCENT to deter potential retaliatory attacks on Kuwait. Hussein soon capitulated, withdrawing his military forces south of the 36th Parallel. Again, we had been instrumental in stabilizing a dangerous situation.

Operation DESERT THUNDER I

When Saddam Hussein blocked United Nations weapons inspections, tested the resolve of coalition commitment by violating the no-fly zone, and publicly threatened to shoot down U2 reconnaissance over-flights in the Fall of 1997, CENTCOM responded with a land, sea, and air strike force of more than 35,000 U.S. and coalition forces. In support of this powerful multi-service, multinational ground force, General Anthony C. Zinni, Commander-in-Chief, CENTCOM, established a permanent Coalition/ Joint Task Force (C/JTF), headquartered at Camp Doha, Kuwait, and commanded by Lieutenant General Tommy R. Franks, Commanding General, Third Army/ARCENT.

In addition to the U.S. and coalition forces already in Kuwait, a brigade task force from 3d Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Ga., rapidly deployed to Kuwait. Departing from Hunter Army Airfield, the brigade task force deployed 4,000 personnel and 2,900 short tons of equipment on 120 aircraft. Within 15 hours of landing at Kuwait City International Airport, the unit had drawn prepositioned equipment and was in battle positions in the desert. On Feb. 28, Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait was prepared to defend Kuwait with a ground force strength of more than 9,000 personnel.

Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Hungary, New Zealand, Poland, Romania, United Kingdom, and Kuwait rounded out the C/JTF by providing liaison teams, aircraft support, special operations elements, Chemical/Biological, Base Defense Units, MASH units, and medical personnel.

Added to forces on the ground was equipment for two more brigades (one Army and one Marine) afloat in the Arabian Gulf with the Maritime Preposition Force. These ships were poised to link up with soldiers and Marines who would draw their equipment and head to the front if required. Attack air provided by Navy, Air Force, and Coalition assets rounded out this formidable force.

This was the largest multinational force assembled in Southwest Asia since the conclusion of the Gulf War. The demonstrated capability to quickly deploy combat forces from around the world successfully deterred Iraqi aggression and helped reinstate compliance with the UN Weapons Inspection Program. In November 1998, when the work of the UN inspectors was again interrupted, Third Army quickly returned to the Gulf to convince Saddam that the United States stood ready to enforce the terms of the cease-fire.

Operation DESERT THUNDER II

As Saddam Hussein violated United Nations sanctions and threatened regional stability, we began deploying to Kuwait and preparing for combat operations. Coalition/Joint Task Force-Kuwait, in place since DESERT THUNDER I, played a key role in the rapid deployment, reception, staging, onward movement, and integration of forces.

Units deploying to Kuwait included advance parties from the 3d Infantry Division and the 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), personnel from the Theater Support Command (TSC), Air Support Operations Center (ASOC), and Marine Forces. In addition, the redeployment of the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in the Gulf was placed on hold and a second Marine Expeditionary Unit was ordered to the Gulf as reinforcement.

While forces were deploying to the Arabian Gulf region, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad to meet with Saddam Hussein. Following negotiations, Saddam Hussein agreed to allow uninterrupted resumption of United Nations weapons inspections. In mid-Nov, as the crisis defused, there were 2,300 personnel deployed to Kuwait in support of C/JTF-Kuwait.

Operation DESERT FOX

When Iraqi aircraft began challenging the established no-fly zones, and Iraqi Air Defense systems fired on allied aircraft in Dec. 1998, U.S. and U.K. forces responded with a massive display of firepower. Allied air force and navy aircraft, and Cruise Missiles engaged command and control, communications, and selected Republican Guards targets on the morning of Dec. 16. These concentrated attacks against Iraqi targets continued until the early morning of Dec 19. During the campaign, Third Army again deployed forces to defend Kuwait, and to reassure our Allies in the Gulf region. By late Dec, C/JTF-Kuwait consisted of approximately 6,000 personnel, including the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Operation Desert Storm

As the chess pieces on the table started to move in the fallout of Saddam Huesein's invasion of Kuwait, the Third United States Army was about to issue in a new chapter in the unit's already prestigious history. Third Army would become the Command and Control for the entire invasion, designed to oust Saddam's forces from Kuwait. Third Army played out the leading role in Operation Desert Storm.

LTG Yeosock was tasked with a most daunting assignment.working directly for General H. Norman Schwarzkopf, he became responsible for the Command and Control of the entire invasion. Third Army, which was formerly a combatant Army, now had shifted gears and transitioned into a warfighting headquarters, making the switch from putting rounds on target, to controlling and organizing all aspects of the battlefield. Having some of the Army's most elite fighting forces at his command, the battle for Kuwait commenced on February 24th, 1991. Overall control of all forces was General Schwartzkopf, but the in-the-trenches commander was LTG Yeosock. As the ground war commenced, units began the move. As with any major campaign, communications and what people were seeing and hearing in different locations proved to be a huge obstacle. LTG Yeosock's crew in the "Lucky Main" were the eyes and ears that kept things together.

The ground war lasted just 4-days: it was the culmination of months of planning, massive troop buildups and serious challenges in regards to weather and conditions. LTG Yeosock's eyes and ears at Lucky Main were the hub that kept the giant wheel moving. Touted as an overwhelming success, the ground war was shaped, planned and executed by the troops in or assigned to the Third United States Army. Their successes and ultimate victory in Operation Desert Storm were the paving stones to the Third Army taking up residence in Kuwait and ultimately becoming the logistical center for both Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.

Third Army again demonstrated its professionalism during Operations DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM in 1990/1991. With the Iraqi invasion in August 1990, Third Army would once again lead soldiers into combat. Then commanded by Lieutenant General John J. Yeosock, Third Army began deploying from its Atlanta headquarters in August 1990 to assume its role as U.S. Army Forces Central Command (ARCENT), the senior Army headquarters in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War.

ARCENT's initial mission was to build combat power in the region, defend critical oil and port facilities in eastern Saudi Arabia, and to transition to a defense in sector. Third Army was responsible for building the forward logistical base to support arriving Army units. The support base for these units was in the United States, a distance of 12,000 miles/31 days by sea or 7,400 miles/14 hours by air. During the first 90 days of DESERT SHIELD, ARCENT coordinated the reception and sustainment of a force equal to what had taken a year to deploy during the Vietnam War.

With the president's announcement in November to deploy more units for a possible offensive, ARCENT put the final touches on its ground plan. The plan called for a deep, wide sweep into southern Iraq. ARCENT's multinational combat forces consisted of two corps headquarters (the XVIII Airborne Corps and the VII Corps), nine divisions (82nd Airborne, 101st Air Assault, 24th Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Infantry (Mechanized), 1st Cavalry, 1st Armored, 3rd Armored, 1st British Armored, and 6th French (Light)), and two armored cavalry regiments (the 2nd ACR and 3rd ACR).

Third Army's mission was to close with and destroy Iraq's Republican Guard. Simultaneously, U.S. Marine Corps and multinational coalition forces were to cross into Kuwait to support ARCENT's main attack. The war plan successfully deceived the Iraqis regarding disposition of allied ground forces. After the start of the air war, Jan. 17, 1991, ARCENT prepared to take the offensive. In less than three weeks, 250,000 soldiers, 10,000 tracked vehicles, and 50,000 wheeled vehicles moved from assembly areas in Eastern Saudi Arabia to attack positions 360 miles Northwest along the Iraqi border.

The ground war was launched Feb. 24 and ended just 100 hours later on Feb. 28. Quick and decisive, this was the largest armored battle in the history of warfare with ARCENT and allied ground forces exceeding all expectations.

Following the Gulf War, ARCENT oversaw the restoration of life support facilities in Kuwait and cared for Iraq's displaced civilians. It also transitioned the United Nations Observation Mission forces into the buffer zone along the Iraqi-Kuwaiti border.

Third Army: Operation Iraqi Freedom

Third Army/USARCENT as the CFLCC for Operation Iraqi Freedom, spent months devising the plan that would direct and move all ground forces in the campaign through Iraq and eventually into Baghdad to capture the capital city. The first priority as units began to move north was the capture and holding of Tallil Air Base. In the CFLCC plan this objective was pivotal in our ability to stage forces, move supplies and continue the march north to Baghdad. Seizing Tallil Air Base was an important moment not only because the CFLCC needed the base, but also because it was adjacent to An Nasiriyah, the first Iraqi city the corps would encounter. Under the guidance of Third Army, the 3rd ID captured the objective. That decisive moment was to be the catalyst that sparked everything else in the drive to Baghdad. As late as D-day, Lieutenant General McKiernan could not predict what the battlefield would look like when V Corps and I MEF reached the city. Planners, from CENTCOM down to the maneuver divisions, struggled to paint a picture of the city after an unknown period of fighting during the approach from Kuwait. Because of this uncertainty, planners built flexibility into their plan. This allowed the smaller unit tactical commanders to easily adjust tactics as needed.

Of course, none of the senior commanders-Lieutenant Generals McKiernan, Wallace, or Conway-wanted to slacken the pressure on Saddam Hussein, the Ba'athist regime, or the defending forces. While the corps and MEF consolidated around the city, both planned to execute a steady stream of limited-objective raids, air strikes, psychological and information operations, and ground attacks on key targets in the city. These targets were chosen with great care to degrade the regime's actual-and perceived-control over the capital city and the country of Iraq, based on analysis and planning. By the time V Corps entered to the heart of Baghdad on 5 April, all major systems within the city had been dissected, studied, and targeted.

On 7 April, 2nd Brigade Spartans launched a second thunder run, ending up in downtown Baghdad-the absolute heart of Saddam's regime-to demonstrate to the Iraqis and the world the Americans' freedom to move about the city. On that day the commander made the single decision that arguably shortened the siege by weeks, if not months-he chose to stay downtown. Equally important, McKiernan, Wallace, and Blount trusted his judgment and underwrote the risks that he took. While the fighting continued in earnest for another few days and insurgents fight on today, the second thunder run broke the regime's back, and any remaining political or military leaders of rank disappeared in a flash of self-preservation.

Third Army/USARCENT has at its disposal, a vast array of capabilities, units and movement equipment to facilitate any movement needs for the entire theater. Once the "Surge" began, Third Army ratcheted up its systems and started moving all the supplies and personnel from the United States into the Iraq theater of Operations. This surge taxed systems, equipment and personnel but, Third Army continued to show its colors as they completed all missions effectively and efficiently. The movement of the forces was rapid and large but Third Army flexed and overcame all adversity to make the "Surge" a complete success from the logistical angle. Once again, Third Army was in the mix "Sustaining the Fight"

Third Army/USARCENT controls and directs logistical capabilities and achievements that no military or commercial organization in the world has. Sustaining the fight every day with an incredible capacity for deployment, training, sustainment, and redeployment of forces in the CENTCOM theater of operations. The success of the Responsible Drawdown of US forces from Iraq by 2011 has been placed in the hands of Third Army. Ongoing operations are already legendary in scope.in the year falling between fall 2009 and summer 2010, Third Army will facilitate the closure or handover of hundreds of military bases and camps in Iraq, entailing the movement, refurbishment, and possible redeployment to Afghanistan of thousands of end items and millions of pieces of equipment.

Equipment requiring repair or upgrades can be handled at one of Third Army/USARCENT's refurbishment program sites, while repositioning within theater is readily facilitated at local Air and Sea Ports of Embarkation and Debarkation (APOEs/APODs and SPOEs/SPODs). This will save the government millions of dollars since equipment will not have to be shipped back to the US.

Third Army History

Established in the closing days of World War I, Third Army served as part of the Allied Army of Occupation in Germany until July 1919 when it deactivated. Reconstituted in 1921 as part of the organized reserves, it was reconstituted in the regular army in 1931 and reactivated at Fort Sam Houston, Texas in 1932, where it was responsible for training Army National Guard and Army reserve forces.

In the early days of World War II, Third Army trained forces for the war effort. In 1944, as the Allies prepared for the invasion of Europe, Third Army was relieved of its training mission and deployed to the United Kingdom ready to assume its role which led to the defeat of Nazi Germany. In the summer of 1944, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton, Jr. assumed command of Third Army leading it in eight major campaigns in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, and establishing Third Army as America's premier fighting Army.

At the end of the war, Third Army became part of the Army of Occupation, remaining in Germany until 1947. When it returned to Fort McPherson, Ga., it became an administrative headquarters responsible for the training of Army National Guard and Army reserve forces in the southeastern U.S.

Third Army was deactivated at Fort McPherson in 1973 and reactivated in 1983 as the senior army headquarters for the newly established U.S. Central Command. In 1990, Third Army deployed to Saudi Arabia as the senior army headquarters for U.S. CENTCOM. It was responsible for deploying, receiving and sustaining all army forces during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Third Army deployed to Kuwait and became responsible for providing command and control for all Coalition Forces engaged in Operation Enduring Freedom. As the Coalition Forces Land Component Command (CFLCC), Third Army directed the ground war in Afghanistan and surrounding countries from Nov. 11, 2001 to May 31, 2002. Third Army's major mission was to conduct operations to destroy al Qaeda and Taliban terrorist networks. In June 2002, Third Army conducted a transfer of authority for Afghanistan to the newly established Joint Task Force 180, which was comprised of elements from the XVIII Airborne Corps.

Within months, Third Army again deployed to Kuwait. Designated as CFLCC, it prepared for military operations against Iraq. In March 2003, Third Army led decisive military operations to liberate Iraq and remained there until June 2003. Third Army transferred responsibility of Iraq to the newly established Joint Task Force-7, comprised of elements of the U.S. Army V Corps.

Third Army continues to support Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom and provide Title 10 support to all U.S. Army forces in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility. Third Army executes reception, staging, and onward movement support for all Coalition Land Forces entering the theater and also theater sustainment in Kuwait.

Today, Third Army stands ready to organize, plan and on order, command and control joint/combined operations anywhere in the USCENTCOM area of responsibility. Its Soldiers remain focused on global agility, strategic and operational imperatives, and war fighting leadership required in joint and coalition operations.

The Third Army team stands ready to conduct operations anytime and anywhere as directed in order to deter or defeat adversaries while sustaining forces in theater in order to support combat and shaping operations. It continues to shape the operational environment in order to enable partners.



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