CIVIL AFFAIRS (CA)
At 20 0100 Dec, soldiers of the 96th CA Bn conducted a combat parachute assault with the 1-75th Rgr Regt into Tocument Airport. As tracers filled the area, the CA teams moved into the terminal building and assisted in quieting the airline passengers. When several PDF soldiers attempted to take some passengers hostage, the CA team used its knowledge of the language and local culture to convince the PDF soldiers to release the hostages. For the next several weeks, the CA teams translated, served as liaison to the local civil government, conducted assessments to determine where help was most urgently needed, and assisted commanders in taking care of a huge refugee population.
During the initial combat assaults, two-man CA teams accompanied the lead elements. These teams were generally attached to the maneuver battalions, serving primarily as advisors to the commanders in conducting civil military operations. Teams were most successful when allowed by commanders to operate in the field as advisors to units and liaison with the local population. Teams that served as augmentation to the bn/bde staff were not as effective.
- Deploy CA teams that are proficient in local language.
- Assign a two-man CA team down to each maneuver battalion to assist in CMO.
- Send CA teams to the field to make assessment for the commander as opposed to remaining at the CP on the staff.
- Task CA teams to develop a CA survey for combat arms squad leaders so squads can conduct surveys while on patrol.
- Attach an engineer to CA teams to provide expert assistance in assessing battle damage repair during CA assessments.
- Plan to have CA assets relieve combat arms units of CMO tasks as quickly as possible to enable the combat arms units to continue with follow-on tactical missions.
- Use CA teams as an informal intelligence source.
- Incorporate CA into ARTEPs and CTCs. Establish habitual relationships with CA units.
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