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A Concise History of the
U.S. Army in
Operation Uphold

Walter E. Kretchik
Robert F. Baumann
John T. Fishel

U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Press Fort Leavenworth, Kansas 1998

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Kretchik, Walter E. (Walter Edward), 1954-
Intervasion, intervention, "intervasion": a concise history of the U.S. Army in Operation Uphold Democracy / Walter E. Kretchik, Robert F. Baumann, John T. Fishel.
    p. cm
Includes bibliographical references.
1. Haiti--History--American intervention, 1994-1995. 2. United States. Army. 3. United Nations--Armed Forces--Haiti. 4. United States--Military policy. I. Baumann, Robert F., 1952-II. Fishel, John T. III. Title.
F1928.2.K74 1997
972.9407'3--dc2l                 		                  97-29890

CGSC Press publications cover a variety of military history topics. The views expressed in this CGSC Press publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.







1. The Historical Context of American Intervention

2. Planning for "Intervasion": The Strategic and Operational Setting for Uphold Democracy

3. Operation Uphold Democracy: The Execution Phase

4. Old Principles and New Realities: Measuring Army Effectiveness in Operation Uphold Democracy

5. Uphold Democracy: A Comparative Summary and Conclusion

Appendix A. Historical Chronology of Haiti

Appendix B. U.S. Army Order of Battle, Operation Uphold Democracy

Appendix C. U.S. Military Linguists, Haiti, 1994-1995

Appendix D. Governors Island Accord

Appendix E. Text of U.S.-Haiti Agreement, September 18,1994

Appendix F. Haiti's Rulers Since Independence

Appendix G. Rules of Engagement, Haiti


Select Bibliography





2. National Security Council organization

3. Military command relationships

4. Haiti command and control political-military channels

5. Forcible entry command and control communications links

6. Multinational Force command and control organization

7. Multinational Force, Haiti, October 15, 1994

8. The 3d Special Forces Group (Airborne) "Hub and Spoke" Concept


1. Haiti (with present-day administrative divisions)

2. Haiti

3. JTF 180 joint operations area

4. FAd'H military and police locations

5. JTF 180's 82d Airborne Division air movement plan

6. JTF 180 fire assets

7. JTF 180 JSOTF concept of operations

8. Force deployment scheme

9. Combined JTF Haiti-10th Mountain Division rehersals

10. JTF 180 plan modified to show NAVFOR-Marine option

11. JTF 180 of communications (LOC), Haiti

12. MNF locations

13. Special Operations Forces locations


1. Officer composition of the Haitian Army

2. The deliberate planning process

3. International Police Monitors

4. Multinational Force, Haiti, January 13, 1995


In September 1994, U.S. military forces were ordered to execute Operation Uphold Democracy in Haiti. The stated objectives of that undertaking included the return to office of the democratically elected president of that country and the creation of a stable and secure environment in which democratic institutions could take hold. In the short term, these objectives were met: President Aristide reassumed his duties as president, the junta that had ousted him in 1991 was forced to leave the country, and national elections were successfully held in 1996. Although the long-term prognosis for Haiti remains guarded, the democratic process there was given the opportunity to succeed due, in large part, to Operation Uphold Democracy.

The armed forces of the United States have engaged in contingency operations throughout their history, and as the current peace operation in Bosnia demonstrates, they will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. At the time American troops entered Haiti, I was Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. It was my firm conviction that the Army's experience in Uphold Democracy should be duly recorded, both for posterity and for officers today who have to wrestle with similar, unorthodox situations. The present study is one such contribution to the historical record.

This concise account of the Army's role in Operation Uphold Democracy was written by three faculty members at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Lieutenant Colonel Walter E. Kretchik and Dr. Robert F. Baumann are members of the Combat Studies Institute, CGSC's history department; Dr. John T. Fishel, at the time this was written, was assigned to the college's Department of Joint and Combined Operations. Their narrative and the conclusions drawn from it are based on an extensive review of available documentary material, interviews with key participants in the operation, discussions with a variety of experts on Haitian affairs, and trips to Haiti to obtain a firsthand appreciation for the situation there.

The result of their analysis is not an uncritical assessment of the Army's activities in Uphold Democracy. Documenting the successes of the operation while ignoring the difficulties and problems encountered by the participants would only distort the record and be of little use today and in the future. What this study does, however, is demonstrate that success is largely dependent on the ability to remain flexible and adapt to continuously changing conditions. It also serves to increase the data base to which Army officers now and in the future can refer when planning and executing unconventional operations.

						General, U.S. Army (Retired)


German Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke once noted that if an opponent has but three courses available to him, he will chose the fourth. In Operation Uphold Democracy, the U.S. Army's XVIII Airborne Corps was prepared to carry out any of three distinct military operations. None of those operations were in fact executed. Instead, a fourth military option evolved, literally while the operation was unfolding. Former President Jimmy Carter and his team's successful last-minute diplomatic negotiations with the Haitian military junta on September 18, 1994, altered realpolitik and possibly saved many U.S. and Haitian lives. U.S. military commanders, however, had to react immediately to the dynamic political situation and, in doing so, made complex mission adjustments hours before entering Haiti. Those changes caused U.S. Army personnel, and particularly the 10th Mountain Division, to face a different set of operational circumstances than those for which they had prepared mentally. The shift in strategic and operational conditions required great intellectual finesse in mission execution to achieve political objectives and to avoid potential military disaster.

The U.S. Army in Haiti appears to have achieved its overall objective of restoring democracy in that it set the conditions for President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to reassume his presidency. Furthermore, the $2 billion operation was accomplished with little cost in human life. Yet in deploying the force, the Army had to overcome numerous difficulties associated with peace operations: more frequent deployments, high operational tempo, and confused and uncertain situations. While the media portrayed a fairly confident U.S. force arriving in Haiti for a peace operation, the situation on the ground was actually more perplexing and unpredictable. The resultant turmoil among the force manifested itself not only in mission execution but in the achievement of strategic political objectives, as this study clearly notes.

This study originated from a verbal directive in early 1995 by then-Army Chief of Staff General Gordon R. Sullivan to then-Commander, Combined Arms Center, Lieutenant General John Miller, to write a U.S. Army history of Uphold Democracy. General Sullivan proposed a study that would prove useful for political and military decision makers. The study, therefore, reflects General Sullivan's vision; it is intended to help decision makers better understand the complexities of modern peace operations.

This book is not an official history. We, the authors, speak our own views based upon our weighing of the evidence at hand. Thus, this history is a public document, written to educate Army officers and to serve as an accounting to the American public of its Army in Operation Uphold Democracy as seen through a military lens.

The Army is a dynamic institution and therefore has a need for honesty and frankness in order to learn from its experiences. With that in mind, we gathered evidence, weighed our findings, and attempted a critical analysis of events and individual participants. We did so without malice or the assumption that we could have done better ourselves. Clausewitz noted that everything in war is simple, yet the simplest task is difficult to accomplish. So it also seems to be with peace operations. Our findings are the result of two military historians and a political scientist investigating evidence and ascertaining how personalities and events shaped military operations. Character judgments are left to the discretion of the reader.

We authors used a wide variety of sources to produce this book. We had access to over 75,000 primary source documents generated by various headquarters who either participated in or supported Operation Uphold Democracy. We also made extensive use of oral history interviews and commentary from U.S. military personnel and Haitians who lived through the day-to-day events in Haiti. We personally went to Haiti to see firsthand where events occurred and to obtain a feel for the conditions that U.S. Army personnel encountered in that country. Those trips proved to be invaluable.

The scope of our investigation embraces but a small portion of the U.S. military's role in Uphold Democracy; our assessment is not all-encompassing. Constraints in time, space, and resources necessitated focusing primarily on the activities of the U.S. Army, and more specifically on those of the active component. Where possible, the study contains information regarding joint, multinational, and reserve component activities to explain better what happened and why. Perhaps other historians can use this study in their areas of concern as a basis for further research publications within their own headquarters.

Finally, this study is unique in that it is the first cooperative effort between the Combat Studies Institute and the Department of Joint and Combined Operations of the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Walter E. Kretchik, CSI
Robert F. Baumann, CSI
John T. Fishel, DJCO


There are many individuals who proved extremely helpful and without whom this work would have been impossible to finish. Special thanks are in order to Dr. Phil Brookes of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC), Dr. Rick Morris of the Center for Army Lessons Learned, and Dr. John Partin of the U.S. Special Operations Command for funding our numerous trips. We thank the U.S. Army Center of Military History (CMH) for the transcription of many hours of oral history tapes. We are also thankful to Lieutenant Colonel Steve Dietrich, CMH, and Dr. Morris and Captain Jeff Fowler and his staff for the use of over 75,000 primary-source documents collected from units involved in Operation Uphold Democracy. We wish to thank Dr. Partin; Dr. William McClintock, U.S. Atlantic Command Historian; and Major Layton Pennington, Combat Studies Institute (CSI) Research Assistant, for their invaluable help. Mr. Don Gilmore, our editor, deserves special recognition for his painstaking attention to detail.

We also appreciate the reference work conducted by librarians Ms. Elaine McConnell, Ms. Karla Norman, and Ms. Pamela Kontowicz at the Combined Arms Research Library, Fort Leavenworth. Dr. Bryant Freeman of the University of Kansas' Institute of Haitian Studies provided eyewitness information in reference to the Harlan County incident and other facets of Haitian life under the Cedras-led junta. His experience as an adviser to the United Nations Mission in Haiti was of tremendous value. Dr. Leslie Desmangles, president of the Haitian Studies Association, and his hard-working associate, Alix Contave, provided critical feedback on U.S.-Haitian relations. Many other members of the Haitian Studies Association provided considerable insight into, and firsthand observations of, U.S. Army forces and their activities during Uphold Democracy. Thanks are also due Mr. Otis Van Cecil (USMC, ret.) for his time and recollections.

We are in debt as well to over one hundred CGSC students of all branches and services who shared their personal experiences, conducted research, performed oral histories, and wrote numerous papers for us on the operation. The following students deserve special acknowledgment (listed in random order): Major Christian Klinefelter, Major Marty Urquhart, Major Damian Carr, Major Jean Malone, USMC, Major Robert Young, Lieutenant Commander Donald J. Hurley, USN, Lieutenant Commander Phil Patee, Major Mike Hoyt, Major John Cook, Major Donald McConnaughhay, Major Cheryl Smart, Major Eric Erkinnen, Lieutenant Colonel Larry J. Godfrey, Major James Boisselle, Major Harvey L. Crockett, Major Douglas D. Trenda, Major Patricia Horoho, Major Michael F. Davino, Major Orlando R. Goodwin, Lieutenant Commander Peter J. A. Riehm, Major Rosemary E. Stewart, Major D. J. Reyes, Major Jiyul Kim, Major Barclay P. Butler, Major Kim Swindall, Major Berthony Ladouceur, Lieutenant Colonel Cas Conaway, Major Chris Hughes, Major Tony Schwalm, Lieutenant Commander Peter Riehm, and Major Leonard Gaddis. One student in particular, Major Robert Shaw, U.S. Army Special Forces, contributed more than was expected; in addition to his student work and Haiti project research while in CGSC and the School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), Bob voluntarily accompanied us to Haiti on two occasions where his personal experience proved to be very useful. His enthusiasm for the project and his help were immeasurable. Bob was a member of "Team Haiti" in every respect.

We are also deeply indebted to Major Robert Walsh, Major Walter Pjetra, Captain James Dusenberry, Sergeant First Class James Douglas, Warrant Officer 2 Clifford Hall, First Lieutenant Joseph Prete, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas ("Doc") Adams, and Master Sergeant Frank Norbury.

Finally, we owe recognition to our fellow CSI and Department of Joint and Combined Operations (DJCO) colleagues, who substituted frequently in our classes when we were absent, listened to our concerns, provided feedback on our writing, and offered help freely. We could not ask to serve with a better group of U. S. Army and Department of the Army civilian professionals and educators.

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