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OBSERVATION: Division and corps units had difficulty disengaging from installation missions.

DISCUSSION: Disengagement difficulties were due to several factors:

  • Substantial numbers of personnel in rear detachments remained behind at the installation.
  • Supplies requisitioned by deployed units continued to arrive at the installation.
  • Workloads increased on installations due to personnel shortages and current hiring freezes.

As a result, support units, with installation support missions, found it difficult to make necessary arrangements for their own deployments. Additionally, this reduced available time for soldiers to spend with family members.

LESSON(S): Negotiate a transition plan between installation and supporting tactical units. Establish procedures for the disengagement of deploying units from installation missions. Consider activation of reserve units or temporary hire authorizations to augment the installation.

OBSERVATION: Conflicting guidance during deployment caused confusion.

DISCUSSION: Troops were given conflicting guidance (ship arrival times, deployability criteria, uniforms, patches, basic loads, etc.) causing confusion, nonuniformity and frustration. Some units did not provide guidance to newly assigned units.

LESSON(S): Establish one point of contact for information at the higher headquarters. Do not change policies unless absolutely necessary. Task-organizing requires special emphasis and coordination between higher HO and attached units.

OBSERVATION: Some units moved to port of embarkation without proper authorization from the Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC).

DISCUSSION: Well-meaning staff officers caused confusion by issuing movement instructions after receiving a telephonic warning order.

LESSON(S): Send Warning Orders and be prepared to deploy, but only move upon issuance of port call by MTMC.


OBSERVATION: Lateral communications greatly assisted units.

DISCUSSION: Exchanging lessons learned between units benefited subsequent units in the preparation for deployment and allowed units to learn from others' mistakes or methods that worked. Interaction saved time, energy and stimulated a healthy thought process.

LESSON(S): Emphasize good staff coordination between units; use liaison officers to exchange critical information.

OBSERVATION: Units that had positive leadership, maintained solid control over troops, stopped rumors and were receptive to new ideas had fewer problems in deployment and follow-on operations.

DISCUSSION: These initiatives were especially helpful at the junior leader level. Units with a positive command climate received feedback from subordinates. A good command information program assisted commanders in reducing rumors and in disseminating critical information.

LESSON(S): Commanders must foster a positive command climate and maintain two-way communication with subordinates. Commanders must be alert to rumors, gather the facts and disseminate factual information. Use the NCO chain to facilitate this process.

OBSERVATlON: Advance parties to Southwest Asia have unique missions.

DISCUSSION: These advance parties are faced with five basic missions:

  • liaison
  • support Coordination
  • tactical planning
  • reconnaissance of area of operations
  • SPOD/APOD reconnaissance and setup

Personnel are primarily division staff officers with the addition of a class A agent, contracting agent and finance agent. Advance party size is limited by availability of aircraft seating.

LESSON(S): Task-organize and properly equip the advance party to accomplish the five basic missions.

OBSERVATION: Initial ship schedules changed frequently.

DISCUSSION: Ship turn-around times and vessel maintenance problems caused some delays in deployment. Plans were drafted based on initial ship timetables. As a result, valuable troop training and maintenance time was lost.

LESSON(S): Ship arrival schedules must be considered tentative and require constant tracking. Update ship arrival times frequently and backward plan accordingly.

OBSERVATION: Some accidents were directly attributable to lack of sleep.

DISCUSSION: Deployment requires continuous operations. Many personnel get very little rest during deployments. This is especially true of leaders. Tremendous workloads placed on certain understaffed sections, such as the Transportation Office, caused extremely long and stressful hours. Personnel need approximately 6 hours of sleep to sustain operations. Leaders must also be aware of stress levels. Fatigue and sleep management is critical for safe operations. Fatigue contributes to human error (unsafe acts and unsafe conditions), the leading cause of Army accidents.

LESSON(S): Sleep plans must be developed. Leaders must enforce sleep plans to reduce fatigue, prevent accidents, and enhance soldier productivity and leader effectiveness.

OBSERVATION: VlPs frequently visit units.

DISCUSSION: General Officers and other VlPs frequently visit units deploying to Southwest Asia. This often disrupts normal unit operations.

LESSON(S): Commanders must be innovative and use common sense in fulfilling the needs of VIPs without disrupting deployment operations.

OBSERVATION: Units often did not use their SOPs.

DISCUSSION: Some units did not use SOPs because they did not adequately cover the situation. The SOPs did not address all modes of transportation. Many units' SOPs are focused on POMCUS. The intensity of the situation caused other units to ignore their SOPs.

LESSON(S): If the SOP does not apply to the situation, improvise using the SOP as a guide. Make notes on SOP shortcomings and refine them as time permits.

OBSERVATION: There are a variety of references on Southwest Asia for Intelligence Preparation of the Battlefield (IPB).

DISCUSSION: The following publications enhance intelligence planning, collection, production, dissemination, and the wargaming process:

  • Identifying the Iraqi Threat and How They Fight, (U), produced by AlA, Aug 90.
  • Iraqi Ground and Air Force Doctrine, Tactics and Operations (C/NF), DDB-2600-61 23-90
  • Electronic Warfare Forces Study - Iraq (C/NF), DDD-1730-053-90
  • Analysis of the Area of Operations and Intelligence Estimate for Iraq 1002-88 (U), Dec 89
  • Fact Book, Communist World Forces (U), DST-26002-013-88
  • Janes Weapons Systems, 18th Ed, 87-88
  • 5T100-9, The Command Estimate, CGSC
  • Ground Forces Order of Battle, DIA/COlNS
  • Comparative military strengths: Middle East and North Africa, (S/NF/WN/NC),
  • DOB-2680-90, Feb 90.

LESSON(S): Gather as much threat information as possible prior to deployment.

OBSERVATION: Hand-held radios facilitated C2.

DISCUSSION: Some units purchased or leased hand- held radios. These proved invaluable during convoys, ship offloading, port security missions and other port missions. Many MP units also used these radios with great success.

LESSON(S): Obtain hand-held radios and cellular phones to facilitate C2.


OBSERVATION: A major unit conducted two rail operations and two 250-mile convoys with over 500 vehicles without an accident.

DISCUSSION: The chain of command stressed safety, good rest plans and common sense. NCOs strongly supported and enforced tough realistic safety standards.

LESSON(S): Command emphasis in safety minimizes accidents. Following established procedures promotes safety.

OBSERVATIONS: Some staffs maintained detailed records of orders, messages and memorandums.

DISCUSSION: Organized recordkeeping facilitated C2. Records included date/time group and were frequently updated. This provided a good audit trail and prevented misplacement of important information.

LESSON(S): Staffs that maintain files of significant actions are more effective in supporting C2. Involve NCOs in recording and maintaining records. Ask for policy and guidance in hard copy.

OBSERVATIONS: Secure phones and classified fax machines were invaluable.

DISCUSSION: These items were in constant use and demand. Large amounts of critical information, which otherwise would not have been passed in a timely manner, flowed over this equipment.

LESSON(S): Include secure communications in advance parties, main and rear bodies.


Table of Contents
Movement to Load Site

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