1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
January - 2003
JANUARY 20, 2003
Division to Deploy
By Kevin J. Dwyer
Killeen Daily Herald
The 4th Infantry Division has received its marching orders Monday and is preparing for an imminent overseas deployment.
The divisions units at Fort Hood two ground brigades and one aviation brigade along with its 3rd Brigade at Fort Carson, Colo., and other units will be known as Task Force Ironhorse.
Activity was brisk Monday morning in the 4th IDs motor pools on the east side of the post. From Hood Road to Hood Army Airfield, soldiers were hard at work preparing their M1A2 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and other equipment for the deployment.
TF Ironhorse will be made up of more than 30,000 soldiers from 10 Army posts including Fort Hood and Fort Carson.
No announcement has been made about the divisions final destination, or how long it will take to complete the movement overseas, which is expected to begin this week. Including the 3rd Brigade, TF Ironhorse will have about 16,000 4th ID and other attached soldiers, of those, more than 12,500 are stationed at Fort Hood.
More than 42,000 soldiers are stationed at Fort Hood, which is home to the 4th ID, 1st Cavalry Division, 13th Corps Support Command, and the III Corps headquarters. During the Persian Gulf War in 1990-91, 26,000 soldiers from the 1st Cav, COSCOM, and the now deactivated 2nd Armored Division deployed from the post.
Following more than five years of testing after it arrived at the post in December 1995, the 4th ID became the Armys first fully digitized division. The combination of communication and computer systems that make up the backbone of the system give the divisions soldiers the situational awareness the Army has always striven for.
The 4th IDs 3rd Brigade at Fort Carson has yet to undergo its digital facelift.
Beginning with the smallest possible unit, the individual tank or Bradley for example, each vehicle has a computer that constantly monitors its position and displays it, and the positions of other friendly units, on a screen. Information about enemy positions is also put into the system, displayed and reported up the chain of command over various communications links.
Killeen Daily Herald, January 20, 2003.
Deploys 'Iron Horse' Of Army To Gulf
January 21, 2003
By Rowan Scarborough, The Washington TimesThe Bush administration yesterday rolled out its most-advanced land combat division for a war against Iraq, ordering the Army's 4th Infantry Division to deploy to the Persian Gulf from Fort Hood, Texas.
The deployment of the "Iron Horse" division marks the second of the Army's "heavy" divisions, along with the 3rd Infantry at Fort Stewart, Ga., to be tapped for a possible desert showdown.More Army deployments of tank-heavy units are expected to follow as President Bush weighs a decision whether to order an invasion, perhaps in late February, to oust Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein."Task Force Iron Horse," comprising 16,000 soldiers from the 4th Infantry and 20,000 supporting troops from 10 bases, is deploying as a special unit to confront Iraq.By month's end, as many as 100,000 American troops may be positioned in the region. A total force of more than 200,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines is expected to be in place, or on the way, by late February."Within weeks we can be over there," said Lt. Col. Dan Baggio, a 4th Infantry spokesman.Tanks and other armored vehicles will move by rail to ports in Beaumont and Corpus Christi, Texas. Soldiers will board cargo jets for the trip to Kuwait in one or two weeks and unite there with their heavy weapons.Britain, America's strongest ally in this face-off with Baghdad, announced yesterday that 26,000 troops had received orders to go to the region.
Of the Army's 10 active divisions, the 4th is its laboratory for systems developed in the 1990s. As a result, it will take new tools to battle: the advanced M1-A2 battle tank, a digitized system of communicating from a brigade commander to individual tanks and to Bradley Fighting Vehicles, and a new spy drone, the Shadow 200 RQ-7A.The division also boasts Apache attack helicopters, which proved effective in the 1991 Gulf war by destroying Iraqi tanks from a safe range. The 4th is one of the few divisions to operate the more advanced AH-64D Longbow Apache. Improvements include "fire-and-forget" Hellfire anti-tank missiles and digital communications.The 4th is commanded by Maj. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, a West Point graduate and artillery officer with the 3rd Armored Division in the Gulf war. His division will join a burgeoning air, land and sea force assembling for what would be a lightning strike on Iraq from the south, east and north to seize Baghdad.
Eventually, Army sources say, the 1st Cavalry Division, also at Fort Hood, plus the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., and two heavy divisions in Germany also will deploy. Elements of the European-based units may head to bases in Turkey, from where they can activate a northern front against Iraq.Gen. Richard B. Myers, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, was in Turkey yesterday discussing basing rights. The United States desires as many as 80,000 troops in the country, but Ankara wants to keep the deployment to fewer than 20,000, Turkish press reports say.Turkey at first balked at letting the United States use Incirlik Air Base to strike Iraq in 1991, but then relented, permitting Air Force F-111 long-range fighters to launch missions.Mr. Bush earlier this month traveled to Fort Hood and gave a rousing pep talk to 4th Infantry and 1st Cavalry soldiers, who responded with enthusiastic "hoo-ahs" - the infantry's shout of approval.The president seemed close to tears as he concluded his speech. The president, who has been briefed several times on war plans, knew then that many in the audience would be leaving soon for a possible war."We are ready. We're prepared," Mr. Bush told the soldiers Jan. 3. "And should the United States be compelled to act, our troops will be acting in the finest traditions of America, should we be forced to act. Should Saddam Hussein seal his fate by refusing to disarm, by ignoring the opinion of the world, you will be fighting not to conquer anybody, but to liberate people."
A senior U.S.
official told The Washington Times last week that the
administration was looking at a time window of Feb. 21-28 to
launch an attack.Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is one of
several senior officials arguing that a "smoking gun"
need not be disclosed to the world to justify an invasion. He
believes sufficient justification lies in Iraq's long pattern of
thwarting inspectors and failing to disclose weapons to be
destroyed, as ordered by a series of U.N. Security Council
resolutions.Yesterday, Mr. Rumsfeld told a symposium of the
Reserve Officers Association, "No one wants war, but, as the
president has said, Iraq will be disarmed, and the decision
between war and peace will be made not in Washington, D.C., and
not in the United Nations in New York, but rather in Baghdad. It
is their decision. Either they will cooperate or they won't, and
it will not take months to determine whether or not they are
cooperating."U.S. Central Command yesterday continued its
low-grade air war against Iraq. Jets struck communication cables
feeding into Iraq's network of air defense radars, batteries and
command centers.Central Command, which runs U.S. military
operations in the Gulf region, said aircraft targeted eight
"cable repeater sites" around 7 a.m. EST. The targets
sit between al-Kut, 95 miles south of Baghdad, and an-Nasiriyah,
170 miles southeast of Baghdad.
General reassures soldiers as families decide to stay, leave
Kevin J. Dwyer
Killeen Daily Herald
January 23, 2003
Soldiers bundled up against the wind as they cut across the
deployment staging area Wednesday, as the 4th Infantry Division's
deployment operations continued.
"Yesterday it was sunny and today it's freezing," observed Pfc. David Baker, an M1A2 Abrams driver from the 1st Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment. "It's a big waiting-in-line game. You're thinking about everything you need to take care of personally, but this has to come first."
Once the squadron finally loads its vehicles aboard railcars, Baker said, there will come time for the soldiers to see to their own gear and get their families ready for the deployment. In his case, Baker said, his wife will leave Central Texas to go home to her parents in Ohio.
"Back home she'll be around her family and there'll be somebody to look after her."
The decision stay or go is one the families of many of the 12,500 deploying soldiers will face in the coming weeks.
"I have no concerns at all that our families will be taken care of," said Maj. Gen. Ray Odierno, 4th ID commanding general and commander of Task Force Ironhorse. "I believe that each will make the best decision for their family."
However, Odierno did say he believes it is best if the soldiers' families remain in the Central Texas area.
Fort Hood announced Monday that 12,500 soldiers from the 4th ID and other units on post are deploying overseas as the core of TF Ironhorse. Along with the soldiers from Fort Hood, the 4th ID's 3rd Brigade from Fort Carson, Colo., is deploying as part of the 30,000-soldier task force which will include troops from eight other installations.
The final destination of Ironhorse was not announced.
During the coming weeks the 4th ID's soldiers will be loading several thousand trucks and Humvees, and more than 300 M1A2 Abrams tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles, and M109A6 Paladin 155 mm howitzers.
Odierno responded to questions about his decision to have the Ironhorse soldiers deploy wearing their green woodland camouflage uniforms. The basis of the decision, Odierno said, was the logistics of issuing desert camouflage uniforms to the more than 30,000 soldiers deploying from 10 different installations.
"We all go as the same," Odierno said. "I made the decision and we can do the job no matter what uniform we're wearing."
The decision to issue the desert uniforms to the soldiers could be made at a later date, he said.
Beginning next week, Odierno said, the soldiers of Ironhorse will start receiving their smallpox vaccinations as part of the predeployment preparations.
At the staging area on North Avenue, hundreds of tanks, Bradleys, trucks and Humvees continued streaming in throughout Wednesday for their final checks before moving to the post's railhead.
"It's a pretty mammoth task, but Fort Hood is the premiere installation in the United States to deploy from," said Lt. Col. Ted Martin, the 1-10 Cav commander.
Martin said new digital technology his squadron and the rest of the 4th ID will bring to the battlefield is something the world has never seen.
"They're primed and ready to go," Martin said of his troopers. "I hope (Saddam) sees the futility of not following the U.N. sanctions."
Contact Kevin J. Dwyer at firstname.lastname@example.org
After a long week, the journey begins
Kevin J. Dwyer
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD At the end of a week filled with long days and hard work, the 44 Bradley fighting vehicles stood silently in a three columns facing the back gate of the motor pool.
Crouched over the hatch of the lead vehicle in the right-hand column, Spc. Jason Goodwin, 22, was tying up some loose ends before the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, began moving to the post's railhead next week.
In one of just a thousand details to finish up, Goodwin was taping cardboard over the vision blocks and headlights of Alpha 11, the Bradley he drives, to protect them in transit.
"It's pretty easy to replace, but why do that if you can avoid it?" Goodwin asked.
Since the 4th Infantry Division announced Monday its 12,500 soldiers were deploying, Goodwin, 1-22 Infantry, and the rest of the division have been hard at work preparing to leave Fort Hood.
"We're on a call-forward status," said Lt. Col. Mark Woempner, 1-22 Infantry's commanding officer, explaining that a "call-forward" status means his battalion is ready to begin moving to the railhead.
""They caught us at a pretty good time," Woempner said. "We've been going through inspections because we were supposed to get -A3s (the newest version of the Bradley), and go to Operation Desert Spring in March. Now they're all fixed up and we're ready to go to war. Good for us; bad for Iraqis."
Despite its name, Woempner's battalion is one of just two infantry battalions based at Fort Hood in the 4th ID. The division also has four armor battalions at the post, and three other battalions two infantry and one armor based at Fort Carson, Colo.
If diplomacy should fail, the "Regulars by God" of 1-22 Infantry will be among the first units advancing into harm's way.
Unfolding his long frame, Goodwin who is 6 feet, 10 inches tall jumped down from the from his Bradley to inspect his work. The cardboard was securely taped in place and should survive the trip.
Two days after Christmas while he was back home in Illinois, Goodwin married his 19-year-old fiancée, Hanna. In the week since the deployment order came down, Goodwin said his new bride has not handled the news very well.
"That's to be expected, but she knows this is what I joined the Army for," he said. "There's a lot of new feelings for her I'm sure."
Another Bradley driver, Spc. Matthew Stoak, 25, was also recently married. He and his wife, Hope, 24, who is also a soldier, went to the justice of the peace Jan. 3.
"She doesn't want me to go, but I have to," Stoak said. "Her battalion is getting ready to leave, but she's three months pregnant and she can't deploy. She said she'd like to go if she was able."
Despite their wives' concerns, both Stoak and Goodwin said they are looking forward to the deployment. The anticipation has nothing to do with national security or international relations. They both understand that as soldiers it is their job.
"My dad was kind of worried. My mom told me to be strong and be safe," Stoak said. "Everybody wants to go, but they're going to miss people when they leave."
"You do what you got to do," Goodwin said. "I didn't come into the Army just for the college money. I came in to see different places. It sucks to do it under these terms but..."
Stuck on duty Friday as the duty runner, Pfc. Lindsay Saxton, 19, was eagerly waiting for his girlfriend, Sara, to arrive from North Carolina.
"She's in Dallas right now trying to get to Killeen," Saxton said after hanging up his cell phone. "She wants to see me before I leave."
Along with the excitement of Sara's impending arrival, Saxton was also looking forward to his new job in the battalion. Recently, he said, he had changed over from driving a Bradley to being one of the dismounted infantrymen who ride in the back and are the heart of the battalion.
Regulars by God
At 19 years old, Sexton is slightly younger than the average age of the more than 750 soldiers in 1-22 Infantry. According to Woempner, his battalion averages about 20 years and seven months of age.
"I was commissioned several years before the average age of the battalion," said the 42-year-old Woempner with a smile. "Most of these guys could be our children."
Originally commissioned as an engineer in 1980, Woempner came on active duty two years later. Easy going and quick with a joke, Woempner is one of the most senior lieutenant colonels in the division, a situation he attributes to his being a nerd.
That nerdiness, however, resulted in masters and doctorate degrees in mathematics for the career infantry officer.
In his office Friday afternoon, with a framed photo of his family looking on from his desk and a half-packed duffel bag leaning against the wall, Woempner is on the phone trying to get some of his soldiers back from temporary duty. Soon after hanging up the phone he is heading out the door for another planning meeting.
Confident in his battalion's abilities, Woempner said his soldiers are ready for whatever lies ahead.
"In the last 12 months, they've been one of the most deployed units in the Army," Woempner said. "We've been to (the National Training Center), to Cuba twice and now we're going to Iraq."
rolls to Fort Hood railhead
BY KEVIN J. DWYER
Herald Staff Writer
FORT HOOD The low rumbling growl of more than 50 diesel engines at idle rolled across the 1st Battalion, 22nd Infantrys motor pool Wednesday morning as the Regulars began their journey to the posts railhead.
This is probably the busiest Ive been in a long time, said battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Pete Martinez. The schedules are changing and we knew wed be coming out of the gate, but we didnt know when. Its been a little bit crazy.
Moments later Martinez with an ax handle gripped firmly in his hand began directing the battalions Bradley Fighting Vehicles onto North Avenue toward the posts staging area.
At the staging area better known as the Deployment Ready Reaction Field each of the Regulars 44 Bradleys and numerous other vehicles are driven across the scales and their weight is added to the running tally for Ship 12.
Once the soldiers drive their vehicles over the scales, the hard part of their long day begins: the waiting.
There are two sides to the DRRF. Facing it from North Avenue, the left side is for vehicles that have already been inspected and are ready to move to the railhead. The right side, the side 1-22 Infantrys vehicles started on Wednesday, is for those that havent.
Its the paperwork, said Lt. Col. Mark Woempner, the battalion commander. The paperwork is the hard part when it comes to transporting something on rail or a boat.
Everything from what is loaded and how the vehicles are packed has to be checked. Checking the Regulars Bradleys, M-113 armored personnel carriers, trucks and shipping vans takes several hours.
Killing time playing spades inside Woempners Humvee, were Spcs. Gersain Garcia, Thomas Brown, Pedro Martinez and Kevin Lance. Spc. Martinez is Woempners driver and the other soldiers are the drivers for the battalions executive officer, operations officer and Command Sgt. Maj. Martinez.
Brown and Lance were partners in the spades game when they hear Garcia and Spc. Martinezs bid: 10 tricks for 200 points.
Okay, the last two are mine, Garcia said with a smile after he and Spc. Martinez took 11 of the 13 tricks to win the game.
All four soldiers are married. Three are leaving children behind, and two are leaving pregnant wives as they head overseas.
It took me for a shock, but I still have to go, said Garcia about the deployment. He and his wife, Sophia, just found out this month they are having a child, Garcia said. Despite this, Garcia said his wife will most likely stay in town while hes gone.
Lance, on the other hand, said his family hasnt made that decision yet.
We havent had time yet to do any of that, Lance said. My wife might go home. Were thinking about that.
No matter what happens, all four soldiers said they are ready, but they dont know what to be ready for.
Theres no telling what will happen, Brown said. Right now we dont know what to expect.
From the Killen Daily Herald, January 30, 2003
Jan. 31, 2003 Killeen Daily Herald
Tired troops work day and night to get their equipment on its way to Texas ports
BY KEVIN J. DWYER
Herald Staff Writer
FORT HOOD Casting harsh shadows in the yellow glow from hundreds of overhead lights, Pfc. Jeremy Brown torqued down the chains that will secure an M1 Abrams tank on its trip to the port on the Gulf of Mexico.
Brown, and the other soldiers of the 3rd Battalion, 66th Armor Regiment, worked through the day and night Wednesday and into the early morning hours of Thursday at the post's railhead.
"We rolled out here this morning (Wednesday) at 10:30 a.m.," Brown said as the clock ticked past 11 p.m. "I got a pretty good night's sleep last night, so I'm not doing too bad."
The line of flatbed railcars stretched into the darkness. The tanks at the far end of the yard were already secured and those in the middle were being chained down.
However, the work would not end until the line of tanks waiting on the concrete apron was driven onto the empty flatcars, chained down front and rear, and given a final check by inspectors from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe rail line.
"The hardest part is getting them lined up on the marks," said Brown, an M1 driver.
With their tracks hanging over sides of the railcars, each tank is slowly driven down the long row of cars. Each time the 70-ton tanks stop and start during this delicate journey, their powerful engines actually move the train below them.
Brown, however, did not get the chance to show his driving skills atop the railcars.
"I was looking forward to doing it," he said. "You ain't got that much leeway to work with."
As the night marched on toward morning, some soldiers took any chance to catch a few minutes of sleep. Even 40-degree temperatures and a steel rail as a pillow did not deter soldiers from trying to steal 40 winks.
Watching as a team of his soldiers got to work on the four front and six rear chains, Capt. Tim Hayden, commander of the battalion's Bravo Company, mused on what reaction the train would get as it headed south.
"Some kid in some small town is going to see a train full of tanks go by his window," Hayden said. "That will be his first experience with the Army. That will stick with that little kid for a long time."
Getting each tank secured to the railcar, Hayden said, takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. Soldiers, he said, will gang up on each tank to get it ready for the inspectors.
"It's one of those things that you have to go slow to go fast," Hayden said. "It does us no good to have one tank crew done in 15 minutes and another in 45. My goal is not to get me out of here; it's to get the unit out of here as a whole."
The biggest challenge, said Sgt. Derwin Daigle, is making sure their work is up to the standards of the railroad's inspectors.
"We get told to redo the chains two or three times," said Daigle, a tank mechanic, about some of the difficulties the soldiers face. "A lot of them want to go home right now, but this, we've got to get it done. Once we get the vehicles out of here we'll get our personal time."
After all the tanks were loaded and every chain inspected, the cars carrying the 44 tanks were linked with those carrying the rest of the "Lancer's" equipment. After a slow trip through the railhead's turning circle to get them pointed in the right direction, the tanks headed down to the Gulf of Mexico.
Once at the port, they will be unloaded and join thousands of other tanks, Bradley fighting vehicles and helicopters waiting to be loaded on the massive ships that will carry them to Southwest Asia.
"The emotions haven't kicked in yet; I've been busy doing all this," Brown said. "I think if you're not scared in combat, you're not human. I don't think anybody, deep down, wants to see combat."
Hood finishes mobilization in record time
By Kevin J. Dwyer
Killeen Daily Herald
FORT HOOD Less than three weeks after the order was issued to deploy the 4th Infantry Division, its motorpools were emptied and Task Force Ironhorse was ready to head overseas.
What took months in late 1990 during the buildup to the Persian Gulf War, deploying a division's worth of equipment was cut to about 15 days.
"Fort Hood has, and is establishing itself more so, as the Army's premiere power projection platform," said Brig. Gen. William Feyk, deputy commanding general of III Corps and Fort Hood. "Nobody can do it faster than Fort Hood can at this point in time and it's only getting better."
Most of Ironhorse's equipment left Fort Hood by way of the post's railhead. By most accounts this new facility, which is in the final phases of construction, has more than tripled the post's ability load and ship equipment by rail.
Throughout the deployment operations, 1,805 railcars left the Fort Hood headed for the Gulf Coast ports of Corpus Christi, Galveston and Beaumont. The remainder of the task force's gear was carried by 912 tractor trailers to those same ports.
Within 10 days of receiving the deployment order, said Lt. Col. Bob Pricone, the III Corps chief of operations, the first ship was steaming across the Gulf of Mexico.
All together, more than 9,000 vehicles and other pieces of equipment including almost 600 M1 Abrams tanks, Bradley Fighting Vehicles and M109A6 155 mm Paladin howitzers were loaded and shipped.
"I don't think we could have done it as quickly without (the new railhead)," Pricone said. "The railhead has given us a tremendous capability to push out a division. We live by the motto, 'More is better and bigger is better.'"
Often, Pricone said, the post was moving equipment faster then the ports to the south could accept and load it onto ships.
"That's OK, we'd rather be waiting for the ships that have the ships waiting on us," Feyk said.
Both Feyk and Pricone praised the post's civilian employees who were the backbone of the deployment operation.
"The real bedrock of our ability to deploy is our civilian work force," Feyk said. "We've got some folks here that have been deploying troops since way before Desert Storm and they draw on that capability every day."
However, the movement went so quickly, Pricone said, it surprised even him.
"We knew that once we got the process started it would pick up and speed up everyday," Pricone said.
Pricone said that as recently as the fall of 2002, the III Corps staff was modifying its deployment plan. When the rewrite was finished, he said, the post had a plan in place to deploy both the 4th ID and the 1st Cavalry Division.
"It's important to have a plan up front," said Lt. Col. D.J. Johnson, the III Corps transportation officer. "We still had hiccups, but we worked through them."
Should the order come for III Corps to deploy the 1st Cav, Johnson said, Fort Hood is completely ready for the job.
"We'd do it in an equal amount of time or less," Johnson said. "We're a machine now."
"We're not new at this, we're not rookies at deployment," Feyk said. "Nobody knows more about deployment than the troops here at Fort Hood. Others do it, but we've done it for years and years."
Contact Kevin J. Dwyer at email@example.com
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