1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
Memories of SSG Kirk Douglas
When 1st Battalion 22nd Infantry
was reactivated at Fort Drum, SSG Kirk Douglas was the 15th
to sign into the new 1/22 Infantry, doing so during the month of January 1986.
His memories of 1st Battalion
written below serve as a concise and excellent history of the
of the Battalion during those times. He begins by paying tribute to Lieutenant Colonel Robert Hensler,
Commander of the newly reactivated 1/22 Infantry and also to Colonel Jack Keane, Commander of 1st Brigade
10th Mountain Division, of which 1/22 Infantry was the Infantry component.
" Bob Hensler was a great
CDR and a perfect pick to stand up this BN at this time in
history. GEN Jack Keane was the BDE CDR,
another great man for the job.
The BN was put together with a cadre of officers & NCOs from across the Army. President Reagan and Casper Weinberger (SECDEF)
wanted a lighter force that was rapidly deployable for mid to low intensity conflicts with an eye on central & South America.
I was in 1/22 from Jan 1986-May 1990. This was one of my favorite assignments and I am still close to my compatriot "Regulars"
to this day. The cadre of officers & NCOs conducted a rigorous train up in anticipation of the arrival of our cohort of troops.
It was a great experiment and I wish that our combat arms units could develop a regimental cohort system to take advantage
of the consistency of this system.
We built our own system based on the Pillars of Excellence and Power Down. Every thing we did was done with a Task Condition
& Standard. Once the troops arrived we did a series of evaluations from the SQD to the BN. LOTS of time in the field.
We rarely got on a truck to go to training and when we walked, it seemed we would take the longest route to get there.
We did hard realistic live fires. Being the only real unit on post, we only had to compete with the NG
and then only in the summer for training assets.
I did deploy to the last REFORGER with 1/22 and in that mission, the Light Infantry was up against an Armor Division.
We did not play fair, but we prooved that we were effective against the big boys. I could tell you plenty of stories
about that deployment. We infiltrated into the box via an 80 kilometer infiltration route, conducted a 10 day force on force operation
and then exfil'd another 80 kilometers out of the box. (This was a dismounted infil/exfil)
During the infiltration, I was the company Weapons PSG. Because my PLT was tasked to the line PLTs, I moved with
the company HQs. We stumbled across the Div Main TOC of the opposition. They had a shower point set up and we
infiltrated their ranks and took showers with the enemy and then as we were leaving (and they were preparing to jump),
we called in a heavy artillery strike on them.
This REFORGER is also why we did not deploy to Panama for the Just Cause operation. The REFORGER was the big evaluation
and DA was not willing to risk that after putting so much effort into standing up the LI units.
We also deployed to the JRTC (when it was still in Ft Chaffe, AR) within months of the end of the cohort cycle.
A time when about 75% of the troops were nearing their ETS. The BN performed extremely well. There was no short timers attitude.
We spent so much time in the field, that when we deployed, we just fell into that groove.
Good times & fond memories. "
Kirk Douglas 1SGT (Retired) June 2015
Editor: The website honors Kirk
Douglas and his long and faithful service to our country.
He retired from the Army with the rank of First Sergeant. Some of his assignments included:
Merrill's Marauders Association
B 1/75 Ranger
Task Force One C30 Team JRTC Ft. Polk
Instructor NCO Academy Camp Jackson, ROK
B 1/5 Infantry
Photo taken when he held the rank of Sergeant First Class
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