I gave up watching Letterman pretty much about the time I gave up keggers in college. So I guess I missed these two (separate) interviews Dave did with Medal of Honor recipients SSG Ty Carter and SSG Clinton Romesha.
I gave up watching Letterman pretty much about the time I gave up keggers in college. So I guess I missed these two (separate) interviews Dave did with Medal of Honor recipients SSG Ty Carter and SSG Clinton Romesha.
Back in my day, close quarters shooting simply wasn’t done. The safety issues meant absolutely nothing like realistic short range combat shooting could be done. All firing had to be from the prone position. Which, if you’re in a field with thigh high grass is pretty difficult.
Of all the combat arms in the Army in the Iraq War, and to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan, the least utilized, and thus least likely to be feted, and least likely to garner attention at budget time, was the Field Artillery. Now, from a parochial point of view, few things warm my heart more than mocking the gun-bunnies. But the professional warrior knows that not every fight will be like Iraq, and that against a near peer enemy, massed volumes of indirect fires will be critical to success.
Most of the technical advances in Field Artillery in recent years have been related to precision guided munitions, such as the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) and the Excalibur GPS guided 155mm artillery round.
On the towed artillery side, the Army and Marines have replaced their heavy M198 guns with the much lighter, digitally compatible M777 155mm howitzer.
But the backbone of Army field artillery has been, for about 50 years, the M109 155mm Self Propelled Howitzer. Mind you, the fleet has been greatly improved from the first iterations, but significant upgrades to the current M109A6 fleet haven’t happened in almost 20 years.
The basic tube and the digital fire control system are currently sufficient. What the fleet really needs is an upgrade to the mechanical side. And that’s what they’ll be getting. The legacy powertrain is being replaced with a kit that will use the same engine, transmission and final drives as the M2 Bradley fleet. This will not only give the Artillery much better power and reliability, it will also greatly simplify the spare parts and logistics challenges for the Armored Brigade Combat Team. It will also simplify training for mechanics.
The much more powerful engine also means greater generator capacity, and finally the M109 will receive an all electric turret drive system, to replace the current hydraulic system. Electric turret drives tend to be more reliable, and far easier to repair when they do break.
Modest improvements to the communications and fire control system (and today, that almost means the same thing) will also be added.
As a dyed-in-the-wool fiscal conservative, we fully support the sequester. A line in the sand must be drawn against the ever increasing levels of federal spending. And if that impacts the budget of the armed forces, so be it. Even in a world with multiple and complex security challenges, the stupendous levels of federal debt are our greatest national security threat.
But the problems the sequester foists upon the services are real, and are having real, immediate impacts upon the services.
The actual monetary cuts the sequester imposes on the services are fairly modest. Under FY13 (last year) the main cause of pain was that the full dollar amount of savings had to be realized in only half the fiscal year. The Obama administration fully expected a deal to avoid the cuts to be inked, and so steadfastly prohibited DoD and the services from even planning for the possibility of the cuts until the very last moment. The way monies are allocated to the DoD meant that most funds for the FY were already allocated or obligated. In short, the only places it was even possible to make any cuts were in Operations and Maintenance (O&M) and Personnel funds. Some O&M funds simply had to be spent, merely to continue operations (like, say, Afghanistan) already underway. So the training budget for units not tagged to deploy were slashed.
And the passage of a Continuing Resolution, while providing somewhat reasonable levels of funding for the Army, is still disastrous in the long term. Why? Because the CR is just that, a continuation of previous funding authority. In effect, the Army cannot move funding levels from one account to another, and are locked into the spending priorities set well over three years ago.
When I first joined the military the United States Army alone had some 780,000 troops in 18 divisions. It was near the end of the Cold War, the inter-German border still represented a very real potential combat zone and — if one was looking only at the numbers — this was probably about the high-point of the “peacetime” Army. We had the manpower we needed. The “Big Five” combat systems were coming into the field* and most of the detritus from the post-Vietnam period had been flushed from the system. Plus, in the past several years the Army had well and truly taken to the philosophy of honest and hard free-for-all training as a means of evening the gap by developing quality whereas our potential opponents had the quantity. This was best exemplified by the National Training Center (in the Mojave Desert of California) and the Combat Training Center at Hohenfels, Germany.
We trained hard and in all environments across the planet, and at any given moment we had at least a dozen “combat ready” divisions. (A division was, at that time, anywhere from 17-23,000 men.) And because good equipment and hard training costs money, it cost a lot of money. But in the wake of nearly perpetual poor performances of the US Army in the first battles of every war, our late-70s leadership decided “Never Again.” American units would train to the highest levels, with exacting but realistic standards, and we would do it so comprehensively that we would win, the first time, every time. In the process we would be saving innumerable lives, not only our own, but all sides because we would be able to fight so fast that the wars would be shorter. Only when a unit was fully trained would it be certified as “combat ready,” and that status would only last so long before it had to be trained again.
According to the Chief of Staff of the United States Army, as of yesterday, the entire US Army currently has only two combat brigades ready for combat.
Why? Well, we are not that much smaller than we were a few months or years ago. Though the drawdown has begun, it is only just starting and it should last four years. Oh, wait, that was the plan… until yesterday. Now we are cutting 80,000 in just two years. Perfect. (Hyperlinks in original)
You’ve probably seen where the Army Chief of Staff announced that only two Brigade Combat Teams are fully trained right now.
WASHINGTON, Oct 21 (Reuters) – Two years of budget cuts and fiscal uncertainty have forced the U.S. Army to greatly curtail spending on training, leaving it with only two combat brigades fully prepared to go to war, the Army’s top officer said on Monday.
“Right now, we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two,” General Ray Odierno told a news conference at the annual conference of the Association of the U.S. Army.
Odierno’s comments came as he and Army Secretary John McHugh discussed the impact of the recent U.S. government shutdown as well as across-the-board budget cuts that forced the military to slash spending in March, nearly halfway through its fiscal year.
McHugh and Odierno both appealed to Congress to find a way to give the military more financial predictability so it can plan effectively. McHugh said that with the way the military is currently funded, budgets that are approved today are based on planning that occurred three years earlier.
“You can’t run the most important military on the face of the Earth locked into three-year-old budgets,” McHugh said.
The Army was hit particularly hard by the cuts in March, known as sequestration, because of higher-than-projected Afghanistan war costs and the need to make up those funds from its operations accounts, which include money for training.
“We had to stop training, basically, in the last six months of the year,” Odierno said.
That doesn’t mean all training has ceased, but virtually all training above the individual, squad and platoon level has been curtailed. It costs a lot of money to send a company of tanks to the field for a week or two. Fuel, food, spare parts, ammunition, batteries and all sorts of sundries add up quickly. Even more expensive is sending an entire Brigade Combat Team to the field. Few posts actually have sufficient real estate to conduct quality training for an entire BCT so there’s the added expense of shipping the BCT’s people and equipment to a training area large enough to handle that size unit. And since that’s money the Army doesn’t have, they just aren’t doing it.
But units that haven’t trained together for their wartime mission, as integrated units, will find it difficult, if not impossible, to successfully complete those wartime missions. As friend-of-the-blog Esli has often noted, so many troops have had multiple wartime deployments, but virtually no experience in maneuver warfare combined-arms operations at the company level, let alone at the BCT or division level.
If a crisis comes (and sooner or later, they always do), the Army will deploy troops as needed. And those troops will pay a price in blood to learn lessons they were supposed to pay for in sweat.
Ah, the culmination of a couple of weeks downrange. Pics and commentary courtesy LTC Esli Pitts, AR, USA, 3/8 CAV
Formerly a lost art, with the end of the war in Iraq and drawdown of heavy forces in Afghanistan, heavy brigades are getting back to tank and Bradley gunnery. It was a rough start, given that many of the tankers had never fired gunnery, or certainly not in their current positions. Having shot our second gunnery within the year, we saw some pretty good results.
Even with the Texas heat, there are few things more satisfying than taking an M1A2 through its paces on a live-fire range. Sure, it is blindingly hot, but face it; there is something cool about things that go boom. The idea that I can put the reticle on a moving plywood target 2200 meters (yeah that is 1.4 miles) away and kill it about a second later is mind-boggling. And fun.
A unit goes to the field for about 2-3 weeks, and at the end, they are lethal tankers. It’s hard work and long hours, but in the end, it is fun. I like to say that we get paid year-round, but the only time we actually earn the check is on the range.
Before you can fire, there are prerequisites. They include a certain level of proficiency in the Advanced Gunnery Training System (AGTS) (way better than the old UCOFT). Additionally, you have to pass Gun Table I and the Gunner’s Skill Test, which include hands-on testing in loading and firing machine guns, loading the main gun (seven seconds to pass, but the real standard is under four seconds), conducting mis-fire procedures, rollover drills, boresighting the tank, etc. There are also a lot of maintenance checks required to get the tanks ready.
Once you meet the pre-reqs, you go to the field and fire the following day and night tables:
-Screening: a lot like zeroing the tank, this is a test to make sure that the tank hits where the computer says it is supposed to hit.
-Gun Table II: Crew Proficiency: This is a dry (or sub-caliber training device) run to make sure the crew can perform their crew duties properly
-Gun Table III / IV: Basic Machine Gun and main gun tables combined.
-GT V: Practice crew qualification. Usually with smaller targets and longer ranges, this is a hard table.
-GT VI: Crew Qualification. (For all of you old guys, yes, this used to be Tank Table VIII, but the HBCT gunnery manual published in 2009 revised all of them.)
Generally every other gunnery, you will progress to tactical tables including:
-GT IX: Section Qualification (two tanks)
-GT XII: Platoon Qualification (four tanks under the control of a Platoon Leader. I generally make GT XII a 72-hour event with tactical tasks as well as gunnery. These are fun, but high-stress for the PL.)
During GT II through GT VI, the crew fires ten engagements, each of which requires the crew to perform different tasks (called Minimum Proficiency Levels) from an offensive or defensive tank during either day or night. Some examples:
-Tank Commander’s engagement with main gun
-“Simo” including TC’s .50 cal, the loader’s M240 and the gunner’s coaxial M240.
-Change of ammunition: Tank target with sabot, then light armor with HEAT
-Change of weapons-system: tank target with main gun then troops with coax machine gun
-Use the Gunner’s Auxiliary Sight
Target ranges vary, with machine gun targets up to 800 meters, and main gun targets out to about 2200 meters (training ammunition is not ballistically matched to service ammunition, so is not accurate much farther than this). The hardest target on my last gunnery was the commander’s engagement of a flank moving tank (about 10 mph) at 2200 meters.
A target is presented for 50 seconds. The crew is scored on how quickly it can kill that target. In the defense, the time to kill does not start until the tank pulls up to fire (i.e. could be hit by the enemy). For example, a target could be exposed for 40 seconds before the tank comes up in the battle position and kills it. If your tank was only up for 5 seconds or so, it would be 100 points. On the other hand, if the target came up and the tank crew immediately came up to fire, but did not fire for 10-15 seconds, the crew loses points with every second they are exposed to the enemy’s fire. In the offense, when you are already exposed, time starts immediately and you must be quick. In 50 seconds, you may have two targets. A third may be presented on a 15 or 20 second delay. This might seem like a long time, but sometimes it takes a lot of time just to find the targets. It takes 70 points to qualify each engagement.
If a crew qualifies seven of ten engagements and scores 700 points or greater, than he is “qualified” as Q1. If he qualifies eight of ten engagements with a score of 800 points or more, than he qualified with a “Superior” rating. And for those that qualify nine (or ten) engagements and score 900 points or more, they have qualified with a “Distinguished” rating. A crew that fails to qualify “Q1” will re-fire engagements until he has qualified 7 of them with 70 points, and is qualified as a “Q2.” This is not good. But it happens.
A change with the M1A2, which is hard for older tankers to get used to, is the extremely abbreviated nature of fire commands now which literally saves seconds with each engagement.
There are lots of traditions associated with tank gunnery. Some good. Some not so good.
-Not changing whatever worked. One former PSG shot every gunnery wearing the same red long underwear regardless of temperatures, and always included his stuffed teddy bear, even after his angry wife once ripped its arm off. I’ve shot every gunnery but my most recent with the same pair of gloves.
-Blessing the tanks. Some units used to to put the tanks on line and have the chaplain bless them.
-No peaches are allowed on the tanks. No one knows why, but that is good enough reason.
-Firing a HEAT round with a roll of toilet paper soaked in flammable fluids placed over the spike. Frowned upon but spectacular.
-Loading a lieutenant’s hat in the breech and firing it. Dumb. Having witnessed this result in a sabot round stuck in the chamber and hours spent freeing it, this is not worth it by any means.
-The earning of the right to wear tanker boots after qualifying.
-Steak and eggs on the range after qualifying.
-Kill rings on the main gun of the tank. One ring for a Q1, two rings for Superior, and 3 rings for Distinguished. Tan tanks get black rings; green tanks get white rings. The top tank gets gold rings.
On the way!
This is the office on my home-away-from home…
That’s brand new track on the tank. Considering my tank rolls more and farther than any other in the BN, we deserve it! Yes, the fender is damaged from taking the tank into a wooded environment for crew training. Hey, that’s why they are cheap.
New paint job on the CIPs panels: 8th CAV crests. WARHORSE!!!
My crew after I had the distinct honor and privilege of pinning Army Achievement Medals on them for shooting Distinguished. Then, into the tents behind for steak and eggs, and watch some of “The Beast.” Great night.
Just hanging out after the final night run AAR. The paint is barely dry on the crests.
Showing off the kill rings the next morning. Three means we qualified Distinguished. Gold rings would be for the top tank. We weren’t even close to D34 with a 1000 point run.
I am looking at a job in art one day; all of the new artwork was mine… Kill rings and 8th CAV crests.
Gunnery was always a lot of hard work and late nights (and early mornings, as always) but it was also a lot of fun. And shooting stuff was the whole point of being in the combat arms.
With the end of the war in Iraq, and with combat operations in Afghanistan slated to wind down, and especially with the impending drawdown, life in the Army is starting to change.
More and more, troops will find themselves at home station, and with less money for training, they’ll find themselves focusing on the more mundane aspects of soldiering. And increasingly, the Army is turning its focus in discipline and good order. That’s not to say that soldiers haven’t performed magnificently for the last decade plus of war. But new soldiers joining units aren’t going to be immediately deployed to a combat zone. And to achieve unit cohesion and effectiveness, many of the peacetime garrison aspects of soldiering will regain emphasis. Attention to detail is a key skill of soldiering, and unit chains of command, especially Sergeants Major, tend to look to things like uniform standards, and the cleanliness and orderliness of unit areas as key indicators of such. That link focuses on the Marines, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the Army is going to follow a similar path.
One example is the recently approved revisions to AR670-1, the regulation governing uniforms and appearance. For some reason, the Army has suddenly decided that tattoos on the forearms and lower legs will no longer be permitted. Until recently, the standard was as long as the tats were covered while wearing the dress uniform, and not an extremist tattoo, it was acceptable.
In the Old Army, we referred to these petty inconveniences as “chickenshit.” While every soldier (Marine/Sailor/Airman/Coastie) has their own experiences, things are in some ways not as bad as they used to be. Let me share some of my experiences.
My first unit was a light infantry battalion in Hawaii. It was a unit with very high standards, which, for the most part, was a good thing.
Every morning started with First Call at 0600, when the Charge of Quarters runner would pound on doors waking you up. By 0605, I could expect to see my Team Leader standing in my door ensuring that I was dressed in PT uniform, and busy making my bed, and that my room was tidy and neat. First formation was at 0630, followed by an hour to 75 minutes of PT and a run. After that, we had until 0900 to shower, change into uniform, clean our rooms and the common areas such as the bathrooms and showers, and with luck, run to the mess hall and enjoy breakfast.
Every day, rooms were expected to be swept, mopped, and buffed. Every day, my Team Leader and Squad Leader were expected to inspect my wall locker. All uniforms were to be neatly hung, with all buttons buttoned, and zippers zipped, hung in a precise order. Undergarments were to be folded or rolled in a specified manner and stored according to a published template. What little space was left could be used for civilian clothing, but it too had to be stored in a (specified) neat and orderly manner.
No members of the opposite sex were allowed into the barracks spaces. Nor was hard alcohol permitted in the barracks, regardless of the age of the drinker. Indeed, while beer was permitted for those of us of legal drinking age (at the time, 18 in Hawaii) no more than one six-pack of beer per person was permitted.
Time has faded some of my other memories of the inconveniences of living the barracks life and the ravages of a garrison mentality. But rest assured, there are First Sergeants and Sergeants Major aplenty in the force that are eager to embrace every opportunity to bring back as much as possible those prewar artifacts. Indeed, they are eager to impose the strictest possible interpretation of AR670-1 with one curious exception. The strict prohibition upon pressing and starching the Army Combat Uniform will somehow be overlooked. And if they could figure out a way to demand a spit shine on rawhide boots, they’d do that too.
Of course not. But Jeong Lee, writing at the USNI Blog argues that they should be.
Speaking at the Association of the United States Army on the 12th, Admiral James Winnefeld, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the audience that in future ground wars the tempo will be “shorter, faster-paced and much harder” because America’s adversaries will work to create a “fog of war.” Thus, the Admiral suggested that the Army “place more emphasis on the growth industry…of protecting American citizens abroad” in order to adapt to the fluid geostrategic environment.
Indeed, since the sequestration went into effect in March, many defense experts have been debating what the future may hold for the Army, the Marine Corps and the Special Operations Command (SOCOM). Whatever their respective views may be on the utility of landpower in future wars, all seem to agree on one thing: that in the sequestration era, the ground components must fight leaner and smarter. (Hyperlinks in original-XBrad)
Many defense experts may be debating what the future holds, but damn few think merging the Army, Marines and the SOF community is the way to go.
The argument that ground components must fight leaner and smarter certainly hails back to the Rumseldian Revolution in Military Affairs and the Transformationalists. How’d that work out for us?
Not to knock the Marines in any way, but the fact that they have been serving as a second army in our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan strikes me as silly. Sure, some units being blooded is probably a good thing, but the main mission of the Marines should be to serve as a rapid reaction and forced entry force, not a reserve of manpower for a leaner, smarter Army.
And since Mr. Lee brings up consolidation of duplicative forces, why not give the Air Force all the Navy’s aircraft?*
And here’s the thing about leaner landpower. It’s a strategic risk. While I’d argue that the average Army Brigade Combat Team is more than a match for a comparable enemy force, the ideal is to have overwhelming combat power, both to quickly achieve objectives, and minimize losses to our force. The more closely matched in combat power, the more likely heavy losses will occur. Further, don’t fall into the amateur’s trap of thinking strictly in terms of a single component. The US great strength in warfare has long been its ability to fight combined arms and services. We can find dozens, hundreds of examples where we did so poorly, but the fact is, we’re head and shoulders above anyone else at it. The CoComs, the Unified Combatant Commanders, were designed specifically to be in such a position that their parochial attachments to the service the grew up in is mitigated by understanding the need to effectively synergize the efforts of all the service components under their command. It’s imperfect, but again, it’s better than anyone else’s system.
What are you thoughts on why this is a bad idea. Conversely, what (realistically) can we do to streamline the duplication of effort? What changes can and should we make?
*no, not really. I’d rather see the Navy take over the air mission, but I’m trying to make a point here…
So, 5/20IN hosted the Japanese Ground Self Defense Force to a mortar live fire at Yakima Firing Center recently. Lots of 120mm goodness going on.
Here’s the short PAO take.
And here’s the extended version. I love that piiiiiing! that 120mm mortars make when firing. Gives me a warm fuzzy.
This is for his actions in the same engagement where SGT Dakota Meyers earned his.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 16, 2013
President Obama to Award Medal of Honor
On October 15, 2013, President Barack Obama will award William Swenson, a former active duty Army Captain, the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. Captain Swenson will receive the Medal of Honor for his courageous actions while serving as an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of the Afghan National Security Forces with Afghan Border Police Mentor Team, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, during combat operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan on September 8, 2009.
Captain Swenson will be the sixth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. He and his family will join the President at the White House to commemorate his example of selfless service.
Captain William D. Swenson separated from the Army on February 1, 2011 and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. He is single.
Captain Swenson was commissioned as an Army Officer upon completing Officer Candidate School on September 6, 2002. His military training and education includes: Infantry Maneuver Captains Career Course, Ranger Course, Infantry Officer Basic, Infantry Mountain Leader Advanced Marksmanship Course, Airborne, Officer Candidate School.
At the time of the September 8, 2009 combat engagement, Captain Swenson was an Embedded Trainer and Mentor of Afghan National Security Forces. His actions were performed as part of 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 10th Mountain Division.
His military decorations include: Bronze Star Medal with Two Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with One Campaign Star, Iraq Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge
I stole this from John Donovan’s facebook feed. Thanks, John. John also mentions his suspicion that, for whatever reason, the Bush era DoD had a strong reluctance to consider any award of the MoH to surviving troops, whereas the Obama administration has not shown such reluctance.
Interestingly, this is the second small unit engagement that has seen the award of the MoH to two participants. Both here and the battle of COP Keating were desperate fights, and both came in for widespread criticism for the way Big Army handled the fight. I have a suspicion that the scrutiny of the fights has lead to greater documentation of the actions, which in turn raised the visibility of the participants, and led to greater supporting documentation for the awards process. Of course, in CPT Swenson’s case, the awards package was “lost” leading to a delay in the decision to make the award. That’s absolutely shameful.
GEN “Skinny” Wainwright had the unenviable duty of surrendering US (and Philippine) forces in the Philippines to the Japanese in World War II. He endured the rest of the war in captivity. His sense of duty led him to believe he deserved court martial for failure to accomplish his mission and save his command. Instead, when the Japanese delegation boarded the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945 to sign the articles of capitulation, GEN Wainwright stood by General of the Army MacArthur in a place of honor.
His command to his soldiers then is every bit as valid today.
Army Times has a piece where Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs, ADM Sandy Winnefeld, says the Army should establish similar rapid regional response units like the one the Marine Corps recently stood up in Spain. The Marine unit, a reinforced rifle company with supporting aviation, was deployed as a response to the public outcry over an ability to respond to the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi a year ago.
The Army should consider establishing forward-deployed crisis-response units similar to the Marine Corps’ instead of ceding that mission entirely, a top military official said.
Adm. Sandy Winnefeld, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the crisis-response mission has taken on greater urgency in light of recent world events.
“I would say that I’d like to see the Army place more emphasis on the growth industry of the national security interest of protecting American citizens abroad; don’t yield that entirely to the Marine Corps,” he said.
The comments are unlikely to be popular in the Corps, which has claimed crisis response as its own mission. Commandant Gen. Jim Amos frequently refers to the service as the United States’ premier 9-1-1 force, and he has expressed significant interest in the Corps expanding its crisis-response capabilities in the last year.
Should the Army establish a similar team in support of our facilities in the Middle East or South America?
I am dubious, at best. For the Marines, deploying a reinforced rifle company with attached aviation assets is part and parcel of their business. While typically the Marines don’t deploy units smaller than a reinforced infantry battalion with aviation and logistics units as a Marine Expeditionary Unit, or MEU, while the MEU is deployed, slicing off a rifle company for a fair period of time isn’t unusual. To be sure, adding this mission to the Marine’s plate is a burden. But it is also very much a historical part of their skill set. And the Marines typically already deploy and afloat MEU to the Middle East on a continuing basis.
For the Army, such a mission is outside its typical deployment package. Outside the Special Forces community, typically the smallest element independently deployed would be the Brigade Combat Team. Battalion and company sized elements may deploy overseas for training evolutions, but the logistics and communications for an operational deployment of an Army unit that size would call for tailoring a special task force.
Make no mistake, the Army would not be given extra funding, or establish special new companies to perform this mission. Instead, a rotation of various companies from existing BCTs would be tasked to perform the mission in rotation. So the tasked BCT would lose an integral part of its end strength not only for the length of time of the deployment, but also the time needed to train the unit for its specialized mission, and time to reintegrate it with the BCT’s training upon its return. And it wouldn’t just be a BCT impacted. A slice from a supporting Combat Aviation Brigade would also need to participate. And not just that, but if the notional rapid response force is to have a reach of more than about 200 miles, it would require air transport and support from the Air Force. Worse, Army helicopters are incapable of in-flight refueling (unlike Marine MV-22 and CH-53E helicopters).
The Marines have long had the mission of protecting US embassies and consulates. This is a mission very much in their wheelhouse. Let’s let the Army concentrate on training and executing those mission best suited for its strengths.
True story. I had a roommate in the barracks in Germany who was prior enlisted Marine. He enlisted in the Marines, wanting nothing more than to be a grunt, and deploy on a “float” to the Far East, and follow in his father’s footsteps. So what did the Marine Corps, in its infinite wisdom do? It made him an Embassy Marine, and sent him to the US Embassy in Bonn, Germany. Steve loathed Germany. He couldn’t think of a single good thing about being stationed in Germany. So when his enlistment was up, he quit the Marines, and enlisted in the Army, hoping to be stationed in Korea. The Army had about 50,000 people then in Korea, and 200,000 in Germany. So Steve found himself stationed back in Germany, only this time, at least, he was in a real Infantry unit. I know he stayed in the Army after his first enlistment. I just don’t know if he ever made it to the Far East.
The Armorer shared this little video of Grafenwoehr Training Area, in Germany. GTA has long been the primary live fire training area for US and German units in Europe. Indeed, as the video shows, it’s been fulfilling that mission since before the First World War.
I’ve been around the track there a time or two. How about you? Any memories of GTA?
I’d love to know where this is, because I’ve never seen a squad live fire that wasn’t uphill.
Today, under the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) plan, Brigade Combat Teams (BCT) go through a cycle where they are deployed or ready to deploy, recovering from a deployment or readiness term, or are training up to regain their readiness to deploy. For the most part, all BCTs in the Army have, for the last decade or so, shared equally in cycle. The large numbers of BCTs needed for deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan dictated that almost every BCT would sooner or later get its turn in the barrel.
But with Iraq over, and Afghanistan winding down, fewer and fewer BCTs are being tapped to deploy overseas. Particularly, the heavy BCTs, with tanks and Bradleys, aren’t deploying to Afghanistan.
More importantly, the Army is running out of money. It has already made the choice to shutter a large number of BCTs (though the remaining BCTs will gain an additional maneuver battalion).
But even with those cuts, the budget for manpower, training, and operations is under pretty severe stress.
Cancelled training. Deferred maintenance. Grounded aircraft. That’s been the damage to military readiness from the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration in 2013. Now the Vice-Chief of Staff of the Army says the service may have to keep many units at lower levels of readiness for years. This is not a short-term expedient but new policy.
“We’re looking at having certain number of brigades at a higher level of readiness,” Gen. John Campbell told me last week. “Many of our units will go down much lower.”
“Some people would call that tiered readiness, where we said we never were going to go again,” the Vice-Chief went on, referring to the Cold War practice where units not in West Germany or South Korea sometimes never received their full allotment of troops, equipment, and training dollars. “I’d call it progressive readiness.”
A preliminary plan may be ready for public discussion within weeks, Campbell said. “We’re working through that now,” he said, as the service builds its 2015-2019 budget plan, the Program Objective Memorandum.
Campbell’s remarks suggest new willingness on the Army leadership’s part to shift it position on readiness, one that’s been urged by many thinktanks.
“While Army leaders have avoided cutting readiness to every extent possible, it is no longer feasible under current budget plans – even before sequestration moves into year two,” argues Mackenzie Eaglen, one of the think tank experts who recommended cutting readiness levels to guarantee the military’s ability to develop and buy new weapons.
“There is already a readiness shortfall this year that is being funded through war spending and additional untold readiness gaps based on all the services receiving fewer resources than expected when Congress finally passed a defense appropriations bill for 2013,” she said.
It is hardly a perfect solution, but then, it’s also the world I knew back in my own days of service.
Some BCTs will still receive the money and manpower to stay at full readiness, known sometimes as C-1. Fully manned, and trained in all the essentials of the commanders Mission Essential Task List, and having gone through a cycle of training from individual skills to full up BCT sized operations in the field at one of the Combat Training Centers against a dedicated Opposing Force.
Other BCTs… not so much.
They’ll have less money for fuel and maintenance for their equipment. Fewer spare parts. A smaller allocation of ammunition for training. Likely, exercised at battalion and BCT level will be cancelled or curtailed. They’ll get fewer rotations at the Combat Training Centers. They’ll be last in line for receiving new equipment.
And perhaps most painfully, they’ll get fewer people.
We talked above about some units being fully manned. But the truth is, no unit is ever really fully manned. Let’s say a rifle company has an authorized strength of 100. The Army says it will be fully manned. But you’ve got people transferring out, and waiting for new bodies to come in. Then you’ve got people on leave, at various Army schools, people who are sick or injured (they still count toward you being fully manned, but aren’t available for duty), troops who are awaiting discharge either for completing their service, or because they’re unsuitable for the Army. Then there are the demands placed from above. It is not at all unheard of for a higher echelon to levy units for manpower, either for a temporary tasking, or for extended periods. Our notional rifle company might be lucky to have 75 troops present at morning formation.
My first two duty stations, I was assigned to units that were fully manned. My third wasn’t quite as lucky. We were constantly understrength. While we always had enough people to fully crew our Bradleys, we had only enough troops left over to field a single, understrength rifle squad per platoon. We needed another 10 to 12 troops, per platoon, to be fully manned.
We had enough money and assets to train on individual skills, and small unit collective skills. But it is hard to train a platoon to fight properly when every bit of doctrine that governs employing the platoon assumes a much larger unit, with a good bit more tactical flexibility.
The Army’s reasoning is that for the foreseeable future, should these lower tier BCTs be needed for a fight, they’ll have time to plus up their manning, and their training. We can only hope they’re correct.
If not, we can always ask the survivors of Task Force Smith how things worked out for them.
The military court in the murder trial of Nidal Hasan has sentenced him to death. Given that the military has not executed anyone for about half a century, there’s no telling if or when he will actually face that ultimate sanction.
First, his conviction and sentence will be reviewed by the court martial convening authority. I’m not sure which general actually convened the court, possibly the III Corps commander (anyone know?). That commander can let the conviction and sentence stand, or he can set it aside, reduce the sentence, or resubmit it for retrial.
After the commander’s review, the case will automatically be submitted for appeal to the Court of Appeals for the Army, then to the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. The next step after those two appeals courts is the Supreme Court, but that is not automatic. Whether Hasan will be permitted to act pro se before the appeals courts, I don’t know.
Finally, among the other sanctions the court has applied, Hasan has been stripped of his rank, and all pay and allowances are stopped. Finally.
They are shot at, bombed, and isolated in an inhospitable environment, where the weather cycles between extreme heat and cold, and the night brings the prospect of more attacks from a ghostly enemy.
Yet when the Army surveyed soldiers about improving conditions during their deployment, it discovered a seemingly unusual concern: sore feet.
“The soldier lives in his boots,” said Bob Hall, a footwear project engineer at the Army’s Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center. “If he’s having problems with his boots, he’s having problems with everything.”
More than a decade into the war in Afghanistan, Army researchers in Natick are in the final stages of a two-year process to develop a boot made specifically for soldiers to traverse the unforgiving environments of the Middle East.
Graphic: Boots for Middle East
After calling for submissions in 2011, the Army has narrowed the field to three competitors, each of which specializes in American-made military footwear: Bates Footwear of Rockford, Mich., Belleville Boot Co., in Belleville, Ill., and Danner in Portland, Ore. Each version is its own marvel of fine-detail engineering.
‘The soldier lives in his boots. If he’s having problems with his boots, he’s having problems with everything.’
“We know who makes the best boots out there, and we tap into the best technology the industry has,” said Sergeant Major Emmett Maunakea, who served four tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and advises a team at Fort Belvoir, Va., that develops equipment for soldiers. “There’s so much science that goes into it.”
And they had better be comfortable, too.
Hmm…. a leather, canvas and nylon boot that’s lightweight. Seems to me, the original jungle boot pretty much fit that bill, at a hell of a lot less expense.
When I was in the 25th Infantry division, every soldier had on hand his two DMS full leather combat boots, as issued as part of his clothing bag allowance. But in the division, each soldier was also issued two pair of jungle boots, as Organizational Clothing and Individual Equipment. The difference was, the soldier was responsible for the DMS boots, but jungle boots, as organizational equipment, could be exchanged at no cost to the soldier when they wore out or otherwise became unserviceable.
When the battalion would head over to The Big Island for training, we’d spent the majority of our time in the island’s vast lava beds. Accordingly, we were directed to bring only jungle boots, as a month or so of operations in that terrain would surely ruin any pair of boots, DMS or jungle or what have you.
In the 19 months I spent in the division, I probably went through 8 pairs of jungle boots.
No, not mine. I might have fairly deep thoughts on the subject, but lack an ability to articulate them very well.
But I did stumble across the blog of an active Army officer who does have some serious thoughts on the matter. There are very, very few good Army blogs written by active duty folks. There used to be several, but it seems blogging in the Army is dying. So let us cherish them when we find them.
I was going to post on this piece in The Army Times, but came across this brief post instead.
I’m not sure I still have all of the Army memorabilia that I’ve acquired over the years, but I’ve still kept that note. I keep it as a reminder that a small act, something as simple as a handwritten correspondence, can let a junior leader know that his or her service and sacrifices are appreciated. It probably only took him 10-15 minutes to do it, but it still resonates with me almost a decade later.
To many junior leaders the microcosm of their unit (Brigade and below) is the Army, and if we show them that we care and are committed to them, in their eyes the Army cares and is committed to them.
Read the whole thing, then, of course, start reading the whole blog. I’ve blogrolled him.
Every American knows the story of the Boston Tea Party and its implications on the Revolutionary War. Lesser known, but perhaps of greater relevance to a nation recognized more for coffee breaks than tea time, is the fact that America’s taste for coffee is inextricably linked to the history of its military.
We weren’t aware of it until just recently. But in hindsight, it made perfect sense that we would become obsessed with coffee when we joined the Marines. As we later discovered, we were part of a long line of men whose enthusiasm for the drink was closely tied to their experiences in the service.
Battle-weary Marines of the 22nd Regiment drank coffee after heavy fighting on Einwetok Atoll in the Pacific Theater in February 1944.National Archives and Records Administration Battle-weary Marines of the 22nd Regiment drank coffee after heavy fighting on Einwetok Atoll in the Pacific Theater in February 1944.
As Capt. Robert K. Beecham wrote in his book, “Gettysburg: The Pivotal Battle of the Civil War”: “The power of the soldiers to endure the fatigue of the march and keep their places in the ranks was greatly enhanced by an opportunity to brew a cup of coffee by the wayside.”
Coffee’s popularity grew in the years following Reconstruction. But it didn’t become a household staple until the confluence of the Industrial Revolution, the rise of the advertising age and the cultural mixing that occurred during World War I. As William Ukers explained in The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal, “the 2,000,000 soldiers who went overseas and there had their coffee three times a day…since returning to civilian life are using it more than ever before.”
Let me tell you, it ain’t just the Marines secret weapon. I drank coffee long before I joined the Army, but I really became one with the coffee mug while in the service. I had a beer stein that never held beer, only coffee. I learned dozens of ways of making coffee, scrounging coffee, and keeping coffee hot in a thermos for 48 hours. And few memories of my time in the Army are more pleasant than those of sharing a hot cup with a fellow soldier on a crisp morning.
I’m a Leg, not a jumper, but even I think this is pretty impressive.
The Secretary of the Army and the Army Chief of Staff have given their staffs just weeks — until Sept. 11 — to report back with “a comprehensive set of recommendations” as to where the service can make 25 percent cuts in funding and manning levels at all Army headquarters elements at the 2-star level and above.
The “2013 Army Focus Area Review Group” plan was spelled out in an August 14 Army document obtained by Defense News.
In some of the strongest language yet about how seriously Army leadership is taking the cuts, the memo bluntly says that “Let there be no mistake, aggregate reductions WILL TAKE PLACE. The money is gone; our mission now is to determine how best to allocate these cuts while maintaining readiness. We expect Army leaders, military and civilian, to seize this opportunity
to re-shape our Army. This effort will take PRIORITY OVER ALL other Headquarters, Department of the Army activities.”
The Group is being led by Deputy Undersecretary of the Army Thomas Hawley and head of Army’s Office of Business Transformation Lt. Gen. Thomas Spoehr. The memo states that the group will have seven “Focus Area” teams, each tasked with developing “bold executable recommendations which will be used to balance the already directed reductions” in the budget projections from 2015-2019. The initial focus areas are:
■ Institutional Headquarters Reductions
■ Operational Headquarters Reductions
■ Operational Force Structure and Ramps
■ Acquisition Work Force
■ Installation Services and Investments
■ Army C31 [sic] and Cyber
I think the very first thing I’d do is close anything named even remotely like Office of Business Transformation and get rid of that 3-star slot.
On the institutional side, we’ve already seen the Armor Center and the Infantry Center consolidated to the Maneuver Center. I can think of some other arms and services that might consolidate as well.
Forbes has a pretty interesting look at one of the few bright spots in the American military aviation industry, helicopters, and sees clouds on the horizon in terms of procurement numbers. It is a pretty interesting article, and you might enjoy it.
But the part that caught my eye was this:
Meantime, the next generation of rotorcraft will take time to develop. In June, the US Army selected three designs for its Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator program. JMR-TD is the precursor to the Department of Defense’s Future Vertical Lift (FVL) program, and it should produce three medium size class technology demonstrators to be built by 2017.
There’s a lot of promise with FVL, which, for a start, is intended to replace 2,000-4,000 UH-60 medium lift models and AH-64 attack helicopters. It will also be used to provide replacements for scout and heavy lift models through a modular design approach that will allow the airframe to be scaled. In all, it could be worth over $100 billion. However, FVL procurement will not begin until 2030, at the earliest.
That’s the part that scares me. Actually, the first paragraph isn’t so bad. A technology demonstrator (TD) program isn’t, per se, bad. In fact, it is probably a pretty good idea. The problem is, a TD in effect becomes a prototype competition (much as happened in the JSF program) and the rules that determine the winner for a TD program are different from the rules that would be used in a genuine prototype fly-off for a production aircraft.
No, what really concerns me is the program looks structured to provide a “one airframe fits all” approach.
Which, it won’t. The reason we have different airframes is simply because one airframe simply cannot adequately perform all the mission sets required.
Now, a good deal of commonality among different airframes isn’t bad. For instance, the cockpit of the Boeing 757 and 767 are virtually identical. If you can fly one, you can pretty much fly the other. And using the same parts gives economies of scale in procurement and maintenance. The same holds true with most Airbus single aisle airliners.
Should the FVL program lead to new technologies in engine, rotors,avionics, noise and infrared suppression and other improvements, by all means, those developments should, where feasible, be shared across future programs.
But the bit about scalability is scaring me. I strongly suspect that rather than developing separate airframes with common components, the services will try to develop a common airframe with divergent missions. And that will be doomed to failure.
After all, it isn’t like this hasn’t happened before. The cancelled RAH-66 Comanche was the sole fruit of what was, until then, the most ambitious procurement program the Army ever undertook- the LHX. The Light Helicopter Experimental program was started in the early 1980s to replace the first generation of turbine powered helicopters of the Army. It was intended to replace the UH-1, the AH-1, the OH-6 and the OH-58, and eventually even replace the UH-60 and AH-64 that were just beginning to enter service as the LHX program was begun.
Trying to make one program fulfill several different roles meant a leap in technology was needed. Which meant the program was high risk. And a high risk program means a drawn out development schedule, which means high costs. And high costs per unit demand a more and more capable unit, which drives up the need for a technological leap, which makes a program high risk, which….
Eventually, the lift helicopter portions of the program were shed, and the focus was on a light armed scout. And that scout was burdened with ever greater requirements to be far more advanced than any previous helicopter. No doubt, a fair amount of the gold-plating of the program was a result of the contractor coming up with innovative ideas of what they could do- given the time and money to try, of course.
But so much time was spent developing the resulting RAH-66 helicopter that its mission, to slip far behind the lines of any Soviet armored assault on Western Europe, and locate valuable targets for other Army assets, was overtaken by other technologies, not to mention the collapse of the Soviet Union itself.
After a quarter century of development and untold billions of dollars in development, the Army ended up with nothing.
Where the Army (and the other services) have had great success in aviation procurement is in tightly defining a mission and more importantly, tightly defining the requirements to fulfill that mission. When the services have ruthlessly resisted the call to add more capabilities beyond the immediate level needed to accomplish a mission, and have steadfastly avoided mission creep, they’ve had good success in buying aircraft. But without that discipline, they’ve suffered setback after embarrassing setback and ballooning costs and development timelines.
Let’s hope the FVL program manager can read a little history.
A new combat uniform with special consideration to the female body is now available at Fort Gordon, almost a month after the Army announced plans to open all units and military jobs to women by 2016.
The March debut of the Combat Uniform-Alternate is the first in a series of moves the Army hopes to make in the next three years to help female soldiers feel like more professional members, officials said.
With narrower shoulders, a slightly tapered waist and a more spacious seat, the unisex clothing line has been in the works since 2009 and is being issued to all installations – except Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. – for men and women with a smaller or more slender body.
This is why people don’t trust the news. Because the news is provided by really, really stupid people.
The headline in the article says “Unisex Uniforms Debut As Army Opens Units To Women,” which is exactly the opposite of what is actually happening.
Since the introduction of the BDU uniform in the early 1980s, the BDU and its replacement the ACU, have been unisex.
But complaints of the poor fit of these combat uniforms for women have finally lead to the introduction of sizes specifically intended to better fit women’s bodies.
Further, despite the reporter’s effort to link the uniform to the issue, the new uniform sizes have absolutely no correlation to the planned (insane) inclusion of women in the combat arms of the service by 2016. They’re two wholly unrelated matters. The push to include women in combat arms comes from DoD (and the toadies of the JCS who are falling in line). The development of clothing sizes is an internal matter almost wholly driven by a small program office in the Army alone, and though the Army laboratory system.
I don’t really expect the so-called reporters at an affiliate station in a secondary market to grasp the complexities of the organization and procurement systems of the military, but you’d think they could at least grasp the basic theme of whatever press release Ft. Gordon rolled out. You’d think that. But you’d be wrong.
FORT BENNING, Ga. — “A GREAT deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep,” the novelist Saul Bellow once wrote. We should keep that in mind when we consider the lessons from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — lessons of supreme importance as we plan the military of the future.
Our record of learning from previous experience is poor; one reason is that we apply history simplistically, or ignore it altogether, as a result of wishful thinking that makes the future appear easier and fundamentally different from the past.
We engaged in such thinking in the years before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001; many accepted the conceit that lightning victories could be achieved by small numbers of technologically sophisticated American forces capable of launching precision strikes against enemy targets from safe distances.
These defense theories, associated with the belief that new technology had ushered in a whole new era of war, were then applied to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; in both, they clouded our understanding of the conflicts and delayed the development of effective strategies.
Today, budget pressures and the desire to avoid new conflicts have resurrected arguments that emerging technologies — or geopolitical shifts — have ushered in a new era of warfare. Some defense theorists dismiss the difficulties we ran into in Afghanistan and Iraq as aberrations. But they were not aberrations. The best way to guard against a new version of wishful thinking is to understand three age-old truths about war and how our experiences in Afghanistan and Iraq validated their importance.
A little background on MG McMaster-
He first rose to prominence for his brilliant performance as a Captain leading a cavalry troop at the Battle of 73 Easting in Desert Storm. His performance there was a textbook example of AirLand Battle doctrine executed at the small unit level.
And he has risen through the ranks serving as a sucessful combat commander of a cavalry regiment during the Iraq War. And today, he serves as the commander of the Maneuver Center of Excellence- the result of merging the Infantry Center & School with the Armor Center & School. In a nutshell, he’s the Army’s head instructor for land warfare.
But McMaster is also one of the Army’s leading intellectuals. Which, normally, is in direct conflict with rising to higher rank. The numbers of intellectuals in the Army who saw their careers stall at Colonel is large. Indeed, McMaster almost befell the same fate. He was passed over for Brigadier General his first time before the selection board. Fortunately, he was later selected and promoted again to Major General.
The Op-Ed isn’t an official Army statement. Theoretically, it’s just McMaster’s own musings. But let’s face it, H.R. isn’t exactly going off the reservation here. I’d be rather stunned if the 4-star leadership of the Army didn’t get a heads up that the article was coming.
And Brian McGrath at ID, no slouch in the brains department himself, sees the article primarily as a shot at AirSea Battle, the joint Air Force-Navy effort to address anti-access efforts by our potential enemies.
Major General H.R. McMaster is one of the smartest men in our military, the epitome of a warrior-scholar. He has been famous since he was a Major and he is one of the few serving officers who can confidently have his work placed in the New York Times, which he did yesterday. He is the most eloquent advocate for land power on the scene today, and he will invariably provide much of the Army’s intellectual heft in the coming QDR and concomitant budget battles. Read closely in his NYT piece and you see the Army’s argument clearly. That is, without even mentioning AirSea Battle, he has lumped it in with the Revolution in Military Affairs, Net Centricity, and Rumsfeld’s reorganization ideas as fashionable passing fancies we must not follow again. Instead, we must keep in high readiness a large powerful Army capable of combined arms maneuver AND the ability to occupy large portions of the earth’s surface.
If you think that I’m wrong, and that he’s not arguing against AirSea Battle, then it is not worth your time to read on. If you think he is or might be, then consider moving forward.
I think McGrath is right. McMaster is taking a shot across AirSea Battle’s bow.
Furthermore, I think McMaster is right. I’ve always been a strong proponent of a strong Navy, and robust airpower. But the Army (and to a lesser extent, the Marines) see ASB not so much as a tool for future warfare, but a truce in the looming defense budget battles, in which the Navy and Air Force will set aside their long animosity and attempt to bolster their budget out of the Army’s hide.
Maybe that is paranoia, but then again, maybe not.
And as a practical matter, simply wishing away the need for large numbers of ground troop in future warfare is simply that- wishing. Not once since the end of World War II has the nation engaged in a significant war or military intervention and decided it had more than enough ground troops. Instead, we’ve repeatedly found ourselves scrambling to increase the numbers of formations available, at great cost in money, time, and sadly, often in lives.
I’d be far, far more receptive to the Navy’s arguments for a larger slice of the budget pie if recent history hadn’t shown just how bad the Navy can be at using what it has. The utter trainwreck that is the LCS program leads front and center. The goldplated LPD-17 class is a close second. Building amphibious warfare ships without a well-deck for the LHA-6 class chimes in as well. And now we’re hearing rumbles that the replacement for the LSD-41 class might be a stretched LPD-17 (as opposed to a much cheaper modernized LSD-41 hull).
Don’t even get me started on the JSF tri-service fighter boondoggle.
I’ll grant you that Army procurement hasn’t been much better, but at least the Army has had the good sense to cancel monstrosities rather than pushing on to production.
This will hardly be the only shot fired in a newspaper Op-Ed page. We can, in the next few years, expect to see more from all sides.
Lt. Col. Esli Pitts, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, talks to soldiers of the battalion as they conduct a training exercise Wednesday, July 3, near battalion headquarters at Fort Hood.
While other units were jogging down Battalion Avenue in formation and singing cadences during morning physical training, “Warhorse” soldiers were in full battle gear as they prepared for confrontation with an opposing force.
Soldiers were tracking a potential bomb-making facility, and had to maneuver through enemy forces, while providing wide-area security, to find the facility and disarm the threat.
The idea behind the July 3 training scenario of 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, was to provide all the components of a full-scale operation with a physical training element thrown in, said Lt. Col. Esli T. Pitts, battalion commander.
“I’ve always found that you can do a lot of tactical training during PT. It’s a couple hours in the morning when everybody is dedicated to PT anyway, so it’s easy to just do tactical operations with PT,” he said.
Last week’s training incorporated the entire Warhorse battalion, as well explosive ordnance disposal soldiers from the 79th Ordnance Battalion and human intelligence collection teams.
“The entire battalion is out and it doesn’t get any better than that,” Pitts said.