Our squadron didn't even have any maps of the Middle East.". After a mission in Kosovo, Rodriguez would be one of three pilots to get three air-to-air hits -- the most hits since the Vietnam War. Beyond what they heard at headquarters, the pilots generally didn't know about the events of the war. "I would say first and foremost, that I'm pretty sure that they all woke up 100% committed to defending their nation," he said. Hussein was told he needed to remove his forces from Kuwait by Jan. 15, 1991 -- or else. Over time and multiple landings, the sand turned to "moon powder," so the pilots wet it down with water. They found themselves flying 60 or 70 miles southwest of Baghdad. Desert Storm also signaled the beginning of modern warfare for pilots, as the first stealth bombers were launched, GPS (sometimes) helped pilots make their way across landmarkless terrain, and smart bombs sought out targets if pilots could get them in the general vicinity. This devastating aerial attack assured the destruction of the Republican Guard Forces Hammurabi Division and the remnants of several other infantry divisions. But Rodriguez learned through his father's service to love traveling and the "personalities" he met, and he knew that he wanted to join the military. "But also, we got two corps or three corps of troops in position undercover.". Iraqi pilots had trained with Soviet pilots, as well as fighting in an eight-year war with Iran, leaving them better prepared to fight than anyone expected. "You gotta love the hubris of a lieutenant from West Point: I was that guy.". It contains information about the 24th infantry Divison's wartime activities, copies of selected Taro Leaf publications, our Reunions, its officers, TAPS information, many first hand stories by our members of their actions in the Korean War, WWII World War Two, Desert Storm, and many other types of information. And then planned again on top of that.". So we wound up in exercises fighting British F-4s and Italian F-104s.". Considering that he grew up in West Texas and didn't see the ocean until he went to the Naval Academy, this seems particularly prescient. At that time, they believed Hussein would attack Saudi Arabia, so Wellman's scouts helped with the war planning -- going out with maps and binoculars and reporting back. This is the order of battle for the ground campaign in the Gulf War between Coalition Forces1 and Iraqi Forces2 between 24–28 February 1991. But then he saw the secondary target, a big hangar. The division was assigned the 21st Infantry Regiment and the 22nd Infantry Regiment, both of which had been assigned to the US 11th Infantry Division prior to 1921. "Once we got below 17 or 18,000 feet, it was just rain down below us -- it was pretty easy to see," Rodriguez said. This devastating aerial attack assured the destruction of the Republican Guard Forces Hammurabi Division and the remnants of several other infantry divisions. The 24th then moved east with VII Corps and engaged several Iraqi Republican Guard divisions. "We started flying missions, in what we called defensive counter-air missions, where certain assets were airborne -- AWACs, AB-Triple-Cs, Rivit Joints, obviously, tankers, U2s -- all those assets that were literally trying to start gathering data of the enemy, air and land orders of battle. The third time I did it, I get the rar-rar-rar-rar-rar" -- Fox made a noise like a vibrating spring. "'Those are expensive, you know.'". More than 100 U.S. Navy and Air Force planes hit five targets within the space of an hour. His father, a career Army officer who retired as a lieutenant colonel, had served in Vietnam, but he never talked about it, Rodriguez said. "So [McCaffrey] decided he wanted to fly Apaches into Iraq along the air routes at night -- the invasion routes -- to do route reconnaissance," Wellman said. Rodriguez and his team flew out on a defensive counter-air mission to protect U.S. Intelligence assets south of the Iraq border at high noon on another clear blue day. "You got a MiG kill!' Fox had fired two or three Sidewinders in missile exercises, and missiles always left big plumes of smoke. Wellman served as acting commander that week because his commander was on leave, and he got called into battalion at one in the morning. The Iraqis, using pilots as well as integrated air defense systems and missile defenses, tried to defeat the alliance pilots, but, "We were able to neutralize that piece of it," he said. "And when I found out that there were airplanes that landed and took off from ships, that just sealed it for me.". Instead, as a 23-year-old lieutenant, he led a scout platoon of Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters in an Apache battalion in the 24th Infantry Battalion (Mechanized). 10 talking about this. "This is not over.". During Desert Storm the 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment provided artillery support to the 24th Infantry Division throughout the invasion of Iraq. Later, on 2 March 1991, while serving as the 1st Brigade's reserve force in defensive positions astride Highway 8, east of Basrah, Task Force Tusker attacked into the enemy formations, and in doing so, completed the destruction of the Hammurabi Division and the remnants of several other Republican Guards Forces Command Divisions. As the ground troops were set to roll in, pilots started to receive intelligence about the booby traps Hussein had placed just about everywhere -- from ship mines in the Persian Gulf to the tank and toe-popper mines laid for the ground troops. "We took them all out," he said. [13], For extraordinary heroism while engaged in military action against Iraqi ground forces on 26 February 1991 and again on 2 March 1991. "I was always anticipating that there would be some sort of dust-up with the Soviets," he said. But he remembered the everyday rituals that apply in peacetime and combat, and he used them to calm himself. So we planned for the worst. It was a brilliantly blue day, sun glancing off sea and sand, and Fox flew alongside planes that would keep his F/A-18 Hornet -- and the bombs he carried -- safe. He dropped his bombs. Director McCaffrey graduated from Phillips Academy, Andover, Massachusetts and the U.S. Military Academy. But the people who lived through it remember it differently: Months of preparation preceded a month-and-a-half-long air war that left 33 American pilots and their crew members dead. © Copyright 2021 The War Horse. And then, oh by the way, on the 19th of January, they're doing it.". Every morning, they would clear the weapons training range because Bedouins would wander in at night. From the battalion commander down to the company commander, it was just like train, train, train, train. He has a Master of Arts degree in Civil Govemment from James Bond Gives Up on April Release. "Very rarely were there two or three days that I didn't fly, which was awesome," he said. During the first daytime airstrike of Desert Storm, Mark Fox flew out with about 30 airplanes that launched at once from an aircraft carrier, looking for the Scuds used to terrorize U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. He landed on his first pass -- no bolter -- and went to debrief. He made it a battle when it was never one. All rights reserved. And some of them knew how to do their jobs well and had proved it in the war against Iran, but with the training Rodriguez's team had had, "I'll just say it bluntly: We would have kicked anybody's butt," he said. It was almost blindingly bright. had extensive desert training and desert-oriented medical and water purification equipment. "I've been on the edge of my seat," he said. When the MiG went underneath Fox at less than 1,000 feet distance, the canopy was still on the jet. The plan is to have it in July or August of 2021. XVIII Corps’ 24th Mechanized Infantry Division completed a 200-mile desert crossing to reach the Euphrates River Valley. Wherever you wore the Taro Leaf, whether at Pearl Harbor, in the South Pacific, Japan, Korea, Fort Stewart, Fort Riley, Germany during the Cold War, Desert Storm or any the other numerous places the 24th Infantry Division served our Nation, this site is for you. When they got the call to deploy, he was leading a detachment at a flying exercise at Gulfport, Mississippi. "I really literally fell into it.". I look back at my own experience as a young lieutenant and I'm like, 'God, you sucked.' Capt. [13], Iraqi Republican Guard forces were engaged within the Hammar Marshes of the Tigris–Euphrates river system in Iraq while attempting to reach and cross the Lake Hammar causeway and escape northward toward Baghdad on Highway 8. "A couple of us scout platoon leaders and pilots went to our leadership and said, 'You gotta let us go in -- you gotta let us fly these missions,'" Wellman recalled. "Just as I squeeze the trigger on the Sparrow, the Sidewinder hit him, so there's a big explosion," Fox said. "It was pretty hair-raising," Wellman said. The U.S. forces hit 28 fixed Scud sites with everything from B-52s to F-117 Stealth Fighters the evening of Jan. 17, 1991. 77 in HQ, 24th Infantry Division (Mech. "But then out of the explosion comes a burning MiG-21, and then the Sparrow hit him, so he'd eaten two missiles.". 2nd A.C.R. So he selected a Sparrow, a radar-guided missile, and fired a 4.2-mile barrel shot. His unit moved up to the Iraqi border to the west, where they remained on the far left side of the big left hook -- the coalition's left flank and west of Kuwait -- of the original battle plan. "Because you don't know. Be calm and focused. He attributes their success, including a "98.9% launch rate for every mission that we were tasked to support," to the people on the ground making sure he could fly -- everyone from mechanics to cooks. The next week, the unit loaded their equipment on ships and headed out. At the time, the two pilots didn't understand the additional danger -- they simply took on the MiGs. "So the airplanes that were on alert status on different bases around the region came together, and we went and attacked this particular target.". What do we do if Hussein invades Saudi Arabia? Like, 'Jesus, what an ass!'". "The whole geostrategic balance was kind of shifting there a bit, and Saddam just had the incredibly bad timing to decide to invade Kuwait at the same time that we were kind of at the peak of our Cold War strength, anticipating something against the Soviets.". And lo and behold, that's where we ended up going. "He must look back and think, 'What a fucking idiot,'" Wellman said, laughing. "I would do a lot of rides, pop over the border because the cavalry would say, 'Hey, there's some Iraqis poking around,' and check it out," Wellman said. When they arrived back home at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida -- the home of the 58th Tactical Fighter Squadron -- the flight line was "bustling" with activity. He blew it.". And then he realized he was on the target, and he would have to fly past it to pursue the other pilot with 8,000 pounds' worth of bombs. Because they'd lost a pilot early that morning, Fox said he wasn't in any mood to do a victory roll or something dramatic to celebrate. "It was a great week for us as a squadron, as a team -- and that night was going to be one hell of a party.". "The Tomcats are up north as a target, and I'm hearing these calls about the bandits," Fox said. While he was deployed, in 1986, the United States launched airstrikes against Libya in retaliation for sponsorship of terrorist attacks against Americans. They talked about the missiles they launched, the friends they lost, the lessons they learned, and the personal battles they've fought in the years since. But as he fired at the MiG, he didn't see a plume of smoke. "It's just a magnificent airplane. That night, Feb. 20, "Hal went up with one team of Apaches, and Dennis went with another and they did the routes," Wellman said. "These guys have the third- or fourth-largest army in the world, and they're battle-hardened," he said. "So he's over supersonic. Hussein invaded Kuwait Aug. 2, 1990, and within days, President George H.W. … I said, 'OK, what's going on?' Wellman had been promoted to platoon leader of a scout helicopter platoon in Alpha Company, part of a battalion that had just transitioned to alpha-model Apaches. And the Iraqi pilots turned out to be much more advanced than anyone expected -- working in coordinated attacks to trick American pilots into dangerous airspace. "All your bags are being packed up. 1st Cavalary Div. During one phase of the war they took out 41 Iraqi battalion, two air defense sites, and a tank company in less than 72 hours. But at the company level, you're pretty much in the dark. Is ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Next? The next morning, another company of Apaches and a Blackhawk found them: They had crashed about four kilometers into Iraq. He was there for the soul-searching that followed that war, and then for Ronald Reagan's build-up of the forces in the 1980s. , bombing shelters Hussein thought would be impervious to attack. His group came in from south to north, and they had four F-14 Tomcats to handle any air-to-air threats. [13] November 9, 2020 at 10:10 AM. They also flew support -- running liaison, picking up packages, running passengers to the airfield. Maybe we'll be doing a battlefield interdiction against the tanks. "We didn't know it, but it was the end of the Cold War," Fox said. She flew mail, passengers and cargo to aircraft carriers. You don't know if there's the lucky BB, the lucky bullet. Speicher would be the only American still missing in action at the end of the war. But he wasn't done yet. I am sad to report that Lily Lambert Gold Star Mother of our fallen Brother John Hutto passed away on january 16th 2021. "I guess in the vernacular of air-to-air squadrons, we were the lucky ones," Rodriguez said. The Humvee was stolen from a National Guard Armory in a Los Angeles suburb. But this was the first time that I ever expended ordnance in personal combat experience.". "We were a lot better trained, and we had better equipment," Fox said. "That may have given me a little taste of it," Fox said. And it's embarrassing. That lasted about a minute with August temperatures zooming into the 100s. They continually flew reconnaissance missions, looking for invasion routes and ways to set up a defense of Saudi Arabia along the Kuwait border and down to the oil fields and Iran. Then, they went after "Scud trucks" -- trucks from which Scuds could be launched and that were scattered throughout western and southern Iraq. At the Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, Rodriguez took a series of tests to see what he might do well in -- and his Air Force scores were high. As the air war kicked off, Wellman worked to cover the ground-troop movements as they positioned themselves for battle. Despite some of the most fierce resistance of the war, the 24th Infantry Division destroyed the Iraqi formations[11] and captured the two airfields the next day. 24th Infantry Division Mechanized You Tube. Greg Gianforte said "This is no way to treat men and women in uniform.". "So you're doing this kind of mental math, this mental basketball, 'OK, where are those guys?'" Because it was 1990, every day, Rodriguez's air tasking order came on a floppy disk flown in by a Learjet. Explosion came from the battalion commander down to the Desert and set hospital. Of airplanes in the F-15s that the other pilots did n't have passion. Made the decisions Apache helicopters in a gun platoon, and Fox was about to drop,. Mccaffrey was the third time I did it, they started to check news. 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