By Anthony Garrett, 2-22 - Fort Drum, NY.
In December 1992 the 2nd Battalion, 22 Infantry, "Triple Deuce", deployed from Fort Drum, NY to Fort Sherman, Panama to conduct three weeks of jungle operations training. Needless to say leaving northern New York with 12+ inches of snow and stepping off the aircraft into 90-degree heat and 100% humidity was quite a shock to our soldiers.
The training was conducted in three phases; phase I consisted of acclimation to the environment, safety tips, familiarization with the wildlife, survival techniques, etc. Phase II focused on conducting small unit- squad and platoon- combat operations in a tropical environment. Squads and platoons participated in live fire exercises, land navigation courses, and confidence course negotiation. Phase III was a 1-week battalion Field Training Exercise (FTX). The school cadre provided opposing force (OPFOR) and served as Observer/Controllers.
Initially, we had intended to deploy our Tactical Operations Center (TOC) complete with vehicles, shelters, generators, etc. However, after our coordination trip we discovered that the terrain would not support the standard TOC configuration. Based on the recommendations of the school cadre, we opted to use an existing bunker complex as the semi-permanent TOC during the FTX. Phase III began at 0500 with all rifle companies moving to their assembly areas. One company conducted an air insertion while another company executed an amphibious landing via LST's through the Panama Canal. The third company moved by truck to its assembly area. The TOC moved to the bunker complex and established the operations around 0700. The operation unfolded flawlessly throughout the day. Companies were locating the OPFOR, capturing objectives, conducting reconnaissance, etc. Officers and Staff NCOs in the TOC were managing operations without incident.
As dusk approached the Operations Sergeant located the gas lanterns and began to prepare the TOC for night operations. Since the TOC did not have any windows we could cover the entrance with a poncho and maintain light discipline. Well, as we all know, Murphy has a habit of rearing his ugly head at the most inopportune times. While we had the lanterns someone had failed to ensure the fuel was packed with the supplies. Now it is getting dark and we have no light to read maps, record intelligence reports, etc.
Most of us have encountered at least one resourceful NCO in our careers and we had such an individual in the S-3 section. SSG Vona was an infantryman but had the skills of a resourceful Supply Sergeant. Within minutes of discovering we had no fuel for the lanterns SSG Vona was scrounging commo wire and running it from the command vehicle into the TOC. Next he removed a headlamp from the vehicle and connected the terminals to the commo wire. He then connected the other ends of the wire to the 24V-vehicle battery system. Instantly, the pitch-black night lit up! Impressed with his ingenuity, we praised his resourcefulness- the TOC was back in operation.
But wait, Murphy is not so easily defeated. Several hours pass and it is about 0200 in the morning. Some of the staff are sleeping in chairs while the night shift monitors the operation. Those who were awake at the time recall smelling something like sulfur burning and then a loud explosion followed by complete darkness and temporary blindness. The headlamp had exploded from the high voltage! Small shards of glass flew to every corner of the TOC (no one was injured). Startled soldiers were falling over each other in the dark trying to exit the bunker. Radios were squawking situation reports from the field, monkeys in the trees were screeching, and LP/OPs were firing into the night thinking the OPFOR was attacking--- total chaos abounded! And, to add insult to the situation, someone in another bunker yells out, "Hey, keep it down over there!"
Having watched the entire episode, the Observer/Controllers simply shook their heads in disbelief! After about an hour we were able to establish some measure of control over the situation. We activated every chemlite we could find and spent the next few hours with our faces only a few inches from the maps trying to read by the luminescent glow. Next morning we made lantern fuel a top priority. We sent SSG Vona back to the motor pool to work his magic in getting the headlamp replaced. We were successful in both efforts.
While humorous, this story is also another example of what makes our Army great--- the ingenuity of our soldiers. Invariably, when presented with a problem, our soldiers will rise to the occasion and find a solution even if temporary in nature. But this is the end of the story. Watch for the next episode of 2/22 Infantry's "Panama Experience."
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" I Remember "
By Terry Bayard, 1/22 - Fort Drum, NY.
Sitting in a HUMVEE, at dawn, in Mogadishu Somalia ........ WAITING ........ WAITING ........ THINKING ........ WAITING....... we have had some indirect small arms fire in the last month and the constant shower of tracers spraying out of base camp at night let us know we are not training back at Fort Drum. This is different ......
Attack Company 1/22 has been given the mission to conduct the raid on the Abdi house where some of Adeeds heavy players are meeting ...... Our CO, CPT James Robertson has developed a sound plan and proudly says "Deeds Not Words" at the end of his operations order....... WILL WE MEET HIS EXPECTATIONS ? .......... ARE WE READY...... its clear to us all this is NOT training . I can't help but to think of all the young soldiers in our company, all the wives and children back home waiting for our safe return. WE HAVE TRAINED HARD AND ARE FILLED WITH MOTIVATION. WILL IT BE ENOUGH ?...... I can't help but to think of our fore fathers who have been "HERE" before us ( Viet Nam, W.W.II, W.W.I etc. ) we are "REGULARS BY GOD" WILL WE MEASURE UP ?...... CAN WE UPHOLD A TIME HONORED TRADITION ? ......
" Attack 7 this is Attack 6 we are GO ! "
In a flash of noise, light and quick action the coordinated air and ground attack is initiated, executed and completed flawlessly ! Target destroyed ! Prisoners taken ! Intelligence captured ! Attack Company has been in harms way, every soldier reacts instinctively, No friendly casualties..
I REMEMBER ......
Looking into those soldiers sober eyes and seeing pride and confidence in themselves and their unit ! Like their fore fathers, their "DEEDS NOT WORDS" will forever live in my heart. They are "REGULARS BY GOD" ..
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Operation Provide Refuge - 1993
Kevin Johnson, B/3-22 Cold War.
An operation that enlivens our motto of "Deeds not Words" was conducted by 3-22 in February and March of 1993. As the Division Ready Force, the men of 3-22 were called to action when a disabled cargo ship carrying 525 Chinese refugees and a crew of ten Portuguese sailors was towed into port at Kwajalein Atoll, Republic of the Marshall Islands. The refugees had been tortured and locked in the hold of the ship and forced to live like animals for the better part of three months. Alpha Company and an under-strength 3rd platoon of Bravo were loaded aboard C-141s and flown to a rock in the middle of the Pacific scarcely large enough for an airstrip.
For the next twenty days, the men of the 22nd fed, clothed, and tended to the needs of the refugees and the crew who were separated from the refugees and became prisoners. We worked twelve hour shifts in observation towers, roving patrols and escort crews. After a twelve hour shift, we were rotated through the Quick Reaction Force tent just behind the compound for an additional six hours. For twenty days the US Government tried to decide what to do with the refugees and the tensions grew greater each day.
The Chinese were becoming nervous at the prospect of being sent back to the very land they had risked their lives to flee. As the tensions grew and the rumors spread, the refugees began to get restless and the 22nd was called in to neutralize the situation. In such a touchy situation, the men of the Battalion performed admirably - neither hurting any refugees or giving any ground. We stood firm and showed the Chinese that we cared and had respect for them but that we also had a job to do and we were going to do it. We did everything within our power to keep their dignity intact, how they were treated by our government is another story.
The rest of the Battalion arrived on Kwajalein on or around March 1st and the Chinese were loaded aboard chartered flights that would take them back to China. We sent them back with the State Departments promise that no harm would come to them. You could see the fear and depression in their eyes; they knew what would happen. In following weeks, more Chinese refugees were found crammed in ships and allowed into the U.S.
The men of 3-22 had performed one of the many missions that the American public never heard about, but we knew what we had done and thats all that mattered. Our actions in no way compare to the valiant deeds performed by our predecessors but I believe that we carried on the tradition of the finest Regiment in the U.S. Army. Deeds not Words!
Below is a note from COL (Ret) Dave Hughes, a former 4ID (M) 3Bde Cdr, G3, and CoS.
I'll give you (and the 3d Bde) a little more depth of the reason why the name - and it associations - happened at the end of the 60's.
I happen to be a Colorado native - grew up in Colorado Springs before the Air Force was out of the Army (AFA) and Fort
Carson, an expansion post for WWII, was thought of. Went to West Point from CS, and accidentally was
assigned to Carson, an Infantry Division Post, and the then going-out-of-business 5ID, becoming the 4ID(M) as I arrived in 68.
The CG, Roland Gleser wanted me for his G-3, first giving me the 2dBn,11th Inf (M) to learn a bit about I was always aware
of the tradition of the US Army in the West in the 1880s.
A while after that Gen Bernie Rogers took over, I was G-3, and major changes (VOLAR) were afoot across the Army,
trying to become all volunteer. Most of the radical 'changes' had to do with the social, living, and people-conditions of the Army. Nobody was much modernizing the 'training' for combat readiness. I was always combat oriented - preferring to be a warrior.
I saw immediately that all the soldiers and NCOs coming back from Vietnam didn't know an M113 from a Truck - and treated them either as a Truck, or a Tank. And they were neither. I remembered that the 'Dragoon's - who rode
to battle on horses like Cavalry, but fought on foot, like Infantry - were the historical model for the Mech Infantry. But there was no HOME for the Mech Infantry. Infantry had its Benning, Knox its Armor, Sill its
Artillery. Mech was an orphan, and soon there would BE no pure Infantry Divisions, as the missions aimed at Europe and away from Asia.
Now while the proud 'Ivy' Division had landed at Normandy, and some of the old vets didn't like any changes, I suggested that the 4ID(M) take the Iron Horse (M113s) as its new identity. And we put a black horses head on
top of the Ivy Patch (still there???? I doubt it - but you can see signs with that all over Colorado Springs and outside Carson), bought a beautiful black stallion, and thus we added the Western 'horse' soldier
image to that of the Ivy Leaf Infantry. That's where the name originated, circa 1970-71. Gen Rogers had made me Chief of Staff of the 4ID(M) and of the Post.
I wasn't done yet. While the radical changes were going on (and believe you me Fort Carson was *way* out ahead of the rest of the Army, AND controversial.) As I pondered how to create pride and real combat-oriented
'professionalism' in the 'Mech Infantry' I hatched the idea of Mechando - Mechanized Recondo. Just as Rogers was replaced by MG John Bennett, who was more interested in flair than substance - but was good at it. And I was put in command of the 3d Brigade.
Mechando was a training/readiness concept in which EVERY officer and man in the Division would have to 'earn his Gauntlets' - the black GI glove with a wide leather cuff added to it - as the Dragoons wore. And earn it by successfully negotiating the Fire Run, the Water Run, and the Night Run alone in an M113.
The Fire Run being negotiated over the absolutely steepest uphill, side hill, and downhill terrain the M113 could handle (and
we rolled a few tracks experimenting), while live frangible ammunition was being fired at the buttoned up track. And at one point, the track being unable to go up a small cliff, the trooper inside (from MG Bennett to Private E-2) had to bail out with pot, rifle, bayonet climb that cliff and assault the dummies on top. Underscoring that it was STILL Infantry in
that Track. Something the old Armor Sergeants didn't have to do. The Water Run requiring the trooper to go off a ramp buttoned up, into the water, pancaking, sinking a bit, bobbing up, then swimming across the small water
body, and coming up, without sinking (and drowning). They had to go off at just the right speed. The Night Run, buttoned up, following fast with only night lights on tracks, through woods.
All designed to totally familiarize every man in the Division, and give every one, including small unit leaders in the hatch - not just drivers - with the capabilities and limitations of the M113 and Mech Tracked (arty
included). So they could 'wield' a track like a Ranger's knife, or airborne's chute. (and we did LOTs of other things, like 'tug a track' pulls, to teach leaders track flotation, what it would take with manpower only - not a track retriever - to get a busted track off the road) and hatched new tactics, such as quiet running night 'infiltration' of entire battalions through spread out defenders. And we held tank drag races. And road rallies, with the girlfriend in the hatch, navigating, to a picnic
site. MY slice of the Russian Army would be 13 Russian Regiments against my 1 Bde in war plans. We had to be cleverer, more accomplished with our weapons and tracks to substitute for mass - ala WWII. My classmate, Jack
Palmer commanded the Artillery of the Division then, and had counterpart training.
Once the trooper successfully negotiated the runs, his name was stamped into the flared leather cuff of the Gauntlet glove and he wore it thereafter. Like the beret, the wings, the patch so long as he was in the 4ID(M) at Carson.
It certainly worked - and got soldiers interested via its 'adventure training' that was relevant to the deployment combat mission, while I, and Rogers and Bennett, were there, and helped 'transition' a lot of officers and men from the Vietnam airmobile Infantry, to the European Mechanized Infantry realities and the Volunteer Army.
It was, needless to say, controversial, costly (a few lives, including one redleg soldier who showed up drunk, failed to fasten his seatbelt before the Fire Run - and nobody checked him - rolled his track.) And as usual I was in the middle of the firestorm of 'administrative' criticism. But then I never ducked criticism from those who did not know what extreme
combat was all about - which I learned in Korea AND Vietnam. So I think it was that phase of the 4ID(M) that made its Iron Horse name stick.
P.S. The biggest kick I got was when MG George Patton Jr - in DSCOPS Training, Pentagon, showed up. I demonstrated the course to him, standing up in the hatch while I - a grunt - drove the track over the *extreme* course, while he, old armor himself, waved and smiled at the track following with Press in it, but was scared spitless, and was cursing me out over the intercom threatening to beat me to a pulp if I rolled the track. So we even showed the old tankers a trick or two. Ha!
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