Message follows…

I know I promised to write about how the current brigade as the unit of action is designed, but I decided I better take a more in depth look at the Cold War organization first. I’m working on that and should have something in the next day or so.

WWII Armored Division

Earlier we took a look at the “triangular” infantry division in WWII. Now let’s take a look at the armored division structure. The armored division in the US Army was designed to exploit any breakthroughs in the enemy lines. As such, they were a relatively small division, with all major elements being mounted in either tracked, half-tracked, or wheeled vehicles.

The division headquarters was at the top. Beneath this were three “Combat Commands” which would be roughly equivalent to a modern brigade headquarters. There were three tank battalions (generally equipped with the Sherman tank), three infantry battalions (mounted on half-tracks), and three self-propelled artillery battalions (at this time, most artillery in the Army was towed by trucks).

Sherman Tank
Sherman Tank

You can quickly see that this is a much smaller division than an infantry division. Where an infantry division had nine “maneuver” battalions and four artillery battalions, the armored division had only six maneuver battalions and three artillery battalions. But it was still a very “triangular” organization and a very flexible one at that.

The “Combat Commands”, named CCA, CCB, and CCR (for Reserve) didn’t have any set “ownership” of battalions. They were assigned those units the division commander thought they would need for any given mission. Now, typically, you might see each Combat Command organized with one battalion of tanks, infantry and artillery. But this was by no means set in stone. A commander might give CCA two infantry battalions, a tank battalion and two arty battalions with a mission to break through a given position, while CCB would follow through with two tank battalions, the third infantry battalion and the third arty battalion, while CCR was left with no troops, but might be planning the next engagement, when it would receive whatever troops it needed.

There was a ratio of roughly one armored division to five infantry divisions in WWII (well, in Europe. There were no armored divisions deployed to the Pacific Theater). And while they were designed to exploit breakthroughs, that wasn’t the only way they were used. They often spearheaded attacks, led counterattacks against enemy penetrations, and of course, did their fair share of holding the line when on the defense.

You can see the organization of a WWII armored division here.

Honor the Fallen

The Global War on Terror has also been described as “The Long War.” How long? Well, the war was going on a long time before we even realized we were at war. Twenty-five years ago today, 241 Marines and Sailors died at the hands of Islamic terrorists.

Sent to Beruit to act as a buffer between warring factions, the Marines were in an untenable position. Shackled with Rules of Engagement that fatally compromised their physical security, employed on a mission with little or no chance of success, they paid a terrible toll for the failure of our nation to see the world as it was. Justice has never been served. Never forget.

Abbott, Terry W. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. New Richmond, OH

Alexander, Clemon S. …… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Monticello, FL

Allman, John R. ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NM .. Carlsbad … NM

Arnold, Moses J. Jr. …… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Bailey, Charles K. …….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Berlin, MD

Baker, Nicholas ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Alexandria, VA

Banks, Johansen ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MI .. Detroit, MI

Barrett, Richard E. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Tappahanock, VA

Bates, Ronny K. ……….. USN …. HM1 …. 10/23/1983 .. SC .. Aiken, SC

Battle, David L. ………. USMC … 1stSGT . 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Hubert, NC

Baynard, James R. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Richmond, VA

Beamon, Jesse W. ………. USN …. HN ….. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Haines City, FL

Belmer, Alvin. ………… USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Bland, Stephen ………… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Midway Park, NC

Blankenship, Richard L. … USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Hubert, NC

Blocker, John W. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Yulee, FL

Boccia, Joseph J. Jr. ….. USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Northport, NY

Bohannon, Leon Jr. …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Bohnet, John R. Jr. ……. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. TN .. Memphis, TN

Bonk, John J. Jr. ……… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Boulos, Jeffrey L. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Islip, NY

Bousum, David R. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. MI .. Fife Lake, MI

Boyett, John N. ……….. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Brown, Anthony ………… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. MI .. Detroit, MI

Brown, David W. ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. TX .. Conroe, TX

Buchanan, Bobby S. Jr. …. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Midway Park, NC

Buckmaster, John B. ……. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Vandalia, OH

Burley, William F. …….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NJ .. Linden, NJ

Cain, Jimmy R. ………… USN …. HN ….. 10/23/1983 .. AL .. Birmington, AL

Callahan, Paul L. ……… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Lorain, OH

Camara, Mecot E. ………. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Campus, Bradley J. …….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. MA .. Lynn, MA

Ceasar, Johnnie D. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. TX .. El Campo, TX

Cole, Marc L. …………. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Ludlow Falls, OH

Coleman, Marcus A. …….. USA …. SP4 …. 10/23/1983 .. TX .. Dallas, TX

Comas, Juan M. ………… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Hialeah, FL

Conley, Robert A ………. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Orlando, FL

Cook, Charles D. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Advance, NC

Cooper, Curtis J. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. North Wales, PA

Copeland, Johnny L. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Burlington, NC

Corcoran, Bert D. ……… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Katonah, NY

Cosner, David L. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. WV .. Elkins, WV

Coulman, Kevin P. ……… USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Seminary, NY

Croft, Brett A. ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Lakeland, FL

Crudale, Rick R. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Warwick, RI

Custard, Kevin P. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MN .. Virginia, MN

Cyzick, Russell E. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. WV .. Star City, WV

Davis, Andrew L. ………. USMC … MAJ …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Decker, Sidney James …… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. KY .. Clarkson, KY

Devlin, Michael J. …….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. MA .. Westwood, MA

Dibenedetto, Thomas A. …. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. CT .. Mansfield Center, CT

Dorsey, Nathaniel G. …… USMC … PVT …. 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Baltimore, MD

Douglass, Frederick B. …. USMC … SGTMAJ . 10/23/1983 .. MA .. Cataumet, MA

Dunnigan, Timothy J. …… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. WV .. Princeton, WV

Earle, Bryan L. ……….. USN …. HN ….. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Painsville, OH

Edwards, Roy L. ……….. USMC … MSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Elliot, William D. Jr. …. USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Lancaster, PA

Ellison, Jesse ………… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. WI .. Soldiers Grove, WI

Estes, Danny R. ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. IN .. Gary, IN

Estler, Sean F. ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NJ .. Kenall Park, NJ

Faulk, James E. ……….. USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Panama City, FL

Fluegel, Richard A. ……. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Erie, PA

Forrester, Steven M. …… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Foster, William B. Jr. …. USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Richmond, VA

Fulcher, Michael D …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Madison Heights, VA

Fuller, Benjamin E …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. GA .. Duluth, GA

Fulton, Michael S. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. TX .. Ft. Worth, TX

Gaines, William Jr. ……. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Port Charlotte, FL

Gallagher, Sean R. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MA .. N. Andover, MA

Gander, David B. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. WI .. Milwaulkee, WI

Gangur, George M. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Cleveland, OH

Gann, Leland E. ……….. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Garcia, Randall J. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. CA .. Modesto, CA

Garcia, Ronald J. ……… USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Gay, David D. …………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Harrisburg, IL

Ghumm, Harold D. ………. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Gibbs, Warner Jr. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Portsmouth, VA

Giblin, Timothy R. …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. RI .. N. Providence, RI

Gorchinski, Michael W. …. USN …. ETC …. 10/23/1983 .. IN .. Evansville, IN

Gordon, Richard J. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MA .. Somerville, MA

Gratton, Harold F. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Conoes, NY

Greaser, Robert B. …….. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Lansdale, PA

Green, Davin M. ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Baltimore, MD

Hairston, Thomas A. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Haltiwanger, Freddie Jr. .. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. SC .. Little Mountain, SC

Hamilton, Virgil D. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. KY .. Dayton, OH

Hanton, Gilbert ……….. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. DC .. Washington, DC

Hart, William …………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Haskell, Michael S. ……. USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Hastings, Michael A. …… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. DE .. Seaford, DE

Hein, Paul A. …………. USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Held, Douglas E. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Helms, Mark A. ………… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NE .. Dwight, NE

Henderson, Ferrandy D. …. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Tampa, FL

Hernandez, Matilde Jr. …. USMC … MSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Midway Park, NC

Hester, Stanley G. …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Raleigh, NC

Hildreth, Donald W. ……. USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Sneads Ferry, NC

Holberton, Richard H. ….. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. SC .. Beaufort, SC

Holland, Robert S. …….. USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. KY .. Gilbertsville, KY

Hollingshead, Bruce A. …. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Fairborn, OH

Holmes, Melvin D. ……… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Chicago, IL

Howard, Bruce L. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. ME .. Strong, ME

Hudson, John R. ……….. USN …. LT ….. 10/23/1983 .. GA .. Riverdale, GA

Hudson, Terry L. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. AL .. Prichard, AL

Hue, Lyndon J. ………… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. LA .. Des Allemands, LA

Hukill, Maurice E. …….. USMC … 2ndLT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Iacovino, Edward F. Jr. … USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Warwick, RI

Ingalls, John J. ………. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Interlaken, NY

Innocenzi, Paul G. III …. USMC … WO1 …. 10/23/1983 .. NJ .. Trenton, NJ

Jackowski, James J. ……. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. S. Salem, NY

James, Jeffrey W. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Baltimore, MD

Jenkins, Nathaniel W. ….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Daytona Beach, FL

Johnson, Michael H. ……. USN …. HM2 …. 10/23/1983 .. MI .. Detroit, MI

Johnston, Edward A. ……. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Struthers, OH

Jones, Steven …………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Brooklyn, NY

Julian, Thomas A. ……… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Middleton, RI

Kees, Marion E. ……….. USN …. HM2 …. 10/23/1983 .. WV .. Martinsburg, WV

Keown, Thomas C. ………. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. KY .. Louisville, KY

Kimm, Edward E. ……….. USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. IA .. Atlantic, IA

Kingsley, Walter V. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. WI .. Wisconsin Dells, WI

Kluck, Daniel S. ………. USA …. SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. KY .. Owensboro, KY

Knipple, James C. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Alexandria, VA

Kreischer, Freas H. III … USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Indiatlantic, FL

Laise, Keith J. ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. East Stroudsburg, PA

Lamb, Thomas G. ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MN .. Coon Rapids, MN

Langon, James J. IV ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NJ .. Lakehurst, NJ

Lariviere, Michael S. ….. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Perry, FL

Lariviere, Steven B. …… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. MA .. Chicopee, MA

Lemnah, Richard L. …….. USMC … MSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Lewis, David A. ……….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Garfield Heights, OH

Lewis, Val S. …………. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. GA .. Atlanta, GA

Livingston, Joseph R. ….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Champaign, IL

Lyon, Paul D. Jr. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Milton, FL

Macroglou, John W. …….. USMC … MAJ …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Maitland, Samuel ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Martin, Charlie R. …….. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Martin, Jack L. ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Oveido, FL

Massa, David S. ……….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Warren, RI

Massman, Michael R. ……. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. MI .. Port Huron, MI

Mattacchione, Joseph J. … USMC … PVT …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Sanford, NC

McCall, John ………….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Rochester, NY

McDonough, James E. ……. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Newcastle, PA

McMahon, Timothy R. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. TX .. Austin, TX

McNeely, Timothy D. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Mooresville, NC

McVicker, George N. II …. USN …. HM2 …. 10/23/1983 .. IN .. Wabash, IN

Melendez, Louis ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. PR .. Puerto Rico

Menkins, Richard H. II …. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Tully, NY

Mercer, Michael D. …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Vale, NC

Meurer, Ronald W. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Milano, Joseph P. ……… USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Farmingville, NY

Moore, Joseph P. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. MO .. St. Louis, MO

Morrow, Richard A. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Clairton, PA

Muffler, John F. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Munoz, Alex …………… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NM .. Bloomfield, NM

Myers, Harry D. ……….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Whittler, NC

Nairn, David J. ……….. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Nava, Luis A. …………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. CA .. Gardena, CA

Olson, John A. ………… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. MN .. Sabin, MN

Olson, Robert P. ………. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Lawtons, NY

Ortiz, Richard C. ……… USMC … CWO3 … 10/23/1983 .. OK .. Ft. Sill, OK

Owen, Jeffrey B. ………. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Virginia Beach, VA

Owens, Joseph A. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Chesterfield, VA

Page, Connie Ray ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Erwin, NC

Parker, Ulysses ……….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Baltimore, MD

Payne, Mark W. ………… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Binghamton, NY

Pearson, John L. ………. USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Perron, Thomas S. ……… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. MA .. Whitinsville, MA

Phillips, John A. Jr. ….. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Wilmette, IL

Piercy, George W. ……… USN …. HMC …. 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Mt. Savage, MD

Plymel, Clyde W. ………. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Merritt, FL

Pollard, William H. ……. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Pomalestorres, Rafael I. .. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Prevatt, Victor M. …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. GA .. Columbus, GA

Price, James C. ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. AL .. Attala, AL

Prindeville, Patrick K. … USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Gainesville, FL

Pulliam, Eric A. ………. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. E. St. Louis, IL

Quirante, Diomedes J. ….. USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. RP .. Calcoocan City, RP

Randolph, David M. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. AZ .. Siloam Springs, AZ

Ray, Charles R. ……….. USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Relvas, Rui A. ………… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Rich, Terrence L. ……… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Brooklyn, NY

Richardson, Warren …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Brooklyn, NY

Rodriguez, Juan C. …….. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Miami, FL

Rotondo, Louis J. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

Sanpedro, Guillermo Jr. … USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Hialeah, FL

Sauls, Michael C. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. SC .. Waterboro, SC

Schnorf, Charles J. ……. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Camp Lejeune, NC

Schultz, Scott L. ……… USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Keeseville, NY

Scialabba, Peter J. ……. USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Moorehead City, NC

Scott, Gary R. ………… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Rankin, IL

Shallo, Ronald L. ……… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Hudson, NY

Shipp, Thomas A. ………. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Shropshire, Jerryl D. ….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. GA .. Macon, GA

Silvia, James F. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Portsmouth, RI

Sliwinski, Stanley J. ….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Niles, OH

Smith, Kirk H. ………… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Miami, FL

Smith, Thomas G. ………. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. CT .. Middletown, CT

Smith, Vincent L. ……… USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Soares, Edward ………… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Tiverton, RI

Sommerhof, William S. ….. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Springfield, IL

Spaulding, Michael C. ….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. OH .. Akron, OH

Spearing, John W. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Lancaster, PA

Spencer, Stephen E. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. RI .. Portsmouth, RI

Stelpflug, Bill J. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. AL .. Auburn, AL

Stephens, Horace R. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Capitol Heights, MD

Stockton, Craig S. …….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Rochester, NY

Stokes, Jeffrey G. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. GA .. Waynesboro, GA

Stowe, Thomas D. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Sturghill, Eric D. …….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Chicago, IL

Sundar, Devon L. ………. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. CT .. Standford, CT

Surch, James F. Jr. ……. USN …. LT ….. 10/23/1983 .. CA .. Lompoc, CA

Thompson, Dennis A. ……. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Bronx, NY

Thorstad, Thomas P. ……. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. IN .. Chesterton, IN

Tingley, Stephen D. ……. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. CT .. Ellington, CT

Tishmack, John J. ……… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. MN .. Minneapolis, MN

Trahan, Lex D. ………… USMC … PVT …. 10/23/1983 .. LA .. Lafayette, LA

Vallone, Donald H. Jr. …. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. CA .. Palmdale, CA

Walker, Eric R. ……….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. IL .. Chicago, IL

Walker, Leonard W. …….. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. AL .. Dothan, AL

Washington, Eric G. ……. USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. VA .. Alexandria, VA

Weekes, Obrian ………… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Brooklyn, NY

Wells, Tandy W. ……….. USMC … 1stSGT . 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Wentworth, Steven B. …… USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Reading, PA

Wesley, Allen D. ………. USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Philadelphia, PA

West, Lloyd D. ………… USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Weyl, John R. …………. USMC … SSGT … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Wherland, Burton D. Jr. … USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Jacksonville, NC

Wigglesworth, Dwayne W. … USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. CT .. Naugatuck, CT

Williams, Rodney J. ……. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. FL .. Opa Locka, FL

Williams, Scipio Jr. …… USMC … GYSGT .. 10/23/1983 .. SC .. Charleston, SC

Williamson, Johnny A. ….. USMC … LCPL … 10/23/1983 .. NC .. Asheboro, NC

Wint, Walter E. Jr. ……. USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. PA .. Wilkes-Barre, PA

Winter, William E. …….. USMC … CAPT … 10/23/1983 .. SC .. Fripp Island, SC

Wolfe, John E. ………… USMC … CPL …. 10/23/1983 .. AZ .. Phoenix, AZ

Woollett, Donald E. ……. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. OK .. Barthesville, OK

Worley, David E. ………. USN …. HM3 …. 10/23/1983 .. MD .. Baltimore, MD

Wyche, Craig L. ……….. USMC … PFC …. 10/23/1983 .. NY .. Jamaica, NY

Yarber, James G. ………. USA …. SFC …. 10/23/1983 .. CA .. Vacaville, CA

Young, Jeffrey D. ……… USMC … SGT …. 10/23/1983 .. NJ .. Moorestown, NJ

Zimmerman, William A. ….. USMC … 1stLT .. 10/23/1983 .. MI .. Grand Haven, MI

Townsend, Henry Jr. ……. USMC … CPL …. 12/02/1983 .. AL .. Montgomery, AL

Air Assault

Air Assault is Army shorthand for the movement of troops and equipment to battle by means of helicopters. Now, loading and unloading infantry from helicopters is not a great intellectual challenge. I’ve done, so there’s your proof.

Having said that, there are techniques that do require a greater level of training. Preparing and sling-loading vehicles and supplies is an art and a science. Rapelling from helicopters is also a specialized technique that most soldiers don’t train on.

To pass on this tribal knowledge, the Army has Air Assault School. Selected soldiers attend this school, qualifying to facilitate the technical aspects of arial movement, and take this knowledge back to their parent units.

Now, rapelling from helicopters is somewhat simple. Gravity does most of the work. But it does have its risks. In order to mitigate them, there is  a further level of training, the Rapell Master Course. Every time a helicopter has troops rappelling from it, a qualified Rapell Master has to supervise. And so it was that my platoon sergeant in Hawaii, SFC Lopez was attending the Rapell Master Course. The final excercise was to supervise a soldier rapelling 12 times from a Huey, and 12 times from a Blackhawk. I quickly volunteered to be his “dope on a rope.”

After a very pleasant day spent flinging myself from a helicopter to slide somewhat gracefully to the ground, SFC Lopez and I returned to our unit. As we were driving back, SFC Lopez looked closely at my uniform. “PFC Bear? Where’s your Air Assault badge? You are out of uniform!”

“Uh, Sergeant Lopez, um, I’m not Air Assault qualified.” Hey, I just wanted to have a fun day.

AT-4

Back in the early days of WWII, the German Army brought Blitzkrieg, or Lightning War, to bear upon its enemies in Europe. This combination of tanks and infantry defeated every enemy on the Continent. Even before the US entered WWII, our Army knew they would have to find a way to counter this tactic. One big issue was, how does an infantry unit defeat tanks.

Each infantry regiment had an anti-tank company, armed with 18 towed anti-tank guns. This was a start, but still, something more was needed. What the Army really wanted was a weapon that could be carried by a small team of men, say 2 or 3, and give each company its own chance at defeating tanks. Right about this time, the HEAT warhead was developed. In fact, the Army had a large number of HEAT warheads in production. They just didn’t know what to do with them. They were 2.36 inches in diameter, which is 60mm, so there is some supposition they may have planned to make them mortar rounds. But mortars aren’t really accurate enough to attack tanks. Then the Army came up with a HEAT hand grenade.  The obvious problem with that was you had to get pretty damn close to a tank to hit it with a grenade.

By a happy coincidence, the Army had two young officers, CPT. Leslie Skinner and LT. Ed Uhl working on a battlefield rocket system. They had a rocket that worked well, but no warhead. Much like the birth of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, once they got the rocket and the warhead together, great things were happening.

The M1 Rocket Launcher was soon known far and wide as the Bazooka, since it faintly resembled a homemade musical instrument by the same name, made popular by comedian Bob Burns. The Bazooka worked. It gave infantrymen a fighting chance at destroying enemy tanks without sacrificing themselves. As the war went on, the Germans, facing huge numbers of Sherman tanks, copied the Bazooka and named it the Panzerschreck. Then they came up with the idea of making a disposable, one shot version, which they called the Panzerfaust.

The bazooka continued in service long after WWII, but the Army liked the idea behind the Panzerfaust. After much tinkering, the Army started to issue the M-72 Light Anti-tank Weapon, or LAW. Now, in Vietnam, there weren’t a lot of enemy tanks. But there were a lot of bunkers. And it just so happens that a LAW is a dandy way of taking out a bunker, much safer than the prescribed method of crawling up to it and throwing a grenade inside.

The LAW was a collapsible fiberglass and aluminum tube with a 66mm HEAT rocket inside. Pop it open, arm it, shoot it, throw away the tube. Easy as pie. The LAW was light enough that just about every soldier could carry one and in a pinch, a grunt could carry several of them. It was such a handy weapon, it is one of the few occasions of the Russians copying it. They call their version the RPG-18.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gzHB8B4v3Pw]

But by the late 1980’s, the LAW was getting long in the tooth, and the 66mm warhead was too small to take out modern tanks. Something bigger was needed. The Army went shopping. After trying several European rocket launchers, they settled on the 84mm Swedish AT4.

After some tweaks, the AT4 was introduced as the M136 Rocket Launcher. Still, everyone calls it the AT4. The AT4 has a bigger, faster rocket and warhead, longer range than the M72, and by virtue of its greater speed, is more accurate. I still wouldn’t want to try to take out a main battle tank with it, but for taking out a bunker, or a sniper hiding in a building, well, it is just the ticket.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL-sfhsSPPU]

Update: Someone did a google search asking what the “4” in AT4 stood for. Nothing. AT4 is a phonetic play on the caliber of the cartridge, 84mm. Say A T 4 and think “eighty-four.”

Field Expediency

Take this:

Add some of this:

Held aloft with this:

And all you need for a good workout is this:

.

When I was deployed to the Middle East for Operation Desert Storm, there weren’t many creature comforts or recreational facilities. In fact, there were none. Being good American, red-blooded boys, we improvised.

First we played football. Unfortunatly, even touch football in the Army is a full-contact sport and after a few guys ended up with significant (if not serious) injuries, football was prohibited. We were left with two options. Option one was soccer. It suffered from two drawbacks. One, it’s SOCCER! for cryin’outloud. Two, it soon devovled into the same injury causing mess as football.

The only option left was volleyball. By stripping the camo part out of a section of camo-netting, and judicious use of net-poles, commo wire and engineer’s white tape, we quickly made a decent volleyball court. We had plenty of sand, so beach volleyball it was. And as an added bonus, it was scaleable. You could make the court pretty much any size you wanted to accomodate anywhere from four players to 100.

Not surprisingly, volleyball was a contact sport as well. I forget where in the rules it is, but I’m sure it says something about diving under the net to tackle a guy getting ready to spike.