Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1978


Operational Forces

As part of the larger effort to improve force readiness, the Army refined the combat ability of the twenty-four divisions of its basic operational force. The Army stressed raising American readiness for European operations and developing compatibility and uniformity among NATO forces to improve their effectiveness as a coalition. The Army also took measures to adjust its footing in the Pacific and, on the domestic front, to meet its statutory responsibility for assisting civilian authorities.

Organization and Deployment

Designed to maximize the combat power of available resources, the Army's total force structure combined active and reserve component units. The basic force comprised eight divisions in the National Guard and sixteen divisions in the active Army. Four of the latter were rounded out to their full complement of units by the affiliation of a National Guard brigade with each for training and mobilization. Nine National Guard battalions two Army Reserve battalions, and one Army Reserve company rounded out six other active Army divisions. A National Guard brigade was affiliated with each of four, fully organized divisions; two National Guard battalions augmented another. A further application of the affiliation, process was expanded during the year. Reserve component battalions were associated with active units to improve their deployment readiness. This close relationship of reserve and active forces allowed the Army to maintain its basic 24-division configuration, including most of the necessary tactical support and sustaining support base, while remaining under an authorized active Army strength ceiling of 787,000.

The National Guard units in the basic force included five infantry divisions, one mechanized infantry division, and two armored divisions. Among the active Army units were five infantry divisions, five mechanized infantry divisions, four armored divisions, one airborne division, and one air assault division. To promote readiness for European operations, two infantry divisions in the active Army were scheduled to be reorganized as mechanized infantry units.

Other operational forces in the National Guard included seventeen brigades, eight of which were infantry, six mechanized


30 September 1978

  U.S. Stationing   Forward Deployment
Active Army Unit Location Roundout Unit Augmentation Unit Active Army Unit  Location
1st Infantry Division
Fort Riley, Kansas 2d Battalion (Mechanized), 136th
Infantry ARNG, Minnesota
69th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized)
ARNG, Kansas
2d Infantry Division
3d Infantry Division (Mechanized)
4th Infantry Division
Fort Carson, Colorado 3d Battalion (Mechanized), 117th
Infantry ARNG, Tennessee
67th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized)
ARNG, Nebraska
8th Infantry Division (Mechanized)
1st Armored Division
5th Infantry Division
Fort Polk, Louisiana 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized)
ARNG, Louisiana
  3d Armored Division
*Berlin Brigade
7th Infantry Division Fort Ord, California 41st Infantry Brigade
ARNG, Oregon
  ** 3d Brigade, 1st Infantry
Division (Mechanized)
    8th Battalion, 40th Armor
  ***Brigade 75
4th Brigade, 4th Infantry
    Co D (Bridge) 13th Engineer
Battalion USAR
  Division (Mechanized)
(Brigade 76)
9th Infantry Division
Fort Lewis, Washington 1st Battalion, 803d Armor
ARNG, Washington
81st Infantry Brigade (Mechanized)
ARNG, Washington
193d Infantry Brigade
2d Armored Cavalry Regiment
Canal Zone
24th Infantry Division Fort Stewart, Georgia 48th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized)
ARNG, Georgia
  11th Armored Cavalry Regiment Germany
25th Infantry Division  Schofield Barracks, Hawaii

29th Infantry Brigade
ARNG, Hawaii
100th Battalion, 442d Infantry


  U.S. Stationing   Forward Deployment
Active Army Unit Location Roundout Unit Augmentation Unit Active Army Unit  Location
82d Airborne Division Fort Bragg, North Carolina   1st Battalion (Airborne), 143d
Infantry ARNG, Texas
101st Airborne Division (Airmobile)

Fort Campbell, Kentucky

  2d Battalion (Airborne),
143d Infantry ARNG, Texas
39th Infantry Brigade
ARNG, Arkansas
1st Cavalry Division (Armored)

Fort Hood, Texas

1st Battalion, 263d Armor
ARNG, South Carolina
2d Battalion, 252d Armor
ARNG, North Carolina
2d Battalion (Mechanized), 120th
Infantry ARNG, North Carolina
2d Armored Division

Fort Hood, Texas

1st Battalion, 123d Armor
ARNG, Kentucky
2d Battalion, 123d Armor
ARNG, Kentucky
1st Battalion, 149th Infantry
ARNG, Kentucky
6th Cavalry Brigade (Air Combat) Fort Hood, Texas
172d Infantry Brigade
Fort Richardson, Alaska        
194th Armored Brigade Fort Knox, Kentucky
197th Infantry Brigade Fort Benning, Georgia
3d Armored Cavalry Regiment Fort Bliss, Texas

* Special Mission Unit stationed in Berlin as part of the tripartite occupation force.
** Officially referred to as 1st Infantry Division Forward.
*** Except for Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Support Battalion, units of brigade are furnished on six-month rotational cycle by 2d Armored Division and 1st Cavalry Division.


infantry, and three armored, and four regiments of armored cavalry. The Army Reserve had an infantry brigade, a light infantry brigade, and a mechanized infantry brigade. Additional active Army formations included six brigades, four of infantry, one of armor, and one of air cavalry, and three armored cavalry regiments.

Over a quarter of the Army's major active units-four divisions, a brigade from each of three other divisions, one separate brigade, and two regiments-were posted in the Federal Republic of Germany. One division was in Korea, although plans called for its eventual withdrawal, and one brigade was in the Panama anal Zone. The remaining units were in the United States, including a division in Hawaii and a brigade in Alaska, on call for deployment wherever required. As evidenced by the array of units in Germany, Europe was the area of primary American interest.

Unit Readiness

Factors weighed in determining the ability of an Army unit to perform its mission include manpower, equipment, training, leadership, and morale. In search of a more comprehensive and accurate assessment, toward the end of this year the Army revised its system of measuring these factors. Standards were raised for satisfactory ratings in such areas as the availability of senior noncommissioned and commissioned officers, equipment on hand, and equipment serviceability. The overall rating of a unit was restricted to one no higher than the rating for its principal weapons system, such as tanks or howitzers. A new feature measured additional aspects of training, such as the availability of qualified instructors, training areas, and facilities. Also new was a provision for a composite rating of a major unit (division, brigade, and armored cavalry regiment) by grouping its subordinate elements into fire, maneuver, and support categories. These elements are individually rated. The major unit's overall rating cannot exceed the lowest individual rating awarded.

This year satisfactory personnel strength levels were maintained by all active Army units stationed in the United States, although shortages in some skills and grades occurred as manpower was drawn from them to sustain the strength of units deployed overseas, particularly in Germany. As a command, the forces in Europe somewhat exceeded their authorized personnel strength. The logistic readiness of all active Army units remained virtually unchanged from last year's level. The percen-


tage of units possessing or exceeding authorized quantities of equipment remained at 95 percent, and the percentage reaching or surpassing goals for serviceable gear stood at 83 percent.

Together these readiness yardsticks reveal that all units deployed overseas were able to carry out their combat missions. Those in the United States were also combat ready, except for the three most recently activated divisions and one recently reorganized brigade. The three new divisions needed more personnel and equipment.


The motivating force behind Army policy was recognition of the magnitude and sophistication of the Warsaw Pact forces. Battle with them would reach an unparalleled pace and intensity, demanding more of our combat and support systems than ever before. Preparing for such an engagement is a long-range goal, but during the past year much was accomplished.

To improve the effectiveness of NATO forces, the Army concentrated on the areas known collectively as NATO rationalization/standardization/interoperability (RSI). Simply stated, rationalization is making the best use of defense resources from an alliance standpoint; standardization is uniformity; and interoperability is compatibility in doctrine, equipment, systems, and procedures.

Much of the Army's RSI effort during the year centered on command, control, and communications; ammunition and weapons, especially artillery; target acquisition systems; logistics systems; and tactical doctrine. Progress in reaching bilateral and multilateral agreements in these areas was substantial. From the Army's point of view, the most beneficial RSI efforts were in ammunition interoperability, standardized artillery, and interoperable logistics systems.

Other significant steps taken this year in NATO defense planning stemmed from a 1977 meeting of heads of state in London. There President Carter suggested preparing a long term program to enhance NATO's defense capabilities, and a short-term program to redress the most critical defense deficiencies.

Short-term advances were subsequently recommended to correct as quickly as possible critical deficiencies in antiarmor capability, war reserve munitions, and reinforcement. In pursuit of this objective, the Army introduced a number of measures. In the antiarmor area, it planned to deploy a TOW-equipped aviation company to Europe and to equip designated reinforcement


units in the United States with the Dragon antitank missile. War reserve munitions were to be expanded, including TOW and Dragon holdings, and the amount of various supplies stored in Europe was to be increased. Earmarking additional forces as reinforcement units also received study. Under earlier plans, a dozen eight-inch howitzers with crews, vehicles, and other equipment-the equivalent of a battalion-were moved to Germany between January and March. To further raise the density of heavy artillery, the equivalents of two battalions of 155-mm. howitzers will follow in fiscal year 1979.

To accelerate the reinforcement of units in Germany, the Army maintains what it calls prepositioned materiel configured to unit sets. Under this method, most of a reinforcing unit's equipment is stored as a set within a possible combat theater so that only the unit's personnel and some minor equipment need airlifting to provide rapid reinforcement. As of the end of this year, equipment stored in battalion- and company-size sets at eight sites in Germany was sufficient to support the rapid deployment of three reinforcing divisions. Plans call for the prepositioning of sets for three additional divisions; one by the end of fiscal year 1980, the others by the end of fiscal year 1982.

Another short-term proposition was to increase the manning of some units in Germany. This year the Army raised its overall strength in Europe to 207,000, an increase of 4,300. In a step related to raising the permanent manning of the Army's NATO contingent, two signal companies began deployment to Europe during the last month of this fiscal year. These two units will provide signal support to Brigade 75, whose troops this year were for the most part provided in temporary-duty status on a six-month rotational cycle by the 2d Armored Division and 1st Cavalry Division. Beginning next year, the brigade will be manned by troops on regular tours of duty; when this change has been completed and the unit has occupied its permanent station, Brigade, 75 will be designated the 3d Brigade, 2d Armored Division (Forward). Now stationed in central Germany, where U.S. forces have long been concentrated, the brigade will be permanently located near Bremerhaven in the primarily British sector to the north. This move will provide tangible evidence of American interest in defending the northern region.

The NATO Long-Term Defense Plan was ratified by heads of state during a NATO summit meeting in Washington at the end of May. It committed its signatories to a fifteen-year program to improve NATO defenses. Each nation agreed to a yearly three percent real-dollar increase in defense spending.


The Army played a major role in developing the areas of action. They include: readiness; reinforcement; reserve mobilization; maritime posture; air defense; command, control, and communications; electronic warfare; rationalization; consumer logistics; and theater nuclear forces. During the year the nations worked on plans for carrying out the program. A progress report is scheduled for issue early in fiscal year 1979.

Host nation support has been important to Army operations in Europe for some time. This is a program for negotiating agreements with NATO allies for providing supplies and services, primarily to help the Army meet rear-area requirements. A stumbling block to completing agreements has been the objections of allied governments to U.S. procurement regulations requiring contracts for purchases using appropriated funds; these governments consider the requirement inappropriate to dealings with sovereign nations. Last year the Army proposed remedial legislation that was included in the Department of Defense legislative program for the 95th Congress. Since the legislation remained pending before Congress this year, the Office of the Secretary of Defense granted the Army blanket permission to deviate from the requirement. The Army made major progress in obtaining host nation support.

REFORGER 78, the tenth annual strategic mobility exercise, provided some up-to-date measurements of U.S. and NATO operational readiness. The deployment of equipment and troops from the United States by sea and air tested strategic lift and rapid reinforcement; host nation support played a large role; and the placement of American units under Netherlands command during a field exercise shed light on some aspects of NATO interoperability. REFORGER results were satisfactory all around.

The Pacific and Far East

To improve its position in the Pacific, the Army proposed reestablishing Headquarters, U.S. Army Pacific (discontinued in 1974) as the Army component of the unified Pacific Command. The nucleus of the headquarters would be shaped by combining the U.S. Army CINCPAC Support Group and selected elements of the U.S. Army Support Command Hawaii. The Army believed that restoring the headquarters would ease the transition from peace to war, should the need arise. At the close of the year the recommendation lay before Secretary of the Army Clifford L. Alexander. Ultimate approval rests with the Secretary of Defense.


The Army's major Far Eastern concern was the withdrawal of Army forces from Korea. In 1977 President Carter ordered the withdrawal to take place gradually over a five-year span. It was to include the entire 2d Infantry Division and all other Eighth Army forces except for a small residual group of logistics, intelligence, communications, and command personnel. Subject to congressional approval, the units would leave behind equipment to strengthen and modernize South Korean forces at no cost to the South Koreans.

The Army's original plan called for the withdrawal in 1978 of a brigade of the 2d Division and several Eighth Army units, totaling about 6,000 personnel spaces. In the midst of alleged Korean influence-buying in the United States, however, Congress did not authorize the transfer of equipment to the Republic of Korea Army until autumn, and the withdrawal was delayed. Under a new timetable, only 3,400 personnel spaces, including one battalion of the 2d Division, would be withdrawn by the end of calendar year 1978.

In 1977 American and South Korean officials agreed to establish a Combined Forces Command before the end of the first phase of the withdrawal. The commander in chief was to be American; the deputy commander was to be South Korean.

In light of U.S. withdrawal, the new headquarters would symbolize American commitment to the defense of the Republic of Korea. Ground was broken for the headquarters building of the new command in May. The command itself was scheduled for activation early in the next fiscal year.

In the United States, the forthcoming return of the 2d Division raised the matter of where it would be stationed. Locations studied for environmental impact during the year were Fort Bliss, Texas, Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort Devens, Massachusetts, Fort Dix, New Jersey, and Fort Drum, New York. Fort Riley, Kansas, was selected as the temporary station for the battalion leading the withdrawal, with Fort Lewis, Washington, as the alternative. Its permanent home should be chosen in fiscal year 1979.

Western Hemisphere

On 7 September 1977 President Carter and the Republic of Panama's chief of government, Brig. Gen. Omar Torrijos, signed treaties providing for the dissolution of the canal zone, new operating and defense arrangements, and ensuring the neutrality of the canal and American accessibility to it. The Senate ratified the treaties on 18 April of this year. The Army


began planning the necessary changes. Plans centered on arranging financial and manpower resources, drafting a legislative package, and developing workable command relationships between the supervisory bodies that will function during the life of the treaties.

The Army paid closest attention to plans for command relations between the two bodies that will supervise U.S. Panamanian defense operations. Draft legislation proposed new laws and amendments to carry out the treaty provisions. It defined the scope and authority of the administrator of the new Panama Canal Commission, modified the canal zone code, and authorized required payments to Panama. Requests for resources were included in a Department of Defense budget amendment for fiscal year 1979.

The Office of Management and Budget approved the amendment but did not send it to Congress. This delay left the Army without funds for the construction it needed to accomplish during Panama's dry season so that unit relocations dictated by the treaties could be made with minimal disruption of operations. The Army thus requested $10.9 million from the contingency fund of the Secretary of Defense to start the most critical construction. At year's end action on this request awaited presidential certification of need.

Chemical and Nuclear Matters

U.S.-Soviet Bilateral Negotiations on Chemical Weapons Arms Limitations begun in 1976 reconvened in three sessions this fiscal year. Army staff members represented both the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff at these meetings. The U.S. goal is to negotiate the framework of an agreement that would bring an effective and verifiable halt to the development, production, and stockpiling of chemical weapons and provide for the destruction of chemical munitions. Further negotiations will reveal whether the Soviets desire the same result.

Since the Warsaw Pact forces have a well-developed capacity for chemical warfare, the Army activated eleven chemical defense units during the year-five decontamination detachments and six reconnaissance detachments. These and additional detachments to be activated next year will be assigned to the larger formations in Germany. Those assigned to divisions and corps support commands will be enlarged to company size. The Army also allocated $53.2 million for purchasing chemical protective clothing and other field defense equipment. It should be avail-


able by fiscal year 1982. Another $32.6 million was allocated to research and development for improving defensive gear.

In its own arsenals of offensive chemical munitions, the Army continued programs for tightening physical security at storage sites, selling excess material with industrial uses, and destroying obsolete items. In addition, new procedures for destroying obsolete munitions were developed, installed and tested.

The Army conducted a cleanup operation on Enewetak, an atoll in the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific where the United States had tested nuclear devices, including the hydrogen bomb, between 1947 and 1958. In December 1947 its entire population of 136 had been relocated. In 1972 the U.S. agreed to make the atoll again inhabitable. The operation consisted of removing contaminated soil and debris to another part of the atoll where it was enclosed in concrete.

The Defense Nuclear Agency was responsible for the joint service effort; the Army provided the bulk of the forces. Army engineers cleared the atoll proper and Navy forces cleared the beaches below the high-water mark. Air Force field radiation support teams monitored radiation levels of the material, and the Department of Energy provided on-site radiation surveys and assay services. Despite delays caused by tropical storms, all phases of the operation were on or ahead of schedule at year's end.

To improve its tactical nuclear weapons and increase its capacity for a flexible battlefield response, particularly in Europe, during each of the past two years the Army asked Congress for funds to develop a new 155-mm. nuclear projectile. Congress denied the request both times and last year directed a joint Department of Defense-Department of Energy reassessment of the need for the projectile and for an eight-inch nuclear projectile under development since fiscal year 1975.

The Department of the Army and the Energy Research and Development Agency presented the report early this year. It justified the new projectile on grounds that it would quadruple the number of American artillery pieces with a nuclear capability facing Warsaw Pact forces and provide a tactical nuclear capability to other NATO forces having only or predominantly 155-mm. artillery in their force structures. In light of these advantages, Congress provided the funds.

Late last year a public controversy was generated by press reports that the Army was developing a new generation of nuclear weapons, called "neutron bombs" in the reports, that


would kill people and spare buildings and other property. These weapons were actually under development in the early 1960's, but were kept under security wraps until an unclassified reference appeared in the Congressional Record during the 1978 budget hearings. The weapons grew out of the Army's need to stop a massed tank or armored vehicle attack without causing unnecessary collateral damage and casualties to nonmilitary structures and personnel. The new device, which the Army named a "reduced blast/enhanced radiation" weapon to counter the "neutron bomb" label, met this requirement. Compared to a standard fission weapon, its reduced heat and blast characteristics would decrease the range of collateral damage by five to ten kilometers.

Opponents of the new weapon believed that its reduced collateral damage quality increased the likelihood of its use in battle, thus increasing the probability of nuclear warfare. The Army took an opposing position: because the new device was more usable and effective, it would deter nuclear conflict. Nevertheless the public controversy, which extended around the world and was especially intense in Europe, led to an amendment of the 1978 appropriations bill. President Carter had to certify that the weapon was in the national interest before money could be spent on its production. In response to public pressure, the President directed the Department of Defense to continue modernizing nuclear weapons leaving open the option of installing the enhanced radiation elements. In deferring a final decision, the President hoped to encourage the Soviets to show reciprocal restraint.

Nuclear testing was also subject to controversy. During the previous year some cases of leukemia were detected among former Army members who had taken part in a nuclear weapons test in Nevada twenty years earlier. This year the Army conducted a records search to identify all Army participants in that test. A similar but broader search under the Defense Nuclear Agency to locate records and compile data for all Army participants in all nuclear tests was still in progress at the end of the year.

Military Support to Civilian Authorities

The Army responded to more than 900 Secret Service requests for explosive ordnance disposal personnel, aircraft and crews, vehicles and drivers, and medical service. Highlighting this support, the Army provided a mobile air traffic control radar team for airspace surveillance over Camp David in Thur-


mont, Maryland, during the momentous Middle East peace talks between President Carter, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

Requests from the Customs Service and the Drug Enforcement Administration for support of federal efforts to reduce illegal drug traffic involved the loan of ground sensors, trucks, aircraft, and weapons; the use of Army training facilities; and the extension of maintenance service. The value of such equipment and services exceeded $6 million.

To augment emergency medical transportation services until similar civilian services are available, Army helicopter ambulance units continued participating in the Military Assistance to Safety and Traffic program (MAST). This program makes military helicopters, crews, paramedical personnel, and equipment available for medical emergencies in the civilian community. Two restrictions on MAST support are that it not interfere with military missions in areas where medical and rescue helicopter units are regularly assigned and that it not compete with similar commercial operations.

Only active Army and Army Reserve units took part in the program until this year, when Army National Guard units were permitted to take part on a voluntary basis during periods, usually weekends, coinciding with scheduled training. The activation of two medical rescue units, one Army Reserve and one Air Force Reserve, raised the number of MAST units to twenty-five (nineteen Army and six Air Force). These units transported over 3,000 patients.

Fires, floods, and storms created a substantial workload for the Army in disaster relief operations. Foreign missions included a relief effort in Honduras during Hurricane Greta. In the United States, Army personnel and equipment helped fight a forest fire in Colorado and a fire threatening the national oil reserve in Louisiana.

Floods caused extensive damage in the western and north central sections of the country. For the second consecutive year, widespread flooding in the Pacific Northwest during the early winter months did especially heavy damage to flood control works in the state of Washington. Losses of flood control facilities also occurred in southern California because of heavy rains in February and March. In the spring, flooding from melting snow, storms, and ice jams severely damaged levees in Nebraska, North Dakota, arid Minnesota. Repairs by Army engineers to the control facilities in the Pacific Northwest and California alone cost almost $10 million.


Problems created by severe winter storms in the midwestern and northeastern states required the largest commitment of men and equipment and involved forces of the Army National Guard and Army Reserve as well as the active Army. In round-the-clock operations over several days, Army task forces cleared roads of snow and stalled vehicles, hauled fuel and other supplies to shut-in areas, and evacuated stranded motorists, isolated families, and medical patients. In the strongest test of the disaster relief program in recent years, the Army provided assistance in sixteen major domestic emergencies.



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