Airborne Operations [2-3.7 AC.F] - TAB F
AIRLIFT IN THE DOMINICAN CRISIS
When civil strife broke out in the Dominican Republic in April 1965, the United States decided to dispatch troops to protect American lives and to prevent a possible Castro-type takeover by Communist elements. Marines were landed on 28 April from ships offshore and two battalions of the 82d Airborne Division and their supporting forces were ordered to move with minimum essential equipment from Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, to Ramey Air Force Base, Puerto Rico, on the 29th of April.
POWER PACK I, as the 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division, was designated for the move, contained 2,253 men. Approximately 67 hours after it was alerted, lead elements of POWER PACK I became airborne. Employing 111 heavy drop aircraft and 33 personnel carrying aircraft, the 3d Brigade headed for Puerto Rico. While enroute, however, Washington political and military leaders changed the destination of the force to San Isidro Airfield, Dominican Republic and ordered the 3d Brigade to airland instead of airdrop. This change caused some immediate problems since ground materiel handling equipment was not available at San Isidro to unload heavy drop loads and the equipment had to be unloaded manually. In addition San Isidro soon became saturated and only the 33 personnel carrying and 46 of the heavy drop aircraft were able to land on the 29th. This development separated the troops from much of their equipment at a critical moment. Fortunately no opposition to the landings arose and the missing equipment which had been landed at Puerto Rico was flow in to San Isidro the following day.
POWER PACK II, the 2d Brigade (-) of the 82d Airborne Division, was
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alerted on 28 April and ordered to move to the Dominican Republic on 1 May. The force contained two airborne battalions and supporting elements with a total of 2,276 men. Using the same planes as the 3d Brigade on a shuttle basis as they became available, the POWER PACK II force also arrived in the Dominican Republic approximately 72 hours after it was alerted.
The third echelon of the 82d Airborne Division, POWER PACK III, contained the remainder of the 2d Brigade, consisting of two airborne battalions and support forces, and elements of the 5th Logistical Command to provide logistical backup; it totalled 3,302 men and officers. POWER PACK III was shuttled in between the afternoon of 2 May and the morning of 3 May.
With the bulk of six airborne battalions concentrated in the vicinity of San Isidro Airfield located east of the capital city of Santo Domingo, the Army units moved west to link up with the Marine forces that had already established a safety zone in the city itself. A junction between the Army and Marine forces took place on the morning of 3 May and a perimeter was set up.
POWER PACK IV, the fourth echelon of the 82d, consisted of the 1st Brigade with three airborne battalions and support forces with a total of 3,000 men an officers. It began to deploy from the United States on the shuttling aircraft on 3 May and completed its move to the Dominican Republic the following morning.
Thus, in the five day period between 29 April and 4 May, over 10,500 men of the 82d Division and supporting elements were airlifted into the Dominican Republic. Additional Army units with a strength of about
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3,000 men including the remainder of the 82d Airborne Division, Special Forces troops, psychological warfare units, signal and transportation elements, arrived in the Dominican Republic prior to 9 May. Together with over 4,000 Marines and over 1,000 Air Force personnel, the U.S. Forces in the Dominican Republic established firm control of the corridor between the San Isidro Airfield and of the safety zone in Santo Domingo.
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