DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS
FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA
US ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
WASHINGTON, D. C.
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
Oral History Interview
DSIT AE 097
Joint Exercises Branch, XVIII Airborne Corps G-3
LTC William Kennedy
MAJ Michael C. Dearborn
Interview Conducted 31 May 1991 at XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Interviewer: MAJ Robert K. Wright, Jr.
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
7 August 1990 - 15 May 1991
Oral History Interview DSIT AE 097
MAJ WRIGHT: This interview is being conducted on 31 May 1991 in XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters. The interviewing official is MAJ Robert K. Wright, Jr., the Corps historian. And gentlemen, if I can get you to give me your name, rank and Social [Security Number]?
LTC KENNEDY: LTC William Kennedy; ***-**-****.
MAJ DEARBORN: MAJ Michael C. Dearborn; ***-**-****.
MAJ WRIGHT: Okay, gentlemen. What is your current duty position within XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters?
LTC. KENNEDY: I'm Chief of the Joint Exercise Branch of the Exercise Directorate, XVIII Airborne Corps G-3
MAJ DEARBORN: I'm the branch chief of the USSOUTHCOM1 exercises for the XVIII Airborne Corps.
MAJ WRIGHT: When operation DESERT SHIELD kicked off on August 7th of 1990 were you both in the same duty positions?
LTC KENNEDY: Yes.
MAJ WRIGHT: When we did Operation INTERNAL LOOK2 had either of you been involved in that exercise--the command post exercise?
LTC KENNEDY: Yes. I was the liaison officer to MARCENT3 down at Duke Field.
MAJ WRIGHT: And how about you MAJ Dearborn?
MAJ DEARBORN: I was primarily the action officer for setting up INTERNAL LOOK. I had just briefly been here about a month and sort of assisted a MAJ Chip Martin who was the primary action officer for getting INTERNAL LOOK set up.
MAJ WRIGHT: As you look back on it now did we benefit from the fortuitous timing of INTERNAL LOOK--coming just a couple weeks before the operation kicked off for real?
LTC KENNEDY: Oh, yes, significantly. Especially from the fact that it came just at the end of the summer rotation cycle with everybody moving in and out. So you had a lot of new players and a lot of new jobs that initially may have established relationships by contacting each other at different headquarters through that exercise.
MAJ WRIGHT: So, that almost gave us that first shake down of being able to put a face with a voice on the other end of the phone?
MAJ DEARBORN: Almost a rehearsal took place.
MAJ WRIGHT: Any salient points on how we played that exercise that we found didn't work when we got over there and actually got on the real ground? I'm thinking there of ... the 82d [Airborne Division], for example, has told me that some of the plans they had made on which building complexes to use had to be adjusted when they got there and actually were able to eyeball the buildings.
LTC KENNEDY: My view of INTERNAL LOOK, looking at it from, you know, at the Corps level and also being out of the Corps area--the plan that we used in INTERNAL LOOK was more designed to have all of the major subordinate commands be equal players and have active parts in it so we could put light forces out in the desert. Which was not optimal, number one; and number two, we didn't do in that same vein in DESERT STORM and DESERT SHIELD to sustain them. So, there was some CPX artificiality just to keep all headquarters ...
MAJ WRIGHT: Involved.
LTC KENNEDY: ... involved and gaining some training value.
MAJ WRIGHT: When did you first hear that we're going to execute DESERT SHIELD? The invasion comes on August 2d and the public announcement of deployment of the ADVON4 comes on August 7th.
LTC KENNEDY: I guess the night of August 6th I knew we were getting the alert order and I went with the Assault C[ommand] P[ost] on the 7th.
MAJ WRIGHT: Went out on BG [Edison E.] Scholes' ... with BG Scholes on Chalk One?
LTC KENNEDY: Right.
MAJ WRIGHT: What about you?
MAJ DEARBORN: I left on the 2d of August and went down as an XVIII Corps LNO5 to CENTCOM6 as a part of a cell that consisted of COL [Lawrence] Cousins and MAJ [Felix] Aponte [from G-3]; and I forget was who the logistics [G-4] guy was at that time; a signal guy by the name of MAJ Mueller; and a TACSAT7 team. At that time we just felt ... there was a consensus among us that we were going along too, we just didn't know the exact time frame, but it was definitely around there.
LTC KENNEDY: The 6th. We were confirming that what they were considering was to be a major launch.
MAJ WRIGHT: And this was down at McDill Air Force Base in Tampa?
MAJ DEARBORN: That's correct. CENTCOM headquarters.
MAJ WRIGHT: When ... how long did you spend down there?
MAJ DEARBORN: I stayed down there until the 12th of August at which time I was deployed with the first wave of the CENTCOM staff on the 13th of August. Basically remained with the CENTCOM staff at Riyadh until I joined LTC Kennedy at ARCENT8 headquarters on the 24th of August.
MAJ WRIGHT: Which was also in Riyadh?
MAJ DEARBORN: That's correct.
MAJ WRIGHT: How do you deploy over? Is it by [C]-141 [Starlifter] or ...
MAJ DEARBORN: 141.
MAJ WRIGHT: How big a party, about? The five or six guys from Corps all went? Did COL Cousins go or did he return here?
MAJ DEARBORN: COL Cousins did not go with us. It was myself, MAJ Aponte and the TACSAT team. We went on the 13th.
MAJ WRIGHT: As you get into Riyadh, that is very, very early in the flow of American personnel into Riyadh. Anything strike you about the difficulties of trying to deal with Saudis without offending their sensibilities? Trying to find a ... you know, obviously you try to create a theater headquarters from scratch. Was there anything about that process that ... ?
MAJ DEARBORN: Things at that point seemed to ... in Riyadh it was probably different from Dhahran, based on what was flowing in. There probably just wasn't that much going into Riyadh at that particular time. And things seemed to work pretty smooth. There wasn't ... there was concern about being sensitive to the Saudi ways and their culture. Things seemed to work together. There seemed to be people that got on the ground early and got a good working relationship going. So things in Riyadh seemed rather smooth. I don't know how they seemed in Dhahran.
MAJ WRIGHT: During those first two weeks or so that you were there, you're working still out of CENTCOM. What does that mean in terms of the Corps? Are you passing a lot of traffic or just sort of keeping an eye on things?
MAJ DEARBORN: Primarily being there when they need to answer something real quick because of the CinC's9 staff. There wasn't a lot of work going on initially at CENTCOM staff. We normally don't provide liaisons at that level.
LTC KENNEDY: Two levels up.
MAJ DEARBORN: Two levels up. I think it was good that we sent them down to Tampa initially to be able to answer the CinC's questions and get something to assist their staff in working with the folks that we had at ARCENT, the folks back at Fort Bragg, so they could devote--the CinC's staff--could devote their time to the things that they had to do in their particular functions. But, once we got into Riyadh there really wasn't a need for us to run anything at CENTCOM.
LTC KENNEDY: There was another LNO team--Bobby Simons-- MAJ Bobby Simons and I'm not sure who else was with him.
MAJ WRIGHT: From [G-3] Plans Shop?
LTC KENNEDY: From Plans. Who went to Atlanta to ARCENT Headquarters. And they deployed with ARCENT. So, I deployed with the Corps and spent the first night in Dhahran and then the next morning moved from Dhahran to Riyadh, and Simons picked me up--met me. So he was ... he had come in like the day before with the ARCENT staff.
MAJ WRIGHT: At ARCENT what is your principal function as an LNO: information flow, expediter?
LTC KENNEDY: All of that. Initially they had ... in the G-3 they had the chief of operations, a full colonel, and one planner, a lieutenant colonel, and two action officers, a lieutenant colonel and a major. So, initially Simons and I doubled as LNOs, doubled as action officers. First there was so much going on so fast, the first two or three frag[mentary] orders that the Corps got were written by me because otherwise they never would have gotten anything in writing (because there was just so much going on). Of course, when we started moving forces and moving the 82d up to the vicinity of [Al] Jubayl, the Corps said "well, what are you going to give us in writing?"--understandably, because that starts to get a radical dissipation of what forces we had there, and you don't like to do those types of things on a telephone call. And because there wasn't that many action officers the only way we were going to get it in writing was for us to write it. So, I wrote it and then took it to .. I think BG(P) [Robert S.] Frix was there at that time, Chief of Staff. And I wrote it, he approved it and I sent it. So, it started out, we were just rolling with the rest of them and then as they gradually ramped up with action officers it became more of a trouble shooting, problem solving, calming the waters type of function. But, initially it was jump starting a lot of actions, otherwise it never would have gotten going.
MAJ WRIGHT: All right. Is that a function of the fact that we had maintained ARCENT or the Third Army as a ... almost a cadre headquarters ...
LTC KENNEDY: Uh-huh.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... in peacetime? And they just didn't have enough bodies?
LTC KENNEDY: Also, when they sent their initial action officers, they were guys out of their coalition warfare shop, who were all Arabic speakers, but who were not the cream of the crop as far as G-3 action type of guys. And so when it came to writing frag orders there was a little experience gap out there.
MAJ WRIGHT: A little trying to remember "Geez, what was it that we heard at CGSC10 about how you do this?"
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. So, we had to fill that gap and Bobby--Bobby Simons--was out at the Plans Shop, and I have been a division planner, so, you know ... and it was time sensitive, so we just rolled up our sleeves and pitched in.
MAJ WRIGHT: Size of the team remains relatively small throughout?
LTC KENNEDY: The LNO team?
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah.
LTC KENNEDY: Initially we were ... we were first ... I'd say the first week, week and a half, probably working 20 hours a day and meeting ourselves coming and going. You know, kind of cat naps in the office and that type of stuff. Mike made it clear after about a week that he didn't think those guys were really all that employed over there. Third Army had quite a bit of umbrage with the fact that XVIII Corps had LNOs at CENTCOM. They weren't being used, so it just made sense to pull them. And I called back to Corps and said "if we're going to pull them, I could use the help over here."
So, Mike came over and then Chris Jenkins--MAJ Chris Jenkins--came. So we ended up with three majors working eight-hour shifts and then I would come in in the morning and work in essence the same hours that the G-3 of the ARCENT did, so that. And the key to this--my concept of this LNO business--and I think Mike will agree (I don't know; we need to see what his view was, but we also did it at VII Corps)--was to work your way into the small groups that make decisions. And after BG(P) [Steven L.] Arnold11 arrived ... and even before that because Duke Field, MARCENT and Third Army were co-located (also COL [Bob] Beddingfield was the G-3 at that time--initially--of Third Army, and he was the G-3 when I took my battalion on BRIGHT STAR so he knew me from there) was to work into that group.
And after BG Arnold arrived basically the decisions were made ... a briefing was given to the commander at 8:30 in the morning; and there was no decisions on that. About 1600 there'd be a prep for BG Arnold to talk about problems, things like that. He would go down and talk to LTG [John J.] Yeosock12 at like 1700 while LTG Yeosock ate. Then LTG Yeosock would go over to the CinC's meeting. BG Arnold would come back upstairs and while we ate, a lot of the decisions and a lot of the issues and those types of things were turned into action at that session between 1730 and 1830-1900. And then everyone would break and go to work. LTG Yeosock would come back about 2100 and BG Arnold would go meet with him. Normally there wasn't anything significant that came out at that point. Every once in a while there'd be a ... you know, we'd get summoned at midnight or something to help work on something. But, we were sleeping right in the basement--in the parking garage in the basement of the headquarters.
MAJ WRIGHT: At that point you were in RSLF13 building?
LTC KENNEDY: Right. And were sleeping in the basement. So, there was a couple of summons in the middle of the night. But I had, again, the three majors working shifts and so they shielded me from most of that. But, every once in a while we'd do something. But, the key, I think is (and it's not easy to do), the key is to work your way in to that cell and I had the leg up in the beginning with Beddingfield. BG Arnold is a super individual and he and I seemed to hit it off, and he came to, you know, rely on me for a lot of things. When I went to VII Corps, the G-3 of VII Corps was my first troop commander ever in the Army. So I had a leg in there and I was able to get into their group.
MAJ WRIGHT: If I understand you correctly, and MAJ Dearborn, do you agree with this concept that the key to success as a liaison officer at whatever level is personal credibility, and being able to figure out (regardless of what the official wiring diagram is) what is the unofficial power structure in the organization?
LTC KENNEDY: What's the informal organization. Where are the sessions that the critical decisions are made. Now early on in ARCENT it was very easy to be into that because we were really doing a lot of the work, and so it, you know, was easy. As the headquarters matured it became a little bit harder. And then when BG Arnold arrived I was able to sustain that and carry that through until I left.
When I went to VII Corps, which was much later, early on it was easy. I slipped into the Plans shop and I was able to integrate with them because also I'd been--I'd come from the Plans shop of the XVIII Corps, so I had a foot in the door with their Plans shop, so I could tell. But, as that headquarters matured, and as more and more LNOs arrived, it became harder because if one LNO was in a session, why not all? And even though they were subordinate to the VII Corps, it became tougher.
MAJ WRIGHT: Is that pretty much your impression of how that business works, MAJ Dearborn?
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah. And additionally it's finding out who the doers are. And we talked earlier about basically as a staff growing from ground up at ARCENT--regardless of what their organization was in Third Army, when they got to Riyadh, they were at the very, very basic level--minimal. They had to grow, figure out what their function was, their relationship with XVIII Airborne Corps, with the Air Force, with the higher staff (CENTCOM). And there were different levels of experience. And while LTC Kennedy was working, getting involved with being where the decisions were made, the action officers were primarily trying to get involved and locate the folks that would get things done. We put all kinds of paper work in a box, but there were certain people that were in that staff that would see the importance of what you were trying to get done and get some action done on it and get some decisions made on it, so ... .
LTC KENNEDY: One of the ... my key criticisms of ARCENT Headquarters: I saw them on INTERNAL LOOK because MARCENT was co-located and [COL] Steve Sakuma was the LNO to the Third Army. We didn't have--at times we didn't have significant work with MARCENT so I'd periodically come over and help Steve. ARCENT really did a fairly good job in that CPX of information flow and information management. When they deployed to DESERT SHIELD they left back a sergeant major and some of the significant NCOs14 that made things happen. And so they developed patterns that resulted in very poor information management. Action messages would come in and they would go into the file and the right people wouldn't see them. And we spent the majority of our time pulling stuff up and forcing action on messages. And [LTC William N.] Patterson--Bill Patterson--the Chief of [Current] Op[eration]s will tell you that he spent a lot of time preparing a laundry list of actions to send up that had never been actioned, and it was partially the information flow. When their sergeant major did arrive he gave them some good suggestions on how to put it together and he was ignored and this paralysis continued. And we, of course, were beating the drum the whole time, but we couldn't--that's one thing we couldn't break.
MAJ WRIGHT: In terms of watching ARCENT Headquarters stand up--and this continues, I guess, right up to the very eve of the ground war--they not only have to go from a 250-man organization to a 1,000-man organization, but they're also bringing in a lot of "heavy hitters" from all over the world to plus them up. Do you perceive any problems with the staff from those original 250 getting pushed aside?
LTC KENNEDY: Yes. And it was a morale problem. There was a lot of bureaucratic fighting going on to retain position, retain prestige, and stuff like that as the new people came in. Now, the majority of the load of the new people came in after I left (because I left in mid-October), so a lot of that group came in after I left. So my observations on what was going on after that are mostly second-hand.
MAJ DEARBORN: They had to do ... they had to do some discussions with the group at the end of the day to pull everybody together; to get them to understand who these people were that were coming in, why they were coming in. They were called everything from heavy hitters to long-ball hitters to whatever. And it was sort of a disservice to the folks that were coming in because they had a mission--they had a tasking. They wanted to come in and do a good job and help the team and they wanted to be team players.
But, you're talking about the perceptions of those that had been there since early August, that really busted their butt trying to form an organization and form procedures and processes and information management and collection of data and getting a system working--getting a staff working. We're talking about some very basic things here. And part of the problem also was they were obviously in a very much react mode from the get-go. Everything ... they were reacting to everything that was coming out of CENTCOM, coming out of the office where BG Arnold was, COL Beddingfield was, COL Lakey was. Responding to LTG Yeosock, BG Frix, to the other staff. So, it was difficult for them to get a handle on things to where they could be pro-active.
And that's where the LNOs came in and helped: we could take this log--go through the log. And we did it for two reasons. Number one, to help their staff, but also to help look out for the interests of XVIII Airborne Corps (at that time the only folks on the ground). And saying, "Okay, here's a message that came through. It doesn't say who the action officer is. We don't have an idea what the suspense is, who's got the lead on it, and when's it going to be done, and when's it going to be addressed by BG Arnold?" So, those guys that were there early fixed a lot of those problems and then when the so-called long-ball hitters came in there was a lot of resentment.
The leadership that was there--BG Arnold, BG Lakey and some of the others--had to coach the staff that was there and say "Look, you know, we're all one team. They've been directed to come in here and they've got certain skills that we need. We need to receive them and make them part of that team. And if it's understanding the mission--our mission--and not let our perceptions interfere with our performance." And I think there was some rough edges, but in the end a lot of that was resolved. Some of it with some staff was never resolved.
LTC KENNEDY: In Third Army's (ARCENT's) defense, early on--I'm talking about all the way up to mid-October, so I'm talking about the set for DESERT SHIELD. They had three subordinate elements: had XVIII Airborne Corps, 11th Aviation Brigade--or [correction, 11th] A[ir] D[efense] A[rtillery] Brigade, and SUPCOM.15 So, far as maneuver forces there was only one. So, as far as giving clear direction on a lot of things it was "Well, we don't want to get into their business" on one looking down. Looking up, of course, CENTCOM had no single ground component commander.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, that was the question I was going to hit you with, is how dysfunctional is it early on that we do not have ground component commander?
LTC KENNEDY: So, we have the Marines close to the shore and then we have the XVIII Airborne Corps. ARCENT on top of XVIII Airborne Corps. The Marines: the maneuver force and MARCENT are the same guys, so LTG Luck's counterpart on the ground is LTG Yeosock's counterpart in Riyadh. So, the decision trail is a lot shorter as far as the Marines are concerned. ARCENT--or [correction] CENTCOM--basically is trying to sort through some of the conflicts and, of course, [at CENTCOM Headquarters] there's a Marine/Navy J-5, a Marine Chief of Staff16 and some of those type of things. So, if something had any kind of a service tint to it or a turf protection thing ...
MAJ WRIGHT: They could get it up to the highest levels?
LTC KENNEDY: It would clear a battle up higher and the J-3 was Air Force and so we were hurting in some cases early on, just in organization. But, ARCENT was reluctant to tell the Corps how to suck eggs, okay? Well, that got them in trouble in some cases because the Corps was down there looking for guidance. We went through the defense of the Ab Qaiq thing, which we're still not sure why the defense of Ab Qaiq ... I think it's more the clearance of CHAMPION MAIN as opposed to the defense of Ab Qaiq in all honesty.17 And so when that mission came then it was, "Okay, what's important here?" The Corps wanted to know what the critical areas in Ab Qaiq were. And that was a long fight trying to find out "okay, you say defend Ab Qaiq, but what do you really mean?" And ARCENT couldn't tell us, and CENTCOM didn't have time. So, the Corps is down there spinning their wheels trying to figure out a plan for what to do with the 82d at that stage.
MAJ WRIGHT: As you describe it, you have an ARCENT staff that is perpetually in a training-up-new-guys mode, which is very distracting in terms of getting ahead of ... being pro-active, getting ahead of the power curve, so that staff can start influencing the decision makers. It almost sounds from the process you describe as if, if you couldn't get the issues you needed to have decisions on in to BG Arnold at that 1700, then you were at risk that what you were going to get was this sequence of general officers talking to general officers and, gee, that sounds like a great idea without any staff ...
LTC KENNEDY: Right.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... input at all to warn you about, you know, what's practical and things like that.
LTC KENNEDY: Another ... just to go back a little bit, too, as far as the new guys ... many of the pro-active hard working guys in ARCENT that arrived in August and September were actually out of the FORSCOM IG18 shop. So, they were not there during INTERNAL LOOK. They were not there familiar with the procedures. So they were coming in as the initial group of new guys, and they turned out to be some of the most aggressive and helpful to the Corps in the mode that, you know, if you do anything you're helpful as opposed to doing nothing.
MAJ WRIGHT: Early on are issues primarily logistical and plans? Would that be fair to say?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, we needed a vision and a mission as far as other then the defense of eastern Saudi Arabia and oil fields. And we never, to my knowledge, got a plan from CENTCOM or ARCENT. What I remember as occurring was the Corps waited and waited, and finally the Corps came up with a plan and started to send the plan up.
MAJ WRIGHT: That's the DESERT DRAGON sequence?
LTC KENNEDY: No, the DESERT SHIELD. The DESERT DRAGON sequence, that ...
MAJ DEARBORN: When the forces ... as the forces came in.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. That was initiated probably between ... early on between Horner19 and Yeosock because Yeosock used to keep saying "What are we going to do if we fight tonight" type of thing and the end result of that was DESERT DRAGON which ... at that point ARCENT really didn't ... their only concern was having enough combat power forward, and also the Marines screaming about ... . And of course the Marines say they got there and they were ready to fight, but there was 30 days that I remember that they were screaming for Army forces at Jubayl and specifically [AH-64] Apaches up in that area and then they didn't want to let the Apaches go.
But, the DESERT SHIELD defense: you couldn't get a clear plan, clear mission. And as the Corps started to develop it, the first time I saw it was in CENTCOM J-5, and apparently there'd been some back door discussions. Basically, as I understand what you have here is: no guidance to the Corps; the Corps is starting to sketch out their defense; and CENTCOM is paralleling that with "Gee, this is what it ought to look like" because that's what the Corps told them it was going to be.
MAJ WRIGHT: Not the textbook approach?
LTC KENNEDY: No.
MAJ WRIGHT: On how you do these things.
MAJ DEARBORN: The ARCENT plans was sucked up with CENTCOM, wasn't it.
LTC KENNEDY: Well, that's a good point. The ARCENT Plans shop was pulled into what was called C3I--Command, no not Command, it indicated something else. I don't know what the name of it is ... Coordinate, Communicate and something else ... C3I ... and Integrate? But, that function was external to CENTCOM J-3, J-5, CENTCOM J-3 plans; external to ARCENT. It was kind of a mid-level and it was created for the coalition side in order to have a staff, a headquarters that was co-staffed by the Saudis in the CENTCOM headquarters building. So, that whole Plans shop was sent over there and they were focusing on mostly building rapport and a lot of touchy-feely operations, at the same time the XVIII Corps was asking for guidance. So, that's a good point. There wasn't any ARCENT Plans shop for the Corps to turn to because those guys when you'd turn to them, they'd say "Hey, we're doing this C3I business, which is the coalition stuff."
MAJ WRIGHT: As you worked the other issues, are you going to ARCENT? Are you representing the Corps to ARCENT in conflicts involving the SUPCOM and the Corps, priority of that resource and things like that? Is that a fairly significant issue or relatively minor?
LTC KENNEDY: Early on I think it was relatively minor because we were the primary claimant. Early on the Marines were taking care of the Marines. And so up until the point that I left, it wasn't ... I don't remember significant issues as far as the SUPCOM other then as the SUPCOM wanted and coveted DRAGON CITY.20 And so there were some machinations about movement of the Corps rear boundary. We were ... and from the Corps perspective we were glad to move the Corps rear boundary because that meant that SUPCOM would have to take care of the defense.
MAJ DEARBORN: Defense of the base clusters?
LTC KENNEDY: And what they wanted was movement of the Corps rear boundary, but retention of the Corps' responsibility for the defense, because what they wanted was some key facilities. So, those are the only machinations I remember with the SUPCOM. It's just they could see--and at that stage I think they probably had a clearer picture of the VII Corps forces coming and those types of things. Because I guess I found out about it ... no, I guess it was the 1st of October, I found out that the 1st Infantry Division was coming. Now, that was, what, a month ... ?
MAJ DEARBORN: A month plus.
LTC KENNEDY: Well, it was some before they were. But, that was all tightly controlled. And so it made sense if we were going on offensive operations. But for the normal run-of-the-mill what's going on it just didn't track. But SUPCOM at that stage was trying to carve out more turf because they knew more forces were coming.
MAJ WRIGHT: I guess the real resource thing comes more in Phase II21 with the fighting over the HETs22 and priority on fuel distribution, ammo distribution and issues like that? And by that point you were both out of that headquarters.
LTC KENNEDY: No, he stayed.
MAJ DEARBORN: I stayed. I watched some of the things that you mentioned all the way up to almost the time I left, which was 16 January. There were battles and issues over priorities, other than the HETs and the things of that nature, that came up to the daily SITREP.23 The Corps tried to push and say "Look, we need priority." There were issues over chemical issue--chemical suit issue--priorities and things of that nature. That continued on and on, and got worse and worse as VII Corps got their major forces on the ground. But, primarily at the end it was fuel, fuel oil, priority munitions.
MAJ WRIGHT: Especially like the ATACMS24 rounds and issues like that.
LTC KENNEDY: What I remember from the ... I went to VII Corps the day after Christmas, and they were just back at Dhahran and they were just starting to receive troops and set up areas. What I remember from that stage was "Gee, we've never done this type of thing before, but we're going to do it in a first class manner; but, we have an area that doctrinally is much, much larger then we have ever done before; gee, our communications are stretched--we could sure use some of the TACSAT assets that XVIII Airborne Corps seems to throw at every problem, therefore, ARCENT we need to ... you need to redistribute the TACSAT assets." That was the first blow.
The next blow was "we need to ... XVIII Corps has had problems with helicopter blades and we need to get all of our blades taped before we ever try to fly." Of course, XVIII Corps had been flying for quite a while and we were in the process probably about 40 percent complete on the blade taping operation, and VII Corps wanted priority because they didn't want to fly without being taped.
The civilian vehicles, you know, the comments were every company commander in XVIII Airborne Corps has his own civilian vehicle and we've got 10, 18, 20, whatever. And so what they saw "We're the last arrivals; these guys have been here; we have to do this tremendous move, they don't; give us their assets." And, of course, from the XVIII Corps perspective is "Who are you kidding, you know, we're not giving you anything."
MAJ DEARBORN: Tentage was another one.
LTC KENNEDY: Tentage, blade taping.
MAJ DEARBORN: Munitions.
LTC KENNEDY: Munitions, civilian vehicles and ...
MAJ DEARBORN: Communications.
LTC KENNEDY: Anything that ... as soon as you have to stretch about three times what your normal doctrinal area, anything that might come up in those areas, you know, where you can't even ...
MAJ DEARBORN: But, it never really stopped. I mean, it continued on. The big ones, the ones that they're going to fall over their swords over is tentage and things like that. It covered the gamut.
LTC KENNEDY: But I wouldn't think that it's unlike, you know, Alpha Company screaming that Charlie Company got something Alpha Company didn't.
MAJ WRIGHT: An extra can of MREs, you know.
LTC KENNEDY: Battalion level, brigade level, its ... it wasn't anything new.
MAJ WRIGHT: As we get into the fall and the Corps is maturing now at the end of October, early November; ARCENT is slowing maturing as their strength is building. And we start worrying now about additional forces coming, and you're getting ready to get the announcement of the additional forces coming into the theater. LTC Kennedy, did you come back up to Corps at that point and go into the Plans shop?
LTC KENNEDY: Plans shop.
MAJ WRIGHT: To start working on what will become the ... well, then it was codeword [access]?
LTC KENNEDY: Right. And it was initially ... initially it was to clean up the loose ends of DESERT SHIELD, because there were in each staff functional area some things that still needed to be fixed, whether you were doing offense or defense. So, we were trying to clear up and clean up the system, so to speak. You know, the planning system, coordination, etc.
And then we started the offense. But, you know, again I had that hint in October. Plus I went on six different reconnaissances out with ... the first one was with the Saudis on, really, the end of August, first part of September when we went: up to Khafji; west to where the border starts to break to the northwest; back down; and back in. That's ... I went with a Marine out of that C3I operation, and the focus there was the sebkhas.25 Because we heard all different kinds of stories about the sebkhas. And the focus on that was whether that area was defensible or not. We had the Saudis out there, and can they build their defense around the sebkhas or can the Iraqis cross the sebkhas? And the sebkhas is a complex subject. It's dependent upon the year and dependent upon the water table and a lot of other things, if you care to go into it.
MAJ WRIGHT: It's just when they go bad, because I was up in that area in early January and--right after a rain storm--and it is very hard to imagine. It's ... they become quicksand.
LTC KENNEDY: And the reason is [that] in January you have cloud cover so the evaporation that you enjoyed in July, August and September is ... doesn't occur at the same rate and so therefore they fill up. Basically what happens in the hot season is the evaporation wicks the water out and there's still support and stuff ... not tracks everywhere, but in some places. And so it becomes a confusing issue.
MAJ WRIGHT: And that sounds like you basically about as far west as Wadi al Batin or ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: No, we didn't go that far.
MAJ WRIGHT: Was it that first turn to the west?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah, the first turn. So, then on the map there's some other areas that the map says were sebkhas ... well, the next one was ... we had ... the CinC was concerned about the defense of Riyadh. Now the XVIII Corps is maturing and we've got enough forces there; 1st Cav[alry Division] is in place and all that stuff. But what if they come through, down the Wadi, past KKMC,26 and down into Riyadh. We don't have anything out there to stop them because the coalition forces now are just gradually getting organized. So they were looking at places we could hang a brigade from the 82d or a brigade from the 101st that could shift over there relatively rapidly. And also we went through the drill of the HETs and stand-by HETs from the brigade out of the 1st Cav; they were shipped over there. And BG Arnold flew over and looked at a couple areas and said "Well, I think we can hang a defense here." And then the conversation got into "Well, has anybody seen it on the ground." And the answer was no. And so myself and a couple other guys went up there to look. And the answer was you can't hang a defense here because there isn't that much restricted terrain. It looks good from a C-12, but on the ground it doesn't. So, that was the next recon.
So then I went with the CENTCOM guys and we went up to KKMC; up to Wadi al Batin; west out through the Neutral Zone; back east to Khafji; back west; and then straight down across the desert to Riyadh. Just looking at the ground.
And that was preliminary to the offensive operation. And the question was will the ground support it logistically.
MAJ WRIGHT: What was the result on that? As you went out to do that recon, was the presumption "Geez, you know, do all the lessons of desert warfare are you really can't support the logistics vehicles without a road net and there really aren't any roads?"
LTC KENNEDY: Well, that was a concern. So the end result was it looked good ... looked good. So then I came back to Corps. When I came back to Corps the premise was "Hey, we got another recon; we want you to take it out." Because I was the only reasonably unemployed ex-tank battalion commander around. So then we took some 5,000-gallon tankers and went up in the area just east of the Wadi ...
MAJ WRIGHT: That was that one ...
LTC KENNEDY: It was the special mission I ...
MAJ WRIGHT: ... that special mission that you put together that group of a variety of things.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. And we went out, did one east. Well, we did basically from the coast over to the Wadi in two different sessions with large trucks and stuff ... go around in circles. The idea being what ... you know, what logistic vehicles and what numbers can we run across this stuff. And the end result was, yeah, you can do it; which obviously we found out you could. There wasn't a road net, but you didn't need one.
MAJ WRIGHT: The desert changes as you come out of where we were deployed ...
LTC KENNEDY: Oh, yeah.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... with the defense to where we wound up out way to the west, out towards Rafha?
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah.
LTC KENNEDY: You know, I've been the NTC, I've been to Egypt, I've been to Jordan, and this is the most complex as far as so many different types of surface soil and substrata and all that stuff that I've seen in that big of a piece. There's a lot of different subsets and a lot of different types of terrain.
MAJ WRIGHT: During this same period while LTC Kennedy's up at the Plans shop now, what's going on with the LNO team down at ARCENT? Is it day-to-day stuff or are you trying to get involved in working on the ... looking deep?
MAJ DEARBORN: No, pretty much day-to-day. About that time our team really started to loose folks. About the middle of October we might have had ten folks assigned to us. So we were down to myself, LTC Kennedy, the TACSAT operators and ...
LTC KENNEDY: And at that stage it was manageable because, again, they were starting to ramp up and so a lot of the work that we ... the extra work that we were doing was starting to drop off. So, they ... COL [Zannie O.] Smith27 called and said, you know, "Continue to cut back." And we cut back Jenkins, and then Simons, you know, because it got to be then we were doing a twelve-hour shift type of thing.
MAJ DEARBORN: And then my primary concern was still day-to-day because up until the time I left they were still in a ... ARCENT never really did catch up. They got better and they got better, but they never could really catch up. They never had really enough people. It wasn't until December ... we're talking four months before they had one specific guy that you would call the G-3 Air, if you would, that monitored all requests for reconnaissance, air requests. They just really had some problems with the staff system.
So, up until the time I left it was still a day-to-day grind of what are the issues today? What are the status of those issues? Who is going to answer what? What are they going to blow off? Where are the problems? What's the most important things to Corps right now? And then ... getting the staff ... the guys that were not pro-active, that were only going to sit back and only work on ones the CG or what the command group forced down on them. And in their defense I'd say they had a hand full. The Corps' issues and Corps' problems would be sometimes be pushed aside. So, in short, my emphasis was not long term. I got ... I got read onto some of the planning, and watched that, but didn't really have time to get involved with it, or get a deeper look because the emphasis was ... in my job was the day-to-day.
LTC KENNEDY: About the ... a couple of weeks, or three or four weeks before I left, [LTC] Chuck Burgdorff28 came up ...
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, that was my next question. I was going to ask where does LTC Burgdorff fit in this?
LTC KENNEDY: And Chuck slipped into that non-existent Plans shop that they were trying to rebuild. And he did yeoman's service as far as forcing them to take their INTERNAL LOOK annexes (which is what they tried to do) and just publish that as a DESERT SHIELD defense. Again, now, the Corps already has got its orders. So Chuck forced or pulled them through the planning process to cross the t's, dot the i's. Why is this in here? Does it make sense? It really isn't applicable--those types of things. And as he was coming to closure on that, the force mod[ernization] issues were arriving.
MAJ WRIGHT: That's the M-1A1 conversion ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah.
MAJ WRIGHT: The M-2A3 conversion29 and stuff like that?
LTC KENNEDY: The training issues. They didn't have a training shop just like we didn't have a training shop. I think that's one ... you know, if you're going to go for a sitzkrieg,30 you know, training has to start--soon. And our training shop, of course, wasn't there and we had to create one. ARCENT didn't have a training shop. BG Arnold was frustrated by that. He didn't have anybody to turn to. So I started stirring the pot on the training stuff and started to have training meetings. You know, I would ... I just nominated some majors and a sergeant and a couple of guys, and we started to have training meetings and got that stuff going to process the Corps' request for ...
MAJ WRIGHT: ... ranges ...
LTC KENNEDY: ... targets for the ranges.
MAJ WRIGHT: And that whole bit about trying to get the pop-up targets out of ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. Yeah. See, the guy from the 24th ... the sergeant who was running that thing was the 24th's Master Gunner. He used to be my Master Gunner. So, we were working behind the scenes, you know, "here's what I need," you know, and he'd give it to me. And I'd get the books and stuff, and then you start passing that stuff back.
MAJ WRIGHT: And then did you get working then with, I guess, Mike Lynch31 who comes over from our range control operation here?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. And the guy from FORSCOM ... Sutherland from FORSCOM.
MAJ WRIGHT: When I interviewed him he said basically they're ... because he was on the ground, he never did have a clear understanding of was he the XVIII Corps range guy or was he CENTCOM's range guy.
LTC KENNEDY: Right. Right.
MAJ WRIGHT: You know, he was getting ripped a lot of different ways.
LTC KENNEDY: And it was anybody who had interest today would reach out to anybody that knew anything about it ... about the subject, and try to capture them to get them to do some things. So, it was dysfunctional from that aspect. But the training thing slowly started, and I don't know if it died after I left.
MAJ DEARBORN: Very slowly. That's true.
LTC KENNEDY: But, they had some training guys come in after I left.
MAJ DEARBORN: They did. They started to form a shop slowly, but again you had the staff problem of who's responsibility was it to ... the message comes in and obviously it's training oriented: "We need this target and we need this many silhouettes; we need this many of this." And they still had internal problems of: it comes into the CHOPS;32 he looks at it and puts it in a log. But they didn't have any place where they said "Okay, this is an important issue." They sent one to training, but there was no way of tracking it and suspensing it. So, I would go to the CHOPS and say "Okay, who's working on this?" "Well, that's training." You'd go down to Doughty and say "Okay, where are we at on this?" "Well, I've sent it into the G-3." Well, you find out that it may be in there, but it may be buried.
And these guys had an incredible work load. They just did not have the people. Besides some experience problems and internal organization problems, but they needed some more people. And even though it just wasn't as smooth as it may seem, slow may not really capture all of the difficulties that were involved in it.
LTC KENNEDY: Basically, you know, the response on everybody's part in their headquarters was if it was an issue and we're getting bit on it and bit hard, we'll work it, you know. Otherwise, we'll put it in the "B File" and get to it later. And many times later never came.
MAJ DEARBORN: If BG Frix was fighting with BG Arnold or COL Beddingfield or COL Lakey, it would get handled.
MAJ WRIGHT: Did this visibility ... ?
MAJ DEARBORN: And we tried often times to get the Chief of Staff's attention, not blindsiding the G-3, but we got the Chief of Staff's attention. They never really came to fruition.
MAJ WRIGHT: Let me flip it around a little bit. You're talking about having a problem of it being hard to identify where an issue would be worked, simply because they didn't have a clearly laid out internal organization with a clearly defined training shop or a clearly defined ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, those all evolved.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, but I mean, as you're going through that ... . So you've got a problem as an LNO team trying to figure out who you needed to talk to at ARCENT to get something to happen. Look around the other way. You're the single point of focus for the Corps. Do you have problems with people from within Corps not going through you, but trying to work their own actions directly?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, I didn't see that as a problem because we became ... we could have become, and sometimes we did become, an obstacle. Because they would call their counterpart, get no action, so they would call us. So, the next thing was, we were the Corps staff west. I mean, there's just so much stuff you can get into.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, I was going to say, you know, 117,000 men funneling through two ... it could be a little strained.
LTC KENNEDY: Early on there was a tremendous reluctance of the ARCENT staff at the action officer level to call Corps? They would bring it to us. So many times I would look at it, dial the phone number, hand the guy the phone and say "talk."
MAJ DEARBORN: You'd grab their hand, look at it and say "Your fingers seem to be functioning."
LTC KENNEDY: So, you know, one of the key liaison functions I think is to find the right guy at the opposite end.
MAJ WRIGHT: And get those two guys ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Get those two guys together. And gradually, you know, we heard less and less out of the G-4 because the G-4s at both ends were starting to talk. But early on neither one of them would talk to the other. They all came to us. And it doesn't take long to figure out that you just can't handle it.
MAJ WRIGHT: So, I guess, then, that that is ... it requires an awful lot of knowledge of people and personalities, as well as organizational structures, to do this job effectively then? Because you must know "Oh, Geez, he's got the wrong kind of personality to talk to this guy, so maybe you better instead of talking to him ask for so and so instead."
LTC KENNEDY: Exactly.
MAJ DEARBORN: If I'm not making headway in the training I've got to go find somebody. Like a guy named MAJ Rick Arbone that came out of the IG at FORSCOM and worked as an Assistant CHOPS during the daytime. You'd get his attention and say "Rick, you've been down to battalion; you've been at brigade; you've been at division; you know how important this is for training. You know, we're not going to get the boys trained if we don't get those silhouettes and stuff out there. I'm getting resistance. I'm stalemated at training division. Can you get the CHOPS' attention on this and sort of feed it in." And then at the same time I would get with LTC Kennedy and we'd both meet and hit the G-3 so some action would be taken.
MAJ WRIGHT: Did you feel at all at times like Niccolo Machiavelli that, you know, you have to be like a practicing psychologist and ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah, you've got to be able to read people. One of the other problems is [that] as all of this stuff is funneling through you ... I don't know if you've ever worked in the Pentagon, but some of the most interesting things you'll ever see is somebody trying to sell an action at the Pentagon. Where a guy will come into the room with a piece of paper and he'll hold it out and everybody's got their hands in their pockets. Or he'll set it down and nobody will touch it. And lots of times it was come up from Corps and we'd have it, and you've got to sell it to somebody that can do the action. Again, there was a few that we would take because, you know ... like Mike worked for six weeks on bladder birds33 trying to get the ... you know, he just kept pounding on bladder birds because nobody was interested in helping us. You've got to pick a few of those actions to take. But you can't take them all because you just get overwhelmed. So, sell the actions ... .
MAJ DEARBORN: There's also the factor of perceptions of a relationship of the Third Army with XVIII Airborne Corps. You know, we represented the so-called Imperial Corps and a lot of people didn't like us from the get-go. And that ... that has an impact on trying to get things done because sometimes we're perceived as "Hey, we're the only show in town; we're the only Corps you have." And you could see that come out later.
And we've developed ... I think we developed a good relationship with the staff. Sometimes we had to be the honest broker and sometimes Corps would look at us and say "Wait a minute! Maybe you're bending a little bit too much; maybe we ought to pull you out." But, initially it was "Oh, you're Corps; you want everything and you want it right now." So, you had to get over that. And there are ways to do that and be forceful at the same time. You just had to find the right people.
LTC KENNEDY: Well ... and sometimes Corps would ask a series of questions that you knew weren't really that important. But it was a harassment action. And they would continue to call and continue to call, and after a while they'd just keep calling us; knowing that they were trying to harass their counterpart. And, of course, they couldn't see what the rest of these guys were going through. You know, there ain't no ... they're all great Americans and 90 percent of them are trying to do the best they could. And it was a situation, you know, from the other end that was pitiful.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah. I was going to wonder if both ... sort of jump out and do a little sidebar here ... both at the initial 'this-is-a-payback-now-to-the-Imperial-XVIII-Corps' attitude from those guys that were both at Third Army and then the FORSCOM folks, that, you know, that we had this reputation or perception down there that we're forever blowing them off. It gives you a chance to do a little comeuppance time.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. Especially when VII Corps arrived.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah. And then I was going to say that there's also the second factor, once we get VII Corps in the theater and the force balance now becomes tremendously the heavy force, as opposed to ... even though we have heavy force units in this Corps, there's a certain payback now, both to the Corps and to the 82d of "Okay, guys, now forget all that glory stuff, now this is tanker country and this is mech country." And do you see that when you're at VII Corps as well?
LTC KENNEDY: Clearly. Clearly. And what was interesting at VII Corps, though, was they came in having talked to XVIII Corps and XVIII Corps ... you know, I guess I would give them a grade of maybe B minus on the support ... you know, the, you know, helping out the other guy come in. I mean, we could have done more, but we could have done a hell of a lot less. And so, we give and take.
But VII Corps said "Well, hey, you know, those Third Army guys aren't all that bad. We hear all the grumbling of XVIII Corps and all that stuff." And then once they started to go through the process of actually building up forces and actually trying to move in with them and those type of things, then they started to see ... you know, they started to sound exactly like the XVIII Corps staff. It didn't take long.
And some of that, it's always the bastard at platoon headquarters that screwed up.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah. Wherever you are, one up from you is always wrong.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. They're screwed up. The guys down below don't understand. And we're doing a great job.
MAJ DEARBORN: And that's human nature.
MAJ WRIGHT: Talk to me a little bit now about how you start preparing for the DESERT STORM execution. When do you get some sense that yeah, we are definitely going? You had indicated, LTC Kennedy, as early as October that you started getting hints that we might be going that way because of the 1st I[nfantry] D[ivision].
LTC KENNEDY: It really wasn't clear until the VII Corps commander and his division commanders were coming.
MAJ WRIGHT: With their little preliminary visit?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. And when .... that was like two days ... we found out about that about two days before. And it was like "Okay, this it is." We've got enough to defend. And of course the first blush was ...
[END OF SIDE ONE]
LTC KENNEDY: ... VII Corps was going to [do a] relief in place, and that lasted about three hours. We figured that wouldn't take. So that was the first part of November, is when ... I think it was the first part of November ... that it was clear that, you know, they were announced they were coming. This thing was going to come to an end at some point in the next three or four months.
MAJ WRIGHT: What about down at Riyadh, MAJ Dearborn, pretty much the same thing? Did the sense that "Oh, boy, now we're going to two corps, something's going to start happening?"
MAJ DEARBORN: It went up and down like this. It sort of reminded me of Panama.34 There's some similarities there. You know, because I wasn't privy to the plans. It wasn't hard to tell that there was probably offensive planning going on because you could see certain CHOPS guys working on computers around the room for TS.35 Having worked on the plans down in Panama, I knew that they were preparing for those. But that didn't necessarily mean execution.
LTC KENNEDY: Well, the reconnaissance stuff started ... you know, guys started going west and west and west for no defensive reasons.
MAJ WRIGHT: And you could see ...
MAJ DEARBORN: Again, that was a good point. The reconnaissance requests coming in ... who was doing them. How frequent they were. You could pick up on some of the things that the SOF36 guys were doing. But down at just worker bee level, it went up and down as to whether we had the resolve to actually go in and remove those guys from Kuwait.
MAJ WRIGHT: Pretty much like you said, the Panama cycle?
MAJ DEARBORN: You would get additional forces in, but even if ... and initially when you knew they were coming in you'd say "Hot damn, we're going to do it; we're going to bust this guy's ass and move him out of Kuwait like we should." And then more time would go on, more time would go on, and you'd read the papers and get the news on some of the deceptions. And the morale would shoot low because they felt like we were going to be there forever and not get into it. It was ... I called you, I think, somewhere in early January ... late December, early January. Just that the reconnaissance requests that I saw coming through; the additional forces I saw coming into country.
LTC KENNEDY: Oh, you mean come down?
MAJ DEARBORN: To come up to ... because I called you and said "I got this sensing that we're going to execute this and I don't want to be here in Riyadh." I called him, I think, early in January.
LTC KENNEDY: No, it was late December. Mid-December.
MAJ DEARBORN: Something like that.
MAJ WRIGHT: So, when did you actually get the ability to return to Corps headquarters? When did you get released out of Riyadh?
LTC KENNEDY: He went straight to VII Corps.
MAJ DEARBORN: Well, it was 16 January, the day the air war started. Well, I had approval to move on 16 January. We found out about six hours prior to the actual air war taking place that it was going to commence.
MAJ WRIGHT: That would have been about, let's see, ... that would be about 8:00 in the evening?
MAJ DEARBORN: That's correct. That day I left town and joined XVIII Airborne Corps for about four days. From about the 21st ... the 20th or something like that ... the 21st I joined LTC Kennedy at VII Corps.
MAJ WRIGHT: LTC Kennedy, when did you go to VII Corps?
LTC KENNEDY: The day after Christmas. They were still down in Dhahran. I started going down for their meetings and stuff. But, they were just in a reception process. The planners weren't there yet, so there wasn't much.
I did ... I went to Germany right before Thanksgiving and gave a brief to the 1st Armored Division. They had a session which the BCTP37 guys paid for and gave them a terrain brief, showed them extracts of those films and that type of stuff. And sat down with the VII Corps planners and went over the films with them as far as the terrain and those type of things. Came back, I guess, Thanksgiving night. We came back ... and at that stage I sensed I was going to be the LNO to VII Corps. Wasn't real thrilled about it, but I sensed that that was coming. And then a couple of weeks or so later, I guess, COL [Frank H.] Akers, [Jr.]38 told me that I was going to go with them.
And that's about the time Mike called. So I started planting the seeds by saying "Hey, if I go, I'm going to need more then just myself." Because ... well, the way I saw it, you had somebody at the Main [CP], somebody at the Tac[tical CP] through the operations. But at any rate I needed more then just myself. And they said "Okay, well, who do you want." And I said "Well, get Dearborn in Riyadh and bring him up and show him the ground war." [LAUGHTER]
MAJ WRIGHT: As you built up the team then, you would eventually have the two of you, and then TACSAT operator?
MAJ DEARBORN: Two TACSAT operators that we had back in ...
LTC KENNEDY: The same guys that we had in Riyadh. And CPT Cook out of G-2 came. Cook came with me. Mike ... you know, we moved when VII Corps moved out and they moved out like the 3d or 4th, something like that, in January ... right after New Year's. So, they moved up a little bit south and east of KKMC. Their Main was there. We were at the Main. Cook was there and he focused on G-2, but he was there. G-2 in at night, back and forth from G-2 and G-3. And I was there during the day to go to all those meetings and, you know, the sessions with the planners and those type of things, and the corps commander, as their plans were starting to come together.
MAJ WRIGHT: How is it for you guys sitting there, working as basically observers and facilitators, trying to make VII Corps' plan marry up with XVIII Corps' plan, since the two Corps do business in totally dissimilar ways?
LTC KENNEDY: First we had ... we failed to get some of the internal phase lines matched. You know, everybody had the ARCENT phase lines, of course, and they basically made sense. We tried to get some of the internal phase lines to work. That didn't work. Basically I think both Corps just kind of stuck with their plans and we were unable ... there were some boundary shifts, minor stuff, on the common boundary. But we were ... I didn't feel like we had any great success as far as that goes.
MAJ WRIGHT: Let me ask you, I've had people explain to me that the analogy of how each Corps executed its part of the plan. XVIII Corps executed basically a contingency operation type of tempo and things like that--deep strike and everything else. Whereas VII Corps looked at more of a deliberate European-style massing and breaking. Is that a function of that you fight as you train?
LTC KENNEDY: No. I think it's more a function of mission. The mission of the XVIII Airborne Corps, as I remember it, was to cut Highway 8;39 and subsequent to that assist in the destruction of the RGFC.40 The mission of VII Corps was to destroy RGFC. XVIII Corps had a much wider sector. I'm told it was the CinC that kept us focused on As Salman (and we needed As Salman from the aspect of the only hard surface road41 that went north). But other then that, it was kind of like, if we're not going to [As] Samawah, what do we need As Salman for? In my view. Because the 101st could, you know, effectively interdict Highway 8 by going directly north.
MAJ DEARBORN: No, COBRA ... from FOB COBRA directly.
LTC KENNEDY: We went through probably, well, I think it was five courses of action with multiple variants of a couple of them. And early on it was more combat power going farther west, but logistically we just couldn't support it. And so the one that we ended up with was the one that was basically one that [LTC] Rich Rowe42 and I kind of independently came up with--with the exception of no mission for the 3d ACR.43 It was my view that they didn't have a mission.
MAJ WRIGHT: What about the early possibility that was floated around of the XVIII Corps being the eastern corps and VII Corps being the western corps?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. I thought that with the 1st Armored Division, 3d Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division, 1st ... the Brit division,44 and kind of a string and in essence commitment of the 1st Cav ... it was basically five heavy divisions. I felt that they were, you know, they were the better choice to slug it out and actually confront the RGFC heavy divisions just because of, you know, just because of the ...
MAJ DEARBORN: The 1,500 tanks, I think it was?
LTC KENNEDY: Roughly 1,500 tanks and a bunch of Bradleys. So, I felt like they were the ones that, you know, should do that--that task.
And as far as the differences between the XVIII Corps doing a contingency operation, the XVIII Corps was kind of doing a very wide movement to contact ... clearing a zone type of thing. Whereas VII Corps, again, was focusing on a penetration. And the only reason for the 1st Infantry ... the main reason for the 1st Infantry Division's penetration was to have a shorter ... shorter line of supply. Then the two heavy divisions sweeping around the flank. That the focus again was the RGFC. To where XVIII Corps, it seemed to me, was more terrain oriented, as opposed threat oriented.
MAJ WRIGHT: And a much different density of people up front of you, too.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah.
MAJ WRIGHT: Basically, we had one division45 up front of us ... in front of the whole corps. Until we started making the wheel, whereas VII Corps had a lot more force at least on the right side of its line.
LTC KENNEDY: And when you look at the capability of what the 101st can do for you. You know, they were ... I thought their mission was very appropriate. And they certainly pulled it off better then I expected them too. I mean, it went much easier.
MAJ DEARBORN: Plus significant amounts of units, initially, give up prior to the execution.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, that I think was unanticipated by anybody. Who would have ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Such large groups.
MAJ WRIGHT: Especially thinking of that battalion that surrendered to the attack helicopters. That really caused the 101st to scramble to get some asset out there.
MAJ DEARBORN: To pick them up. Yeah.
MAJ WRIGHT: At VII Corps what is the type of action that you are mostly working? Is it boundary issues? Is it trying to do coordination to make sure that fires ... everybody knows where they're going to go if they're in deep fires or something like that?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, the deep fire stuff ... the early phases of the planning, they were de-conflicted by terrain. The first focus comes around Objective PURPLE and then the 24th's movements after that. The ... then basically the way the boundaries were, in the phase lines, I didn't think we were going to have a significant problem with that. Other then the normal two-units-side-by-side type of thing. So there was such a spread that ...
MAJ WRIGHT: And also we have the two ACRs that are going to be the butting-up elements?
LTC KENNEDY: Initially, yes. And they were literally in bed with each other. I mean, they had exchanged LNOs early. The 1st Armored Division got a copy of the 24th's plan early. 1st Armored Division went to see 3d ACR, so they were doing a lot of their own ...
MAJ WRIGHT: In that sense, your job was much easier?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. Commanders were doing right things. I mean, many times you get commanders focused on their part of the pie, and they don't worry about the unit to the flank. And both 1st Armored Division and 2d ACR were very cognizant of what was out there and were forcing those issues, which made it much easier for us.
MAJ WRIGHT: What about the issue of the cutting of Tapline Road46 as VII Corps moves up to their jump-off positions? At least from our perspective up in Rafha there was some concern about, you know, when they had to move north of Tapline Road, was that going to sever that MSR for us. And as it turns out, as near as I can remember, it was a non-issue.
LTC KENNEDY: Right. I wasn't concerned about it from the aspect of: you can't move a whole division across the road all at once, and you end up with driblets. And all you needed was some MPs,47 and if there wasn't any driblets coming across, then the normal resupply stuff would go. A lot of people were really concerned about it. We worked it. We tried to get the Rear CP and their Rear CP to work it. We looked at all the march tables and all of that type of stuff, and it never really happens the way it is on the march table. Again, a lot of people were really concerned about it. And I thought it was going to be a problem, but I didn't think it was going to be a literal war stopper. And it didn't really turn out to be that way because, you know, a guy comes up with his unit to cross, and there's a stream of trucks coming; he's going to stop and let the trucks go by. And he's going to put somebody out and then he's going to run in on it. It worked.
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah, they got the people to ... a good plan to execute it. And I think as we got closer to it the perception was that it's going to happen. We've got to move those forces. If we're going to do the things we think we're going to do, somebody's going to make that call fairly soon. We've got to be in that position. So, let's cooperate and figure out how it's going to happen, and stop those problems that normally occur with major units.
LTC KENNEDY: You get down there to the guys that are actually trying to make it happen, they're going to be more cooperative than all these staffs at higher levels would be.
MAJ WRIGHT: What other issues come up, say, before ... say, between the 16th of January and the 23d of February?
LTC KENNEDY: I think the biggest issue that comes to mind ... well, it's two.
One is where's the 1st Cav ... who are they going to follow, where are they going to go? VII Corps was doing everything they could to capture the 1st Cav and get 1st Cav (in the minds of ARCENT and CENTCOM) as part of their troop list. We, on the other hand, had a place for the 1st Cav, had a mission for the 1st Cav, thought we could deliver the 1st Cav up right tucked in behind the 24th, which in retrospect the 1st Cav didn't really get into the fight. Whereas if they had followed the 24th, I'm convinced they could have launched. And so, on that particular one I think we lost the battle that was one that we should have won.
The other thing is the continuing struggle over preferred munitions. Once the ... both corps were pushing and pushing and pushing to start artillery raids and that type of stuff. And there was a reluctance at Third Army, and perhaps at the CENTCOM level, to let that happen as early as the commanders wanted. And then once they did, VII Corps started firing all these ... all these ATACMS in their artillery raids and also using ... you know, what they busted buildings with?
MAJ DEARBORN: Copperhead.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah, they were using Copperhead to knock down guard towers and stuff like that. So, every time we'd report that over to LTG Luck, I guess ... I'm told he'd go berserk, because he'd been struggling to get that and these guys, it appeared, were just kind of ...
MAJ DEARBORN: ... throwing it away.
LTC KENNEDY: ... were just kind of throwing it away.
MAJ WRIGHT: In terms of troop listings, there was one other major unit that XVIII Corps lost to VII Corps as they arrived, and that's that one field artillery brigade ...
LTC KENNEDY: Right.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... that was swapped out. Does that cause a lot of hard feelings? Do you see that as a big issue?
LTC KENNEDY: It causes heartburn. And all of those caused heartburn, but a lot of that was posturing. You know, of "Oh, man, we're really, really ticked off." Not really, but the request wasn't legitimate. You know, there's a lot of that going on. So I honestly believe that the rapport and the relationship between LTG Luck and LTG [Frederick M.] Franks, [Jr.],48 was a solid, professional ... and that type of thing.
MAJ WRIGHT: As an observer in that headquarters, what struck you about VII Corps' headquarters, say, that was different from ours ... the way we worked?
LTC KENNEDY: I didn't see our Main at Rafha, but the biggest thing was VII Corps went to the desert. I mean, operated out of the desert as opposed to this hard building, hard site thing, which I ... you know, I think you could really literally hide a Main out there in the desert.
The next thing was, as far as the command and control mechanism, they had the Main and then they had the Tac CP and then they had a Jump Tac. Now, the Jump Tac consisted of two [M]-577s, two [M]-113s (one for the corps commander and one for the corps G-3), and a tank section (two tanks) to secure it. And the Jump Tac traveled with the Tac CP of the lead division. And that that Tac CP of the lead division was behind the lead brigade.
And so what we did, was ... we couldn't cover all of that. And the Main stayed in Saudi Arabia just north of Tapline Road.
MAJ DEARBORN: Oh, that's right. They did move east of KKMC to ....
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah, they moved south from south east of KKMC to just west of Log[istical] Base CHARLIE, I think it was.
MAJ WRIGHT: Just east of Log Base CHARLIE?
LTC KENNEDY: Just east of Log Base CHARLIE. And the Tac followed behind (and I don't know--I can't really remember how far back).
I left Mike at the Tac and I went with the Jump Tac. And I had the TACSAT with me because Mike had multi-channel [communications]--most of the time. So, we were talking between the corps every time we would stop. And we moved during that 100 hours ... you know, we were moving a lot. But we would stop. I would get an update on where their units were; then I would call XVIII Corps, give them the update. Get the update from XVIII Corps; give that to the Tac Mike was doing the same thing back at, you know, from Tac to Tac. And then when we stopped, Jump Tac would get multi-channel in. And if we were going to be there for very long I would call our Tac and I would call our Main and, you know, just trying to make sure that all the information ...
MAJ WRIGHT: All the loops were closed?
LTC KENNEDY: And the VII Corps LNO49 was doing the same thing because he was at our Main--because we wouldn't let him go to a Tac, I guess. So, he was at our Main and he was doing what he could to keep the two Mains together. So, basically you have a VII Corps LNO trying to keep the two Mains together, Mike trying to keep the two Tacs together, and me talking to the Tac via TACSAT, and then the Tac and the Main as I had the opportunity.
MAJ WRIGHT: Anything come up during that whole operation that showed a different style of say leadership between the two corps? LTG Luck is characterized as having a maximum delegation of authority approach, and basically telling the staff "stop hassling the subordinate divisions."
LTC KENNEDY: That approach ... the execution of the mission, I think, is based first on the mission and second on LTG Luck's style, in that, you know, basically four major maneuver elements abreast (and you have the ACR, 24th, 101st and French) with all missions that there's no possible de-confliction and that type of stuff. And so you can develop or you can use that kind of leadership style ... they've got their mission. They'll tell us where they are. Let them go do their thing.
Now in VII Corps you've got both the threat and the ground. Kind of ... I guess the best way to describe it is it's sort of like a triangle with the LD50 being the long base at the bottom and everything pouring in together. In that kind of situation you've got a lot of forces that are de-conflicting. You've got divisions passing around, divisions passing through, divisions following and then breaking off. And so you've got to be farther forward.
LTG Franks was ... spent part of his time at the Jump Tac, some of his time at the Tac, but his waking hours were either in the Jump Tac or in a helicopter. And he was well forward, but the way the forces available and the mission ... he had to do that because he had elements passing within each other, etc. He had to be able to see.
MAJ WRIGHT: But, then ... also, then for the staffs, a much higher requirement for VII Corps staff to ...
LTC KENNEDY: To know where everybody was.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... to be monitoring the daylights out of everybody?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah, to know where everybody was, to know what everybody's status was, to know what the problems were as far as availability of ... the burning issues: status of fuel and those types of things.
MAJ WRIGHT: As we get towards the end ... as we're coming up on the cease fire, it's fairly obvious, I'd say, within the first twelve hours of the war that things are going a hell of a lot ... well, just the fact that VII Corps and our eastern units accelerate when they're jumping off by a whole day ...
LTC KENNEDY: Right. It was twelve hours.
MAJ WRIGHT: Eighteen hours or twelve hours.
LTC KENNEDY: Twelve hours because we were supposed to go at like 4:30, 5:00 [in the morning] ...
MAJ DEARBORN: ... on the 25th ...
LTC KENNEDY: ... on the 25th, and we actually went about 1500 on the 24th with the units swinging around. Then the 1st Infantry Division has, I think, one wounded in the breach--and therefore there wasn't a breach because there wasn't any resistance. You put those two together and you think "Man, you know, when is this going to turn into a fight?"
MAJ WRIGHT: Since early on ... if it's going that good it's got to be a trap type of thing?
LTC KENNEDY: Too good to be true. Too good to be true. And I understand there's some criticism as far as VII Corps ... as far as not moving as fast as the 24th. And I would say that, number one, as far as we knew the Republic Guards at some level of fighting capability, you know, still had three heavy divisions out there. And "Gee, this is going awful, awful smooth." But the 2d ACR was going as fast as they could go. The two divisions, 1st and 3d [Armored Divisions], were following them and early on we were ... we were just constantly, constantly moving. We initially followed ... we were the 1st AD ... 1st AD's Tac. And then as they started to go up towards Objective PURPLE and the rumored chemical storage area, we cut across to 3d Armored Division, which kept us more in the center of the corps and also away from the chemical stuff, and shifted over and started following their Tac. But, again, it seemed like too good to be true.
MAJ WRIGHT: Is that pretty much, MAJ Dearborn, the same impression you were seeing at the Tac itself, that this sort of ... "well, when's the counterattack coming? When is he going to launch his air force in that kamikaze wave or whatever?"
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah, we were expecting when was he going to launch the air force. When should we see unconditional forces jumping back and interfering with the Main and the Tacs, Assault CP. We left ... we left about 1900 the following day. We moved on the 25th, actually, was when the Tac CP moved out. and I figured we'd move up, sit down, wait there a long time as the battle went on. But it was just ... everything went so quickly. I mean, we stopped to link up with the Jump Tac and the next thing you know, boom, they're gone.
LTC KENNEDY: The Jump Tac left.
MAJ DEARBORN: And shortly thereafter ... it just seemed like a matter of hours ... you know, couple of hours and then the coordination and then they took off again. Six hours later, we're moving again. It was fast.
MAJ WRIGHT: When did you start getting word that maybe we're going to go to a cease fire?
MAJ DEARBORN: Seemed like it was the night before. It was supposed to take place at 5:00 that morning. We ... I guess you ... we started to get some word that night, like three or four hours prior to that, that there might be a cease fire. It's supposed to be happening at 05. And the word went out and ...
LTC KENNEDY: You know, the comment was, "why do you try to do anything important like that before daylight." It did in fact shift to 8:00 in the morning.
MAJ DEARBORN: And then about two hours prior, LTG Franks is on the line, because he's already gotten involved with the CinC or somebody ... asking his units, saying "Hey, I know we've put this out and slowed you down thinking there's going to be a cease fire at 05. What's the impact if I tell you to go on and continue to fight for three more hours." And I'm not privy to what the reason for that was ... was it a mistake somebody had made in saying "local" versus "ZULU".51
LTC KENNEDY: Probably a ZULU/local conversion.
MAJ DEARBORN: Did somebody just make a dumb mistake and inform the VII Corps Tac ... and I never pursued it ... and they thought it was 5:00 and it should have been 8:00 originally, and it was an internal mistake. I'm not sure if other corps had that problem, but I know I remember watching him get on the line and asking his commanders what the impact was.
LTC KENNEDY: Well, there was a lot of frustration that I remember, now that you bring that up, from the division commander's aspect of "damn it, we were on a roll. You told us to stop. We stopped. And now you want us to start again." And there was a lot of frustration on that part, because a division is bigger then an aircraft carrier and it's kind of hard to stop and start an aircraft carrier on one of those.
MAJ WRIGHT: Once the cease fire goes into effect, then what is your function as the LNO team ... trying to work the hand over or ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, the boundary on the north. There was 1st Cav: there was some 1st Cav ... 1st Cav moved in behind the 1st Infantry. The ACR had been pulled back. And so now we had new surfaces against each other. We had now the 24th ... you know, first we had the ACR and the ACR and the 1st Armored tied together. That all went up. The 2d ACR is back now. Can't remember exactly where the 3d ACR is, but 1st Armored was tied in and that was okay. Then the 1st Cav came in and that coordination (previously) had not been done because, of course, the 1st Cav as a reserve could end up going anywhere. And so that had to be fixed real quick because we had allegations ... and I can't remember if it was 1st Cav vehicles in the 24th sector or vice versa, but all of that stuff had to be sorted out.
And it was, you know, ended up me calling first the 24th Tac because, you know, it was time sensitive and I think our Tac was breaking down or getting ready to move about that time. This was, you know, the day after the cease fire. And so it was fixing that because you had units now that were side by side that had previously not done detailed coordination. And so there was a little bit of LNO work to do with that.
Then the 24th had their two-day-after-cease-fire fight52 up there and I took a lot of abuse over that because you know, "what the hell are they doing up there" and things like that. We got the story and LTG Franks said "well, try that again; go ask again." Because the report was that moving forces had fired RPGs53 at the 24th. RPG isn't something that you fire off a moving vehicle or that type of thing. And that's still the story, I guess. You know, that didn't play well with the VII Corps, that's for sure.
MAJ DEARBORN: And we destroyed so many ... after they fired that RPG, we responded by ...
BOTH MAJ DEARBORN AND LTC KENNEDY: ... destroying hundreds of vehicles ...
MAJ DEARBORN: ... on HETs and what not. And the VII Corps looked at us like we had just killed a bunch of babies or something else.
LTC KENNEDY: And also the concern was, you know, "Hey, we've got a cease fire. What the hell is going on."
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, from VII Corps perspective if something starts ... XVIII Corps starts something over in their sector, we still have a lot of people out in front of us. We could be paying the price for it.
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. And, see, the VII Corps had to set up the cease fire site and there was a lot of pain involved with moving the 1st Infantry up, giving them that mission and the whole cease fire thing. And LTG Franks had gone to that and here we are two days later with maybe the cease fire is about to fall apart. And, you know, we lost our momentum when we stopped and to get this whole thing moving again, you know, has its difficulties. You know, "what's going on?" that type of thing.
MAJ WRIGHT: When do you guys come back to Corps headquarters? When do they pull the team out?
MAJ DEARBORN: Okay. March, I guess.
LTC KENNEDY: He left on the 6th and I left on, I guess, maybe the 12th, 13th, or something.
MAJ WRIGHT: So, at that point really ...
LTC KENNEDY: What happened was, on the 6th, I was with the Jump Tac still ... no, the Tac and the Jump Tac were together.
MAJ DEARBORN: They were co-located.
LTC KENNEDY: And they called and said " He's going to go; he's going to be one of the first ones back." Well, I had two CUCVs54 and four guys and I didn't want any ...
MAJ WRIGHT: CUCVs and not HMMWVs?55
LTC KENNEDY: No, couldn't get ... yeah, that's a good point. Couldn't get CUCVs. I rode in ... with their Jump Tac in their HMMWV because I couldn't get a HMMWV from XVIII [Airborne Corps].
MAJ WRIGHT: That is a ... to just make a little aside on that and pursue that ... that's a fairly significant issue given the differential in mobility between the HMMWV and CUCV.
MAJ DEARBORN: I think it all goes back to ...
LTC KENNEDY: Well, it's a function, I think, of view of command and control. You know, I'm an armor officer and I felt like I was ... you know, of course I was going to be with the Jump Tac, you know, as far forward as I could get. Whereas over here the Tac didn't move into Iraq until after the cease fire. And again, you know, back to the mission, style of command and control and all that other stuff. But also, as you think, perhaps some fundamental viewpoints on how this stuff should be done, light orientation versus heavy. You know, so I ... I didn't feel comfortable going out there in the first place with the CUCVs, but that's all we could get.
MAJ WRIGHT: And which version was that, the Blazer version?56
LTC KENNEDY: Yes. But, anyway, we were at ... the Tac and the Jump Tac are now together, and they're sitting up there in normal operation. We get a call Mike's going to be on one of the first lifts going out. Well, I didn't want to move the vehicle alone because we were up just west of Safwan. If you look at Kuwait as it curves around, just as it starts to break toward the sea. We were about 20 clicks57 west of there, or 30 clicks maybe. And so we had to go back to the Main which was all the way back into Saudi Arabia. So I wasn't going to send one vehicle alone. And also there were still groups of, let me see, 20 and 30 Iraqis wandering north.
MAJ WRIGHT: Just looking for somebody to surrender to?
LTC KENNEDY: No, they dropped their weapons. They were going north, just trying to go home--that type of thing. But, I wasn't going to send ... you know, that's just kind of a rule. You don't send one vehicle out in the desert. So I went with him. We went back down to the Main. And I was down there for about a day and the relief stuff starts to go, and so the G-3 calls and says "We want you back up at the Jump Tac." Well, their commo, even though it was adequate, was in and out. The commo was better back at the Main. I wasn't going to go back up there in one vehicle. I wasn't ... I wasn't thrilled with flying back up there, you know, just with myself and the TACSAT guy with then no sleeping arrangements or anything like that because we didn't know how long we could be there. So, I stayed at the Main ... talked them into letting me stay at the Main and do the coordination back at the Main, which I think it worked. I don't think it was ... you know, it was more a question of being able to have access to phones as opposed to where you physically were. We could talk from the ... from their corps Main to their Tac all the time, very well. But getting from their Tac to our Tac or the Main was not always going through.
MAJ WRIGHT: As those issues come up on the relief, are they ... what's driving the issues? I mean, other then the XVIII Corps screaming "What's the problem? Why haven't ... they said we could go five minutes ago. Why aren't we gone?" And that sense of we've got to get out. And VII Corps reluctance to dissipate it's combat power? Is that it? Or is it more perceptual then real?
LTC KENNEDY: I think it's more perceptual. Once the 24th started to move, some at the Corps Tac--at even the lieutenant colonel level--were questioning why the 24th wasn't moving faster to get out of there. Of course, those particular guys had never had to move a brigade, or know what it takes to do that type of stuff. And it just, you know ... after you've been licking your wounds after that long run, I'm sure they had, you know, some maintenance problems.
MAJ WRIGHT: Having flown over them during their recovery, there were a lot of M-88s58 pulling things; there were a lot of 5-ton [truck]s wreckers pulling things.
LTC KENNEDY: You know, that's basically, you've got a guy that's spent all his energy on a marathon and now you want to jog back in somewhere. It take a little while to get on the track. They ... then there was some confusion as to who was going to do the relief. The staff wanted the ACR to do it. And they would be ... were the logical ones. The CG, I think, was thinking much farther down the road. It seems like first they got the 1st Cav ... I don't even really know ... it seemed like first they got the 1st Cav involved in it, and then they changed to somebody else, and that caused a little bit of ... because then they had a relief within a relief after the 24th was out of there. I think the 1st Cav, though, relieved the 24th.
MAJ DEARBORN: I think they did.
LTC KENNEDY: And then it was whoops!
MAJ WRIGHT: They're the ones that had to come out first.
LTC KENNEDY: They come out next. And so, you know, how do we fix this? And then it was, well, the 3d Armored Division is the ones that go away after all of this is over, so 3d Armored Division picked up that mission. So, there was a relief within a relief. Some of that stuff was still going on when I came out. The trigger that I came out was they pulled their LNO back to VII Corps. They left the NCO but they pulled the officer. Now the reason--the real reason--they pulled him was because there was some NCO-officer disagreement type of stuff. Well, they pulled them. So, that was XVIII Corps signal to pull me. And it was probably, from that aspect, it might have been a little premature. But by that stage commo was better and they had the same phenomenon that we had early on with having difficulty getting the ARCENT G-4 action officers to talk to the XVIII Corps action officers, of getting the Tac or the Main to call the other corps. I mean, it's always easier to go grab the LNO.
MAJ WRIGHT: But, by that point they had started ... you had gotten ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, that forced it because the LNO had pulled out. It still wasn't at the level that we ... that it should have been, but the two corps were not operating actively together for long enough for that ... I don't know what it takes ... confidence or rapport to be built.
MAJ WRIGHT: Then how do you two recover? I guess, MAJ Dearborn, you come out on one of the early chalks?
MAJ DEARBORN: I flew out on the 10th ... 10th of March. So it was ... the first flight back was on the 8th or something like that.
LTC KENNEDY: I came out the 13th, 14th, 15th ... something like that out of VII Corps. And we went back ... came back down to Dhahran because there was no need to go to Rafha. I went to Dhahran and then 24th was closing on the port at that point. COSCOM59 had a captain and a lieutenant over there ... and the port was screaming, the 24th was screaming. So since I had previously come out of the 24th, they threw me into that briar patch to try to calm those waters. So I left then with the 24th. And got back.
MAJ WRIGHT: Thinking back now to your experience; having had the opportunity to do LNO at multiple headquarters. What characteristics would you say are the most important things for an individual selected to be an LNO? If you had to go out and start picking people to do the work, what things would you look for?
LTC KENNEDY: Now, I guess some people have abrasive personalities and then they just add fuel to any kind of fire you got. You've got to be someone who can calm the waters; try to sell a product; you know, get relationships working between other people and those types of things. I guess credibility as far as your technical and tactical expertise, stuff like that, definitely ... definitely helps. Yeosock ... I knew Yeosock when he was the division chief of staff and I was an IG. And then he was the ARCENT commander when I took my battalion on BRIGHT STAR. So, all of that stuff ... because I could go in and talk to Yeosock.
MAJ DEARBORN: If you have a guy that's been in the theater before, and that guy is not abrasive and he's worked down in the lower levels ... he's worked at the higher levels. A guy that is well-rounded. He's familiar with mech forces, aviation. You know, he's been in the infantry ...
MAJ WRIGHT: In war. What you're talking about is looking for a true combined arms officer ...
LTC KENNEDY: Yes.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... as opposed to somebody that's too branch-oriented.
LTC KENNEDY: Well, and it helps to be knowing the key players too. You know, being able to go in and talk to Yeosock (especially early on) helped. Since they didn't have that many action officers there as BG Frix came, we were working directly one on one with him. So after the headquarters matured and then you start to get all these layers, you know, where general officers aren't as approachable, building that rapport early on, I could go talk to him. Franks ... I really didn't know LTG Franks, but I knew his [G]-3 from previously, so that helped. And I knew a couple of his division commanders which ... you know, when he saw the rapport with the division commanders, I think Franks thought ... .
MAJ DEARBORN: I thought we had an excellent rapport with COL [Stanley] Cherrie.60 And he ... in the beginning we had some perception problems with the relationships, and--between the VII and the XVIII. And in listening to him talk in the Tac CP, he got the staff to understand that it was going to take both teams--we were all one team--doing this mission; to get over the misperceptions and work with those folks.
LTC KENNEDY: The other thing, you have to prove yourself that you can be a trusted agent. There are times when VII Corps ... you know, at VII Corps ... or even at ARCENT ... there are times when you have information that perhaps might benefit the Corps, but if you tell the Corps, it's going to be ... it's either going to hurt or be derogatory to the other headquarters. You've got to know when to pick and choose. And sometimes it's "Hey, I don't want any cheese on you now" or sometimes you have to hold that information back. You just have to ... you have to ... if you run to your parent headquarters with every little tidbit of information you loose that trustworthy ... credibility.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, you cease being an honest broker?
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah.
MAJ DEARBORN: You've got to know the balance there, too, because if you don't tell your corps something, they ... everybody knows that part of your job is ... in a sense you're a spy.
LTC KENNEDY: A bird dog.
MAJ DEARBORN: And if you don't tell them, they start to question where your loyalty is.
LTC KENNEDY: But if you do that all the time, then you ain't going to be in that inner circle. And I think being able to get as close to the inner circle and the decision makers as you can is ...
LTC KENNEDY: It's the final line.
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah. That's the part that's tough.
MAJ WRIGHT: It's a lot of gray area. And it's nothing where you can go grab an FM61 off the shelf and it says "Do X, do Y, do Z."
MAJ DEARBORN: There's nothing very well written on LNO duties. I mean, you can write a book on it. But one of the things that I would recommend that we work on is that knowing when we would provide LNOs for is a sustainment package. We could have used ... we would have had a tough time surviving out there had it not been for LTC Kennedy in knowing certain focus and getting certain things for us ... a lightweight tent, a stove ... especially as the weather was starting to change, getting that stuff ... the parkas, the personal equipment that we needed, the vehicles and all those things put together. But there just seems to be ... the STU-IIIs62 and things of that nature.
MAJ WRIGHT: Yeah, that's a good point because ...
MAJ DEARBORN: The sustainment package. Because the ARCENT LNOs came as a mobile ... going in there with VII Corps.
MAJ WRIGHT: Well, the one that came to XVIII Corps came the same way.
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah, these guys --
MAJ WRIGHT: They came with like the packing crates with all their equipment in it.
LTC KENNEDY: Most of our contact with XVIII Corps from the VII Corps Tac to the XVIII Corps was really real. The ARCENT LNO's commo package which they ... to build their credibility shared with the Tac CP up there. Those guys came as a directed telescope type of thing and they were probably the model as far as LNO stuff. But I can say even though I wasn't enamored with being an LNO, I can say that any time I asked for something I really needed, I got it. The only thing I didn't get was the HMMWV.
MAJ WRIGHT: That raises the issue. Normally LNOs are eaten out of hide. There is no provision on the TOE63 ...
LTC KENNEDY: Yeah. No TOE or ...
MAJ WRIGHT: Not just for the bodies, but for the equipment.
MAJ DEARBORN: Yeah. We operated in very austere conditions. It doesn't bother me; it leaves me with a little pride and face. I wasn't excited about being an LNO either, but I had an opportunity to go out and be in the desert and do it under very austere conditions. It was a program to feel good about being an LNO.
LTC KENNEDY: Then on the other side, one looked at the ARCENT package and looked at what they had. Whereas I didn't want to have a package that big, I also don't ... at all times don't want to be in the position where I could beg, borrow and steal to get what I needed to operate.
MAJ WRIGHT: It grinds on you over time.
LTC KENNEDY: Professionally, though, it was a hell of a way to watch a war.
MAJ DEARBORN: Yes, sir. [LAUGHTER]
MAJ WRIGHT: Well, that raises an interesting thing, though, for you personally. Do both of you feel that this experience of the dual times of doing the LNOs (to higher and to adjacent)--does that give you something professionally in terms of an experiential thing ...
LTC KENNEDY: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah.
MAJ WRIGHT: ... that will help you in future career?
MAJ DEARBORN: I watched the logistics ... even though I spent a very little time at CENTCOM in Riyadh, watching situations ... I mean, they had the very ... they had the same problems as ARCENT ... a lot of experience, but not in that function. I mean, here you've got a two-star general explaining to some majors and some colonels--lieutenant colonels--some very basic information about briefing and what you should have on that map display when briefing the ... . You know, I probably could have pulled a guy out of a battalion and he could have done that. It's not a function of the knowing. It's just reaching down and pulling out that memory; of ...
MAJ WRIGHT: ... how far back it was.
MAJ DEARBORN: ... how far back it was; and then doing it. But, I mean, they were at the basic level too at CENTCOM.
LTC KENNEDY: As frustrated as the guys in [XVIII Airborne Corps G-3] Current Ops probably were, XVIII Corps CPs--they did a pretty good job. They did a pretty good job. I mean, the routine is there. The expertise is there. You can drop them anywhere in the world and they'll land on their feet and do their job.
MAJ WRIGHT: Well, that's one of the things about this corps that has struck me in the couple years I've been here and several operations I've deployed out with them on it. We've have a major effort to keep the CPs looking as close to identical as possible so that there's a familiarity and a rhythm. Same thing, I'm fairly confident, in the way VII Corps ...
LTC KENNEDY: Well, yeah, but VII Corps ... they went through some machinations of, well ... their chief of staff, I'm not sure how long he was there. DCG64 came in right before the operation. The G-3 had gotten there just that summer. So, they went through some machinations as far as how the Main ought to look and be set up. And they had the typical problem (and I'm sure we did too; I didn't see the Main in the field) ... put a headquarters on the ground and it grows. And then it's all of a sudden the key guys with the information are on the outer wheel and you can't ... how do you integrate all of that stuff. And so they had some problems, but all in all they did okay.
The thing that puzzles me about ARCENT is that ARCENT thought ... I know some of the things that happened, but down at Duke Field, ARCENT was out in the field, set up, organized--their way--and really functioning quite well during INTERNAL LOOK. Primarily for political reasons in Riyadh they were in the Royal Saudi Land Force Building and there was a fight for space from the get-go. But you had the G-3 in one place. The G-4 was down a floor or so; and the G-1 on the other side, which doesn't kill you. But the G-2 was in another building. Now, that ... when you get the G-2 and the G-3 that far remoted from each other, it became less a headquarters then a big office building.
And so a lot of your staff integration was screwed up because they couldn't get a big enough piece of the Saudi building to put it all together. And there was a lot of pressure at the lower levels just to move out. LTG Yeosock wanted to keep them there because the touchy-feely comfort level of the Saudis, plus if we're in with a bunch of Arabs (and early on, of course, terrorism was a concern in Riyadh) if we're in with a bunch of Arabs, then they aren't going to kill a bunch of Arabs to get at the Americans, they thought. I guess ultimately they moved out to Eskan Village65 out there and they said something else different up. But a lot of their problems is if they had just taken their temper tents and set up outside on a, you know, on a tennis court, they'd have been a hell of a lot better off.
MAJ WRIGHT: Last question I have for you guys. As members of the Corps, there's got to be some residual sense of loss or sense of frustration that here you are, the Corps goes to war, you go to war, and then you're not with the Corps. You're part of the Corps, but you're not physically with the Corps. Is there some sense of frustration as you come back now and everybody's talking to each other and you're sharing experiences and sharing stories that ... ?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, physically we weren't with the Corps, but you've got to remember every time we picked up the phone probably 50 to 60, 70 percent of the time it was we were talking to the Corps, so I never felt like I was not part of the Corps. Maybe there's a frustration that we were under a little harsher conditions. Maybe that ain't frustration. Maybe that's more smugness. And we were closer to the Republican Guards then the rest of them. You know, that type of thing. But that's ... that's ... I guess the frustration is that it felt good to get back to Corps. I was more frustrated at Riyadh then I was with VII Corps.
MAJ DEARBORN: I never really got to XVIII Corps. There was some frustration, number one, because I'd only been ... but I'd only been here two months prior to leaving. I got here in June and left in August.
LTC KENNEDY: I hadn't been here a month.
MAJ DEARBORN: So, you know, whereas I felt the closeness in working with the Corps; you always want to be with your folks ... and I probably wouldn't have felt so bad initially had I not gone to Riyadh ... CENTCOM in Riyadh and I sat there five months. I mean, I had been longer with ARCENT then I had been with the Corps folks, and I knew them better. But, you're right. There is a frustration level there because I didn't feel like I was with my own. I wasn't with the Airborne Corps.
But, I think at my age and my experience I could get over something like that. And then I also felt good about ... in the end I felt, even though I never really spent any time with Corps, I felt I did a service for them and professionally feel good about what I did. I feel better in the end because I did go where I did go: with the VII Corps and LTC Kennedy. Because I spent ... and I think I'm happier that I went that way because if I'd been with Corps, even though I'd have been satisfied being with my own people, if you will, I wouldn't have seen and experienced the things that I did professionally.
Number one, I've been light all my life and to get to see the mech side of the world, how they live, how they operate, live and breathe ... to be out in the desert with the Tac/Assault CP ... to go as far north into Iraq as I did ... to be operating on our own. To me, that was worth it.
But, again, there's always that frustration. To answer your question, coming back here and you hear all them talking, in a very small way, but not very large because of the things we did. If I'd stayed in Riyadh, I think coming back here and listening to them guys talk about Rafha and Dhahran ... but I experienced the Dhahran thing. When I went down there on the 16th, we got there ... I was there when they got the SCUDs.66 So I feel I was with them in sort of a way. I think that's all compensated by the fact of what we did and when we went.
LTC KENNEDY: I think part of the frustration, if there is a frustration, is the fact that the only time the LNOs draw attention to themselves is when they can't fix something and when you miss something. I mean, all of the good work usually never even is noticed because they don't know that there was a problem because you fixed it. You know, the frustration is that they don't really understand all that we did for them.
MAJ DEARBORN: It's a little frustrating. It's hard to show the results.
LTC KENNEDY: But, I think that our age, we ... what's more important is that we know what we do.
MAJ WRIGHT: Anything else that you'd like to throw out as a lingering observation?
LTC KENNEDY: Well, the biggest thing is ... well, when I got here this section, the Exercise Section, was supposed to run the Rear ... the EOC.67 And INTERNAL LOOK was the start of getting into the LNO business. And then I had Brian Burr as an LNO with the Marines and then he went to Riyadh. Mike initially to CENTCOM. I went to ARCENT. Um ... let's see, [MAJ John] Turner went to EPAC.68
MAJ DEARBORN: [Chip] Martin to ...
LTC KENNEDY: Martin went up forward. So, most of us were in the LNO type of business. And I think we're probably the right guys to do that because we're the guys that deal with the different CinCs. We're the guys that deal day-to-day with a bigger picture then a lot of other guys. And I think that ought to be sustained as far as this shop--it's a good pool to get LNOs out of, number one.
Number two, the equipment side of the thing. We always got ... I got the TACSAT. We lost our TACSAT in the middle of the worst possible time, about an hour 50 or 30 into the actual ground war, the TACSAT just quit on us. And it turned out it was soaked from all that rain and when it dried out, it worked. But, I called and they were putting it together ... putting a TACSAT on a helicopter to get it to us, you know. And so every time I asked for something that I really needed, like a tent and those other things that sounded inconsequential, but they were important out there. With the exception of the vehicles. And that's the part that ought to be fixed: the vehicle thing ought to be resourced. I guess that's basically it.
MAJ WRIGHT: Anything else?
MAJ DEARBORN: No, that's it.
MAJ WRIGHT: All right. Thank you very much for taking the time, gentlemen.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
1. United States Southern Command.
2. A July 1990 command post exercise (CPX) to evaluate Operations Plan (OPLAN) 1002-90.
3. United States Marine Corps Forces, Central Command.
4. Advance detachment.
5. Liaison officer.
6. United States Central Command.
7. Tactical satellite communications.
8. US Army Forces Central Command, furnished by Third Army.
9. Commander in Chief, GEN H. Norman Schwarzkopf (also called CINCCENT).
10. Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
11. During DESERT SHIELD BG Arnold succeeded COL Beddingfield as the G-3 of ARCENT/Third Army.
12. Commanding General, ARCENT and Third Army.
13. Royal Saudi Land Forces.
14. Non-commissioned officers.
15. The subordination of the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade (Fort Bliss, Texas) was clouded early in DESERT SHIELD; in peacetime it is subordinate to XVIII Airborne Corps, but was elevated to theater defense responsibilities. SUPCOM was the ARCENT Support Command (Provisional) that later became the 22d Support Command under BG (later LTG) William G. "Gus" Pagonis.
16. CENTCOM's Chief of Staff was MG (USMC) Robert B. Johnston; the J-5 was RADM Grant A. Sharp.
17. CHAMPION MAIN was the DESERT SHIELD site of the 82d Airborne Division Headquarters; one brigade of that division was displaced to the southeast to Ab Qaiq and the Aviation Brigade of the division to Al Hufuf midway through DESERT SHIELD.
18. US Forces Command (Fort McPherson, Georgia) Inspector General.
19. LTG (USAF) Charles A. Horner, Commanding General Ninth Air Force and United States Central Air Forces (CENTAF). He served as the unified air component commander for CENTCOM.
20. A former Royal Saudi Air Defense compound on the outskirts of Dhahran that served as the DESERT SHIELD site for XVIII Airborne Corps' Main Command Post.
21. DESERT SHIELD became Phase I of DESERT STORM; Phase II was the movement of forces to the west.
22. Heavy Equipment Transporters.
23. Situation Report.
24. Army Tactical Missile System.
25. A terrain feature that seriously impeded mobility composed of loose powdery sand that turned to quicksand when moistened.
26. King Khalid Military City.
27. Deputy G-3, XVIII Airborne Corps.
28. LTC Burgdorff deployed with XVIII Airborne Corps as Chief of Plans, G-3.
29. XVIII Airborne Corps conducted equipment transition from older M-1 Abrams tanks to the M-1A1 (120mm gun) variant and to the newer M-2A3 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, among others.
30. Static situation; a reference to the early phase of stalemate on the western front in World War II.
31. Mr. Mike Lynch, Fort Bragg's Range Control Officer. See DSIT-AE-001.
32. Chief of Operations.
33. Air Force aircraft to transport fuel forward in inflatable bladders.
34. During JUST CAUSE, MAJ Dearborn was S-3 of the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry, in the 193d Infantry Brigade.
35. Top Secret. Only certain computers rated TEMPEST approved are authorized to handle classified information.
36. Special Operations Forces.
37. Battle Command Training Program from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
38. G-3, XVIII Airborne Corps.
39. The multi-land hard surfaced east-west road on the south bank of the Euphrates River that served as Iraq's primary line of communications to the Kuwaiti Theater of Operations.
40. Republican Guard Forces Command, the elite corps-sized formation of the Iraqis.
41. This road, which began north of the Saudi-Iraq border and ran through As Salman to the Euphrates Valley became Main Supply Route (MSR) TEXAS.
42. A member of the G-3 Plans shop in XVIII Airborne Corps.
43. 3d Armored Cavalry, a regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas.
44. VII Corps included the 1st (UK) Armoured Division.
45. The 45th Infantry Division, an Iraqi mobilized reserve unit.
46. The Trans-Arabian Pipeline Road ("Tapline Road") served as Main Supply Route (MSR) DODGE.
47. Military police.
48. Commanding General, VII Corps.
49. LTC Thomas J. Novak.
50. Line of departure.
51. From records and interviews, it appears that the confusion throughout the theater came from the fact that the theater was operating under local (CHARLIE) time, not Greenwich Mean Time (ZULU). 0500Z was actually 0800C.
52. The 24th Infantry Division became embroiled in a large action with Iraqi remnants on 2 March 1991, two days after the cease fire. The incident provoked extensive controversy.
53. Rocket propelled grenades.
54. M-1008-series Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle.
55. M-998-series High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle.
56. Passenger configuration rather than the 5/4-ton cargo truck variant.
58. Armored recovery vehicle.
59. 1st Support Command (Corps).
60. VII Corps G-3.
61. Field manual.
62. Secure telephone unit, model III.
63. Table of Organization and Equipment.
64. Deputy Commanding General.
65. A compound on the outskirts of Riyadh.
66. SS-1C SCUD surface-to-surface missiles.
67. Emergency Operations Center, located on second floor of XVIII Airborne Corps Headquarters at Fort Bragg.
68. Eastern Province Area Command. See DSIT-AE-092.