Magazine article National Defense

Readers Forum

Magazine article National Defense

Readers Forum

Article excerpt

Civil Affairs

I am the executive officer for the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) in Afghanistan. In reference to your article in February 2003 (Pentagon Broadens Duties for Civil Affairs Teams), I must point out a number of inconsistencies.

Not all civil affairs soldiers are paratroopers. The 489th and the 402nd are not airborne units, regardless of what Maj. Zack may want. The only airborne civil affairs battalion in the Northeast is the 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne). Some other units have a few airborne slots, but none are airborne battalions the way we are. I have never heard of a single airborne slot in the 402nd.

Maj. Zack spoke of a need to support the 82nd Airborne Division. We have a formalized system (Wartrace) that establishes which reserve civil affairs units support various active units. The 450th Civil Affairs Battalion (Airborne) is the unit that supports the 82nd Airborne Division.

We have a system of liaison, and take part in all 82nd division exercises. The 402nd's wartrace unit (I believe) is a USAR Corps Support Command.

I can understand the desire of Maj. Zack to be a paratrooper, but if he is assigned to the 402nd, he is a leg. My soldiers are paratroopers. And my soldiers are serving in Afghanistan, not New York State.

Dave Des Roches

Master Paratrooper and Chairman of the

Jumpmaster Committee

450th Civil Affairs Battalion

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