The 1st AD in Operation Iraqi Freedom

By Granger, Martha G. | Military Review, November-December 2004 | Go to article overview

The 1st AD in Operation Iraqi Freedom


Granger, Martha G., Military Review


ON 8 APRIL 2004, a week before completing its relief in place (RIP) with Task Force (TF) 1st Cavalry Division (1CD) and returning home after a year of combat in Baghdad, Iraq, TF 1st Armored Division (1AD) received orders to continue combat operations in Iraq for an additional 90 days.

Dispersed and having nearly completed its materiel drawdown, TF 1AD had already begun to redeploy forces to Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Polk, Louisiana; and garrisons in Germany. TF 1AD had 1,667 soldiers in Kuwait, and 5,587 had redeployed to Germany and the United States. Of the 2,806 pieces of equipment in Kuwait, 1,285 were redeployed. Army pre-positioned stocks (APS), stay-behind equipment (SBE), selected authorized stockage list (ASL), other equipment, and all expendable supplies had been transferred to TF 1CD or theater stocks.

Within 3 weeks, TF 1AD was in a new area of operations (AO) with new equipment and stocks and was fighting a new enemy-as if it had never planned on leaving. This remarkable feat, accomplished by Iron Soldiers, leaders, and staff, would not have been possible without adaptive logistics.

The division was to stay in Iraq because of increased enemy activity, initially, the 2d Brigade Combat Team deployed a task force to An Najaf on 4 April 2004 to reinforce Multi-National Division (Central South) (MND[CS]). The task force then repositioned to Al Kut on 7 April to restore control of the Coalition Provisional Authority Headquarters. On 8 April, the entire division received orders to remain in Iraq, reinforce MND(CS), relieve the Marine expeditionary force south of Baghdad, and become the Combined Joint Task Force 7 (CJTF-7) Operational Reserve. Task Force 1AD's new AO and associated lines of communication (LOC) spanned an area 50 times the size of Baghdad. Everyone and everything in Kuwait, with few exceptions, was ordered to return to Iraq.

To appreciate the magnitude of the logistics issues the division confronted one must understand how the division had prepared to redeploy. On 20 February, each unit began to enter the window (40 days before transfer of authority [TOA]) for canceling all parts requisitions and filling requirements with on-hand theater stocks only. The division used the 40-day window to counter long requisition and customer-wait times and to prevent excess from arriving in theater after TF 1AD departed. Even after stopping requisitions, canceling due-ins, and shifting routing identifier codes (RICs) to TF 1CD, 75 to 100 containers of parts, especially back-ordered items, arrived for TF 1AD after the TOA date. The support operations shop was able, in some cases, to retrieve these parts from TF 1CD because of the change of mission. Task Force 1CD processed others parts, however, distributed them to their supply support activity (SSA), or retrograded them.

After the TOA-40 date, the primary Class IX source for TF 1AD units became division support command's (DISCOM's) fleet and Class IX managers of the division materiel management center (DMMC), as well as the Class IX expediter cell in Arifjan, Kuwait, which walked through hundreds of high-priority requisitions from theater warehouses. Parts not transferred to TF 1CD quickly disappeared from ASLs and prescribed load lists already challenged with high zero-balance levels. Despite the limited Class IX flow, TF 1AD maintained its combat fleets at 90 percent operational readiness rates and most other fleets at 80 percent or better.

In preparing for reconstitution at home station, TF 1AD planned for its 300 unit-level logistics systems (ULLS)-S4 and ground and air Standard Army Maintenance Systems (SAMS) to redeploy with unit-advanced parties. To prepare for this move, DISCOM's Combat Service Support Automation all the boxes early with homestation Department of Defense Activity Address Codes (DODAACs), and a CSSAMO team redeployed to Germany to work with a contracted reset team. At the time of change of mission, over two-thirds of the boxes left Iraq, and the division's RICs (except for one brigade) had been transferred. …

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