The 1st Armored Division is the oldest and most prestigious armored division in the United States Army. From its desert tank battles against Field Marshall Erwin Rommel's Afrika Korps, beach landing at Anzio to the end of the war in the Italian Alps. Maintaining a forward presence in the cold war in Germany, its stunning victories in the Persian Gulf War to the Global War on terrorism in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. In peace or war, the "Old Ironsides" Division has amassed a proud record of service to America. The current home of the Division is at Fort Bliss, Texas.
The unit motto is"Iron Soldier." This is used in greeting a senior NCO or Officer of the Division.
Unit Insignia: The division was nicknamed "Old Ironsides", by its first commander, Major General Bruce R. Magruder, after he saw a picture of the frigate USS Constitution, which is also nicknamed "Old Ironsides". The large "1" at the top represents the numerical designation of the division, and the insignia is used as a basis for most other sub-unit insignias. The cannon represents fire power, the track represents mobility, and the lighting bolt represents speed and shock force.
The three colors, red, yellow, and blue represent the Artillery, Cavalry, and Infantry Branches respectively, which are the colors of the three original combat arms which, when forged into one, created the field of Armor. This "pyramid of power" was devised by the order of then-Lieutenant Col. George S. Patton, Jr. in Bourg, France in early 1918 during Patton's formation and training of the Tank Corps in support of the American Expeditionary Force under General John J. Pershing.
Commander:MG Orlando Ward He left that post (and was promoted major general) to become the second commander of the U.S. Army's 1st Armored Division. He supervised the deployment of his division across the Atlantic to North Africa, which was brought piecemeal (with a layover in Northern Ireland) as part of Operation Torch and subsequent operations. The failure of 1st Armored to arrive intact and deploy as a single entity would have important consequences in later action against German forces in Tunisia.
Commander:MG Ernest N. Harmon Major-General Harmon had been in Thala on the Algerian border, witnessing the stubborn resistance of the British Nickforce, which held the vital road leading into the Kasserine Pass against the heavy pressure of the German 10th Panzer Division, which was under Rommel's direct command.When the U.S. 9th Infantry Division's attached artillery arrived in Thala after a four-day, 800-mile march, it seemed like a godsend to Harmon. The 9th's artillery did stay, and with its 48 guns raining a whole year's worth of a (peacetime) allotment of shells, stopped the advancing Germans in their tracks. Unable to retreat under the withering fire, the Afrika Corps finally withdrew after dark. With the defeat at Thala, Rommel decided to end his offensive.
Commander:MG Martin E. Dempsey In June 2003, then Brigadier General Dempsey assumed command of 1st Armored Division. Dempsey's command of the 1st Armored Division lasted until July 2005 and included 13 months in Iraq, from June 2003 to July 2004. While in Iraq, 1st Armored Division, in addition to its own brigades, had operational command over the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment, numerous Army National Guard units and a brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division; the command, called "Task Force Iron" in recognition of the Division's nickname, "Old Ironsides", was the largest division-level command in the history of the United States Army.
It was during this time that the U.S. intervention in Iraq changed dramatically as Fallujah fell to Sunni extremists and supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr built their strength and rose up against American forces. Then Major General Dempsey and his command assumed responsibility for the Area of Operations in Baghdad as the insurgency incubated, grew, and exploded. General Dempsey has been described by Thomas Ricks in his book "Fiasco": "In the capital itself, the 1st Armored Division, after Sanchez assumed control of V Corps, was led by Gen. Martin Dempsey, was generally seen as handling a difficult (and inherited) job well, under the global spotlight of Baghdad." General Dempsey is now serving as the current Joint Chiefs of Staff.
MOH Recipient:Pvt Nicholas Minue Nicholas Minue received the Medal of Honor for military service on behalf of the United States of America in World War II. He received this recognition for charging a group of German soldiers that had a machine-gun position near Medjez El Bab, Tunisia. He died during the charge.
MOH Recipient:2LT Thomas Fowler Thomas Weldon Fowler was a former student of the Texas A&M University, a United States Army officer, and a recipient of America's highest military decoration "the Medal of Honor" for his actions leading a combined armor-infantry attack near Carano in the Anzio Beachhead Italy in World War II.
Silver Star Recipient:T5 Henry Guarnere Henry J. Guarnere, an Army Medic, the brother of the famous Sgt William "Wild Bill" Guarnere of Easy Company, 506th P.I.R., 101st Airborne Division, and a recipient of America's third highest military decoration - the Silver Star. As Army Medical Aidman, he rescued a Soldier during heavy counter battery fire in a gun section that was seriously wounded and unable to reach shelter in Tunisia, Africa during World War II. Tech 5 Henry Guarnere was killed in action on 6th January, 1944 while serving with the 47th Armored Medical Battalion in Northern Italy.
Silver Star Recipient:2LT John P Souther awarded the Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving with the 1st Armored Division during World War II. He called in division artillery on an exposed position of 500 Germans while under direct fire after his vehicle was knocked out by a German 88mm gun. His actions resulted all of the enemy being killed. He later retired as a LTC in the US Army Reserves and was the President of the 1st Armored Division Association in 1990. He wrote several books on his wartime experiences. He passed away in 2006 in Georgia.
Distinguished Service Cross Recipient:General John Knight Waters , LTC Waters was the son in law of the famous General Patton of II Corps at the time he was taken as a prisoner of war in Tunisia during the battle of of Sidi Bouzid, Feb 1943. He was the commander of the 1st Armored Regiment (light), 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division. 26 March,1945, General Patton set up the controversial Task Force Baum to break him out.The mission was a complete failure.He was later released two weeks later in April 1945 by units of the 14th Armored Division. LTC Waters later retired as a four star general, who served as commander, U.S. Army, Pacific from 1964 to 1966.
In the context of the Iraq War, the surge refers to United States President George W. Bush's 2007 increase in the number of American troops in order to provide security to Baghdad and Al Anbar Province.
The surge had been developed under the working title "The New Way Forward" and it was announced in January 2007 by Bush during a television speech. Bush ordered the deployment of more than 20,000 soldiers into Iraq, five additional brigades, and sent the majority of them into Baghdad. He also extended the tour of most of the Army troops in country and some of the Marines already in the Anbar Province area. The President described the overall objective as establishing a "...unified, democratic federal Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself, and sustain itself, and is an ally in the War on Terror." The major element of the strategy was a change in focus for the US military "to help Iraqis clear and secure neighborhoods, to help them protect the local population, and to help ensure that the Iraqi forces left behind are capable of providing the security". The President stated that the surge would then provide the time and conditions conducive to reconciliation among political and ethnic factions.
The five U.S. Army brigades committed to Iraq as part of the surge were
2nd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division (Infantry): 3,447 troops. Deployed to Baghdad, January 2007
4th Brigade, 1st Infantry Division (Infantry): 3,447 troops. Deployed to Baghdad, February 2007
3rd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Heavy): 3,784 troops. Deployed to southern Baghdad Belts, March 2007
4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker): 3,921 troops. Deployed to Diyala province, April 2007
2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Heavy): 3,784 troops. Deployed to the southeast of Baghdad, May 2007
This brought the number of U.S. brigades in Iraq from 15 to 20. Additionally, 4,000 Marines in Al Anbar had their 7-month tour extended. These included Marines from the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, the 2nd Battalion 4th Marines, the 1st Battalion 6th Marines and the 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines. Most of the 150,000 Army personnel had their 12-month tours extended as well. By July, 2007, the percentage of the mobilized Army deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan was almost 30%; the percentage of the mobilized Marine Corps deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan was 13.5%.
The plan began with a major operation to secure Baghdad, codenamed Operation Fardh al-Qanoon (Operation Imposing Law), which was launched in February 2007. However, only in mid-June 2007, with the full deployment of the 28,000 additional U.S. troops, could major counter-insurgency efforts get fully under way. Operation Phantom Thunder was launched throughout Iraq on June 16, with a number of subordinate operations targeting insurgents in Diyala province, Anbar province and the southern Baghdad Belts. The additional surge troops also participated in Operation Phantom Strike and Operation Phantom Phoenix, named after the III "Phantom" Corps which was the major U.S. unit in Iraq throughout 2007.
Counterinsurgency strategy in Iraq changed significantly under the command of General Petraeus since the 2007 troop surge began. The newer approach attempted to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people through building relationships, preventing civilian casualties and compromising with and even hiring some former enemies. The new strategy was population-centric in that it focused in protecting the population rather than killing insurgents. In implementing this strategy, Petraeus used experienced gained while commanding the 101st Airborne Division in Mosul in 2003. He also explained these ideas extensively in Field Manual 3-24: Counterinsurgency, which he assisted in the writing of while serving as the Commanding General of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center (CAC) located there.
Instead of seeing every Iraqi as a potential enemy, the current COIN strategy focuses on building relationships and getting cooperation from the Iraqis against Al Qaeda and minimizing the number of enemies for U.S. forces. The belief is that maintaining a long term presence of troops in a community improves security and allows for relationships and trust to develop between the locals and the U.S. military. Civilian casualties are minimized by carefully measured use of force. This means less bombing and overwhelming firepower, and more soldiers using restraint and even sometimes taking more risk in the process.
Another method of gaining cooperation is by paying locals, including former insurgents, to work as local security forces. Former Sunni insurgents have been hired by the U.S. military to stop cooperating with Al Qaeda and to start fighting against them.
To implement this strategy, troops were concentrated in the Baghdad area (at the time, Baghdad accounted for 50% of all the violence in Iraq). Whereas in the past, Coalition forces isolated themselves from Iraqis by living in large forward operating bases far from population centers, troops during the surge lived among the Iraqis, operating from joint security stations (JSSs) located within Baghdad itself and shared with Iraqi security forces. Coalition units were permanently assigned to a given area so that they could build long-term relationships with the local Iraqi population and security forces.
However, opponents to occupation such as US Army Col. David H. Hackworth (Ret.), asked whether he thought that British soldiers are better at nation-building than the Americans, said "They were very good at lining up local folks to do the job like operating the sewers and turning on the electricity. Far better than us -- we are heavy-handed, and in Iraq we don't understand the people and the culture. Thus we did not immediately employ locals in police and military activities to get them to build and stabilize their nation."
CNN war correspondent Michael Ware, who has reported from Iraq since before the U.S. invasion in 2003 had a similar dim view of occupation saying, "there will be very much mixed reaction in Iraq” to a long-term troop presence, but he added, “what’s the point and will it be worth it?” Mr. Ware contended that occupation could, "ferment further resentment [towards the U.S]."
Hostile and Non-Hostile Deaths.
Despite a massive security crackdown in Baghdad associated with the surge in coalition troop strength, the monthly death toll in Iraq rose 15% in March 2007. 1,869 Iraqi civilians were killed and 2,719 were wounded in March, compared to 1,646 killed and 2,701 wounded in February. In March, 165 Iraqi policemen were killed against 131 the previous month, while 44 Iraqi soldiers died compared to 29 in February. US military deaths in March were nearly double those of the Iraqi army, despite Iraqi forces leading the security crackdown in Baghdad. The death toll among insurgent militants fell to 481 in March, compared to 586 killed in February; however, the number of arrests jumped to 5,664 in March against 1,921 in February.
Three months after the start of the surge, troops controlled less than a third of the capital, far short of the initial goal, according to an internal military assessment completed in May 2007. Violence was especially chronic in mixed Shiite-Sunni neighborhoods in western Baghdad. Improvements had not yet been widespread or lasting across Baghdad.
Significant attack trends.
On September 10, 2007, David Petraeus delivered his part of the Report to Congress on the Situation in Iraq. He concluded that "the military objectives of the surge are, in large measure, being met." He cited what he called recent consistent declines in security incidents, which he attributed to recent blows dealt against Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the surge. He added that "we have also disrupted Shia militia extremists, capturing the head and numerous other leaders of the Iranian-supported Special Groups, along with a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative supporting Iran's activities in Iraq." He argued that Coalition and Iraqi operations had drastically reduced ethno-sectarian violence in the country, though he stated that the gains were not entirely even. He recommended a gradual drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq with a goal of reaching pre-surge troop levels by July 2008 and stated that further withdraws would be "premature."
While Petraeus credited the surge for the decrease in violence, the decrease also closely corresponded with a cease-fire order given by Iraqi political leader Muqtada al-Sadr on August 29, 2007. Al-Sadr's order, to stand down for six months, was distributed to his loyalists following the deaths of more than 50 Shia Muslim pilgrims during fighting in Karbala the day earlier.
Michael E. O'Hanlon and Jason H. Campbell of the Brookings Institution stated on December 22, 2007 that Iraq’s security environment had reached its best levels since early 2004 and credited Petraeus' strategy for the improvement. CNN stated that month that the monthly death rate for US troops in Iraq had hit its second lowest point during the entire course of the war. Military representatives attributed the successful reduction of violence and casualties directly to the troop surge. At the same time, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior reported similar reductions for civilian deaths.
Iraqi Security Force deaths.
However, on September 6, 2007, a report by an independent military commission headed by General James Jones found that the decrease in violence may have been due to areas being overrun by either Shias or Sunnis. In addition, in August 2007, the International Organization for Migration and the Iraqi Red Crescent Organization indicated that more Iraqis had fled since the troop increase.
On February 16, 2008, Iraqi Defense Minister Abdel Qader Jassim Mohammed told reporters that the surge was "working very well" and that Iraq has a "pressing" need for troops to stay to secure Iraqi borders. He stated that "Results for 2007 prove that– Baghdad is good now".
In June 2008, the U.S. Department of Defense reported that "the security, political and economic trends in Iraq continue to be positive; however, they remain fragile, reversible and uneven."
U.S. troop fatalities in Iraq by month, the orange and blue months being post-troop surge.
In the month of July, 2008, US forces lost only 13 soldiers, the lowest number of casualties sustained by US troops in one month since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Also, a report by the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, given to Congress in May 2008, and published July 1, stated that the Iraqi government had met 15 of the 18 political benchmarks set out for them.