THE SEPARATE AIRBORNE BATTALION TASK FORCE
Too often over looked by the DA, and almost completely unknown to the public, our Army's two Airborne Battalion Combat Teams provide a small, self contained, and highly trained combined arms team to the regional cmmdr. The 1/501stPIR gives this option to both it's parent bde, and USARPAC. The 1/508thABCT provides the same options to SETAF.
Both the units in the above mentioned are excellent primers for what the Army should create; that is an airborne battalion task force available for every regional CINC. Our nation being the only true "super power" left in the world. Our ever increasing foriegn policy to intervene. Short notice warfare and operations other than war continue to increase for the Army. Haiti, Bosnia, Liberia, Panama, Kuwait, Somalia. The Army has nearly reduced its division strength by fifty percent since the Gulf War, still trying to maintain the idea of being able to fight two wars, simueltaneously, in two separate theatres. With these daunting challenges, the ability to react rapidly and with lethal strength for any operation must remain a priority with the NCA. The 82nd Airborne Division with three full brigades might seem the only answer for some; but let me impart to you that the most important place for the 82nd to be during any given time is Ft Bragg, that is ready to respond to major contingencies. This is why during the Vietnam War, two brigades of the 82nd were always CONUS based, and not in Vietnam. Geographically the 82nd cannot not reach Pacific targets as rapidly as TF 1/501, and obviously the same holds for 1/508th responding in Afica or Europe. Operational Security is another topic of note here. Before "H Hour" during "Operation Just Cause", the PDF was already well aware we were coming thanks to CNN. Small packages such as our two units mentioned do not draw as much attention on their marshalling fields as opposed to multiple brigade strength units loading aircraft. PACOM, USARPAC, and CINCPAC make full use of TF 1/501 with the task force serving as the regions "crisis response team", the first to respond to Pacific hot spots, whether conducting a show of force, or conducting an airfield siezure under fire. TF 1/501 also has the uniqueness of also belonging to a light infantry brigade, 172ndBDE(Sep). They can and do conduct lodgment operations. That is a battalion mass tactical parachute assualt onto an airhead to secure it for the rest of the brigade immediately airlanding directly behind. This was most recently done during 'Northern Edge 98'. The 1/508th ABCT has proven it's worth to SETAF and the Army over and over again. The extraction of American citizens in Liberia, and serving as the QRF for the O'Grady rescue, where they would have had to jump into the nearby cow pasture if things went 'ugly' for the Marine TRAP force. Remember on CNN the first IFOR American troops in Bosnia patrolling around Tuzla Airfield? That was 1/508th. Think the 1/501st hasn't any realistic contigency missions in the Pacific? I'll give you two words: North Korea. Without having to rely on the 82nd for all its contingencies, the ABCT for every regional command would only serve to provide the regional CINC with his own rapid response force for all contigencies, and add greater depth and versatality to the Army as a whole.
This page hosted by
Get your own Free Homepage