When the Big Red One left Iraq, it learned that a redeployment is not
just a deployment in reverse. Army doctrine needs to reflect this reality.
The redeployment of the 1st Infantry Division
from north central Iraq to its home station demonstrated the
complexity of conducting a deliberate relief-in-place and a
redeployment simultaneously. It also highlighted a shortfall
in current Army doctrine on the planning of redeployment operations.
According to Field Manual (FM) 100–17–5, Redeployment, “All
deployed forces eventually redeploy, perhaps using the same
means of conveyance and many of the same procedures and processes.” However,
the 1st Infantry Division movement cell recognized that redeployment
operations do not necessarily mirror deployment operations.
Redeployment scenarios vary widely based on available resources,
the force structure of the redeploying units, and the locations
involved. What follow are the challenges that the 1st Infantry
Division faced in redeploying from Iraq and the solutions that
it developed to overcome those challenges.
Geographically, the Big Red One’s area of operations
in Iraq was the size of West Virginia, and division elements
were dispersed across 28 forward operating bases (FOBs). The
force that redeployed from Iraq in early 2005 also was far
different from the force that had deployed to Iraq from Germany
in early 2004. The division deployed 12,500 Soldiers and 7,500
pieces of equipment from units based in Germany. At the time
of its redeployment, the division consisted of over 22,600
Soldiers and 14,200 pieces of equipment. These increases resulted
from the addition of three diverse brigades: the 2d Brigade,
25th Infantry Division, from Hawaii; the 30th Heavy Separate
Brigade from the North Carolina National Guard; and the 264th
Engineer Group from the Wisconsin National Guard. Once the
Department of the Army published guidance governing stay-behind
equipment, the division’s total requirement for redeploying
equipment dropped to 10,100 pieces. However, unlike deployment
operations in which units converge in a single theater, the
division had to plan for redeployment to three separate locations:
Germany, the continental United States (CONUS), and Hawaii.
The 1st Infantry Division faced a variety of constraints during
the redeployment process. Of primary concern, the division’s
deployment was extended by 2 months in order to maintain the
elevated troop levels needed in Iraq to provide security for
the historic democratic election held in January 2005. As a
result of the adjusted timeline, the division found that it
would be redeploying almost simultaneously with the 1st Cavalry
Division. That meant the division would face competition for
scarce theater common-user land transportation (CULT) and for
wash racks, sterile yards, and other facilities in Kuwait.
The lack of division and corps transportation assets became
a critical constraint as the division approached its redeployment.
The 167th Corps Support Group (CSG)—an Army Reserve unit
from New Hampshire—provided backup support to the division.
The CSG was based at FOB Speicher in Tikrit and was collocated
with the 1st Infantry Division’s division-rear headquarters.
However, the CSG headquarters jumped to FOB Q-West, south of
Mosul, 2 months before the division’s redeployment. This
sudden change in the location and mission of the division’s
supporting unit hindered the working relationship that the
division had fostered with the CSG’s transportation managers
over the previous 10 months. Many CSG elements also redeployed
1 to 2 months before the 1st Infantry Division’s redeployment
and were replaced by a corps support battalion with fewer transportation
As the division was preparing to execute its redeployment,
the available corps transportation assets at FOB Speicher were
simultaneously conducting their own deployment, relief-in-place,
and corps support missions. This further restricted the number
of transportation assets available to move the division out.
Convoy security also faced a significant resource shortage.
Multinational Corps-Iraq (MNC–I) published convoy guidance
requiring 1 gun truck for every 10 civilian trucks and 1 gun
truck for every 5 military trucks. MNC–I also delegated
authority for CULT convoy security to the unit using the assets.
However, because deploying units were scheduled to receive
gun trucks at their destinations in Iraq from the units they
were scheduled to replace, they lacked the gun trucks they
needed for their movements into Iraq. Deploying units also
were making one-way trips; once they arrived at their destination
FOBs, they were not prepared or equipped to return CULT trucks
Redeploying units were still engaged in full-spectrum operations
in their areas of operations and were preparing to conduct
detailed, one-for-one relief-in-place operations with their
deploying replacement units. The redeploying units lacked the
manpower and the equipment to disengage from their critical
missions in order to secure CULT assets. These units found
themselves stretched in trying to execute their primary mission
of staying in contact with the enemy to prevent him from interdicting
CULT movements while also conducting a quality relief-in-place
and securing both deployment and redeployment CULT movements.
Current redeployment doctrine furnished the division little
planning guidance. Army doctrine outlines detailed processes
for the deployment of forces into a theater of operations,
but it provides few guidelines on how to reconsolidate forces
still in contact with the enemy for a redeployment. Doctrine
for tactical maneuver units discusses consolidation and assembly-area
procedures, but it does not describe how tactical-unit operations
affect operational-level assets and movements. The movement
from the combat zone back to the communications zone (COMMZ)—a
line defined in this theater by the Iraq-Kuwait border—is
not covered sufficiently in Army doctrine to assist units in
developing their concepts of operation.
Because of this doctrinal deficiency, the 1st Infantry Division
and every other unit in Iraq had to analyze constraints and
limitations, evaluate available resources, and develop creative
solutions in order to maximize use of those resources. These
unilateral efforts were not well synchronized and led to inefficiencies
and to competition for extremely scarce CULT and strategic
retrograding by sealift required careful cleaning
before loading aboard ship. Here, the washrack noncommissioned
officer in charge for Task Force Breakout (the 1st
Infantry Division element in Kuwait) conducts a preliminary
inspection of a vehicle at Camp Doha, Kuwait, as
part of the division’s redeployment.
Early Retrograde of Equipment
The idea for an early retrograde of nonessential equipment
came up during the planning for the division’s redeployment.
The original intent was to fly 250 wheeled vehicles to Germany
and ship 1,000 pieces of equipment to Germany by sea early
in September 2004. The 1,000 pieces of equipment were smaller
trailers and vehicles, tracked vehicles, and “soft-skinned” vehicles
that needed transportation assets in order to be moved. Moving
them early would reduce requirements for CULT during the division’s
main redeployment in January 2005.
This early retrograde was intended to serve two purposes.
First, it would move the unneeded equipment out of the theater
before the competition for CULT resources increased. Second,
and more important, the retrograde would test both the Coalition
Forces Land Component Command’s (CFLCC’s) redeployment
concept and the division’s ability to command and control
the redeployment process. The test would help all parties
determine where changes needed to be made before the whole
to move south to Kuwait to meet a critical suspense for a
redeployment strategic-sealift movement.
Identifying available resources and arriving at creative
solutions were critical to the 1st Infantry Division’s air retrograde
of equipment. The retrograde used the 167th CSG to provide
ground transport to Logistics Support Area (LSA) Anaconda at
Balad and daily Air Force flights of C–17 transports
to provide air retrograde from LSA Anaconda to Germany.
The 1st Infantry Division’s coordination with the Air
Force began when the division’s movement cell gained
approval through the 49th Movement Control Battalion—which
had an Air Force liaison officer—to maximize the backhaul
of C–17s into Rhein-Main Air Base in Germany. Once
this approval was granted, the movement cell sent a team
of two noncommissioned officers (NCOs) to LSA Anaconda to
receive and inspect the division’s equipment and work
with the Air Force in processing that equipment for airlift.
The NCOs set up a marshaling yard to receive the equipment
at LSA Anaconda and conduct joint inspections with the Air
Division units had already identified their nonessential
equipment so that it could be tracked by the movement cell
and staged at one of six consolidated tactical assembly areas
for movement forward to LSA Anaconda. The cell coordinated
directly with the CSG for truck transport. Once the equipment
arrived at the marshaling area, unit representatives washed
it, prepared all transportation documents, and assisted the
NCOs in charge with the joint inspection. When the Air Force
liaison officer received the equipment, it then was considered “space
available cargo” and became a requirement for the C–17s
flying back to Germany. When the equipment arrived at Rhein-Main
Air Base, the division’s rear detachment received it
and prepared it for onward movement to the motor pools.
The 1st Infantry Division’s air retrograde was a success
because it maximized existing transportation assets and arrangements
and thus reduced overall transportation costs to the Army.
The result was better than the division had anticipated.
A total of 641 soft-skinned wheeled vehicles was air-retrograded
to Germany from November 2004 through January 2005. Another
1,550 pieces of equipment were retrograded to Germany, CONUS,
and Hawaii using available cargo space on sealift vessels
already moving to those destinations.
Consolidated Tactical Assembly Areas
The division quickly realized that collecting its cargo at
a few, geographically dispersed marshaling areas was the
best way to ensure that loads were available and ready when
trucks arrived. To do this, the division developed the concept
of the “consolidated tactical assembly area” (CTAA).
The term was chosen deliberately to avoid connotations of
the doctrinal marshaling area, which typically is located
in a secure environment in the COMMZ. (Consult FM 100–17–3,
Reception, Staging, Onward Movement, and Integration.) The
CTAA was designed as a tactical assembly area rather than
a marshaling area to remind Soldiers that they were still
in contact with the enemy and that unloading, reloading,
and getting CULT back on the road to Kuwait was a combat
operation, not an administrative movement.
At a CTAA, redeploying equipment was staged according to
the division’s redeployment timeline and relief-in-place
schedule. The CTAA was nondoctrinal since it combined the
functions of both a marshaling area and a tactical assembly
area. Units still prepared vehicles and equipment for onward
movement, as they do in tactical assembly areas; however,
their preparations were conducted at FOBs that remained engaged
in daily combat operations. The process started with nonessential
equipment and moved on to mission-essential equipment, all
time-phased by the units’ available load dates at the
sea port of embarkation. The units were responsible for conducting
the tactical convoy operations that brought equipment to
A CTAA required large areas for handling inbound and outbound
equipment. It also needed materials-handling equipment and
crane support on call; this requirement was met by maintaining
open transportation movement requests (TMRs) with the local
area movement control team. Each CTAA had a managing and
tracking cell consisting of a staff sergeant, sergeant, and
specialist and headed by an officer in charge (OIC), who
usually was a brigade combat team (BCT) assistant S–4.
Equipment operators were assigned to the CTAA when loading
The CTAA OIC kept an accurate equipment piece count by unit
and type of equipment and by time of entry into and departure
from the yard. This information was forwarded to the Division
Support Command’s movement control officer, who collected,
sorted, and developed TMRs that detailed loads available
for movement by CULT. Accountability of equipment by unit
was needed to ensure that the division transportation officer
(DTO) accurately requested the proper CULT assets for each
CTAA from the movement control team at LSA Anaconda. The
OIC also separated equipment by loads. The loads at a CTAA
required either 30- or 40-foot flatbed trailers or heavy
equipment transporters (HETs) to move them south to Kuwait.
equipment transporter (HET) moves an M1 Abrams tank
in Kuwait as part of the 1st Infantry Division’s
redeployment into the Iraqi theater in early 2005.
HETs played a significant role in the division’s
redeployment, moving tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles
from outlying FOBs to CTAAs and then to the port
The 1st Infantry
Division area of operations was so large that it required
six CTAAs to meet mission requirements.
One CTAA was established for each of the division’s
four BCTs, one for division troops, and one for corps troops
within the division’s area of operations. Coordination
with MNC–I was key to the successful use of CULT
since the corps controlled CULT assets moving in the theater.
Lines of communication and the distance between the CTAAs
required careful movement planning. FOB Warrior in Kirkuk
was the most distant CTAA in the division’s area of
operations, so extra planning was needed to mitigate the
time-distance factor. Units conducted tactical convoy operations
to move most equipment from the FOBs to the CTAAs; moving
tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles from the outlying FOBs
to the CTAAs required the use of HETs operated by the division
truck company. Each CTAA was managed carefully by the BCT
S–4. The DTO set the priorities governing which units
were to drop off equipment at the CTAA and when. This coordination
was synchronized with the available load dates for each
unit and was communicated daily during a movement control
conducted by video teleconference with all division command
and control nodes and all BCTs.
One month before the first BCT redeployed, the CTAAs were
ready to begin receiving non-mission-essential equipment
such as M101A1 trailers and all non-up-armored vehicles
and containers that were sealed, inspected for customs,
for redeployment. Once a
pool of equipment began to build up at the CTAAs, the DTO
submitted a TMR to the movement control team requesting
CULT assets to move the cargo. The movement control team
Anaconda accepted all TMRs and resourced them based on
the CFLCC’s requirements and available assets.
Task Force Vigilant Guardian
Because there was a theater-wide lack of dedicated security
escorts for CULT assets, MNC–I shifted responsibility
for escort duty of CULT convoys to the units using the CULT.
The concept was for the deploying unit to escort the CULT
to Iraq and the redeploying unit to meet the CULT and escort
it back to Kuwait. However, most deploying units did not
have the required up-armored escort vehicles, and redeploying
units were still conducting full-spectrum operations in Iraq.
The 1st Infantry Division decided that the only way to solve
this dilemma was to establish a permanent escort unit. That
was the birth of Task Force Vigilant Guardian. At first,
each BCT was tasked to provide a specific number of M1114
up-armored high-mobility, multipurpose, wheeled vehicles
(humvees), drivers, and weapon systems. Then the unit requiring
the escort of CULT would provide a driver and gunner to complete
the escort platform. However, during the initial redeployment
operations, this plan caused more problems than solutions.
So it was decided to provide a dedicated company of 180 soldiers
to become the division’s Task Force Vigilant Guardian.
The 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment provided a cavalry troop,
and units from across the division provided 60 M1114 humvees
and gun systems. Task Force Vigilant Guardian was divided
into 15 escort teams, each consisting of four M1114s, and
those teams spent 2 weeks training at FOB Speicher. By the
middle of January 2005, Task Force Vigilant Guardian was
ready for its mission. The unit could simultaneously escort
fifteen 40-vehicle CULT convoys.
The performance of Task Force Vigilant Guardian exceeded
all expectations. Not only did it escort redeploying CULT
assets to Kuwait, but, after arriving in Kuwait and resting
and conducting 24 hours of after-action maintenance, it also
escorted deploying CULT assets from Kuwait to Iraq. The average
time for a CULT convoy from a 1st Infantry Division CTAA
to Kuwait was 7 days, which was better than the CFLCC’s
8-day model. Using that gain in time, the division was able
to create an “extra” 40-truck convoy every week.
Adding an extra convoy each week had several positive benefits:
It dramatically shortened the division’s redeployment
timeline; it allowed the division to find room for cargo
that had not been identified for regular convoys; and it
permitted the division to form a substitute convoy to make
up for a convoy that did not arrive because of enemy action.
As dedicated security escorts, the personnel of Task Force
Vigilant Guardian were skilled at picking up and using CULT
assets that were not allocated to the 1st Infantry Division
but had been left by other units. This occurred several times
and resulted in 23 extra CULT convoys that were able to move
over 1,600 pieces of equipment earlier than projected. This
capability was critical when two divisions (the 1st Infantry
and 1st Cavalry) were competing for the same resources. It
also created confidence in the 49th Movement Control Battalion
that Task Force Vigilant Guardian would arrive on time with
critical corps assets.
Airlift from LSA Anaconda and FOB Speicher
Redeploying 1st Infantry Division Soldiers offered an opportunity
to develop an efficient way to overcome challenges associated
with moving the division to Germany, CONUS, and Hawaii.
The division took advantage of its base in Germany to maximize
the air retrograde of cargo from LSA Anaconda and FOB Speicher,
so why not apply that same advantage to redeploying Soldiers?
In fact, air retrograde stemmed from the division’s “Northern
Option Plan.” Under the Northern Option, 1st Infantry
Division Soldiers flew from Iraq directly to Germany, bypassing
Kuwait altogether. This freed up CFLCC camp space, commercial
aircraft, theater C–130 transports, and time that
otherwise would have been devoted to moving Soldiers from
Iraq to Kuwait.
The challenge behind the Northern Option was to ensure
that the Soldiers from 28 different FOBs arrived at the
2 aerial ports of debarkation before their flights despite
limited ground transportation assets and helicopter support.
Of the 1st Infantry Division Soldiers returning to Germany,
approximately 10,100 flew the Northern Option out of FOB
Speicher and LSA Anaconda within 12 days. This movement
was monitored closely by using a daily movement control
board that included representatives from all of the division’s
brigades, separate units, and Task Force Breakout (which
was the 1st Infantry Division element in Kuwait) and the
Air Force Tanker Airlift Control Element (TALCE) team commander.
The movement control board monitored current operations
and looked at operations 72 hours out. It also monitored
arriving and departing CULT convoys; oversaw intratheater
airlift that moved 1st Infantry Division Soldiers who had
to redeploy from Kuwait after cleaning their equipment
for sea transport; and, most importantly, it directly coordinated
with the division G–3 Air Section to allocate the
use of CH–47 Chinook helicopters.
The priorities for each movement were set by the DTO based
on time-phased force and deployment data (TPFDD) requirements
and on the distance of the units from FOB Speicher and
LSA Anaconda. The preferred method of moving Soldiers from
outlying FOBs was by CH–47 helicopter rather than
convoying Soldiers in 5-ton trucks across dangerous roads.
Using the movement control board had several advantages.
Submitting TMRs to the board saved time over using the
G–3 Air Section, which would have taken days to process,
plan, and reschedule those requests. By forecasting shortfalls
in transportation, the movement control board provided
the division with flexibility to reallocate lift as necessary;
the board also could notify units so they could address
shortfalls that might cause the units to miss planned movements.
The movement control board gave Task Force Breakout in
Kuwait a real picture of what was en route to Kuwait and
what the division’s outstanding requirements were
so they could argue for more assets to move the division.
The board ironed out these issues and provided a means
of controlling the vast amount of moving pieces created
by a redeployment.
The Northern Option was successful because of the direct
assistance and coordination offered by the TALCE team assigned
to FOB Speicher. On several occasions, the TALCE team maximized
the division’s use of available air transport that
was not dedicated to the division’s redeployment.
The Northern Option freed intratheater assets (C–130s)
and contracted commercial aircraft for other missions,
minimized the CFLCC resources needed in Kuwait, and moved
Soldiers from the battlefield to home stations in hours
instead of days. The Northern Option demonstrated the benefits
of being creative in concept, detailed in planning, and
meticulous in execution during redeployment operations.
The innovative concepts used by the 1st Infantry Division
resulted in the successful and timely execution of the
division’s redeployment operations without the loss
of a single piece of equipment or a single Soldier. The
division was able to execute this operation efficiently
while maintaining contact with the enemy and focusing on
the successful relief in place—and all without having
to drain combat power to devote to the redeployment effort.
These efforts were successful in spite of the lack of doctrine
on planning for the use of CULT in a retrograde movement
from a relief in place, through enemy territory in contact,
to a redeployment staging area in the COMMZ. The techniques
used by the 1st Infantry Division worked. However, they
are not the only solutions to the redeployment problem.
Army doctrine should be reevaluated to capture the lessons
learned from these experiences and provide guidelines for
future transporters to use in getting the mission accomplished.
The bottom line is that “nothing happens until something
moves,” and nothing moves without a plan.
Captain Scott B. Kindberg is the Operations
Officer of the 71st Transportation Battalion at Fort
Eustis, Virginia. He was the Division Truck Company Commander
then the Assistant Division Transportation Officer of
the 1st Infantry Division in Iraq from February 2004 to March
2005. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University
of Wisconsin at Whitewater and is a graduate of the Transportation
Officer Basic Course and the Combined Logistics Captains
Captain Ann L. Gallo is the S–1 of the Division
Support Command, 1st Infantry Division, in Kitzingen,
She served as the Movement Control Officer, Division
Support Command, for the 1st Infantry Division from February
to February 2005. She is a graduate of the United States
Military Academy and the Transportation Officer Basic