On 16 November 1988 the 4th Missile Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery was redesignated as the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division and activated at Fort Hood, Texas.
The Avenger surface-to-air missile (SAM) system has two stinger pods called Standard Vehicle Mounted Launchers (SVMLs). Each pod is capable of carrying four ready Stinger missiles, a significant improvement over the one man - one shot concept of the Man-Portable Stinger missile system. The Avenger also mounts a .50 caliber machine gun capable of operating in an air and ground mode; a Forward-Looking InfraRed system for target detection and tracking; and a laptop computer-based display for early warning and target cuing.
In the midst of the reorganization, on 07 August 1990, a deployment order for the Southwest Asia operations was issued. Plans calling for the division to deploy by 15 September extended the work day to 14, 16 and in some cases 24 hours. Since the availability of Avenger Systems prior to deployment was uncertain, and inorder to maximize combat power, the Battalion quickly was reorganized back to its original configuration of 4 Batteries consisting of 27 Vulcan and 60 Stinger Teams. Along with the return to the old organization, a decision to accelerate Avenger fielding and obtain as many systems as possible prior to deployment was made. The combined efforts of the Army Procurement Sections and Boeing allowed the Battalion to rapidly field three platoons and significantly upgrade its maintenance capability to sustain systems in an immature theater by providing additional test equipment and spare parts.
War plans were developed with the basic assumption that the Division would deploy task organized and could arrive at several different ports. To meet that objective, batteries were deployed with their Brigade Headquarters and a minimum of one Stinger Section or Vulcan/Avenger Platoon on each of the thirteen ships. The plan included the front loading of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battery to provide the initial control, command and a link into Theater Air Defense Commands, as well as provide the initial short range air defense umbrella over the Sea Port of Debarkation and associated staging areas.
In the midst of all the other activities, an accelerated NTC recovery plan
was accomplished and all vehicles were serviced and road tested. New 5-ton
trucks were obtained and all vehicles were painted sand color by organic paint
teams. Massive quantities of long needed equipment were received, including
night goggles, GPS position/navigation devices, radios and installation kits
and not least needed; tentage. Load plans for vehicles and containers were
developed and vehicles were uploaded. Ammunition basic loads were delivered,
uploaded, inspected and placed under guard.
On 16 September, an Air Force C5A Galaxy, carrying the advanced headquarters staff, left Fort Hood Robert Gray Army Airfield. In the final drama, on 28 - 29 September, soldiers of two batteries assembled for manifest roll call. The moment came; busses pulled up and the time for memories had begun. The other two batteries and a small "stay behind" team deployed over the next two weeks. Upon arrival at Dammon, an early warning network to alert of an impending missile or aircraft attack was immediately established.
Soldiers of the battalion were housed in two separate warehouse locations and quickly went about the business of offloading ships, inventorying equipment and preparing vehicles for movement to field locations. As Vulcan Systems arrived, platoons were assigned defense missions covering ground and sea approaches into Division staging areas and Command Posts. As soon as their equipment arrived and became combat ready, the battalion began their move to Assembly Area Horse, in the desert 160 kilometers northwest of the port.
On 06 October, "B" Battery deployed its Command Post, Vulcans and Stingers to the desert with the initial elements of the 1st Cavalry Division. They provided liaison and defense support to the Assault Command Post of the Division and coordinated an ever expanding air defense umbrella over the deploying forces. On 13 October, the Battalion TAC deployed and assumed control of all air defense operations. In addition the Battalion deployed its Fire Coordination Team to the USAF Control and Reporting (CRC) at the Dhahran Air Base who maintained a direct link between the Division and all tactical, strategic and national surveillance sources in the theater.
On 23 October, the Division was ordered to move to AA Wendy, located 15 kilometers northwest of King Khaid Military City (KKMC). its mission was to block approaches to the city and be in a position to respond to attacks down the Wadi al Batin, which is the historic approach through the tri-border area. Upon this juncture, the Battalion had to leave "B" Battery with the Tiger Brigade in AA Horse with a counter attack mission in support of XVIII Airborne Corps. The balance of the air defense platoons moved to AA Wendy with their respective supported Brigades. As the Division completed its movement West, the battalion relocated its Fire Coordination Team to a newly formed CRC at KKMC.
Due to projected terrorists and special operation forces threat, Vulcan Platoons provided continuous ground defense coverage to the three Command Posts of the Division. When all forces of the Division had deployed, by 30 October, the Battalion task reorganized providing one battery in direct support of each Brigade Battle Task Force. Throughout the occupation of AA Horse, approximately one third of all air defense weapon systems remained deployed providing continuous coverage, while others trained for combat operations.
Receiving word that the three Avenger Platoons had completed training and would arrive prior to anticipated combat, the Battalion began transitioning to the new Avenger Battalion configuration on 10 December. Freed equipment was used to create the new Delta Battery Headquarters. Throughout the transition, contingency plans existed to quickly reconfigure the displaced Stinger Teams should hostilities commence prior to the arrival of Avengers in the theater.
On 02 January, the Tiger Brigade, including "B" Battery, was attached to the
2nd Marine Division giving them a heavy armored punch required to penetrate
Iraqi belts as they attacked deep into Kuwait. "B" Battery quickly integrated
integrated itself into the Marines operations and logistic systems. "B"
Battery equipped themselves with early warning downlink devices which enabled
the Battery Command to receive a real-time radar picture of the air combat
situation. The air weapons weapon systems (2 Vulcan Platoons and 2 Stinger
Sections) of the battery were integrated into the overall air defense design
of the Division, allowing the Marines to reposition some of their Stinger
Teams to provide a greater depth of coverage.
In the early morning of 17 January 1991, the Fire Coordination Team issued notification that 100 Tomahawk missiles had been launched and the Air Campaign had begun. The Air Defense Warning was elevated to "Yellow" and the Weapons System Control Status to "Tight". The response of Iraq came quickly in the form of a SCUD Missile launched toward Dhahran. The Fire Coordination Team of the battalion provided an instantaneous alert of the launch and passed it on to all elements of the Division. This began many tests of the Early Warning System, which operated continuously and effectively.
On 20 January, the Avenger Platoons arrived with their equipment following on the 27th. By early February, the Battalion had all its combat power to full strength. It totaled six Vulcan Platoons, ten Stinger Sections, six Avenger Platoons and six FARR's along with an additional sixty replacement soldiers from Fort Bliss and various CONUS Divisions.
As the Air Campaign progressed and the VII Corps continued to build combat
strength, the Division was ordered to move further north of the Tapline Road
and establish a defense which was more able to block an Iraqi preemptive
strike and support the Allies to the North. As the Syrian and Egyptian Forces
were ordered to shift their positions to the east, the 1st Cavalry Division
moved north to provide a screen along the tri border area and to ultimately
portray an Allied main strike up the Wadi al Batin.
In its final strategic position, the First Team was given the most critical
mission of the entire Ground Campaign. Its threefold mission was to lure
Saddam Hussein into believing the Allied attack would come occur up the Wadi
al Batin, and trick him into placing additional forces there, while at the
same time gather information on the organization and disposition of the enemy
along with an assessment of their reaction and tactics against U.S. Forces.
The First Team began its secret fight to deceive Iraq long before the world
would come to know that "ground-war fighting" had already begun. The deception
consisted of three major thrusts:
A reconnaissance in force conducted by Task Force 1-5 CAV up the Wadi al Batin
to determine the strength, composition, and disposition of Iraqi forces in the
area. This operation, intended to make the Iraqis think that a major attack up
the Wadi al Batin was being initiated, was the first mounted combat in Iraq
during the war. It was also the bloodiest battle of the war for the First
The 3rd Battalion, 82nd FA, reinforced by Battery A, 21st FA (MLRS), fired in
support of the 2nd "Blackjack" Brigade's attack up the Wadi al Batin on
"G-Day", the first day of the ground campaign. This attack was a "feint"; intended to make the Iraqis think that the coalition main attack was
coming up the Wadi al Batin.
This operation was an unqualified success. The enemy reacted as anticipated. Iraqi divisions focused on the coalition threat in the Wadi, and the First Team froze them. The deception worked, in that it tied down four Iraqi divisions, leaving their flanks thinned and allowed the VII Corps to attack virtually unopposed, conducting a successful envelopment of Iraqi forces to the west.
On 26 February, shortly after noon, the Division received the mission to join the VII Corps. Thus commenced the longest continuous armored movement in history. The division charged west pausing only to refuel before passing through breeches in the enemy obstacle belt. Racing north, then east, the division moved in a vast armada of armor, stretching from horizon to horizon, The 4th Battalion elements were integrated into all formations and provided continuous coverage both day and night. Effective communications were maintained despite a separation of 300 km between lead and read elements. Within 24 hours, the first Team had gone 300 kilometers, slicing deep into the enemy's rear. As the division prepared to destroy a Republican Guard division, the cease fire halted it.
The Tiger Brigade and "B" Battery were given the mission of spearheading the
attack of the 2nd Marine Division into Kuwait and securing objectives in the
vicinity of al Jahrah and the International Airport to the West of Kuwait
City. Bravo Battery employed Vulcan Platoons in Direct Support of lead task
forces, while utilizing Stinger Sections to cover the trailing trains. Moving
under a F-18 and Hawk umbrella, the penetration of the initial defensive belts
was easy, but hard fighting ensued in the second defensive belt on the
outskirts of the city of al Jahrah. The fighting was a combination of long
range tank batteries and close-in fighting as fortified positions were
The Cease Fire became official at 8:00 on 28 February as the 1st Cavalry Division were poised to attack. The units of the 1st Cavalry Division setup defensive positions where the cease fire had stopped their attack, then expanded north to "Highway 8," clearing bunkers and looking for enemy equipment and soldiers. The 1st (Ironhorse) Brigade stretched through the historic Euphrates River Valley. The Tiger Brigade consolidated into a Brigade assembly area on the outskirts of al Jahrah and continued reconstitution operations. Within two weeks the 4th Battalion along with the 1st Cavalry Division moved south into Saudi Arabia and its new assembly area (AA) Killeen, just west of Hafar al Batin. There on the plain of the Wadi al Batin - the Cavalry began to prepare for redeployment home.
Since the war, elements of the battalion have deployed to the Emirate of Kuwait twice for exercise Intrinsic Action and once for exercise Iris Gold. Currently the Battalion leads the Army as a modern heavy-division battalion with three batteries of Bradley Stinger Fighting Vehicles and one battery of Avengers.
On 15 March 1996, the 4th Battalion was designated as the Regimental Headquarters for the 5th Air Defense Regiment. The only air defense battalion within the Division, the Renegades stand ready to again deploy, fight and win with the First Team.
On 11 September 2001, terrorists, masterminded by Osama bin Laden, attacked the United States in four separate instances. The first, hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 hit the North Tower of the World Trade Center, New York, NY at 0845 hours. The second, hijacked United Airlines Flight 175, hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center, New York, NY at 0903 hours. The third, hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, hit the West side of the Pentagon, Washington DC at 0943 hours. The fourth, United Airlines Flight 93 that lost control when the passengers attempted to overwhelm their hijackers, crashed into a field 8 miles east of Jennerstown, PA at at 1006 hours.
As a result of these incidents, on 18 September President George Bush declared war on those countries who harbored terrorists and defined our retaliations as Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and the Army began preparation for "sustained land combat operations".
As one of the preparation efforts, Exercise Clear Skies I, a joint service and
inter-agency operation, was conducted for three days in July, 2002 under the
command of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and involved
units from NORAD, Air Force, Navy, Army, Customs Service, Federal Aviation
Administration and the Secret Service.
On 09 September, the operation was upgraded as Operation Clear Skies II and was scheduled to end on 14 September. However, on 10 September, in response to elevated security threats, the Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld approved the transition of the exercise into a live operation "Noble Eagle" - loading the launchers with live missiles to provide an extra layer of defense for the anniversary of the 11 September attack on the United States, which included a large outdoor ceremony at the Pentagon attended by President Bush.
On 11 September, while citizens of the world contemplated the events surrounding the first anniversary of the September attacks on the United States, the Renegades of the 4th Battalion, 5th ADA Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division turned their portable short range air system, the eyes of the Sentinel and striking force of the Avenger, skyward to protect the nation's capitol.
The urban environment required innovative solutions to issues like force protection, terrain management, and movement of personnel and visitors. Additionally the soldiers of the 4th Battalion, 5th ADA successfully handled the extra stresses and pressures related to being a highly visible part of a high profile operation.
Many of the Washington area's monuments are visible from the tactical Avenger and Stinger team locations and were constant reminders to the soldiers that they are deployed here for an important reason.
On 18 September, one week after the Pentagon activated the network of antiaircraft missiles to defend Washington DC against another potential terrorist attack, the operation was evaluated as being able to meet the potential threat and the missiles were deactivated and removed. Following a debriefing, the 4th Battalion, 5th ADA returned to Ft. Hood, TX.
Building on the after action findings of the Washington DC deployment during the period of 14 to 22 November, elements of the 4th Battalion, 5th ADA participated in additional Integrated Inter Agency System Intrusion Detection and Threat Response Tests which were held in the areas surrounding Crawford, TX.
On 07 February, 2003 the Attorney General, John Ashcroft, announced the increase of the national threat level from "Yellow" to "Orange," indicating the possibility of a "high risk of terrorist attacks." The level was raised in part because of a high amount of "chatter" being intercepted by various intelligence agencies.
In response, elements of the 4th Battalion, 5th ADA redeployed to the national capital and by 12 February all of their equipment was in position and integrated into the defense system communications network. Since that movement, they have remained there on station, carrying out their assigned precautionary and prudent defense mission.
Following a long series of assignments, as described in the sections thst follow - on 15 July, 2005, the 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery was relieved from assignment to the 1st Cavalry Division and transferred to the 31st Brigade stationed at Fort Bliss, TX. This inactivation was in part, due to the transformation of the 1st Cavalry Division to the US Army's modular force structure.
Despite heavy commercial and military air traffic in the immediate region, the soldiers of 4th Battalion, 5th Air Defense Artillery continue to be at a high state of alert and motivation. Relying on previous training for confidence in the success of this mission, they remain composed and continue to calmly man their strategically located positions ready to respond should the situation warrant.
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