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Officials Silent On Quarter Cav Deployment
European Stars and Stripes | October 23, 2002 | By Jon R. Anderson, Stars and Stripes

Posted on 10/25/2002 10:21:27 AM PDT by WILLIALAL

European Stars and Stripes October 23, 2002

Officials Silent On Quarter Cav Deployment

By Jon R. Anderson, Stars and Stripes

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo — Soldiers with 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment were abruptly told this week they would not deploy to Kosovo for peacekeeping duties.

1st Infantry Division officials in Kosovo said they could not comment on the change, while a spokesman for V Corps, the division’s parent headquarters, referred all questions to U.S. European Command.

A EUCOM spokesman, however, said he could not comment on the change, referring all questions back to V Corps.

NATO officials were also tight-lipped, explaining they could not answer any questions referring to specific national contributions to the Balkan peacekeeping efforts.

“Quarter Cav,” as the squadron is known, was to begin deploying to Kosovo within the next few weeks. The first trainloads of the squadron’s equipment bound for the Balkans from Germany had to be called back over the weekend, according to Army officials.

One of only two cavalry units in Europe, the squadron is a blend of tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and helicopters, all under a single commander.

There is one squadron under each of the Army’s two Europe-based divisions — the 1st Infantry and 1st Armored Division.

Commanded by Lt. Col. James H. Chevallier, the Schweinfurt-based Quarter Cav was to be part of the 1st Infantry Division’s 3rd Brigade task force due to rotate into Kosovo over the next month.

The squadron was to lead the U.S. contingent’s aviation task force of OH-58 Kiowa and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, as well as provide perimeter guards at the U.S. headquarters at Camp Bondsteel.

Now planners must figure out how to make due without the squadron, according to officials familiar with the cuts who spoke to Stripes on the condition of anonymity.

The 3rd Brigade is replacing the division’s 2nd Brigade, which has been on duty in Kosovo for the past five months.

The incoming task force, which has just completed several months of peacekeeping training, was to include about 4,000 troops — about a 1,000-man cut from the current rotation — as the alliance continues to scale back on its missions in the Balkans, as previously reported.

Meanwhile, elements of the Germany-based V Corps are already on their way to Kuwait along with an aviation task force of some 28 AH-Apache gunships and Black Hawks.

While no one will comment on why the unit was not deployed to Kosovo, armored cavalry units have played important roles in recent battles.

“The cav gives the ability to identify and fix target with a great deal of precision,” said one senior officer familiar with cavalary units.

And while enemy troops can use camouflage and other tricks to evade high-flying spy satellites and reconnaissance aircraft, he said, there’s no hiding from a cavalry squadron on the move.

“Like Special Forces who were able to call in strikes on enemy formations from the mountains of Afghanistan, a cavalry unit gives you the same ability, but on a much broader front and with the ability to attack the enemy themselves with their own direct fires,” he said.

During the Gulf War, the then-Germany based 11th ACR led VII Corps’ charge into Iraq.

In one of the most famous battles of the war, cav troopers annihiliated vastly superior numbers of Iraqi Republican Guards.

Dubbed the “Battle of 73 Easting” — from its otherwise non-descript location on tactical maps — the troopers were among the only coalition forces to meet stiff resistance from the Iraqis. Still, despite taking on an entire division, one of the regiment’s squadrons was credited with killing scores of enemy tanks and other armored vehicles.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: balkans; buildupcontinues; kosovo

1 posted on 10/25/2002 10:21:27 AM PDT by WILLIALAL
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