3AD Command Posts Desert Storm

 

The Three “Field” Command and Control Elements

There were in the last years of the Division three different “headquarters” or command and control elements each with a specific responsibility and name.  These names, codewords actually, using “Hollywood call signs” on FM radios, indicated what command and control element was on the radio.  Two of them,Dauntless and Dakota, went back to World War II use.  Defiant was first used in Operation Desert Shield/Storm even though there had been a rear CP for two or more decades.  It had never been named.

Dakota was the Main Command Post (“The Main”) of the Division and overwatched by the Chief of Staff.  Here the main parts of each of the staff elements, liaison officers from organizations outside of the division, and some complete special staff sections such as PAO, Provost Marshall, etc., were headquartered.  This was no small outfit and the Headquarters Company had their hands full.  The Main was responsible for the long range plans of the Divsion.

Dauntless was the Tactical Command Post (“The TAC”) operated by the Assistant Division Command for Maneuver (ADC-M) and was positioned far forward as possible for immediate command and control.   The Commanding General would spend a significant amount in the TAC.  The TAC was where the fight was fought.

Defiant was a new codename to the Division command post structure.  For some period of time during the Cold War the Army’s command post arrangements included a “Rear Command Post” (“The Rear”) that included all the “Log Stuff” and other more mundane things like food, water, clothing, repair parts (both mechanical and human), resupply efforts, and coordination with supporting outfits from Corps or higher.  The Rear was led by the Assistant Division Commander for Support and the main occupants were the G1, G4, Rear Area Operations Center (RAOC – a Cold War invention to give a tactical flavor to “fighting the rear battle” where enemy special forces would “run and wreak havoc” in the soft backside of the division), and liaison officers from Corps supporting units.  Doesn’t sound like much but on the morning of 26 February, 1991, I stood up on top of my M113 and saw nothing but vehicles for as far as I could see to both sides and to the rear of the division.  We later estimated that about 1400 vehicles made up “The Rear.

For the soldiers and civilians of the Division Command Posts, the jaunt across Iraqi sands was something to be savored.  We were finally part of an attack and not sitting in some German barnyard, under dripping camouflage nets, next to a pile of “stuff” being accused of “loafing”.   No sir, by God, we were part of a great tank division rolling toward destiny.   There are plenty of stories in those three CPs…suggest you go to “Desert Kate” Jennerette’s website and see what one of those soldiers has to say.

DauntlessDakotaDefiant…three names that live in Spearhead history.