Units of the 8th Infantry Deployed
to Saudi Arabia
Only a handful of units from the 8th Infantry Division were sent from Germany to participate in the Gulf War. These were the 2nd Battalion/29th Field Artillery, 12th Engineers, 4th Battalion/34th Armor and 3rd Air Defense Artillery
Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm
The 2d Battalion, 29th Field Artillery (Pathfinders) was originally one of the three organic Direct Support (DS) Field Artillery Battalions of 8th Infantry Division (Mechanized) Division Artillery (DIVARTY). During Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the battalion joined the 42d Field Artillery Brigade of VII Corps Artillery as General Support (GS) Field Artillery Battalion.
Because of this GS organization, the battalion's organic fire support element (FSE) did NOT deploy. (The FSE is organic to DS Field Artillery battalions, but not needed for a battalion routinely in the GS role.) 2-29 FA battalion deployed to Southwest Asia on or about 2 January 1991 from Baumholder, Germany. During the ground offensive, 2-29 FA supported 1st Cavalry Division,1st Armored Division, 1st Infantry Division, and the 3d Armored Division. The Pathfinder's role with the Third Armored Division was as a Reinforcing (R) battalion to the 2d Battalion, 3d Field Artillery in Direct Support of the Ready First Combat Team.
2-29 FA remained in theater until 4 May 1991 (the return date of 20 July 1991 on the DA General Orders for the Valorous Unit Award is most likely incorrect). Upon deployment to Germany, 2-29 FA rejoined the 8 ID DIVARTY.
Soon after that, elements of the 3d Armored Division and 8th Infantry Division combined to form the "new" 1st Armored Division (reflagged 8 ID headquarters). 2-29 FA served for approximately two years as a direct support FA battalion in 1st Armored Division DIVARTY.
The 2-29 FA colors were then transferred to Ft. Lewis, Washington in 1994, and the Pathfinder Battalion was inactivated in 1996 as part of Army's drawdown.
Also includes TF 33rd Engineers (Provisional) "Task Force Thunder Echo"
The 12th Engineer Battalion deployed to Southwest Asia from Dexheim, Germany. The main body of the battalion arrived in Saudi Arabia on 19 January 1991, and remained until 19 May 1991. This battalion was originally organic to the 8th Infantry Division as the division engineer battalion but deployed in Support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm as part of the 3d Armored Division.
Desert Storm saw one of the first practical implementations of the Division Engineer Brigade (or E-Force) concept, although the concept had seen some use during REFORGER 1990 (Return of Forces Germany - a major annual USAREURexercise).
During Desert Storm, this Division Engineer Brigade was commandedby COL John Morris, who was attached to the 3d Armored Division from the Buffalo District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Prior to 1990, a single engineer battalion was assigned to a division. This level of engineer support was considered inadequate for most operations, and engineer brigades from Corps would normally be placed under operational control (OPCON) of divisions. The Division Engineer Brigade concept placed a full three battalions in the organic structure of the heavy division, with one engineer battalion generally supporting onemaneuver brigade.
During Desert Storm, the Division Engineer Brigade consistedof the 23d Engineer Battalion (originally organic to 3AD) and the 12th Engineer Battalion. The third engineer battalion was created by taking two companies from the 12th Engineer Battalion and forming TF 33 Engineers (Provisional) under the command of MAJ(P) Eric Mogren, the Executive Officer of 12th Engineer Battalion. The name TF33 was derived from 3d Brigade, 3d Armored Division. The name "Thunder Echo" was derived from the 3d Brigade's name (Thunder Brigade) and the first letter of the word "Engineer" - Echo.
The 1st Armored Division used similar organization, creating a provisional engineer battalion commanded by MAJ Larry Deren composed of companies from two other engineer battalions). The 12th Engineer Battalion (minus detachments) supported the Ready First Combat Team during the Desert Storm ground offensive.
During combat operations, the 12th Engineer Battalion appears to have been task organized as follows: HHC and Bravo Company to TF 12 Engineers (DS to 1st Brigade)Alpha Company to TF 23 Engineers (DS to 2d Brigade)Charlie and Delta Companies to TF 33 Engineers Task Force Thunder Echo (DS to 3d Brigade)
The 4th Battalion, 34th Armor, organic to the 8th Infantry Division (8ID), deployed with the Ready First Combat Team from Mainz, Germany. The main body of the battalion arrived in Saudi Arabia on 4 January 1991, and remained until 20 May 1991. Upon returning to Germany, the battalion deactivated. This battalion was the only maneuver-type unit at the command & control level to deploy from 8 ID.
Alpha Battery, 5th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery
A collection of 5/3rd ADA photos from the Gulf War
Although Alpha Battery did most of the work - the rest of the battalion did deploy as well. The battalion deployed to Saudi Arabia on 31 December 1990 in support of the 3d Armored Division and remained until 24 May 1991. 5/3 ADA was based out of Wackernheim, Germany (about 20 kilometers from Mainz). During Desert Shield/Storm, 5/3 was commanded by LTC Silas Smalls who turned the battalion into a combat ready unit and was rumored to be responsible for volunteering the battalion for duty. Formerly 1st of the 59th. Reorganized 1990 as 5th Battalion 3rd ADA.
According to one vet from the 5/3rd - Paul Knuth , the above statment about Alpha Battery is a bit overstated. As he says..." Alpha battery in the 5/3 ADA was not the only unit in 5/3 ADAthat did most of the work. The battalion was restructured before deployment. I was originally in Delta battery, 2nd squad as driver for a Chapparel. 1st platoon was assigned to Alpha, Second to Bravo, and third to Charlie. Fourth platoon (Stinger) was equally divided among all of the batteries. When in theatre each battery was assigned to a brigade within the division. Alpha to first brigade, Bravo to Second brigade, and Charlie to third. I'm not sure what exactly Charlie did but I was close to the guys in both Alpha and Bravo battery. During and after the deployment there was not bit of feeling that one battery did the "lions share" of the work. "
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