From the "Saudi Spearhead"
Issue 5 - March 19, 1991
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BELOW, full text of article:


By the 148th Public Affairs Detachment
Filed by Sgt. 1st Class Gail Seaman and Sgt. Tony Wunderlich

The blast from the launch motors of the rocket blazed green in the night vision goggles, silhouetting a lone Bradky on the horizon. As the glare subsided, a second rocket launched, and another, one every three seconds until all ten were away from the MLRS, each terribly beautuul green flare climbing gracefully behind the other into the low ashen overcast until it was lost from sight.

Their arc would cany them well beyond the visible horizon, already alive with continuous flashes of light as other rockets, artillery rounds, aerial bombs and secondary explosions detonated with such frequency it was impossible to hear their individual reports. They combined into a low, ominous rumble, the background static of a battle that was grinding the Iraqi Army into the desert sands.

For two days the Third Armored Division had chased the fleeing Iraqi Army. Now, having reached the dug-in tanks of the Republican Guard, the Iraqis would stand and fight. Perhaps they expected the battle would be like the air strikes - swift and deadly, but endurable. It would pass, and they could continue.

But this was the U.S. Army. It was not to be a high-speed pass and then back to the base to wait tor Bomb Damage Assessment. The Third Brigade would find the enemy, destroy all who resisted, take the battlefield and then remain long enough to demolish everything that was missed in the first sweep. That's why the ground troops were called in -- not to continue the war, but to finish it.

It started with a scouting report of a T-62 on the fringe of the Brigade's sector, between them and elements of the 1st Armored Division. The tank was quickly dispatched. Then another report, this one of at least nine T-72s, the Main Battle Tank of the Republican Guard this brigade had come 150 miles to engage.

But while the Third Brigade was relentless in pursuit, its tanks were not going to hastily wander into an Iraqi trap. Brigade Commander Col. Rob Goff called for a Time on Target artillery barrage on bunkers guarding access to the Iraqi armor. M-109s went into action, many looking for links to forward observers so they could bring their laser-guided Copperhead artillery rounds into the fray.

Close behind the artillery volley, the 5/18 Infantry task force moved in, taking out an entrenched T-72 and clearing the way for the 2/67 Armor task force. Working together, the Bradleys and Abrams gunners accounted for seven T-72s and four BMPs. The Brigade task forces sustained no casualties.

It was a scene repeated many times in separate, small engagements. The Iraqis were unable to mount any coordinated defense and never attempted a counter-attack. Instead, dispirited and abandoned, soldiers began filtering across the battlefield, often holding aloft a bedsheet, the largest white object they could find.

Some came singly, many came an entire company at a time. Expecting harsh treatment, they were overjoyed at their reception as the feared Americans offered them MREs and water. One company broke into spontaneous cheers for their captors, chanting and dapping their hands over their heads. For them, the war was over.

Less than 16 hours after the battle began, the war was over for Third Brigade as well The surprise at the abrupt cease-fire was almost as great as the relief and the joy of the prospect of returning home.

"You're kidding," said Spec. Herman Weatherd upon hearing the news of the impending cease-fire scheduled to go into effect in two hours. "Is it true, really? That's great. It means I can go home."

Spec. Ivette Torres shared Weatherd's surprise. "Don't tell me that if it's not true," she warned through a broad, hopeful smile. 'Tve been dreaming for too long, I don't want to get my hopes up."

For Pfc. Daudio Gomez, the cease-fire and the peace it promised meant one thing - he could see his little boy. "That's him," Gomez said, pointing to a name written across his helmet cover, "Adam Joseph Gomez," he said proudly.

But Gomez grew more serious as he thought of what the months of waiting and days of combat meant. "I guess what I learned is that you never underestimate anyone, because that's what Saddam Hussein did. Don't underestimate anybody and don't mess around with what you don't know."

Weathered reflected the weariness of many soldiers when he said he couldn't say exactly what the end of the war meant to him. But he spoke about something on many people's minds. "I can't stop thinking about Hitler," he said. "That if people back then had done what we're doing now, we might have stopped the whole thing."

And speaking with the perspective born of experience, Sgt. 1st Class Leanard Thompson pointed out that while the war may have been won, the peace was not yet gained. Thompson was looking ahead to the demolition of remaining equipment and mop-up of Iraqi positions. Tin real proud of the Brigade and I'm glad we did it right the first time. Hopefully, we won't have to come back anymore. That's what it's all about"


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