Camp Muleskinner, Iraq
The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment and attached units served with distinction in the Global War on Terrorism in support of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM from 30 March 2003 until re-deployment on 15 July 2004. The Regiment had elements OPCON to the 3rd Infantry Division and the 82nd Airborne Division during Major Combat Operations (30 March -“ 15 May 03) against Saddam’ s Regime and the destruction of the Iraqi Army and then OPCON to 1st Armored Division (16 May 2003 -15 July 2004), distinguishing themselves by extraordinary heroism and gallantry during combat, stability and security operations in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Resolute Sword (90 day combat extension). Regardless of the mission or task at hand, each Squadron and separate company played a vital role in returning Iraq to the control of the Iraqi people and in improving the quality of life for the citizens of eastern Baghdad and southern Iraq. Throughout the deployment, all assigned and attached units performed their missions while under constant threat from guerilla style attacks by former regime loyalists, insurgents, and foreign terrorist networks. This narrative highlights some of the Regiment’ s greatest accomplishments, but cannot hope to give due recognition to all the remarkable accomplishments of the Troopers of the Regiment. It is simply an overview of the major events that contributed to the success of the Regiment during its fifteen months in the Iraqi theater.
Major Combat Operations
30 Mar -“ 1 May
The 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment was alerted on 26 March 03 and tasked to send a Ground Cavalry Squadron (+) to Iraq to secure the lines of communication for V Corps during the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. 96 hours later the Regiment (2/2 ACR and Outlaw Troop (OH-58D) from 4/2 ACR) landed in Southwest Asia. On 5 April 2003 these elements of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment crossed the Kuwait-Iraq border to conduct offensive operations against Saddam’ s Regime and the Iraqi Army. 2d Squadron and the Regimental TAC led by the 71st Colonel of the Regiment, COL Terry Wolff, moved to secure the rear area of V Corps and prevent guerilla attacks by Fedayeen Saddam forces on the lines of communications as the Corps, led by the 3rd Infantry Division, moved north to destroy the Iraqi Army and end the Ba’ ath Party Regime under Saddam Hussein. Working with elements of the 82d Airborne Division from 6 April 2003 to 9 April 2003, the Regiment operated in and around As Samawah to find, fix, and destroy Fedayeen Saddam irregular forces operating in the area, curtail the flow of weapons and militant forces traveling along Highway 9, and reopen an alternate line of supply from Kuwait to Baghdad. Utilizing a mix of lethal and non-lethal fires, checkpoint operations, force-oriented zone reconnaissance, and overwhelming firepower over the three-day period, clearing and securing the three major metropolitan areas along ASR MIAMI (HWY 9) between As Samawah and An Najaf.
On 10 April 2003, 2d Squadron moved north to An Najaf, establishing a Forward Operating Base in an abandoned Fedayeen training camp in the eastern half of the city. From there, they conducted combat operations that spanned nearly one hundred miles in every direction. The Regiment found, seized, and destroyed numerous cached air defense weapon systems and countless mortar rounds and assault rifles. In addition, they found and raided the Ba’ ath Party Headquarters building in Diwaniyah, yielding vast amounts of intelligence documentation, including the membership rolls of the entire Ba’ ath Party in and around Diwaniyah. The Regiment also conducted route clearance and convoy escort missions along the primary and alternate supply routes of southern Iraq during this critical phase of the war. The Regiment’ s unequivocal success in their mission, a ten-day combat operation stretching 750km from Kuwait to Baghdad, resulted from their courage, tactical expertise, and unwavering dedication, and ensured the uninterrupted flow of critically needed supplies to the V Corps main effort in Baghdad, and allowed freedom of movement for the 4th Infantry Division, 3rd ACR, and other follow-on units to move through to northern and western Iraq and complete the destruction of Saddam Hussein’ s regime. For their heroic efforts, the Regimental TAC, 2nd Squadron, and attached Dragoons were awarded the Presidential Unit Citation as a subordinate element of 3rd Infantry Division.
Baghdad Area of Operations
17 April 2003 -“ 1 April 2004
The Regiment’ s Area of Operations (AO) from April 03 -“ April 04 was the east side of Baghdad, a population of 3-4 million people, predominately Shi’ a with a relatively large Christian sector, inter-mixed Sunni population, and an Palestinian refugee camp. This AO included the predominantly Shi’ a neighborhood of 9 Nissian and the Shi’ a slum of Sadr City (formerly Saddam City). Sadr City was the Regiment’ s main effort during this phase. During this phase of the operation, 2-37 AR of 1AD was attached to the Regiment and 3rd Squadron was detached to 2nd BCT/1AD where it performed convoy security missions for the Coalition Provisional Authority through Iraq.
MISSION: 2ACR conducts full-spectrum operations to restore order to the Baghdad area of operations to enable the establishment of a self-sufficient, representative government in Iraq. On order, transition responsibility to an appropriate civil or military authority, enabling the Regiment to redeploy.
Daily Operations in Baghdad:
-¢ Reconnaissance patrols and offensive operations focused on former regime loyalists, foreign terrorists and religious leaders actively opposing Coalition efforts
-¢ Fixed site security focused on critical infrastructure, police stations, and hospitals
-¢ Assisting in the repair of infrastructure to improve the Iraqi quality of life
-¢ Supporting creation of Iraqi institutions to reinforce a safe and secure environment
-¢ Supporting the creation of a local government
-¢ Approximately 700 soldiers conducting 100 mounted and dismounted patrols daily
-¢ 3-5 aerial recon patrols conducted covering 12-15 hours daily focused along major routes, fixed sites, and public works
-¢ Platoon-sized ground Quick Reaction Force (QRF) at each FOB
-¢ 1 Scout Weapons Team (SWT=2xOH-58D Scout helos) and 1 UH-60 QRF available 24/7
-¢ Recruited and trained an Iraqi Light Infantry Brigade
Operation Dragoon Sabre: An Najaf, Kufa, Ad-Diwaniyah, Al-Kut
10 APRIL 04 -“ 30 JUNE 04
SITUATION in April 2004: The 2ACR had completed its 12 month tour in Iraq and was conducting the final phase of a battle-handover of its Area of Operation in Baghdad to 1st BCT, 1st Cavalry Division set for 10 April 2004. 2nd Squadron had re-deployed to Fort Polk on 1 April and the Regiment’ s Advance Parties had moved down to Kuwait to begin port activities. The Regiment’ s entire air power in 4th Squadron had flown down to Kuwait to begin loading onto ships for redeployment. The remainder of the Regiment was preparing to road march south to Kuwait for re-deployment.
Early on the 4th of April 2004, Muqtada Al-Sadr’ s Mahdi Militia participated in a large demonstration at the Coalition Provisional Authority HQ in An Najaf, south of Baghdad. Two days later hundreds of Al-Sadr’ s supporters attacked and seized key locations in An Najaf, Ad-Diwaniyah, and Al-Kut essentially giving them control of South Central Iraq. In the days to follow 3rd Squadron of 2ACR, OPCON to 2BCT/1AD participated in an attack against the militia in Al-Kut to defeat the militia stronghold there. The April 2004 Sadr Uprising was in full force, a change in th
e operational situation that was not expected. 1st Armored Division and 2nd ACR would be extended for 90 days in combat to put down this uprising and defeat Sadr’ s illegal militia.
Operation Dragoon Sabre began the first week of April and the Regiment’ s main body relieved 2BCT to take control of Al-Kut. The Regiment was then given the task to relieve elements of 1ID which had been positioned near An Najaf after the militia offensive had occurred in that town. 1st Squadron remained in Al-Kut along with the Regimental Support Squadron. 4th Squadron repositioned from Kuwait up to Al-Kut to begin conducting aerial support from forward operating base. On 20 April 2004, the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment, with attached Task Force 2d Battalion, 37th Armor, of 1st Armored Division, assumed mission from 3d Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, in the Holy City of An Najaf, Iraq. 3rd Squadron returned to Regimental control at this time. The enemy, known as Muqtada’ s militia, controlled An Najaf and neighboring Al Kufa. The mission statement: destroy the militia and restore order to An Najaf and Al Kufa to allow transition of authority to a legitimate Iraqi government; and, on order, transfer security responsibilities to Iraqi security forces. The 2d ACR and attachments battled non-stop for six weeks and broke the enemy’ s will to fight. They destroyed over 600 militia and wounded countless others, capturing and destroying weapons, successfully detaining two top aides to Muqtada al Sadr, and seizing weapons caches in the holy cemetery and Sahla Mosque, which ultimately led to the defeat of Sadr’ s militia in Najaf and Kufa.