Training Units to Iraq?
For those who do not know, some of the best and most important training that Army units undergo is in the wargaming sessions at Fort Irwin and Fort Polk. During these wargames, the opposing force (OpFor) is played by Army units permanently stationed at the training centers and tasked to imitate our enemies, pinpointing and exploiting the weaknesses in our tactics and strategies. Now these units, which have not been in combat since Vietnam or even World War II, may be sent to Iraq:
With nearly every other major combat unit either committed to or just returned from Iraq or Afghanistan, the Army is planning to call on two battalions and one engineer company - about 2,500 soldiers - from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, which serves as a professional enemy force at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The regiment last saw combat in the Vietnam War.
The Army boasts of the "tough and uncompromising standards" of the 11th Armored Cavalry, which it says makes it the premier maneuver unit in the Army and "the yardstick against which the rest of the Army measures itself."
Similarly, the 1st Battalion of the 509th Infantry, which acts as the Opfor, or opposition force, for light infantry and special operations training at Fort Polk, La., is being called to Iraq, according to two Army officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.
The 509th Infantry has not seen combat since World War II, although five members of the unit served as "pathfinders," or advance scouts, during the 1991 Gulf War; two were killed and one was taken prisoner.
Perhaps even more shocking, at least to me, is this news:
The Navy said Tuesday that it is sending a second aircraft carrier, the USS John C. Stennis, into the western Pacific, apparently to compensate in part for the planned deployment to Iraq this summer of an Army combat brigade based in South Korea.
You read that right. Apparently we are now deploying to Iraq from South Korea. If there was one place I was certain an Army unit might be safe from deployment to Iraq, it was the Korean peninsula.