Wherever you wore the Taro Leaf, whether at Pearl Harbor, in the South Pacific, Japan, Korea, Fort Stewart, Fort Riley, Germany during the Cold War, Desert Storm or any the other numerous places the 24th Infantry Division served our Nation, this site is for you. "We started flying missions, in what we called defensive counter-air missions, where certain assets were airborne -- AWACs, AB-Triple-Cs, Rivit Joints, obviously, tankers, U2s -- all those assets that were literally trying to start gathering data of the enemy, air and land orders of battle. And they would replicate the same procedures they would use to get to the Air Force tankers. "So [McCaffrey] decided he wanted to fly Apaches into Iraq along the air routes at night -- the invasion routes -- to do route reconnaissance," Wellman said. Over time and multiple landings, the sand turned to "moon powder," so the pilots wet it down with water. News reports stated military leaders expected 10,000 American deaths in the first week of battle -- which is what the pilots and ground troops read in the copies of Stars and Stripes passed from person to person in the days before the Desert Storm started. "In the meantime, we're coming straight up," Fox said. Appler, Thomas, A Look at the 24th Division After Korea, Part 2, Tabular Listing of Units . "It's just a magnificent airplane. "Things are happening pretty fast, I guess is the way to put that," Fox said. … But if I had to go through a flight of four F-15s to get to my next either refueling station or my next dinner, I would kind of reach down and kiss my ass goodbye.". On Jan. 26, he prepared for another daytime mission, but this time, sand storms rolled across the northern border area between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. "And it's the first day of war. [12] The 24th Infantry Division's Task Force Tusker attacked entrenched Iraqi forces on 26 February 1991 to seize battle position 143, effectively severing the Iraqi Euphrates River Valley line of communication to the Kuwait Theater of operation and destroying the major combat elements of the Iraqi Republican Guard Forces Command's elite 26th Commando Brigade. came in on the radio. [7][8] Approximately 3,000 Iraqi soldiers were captured. They had been killed when they hit the ground. When they got the call to deploy, he was leading a detachment at a flying exercise at Gulfport, Mississippi. "'I just wanted to be sure,'" Fox said, laughing. It was activated under the Square Division Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E) on 1 March 1921 as the Hawaiian Division at Schofield Barracks, Oahu. It's not like you can throw us on some C5s.". "We had to be ingenious, like, how do you land without any dusting out?". The third time I did it, I get the rar-rar-rar-rar-rar" -- Fox made a noise like a vibrating spring. "You know it was darker than a witch's ass in Iraq," he said. As the air war turned into the ground war and the pilots moved into more of a support role, Rodriguez knew the battle was just beginning. He shifted out of the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps program and into the Air Force program, and he eventually qualified for flight school. "Which means, 'OK, there are bandits -- known bad guys -- south of H3 northwest heading 25 miles.'". He was confident about his team, and he was confident about his own flying abilities, but each new experience in combat proved different from anything he had done in peacetime. They planned to send in two scout weapons teams, with Wellman and Spc. [18] The 24th Infantry Division's Task Force Tusker would be awarded a Valorous Unit Award for its efforts. In rapid succession, the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), the 197th Infantry Brigade, and the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) moved to the Gulf. Maybe we'll be doing a battlefield interdiction against the tanks. "We're in MOPP suits and training, but we flew a lot," Wellman said. The Apaches, without guidance from their scouts' Kiowas, struggled to find their routes. The coalition went after them with A-10 Thunderbolts, RAF Tornado fighter bombers -- and F-18s. The 24th Infantry Division traces its lineage to Army units activated in Hawaii. XVIII Corps’ 24th Mechanized Infantry Division completed a 200-mile desert crossing to reach the Euphrates River Valley. Instead, as a 23-year-old lieutenant, he led a scout platoon of Bell OH-58 Kiowa helicopters in an Apache battalion in the 24th Infantry Battalion (Mechanized). During those days, he slept as close to his jet as he could because he didn't want to waste any time driving from place to place when he could catch extra sleep. That day, January 17, Fox flew without knowing what had happened to Speicher -- the pilot who had crashed early that morning after taking off from the Saratoga. With that background, Wellman knew he wanted to serve and applied to West Point. Beyond what they heard at headquarters, the pilots generally didn't know about the events of the war. During the 100-hour Operation Desert Storm, 24th Infantry Division lost 16 soldiers. Well, here we are going into combat. After that day, his squadron had several more kills, even as the air war drew down at the end of January. And some of them knew how to do their jobs well and had proved it in the war against Iran, but with the training Rodriguez's team had had, "I'll just say it bluntly: We would have kicked anybody's butt," he said. "So I took a Sidewinder shot, 'Fox Two'" -- Fox Two is the radio call when a pilot fires a heat-seeking missile -- and the missile came off the rail. "Once we got below 17 or 18,000 feet, it was just rain down below us -- it was pretty easy to see," Rodriguez said. 3rd Armored Div. This special Desert Storm 25th Anniversary Edition looks back at the Victory Division’s defense of the … Iraqis then led Marines to the site, and the pilot was returned home. Despite some of the most fierce resistance of the war, the 24th Infantry Division destroyed the Iraqi formations[11] and captured the two airfields the next day. "'Those are expensive, you know.'". "The Tomcats are up north as a target, and I'm hearing these calls about the bandits," Fox said. I am sure she is with him now looking down on us. On the ground, intel worked hard to get the pilots what they needed. The CIA reported he had died on impact. 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