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                  Music -  Lee Greenwood "Proud to be an American"

GEN Norman Schwarzkopf

"Send in the First Team, Destroy the Republican Guard and lets go home!"

 

Desert Shield/Storm

 


In New York City, the triumphant 1st Cavalry Division upon its return from the Middle East marches grandly down Broadway
to the swaggering melody of the division song Garry Owen.  Of course, the 545th MP Co was there as well.

 

On February 26, 1991, the Commander of the Allied Forces, General Norman Schwarzkopf directed “Send in the First Team.  Destroy the Republican Guard.  Let’s go home.” And like General MacArthur before him, he requested that the 545th MP’s lead the way. The division charged west pausing only to refuel before passing through breeches in the enemy obstacle belt.  Racing north and then east, the division moved in a vast armada of armor, stretching from horizon to horizon.  Within 24 hours, the First Team had gone 300 kilometers, slicing deep into the enemy’s rear.  As the division prepared to destroy a Republican Guard Division, the cease fire halted it.

During all this activity, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd platoons of the 545th MP Co. were with their respective Brigades while the 4th Platoon provided security for the Division Main Command Post (D-Main) and the 5th Platoon remained with the Division Tactical Operations Center (D-TOC).  Each of the platoons with the Brigades operated the EPW Forward Colleting Point for that brigade and these facilities were never static for too long as the division kept constantly on the move. The 4th Platoon maintained and operated the Division Central EPW Collection Point as well as security for the 545th MP Co headquarters and the office of the PMO in the vicinity of D-Main. 

With the advent of the Global Positioning Device, the days where most of the Division MP’s were out in front of the division to guide them on their way have past.  No longer do the division MP’s have to be the best map readers in the division – no longer do the forward area TCP’s hold the POW’s or EPW’s as they are called today for turn over to an Escort Guard Company.  In this war the platoons with the brigades remained basically in the Brigade Support Areas and sent squads forward as requested, to escort EPW’s back to the Forward Collecting Point(s) and then subsequently to transport them back to the Division Central Collecting Point utilizing empty transport trucks. In this war that was a monumental task as the Iraqi soldiers surrendered as fast as the 545thth MP’s could transport them.  In 100 hours the Iraqi Army went from being the 4th largest Army in the world to the 2nd largest Army in Araq!  

The 545th MP Company set up defensive positions where the cease fire had stopped their forward movement and attack, then expanded north to Highway 8, clearing bunkers and looking for enemy equipment and soldiers.

Within two weeks the 545th MP Company moved south into Saudi Arabia and its new assembly area (AA) Killeen.  There on the plain of the Wadi al Batin – the 545th MP’s began to prepare for their redeployment home.

Addressing the division and the 545th MP Co at AA Killeen on Palm Sunday, VII (US) Corps Commander, Lt. Gen. Frederick Franks emphasized the division’s major role in the allied victory.  “You were leading the corps – you were the major combat power VII Corps had.  You were the First Team.  You led us into combat.  You began the fight, you led the way ….”

 

 

545th MP’s Lead the Way Again

In an email to Sam Reinert from Ltc. Jeff Harris sent on 11/24/05, the activities of the 545th MP Company during Desert Storm are documented clearly.  Ltc. Harris commanded the 545th during Desert Storm and LTC Byrd was the 2nd platoon leader at the time.  Both are members of the 545th MP Co. Association.  At the writing of this document, Ltc. Harris is attending the Naval War College.

“Sam:

The 2nd Platoon, 545th MP Co. was in direct support of the 2nd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Blackjack Brigade) at this point, and as I recall, the Platoon Leader (Robert Byrd) advised me that they were asked to cover the left flank of the brigade as it moved north deeper into Iraq.  This job is usually given to a Cav. or Mechanized Infantry unit.  The platoon had Global Positioning Systems at the time which was just coming into use.  With the mobility and firepower available to them, I believe the Brigade commander felt comfortable with the idea that they were the right force to accomplish that critical mission – the company and this particular platoon had a very good reputation in the division.  I remember vividly 1Lt. Byrd bringing the 2nd Brigade battle plan to my headquarters and briefing me prior to the division moving into Iraq.  It struck me at the time that it was going to be a slug fest and our MP’s were going to be heavily involved – especially in EPW and rear area security – this concerned me, because the bypass criteria for our tank battalions stated that it was permissible to bypass platoon sized armor if it appeared that they were not going to fight.  You might contact Ltc. Robert Byrd and get clarification of the exact placement of the 2nd MP platoon.  Understand that at this point, I had two platoons deep in Iraq, a platoon sitting on the DMAIN in north Saudi Arabia, a platoon running the width of the battlefield with the DTAC right behind 1st and 2nd Brigades and a platoon supporting Tiger Brigade with the Marines on the east coast heading to Kuwait City.  The action you mentioned could have happened (a many thing do) on the move and certainly the platoon leaders had the latitude to support their brigades as the needed to without getting approval from Company.

Hope this helps,

Jeff”

 

Further Details on the push into Iraq by the
545th MP Company

 

In an email from Ltc. Robert Byrd to Sam Reinert, dated 24 November 2005, further details emerge regarding the activities of the 545th MP Co. in Desert Storm.  The following is a copy of the text of that email:

“Sam,

During the Brigade Support Area's (BSA)move north into Iraq, 2 PLT did screen on either flank to protect the BSA from possible counter attack from by-passed units. As you can imagine, the BSA is a big slow group of Sustainment HQs and vehicles designed to reconstitute the maneuver brigade when it gets where it is going. By doctrine the BSA moves behind the maneuver brigade anywhere from 10-20 km. The amount of risk that the brigade commander is willing to assume by leaving the BSA relatively unprotected is of course based on mission, enemy, troops and time available (MET-T). In this case the brigade commander (COL House) assumed a great deal of risk but it turned out in his favor as we had no significant incidents with our BSA.

LTC Robert K. Byrd
Deputy Brigade Commander
16th Military Police Brigade (Airborne)”

 

Desert Storm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sam Reinert
CPT MP USAR (Ret)
Founder
545th Military Police Company Association
626 1/2 South 9th Street
Richmond, Indiana 47374 USA
(765) 962 4627 phone & FAX
http://545thmpassn.com/