Unit History

The 1/92nd Field Artillery
Association - Vietnam



Gulf War
Desert Shield Phase

On 2 August 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait with several divisions. They quickly overpowered the surprised and much smaller Kuwaiti Army. Within hours, the remnants of the Kuwaiti armed forces, along with the Emir and other government officials, had withdrawn to Saudi Arabia. The Iraqis controlled Kuwait.

The condemnations of the United States, followed by many resolutions from the United Nations, did nothing to influence Saddam Hussein from releasing his hold on Kuwait. The following week, American forces began arriving in the Persian Gulf at the invitation of the King of Saudi Arabia.

The 92d FA, assigned to 2d Armored Division at Fort Hood, had been preparing for inactivation as part of force reduction. Battery A, the only remaining active component of the 92d Regiment, was to prepare its Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) for transfer to the Reserve Component. Inactivation was scheduled for 15 December 1990. On 10 August 1990, the Battery celebrated its Organization Day at the Belton Lake Recreation Area. Though morale was high as usual, the shadow of inactivation at a time when units were deploying to the Persian Gulf was having its impact. Just before noon that day the DivArty Commander, Colonel Ronald E. Townsend, dispatched one of his staff officers to Lake Belton to inform the Battery Commander, Captain Edward Hughes, that A/92d FA (MLRS) would deploy with the 1st Cavalry Division to Southwest Asia.

Before 1700 that day the limited available details were announced to the soldiers. Immediately gears were switched from inactivation to deployment. Feelings were mixed at that point. Though A/92d had trained hard and felt they needed to be where a conflict seemed inevitable, the feelings of mission and duty were tempered by anxieties of what may lie ahead. Neither the soldiers nor the equipment had yet been tested in combat. The remainder of the month of August and most of September were devoted to maintenance of vehicles and section equipment, individual common task training, issue of desert gear, equipment deployment, personnel manifesting and limited time off for the soldiers.

A live fire exercise and gas chamber exercise were conducted as the culmination of pre-deployment training. Toward the latter part of September A/92d rail-loaded their tracked vehicles from Fort Hood to the seaport of embarkation (SPOE) at Houston. Additionally, they convoyed their wheeled vehicles to the same port. The support of the public was already evident. At every stop the local townspeople provided food, drink, and inspiration. The convoy was completed without a single maintenance problem; the hard work was already paying off. Individual training and equipment issue continued until deployment on 7 October.

Before deploying, Captain Hughes wrote: "Today, the 92d is called upon to defend against those who would seek to deny the peoples of Southwest Asia their individual and collective freedoms through unwarranted acts of aggression. Battery A, 92d Field Artillery (MLRS) will deploy shortly to support the multi-national forces involved in Operation Desert Shield. The soldiers of the 92d are well trained, disciplined, and ready to answer the call. We will deploy with some of the most modern equipment in the army today, including the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS). Though we of today's 92d Regiment know the times ahead may test us to our limits as soldiers and men, we hope that whatever our endeavor, we may contribute as honorably to our history as those who came before us. With the support of our former members, and the American people, we truly believe that we will."

The 92d veterans supported A/92d even before it left Fort Hood. On 26 September 1990 the following was written to Captain Hughes and his men:
"It was not happenstance that brought about the selection of the 92d as one of the members of the U.S. Army Regimental System. The selection was based on its record in combat. It is one of the youngest in original date of activation, yet has as many or more Battle Streamers than any other artillery unit created since World War 1. It is one of the very few, if not the only one, that has seen action in all of our theaters of major conflict since World War 1. It has received its full measure of the highest rank of unit decorations in each war. As you embark upon yet another foreign adventure, you soldiers of Battery A carry with you the traditions established by the past members of this proud regiment, yet there is no question that your performance will only add to the luster of this Regiment's splendid reputation. Every one of us who served with the 92d in WWII, Korea or Vietnam as well as those who have shared service in peacetime wish you Godspeed as you prepare for whatever may befall. You have our blessing and our prayers for your safe return."
William R. Buster Brigadier General (Retired)
Honorary Colonel, 92d Regiment

The night of 7 October, Colonel Townsend held an emotional ceremony wishing A/92d well in its mission. The 2d A.D. Band played as the men marched to the buses and moved to Robert Gray Army Airfield (RGAAF). They departed in the early hours of 8 October and flew via Gander (Newfoundland), Paris, and Cairo before landing at Dahran International Airport, Saudi Arabia.

Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia, A/92d moved to the Port of Dammam, where ships carrying its equipment would arrive. The men were billeted in grain storage warehouses at a dock until they moved to the desert. Each warehouse was a large bay that held about 1,000 soldiers. Each soldier slept on a cot and ate two hot meals a day. Both showers and outhouses were available. A/92d conducted physical training in the parking lot outside the warehouse.

The men were glad to finally get out of the port on 21 October, headed for their first position in the desert. They occupied their first position in complete darkness, learning lessons on how not to maneuver in the sand: a weakness they quickly overcame. They had to complete their occupation the following morning. 1SG Gerald Schindler prepared the battery defense tying it in with the other DivArty elements. A/92d christened their area "Camp Buster" after their Honorary Regimental Commander, BG (Ret) William R. Buster. They also dubbed themselves the "Red Devils" based on their regimental history from the Korean and Vietnam wars.

After a week of making their new home as comfortable as they could, they began a training program. The program began with individual skills and gradually worked toward higher level collective training. Training continued through November and December. They did take time out to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas with excellent meals prepared by the mess section. The CNN news crew visited for Thanksgiving.

At Christmas SSG Williams dressed up as Santa Claus, though he looked out of place in the middle of the desert. Activities like winning the DivArty volleyball tournament, watching videotapes from home, softball, and horseshoes helped the men keep their sanity. In late December more allied forces established themselves in Saudi Arabia. Colonel James Gass (1st Cav DivArty Commander) advised that A/92d, along with 1st (Tiger) Brigade of 2d A.D., would be detached from 1st Cav and attached to the 2d Marine Division. Since the Marines did not have MLRS, this would provide the Red Devils with many challenges -- both operationally and logistically.

1st Cav moved out to the northwest. A/92d fell in with Tiger Brigade until the link with the Marines. As the final training event, and in conjunction with the move north to the Marine sector, Tiger Brigade conducted an offensive exercise north toward the town of Haneedh. Anyone who had not yet gained respect for the desert did so by the conclusion of the exercise. During the exercise A/92d faced thunderstorms, complete darkness, and blowing sand. The exercise tested the Red Devils' ability to move rapidly and provide supporting fires in the most extreme conditions of the desert. The Red Devils passed the test.

To Desert Storm - >


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