Clipped From The Galveston Daily News

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 - 6-A JUil« 1982 Operation Gallant Eagle Desert...
6-A JUil« 1982 Operation Gallant Eagle Desert resounds with artillery barrage in live-fire exercises TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. (AP) - A thundering artillery barrage mounded along the Mojave Desert floor Saturday ax Marines opened four days of live-fire and maneuvers as part of a month-long test of the nation's Rapid Deployment Force. Jets screamed low over a ridge, pounding the near side with high explosives and covering it with white smoke to blind the simulated enemy there, and to protect a column of tanks moving swiftly into the broad desert valley. To observers on a hillside, the atrillery firing behind them sounded like a giant drum or someone repeatedly slamming a door. In front of the hill, bright orange flashes of the artillery shells and bomb explosions were absorbed by clouds of black and gray smoke. Plumes of brown dust rose behind each vehicle and hung in the air like dirty rain showers. "It's nearly calm-that's good for the smoke," said Col. Robert Mclnteer, operations officer for the 7th Marine Amphibious Brigade, part of the swift- strike force, "There's much less wind than we have had." No serious injuries were reported, officials said, in the latest segment of a month-long exercise called Operation Gallant Eagle involving all branches of the armed forces in a simulated Mideast war. Four Army paratroopers died last Tuesday in a huge, wind-blown parachute drop at Fort Irwin 100 miles to the northeast. A fifth paratrooper died of his injuries two days later. In all, 151 soldiers have been injured in the exercise. On Saturday, below and behind the observers' hillside, a group of amphibious tractors, called Amtracs, filled with Marines wailed for the go signal before gunning their engines and racing around the hill to join the assault. One Amtrac bristled with antennas, indicating it contained Brig. Gen. Joseph B. Knotts, the 7th MAB commander. The churned-up dust covered everything — vehicles, weapons, people. It also got into everything, especially mouths and eyes. An hour into the attack, one group of Amtracs paused to regroup, seeking concealment In a dry wash. The baltaUkm commander's vehicle dropped its back ramp to give the radio operators a breath of fresh air. "I've lost comm (communications) with Bravo, but I'm in touch with Snow White," said Maj. Mike Ferguson, the battalion commander, as he perched in a an open hatch atop the vehicle. "We're either in touch with everyone or can relay to them," added Maj. Scott Detrick, whose hat bore the white tape of an exercise observer. Later, at a brief battlefield news conference, Knotts told reporters he was happy with the way the assault was going and expressed the belief that the Marine Corps alone could do "the majority of tasks assigned" to the force. "1 don't think we'll come out Oof the operation) with any startling policy changes," he said. "We're getting into mechanized warfare here, but I'd be the first one to tell you thav. the Marine Corps' main purpose in life is amphibious assault, and we practice that too." Wir want to

Clipped from
  1. The Galveston Daily News,
  2. 04 Apr 1982, Sun,
  3. Page 6

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