By Eric Micheletti
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Extra resources for After The Storm. Iraqi Wrecks And Fortifications
Certainly to General Creighton Abrams, the Army Chief of Staff after Vietnam, who as a young officer in World War II led the relief column that first reached the besieged town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge. In his mind was a dream of a new professional army. There also was the professional corps of young officers that had served in Vietnam during the war. ” Men like Colin Powell, who had overcome the racism of an Army struggling to master the hard lessons of integration. Armor officers like Butch Funk and Infantry officers like Pete Taylor, who came home with reputations as tough as their weapons.
The history of battle teaches the importance of seizing the initiative. For whoever takes the initiative usually wins—regardless of who may outnumber or be outnumbered, or who attacks or defends. Cavalry missions require units organized and trained to take the initiative, all the time, from the very beginning, every time out. Second, cavalry organization is quite different. The need for mobility and agility, and for economy of force over vast distances, has caused modern cavalry to be organized around combined-arms teams at the lowest levels of command.
A man sitting on a horse also made an easy target, especially after the development of firearms. And yet, despite these drawbacks, the horse remained important in war for three millennia. More precisely, the horse-man performed several crucial missions: find the enemy; prevent the enemy from finding you; collect information on the enemy before your main force collides with his; harass his flanks and communications; pursue him in defeat; screen your own forces when you are forced to withdraw. Today the horse is used mainly for parades and ceremonies, but the missions it once performed remain as vital as ever.