Operation PROVIDE COMFORT: Civil Affairs Operations in Northern Iraq, 1991-1992

By Colonel (ret.) Patrick Carlton





"The Secretary of Defense has directed the execution of

Operation PROVIDE COMFORT-1991"

Execute Order: Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff [i]


"...From the youngest soldier, sailor, airman, and marine...to the more seasoned officer, the enthusiasm, the expertise, the cooperative spirit, the compassion that they all brought is

a monument to each...military force that participated.... their respective countries have every reason to be very proud of these young men and women."


LTG John M. Shalikashvili, 24 June 1991[ii]



In early March 1991, disaffected Shiite Muslims in the South, along with Kurdish separatists in the North of Iraq, launched a series of attacks aimed at unseating Saddam Hussein, ruler of that troubled country. At least in part, their actions were based on encouragement, perhaps more perceived than actual, that they had received from the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom. Those governments were anxious that Saddam Hussein be called to account for his ill-considered and tragic acts, so devastating to Kuwait. However, it should be noted that President George H.W. Bush had made no promises of support of any kind to Kurdish representatives, despite their diligent attempts to elicit such assurances.


Taking advantage of the disarray into which the Iraqi Army had fallen in the aftermath of the war in Kuwait, Kurdish warriors attacked and captured the town of Ranya on 4 March, followed, during the next ten days, by Arbil, Dahuk, and Aqra. On 21 March, they captured Kirkuk, reputed to be the wealthiest city in the North. These successes, and the euphoria that accompanied them, were short-lived. On 27 March 1991, Saddam Hussein's forces launched a series of counterattacks which inevitably drove back the lightly armed Peshmerga[i] forces. By 30 March, the Kurdish forces were in rapid retreat, and it was clear that Saddam Hussein had gained the upper hand, striking terror in the hearts of Kurdish non-combatants. Many of these people vividly remembered Saddam Hussein's March 1988 attack on the town of Halabja, in which chemical agents had been used against the helpless inhabitants. An estimated 5000 persons had perished in the attack, one of more than twenty such attacks inflicted upon isolated mountain villages. The stage was set for panic-stricken flight by Kurdish tribesmen and their families.


By the first week of April, it was apparent that the revolt had failed. Thousands of Kurdish people left their homes and streamed Eastward into Iran or Northward into the rugged foothills of the Taurus Mountains.[ii] Traveling by any type of conveyance available, they soon left behind them a trail of abandoned cars, trucks, buses, tractors, and other vehicles that were unable to proceed farther. By 6 April, it was estimated that half a million or more Kurds of all ages and both sexes had reached the Iraqi-Turkish border and were being contained there by Turkish border guards, who had orders to prevent their proceeding further. Since the snows of the previous winter had not yet melted, temperatures were relatively low. Furthermore, many, if not most, of the refugees were town folk, unprepared for the harsh environment they found themselves in. Consequently, early estimates suggested that as many as seven to ten thousand of these people, mostly the very young and the aged, would perish within a matter of days.


The Turkish government found itself in a difficult situation, as host to thousands of unwanted visitors. The Turks and the Kurds had been engaged in hostilities for many years because of repeated Kurdish attempts to establish a separate state on the Turkish-Iraqi border. Nine million ethic Kurds lived within Turkey's borders in 1991, out of slightly more than seventeen million in that nation plus Iraq, Syria, Iran, Lebanon, and the USSR.[iii] Kurds had, over the years, established a reputation as fierce, tribally based warriors whose politics were flexible and whose services were often available to the highest bidder. Indeed, when not engaged with external conflicts, the Kurds had developed the habit of fighting among themselves. The Turks were particularly sensitive in 1991. During the 1988 attacks by Saddam Hussein, many thousands of Kurds had fled into Turkey seeking asylum, some 27,000 of whom presently remained in camps near the Turkish-Iraqi border. The Government of Turkey (GOT) was adamantly opposed to the further admission of large numbers of potentially permanent refugees to add to those already present. Be that as it may, the Turkish villagers and soldiers at the border, touched by the plight of the Kurdish refugees, began distributing such supplies as were available to them, modest and inadequate though they often were. The Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) 's regional affiliates quickly marshaled their resources and initiated a food distribution program. The sheer magnitude of the immediate demand and its sudden onslaught gave these early Turkish efforts a somewhat futile appearance. Still, it should not be forgotten that they did the best they could with what they had to offer. According to US Embassy Ankara, the Turkish government's contributions to Operations Provide Comfort (OPC) totaled possibly as much as $48 million during April and May 1991, placing a significant strain upon a country of relatively modest means.[iv] As Lieutenant General (LTG) Shalikashvili stated: "When you look at the tonnages of supplies that were delivered by the Turks...it's really a staggering amount...."[v] The Turks deserve great credit for dealing compassionately and evenhandedly with a politically complex and challenging situation.


Because of the presence of large numbers of members of the media in the region, having arrived to cover the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, the Kurds' plight rapidly became the subject of intense news coverage. President Bush became the subject of searching questions on the moral responsibility of the United States to assist these unfortunate people who, it was said, had staged their uprising because of the President's repeated call for the people of Iraq to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime. Public pressure rose to astonishing intensity in a matter of days, undoubtedly fueled by the constant television coverage being focused on the evolving tragedy. Bush's advisors urged that something be done to relieve the situation. Furthermore, President Turgut Ozal of Turkey made several phone calls to the President seeking assistance from the US in dealing with the situation. Ozal clearly wished to return the Kurds to Iraq as rapidly as possible, fearing that an additional build-up in the Kurdish population would further fuel the fires of separatism and provide an operating base for terrorist groups, chief among them the Partia Karkaris Kurdistan, the Kurdish Workers' Party, known as the PKK. The PKK engaged in regular skirmishing with the Turkish Army and the local police in Eastern Turkey for many years, engendering much ill-will and causing numerous deaths on both sides. They were particularly active around Batman and Diyarbakir, Turkey.[vi]


On 5 April 1991, President Bush announced that the US would provide humanitarian relief in the form of airdropped food, water, and medical supplies. As LTG John Shalikashvili, Commander of the operation, stated, "...the first thing we had to do was stop the dying and the suffering..." as quickly as possible.[vii] An alert order for the deployment of U. S. European Command (USEUCOM) forces was issued by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 6 April 1991, the first aerial units began to deploy, and initial airdrops of food and water began on 7 April 1991. Within 36 hours, over 27 tons of relief supplies were dropped, an extraordinary accomplishment.[viii]


The remarkable speed with which the Air Force responded can be accounted for, at least in part, by the urgency of the developing situation. Eight major refugee camps and clusters of people at a total of 43 locations had been identified by aerial photography, with thousands of displaced civilians (DCs) clinging to the sides of the mountains and in desperate straits. Essentially no infrastructure was available to support these people, and no distribution system existed at that time. Consequently, the world was treated to the distressing sight of mobs of Kurds of all ages scrambling and fighting among themselves to obtain some of the food being distributed from the backs of trucks or, later, being dropped by parachute.[ix]

At about this time, a serendipitous event occurred in the form of a visit by Secretary of State James Baker to Turkey on 8 April 1991. US Ambassador to Turkey, Morton Abramowitz, greatly concerned about the developing tragedy on the border and feeling that the US had a moral responsibility to provide further assistance, suggested that Baker divert into the area for a quick look at the situation. The visit totaled only a few minutes, but it was enough to energize the Secretary, who picked up the transatlantic phone and called President Bush, describing the situation in some detail, and urging US intervention on an immediate basis.[x]


During this same period, President Bush received similar phone calls from President Turgut Ozal of Turkey, and Prime Minister John Major, of Great Britain, proposing expanded relief action. Ozal announced on television on 7 April that he favored creating a United Nations (UN) operated "haven" of some type in northern Iraq and pledged the participation of Turkish troops in any such operation. On the same day that Secretary Baker was viewing the mountain camps in Iraq, Prime Minister John Major of Great Britain addressed the eleven members of the European Community. He suggested creating a UN-protected "Kurdish enclave" in Northern Iraq, where these unfortunate people could be protected and supplied with the necessities of life. Major's plan was enthusiastically endorsed by other European leaders, particularly President Francois Mitterand of France, whose wife had been active in Kurdish causes in past years.


The number of Kurdish refugees on the border continued to grow. It soon became apparent to US leaders that the airdrops would be insufficient to sustain these people for any appreciable time. On 9 April 1991, USEUCOM received orders to expand its mission to sustain the entire refugee population for up to 30 days. At this point, humanitarian forces were inserted into the camps to conduct assessments of need and provide a measure of organization for the struggling refugees. In addition to civilian groups, elements of the US Army's 10th Special Forces Group participated in these initial assessments, reporting that conditions in the camps were unfavorable to the refugees' long-term survival. However, the population could be stabilized in place for a short time.[xi] EUCOM realized that still further expansion in the mission was imminent and was planning feverishly for this eventuality.


On 10 April, a member of the Special Operations Command Europe (SOCEUR) staff requested that two Civil Affairs (CA) officers serving in EUCOM J4 (Logistics) attend a planning meeting of the J3 (Operations) staff. The CA officers would provide information on CA capabilities and potential contributions to Operation PROVIDE COMFORT. Catching the Assistant J3 Brigadier General (BG) David Zinni, as he passed by on his way to the water fountain, the CA personnel briefly explained their capabilities. The Assistant J3, a quick study, immediately saw the potential for employment of Civil Affairs personnel, commenting that these people had the skills needed to help address the humanitarian assistance problem in Northern Iraq.[xii] Until that time, the EUCOM staff had not generally been aware of what CA could contribute to the process, although teams from the 353rd Civil Affairs Command (CA CMD) had been functioning within the J4 shop since December 1990.[xiii] The CA officers next briefed the senior J3 team and the EUCOM Chief of Staff, who quickly realized that CA would be of great use in the operation. He contacted the current Combined Task Force (CTF) Commander, Major General (MG) James L. Jamerson, USAF, and requested authorization to insert a six-person Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC). Jamerson approved, following which the Chief of staff arranged to insert two Civil Affairs slides into the next briefing for Commander in Chief Europe (CINCEUR), General (GEN) Galvin.[xiv]


BG Donald Campbell, CG 353rd CA CMD, deployed to Germany on 11 April 1991 with a six-person team of CA officers. He received entrance briefings and quickly continued his travel to CTF Headquarters at Incirlik Air Force Base in Turkey. Here he assumed command of the newly established Civil Military Operations Center (CMOC) on 12 April and began preparing an extended plan of action. By 15 April, Operation PROVIDE COMFORT's mission had evolved beyond the immediate task of "stopping the suffering and dying." Based upon additional instructions from the President and Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the mission now included longer-term objectives, including the resettlement of the population at temporary sites after establishing a secure and sustainable environment; and seeking to return the displaced civilians (DCs) to their homes. The CTF specified eight tasks for its forces: Provide immediate relief and stabilize the population in place; build a distribution system/infrastructure for logistics support; establish a security zone (haven) in Northern Iraq; construct Transit Centers (temporary camps) and other support centers; transfer the population to these sites; transition the operation to international relief organizations; provide continuous security for the operation, and facilitate the ultimate return of the DCs to their homes.


GEN James P. McCarthy, Deputy Commander in Chief (DCINC) US Army Europe (USAREUR), decided to assign Civil Affairs the responsibility to manage the temporary settlements (Transit Centers); facilitate the transfer of the DCs to these facilities, and arrange for the expeditious transfer of responsibility to Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO's). They would work closely with the Kurdish leadership in establishing staging areas, create camp administrative structures, and arrange for logistics support. CA would also assume responsibility for facilitating coordination between Kurdish camp leaders and private voluntary organizations to transfer responsibility for DC support to these agencies as soon as possible.

On 17 April 1991, LTG John Shalikashvili (General Shali), the DCG of USAREUR, assumed command of CTF PROVIDE COMFORT, establishing his HQ at Incirlik Air Force Base (AFB), Turkey (TU). He immediately appointed BG Donald M. Campbell as Deputy Task Force Commander for Civil Affairs with headquarters co-located with the CTF. BG Campbell went to work at once, organizing his CMOC at Incirlik AFB and working with his staff to develop the CA policy for the CTF, the CA concept of operations, the CA force structure requirements, and to prepare a series of briefings for Commander CTF. Based on the revised mission guidance, the deployment of three CA companies was requested. This deployment would include a company-sized element of the 96th CA Battalion (BN), a CA Brigade (BDE) to act as a Command and Control headquarters and to operate the Civilian Agencies Task Force.[xv] Discussions with JCS, Headquarters Department of the Army (HQDA), and US Central Command (CENTCOM) led to the decision to redeploy units from the Persian Gulf rather than activating new CA units from the US. This decision led to some consternation among the CA units involved, which had either redeployed to CONUS or were making final preparations to return to the US after many months in the Gulf.[xvi]


Members of the redeploying units were understandably disappointed at being tasked with a new mission hard upon the heels of their recent successful operation. Having gained an understanding of the humanitarian aspects of the mission, they performed competently and professionally throughout OPC.[xvii] One company Commander later reported that Operation PROVIDE COMFORT was the high point of their mobilization.[xviii]


The case of the 96th CA BN, at that time the Army's only Active Component CA unit, is particularly poignant. An advance party from that unit had deployed to Saudi Arabia on 27 August 1990, with the remainder of the unit following by December. They had served continuously since that time in a variety of useful capacities. By April 1991, the unit had redeployed in its entirety to Ft. Bragg, N.C., its home station, and the unit placed on "block leave," catching up on family matters.[xix] On 14 April, USEUCOM initiated a request to the JCS to deploy the CA units, one of which was the company-sized element of the 96th CA BN. The 96th CA BN troops were deployed on 25 April.[xx] Upon arrival in Turkey, they reported to CG, Joint Task Force Alpha (JTFA), which they had been led to believe they would support, only to be told that their services were no longer required in that capacity.[xxi] Chagrined but undaunted, the element CDR arranged for his personnel to serve in Joint Task Force Bravo (JTFB). There, they provided support to the 3rd Commando (CDO) Brigade Headquarters (UK), the 45 Commando Battalion (UK), and the French Battalion of Paramarines. They performed well in this capacity until redeployment on 3 June 1991.[xxii]


BG Potter, EUCOM's SOCEUR Commander, had arrived in the AO on 6 April and had been assigned the mission of deploying his Special Forces (SF) troops into the mountain camps as soon as possible. Potter's organization came to be known as JTFA.[xxiii] Their mission was to conduct initial assessments and to establish necessary command, control, and communications needed at the sites. They also provided on-scene organization and reduced the tension between Kurdish DC's and Turkish troops present in the camps. Instances of physical violence in the camps, which had been regularly reported since the Kurds' arrival at the border, dropped to zero immediately following the deployment of US personnel into the camps.[xxiv]


Civil Affairs personnel were quite "thin on the ground" when the SF personnel began their deployment to the camps and were unable to mount a large-scale support effort within JTFA. However, two captains from the 353rd CA CMD did join the 1/10th SF on 14 April 1991 and worked as augmentees until 28 April 1991. They were responsible for developing preliminary assessments and resource requirements necessary for the sustainment of the Kurds, developing report formats, and publishing daily SITREPS.[xxv]


Three Direct Support teams from the 432nd CA CO arrived on 24 April 1991 and significantly provided needed CA expertise in the camps. In all, the 432nd deployed 23 personnel to JTF-A during the next several weeks. These personnel established a positive working relationship with their SF counterparts and performed professionally, assisting in the operation and evacuation of the mountain camps to which they were assigned.[xxvi]


The 432nd's arrival provided critically needed reinforcements for the small contingent of CA personnel from the 353rd CA CMD, who had been carrying out virtually all CA missions since 11 April 91.[xxvii] Three members of the CMOC had joined JTFB under MG Jay Garner and had entered Northern Iraq with him on 20 April 91. Garner established the TF Bravo HQ in Zakho, Iraq. Planning and construction of the first refugee center (Transit Center #1) began that same evening. The main body of the 432nd arrived in Zakho at 2200 on 26 April 1991 and, the following morning became engaged in preparations for the reception of soon-to-arrive Kurdish DC's. The morning of the 27th began with briefings from Fred Cuny, Consultant to the OFDA's Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), on the overall situation and immediate mission requirements in administration, inprocessing, food distribution, water and sanitation, medical screening, site construction, and security. Personnel then received their assignments in preparation for the arrival of the DCs. Personnel were assigned as liaisons to the UNHCR, the government of the city of Zakho, Iraq, and other Nongovernmental organizations (NGO's). On the same day, Kurdish workers were transported from the mountains to assist in camp construction, soon followed by members of their families. Thus, began a round of fast-paced activities that continued until the 432nd departed Iraq on 4 June 1991.


A unique aspect of OPC was the presence of the DART from the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). The chief consultant to that team was Mr. Fred Cuny, acknowledged to be a leading expert in refugee control and disaster assistance.[xxviii] Mr. Cuny had served in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait during Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM and was well-versed in those matters of immediate importance to the OPC operators. MG Garner immediately assigned Cuny significant duties briefing newly arrived military personnel and guiding the efforts of those charged with the layout and construction of the transit centers. During the formative period, a substantial debate occurred concerning the desirable degree of permanency for the transit centers. DART believed that the camps should serve merely as stop-over points to be used by the Kurdish DC's until their home areas were secured. DART argued that there would be no need for permanent camps, assuming the military mission's success. With the establishment of a "secure zone" encompassing a land area approximately 50 km x 150 km (a total of 7370 sq. mi), the DCs would likely return directly to their homes. This course of action was ultimately adopted, and by the time the Coalition forces left Northern Iraq, the camp population had dropped to no more than a few thousand. The number continued to dwindle following the Coalition forces' withdrawal.[xxix]




Author Biography



Patrick Carlton holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a Master of Arts in History from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania. He spent 1966-67 as a post-doctoral fellow at the Univ. of Oregon. COL Carton also is a 1986 graduate of the U. S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pa. He retired from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. after18 years of service. He served as a member of the 351st and 352nd Civil Affairs Commands and as Commander of the 5th PSYOP Group. He also commanded the 462nd and 404th Military Intelligence Detachments (Strategic). Colonel Carlton served on active duty in support of Operation Desert Storm PSYOP/CA Branch, OJCS. He was then Senior Fellow, National Strategic Studies, National Defense University, in Washington, DC. Colonel Carlton has received the Legion of Merit and the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (with OLC), plus other decorations.



Standard Disclaimer

The opinions, conclusions, and recommendations expressed or implied above are those of the author and do not reflect the views of any organization or any entity of the U.S. government.


[i] Peshmerga means "they who face death." [ii] An estimated 1.2 million Kurds fled into Iran and another 500,000 to Turkey. The US and her allies were precluded by Iran from providing relief for the refugees in that country. Consequently, the Coalition partners concentrated their efforts on the plight of those at the Turkish border. The Turks, strong NATO allies, sought and received US and coalition assistance during this tragic episode. [iii] John Bulloch and Harvey Morris, No Friends but the Mountains, London: Penguin Books Ltd, 1992, xii. [iv] Lois Richards,"Observations and Lessons Learned from the Iraq Refugee Crisis", 7 November 1991, (memo), p.6. [v] Shalikashvili interview dated 24 June 1991, p.3. [vi] The PKK had been engaged in regular skirmishing with the Turkish Army and the local police in Eastern Turkey for many years, engendering much ill-will and causing numerous deaths on both sides. [vii] Statement by LTG John M. Shalikashvili before subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee chaired by Rep. Les Aspin (D-WI) on 4 September 1991. [viii] Robert H. Beahm,"354th Civil Affairs Brigade's Participation in Operation PROVIDE COMFORT", in Patrick W. Carlton, Ed., Civil Affairs in the Persian Gulf War: A Symposium. (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992), pp. 378-80. [ix] Headquarters US European Command, Operation PROVIDE COMFORT After Action Report, 29 Jan 1992, pp.1-2. [x] a) Interview with Ms. Gina Haspel, Embassy Staff Officer, Ankara, Turkey, 3 June 1992. (Taped) Ms. Haspel emphasized the commitment and dedication to the Kurdish relief effort that Ambassador Abramowitz conveyed to his staff during this period. b) Interview with Ambassador Morton Abramowitz on 20 December 1991, p.3.(Transcript) [xi] USEUCOM After Action Report, 29 Jan 1992, p.3. [xii] Interview with BG Anthony Zinni, USEUCOM-asst. J3, on 19 May 92. Zinni was later General and Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. [xiii] It was reported by the CA officer involved that a plan had been developed to provide 10-person Civil Affairs teams in support of the SF units going into the mountain camps, but that CG SOCEUR had declined to involve these personnel. Had it not been for the timely intervention of BG Zinni, the SOCEUR J3 staff officer and the high-quality briefing skills of the CA officer, LTC Michael Hess and Richard Elmo, whom he called upon for planning support, CA might not have been allowed to participate in the operation. [xiv] Interview with LTC Mike Hess, 353rd CA CMD, 20 Jun 92. [xv] The CA units involved in Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, in addition to the 353rd CA CMD (-), New York, NY, were: 354th CA BDE, Riverdale, MD; 96th CA BN (-), Ft. Bragg, N.C.; 432nd CA Co, Green Bay, WI; 431st CA Co, Little Rock, AR; and 418th CA Co, Kansas City, MO. Source: Patrick W. Carlton, "PROVIDE COMFORT Briefing, no date, p.8. [xvi] This unit had been engaged in refugee camp operations in the South for an extended period. [xvii] Members of at least two of the units engaged in a letter writing campaign to Congress unsuccessfully attempting to have themselves sent home. [xviii] James A. Ahrens, "Mobilization, 1991: The 418th Goes to War", (no date), in Proceedings, p.510. [xix] Carl T. Sahlin, Jr. "Operational Summary of Actions by the 96th Civil Affairs Battalion (ABN) During Operations Desert Shield/Storm/Provide Comfort", in Proceedings, pp.441-446. [xx] Patrick W. Carlton, "Civil Affairs Activities of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during Operation PROVIDE COMFORT--6 April to 24 July 1991, in Proceedings, pp.222-223 “Of additional concern was the extended dialogue concerning the deployment of a 60-person element plus a command-and-control team from the 96th CA BN (AC), which had recently returned from several months in the Gulf. Discussions in this regard commenced on 14 April 1991 and continued until 25 April 1991, the date on which the element was finally deployed. CA personnel on the Joint Staff, in response to a request from USEUCOM, prepared a message to CINCSOC on 22 April requesting the deployment of the 60 personnel. The CJCS accepted the rationale set forth by the Civil Affairs staff on 25 April 1991, USCINCSOC issued a deployment order for 60 personnel plus a command-and-control element from the 96th CA BN. They deployed and once committed, were integrated into the JTF. (p.223) [xxi] BG Potter was initially critical of the CA forces for their lateness in arrival in the Area of Operations, a situation beyond their control, although he indicated that CA enjoyed a generally favorable reputation among his personnel once they arrived on the scene. (Interview with BG Richard Potter on 22 May 1992, notes.) [xxii] Sahlin, "Operational Summary," p.444-46. Adding to the strenuous nature of duty with the 96th CA BN (ABN), the unit had been home only, a short time when it was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, CU, to participate in the Haitian Refugee operation. [xxiii] It had originally been called Operation EXPRESS CARE, but the name was changed within days, as was name JTFB, Joint Task Force Bravo. After Action Report by LTC Michael E. Hess, no date, p.2. [xxiv] HQUSEUCOM, After Action Report, p.5. [xxv] David S. Elmo, "After Action Report-Operation PROVIDE COMFORT, n. d., p.1. He states that he "deployed as member of first CA team sent to the Displaced Civilians Camp on the Turkish/Iraqi border. [xxvi] James A. Christophersen, "Civil Affairs After Action Report: Operation PROVIDE COMFORT dated 7 Jun 91, p. 534. [xxvii] Fred Cuny believed that the border crossing into Iraq was "by mistake." Discussions had taken place with the Iraqis about US intentions to move into the Zakho valley and to establish one or more temporary facilities for returning Kurdish DC's. the Iraqis had been directed to withdraw by a certain time. Due to a one-hour time difference between Turkey and Iraq, US officials awaiting the Iraqi pull back felt that Iraqi cooperation was not present and recommended canceling the cross-border mission until the situation could be straightened out. Cuny reported that he heard an announcement to the effect that "the General" was ready to go--by helicopter. Assuming that MG Garner was the officer in question, Cuny and the DART team boarded the helo only to find that the General in question was BG Potter, on his way to Diyarbakir. Cuny asked the helo pilot to take him directly to Zakho after dropping off BG Potter. This was done, and Cuny and his colleagues were landed--all alone--in a field outside Zakho. Back at the border, a US convoy had been assembled to cross the border upon order. Seeing the helo land to drop off Cuny, the convoy Commander assumed that he was to "go in" also, and did so, joining Cuny and his associates. By the time MG Garner arrived, a substantial contingent of US personnel was present in Northern Iraq. MG Garner eventually agreed with Cuny and Dayton Maxwell, the DART team chief that it would be appropriate to support the incident by congratulating their commanders on making the decision to undertake the border crossing. Interview with Fred Cuny in Zakho, Iraq, on 8 June 1992. [xxviii] "From Green Bay to the Persian Gulf; The 432nd Civil Affairs Company in Operation Desert Storm", no date, p. 564. While the piece bears no credit line, it is reported to have been written by SSG Walter Coyle, of the 432nd CAC, a History Professor in civilian life. [xxix] Fred Cuny, "The Political and Military Lessons of Operation PROVIDE COMFORT", unpublished manuscript, no date, p.39. Representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) convinced military personnel at headquarters in Incirlik, TU, that the camps should be winterized and treated as semi-permanent installations. They argued that some Kurds would rush back to the camps once the Coalition withdrew. This, of course, was just the situation that MG Garner, the CG of TFB wished to avoid, so MG Garner adopted the DART team's recommendation.


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