WASHINGTON — A major exercise last summer involving military units that would be used in the event of a Middle East crisis was largely successful, but spotlighted coordination and communication problems, a Pentagon report released Wednesday said.
The report on the exercise, code-named Gallant Eagle '86, faulted the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force for a lack of coordination among pilots flying ground-attack missions, and the Navy and Army for some confusion in unloading equipment from cargo ships.
On the ground, Marines and members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division displayed an "outstanding ability" to link up with each other after soldiers parachuted in, the report said. But without elaborating, it also found that more work was needed to improve the spotting and firing of artillery pieces to cover the activity of ground forces.
Solve Satellite Link
The study also found that early-warning AWACS planes had been unable to effectively use a satellite link for communication, although that problem was solved by using different equipment.
"Gallant Eagle '86 deployed over 35,000 personnel drawn from all four services and the Coast Guard," the report said. "From the standpoint of required joint tactical and operational skills, and a realistic logistical environment, they successfully executed the most ambitious exercise in the series to date."
The Gallant Eagle exercises, sponsored by the U.S. Central Command, are held annually, with exercises conducted every other year in the Egyptian desert. Last summer's exercise was conducted in July and August, primarily at Ft. Irwin, Calif., and the Marine base at Twentynine Palms, Calif.