Kurdish refugees arriving in Guam
Kurdish refugees arriving in Guam

A Second Chance

Operation PACIFIC HAVEN

8th PSYOP Battalion DUI
8th PSYOP Battalion DUI

Having just returned from an Ulchi-Focus Lens exercise in South Korea, Major (MAJ) Henry J. “Hank” Henry was at home on Saturday morning (14 September) when the telephone rang. Told to come immediately to the 8th Psychological Operations Battalion (8th POB) headquarters, Henry was met by the Battalion XO, MAJ Chris Leyda and the S3, MAJ Tim Longanacre. Together they met with Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Michael Mathews, the Battalion Commander. LTC Mathews gave MAJ Henry a warning order. I was “to take a small team of specialists including my detachment, two civilian analysts from the Strategic Studies Detachment, several tactical PSYOP soldiers, and two soldiers from the Product Dissemination Battalion and deploy to Guam for Joint Task Force-PACIFIC HAVEN,” remembered MAJ Henry.1 The task-organized unit, called a “Military Information Support Team” (MIST), would support Kurdish refugees fleeing from northern Iraq.2 This article explains the psychological operations performed by the 8th POB for this little known mission, Operation PACIFIC HAVEN, the humanitarian support of nearly 7,000 Kurds in Guam and preparing them for emigration to the United States.

1 Lieutenant Colonel (R) Henry J. Henry, e-mail to Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Jones, Jr., 20 February 2008, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC; In 1996 the Product Dissemination Battalion was a provisional unit of the 4th POG. It is now the 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion.

2 Henry e-mail, 20 February 2008; The “Military Information Support Team” (MIST) had become the standard task organized package for the short notice deployments common in the 4th Psychological Operations Group (4th POG) in the 1990s.

4th POG DUI
4th POG DUI

The 8th POB was regionally oriented to the Middle East and Asia/Pacific. Although responsible for Asia/Pacific, B Company received the mission because Company A was completely tasked out for other duties. PSYOP soldiers from two other battalions in the 4th Psychological Operations Group (4th POG) and two experienced civilian PSYOP analysts from the 8th POB Strategic Studies Detachment (SSD), Dr. Ehsan Entezar and Dr. Joseph T. Arlinghaus, were added to the MIST as an afterthought. The two civilian analysts played critical roles during the operation.3

3 Henry e-mail, 20 February 2008.

After receiving his warning order, MAJ Henry immediately contacted Staff Sergeant (SSG) Brad Virden, his Non-Commissioned Officer-in-Charge (NCOIC) to alert the rest of the soldiers.5 Several soldiers were on a funeral firing detail that morning. SSG Virden caught them as they finished the ceremony. “As we began to turn in our weapons, SSG Virden showed up with a packing list and a verbal warning order for the deployment to Guam,” said Specialist Brian Furber.6 A telephone call from SSG Virden surprised Specialist Craig Coleman. “I had just returned from Operation ASSURED RESPONSE [the non-combatant evacuation from Liberia] and was still assigned to the 9th PSYOP Battalion,” said Coleman. “I was not scheduled to transfer to the 8th POB for another week.”7 The weekend “off” was consumed with packing for the mission.

5 Henry e-mail, 20 February 2008.

6 First Lieutenant Brian Furber, interview by Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Jones, Jr., digital recording, 18 March 2008, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC.

7 Master Sergeant Craig Coleman, interview by Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Jones, Jr., digital recording, 12 February 2008, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC.

1996, A Busy Year for Army Special Operations Forces (ARSOF)

In addition to numerous Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) readiness exercises and training missions, ARSOF units supported contingency missions worldwide. In Europe, ARSOF soldiers supported conventional forces in Operations JOINT ENDEAVOR (Bosnia) and ABLE SENTRY (Macedonia). ARSOF soldiers conducted a noncombatant evacuee operation, ASSURED RESPONSE in Liberia. In the Western Hemisphere ARSOF supported Operation SEA SIGNAL with Haitian migrants in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while others, primarily 7th Special Forces Group, supported Operation SAFE BORDER, a peacekeeping mission on the Ecuador/Peru border.

ARSOF operations across the globe in 1996.

On Monday morning (16 September 1996) the 8th POB only had a deployment order to Guam. On the surface the mission seemed simple; support the Joint Task Force with PSYOP information products. The rest was left up to MAJ Henry and his team, who had to figure it out. Once on the ground, he could ask for additional help from the battalion or group if necessary. To cover many contingencies, and to be self-sufficient for at least thirty days, the MIST brought computers, two risographs (high speed presses), two loudspeakers, and a 12-foot video screen and projector.8 On Tuesday morning, after a quick predeployment briefing, they joined B Company, 96th Civil Affairs Battalion at Pope Air Force Base. Both elements received no further mission guidance prior to take-off. The two groups boarded a C-141 Starlifter and landed on Guam on the afternoon of 19 September, two days after the first contingent of Kurds had arrived, because of delays en route.9 This humanitarian mission resulted from the Kurdish rebellion against Saddam Hussein following Gulf War of 1990-91.

8 Henry e-mail, 20 February 2008; Major Henry J. Henry, Company B, 8th Psychological Operations Battalion, interview by Senior Master Sergeant Robert J. Davis, tape recording, 24 October 1996, Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC.; JTF – Pacific Haven MIST AAR, 6 October 1996.

9 Joint Task Force – Pacific Haven Military Information Support Team After Action Review, 6 October 1996, ARSOF Archives, USAJFKSWCS, Fort Bragg, NC.

After the Iraqi military defeat in Kuwait in March 1991, Kurdish groups in northern Iraq rebelled against Saddam Hussein’s government. Saddam Hussein responded with a brutal military offensive that targeted civilians with artillery and chemical weapons to crush the rebellion. Masoud Barzani, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) leader, said that over three million Kurds had fled into the mountains of northern Iraq and towards the Turkish border for safety.10 Having its own rebellious Kurdish minority, Turkey did not allow the refugees to cross the border. Instead, refugee “shanty towns” sprang up in the mountainous border area. In the harsh and unpredictable weather, hundreds died of exposure and sickness. Food, water, and adequate shelter were essential for the refugees’ survival. The growing humanitarian crisis forced a United Nations’ response.

10 David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds (New York: I.B. Tauris, 2005), 372; Colonel Donald G. Goff, Operation Provide Comfort (U.S. Army War College, May 1992), 4; Command History Division, Headquarters Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 108; The number of refugees has never been officially confirmed, it varies from one to three million.

One of the many refugee “shanty towns” that sprang up along the mountainous Iraq-Turkey border. Hundreds died of exposure and sickness in the harsh and unpredictable weather.
One of the many refugee “shanty towns” that sprang up along the mountainous Iraq-Turkey border. Hundreds died of exposure and sickness in the harsh and unpredictable weather.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) passed two resolutions in response to Saddam Hussein’s actions. On 3 April 1991, UNSC Resolution 687 called for Iraq to give “assurances of peaceful intentions and prohibited the use of weapons of mass destruction.”11 Two days later, the UNSC passed Resolution 688, condemning Iraqi actions and asking member states to provide humanitarian aid and support to the Kurds and other refugees in northern Iraq.12 The United States government responded to the crisis first.

11 Command History Division, Headquarters Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 108; Text of United Nations Security Council Resolution 687, 3 April 1991 can be found at the United Nations website, http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/296400.5.html link accessed on 20 February 2008.

12 Text of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688, 5 April 1991 can be found at the United Nations website, < http://daccess-ods.un.org/TMP/3110034.html > accessed on 20 February 2008; McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 373.

In the relative safety of a CJTF-Provide Comfort camp near Zakhu, Kurdish refugees fill containers with purified water. Clean water saved hundreds of lives.
In the relative safety of a CJTF-Provide Comfort camp near Zakhu, Kurdish refugees fill containers with purified water. Clean water saved hundreds of lives.

President George H. W. Bush ordered U.S. European Command (EUCOM) to stand up a Joint Task Force (JTF) to begin humanitarian assistance operations on 6 April 1991 from Incirlik Air Base, Turkey. When British and French forces joined the effort, the task force became Combined Joint Task Force PROVIDE COMFORT (CJTF-PC). Its mission was to ”provide relief to the refugees and enforce the security of the humanitarian efforts of the CJTF as well as the various non governmental organizations attending to the needs of the Kurds.”13 The UN created a Kurdish “safe haven” in northern Iraq. It became known either as the “Provide Comfort” zone or the “Autonomous Kurdish Region.” The zone assumed a de facto quasi-independent country status supported by the Coalition.14 The zone was protected with a Coalition-enforced “No-Fly Zone” to prevent the Iraqis from conducting offensive flights.

13 Frank N. Schubert and Theresa L. Kraus, ed., The Whirlwind War. The United States Army in Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM (Washington DC: Center for Military History, 1995), 232; Command History Division, Headquarters Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 109.

14 McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 374-75.

Map of Iraq showing the two No-Fly zones and the Kurdish area that became the Operation PROVIDE COMFORT zone.
Map of Iraq showing the two No-Fly zones and the Kurdish area that became the Operation PROVIDE COMFORT zone.

On 24 July 1991 Operation PROVIDE COMFORT (OPC) evolved into a second phase called Operation PROVIDE COMFORT II (OPC II). In effect, the northeast portion of Iraq (the ethnically Kurdish area) became a United Nations (UN) supported protectorate zone. In October 1995, the UN assumed responsibility for the humanitarian aspects of OPC, while the CJTF-PC provided security. “Provide Comfort is a triad, so to speak: a security force for the 3.2 million people in northern Iraq, a deterrent force against Iraqi aggression, and a humanitarian relief effort,” said U.S. Air Force Brigadier General John R. Dallager, the co-commander of CJTF-OPC II.15 The Kurds established a 105-seat Kurdish parliament after 1992 elections in the OPC zone.16 Humanitarian efforts became secondary to deterring Iraqi attacks on the Kurds. The relative peace and safety in the protectorate zone were broken in the summer of 1996 when internal fighting broke out among rival Kurdish groups.

15 Timothy P. Barela, “Comfort Zone,” Airman, online version http://www.af.mil/news/airman/1095/comfort.htm link; Linda Brandon, “Military Coordination Center: Forward Component of Provide Comfort,” Special Warfare, July 1994, vol 7, 30.

16 McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 382-85; Gordon W. Rudd, Humanitarian Intervention. Assisting the Iraqi Kurds in Operation Provide Comfort, 1991 (Washington, DC; Center for Military History, 2004), 245; On 31 December 1996 Operation PROVIDE COMFORT II officially ended.

Kurdish refugees fleeing Saddam Hussein’s forces with all their worldly belongings pause for a rest on a road near a refugee camp. The refugees received aid from CJTF-Provide Comfort at the camp.
Kurdish refugees fleeing Saddam Hussein’s forces with all their worldly belongings pause for a rest on a road near a refugee camp. The refugees received aid from CJTF-Provide Comfort at the camp. (DOD Photo by JO1 J.D. Dimattio, 4/1/1991)

Examples of leaflets used during Operation PROVIDE COMFORT

Leaflet showing a map of the camp with assistance locations marked.
Leaflet showing a map of the camp with assistance locations marked.
Leaflet showing a warning about mines.
Leaflet showing a warning about mines.
Leaflet showing rules for receiving aid once the refugees got to a safe location.
Leaflet showing rules for receiving aid once the refugees got to a safe location.
Leaflet showing rules for receiving aid once the refugees got to a safe location.
Leaflet showing rules for receiving aid once the refugees got to a safe location.

The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) each had equal power in the parliament. In August 1996, political relations deteriorated into all out fighting. The intensity escalated between 17 and 22 August, when, in a surprise move, the KDP allied with the Iraqi Army to seize the PUK controlled city of Irbil. The city was significant for several reasons: it was the site of the Kurdish Parliament; and the headquarters of the Iraqi National Congress that opposed the Iraqi government. With his new allies, Saddam Hussein launched a 40,000-man force into the OPC area.17

17 “Iraqi troops attack Kurdish rebel stronghold of Irbil,” CNN online, 31 August 1996, http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9608/31/iraq/index.html link accessed 16 July 2008; Waiel Faleh, “Iraqi Troops Are Leaving Captured City – U.S. Troops In Gulf Area Remained On High Alert,” Seattle Times, 2 September 1996; McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 388-89.

In response to the Iraqi offensive the CJTF-PC II commander launched air strikes (Operation DESERT STRIKE) against the invaders and ordered all coalition personnel withdrawn from northern Iraq.18 The Republican Guard and Mukhabarat (intelligence service) moved into the void. Opposition leaders and coalition supporters were killed.19 The air strikes stopped the overt Iraqi offensive and forced a withdrawal, but the KDP and Saddam Hussein had accomplished what they wanted.20

18 Command History Division, Headquarters Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 109; McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 389.

19 Jonathan C. Randal, “Iraqi Opposition Describes Mass Execution Near Irbil,” The Washington Post, 2 September 1996, page A20.

20 Associated Press, “U.S. Cruise Missiles Hit Iraq – Clinton Says Saddam Must ‘Pay The Price’ For Attacking Town in Kurdish Region,” The Seattle Times, 3 September 1996, http://seattletimes.nwsourse.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?slug=2347296&date=19960903 link.

During the five years of OPC, the coalition and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) had hired local Kurds as interpreters, drivers, and to perform other jobs. Now the local workers were at risk of retaliation by Iraqi and KDP forces. Rather than leave its former employees in a life-threatening situation, the Department of State (DOS) received presidential approval to implement a voluntary evacuation.21

21 U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 109; On 31 December 1996 Operation PROVIDE COMFORT II officially ended; McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds, 389.

Operation QUICK TRANSIT moved the Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq to Incirlik AFB and then to Guam. Operation PACIFIC HAVEN cared for the refugees on the island until they received immigration clearance and  left for the United States.
Operation QUICK TRANSIT moved the Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq to Incirlik AFB and then to Guam. Operation PACIFIC HAVEN cared for the refugees on the island until they received immigration clearance and left for the United States.

The DOS solution was a two-phase operation. First, Operation QUICK TRANSIT (QT), conducted primarily by the DOS and the U.S. Air Force providing transportation support, would move the Kurdish refugees from northern Iraq to an intermediate safe area for immigration screening and processing.22 The second phase, Operation PACIFIC HAVEN (PH) conducted on Guam, would support the process, including housing, and then get the refugees to the USA or other countries.

22 In Department of State terminology it was “Mission Quick Transit,” however for continuity I will use “Operation” as the term; U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 111.

JTF Quick Transit (JTF-QT) delivered the Kurds first across the border into Turkey and then to Guam. Simultaneously to receive the refugees, an Air Force-dominated JTF PACIFIC HAVEN, supporting the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), was stood up at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. The island was selected as an intermediate staging base for two reasons; first, it had recently vacated housing caused by force reductions associated with the 1993 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process.23 Secondly, Guam was a remote secure site to evaluate and process the refugees seeking political asylum.24 The Kurdish refugees could not “walk out the gate” of the base and find refuge in the United States; they needed documentation to emigrate.25 The two JTFs focused on transportation, housing, and processing, without considering how to prepare the refugees for life elsewhere.

23 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, “1993 Report to the President,” Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission, 1 July 1993, http://www.defenselink.mil/brac/docs/1993com2.pdf link, accessed on 19 June 2008, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC.

24 Vik Jolly, “Kurds fleeing Iraq find haven in Guam,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 17 September 1996, online version http://starbulletin.com/96/09/17/news/story2.html link, accessed on 12 November 2007.

25 This had been a problem going as far back as 1956 with Hungarian refugees at Camp Kilmer, New Jersey. It was repeated with Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s and Cubans in the 1980s; On a tertiary note Major General John R. Dallager, commander of the 13th Air Force on Guam had formerly been the co-commander of Combined Joint Task Force –Operation PROVIDE COMFORT II only a year previous and had the experience of dealing with the Kurds. Whether or not MG Dallager’s presence in Guam was a factor in putting the refugees there is unknown.

Additional military forces were needed to perform the humanitarian mission on Guam. In the beginning, the JTF PACIFIC HAVEN staff and assets came primarily from Air Force and Navy units stationed on Guam. Significant Army augmentation came from U.S. Army Pacific Command (USARPAC), Hawaii. The 25th Infantry Division sent infantry and military police units as a security force. The Department of the Army tasked the active and the Army Reserve for specialized units and individual augmentees. These were the sources of administration, medical, engineering, public affairs, and linguistic support.26 It took time to accumulate these assets. The Fort Bragg-based Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs units were landing as the other forces converged on Guam.

26 Department of the Army Historical Summary: Fiscal Year (FY) 1996, 78 http://www.army.mil/CMH/books/DAHSUM/1996/ch05.htm link assessed on.

When MAJ Henry’s MIST arrived in Guam, there was an asset already in place, SSG Carl S. Alerta from the PSYOP Forward Support Detachment in Hawaii. “The notification to deploy to Guam was short-notice … approximately two hours. About 10 a.m. [Friday 13 September] I was told by the J-32 colonel that I had two hours to get my things packed for deployment to Guam,” said SSG Alerta. “This meant that I had to drive to my residence on the other side of the island, pack and return by noon. I accomplished the requirement, but wound up packing a bag full of dirty clothes, since I hadn’t done my laundry.” As it turned out, Alerta could have done several loads of laundry. The U.S. Pacific Command team rushed to the Honolulu airport and then waited for a flight later that evening.27

27 Chief Warrant Officer 3 Carl S. Alerta, e-mail to Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Jones, Jr., 23 June 2008, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC; The 4th Psychological Operations Group had assigned Forward Support Elements to several of the overseas Combatant Commands, including Pacific Command and European Command; Joint Task Force – Pacific Haven Military Information Support Team After Action Review, 6 October 1996, ARSOF Archives, USAJFKSWCS, Fort Bragg, NC.

Until additional personnel arrived, the five-man team was slotted as advisors to the 13th Air Force (JFT-PH), because it had not trained as a Joint Task Force. The five PACOM advisors included a U.S. Marine colonel from J-3 Operations, a Navy Public Affairs officer, a medical operations planner, a Reserve Civil Affairs LTC, and SSG Alerta as the PSYOP planner. “We were included because there were no PSYOP or CA assets on Guam and the JTF staff had no PSYOP or CA planning experience,” commented Alerta.28

28 Alerta e-mail, 23 June 2008.

SSG Alerta began advising the JTF-PH commander and staff on what the Fort Bragg PSYOP assets en route could do for him. He was also a one-man PSYOP advance party, arranging for billets, finding working space, and setting up transportation. MAJ Henry discovered that SSG Alerta coordinated everything necessary “to get in and get set up for the operation,” said MAJ Henry.29 Four hours after they arrived the MIST was ready to operate.

29 Henry e-mail, 20 February 2008; Henry interview, 24 October 1996; JTF – Pacific Haven MIST AAR, 6 October 1996.

The DOS planned for a single group of Kurdish refugees. Initially the primary concern of JTF-QT was getting the refugees out of harm’s way. A key planning assumption was that the entire mission would take 30 to 60 days. Once the refugees landed on Guam, the lead agency switched from the DOS to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). On Guam a myriad of government agencies, including the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, helped the DHHS prepare the refugees for emigration. JTF-PC established a Humanitarian Assistance Center (HAC) to coordinate the governmental, private volunteer, and non governmental organizations (NGOs) that came to assist.30

30 U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 120; Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Annual Report to Congress – 1997, http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/policy/97arc1.htm link, accessed 1 December 2007.

In spite of the short preparation time, JTF-PH developed a good reception plan for the Kurds. Once on Guam, they received everything from medical to security screening. Since the initial group of refugees were former employees, and family members that worked for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and CJTF PROVIDE COMFORT, the 30-60 day processing assumption seemed valid.31 How the refugees would be prepared for assimilation in their new country was not factored.

31 U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 109.

A father helps his daughter down the stairs of a plane. The Kurdish refugees had just completed a 17-hour flight from Turkey to Guam.
A father helps his daughter down the stairs of a plane. The Kurdish refugees had just completed a 17-hour flight from Turkey to Guam. (DOD photo by PH1 Kurt Lengfield, 9/96)
A volunteer escort meets a Kurdish refugee family upon arrival at Andersen AFB, Guam. The volunteer would help the family through customs, medical screening, and an initial INS interview.
A volunteer escort meets a Kurdish refugee family upon arrival at Andersen AFB, Guam. The volunteer would help the family through customs, medical screening, and an initial INS interview. (DOD photo by PH2 Rex Cordell)

When the commercially contracted planes landed at Andersen AFB, the Kurdish refugees were greeted and given a hot meal. Assigned volunteer escorts helped each family through the reception and screening process, which included customs, medical screening, and an initial INS interview. Buses then transported the families to the Andersen South Housing Area for housing assignment. Once installed, the Kurds began the bureaucratic waiting game tied to an approval to emigrate. Since the Kurds had arrived in extended family groups, they were kept together. As families were cleared, they waited to fill a charter aircraft to go to the United States.32

32 Charles H. Nicholls, Historian Pacific Air Forces, e-mail to Lieutenant Colonel Robert W. Jones, Jr., 2 January 2008, USASOC History Office Classified Files, Fort Bragg, NC; U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 115.

Andersen South was a furnished housing area for the refugees. The Base Housing Office provided all furniture and household items, from pots and pans to linens. A centralized dining facility was set up in the center of the community to provide three hot meals a day. But, after the first few weeks, Kurdish leaders asked that the families be allowed to cook at home. Food, with special attention to Muslim dietary restrictions, was provided from a central issue site.

A Kurdish refugee boy carries food for his family to his temporary home at Andersen AFB, Guam from the dining facility. The sign on the right assures the Kurds that the food is “Free from Pork,” meeting Muslim religious dietary customs.
A Kurdish refugee boy carries food for his family to his temporary home at Andersen AFB, Guam from the dining facility. The sign on the right assures the Kurds that the food is “Free from Pork,” meeting Muslim religious dietary customs. (DOD photo by PH2 Rex Cordell, 19 Sep 1996)
Medical personnel take a blood sample from a newly-arrived Kurdish boy who is being comforted by his father. The medical screening procedures were critical for getting approval to emigrate.
Medical personnel take a blood sample from a newly-arrived Kurdish boy who is being comforted by his father. The medical screening procedures were critical for getting approval to emigrate. (DOD photo by PH2 Jeff Viano)

MG Dallager named Air Force LTC Elwood Johnson the Andersen South “Mayor,” to coordinate refugee operations. In a “four-plex” in the center of the community, near the dining facility and hospital, he established an office with PSYOP, CA, and supply departments in the other three apartments. Co-located with the Kurds in the community LTC Johnson eliminated many issues before they became problems. He hosted meetings with the Kurdish leaders and held open “town hall” meetings for the community at large.33

33 U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 120; Henry e-mail, 20 February 2008; JTF – Pacific Haven MIST AAR, 6 October 1996.

Medical care became the responsibility of the U.S. Air Force 36th Medical Group. The USAF brought in a 14-bed mobile hospital from Japan to help with medical screening and medical support of the refugees. The Navy and the Army provided additional medical assets as the operation continued. Every refugee had to receive a complete medical examination, including the required vaccinations. In the process, more than thirty children were born on Guam, automatically making them U.S. citizens.34

34 Lieutenant Commander Jack R. Rumbaugh, “Operation Pacific Haven: Humanitarian Medical Support for Kurdish Evacuees,” Military Medicine, Volume 163, number 5, May 1998, 269; U.S. Pacific Command History, Volume I, 1997, 115; The 374th Air Transportable Hospital came from Yokota Air Force Base, Japan, to help with medical screening and support of the refugees. Additional support came from U.S. Naval Hospital, Guam, and the 3rd Medical Battalion, 3rd Marine Division, Okinawa, Japan.

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