Transforming the Force: The 11th Air Assault Division (Test) from 1963 to 1965

  • June 27, 2017
  • Brigadier General Thomas C. Graves

This monograph will answer the question: Can the U.S. Army apply to the current “prototype brigade” the lessons that were learned during the development and experimentation of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test)? Having established that the criteria of DTLOMS is a valuable tool for evaluating change in military systems, the next step is to apply those criteria to evaluate the changes that occurred in the formation of the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) from 1963 to 1965. In order to accomplish this, a study of the separate elements of DTLOMS will be conducted in order to determine how the 11th Air Assault Division reorganized itself and conducted operations during that period. The benchmark for studying the elements of DTLOMS will be the use of air mobility during the Ia Drang campaign of November 1965. Specifically, this monograph will attempt to answer the following six questions: 1. How did the division develop doctrine to support the transition to airmobile warfare? 2. How did the division determine the proper organization to facilitate warfighting with the airmobile division? 3. How did the division train leaders to support the new doctrine and organization? 4. How did the division conduct field training to certify its soldiers and units in the new tactics? 5. Did building a new force require any specific soldier skills; and if so, how were those skills cultivated? 6. How did the division adopt and recommend changes to material and equipment to support the new methods of fighting? Each of these questions addresses one aspect of the DTLOMS and will be used to measure change in the 11th Air Assault (Test) Division from the beginning in 1963 to the redesignation to the 1st Cavalry Division in 1965. Finally, this study will synthesize these changes and determine which lessons learned can be applied to ongoing experimentation in the U.S. Army of the 21st century.