22 September 2011

RIP GEN Donn A. Starry

Former Blackhorse trooper and author of the AirLand Battle concept, GEN Donn A. Starry has passed away at age 86.

Donn A. Starry, a retired four-star general and the chief architect of the cold war military strategy for repelling a tank-heavy Soviet invasion of Western Europe, died on Aug. 26 at his home in Canton, Ohio. He was 86.

His son Paul confirmed the death.

Known as the AirLand Battle Doctrine and emphasizing counterattacks behind enemy lines, the strategy never needed to be put into practice in Europe. But it played a decisive role in the 1990-91 Persian Gulf war after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. While deep air attacks paralyzed Iraqi forces, American ground units made a wide, flanking sweep, surrounding the enemy and ending the war in just over four days.

“This was an execution of AirLand Battle that demonstrated a combination of deep attacks and agile synchronization that overwhelmed the enemy,” Conrad Crane, director of the United States Army Military History Institute at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa., said in a telephone interview.

General Starry was commander of the Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe, Va., from 1977 to 1981. During that time he reshaped what had been known as the Active Defense Doctrine. That strategy was based on the idea that a small but agile high-tech force could repel the first wave of a massive conventional attack by Soviet forces, allowing time for reinforcements to arrive. At the time, Soviet ground forces significantly outnumbered NATO forces.

By: Brant

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