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America's New War: U.S. Military Forces Get Ready for Battle

Aired September 25, 2001 - 16:29   ET


JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: Judy, thanks. About the deployment in America's New War, we want to take a moment now to look at the U.S. forces moving into place in the region, as well as what is already there. You first heard about this last week, from its home port in Japan, the battle group Kittyhawk sent out two escort ships, and the aircraft carrier if the Kittyhawk last week headed to what is described as an undisclosed location.

On the other battle group, the USS Theodore Roosevelt is on its way to the Mediterranean or perhaps points East or there. Naval experts tell CNN that it should take two and a half to three weeks to get it all in place. It left from Norfolk last week. That means it should arrive in the next 14 days, maybe a little bit earlier than that. The Roosevelt's crew, 15,000 sailors and Marines, could end up in the Persian Gulf.

The Roosevelt battle group includes destroyers, cruisers, attack submarines, and other support ships as well. Among the aircraft attached to this group, the F-14 Tomcat, the F-18 Hornet, and they, of course, can launch missiles.

Now, already in the Persian Gulf is the USS Carl Vinson battle group. It has the same time of aircraft we're talking about and capabilities as the Roosevelt and a crew of 6,000 sailors and Marines as well.

In the Arabian Sea, there is the USS Enterprise battle group. You see it there: 6,000-8,000 sailors and Marines, along with squadrons of aircraft and support ships as well.

So why so many carrier groups? Well, if there are airstrikes -- and that is still if -- these groups would be able to launch ongoing strikes over and over again. These sorties, as they're called, each single air mission could be quickly refueled and rearmed from what amounts to mobile airfields pretty much. And with all the support ships in the battle groups, the carriers would be easy to resupply without ever having to come into port to do that.

So more here on the thinking behind these sort of deployments, retired Army General David Grange joins us. He was commanding general of the First Infantry Division and was also a member of the Delta Force.

General, we appreciate your being with us today. RET. GEN. DAVID GRANGE, FORMER COMMANDER, FIRST INFANTRY DIVISION: Good afternoon.

CHEN: We see something like the deployments that we've just been looking at here, and you have to stop and wonder what this means. Is this specifically preparation for something the government has planned, or could it be at this point something of a psychological operation, an intimidation factor for any bad guys who might want to act in the region?

GRANGE: I believe it's a combination of all those things. First of all, it's a deterrent force out there that shows we mean business. Second, there's maybe some targets of opportunity. These targets will be fleeting and you'll have to strike quick in order to have an effect. So we're prepared to do that.

And lastly, you want to have a lot of options. You want the flexibility to choose the course of action you want to take as a commander of these forces for this mission.

So they're gathering air, sea and land power in that area to have that flexibility.

CHEN: Well, give us a little bit more on that, this thinking that has to go into place. What has to be in place before an operation really can be considered to be ready in place?

GRANGE: Well, you need launch platforms. You see this with the carrier groups that you just mentioned. We also need some type of bases. We're trying to get bases established right now around Afghanistan, but also bases that you may need in other areas besides Afghanistan. We're focused on that, but there's other target areas that may be used.

Second, we have...

CHEN: Such as?

GRANGE: Well, we may have to hit another country that harbors terrorists, as the president stated.

CHEN: Earlier in the day, there had been a number of briefings, of course, between the White House and key leaders on Capitol Hill, right now we know under way as Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld both on the Hill this afternoon, talking to the leadership up there as well as to the members.

And of the top Democrats, or the top Democrat in the House, Dick Gephardt, said earlier after he met with the president this morning that the notion here is that they're looking at fighting guerrilla warfare with guerrilla warfare. Talk to us as a former member of Delta Force about what they may mean by this.

GRANGE: Well, as a former Green Beret, special forces soldier, actually this is an optimum situation to run unconventional warfare. If Afghanistan is going to become -- have a new way life, we're going to have a new governing party in Afghanistan, the people have to make that happen, not just the United States or America or our allies. So we'll work with the other forces, like the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, to topple the Taliban rule. And to do that, we'll use unconventional warfare, or what's known as guerrilla warfare with our special forces soldiers and others to help train and work with these forces, to call airstrikes, to give them support so they can accomplish their mission.

CHEN: General David Grange, we appreciate all of your insight that you've been able to give us today. Thanks very much for being with us.

GRANGE: Thank you.

CHEN: An inside look at how crews at two U.S. military installations are preparing for their future assignments. We'll get live reports from an Illinois Air Force base and a Massachusetts Air National Guard base straight ahead here. Stay with us.


CHEN: Before the break, we started talking about deployments, and more on that now. Some of the U.S. military personnel now mobilizing belong to the 125th air refueling wing at Scott Air Force Base in Illinois.

CNN's Jeff Flock has been on that site throughout this day. He joins us now from near Belleville, Illinois -- Jeff.

JEFF FLOCK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, Joie. The 126th is on the list to be mobilized, though they have not yet gotten their orders, but they are busy training anyway. I want to take you to some very dramatic pictures we got just a few hours ago here. They were good enough to take us up on a training mission on one of their KC-135 tankers. You know, this is very important to the effort, because if the U.S. is not able to get its planes based anywhere near wherever targets might be, in-air refueling is a very important capability. And that's what they have with the KC-135s. We were up there, and as we said, got some very interesting pictures from the belly of that aircraft.

Here's how it works. There's a man who operates an aerial boom, which essentially has wings on it. The aircraft that needs gas, which can be anything from a B-1, B-2 stealth bombers, B-52s, stealth fighters as well as F-15s, F-16s. In this case, it was an F-16 that came up for refueling.

That positions itself within 20 feet of the KC-135. And once that boom locks on, they begin to pump gas. Tremendous pumping capabilities. They tell us that they can pump more gas in eight minutes from the KC-135 than the average gas station can pump in 24 hours. So pretty dramatic capability.

The man that operates that boom we met. We have complied with the Air Force and the military's request not to reveal their names, the names of the people we talk to, because of concerns these days that would make them a target. But we did have a good discussion with the man that operates that boom about how he makes a living up there in the belly of the KC-135.


FLOCK: Today is obviously a good day, but obviously you sometimes have to do this when conditions are bad, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Weather is always a factor, so when it's nice and clear without any precipitation or cloud coverage, it makes it a whole lot easier. Of course, there's no turbulence today either, which is a plus.

FLOCK: And obviously doing it in training and doing it in the midst of combat is a different story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Emotionally, yeah. You know, it's all the same, usually, but in combat you've got a bit of the -- a different type of mindset.


FLOCK: A different type of mindset, indeed. And I can tell you about that man, though I can't tell you his name. I can tell you this: He had a business, a family business with his father. His father passed away just two weeks ago. His wife is pregnant. But if the 126 is mobilized, he will be shipping out whether he likes it or not, although he told me that he is ready to go. It is not a great time for him, but he is ready to go and do what needs to be done. Some example of what the U.S. military is going through right now.

That's the latest here from Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois. Joie, back to you.

CHEN: All right, Jeff Flock out there at Scott. In Massachusetts, meantime, the Defense Department has activated members of the 102nd fighter wing at the Otis Air National Guard Base. We'll try to get to that in a minute.

First, though, we want to go to New York, I understand. No -- Miles O'Brien is standing by? All right, let's go to New York, Mayor Rudy Giuliani. If Miles O'Brien will stand by. Rudy Giuliani at the microphone to speak to reporters this afternoon. Let's listen.


MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI (R), NEW YORK: I would like to thank the radio stations, and I think some of the television stations, but I heard it on radio, for publicizing the information about death certificates. It's very important that people know this information, it's very sensitive information and it was really handled very well, and I would like to thank them for doing that.

And I'll just repeat it once again. And I know Steve Fishner (ph) gave a detailed briefing about it. And that is that for those families that want to apply for death certificates and obtain them, they can start doing that tomorrow, starting at 9 o'clock at the family center.

We're going to do it over three days, and then obviously from then on, but we're going to start over a period of three days with the first day asking people where the person's name ends in the letters A to G, and we'll do it a third, a third and a third.

We're asking you to do it that way to make it easier on us. If for some reason you can't do it that way -- in other words, someone who wants to come in tomorrow because they need one very quickly or can't come in tomorrow and their name is between A and G and they have to come in on Thursday or Friday -- obviously you can do that. We're just asking people, if you can do it in this order, it's going to make it possible for us to do what we have to do.

And Steve, I think, has listed the information that we need. If you can bring with you your driver's license that contains your picture, if you can bring with you things that evidence the employment of the person that you're interested in so we can connect the information to the employer and get the information from the employer, that'd be like a canceled -- maybe like a check, maybe a statement, any correspondence from the employer, anything that might indicate the position that the person held with the employer, anything like that so we can verify with the employer and get the necessary documents from the employer.

It also, if you could bring in proof of your relationship, a marriage certificate, a birth certificate, baptismal certificate, things like that that therefore would show that you are the next of kin. Because that's what the lawyers will be working on. They'll be working on affidavits that prove those things.

I want to tell you how grateful I am to the New York State Bar Association, the Bar Association of the City of New York, the New York County Lawyers Association and the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. All four have contributed lawyers free of charge to do this. Not only are they doing it free of charge, but the last several days they've gone through training to do this, because this is not something that many lawyers do that often, as you would expect. And we have over 500 lawyers that have volunteered to do this. So that's really a wonderful piece of public service and a very sensitive and good, really wonderful thing to do.

Also want to thank Judge Littman (ph), who helped to organize the judges that will be available to look at these papers and then try to review them as quickly as possible to make a determination as to whether an order should be signed pronouncing or certifying that the person has died.

Again, I feel my sympathy to everyone that has to go through this.

Today at 5 o'clock, or 5:15, the relief effort is going to involve taking down the wall of World Trade Center Two. I think that it's become a very prominent structure that I'm sure people have seen on television or in pictures many, many times now over the course of the last two weeks. It'll take about an hour to take it down, if we can get it down with the process that we're using.

The area is going to be cleared for a while so that they can be done. And obviously they've planned it and are going to make it as safe as possible. And then, once having taken down that wall, they should be able to do more recovery right in that area more freely and with more safety for the people who are doing it.

We will preserve as much of that wall as possible, because there are people who have expressed an interest in doing a memorial that would involve reconstructing some or part of that wall. I don't know if that'll eventually be the decision that's made, but please understand that when it comes down it's going to be preserved. We have many, many photographs of it that have been taken -- you all have many photographs of it in the media. So when it comes down, please understand that if that becomes the memorial, it can be reconstructed in some form, you know, that would look like that or at least depict it in some way.

I know people are expressing concern about air quality, water quality in the area. Tested constantly and the tests are negative. So there are no problems with water quality or air quality -- any significant problems.

Stuyvesant High School has been returned to the Board of Education. I'm very, very happy about that, because as of two days ago we weren't going to return it until October 1.

But because of Richie Shearer's (ph) work and the fact that people working on these emergency projects do miracles, he was able to work it out so that we could turn the Stuyvesant High School back to the chancellor today so that they can begin the cleanup work, which will take four or five days to clean up, because essentially that was a command post in which we had an enormous amount of material, we housed people.

It, of course, got very dirty, and it has to be cleaned and we have to make sure it's environmentally sound. So it will take four or five days, maybe even six, to actually clean it and get it ready, but those four or five days weren't really slated to start until October 1. So, I mean, it's really terrific, the work they're doing in trying to reorganize things.

And the same thing is true -- I'll have Richie (ph) show you on the map -- but we're going to -- we're hopefully going to be able to open up several more streets in the area. We have to see the results of the tests that we take today and then early tomorrow. And if it's environmentally sound and we're able to go in, we can start opening up several other areas -- Greenwich to Broadway, Murray, Warren Streets, places like that. And we'll show that to you on a map. It's probably easier to describe it on a map.

Printed while we're speaking.

We are considering, and probably are going to do this, so people should start thinking about this, on Thursday, we're going to probably put in effect a restriction that says that you can only come into Manhattan with single occupancy -- with more than single occupancy. You're going to have to have more than one person in the car.

The reason for that is that traffic today was horrible, really very difficult. The city is returning to normal from the point of view of -- we're just maybe a slight percentage below what we normally would have on a given day. So we're very, very crowded. And for lots of reasons -- construction, security -- things are slower.

So we're going to put in a requirement that when you come into Manhattan you have to have two or more people in the car. And the question remaining is whether we do that for intra-city bridges and tunnels -- meaning Brooklyn to Manhattan and Bronx to Manhattan -- or we also include New Jersey. And we'll take a look at that overnight and make a decision for tomorrow.

But people should start thinking about that for Thursday. We're going to do it on Thursday because Thursday is Yom Kippur, the city will not be as crowded, and we can see how it works. And then, of course, basically we're doing it on Thursday to have it ready for Friday, to see if that eases some of the tremendous amount of traffic.

The best way to ease the traffic is, of course, to use public transportation. And I really urge people to use public transportation. Subway ridership is at about 85, 86 percent. So people aren't using the subways as much as they could. They're using their cars instead.

So I really suggest it would make an awful lot of sense to use the subways, use the buses, use public transportation, and for the next several weeks, I think, that really would probably make a lot of sense, if you can organize yourself that way.

We're up to 115,755 tons that have been removed, 7,771 trucks. The number of missing persons remains at 6,347. The number of people that have filed -- or the number of families that have filed for people at the family center is 4,452. And the number of bodies that we've recovered is 287, of which we've been able to identify 224.

There's one another announcement, and I would like to thank Speaker Vallone and have him say a few words about this also, and Governor Pataki. The city and the state together are going to put together a fund in order to make loans available to small business. It's called the WTC Disaster Recovery Loan Program. It'll provide loans of up to $100,000, to get it within three days of application to businesses and not-for-profit organizations which have suffered economic injury or physical damage.

The program will allow affected businesses to obtain funds while their applications for SBA disaster relief are being reviewed, which might take longer. The interests on the WTC bridge loans will be discounted from standard bank rates.

And this is being administered by the Empire State Development Corporation, which is a state agency, and by the New York City Economic Development Corporation. The city is putting in $25 million and the state is putting in $25 million, and our $25 million is coming from the Emerging Industry Fund, which is a fund that was established by Speaker Vallone and we have in our budget -- Speaker.

CHEN: All right, you're hearing Mayor Rudy Giuliani just a moment ago finishing up his statement of the day to the local news media as well as to his city in New York, talking about some still very difficult topics, first being the issue of death certificates for a number of families. Of course, even if the family member is still missing from the World Trade Center attack, they have reason, perhaps financial, insurance-type reasons, to require a death certificate on their missing person. Families will be able to start applying beginning tomorrow for death certificates for them as well. The mayor noting that later this evening, about after 5 o'clock local time, Eastern time, the World Trade Center 2 wall, which you've seen standing in quite a bit of the video, still standing. They're concerned, however, about its safety and stability. They're going to take that down, although the mayor said that it might be reconstructed later as a memorial.

And one other note from the mayor today: He said for the city of New York and for its residents, bear in mind that they're still testing the air and water quality and still finding it to be just fine.

The mayor, of course, remains the mayor of New York City until the end of the year. But there is a primary under way in New York today for his replacement. We'll talk about that with Judy Woodruff in Washington, after the break.


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: Today is primary voting today in New York City, the day postponed form September 11th. Our Bill Schneider joining us now.

Bill, there have been some interviews already with New York City voters leaving the exit polls. What are they, what's on their minds?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Surprisingly, Judy, not terrorism. Not at least among Democratic primary voters, who voted this morning.

The top issues on their minds, No. 1, education, cited by a third of Democrats. No. 2, the economy. That's partly related to the terrorist attacks, which did a lot of damage to New York's economy. No. 3 -- No. 3 -- preventing future terrorist attacks.

You know, New Yorkers are tough. They are not traumatized, and here's the evidence. Over 70 percent of New York City Democratic voters say they are very confident that the city will fully recover from those attacks and another 24 percent are somewhat confident. Just 3 percent say they're not too confident. Hey, this is New York City we're talking about here.

WOODRUFF: A cross-partisan question: How do Democrats think Giuliani is doing in his job?

SCHNEIDER: Fine, just fine. And remember, these are Democrats, and not just Democrats, they're Democratic primary voters, which is the party's hard core. They give Mayor Giuliani a 68 percent positive job rating. Not bad at all.

Four years ago, when Giuliani was riding high in his re-election campaign, his personal favorability among New York City Democrats was just 50 percent. A two-thirds favorable rating among Democrats suggests that if Giuliani can figure out some way to get term limits suspended and if he can get his name on the November ballot, he would be a very strong favorite in the race. But those are two very big "ifs."

WOODRUFF: Time for one more quick question: Is there any sense you're getting of what voters are going to do as they vote for their next mayor, Democrats and Republicans?

SCHNEIDER: Well, it appears to be what they intended to do originally on September 11th. You know, they're coming out to vote. There's no major disruption going on. But we'll be able to tell you tonight when we actually look at how many of them say they would vote for Rudy Giuliani. We've only interviewed voters who voted this morning so far.

WOODRUFF: He can't run for another term now, according to state law, but he's been a little coy about whether he'd like to see that law changed.

SCHNEIDER: That's right, but he did not encourage people write in his name in the president ballot, which is today. In November, he's still thinking about it.

WOODRUFF: All right, we'll have those results later tonight, and CNN's coverage continues at the top of the hour with Bill Hemmer in New York, Joie Chen at the CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington.



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