At 80 years old, Barry McCaffrey physical status not available right now. We will update Barry McCaffrey's height, weight, eye color, hair color, build, and measurements.
Following his graduation from West Point, McCaffrey was commissioned into the infantry. His combat tours included action in the Dominican Republic with 82nd Airborne Division in 1965, advisory duty with Army of the Republic of Vietnam from 1966 to 1967, and company command with 1st Cavalry Division from 1968 to 1969. During the course of his service, he was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Purple Heart three times for wounds sustained in combat, and the Silver Star twice.
McCaffrey's peacetime assignments included tours as an instructor at United States Military Academy from 1972 to 1975, Assistant Commandant at the United States Army Infantry School; Deputy United States Representative to NATO; Assistant to the chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS); and Director of Strategic Plans and Policy, Joint Chiefs of Staff.
During Operation Desert Storm, McCaffrey commanded the 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized). Under his command, the division conducted the "left hook" attack 230 miles (370 km) into Iraq, leading to decisive battle victory in the Gulf War and also putting troops in place for the final battle of the war.
In his book Prodigal Soldiers, James Kitfield recounted McCaffrey's "left hook" attack plan. McCaffrey commanded "two entire Army corps deep into Iraqi territory. If successful, and no army in history had ever moved a force that size over 300 miles (480 km) on the time line General H. Norman Schwarzkopf was reciting, the move would flank the Republican Guard divisions in Kuwait and cut off all avenues of retreat ... The briefing left McCaffrey slightly stunned. He was part of the flanking force, and his mind was already starting to race over a logistics problem the war colleges would call a potential war-stopper, yet he had one overriding thought: We're not going to fight a war of attrition, or a limited war. It was a revelation. He saw now that the Army was going to play to its strengths and the enemy's weakness. By God, we learned. We learned (from the lessons of Vietnam)."
In their book The Generals' War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf, Michael R. Gordon and General Bernard E. Trainor wrote more about the "left hook" attack:
A subsequent Rand Corporation report, "Technology's Child: Schwarzkopf and Operation Desert Storm," further described the battle plan:
Describing the "left hook" battle plan and its aftermath, Schwarzkopf and Petre wrote, "General McCaffrey's mission was to leapfrog his units 300 miles (480 km) north and to occupy an 80-mile-by-60-mile zone with the Marines digging in around Al Jubayl. General J. H. Binford Peay III was to establish bases along McCaffrey's left flank, from which his helicopters and troops could defend a 100-mile arc of desert to the north and west. A brigade of the 101st would also serve temporarily as a screen, ranging forward of the U.S. positions to detect, delay, and disrupt any enemy attack. Eventually, Colonel Doug Starr's 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment would arrive to take over that mission ... On Saturday morning, March 2 (1991), two days after the shooting supposedly had stopped, I came into the war room (in Riyadh) to discover that we'd just fought a major battle in the Euphrates valley. Evidently, two battalions of the Republican Guard had gotten tired of waiting to cross the pontoon bridge at Basra the night before and had headed west on Highway 8. Twice, they'd encountered Bradley Fighting Vehicles operating as scouts for the 24th Mech(anized Division, under McCaffrey's command) and both times had opened fire with antitank missiles. At dawn, they'd run into a U.S. blocking position and had opened fire again. McCaffrey had replied with a full-scale tank and helicopter counterattack, smashing the Iraqi column and taking 3,000 prisoners without suffering a single casualty. To me, this wasn't altogether bad news: the Republican Guard had shown characteristic arrogance by spotting what looked like a weak U.S. force – not suspecting that an entire U.S. Army division was in the way – and deciding, "Let's shoot 'em up." I was glad that the President's cease-fire statement had reserved our forces the right to shoot back if attacked. Yet the incident underscored the urgency of setting cease-fire terms that would definitively separate the two sides."
On February 27, 1991, C-SPAN documented the terms of President George H. W. Bush's cease-fire statement, including the terms of engagement:
In a paper entitled "Detecting Massed Troops with the French SPOT Satellites: A Feasibility Study for Cooperative Monitoring," Vipin Gupta of Sandia National Laboratories and LTC George Harris, Commander, 250th Military Intelligence Battalion, extensively described and illustrated pre-battle and post-battle satellite images:
The paper concluded, "The positive identification of troop positions was facilitated by the dramatic appearance of numerous secured encampments and the sudden disappearance of normal civilian traffic ... The observation of the new, redundant trail network further suggested that the new inhabitants in the area were indeed military forces ... After these forces were found, more detailed analysis revealed the logistical areas, training grounds, and troop positions. Each feature was identified from its topographic location, layout, configuration, and associated level of activity."
On November 13, 1993, CDR Daniel S. Zazworsky, USN, wrote an unclassified analysis of the "left hook" attack, saying, "Major General McCaffrey, commander of the 24th Infantry Division (Mech), also recognized the importance of capturing enemy resources for his own forces use. On the leading edge of the left hook envelopment, he was bringing enough fuel with him in a huge logistics tail behind him. But he was hauling most of it in HEMTTs (heavy expanded-mobility tactical trucks) which themselves required huge amounts of fuel and, therefore, ordered his artillery gunners not to shoot Iraqi tank trucks or POL dumps or gas stations along the road. He told them 'We just might need the fuel too, and anyone who blows it up will answer to me.' While there is certainly utility in capturing enemy resources, the brevity of the war left it unclear whether or not LTGEN William G. Pagonis' and General McCaffrey's efforts would have been sufficient to enable the US to conduct a significantly prolonged offensive. Nor is it clear how useful enemy munitions and other equipment would have been. Perhaps General McCaffrey and Colonel Paul Kern, commander of 2nd Brigade, gave us a hint to the answer to that question. Within hours of locating a huge Iraqi stockpile of fuel-air bombs at Jalibah airfield inside Iraq, Kern had them destroyed. Later, McCaffrey indicated that it would take a week to destroy all the ammunition dumps and military supplies around the airfield ... Destroying captured enemy munitions conveys the message that they were either not needed...or not wanted. Lt. Colonel Dave Oberthaler, Logistics Staff Officer with the 24th Infantry Division (Mech) in the KTO (Kuwaiti Theater of Operations), also raises a valid concern with regard to captured Iraq fuel, food and drink – indicating that fear of contamination would have kept U.S. forces from using them. He also points out another problem with relying on captured enemy equipment. Often the destruction of that enemy equipment is a high priority. For example, captured Iraqi transportation equipment (primarily HEMTTs), would have been very useful to U.S. ground forces. However, these units were also a top priority target for the coalition air forces."
In an opinion column published on May 22, 2000, in The New Yorker entitled "Annals of War: Overwhelming Force," Seymour Hersh wrote that McCaffrey, whose pre–1991 record he praised extensively, may according to an unnamed source have commanded his troops to kill retreating Iraq soldiers after the ceasefire had been declared and then failed to properly investigate reports of killings of unarmed persons and an alleged massacre of hundreds of Iraqi POWs. Hersh's column quoted "senior officers decrying the lack of discipline and proportionality in the McCaffrey-ordered attack." One colonel told Hersh that it "made no sense for a defeated army to invite their own death ... It came across as shooting fish in a barrel. Everyone was incredulous."
In the same issue of New Yorker, its editor-in-chief David Remnick wrote an editorial supporting Hersh's research and conclusions. Remnick wrote, "In Iraq, General McCaffrey led the 24th Infantry Division in an epic 'left hook' tank drive, designed to shut off an Iraqi retreat from Kuwait. He and his troops won extraordinary praise for a four-day march under bleak conditions. Hersh, however, in the course of conducting hundreds of interviews and reviewing thousands of pages of government and Army documents, found a number of operations by men under McCaffrey's command that are, at a minimum, unsettling. His detailed account, published here this week, describes how, on March 2, 1991—two days after the declaration of a ceasefire, when Iraqi forces were in flight—McCaffrey attacked a line of retreating Iraqi vehicles and troops, unleashing an assault that lasted several hours and was all but uncontested. In testimony before the Senate and in written answers to questions from Hersh, whose repeated requests for an interview were declined, McCaffrey said that his men were fired on and he had no choice but to respond in force—with the full might of his division."
Remnick continued, "Many military men have supported General McCaffrey's version of events, but many officers and enlisted men who have talked to Hersh for the record say either that there was no Iraqi fire at all or that there was so little, and of such minor consequence, that it hardly warranted the onslaught–and bloodshed–that followed. The question is one of proportionality: Did an Army general, who is now, as it happens, in the President's Cabinet, go too far?"
Subsequently, an Army investigation cleared McCaffrey of any wrongdoing. Hersh dismissed the findings of the investigation, writing that "few soldiers report crimes, because they don't want to jeopardize their Army careers." Hersh describes his interview with Private First Class Charles Sheehan-Miles, who later published a novel about his experience in the Gulf: "When I asked Sheehan-Miles why he fired, he replied, 'At that point, we were shooting everything. Guys in the company told me later that some were civilians. It wasn't like they came at us with a gun. It was that they were there—'in the wrong place at the wrong time.' Although Sheehan-Miles is unsure whether he and his fellow-tankers were ever actually fired upon during the war, he is sure that there was no significant enemy fire: 'We took some incoming once, but it was friendly fire,' he said. 'The folks we fought never had a chance.' He came away from Iraq convinced that he and his fellow-soldiers were, as another tanker put it, part of 'the biggest firing squad in history.'"
McCaffrey denied the charges that on three occasions, he or his men of the 24th infantry division either fired on enemy soldiers who had surrendered in an "unprovoked attack," or "went too far" in responding to a non-existent threat. He attacked what he called Hersh's "revisionist history" of the Gulf War. BBC reported that "General McCaffrey said an army investigation had previously cleared him of any blame, and he accused the New Yorker of maligning young soldiers... White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said President Bill Clinton felt the charges were unsubstantiated."
According to Georgie Anne Geyer of the Chicago Tribune from May 2000, Hersh's accusations were disputed by a number of military personnel, who later claimed to have been misquoted by the journalist. She argues that this may have been Hersh's misguided attempt to break another My Lai story, and that he "could not possibly like a man such as McCaffrey, who is so temperamentally and philosophically different from him." Finally, she suggests that Hersh may also have been motivated to attack the general for McCaffrey's role as the drug czar.
Hersh also alleged that McCaffrey violated Department of Defense policy by denying reporters access to his battle plans and the actual battleground. In fact, however, McCaffrey welcomed famed war correspondent Joseph L. Galloway. On May 26, 2006, Knight Ridder Washington, D.C. bureau chief John Walcott, honored Galloway, saying, "Mike Ruby, Merrill McLoughlin, and I sent Joe (Galloway) to Schwarzkopf's headquarters in Riyadh with the kind of simple request that editors like to make: Go get the best seat in the war.... General Schwarzkopf sent Joe to Maj. Gen. Barry McCaffrey's 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized), which he said had the most complex and dangerous assignment in his battle plan, the famous left hook. Almost as soon as he arrived at division headquarters, Joe was ushered into the TOC, the Tactical Operations Center. The cover was lifted off the division's battle maps, which of course were Top Secret-and-change.... Joe asked General McCaffrey why he could see the secret battle plan. 'I trust you because Norm trusts you,' Barry replied, 'but most of all, I trust you because you're coming with us.'"
Lieutenant General Steven Arnold, interviewed by Hersh for the article, was one of the officers who later claimed to have been misquoted. He wrote to the editor of the New Yorker, saying, "I know that my brief comments in the article were not depicted in an entirely accurate manner and were taken out of context.... When the Iraqi forces fired on elements of the 24th Infantry Division, they were clearly committing a hostile act. I regret having granted an interview with Mr. Hersh. The tone and thrust of the article places me in a position of not trusting or respecting General Barry McCaffrey, and nothing could be further from the truth."
Similar criticism of Hersh's allegations came from General Colin Powell, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Iraq War. In a May 2000 interview with Sam Donaldson for the television news program This Week, Powell described the Hersh article as "attempted character assassination on General McCaffrey."
On May 22, 2000, the New Yorker discussed Hersh's allegations, as did Newsweek on May 29, 2000. "Five-Hour Air, Armor Assault—The March 2 attack on the Iraqi Republican Guard 'Hammurabi' tank division is ordered by Army General Barry McCaffrey (the general who commanded the already-famous 'left hook' maneuver days before—see February 23, 1991 and After), in response to what McCaffrey says is an attack on his forces with rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). The decision surprises some in the Allied command structure in Saudi Arabia and causes unease among civilian and military leaders in Washington, who worry about the public relations ramifications of an attack that comes days after a cease-fire was implemented (see February 28, 1991). McCaffrey himself later calls the attack 'one of the most astounding scenes of destruction I have ever participated in.' The 'Hammurabi' division is obliterated in the assault."
McCaffrey's last command in the army was United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), the unified command responsible for United States military activities in Central America and South America. He commanded SOUTHCOM, whose headquarters were then in the Republic of Panama, from 1994 to 1996. Besides managing military personnel, as part of his duties in Panama, McCaffrey supported humanitarian operations for over 10,000 Cuban refugees as part of Operation Safe Haven from 8 September 1994 – 15 March 1995 at Empire Range, Panama. It was also during his last military position that he created the first Human Rights Council and Human Rights Code of Conduct for U.S. Military Joint Command. He wrote in August 1995 in "Human Rights and the Commander" in Joint Force Quarterly, "There is a common assumption that respect for an enemy's soldiers and its civilian populace can stand in the way of a successful military campaign. Instead, respect for human rights increases the efficacy of security forces, both military and law enforcement."
McCaffrey was the youngest and most highly decorated four-star general in the army at the time of his retirement from the military in 1996.
On June 1, 1996, at the commencement ceremony at the United States Military Academy, Secretary of Defense William Perry commended McCaffrey's performance during the Gulf War. Perry said, "Whatever else is required of you in your Army career, you will first of all need to be a warrior. And you could find no better role model than Barry McCaffrey. Barry became one of America's greatest warriors. He led forces into combat in Vietnam, where he was grievously wounded. In Desert Storm, General McCaffrey's 24th Infantry Division led the famous left hook that caught the Iraqi army by surprise, and led America to one of its most convincing battlefield victories ever. He then went to SOUTHCOM at a crucial time and seized the opportunities presented by the ascendancy of democracy in our hemisphere. General McCaffery's attributes as a warrior – guts, brains and tenacity – are key to success on today's battlefield. Now he is putting those same skills to work as a civilian, leading America's war against drugs."
On February 17, 2003, Mark Mazzetti and Kevin Whitelaw, in an article entitled "Six Deadly Fears: The U.S. military is confident of victory in Iraq–but at what price?" in U.S. News & World Report, quoted McCaffrey, "whose 24th Mechanized Infantry Division helped execute the famous 'left hook' attack against an Iraqi Army stronger than today's in Operation Desert Storm, puts it this way: "The Iraqis have no good military options. There is no technique, no tool that they can now adopt that will have any military significance on the outcome of the conflict ... Most likely, Saddam would use artillery-delivered mustard gas and nerve agents against U.S. ground elements advancing on Baghdad. If so, says McCaffrey, 'it's going to create conditions of abject misery, but it will have no impact on the pace of the operation.'"
- State Department Superior Honor Award, 1992, as member of principal negotiation team for the START II Nuclear Arms Control Treaty
- August 27, 2002—Keynote speaker at the 2002 Innovative Government Forum (IGF) in Sacramento, California
- May 6, 2003 – "Barry McCaffrey; Excerpts from a Monitor Breakfast on the Long-Term Impact of the Iraq War, interviewed by David T. Cook for The Christian Science Monitor
- 2004 – James Cardinal Gibbons Medal (Highest Honor), The Catholic University of America, awarded to honor any person who, in the opinion of the CUA Alumni Association's Board of Governors, has rendered distinguished and meritorious service to the Roman Catholic Church, the United States of America, or The Catholic University of America.
- December 18, 2008 – "Four-Star Gen. McCaffrey Given Key to City by Dearborn, MI Mayor O'Reilly"—reported by Channel 9, WAFB Detroit
- February 12, 2009 – "Transition to Power: Challenges Facing the New Administration Presentation to National Defense Industrial Association's Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict 20th Annual Symposium & Exhibition"—presentation by Gen. McCaffrey
- 2010 – Government Security News Extraordinary Leadership and Service in Homeland Security Award
- 2010 Distinguished Graduate Award, West Point Association of Graduates of the United States Military Academy
- March 2012—General (Ret.) Alexander M. Haig Jr. Guardian of Liberty Award from West Point Society of Philadelphia
- June 13, 2012 – General McCaffrey was awarded the Martin and Toby Adler Distinguished Service Award in Palm Springs, CA from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.
- Honored Guest at West Point Society of New York 2012 Founder's Day Celebration Dinner
- United States Military Academy West Point Notable Graduates
- Covered extensively in Shirley Ann Warshaw's book Presidential Profiles: The Clinton Years
- Honorary Companion of the District of Columbia Commandery of the Military Order of Foreign Wars
- MBA Veterans Leadership Award 2018 – Foster School of Business at the University of Washington