ACCESSION NUMBER:257717 FILE ID:POL310 DATE:12/09/92 TITLE:U.S. FORCES FIND NO EARLY DIFFICULTIES IN SOMALIA (12/09/92) TEXT:*92120910.POL U.S. FORCES FIND NO EARLY DIFFICULTIES IN SOMALIA (Pentagon says early phase successful) (470) By Jacquelyn S. Porth USIA Security Affairs Correspondent Washington -- U.S. Marines landing in Mogadishu December 9 have encountered "no difficulties whatsoever" so far in Operation Restore Hope, says a top Marine Corps official. Noting that the Marines' assignment is to establish a stable environment for humanitarian aid and to create "allies...of the Somali people," Marine Lieutenant General Martin Brandtner told reporters in Washington the same day that the Pentagon hopes the operation will continue to be "bloodless." Brandtner said the early phase of the U.S. plan, now successfully completed, involved an amphibious landing on the Somali coast and a takeover of Mogadishu airport and port in order to prepare the way for "air, land, (and) sea follow-on forces." About 1,800 Marines and 1,500 Navy sailors took part in the operation. Joint Task Force Commander Lieutenant General Robert Johnston will arrive in Mogadishu with additional troop support on December 10 to oversee U.S. and international forces participating in the operation. Brandtner said three additional prepositioned ships will arrive off the coast of Somalia within two days to provide logistical support to the Marines. Military combat engineers, he said, hope to have the airport repaired, upgraded and running 24-hours a day "very soon." Brandtner noted that 228,000 leaflets have been dropped on Somalia 1xplaining the role of U.S. troops, operating under U.N. auspices, as they seek to establish a secure environment to permit humanitarian relief supplies to flow to starving Somalis. Rear Admiral Michael Cramer, director of current intelligence with the Joint Staff, provided the latest security update, noting that the low key reaction to the U.S. landing by the major Somali factional leaders remains "uniformly positive." Cramer described the overall security situation in the capital of Mogadishu as satisfactory. He reported some fighting during the past 72-hours as a few factions in Baidoa, Bardera and Kismayo tried to establish their best position. Each of the four major factions, Cramer said, have access to significant armaments. There have been no "large scale incidents" since the operation began, Cramer said, but he noted that one U.N. worker was shot and wounded in his car December 8, while some others were stopped and harassed, before being allowed to proceed. Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams meanwhile told reporters that U.S. military humanitarian relief flights begun in August will continue. Ten Somali flights were scheduled December 8 for Baidoa, two for Oddur, and one for Belet Weyne, in addition to one for the Kenyan town of Wajir. He said the "heart and soul" of Operation Restore Hope is to provide security so people will stop interfering with relief supplies. NNNN .