DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS
FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA
US ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
WASHINGTON, D. C.
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
Oral History Interview
DSIT AE 019
COL Julian A. Sullivan, Jr.
507th Support Group (Area)
Interview Conducted 18 February 1991 at Logistical Base CHARLIE, Northern Province, Saudi Arabia
Interviewer: MAJ Robert B. Honec, III and SSG LaDona S. Kirkland (116th Military History Detachment)
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
7 August 1990 - 15 May 1991
Oral History Interview DSIT AE 019
MAJ HONEC: This is an Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interview. I am MAJ Robert B. Honec, along with SSG LaDona S. Kirkland of the 116 Military History Detachment here at Log[istical] Base CHARLIE on the 18th of February, 1991. I am here at the 507th Support Group. And, for the record, sir, could you state your full name, Social Security number, unit of assignment, and position.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes, I am COL Julian Alan Sullivan, Jr. My Social Security number is ***-**-****. And I am commander of the 507th Support Group. We have been redesignated since we have been here--the 15th of January--as the 324th Support Group (Corps). So, while we are the 507th, we continue to call ourselves the 507th, rather than confuse people over here. Once we get back to Fort Bragg again we will be known as the 324th.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, sir. Starting with your deployment from the CONUS1 [to] here ... actually, as I understand it, in November you took over command of this unit. So, rather than that, starting from when you took over command of this unit and bring it forward, could you describe the concept of the operations, how you took over and continued to set up Log Base CHARLIE and improve it, and just bring forward with specific dates the whole idea of Log Base CHARLIE.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes, sure, I would be glad to do that. I took command the 27th of November. It was about that point in time we began to look at what we called at that point 'future operations' (and now we call them DESERT STORM).
MAJ HONEC: Yes, sir.
COL SULLIVAN: It still was very conceptual and we barely had a framework. But it appeared that it was going to be, from our point of view anyway, several phases. One would be a phase to Log Base CHARLIE at that point, and then an onward movement into offensive operations. For any number of reasons, and it primarily had to do with OPSEC2 and so forth, the CINC,3 GEN [H. Norman] Schwarzkopf, made a decision that we would not move in to Log Base CHARLIE until the bombing campaign started or until what we call D-Day. That created a bit of a problem for us in that the supplies necessary to execute offensive operations for a corps, especially a corps that had added some heavy forces in the 24th [Infantry Division] and 3d ACR4 requires a hell of a lot of sustainment. And I will get into, kind of, what is on the ground here at a little later point in time.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, sir.
COL SULLIVAN: So what we did is we backed up, took a look at it, and said what we need to do then is move it as far forward as we can. And that ended up being KKMC5 or what was then Log Base BRAVO. We started ... and we were trying to get our foot in the door. We got some land and some other things, but it was not until the 12th (I believe it was) of December that we were finally given the go-ahead to begin to move equipment and supplies up toward Log Base BRAVO. We had a couple of things that added to the work load. At the same time we were moving into Log Base BRAVO we were also supporting the 1st Cav[alry Division] move.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, sir.
COL SULLIVAN: That took just about everything that we owned in order to be able to move.
MAJ HONEC: How was the 1st Cav moved? How did that impact resource-wise?
COL SULLIVAN: Okay. The 1st Cav move took all of our heavy equipment transporters [HETs] and took the bulk of our CULT assets (Common User assets for Land Transportation) or, you know, the [M]-915 tractors and the [M-10]45 trailers. So we really did not have any of the truck companies that were organic to us available to us to make the move to KKMC. What we did to overcome that was we pooled up the deuce-and-a-halfs6 and some of the 5-ton drop-sides. We pooled up non-CULT assets. In other words, there were some tractors that were under maintenance shop sets and so forth that were organic to the organization, not part of that CULT fleet. We pooled all of those together and made them [an] ad hoc, or provisional if you will, transportation company. In fact, a couple of companies. We began to use that to move unit equipment forward to KKMC.
MAJ HONEC: Did you assign names to these transportation?
COL SULLIVAN: No, we did not do that.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: It was really based on a day-to-day basis, whatever the mission would allow us to pull off, we pulled off. We ran it through our Log[istic] Op[eration]s7 and centrally tasked those things out. People brought the requirements in, what it is they needed to move. We scrubbed it to make sure that we were not doing something unnecessary and that we moved the highest priority things first. 'What is the highest priority?' you might ask. The first thing we had to do is make sure we had ammunition companies up there. So the very first thing we moved were our ammunition companies and our ammunition battalions so they could begin to receive Class V8 at the corps storage area at Log Base BRAVO.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: And that was what we moved initially on the 12th of December. We began to move Class V in, and as we got down toward Christmas we began to move ADVON9 elements, each of the battalions forward. And then we moved other classes of supply forward, such as Class II and IV, major assemblies out of Class IX. Now, this move was being conducted outside of normal movements structure.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: Your common user land transportation or CULT assets were tasked by a movement control center, corps movement control center.10 Because these weren't CULT assets we made all of this--all of these moves and orchestrated it all out of our group headquarters. That gave us a great deal more visibility and a great deal more flexibility that we would have had otherwise. And I think it was in large part the secret of our success in pre-staging stuff at KKMC.
By the 15th of January we had put in about 16,000 short tons of ammunition. We had put in almost a thousand lines of Class IX ASL.11 We had put in MREs12 and bottled water. All of the units had been moved forward out of Dhahran to KKMC. And we then began to regroup and prepare for the offensive phase. Now, we knew that D-Day was coming. We didn't have an idea of exactly when D-Day was going to be. But you began to sense that, as you know at this point, D-Day was on the 17th, and they began a bombing campaign roughly 030013 in the morning. At 0400, 321 vehicle loads departed KKMC for Log Base CHARLIE. The lead element with me closed here just at 0855 in the morning, just before 9:00. We had started to pre-stage and pre-load what we could. We had made coordination ahead of time with the MPs14 that were going to escort us so that when the balloon went up we would be able to call them up and say, okay, it's time to go. We had talked with all of the other elements that were going to have to fall into this place--the engineers, and right on down the line.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: It is key, I think, that we were able to get off the ground and move one hour after the bombing campaign started. I think that is, first of all, pretty quick. And I think it is a tribute to the soldiers and their ability to react very, very quickly to a changing situation. And to move with a convoy of that size indicates that the battalions had done a good job of preparation in getting ready to go and being staged.
MAJ HONEC: Was there anything in the composition of your convoy that ... just quickly, how did you ... what elements did you have in your convoy?
COL SULLIVAN: We started off with the group headquarters, and with, once again, the ammo battalion because we would have to receive some serious ammunition here. Included in that, we had done some planning. If you are going to put logistics on the ground, then you have got to have a lot of stuff to precede it. You have got to have a lot of MHE (material handling equipment). Forklifts, in other words. If you are going to bring in containers and other things, you have got to have winches, rough terrain container handlers.
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
COL SULLIVAN: We programmed all of that stuff in. We programmed HETs and lowboys. Once again, the lowboys and all of that mess were internal to our organization. We were not eating something up from somebody else. But we did have our HET companies available to us, or parts of them available to us on the first day.
COL SULLIVAN: The initial convoy coming in was primarily that unit equipment necessary to receive the supplies and so forth, and provide command and control, and provide security.
MAJ HONEC: Was there any departures from doctrine on that? Or was it pretty well ...
COL SULLIVAN: I guess one of the departures that we had from doctrine is that ... doctrine on whenever you make a move like this, the movement control center controls that move. At the same time we were doing this, we were completing the Cav move. We were getting ready to do unit moves up to this location. And they were operating what they called convoy consolidation point north and south. And the MCC was controlling those. The COSCOM commander15 granted my request to leave the four medium truck companies (the transportation companies that I had) under my control and let us orchestrate the move in both Dhahran and other locations, you know, well south of here, and KKMC, into this location. And that is a departure from doctrine, and I think frankly that one of the reasons why we were as successful as we were is that we were able to orchestrate with all of the resources and know what we could count on from day to day. And once you get into the movement control business you can lose sight of that. I get to the point where I no longer have the ability to count on what I may be able to get the next day. For example, now the MCC is controlling my vehicles again. There are things that I would list as a very high priority move, but for whatever reason, they don't do that.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, go ahead. The high priority move.
COL SULLIVAN: We have ... anyway, that is a departure from doctrine, and I think that really had a lot to do with the success. We moved in here. We also brought with us a road grader, a couple of bulldozers, and a front loader, and that kind of stuff, so that when we arrived we could then execute a bit of our plan, which was initially to provide security. And get the MHE up here to begin to download the equipment. And then be prepared to provide security for ourselves the first night. And you have got to understand that when we moved up here we were the first corps element to be up here.
MAJ HONEC: That is important.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes. Nobody else was here. There were no combat elements that preceded us here. There was nobody here providing security for us. This was what we jokingly now call 'logistics in the attack'. And so I guess I was very, very concerned initially that what we do is come in here with a good security plan, get some berms pushed up, get some bunkers built up, and be prepared to provide security. So let me talk about the security for just a second. A couple of innovative things that were done. We have got a SFC Hovasky who initially came in, and he designed the 'Hovasky bunkers' (for lack of a better word).
MAJ HONEC: SFC; could you give a full name maybe--perhaps?
COL SULLIVAN: No, I can spell the last name.
MAJ HONEC: That is quite all right.
COL SULLIVAN: I will get it for you in a second.
MAJ HONEC: That is quite all right.
COL SULLIVAN: Hovasky though went out and decided what it was we were going to build and prefabbed it; built the sides, the top, and all this kind of stuff ahead of time. Nailed all those ... pre-cut it, nailed it together, and had it so that it was collapsed up on the trucks. When we got here, took it off, immediately nailed it all together. And what it consisted it of, and you can see these bunkers outside, they are about 14 or 15 feet wide and about 18 to 20 feet long (or something like that), and 6 feet high, constructed out of 4x4s, with 2x6 planking all the way around, both the top and sides. We then nailed the thing together, took and put dirt with a frontloader--just piled dirt up around them. Inside of a couple of hours we had some bunkers that would give us protection from indirect fire, right off the get-go. We installed our skibbies into those, our chemical protection, so that, in the event that we ran into a chemical attack up here ... . We didn't know what to expect when we arrived. All that turned out to be a needless concern at this point, but we certainly did not know that at the time.
MAJ HONEC: Better to err on the ...
COL SULLIVAN: So, when we arrived at 9:00 on the morning of the 17th, we immediately started pushing up berms here and everyplace else that we had an element. We began putting these little bunkers that we had done into business. And by noon we were able to provide limited security for ourselves. And by nightfall we had a bunker ... we had a berm built up around here. We had wire around it. We had a TOC16 up. We had bunkers on the ground. We had reinforced fighting positions. So that we had good avenues of observation and could see what was going on. And we had established wire around all of those and the ability to communicate back and forth. In other words, we had established a fire base, for lack of a better word, at this location. The thing went up fairly quickly, not because I had rehearsed it and because I had thought of all things and given plans. In fact I probably would have messed it up more than it has been. It went up because we had a lot of good NCOs and a lot of soldiers who had been told what to do by their chain of command. And everybody had their piece of pie. They knew what their piece of pie was. And when they hit the ground they executed their piece of the problem.
MAJ HONEC: The plan, yes.
COL SULLIVAN: And I guess decentralized execution is what I'm trying to get to. And it worked. And it worked very, very well. The thing went up. We then began to work the issue of moving what ends up being the GS base, or all the GS stock, into this location.
MAJ HONEC: General support?
COL SULLIVAN: General support.
MAJ HONEC: Yes, sir.
COL SULLIVAN: The goal was to put ... initially was to put 18,000 short tons of ammunition on the ground and to put in 800,000 gallons of water, and put in five million gallons of gas. And everything else ... I am sorry, MREs--1.6 million MREs. They wanted that done in the first 14 days. And at that time, of course, we were working on the possibility of being ready to go on the 1st of February or the 31st of January, somewhere in that time frame, for ground offensive operations. That did not materialize, but, nonetheless, that is kind of where we were looking at that point in time.
If you took a look at where we had to go and the assets that we had available to us, simple arithmetic told you that you were not going to get there from here. We did not have enough assets available. So once again we went back to what had worked for us in moving to KKMC. We took and, for lack of a better term, and built ourselves some provisional assets that we could use. And started to use those in moving unit equipment to this location, as well as to go out and throw in some of the GS stocks. How successful were we in doing that? By the 1st of February we had about 23,000 short tons of ammunition on the ground. That's a rough figure. I really measure it against the 7th of February later. But we had somewhere around 23,000 to 25,000 short tons of ammunition on the ground. Water exceeded the 18,000 that we were looking at originally. At that point we had close to three million MREs on the ground. We had the five million gallons of gas that we wanted to have. WE (in addition to that) had begun to establish GS stocks in Class IX and Class II and IV. We now had 2,500 lines of Class
IX--GS Class IX--that is to distinguish from GS; over 83 major assemblies on the ground and in-depth in the stockage, not just onsies and twosies.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: A good supply of Class II and IV barrier material, construction material, and all that kind of stuff. And then all of the other assorted things that are necessary. We had also rigged a two-day supply (provisional two-day supply) of MREs, a two-day supply of bottled water, ammunition for heavy drop CDSs,17 and all that kind of stuff. We have rigged stuff. CPOGs.18 We have rigged clothing exchange in the event that we have a chemical attack someplace during the middle of this mess. We have brought up all of the other classes of supplies. Instead of 800,000 gallons of water, on the 1st of February we had 1.6 million gallons of water on the ground.
And once again, it kind of goes back to the decentralized execution. Everybody understood where we wanted to go and understood what the priorities were, and the priorities changed. We got together on a daily basis and talked about, okay, here is where we are. My priority right now is I need to move additional Class I. We suddenly found ourselves with a mission that we did not know we were going to have of supporting or sustaining all of the combat elements in their tactical assembly areas. When we left on the 17th, that was not going to be our mission. On about the 19th or 20th, we went 'it is our mission now.' And so we hadn't planned for that. To this point, we have issued over 15 million MREs, several millions ... several million T-Rations.19 We only looked at operational stocks at 1.4 million MREs up here. That is all we were ever going to have to have. My follow-on was going to support the offense. To say that we issued 15 million tells you we had to bring in the 15 million to start with.
MAJ HONEC: Is this why the FLS20 was established? Or was that part of the plan originally?
COL SULLIVAN: We had ... yes, part of the plan was to have an FLS. And the engineers came in and they started to work on the FLS from day 1. And let me talk a little bit about the engineers.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: We have had absolutely superb support out of the engineers. We had coordinated ahead of time on the kinds of things that we wanted to have done, in terms of operating the base: what roads we were going to build, berms for the tactical petroleum terminal (or TPT with an estimated five million gallons of gas), how we were going to have to lay out our log pads. We had done all the drawings with them. Told them what, basically told them where we wanted it--and designs and all of that mess. So that whenever they arrived on day one they knew what it is that they had to do. And they went down to the training guys' site and those guys worked with them. They already had the drawings, like I said earlier. And they immediately started putting all of that together. They went down to the water site and immediately started to execute. And we had already allocated equipment, and all of that was done in advance. The same with the ammunition storage area. We had all of that on the ground and that was done on day one, and it was finished on day one. We were ready to go and we began to cut the internal roads necessary to make this place work from day one. The FLS was done. All that was done by the 20th Engineer Battalion.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: And LTC Frank [D.] Ellis,21 who has done just a marvelous job.
The 62d Engineers22 had the task of preparing the FLS. They went in and did ... they had to work up the shoulders of the road, and a taxiway, and then an offload point that would accommodate at least six aircraft at a time. And then cut a road, a bypass of that. They did that. The only thing that we had that I would say was a problem with the FLS right now (and I will get into the success of the FLS in a minute) is that the bypass road we ended up with was a little too close. And when I first looked at it, it looked good to me. It looked good to everybody. But when you take a look at the amount of traffic that goes by there and our ability to defend the FLS, we really put ourselves too close. If I were doing it again, I would move that road at least a kilometer further out, so that we had a lot more room around the flight landing strip within which to operate. That is hindsight looking at it.
MAJ HONEC: The design.
COL SULLIVAN: I looked at the design. It was not anything that the engineers did wrong. They said, you know, 'How does it look to you? And I said, 'It looks fine to me.' Looking back at it now, we would do it a little--the only thing that we would do differently.
We ... as soon as the FLS was done, we called the TALO23 at Corps and said, 'Look, the thing's done. When are you going to start bringing something in?' This was at 2000 hours on (I think) Monday night. He said, 'Well, gee, glad you asked. At 0700 tomorrow we have got twenty aircraft that we plan to put in there; I'm glad you gave us the heads up.' So I called the battalion commander up who was going to run that mission and said, 'Look, looks like we are going to open it up tomorrow morning; I will be on down there a little later tonight; I want to talk to whoever you have got that is going to run the thing to have him tell me how he is going to operate it.' I mean we have done this before. It is not new stuff to us. But 'I want to see how it is going to operate.' And all of this kind of stuff.
1LT Russ[ell Scott] Arnold24 out of the 403d Transportation Company (Terminal Transfer) that was selected to do that; he did it for us in Dhahran, he ended up doing it again. I went down and met with Russ, and he said, 'Well, you know, sir, it is going to work, but this is going to have to be bigger and I am going to have to do this, and I am going to have to cut this road here.' We took some of the engineer equipment that we had brought with us, our own road grader and so forth, and went over and scraped all this stuff out, and we went and got some diesel and dumped it down there for dust palliative, and that kind of stuff.
[To make] a long story short, you know, the Air Force did not arrive at 7:00 in the morning, they arrived about 8:00 in the morning. But, sure enough, the first [C]-130 that came in and we began to work that issue. We had the skibbies already on the ground and set up the lanes to put all of these supplies when they came off the aircraft. And it worked just like clockwork.
MAJ HONEC: Did the Air Force bring its own equipment? I am looking madly here. There is a T-Loader, I think it is, for the pilots.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes, it is a tac[tical] loader.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: And normally at an airhead you have a pay loader, which is much bigger.
MAJ HONEC: Pay loader, I am sorry.
COL SULLIVAN: And here we had a tac loader, which is smaller, something which fits in a [C]-130. Yes, they brought one in, and they brought in a MAPS25 in order to do that operation.
MAJ HONEC: A MAPS is? What does it do then, sir?
COL SULLIVAN: They help offload aircraft.
MAJ HONEC: It is all part of the offloading equipment? Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: Initially, their tac loader did not run, and they had to put up some tents. And they had some other things that they had to do in order to establish life support for themselves.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, this was after ... before 8:00 in the morning?
COL SULLIVAN: No, they arrived in the first airplane and they went on to set their tents up.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: And we used forklifts to offload the first airplane. I mean, you have got to understand now, our kids have done this before. They did it in Panama.26 And this is not the first time they have done this kind of thing. And we were fortunate in that a unit that was supporting us to start off with was the [317th Tactical Airlift] Wing out of Pope Air Force Base, [North Carolina], so they were folks that we had worked with before, and kind of understood how to do business the way we in XVIII Airborne Corps do business.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: We were turning aircraft in ten minutes. From the time a [C]-130 touched down on the strip until he was back up on the highway taking off again was ten minutes time. That is the time it takes to land, taxi into position, drop the tailgate, push them out one at a time onto a forklift that picks them up, and moves them back over onto a staging area, ramp back up and were gone. The Air Force looked at it and said we cannot do it that fast with a tac loader; it is not possible. You know, it may not be possible, but it is being done. So we just took and parked the tac loader initially, and I guess for about the first four days, five days of operation we operated only with the forklifts and made it work that way.
Then we kind of got into a state up there at that point and wanted to get the Air Force back into it from a training point of view, so they started using the tac loader then. Since that time we have developed the flight landing strip into a major logistics node for us here at Log Base CHARLIE. We were bringing in about twenty aircraft with four to five pallets per. We were bringing in around 120,000 gallons of fuel oil a day in bladder birds--primarily training for the people who were going to receive it and train for those who may have to go forward and work on it. We were bringing in up to 40 truckloads of pallets that come in out of Dhahran into that point. Plus containers, on average about 25 containers of primarily Class IX initially, but all kinds of stuff. We receive it all at that point.
Those are what we call a break-bulk operation, whereby we take pallets that have fixed loads on them going, some to the 101st [Airborne Division], some to the 82d [Airborne Division], some to the 24th, and take the net off, figure out where it goes, stack it all back on pallets. As soon as you can, ship them to the appropriate DSU.27 If it is aviation it goes to the aviation guy. If it ground is it goes to a main support thing. Whatever. And build pallets up to them.
The secret is that we applied, once again, internal assets, not external assets, to clearing that thing out. If a pallet landed today, a pallet was flown in today, and we pushed it to the appropriate customer, a divisional customer. Like I said, the first thousand or so pallets that landed here were Class IX. We in XVIII Airborne Corps ... I know the PLLs28 in my motor pool, the ASL in my aviation maintenance battalion and in my ground support maintenance company were really beginning to dry up before we got up there. We just had not had a good resupply in a hell of a long time. It is becoming a problem for us, as well as for all of the divisions. The net effect of that was that while we had really kind of shorted readiness in this a little bit trying to get ready to come up here, we were beginning to see ourselves fall back off the edge again, and we desperately needed an infusion of Class IX to make it work.
When we had the best of all possible situations, the combat elements were sitting on the ground; they really were not doing anything in terms of movement. They were waiting to cross the LD,29 which meant that the mechanics had all that stuff. So we pumped out the Class IX immediately into the divisions, into their DISCOMs30 and to their brigades, so that they could begin to then effect readiness. The corps commander31 told me that he thought we were talking about 4 or 5 percentage points in readiness, which, if you take a look at a corps over a couple of weeks, that is pretty significant. And that will make a big, big difference in future operations.
Once again, it goes back to a good idea and a young lieutenant who sat down there and ran that operation all by himself. Nobody went down there and told him what to do. He just said, you know, I need this; I need this. We made whatever it was he needed available to him, and he made it work. I have seen my job here--and my battalion commanders have done the same--as not one of basically directing how the units do things, but basically listening to our companies and finding out what it is they need. And then going and getting the assets they need for them and throwing hurdles out of the way so that they can go do it.
The other thing that I would talk about very briefly in terms of success here is teamwork. I have been in the Army for twenty years, and in twenty years I have seen a fair number of exercises and movements and all of these other things go on. And when you try to draw a fairly diverse group of people together, there is almost always a certain amount of bickering that goes on and there is competition. Some competition is healthy; some is not healthy. But you begin ... especially in a crisis situation, tempers get short. And you see people kind of holding back. 'That is mine. I am not going to let you have it.'
It didn't dawn on me initially, but after we had been here for about three weeks or so, somebody had asked me, 'Why was this so successful?' And I thought it for a second. I mean, I had thought of all of the things I had told you so far. But it really dawned on me that I guess the problem, aside from decentralized execution of the thing, the single most important factor was the fact that never once did I hear any dissention. We had people saying, 'yes, I think I can probably,' you know, if somebody would raise a problem, 'I think I probably could help you with that; let me go over and provide this to you, and we will do this.' And it was just an absolute team effort. Now, I am talking about, my group has got 7,000 people in it, and 5,000 are up here right now; six battalions, plus I have got three battalions that are OPCON32 to me out of EAC33 that are working the front line.
MAJ HONEC: All here on the ground at Log Base CHARLIE?
COL SULLIVAN: Yes. At Log Base CHARLIE. The people that physically work for me here ... I have to go back. On the slide last night, I think I said 7,600 or 7,700 people. That is average. A large group that come from the Reserves, from the [National] Guard, from the active force, and the active units (some come from Germany, some come from Fort Bragg, some come from Fort Hood, [Texas], from Fort Drum, [New York], from Fort Stewart, [Georgia], from Fort Jackson, [South Carolina])--and they come from all over the place. This is not a group of people who worked together before and have, you know, a great, homogeneous chain of command and everything else. We just pulled them all together.
And I have been working with the six battalions that are organic to my group to start with for a period of time, but the others, the other three that now make up the group are, really OPCON to us. We have not worked with before. To see that many people come together in what, believe me, is a crisis situation. There are some people who kind of thought there is a pretty good probability we were going to have guys come across the border. There was no security out here. We were in the hurry-up mode, thinking that it may all take place the next day. And so we had to treat every day as if it was the last day we had to prepare for the war. People operating without a whole lot of sleep. The fear factor early on for a lot of the soldiers was high.
MAJ HONEC: Even with the 101st and the 24th, your boundary kind of cuts in between that.
COL SULLIVAN: Remember now, on day one they weren't here.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: On day six they weren't here.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: They did not start to deploy up here until about day seven before their first elements arrived. The first week that we were here there was not anybody else here but us. Okay. So kids have heard all of this stuff and they worry. Now, of course, we spent a lot of time talking to soldiers, my top34 and I, but to have everybody in that kind of a crisis situation and work together without a lot of back biting and all that kind of mess strikes me as unusual. Like I say, in twenty years in the Army I have not seen it work quite that way in the past. And I think that is in large measure one of the secrets of why we were able to do something that, quite frankly, a lot of people (and I have to admit that I was one of them) said it could not be done. I am not known as a naysayer. I am usually the proverbial optimist. But when it came to this one I said,'gee, guys, you know, we are going to give it our best shot, and I think that it is going to be successful, but I have some reservations.'
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, who chose this area for the operation?
COL SULLIVAN: I did.
SSG KIRKLAND: Why did you choose this area? What was the reason?
MAJ HONEC: What was the advantages to this particular area? Any? Could it have been fifteen kilometers up the road further?
COL SULLIVAN: You mean any piece of rocky soil out here looks like any other piece of rocky soil?
MAJ HONEC: Good point.
COL SULLIVAN: The thing that drove us to this particular area was, one, and first and foremost, the water source. We had to be able to produce water. And so we looked at a map ... and of course we had the luxury of coming out here, whereas, for the operation across the border now, we cannot quite do that. We had located the well. We knew it was the kind of well that would be able to produce the amount of water we wanted. We kind of secretly ran some water out of it to make sure it wasn't muddy and all that kind of stuff, and did all those types of things. So, first, was the well. And we initially had established Log Base CHARLIE a little west of here. And the 101st needed it, and so we said, okay, we will establish as our western boundary the well site, and [we] absolutely have to have that. And then we moved our eastern boundary back a little further to the east.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: The other thing that we wanted to have was access to the war, if you will. The Corps had made a decision it was going to cut an MSR, MSR MONTANA, up across the border, up by the escarpment, and connect with a road that is on the other side that we call MSR OHIO. The engineers said that the only place to cut the road was right up by our good old well site here, because it was at that point that you could get around this large escarpment that runs from about here all the way up to Rafha.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: That meant that the logical place to put the log base from a transportation point of view was right here. And then, once we had done that, we came out of Rafha running and said, you know, where do we want to put things, you know, do we want to put them around in a couple of locations. And we kind of pre-spotted everything to a certain extent. And we kept it up in some cases; and in some cases, when we got out here on the ground we changed it.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: But it was driven initially because of access to water and access to the main supply route. You know, we are not going to use MONTANA now, so that is kind of what we used initially, but we ...
MAJ HONEC: Yes, well, that kind of lends into the changes or the migration of plans. Wasn't TEXAS, MSR TEXAS, a major supply route from the start?35
COL SULLIVAN: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: And then I believe VIRGINIA came along later on. Is that ... ?
COL SULLIVAN: Well, VIRGINIA runs east-west.
MAJ HONEC: Oh, okay.
COL SULLIVAN: GEORGIA runs north-south.
MAJ HONEC: GEORGIA.
COL SULLIVAN: And it has come along and probably will be the main avenue, a couple or three days into the war. Yet TEXAS is absolutely essential to establishing logistics forward in our particular part of the field. Now, to the extent that we have devoted all kinds of forces to go up and capture Objective WHITE36 and all those kinds of things. If we had established all the way up to Rafha, so that we had access then straight up TEXAS, that would have been great. But all of a sudden you have just lengthened this thing out so that you have made the transportation portion of it to here all but impossible. We had to pick a midpoint, so this kind of ended up being it. And once it was drawn on the corps graphics we just ... we just went with it. It looked like a good place to go.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Go back to the teamwork. Is there anything that stands out, particularly units-wise, that showed particularly innovation or (how do you say) adapting to the desert environment, to the environment around here that perhaps you could expound on? There are so many.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes. You go from the ... almost ridiculous to some that are serious. I mean we had kids who--we had folks that came in here that wanted to make sure they had a hot shower. I talked about how we built the bunkers and that kind of stuff. That was well thought out ahead of time. One of the sergeants also went out here and took a look at these showers and said, you know, cold water--it was cold up, I mean back in January, let me tell you, it was cold--he went out and got some heater probes, installed them into those tanks, and then you hook it up to a generator first thing in the morning, and go turn that sucker on, and by 6:00 in the morning (you know, you start about an hour ahead of that) you have got good, hot water. I mean the nicest hot water shower you have seen in a long time.
We initially brought the showers not to take showers; they were there for decon[tamination] purposes. And we brought all of the chemicals along and all that kind of stuff so that we could use them at the decon site. It turned out that we really did not need the decon site, but after you spend a little bit of time up here--and of course, remember now, it was rainy and muddy and it was pretty yucky up here in January--a shower was kind of a nice thing to have. So we very quickly started operating those showers.
So, you go from that which has about no tactical ramification other than just keeping a reasonable level of hygiene, down to ... . Doctrinally we are a multi-functional group. We are organized with multi-functional units under us. When you take a look at it, I have a lot of transportation companies. The ammo battalion37 had a couple of transportation companies in it. There were some transportation companies in the POL38 battalion. The [7th] Transportation Battalion had some. The Special Troops Battalion had one. And when you start making a move, you always had a little bit left over. I mean you never quite fit it all together. Well, if you have five left over in this company and four or five left in this company and four or five left in that, the next thing you know, you are talking about better than a platoon's worth of trucks that did not get committed because ...
MAJ HONEC: You did not have the loads to carry then.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: And so I reorganized the group and made it pure. Now, the ammo battalion is a pure ammo battalion. It has ammo companies, and that is all it does, is load, and move, and store ammunition.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: Now, I took the transportation companies out of it. I put them under the transportation battalion, so that it is a pure transportation battalion. I took our Special Troops Battalion, which is a multi-functional battalion back at Fort Bragg, and I made it basically a supply--an S&S39 battalion if you will, although there are no services in it. It has heavy supply companies, Class I points, all that kind of stuff. The POL battalion became a pure POL battalion. It did not have a truck company any more. It had POL truck companies left and a POL supply company. The water battalion became a pure water battalion.
So we kind of went against doctrine and said that for the kind of mission that we have ... and one of the things that I am going to recommend is a change of doctrine is that the rear support group be pure, and forward support groups be multi-functional at the battalion level. At the group level you need to be multi-functional no matter where you are in that, because you are going to have assigned, attached and detached throughout the force a number of different kinds of organizations, and you need an ability to command and control it. And you cannot do that without a multi-functional headquarters.
We came over here as a transportation group. Before I left, as I had indicated earlier, I was in a kind of a holding pattern, I was the deputy commander for ops in the COSCOM. I put in a TOE40 change for the group. I mean I knew I was coming down here and I wanted to change it. And then I kind of shepherded that thing through. And the COSCOM worked very hard on it. The corps got involved in it. And we got all the right players together and we were fortunate enough to have our request recognized and granted.
MAJ HONEC: Very good.
COL SULLIVAN: And we reorganized from the 507th down to the 324th Support Group (Corps). A superb TOE that just does great things for us in terms of command and control. I thing I got off the subject a little bit. What other innovative things have we done? Gosh.
MAJ HONEC: I got the recorder. Unit cohesion. Let us talk about your unit cohesion.
COL SULLIVAN: We have got a group here that is made up of Guard, Reserve, active. The Guard and Reserve units not necessarily within a particular battalion, do not all come from the same location. They did not work together in the past. Let me take my POL battalion. It has got a couple of companies that came from North Carolina, where the battalion headquarters came from. Another company that came from Arizona. People they never, ever seen before in their lives. We had a water battalion that came from--parts of it from California and parts from other places. And then an active unit that is part of it, a company that came in from Fort Drum. That is a part of this Reserve unit. And the Reserve battalion is commanded by an active component lieutenant colonel. You know, we are talking about dragging some stuff together where people have never seen each other before, and putting it on the ground and trying to make it work.
It seemed to me that cohesion was probably one of the first things that I needed to work on, and make sure that we really had done a good job on it. And so we spent a hell of a lot of time trying to do that. There are any number of ways you can do it. I mean you can do it through athletic events. And we sponsored basketball tournaments and all kinds of other things. And we were back then in the Dhahran area and had an opportunity to do that. So we thought [that] a sense of competition and teamwork within the unit. And we had little goals and objectives and all these kind of things that we did not pay of attention to in terms of being just super serious about them, but a sense of competition so that the unit could gel together in performing its mission.
We tried to take a look at what the unit was doctrinally supposed to do. A lot of units had drawn equipment to do the mission just before they arrived. They had never seen the equipment before. It had never been out of the box. It was brand new. So we went out in the desert and we laid it all out and we ran it as if we were doing it for real. You know, how is it we are we going to operate some of this stuff? We took some of our people who did not have training on certain parts of their mission and we chopped them over to somebody else to work for a couple of weeks in that particular area, so they have the expertise they needed to have.
MAJ HONEC: And this was at the Dhahran area, the Dammam seaport area?
COL SULLIVAN: Well, all around there.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: I mean we were stretched out in a place called PULASKI, if you are familiar with where it was. It was located out by the 1st Cav, 24th Division area. We had units out there. And we had units in Dhahran, Dammam. We had them at the airport.41 We had them at the sea port. I mean we had people literally all over the place.
The second thing we tried to do was make sure that we developed a chain of command that was effective. You know, I passed information out, down the chain of command, and then I followed up, down the chain of command, with my sergeant major to make sure that the information we passed out got to the bottom of the chain of command, got down to the private. And we forced the chain of command to work. I mean if you wanted something and you went through the chain of command up, then it went back down through the chain of command. A functioning chain of command is absolutely essential to anything that you do in the Army. It has always been axiomatic. But does it work? I mean everybody tries to go around the damn thing for some reason. We didn't. We tried to go through the chain of command to make the chain of command function.
And even when we got into the business of reorganizing some of the battalions in order to come up here and make this move, once again we used the chain of command as a way to reach down and grab those new units under the new battalion and make them feel a part of what was going on. And we very quickly assimilated them into the goals and objectives, vision, whatever buzz word turns you on. And I think that is very key to bring about this spirit of cooperation I talked about earlier. Having a chain of command you understood my vision. Vision I guess is a good word for this because it seems to be in vogue. But where I thought we needed to go, what I thought it was that we needed to do based on what I had been told by my boss and by Corps. And from the operations orders and whatever else we had available to us.
I tried to articulate that with my commander's intent--and we published commander's intent. I said here it is. Here is where we are going. Here is what we are going to do. And I made sure people had copies of it so they could understand from me where I thought we were going to go. And once again, it goes back to those parameters that I talked about earlier: making sure that the left and right boundaries were set and then anything that you do in between there, as long as it is legal and moral, is fine by me. I am not going to say "nah-nah-nah, I really would rather you do this." You know, I have already established the boundaries. Just the end product is where I want to go, and we will judge the end product. How they get there--if, after the fact, there is something we can do in terms of backward counseling and that kind of stuff, saying, you know, 'Had you thought about doing this? Maybe this would have been helpful.' You know, we kind of pass those things out as we go along as well. We are not trying here to give rubber orders. Let them go do it.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. More decentralized control, rather than specific ... ?
COL SULLIVAN: Yes, I would say we probably practiced to a very large extend centralized planning and decentralized execution.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah,, and then ...
COL SULLIVAN: But I certainly set the direction for the group. Make no bones about that. I see that as my job. I do that very much.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Let's ... could you expand upon the operation back in the Dhahran area, about anything you feel is important or in adapting to a desert environment your operations had to be modified, so therefore please expound a little bit on modifications.
COL SULLIVAN: Well, let me just talk about that. There are a number of things that we had to do to adapt to operating over here. First of all, the Army had oriented for years on the European battlefield. That is where we have focused. We bought equipment to operate in Europe. We designed tactics for defense and not offense. And we designed tactics primarily to support the European battlefield. And everything else was kind of a derivative of that.
My previous life was as the chief of Middle East/Africa on the Joint Staff, and so I was kind of familiar with this part of the world and the programs over here. And I was also familiar with about how much planning and effort can be put into doing something in Southwest Asia. And I tell you, it was not much. Because it was not perceived as a real need. It was not perceived as the most likely thing to happen to us. You know, Central America, Panama, those kinds of things were perceived and in fact ended up being near-term problems for us. We have had an interest in that part of the world. Europe was ... .
I guess the point I am trying to get to is that operating in an environment where it is 115 to 120 degrees, where you have got this fine, blown sand all of the time, it does something to those people and to the equipment. And we are able to operate out here right now without anywhere near the pain and trauma we had earlier. It was 115 degrees, you know. A soldier will just produce so damn much out there, and then you have got to get him into shade and you have got to let him rest a little bit. The dust was an absolutely enormous problem to us. We moved into the Dhahran airport, as an example, when we began what we call the cargo transfer point. That is where we received the air pallets that came in, and then did the cargo transfer or modal transfer. In other words, from air to truck. We broke the cargo down and then sent it out to the appropriate division or customer, or whatever you want to call it.
MAJ HONEC: What sort of time was this?
COL SULLIVAN: It started out on day one.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, which was? The date roughly.
COL SULLIVAN: I think those people arrived on the 10th of August.
MAJ HONEC: Great.
COL SULLIVAN: Do not hold me to that date. They were the very first people that came over, and I think it was the 10th. Things like that tend to have faded in my memory of late. The post down there was affectionately known (or unaffectionately known) as the Dust Bowl. From a distance of about ten to fifteen miles you could see it. You could see it because of this column of dust that went up from it. It was incredible. I have never seen anything like it in my life. Now, how in the world we ever managed to see anything or get anything done beats the hell out of me. And since that time, it was about a month ago, it was asphalted, and people look at it now and they just do not understand what I am talking about. They thing I am crazy. And I may well be.
We had a LT Deer, Annie Deer, who went in and took that operation on, and did what I think was just an absolutely marvelous job. She and SFC Blue, who is her NCOIC or platoon sergeant, went in--very quickly went out and tried to figure out, you know, where the hell are all these people. As the stuff came in it was listed for the 403d [Transportation Company]. Well, they are the 403d and they knew damn well it was not for them. They do not stock anything; they just move cargo. But, whenever they left the States the supplemental address was the 403d, as opposed to the 101st, the 82d, or whoever it really should have gone to. They got involved and they went back to New Cumberland [Army] Depot that was packaging all that stuff up for us. And got all those addressed changed so that it went to the right person. So whenever it came through an ALOC and it was a through-put pure pallet and we did not have to double handle it. We could handle it one time, put it in the lane and get it ready to go and get it out of there. That operation a 24-hour-a-day operation, seven days a week. It was constantly, you know, to-the-firewall kind of job. I mean you just ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: You never had a minute that you could just kind of sit back and say, 'Well, you know, let's reflect on where we have been and where we are going to go.' I mean that just simply did not happen. It never did happen. When they finally left there on the 30th to come up here, they left a fair backlog, which really built up after they left, because the people that filled in behind them did not have their expertise in knowing where some of the stuff went. And of course we did not have the transportation to move it anyway so it did not make much difference.
We had, with our aviation [maintenance] folks ... . Our aircraft were not necessarily built to operate in this environment. But, at the same time, back initially over here in DESERT SHIELD, it was a defensive operation. And for what we were trying to do, the 101st and the 3d ACR in the covering force battle that they were going to fight was the backbone of what we here in XVIII Corps--and remember we were the only corps back then. That was what was going to make it or break it for us. If that didn't work and we did not have those aircraft available, then the Corps commander's concept went down the tubes.
What we found through experience was that our usage rate on parts--because of the environment, because of the heat and the dust primarily--was 2.5 times what we experienced at home station, whether that be Fort Bragg, Fort Campbell, Fort Hood, or some other place. Now, 2.5 times, that is a significant rate, damn significant. Aviation spares are bought in very limited quantities. If you want to buy more, six months is the earliest you begin to get anything in, and most of them have at least a two-year lead time. Because of the dollar values involved, the Army buys to a readiness level. We do not buy all we really need. We just buy enough to keep readiness at a certain level. And it is basically 70 percent for most aircraft, and for a couple it's 75 percent.
Well, the goal over here was not 70 percent. The goal over here was 90 percent. Now, we have got a factor of 2.5 times the environmental rate well recognized to be a standard. We have a flying hour program in which we are flying about three times what we were flying, because we are training, trying to learn how to do it in the desert now, something we have not done before, area orientations and all those kinds of things. We were flying in our [UH-60] Blackhawks like 50 hours a month, as opposed to 15 hours a month. So the usage rate goes up because you are flying a hell of a lot more. You have got the environmental factor in there. And then there is a very finite supply of parts that are available. That tells you that what you should expect is not 90 percent, but about 60 or 50 percent.
MAJ HONEC: Attrition through parts availability.
COL SULLIVAN: I mean, yes, they are just not going to be there. So, what did we do? First of all, we have got to give kudos where kudos are due. MG Don Williamson and BG T. Irby from the Army Aviation Systems Command [AVSCOM] very quickly got into it and said, you know, we have got to make it work. We have got to get aviation parts where they need to be. We have got to be pro-active about it. Before any of us ever left Fort whatever--Bragg, Campbell, Hood, or someplace--BG Irby called around to every single one of them. He talked to all of us. You know, what do you need? And he filled up all of the shortages on equipment and all the parts shortages they possibly could before anybody deployed.
Secondly, we started establishing a structure for those parts to make sure that we knew how they were going to flow. I went up to New Cumberland to see how they were packed, what the hold time was, how they were going to consolidate shipments, and where they were going to ship them to, to make sure all the addresses were straight. We sat down and we designed our structure for maintenance. In fact, I was the guy who designed that. And then coordinated it with the Pentagon and with AVSCOM. In other words, we came over here with a game plan, knowing it was going to be a problem. I mean that was not a surprise to us. We understood it was going to be a problem to start with. And we wanted to make sure we did not get caught short.
During the early stages of DESERT SHIELD, up through October, we were able to maintain about 85 percent on our aircraft. We are now at about 92 percent. By comparison, the VII Corps is in the 70s, and occasionally gets up to around 80 percent. What is the difference? Why are we there and they there? Part of it, I am sure, has to do with, you know, we have got this FLS out here that is flying parts into us, and they do not have that. We have been here longer, so we have learned some things. But we have done some other things also. We have got a program called AOG, it is called Aircraft on Ground. Every single day, every day without fail, every unit that has an aircraft that goes down gets the requirement to bring that aircraft back up--the parts, in other words--to a CPT Jones in the Material Management Center (MMC). CPT Jones then makes a personal phone call to AVSCOM that says, 'I have got these things down,' and she turns the fax in.
[END OF SIDE ONE]
MAJ HONEC: We are talking about CPT Jones.
COL SULLIVAN: CPT Jones then makes a phone call back to AVSCOM followed up by a fax that says, 'Here are the parts that we need.' It is a continuing list. We keep track of what comes in and what the requirements are, scratch them off and make sure they understand that hey, we have received these.
We established a thing called Desert Express. Desert Express initially was going to be a nonstop [C]-141 [Starlifter] out of Charleston [Air Force Base, South Carolina] coming directly in here. He now stops in Spain at Torrejon [Air Base] and then comes into here. But AVSCOM gathers up the parts, puts them in Charleston, puts them on a pallet, gets them over here; we meet it and we fly it out to the customer. So that those things spend ... the goal is 72 hours from the time we identify a requirement to the time it arrives on the ground here in country and available for us. And frankly, we are kind of getting down to the point where that is almost working. If it is in stock we are getting it within 72 to 120 hours, something like that, which is pretty damn good. And it is getting to the guy who actually needs the part. Not just into Saudi Arabia.
I guess what I am saying is that we have tried to take a look at the system and go through that system very methodically, point by point, all the way through it, and examine every single segment. You know, where is there something in there that Murphy's law42 is going to screw up for us? Go back and try to fix it so we Murphy-proof it. And when we don't, we go back and look at it again. We constantly revisit it. I organized a series of meetings for all the aviation maintenance personnel and anybody else who wanted to come. And initially we were doing them every single day. Then we went to three days a week. And then two. And then one day a week. We bring everybody in our Corps together and talk about mutual concerns and mutual needs. So that one trick of the trade, if you will, that one person has found, 'Hey, yes, I had that problem, but this is what I did to fix it'; and 'yeah, I thought of that.' And they then start applying them. In other words, through cross level experiences and expertise to make it work.
We engendered this spirit of cooperation again so that people were willing not to just forward parts for themselves, but to kind share in a community or communal fashion what was available. And all of that went to the point of giving us some sort of reasonable availability. I guess what I am trying to tell you is that we sat down and looked at where we wanted to go. We looked at what we needed to do to get there. And then every day we went back and we revised it. We remained flexible. The plan was the plan right now. But it could very well have changed based on the experiences we had as we went along. We tried to keep our ear to the ground, or you know whatever phrase turns you on, and make sure that we could kind of look ahead and forecast those things. And I think we were very successful in doing it.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. The dust had an effect, as well as aircraft, had an effect on ground equipment.
COL SULLIVAN: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Also, fuel. Can you talk a little bit about the fuel that you received over here, where it first came from or how you got it here. I understand that there was a problem with jet aircraft fuel, which goes to the helicopters. Well, this was reported in the States. There was none, obviously.
COL SULLIVAN: There may have been a problem. I do not know. I would tell you that this is the largest gas producer in the world. And while there are problems now, we are putting a hell of a strain on their ability to provide enough jet fuel for all that the Air Force is doing, plus all of the jet that we want. We are still able to keep even with the board. There were a couple of cases where their spec[ification] and ours was a little bit different. We had to make some minor changes, but that worked very quickly. As you probably know, we use JP-8 in Europe and JP-4 in other places. And what we are using over here is JET-A1 for jet fuel. Those are all a little bit different. But the big difference is that it does not have anti-icing--JET A1 doesn't.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: You do not have a lot of problems with things freezing over here. We certainly did not when we first got here, although back during December and January it got so cold that the bottled water froze outside at night. Fuel was not the problem, the good fuel was not the problem. The distribution of fuel was the problem. We have lots and lots of gas in a couple of places, but being able to get it to where we needed it ended up being one hell of a burden logistically. Same-same43 with water. All the water we need is over here; distribution became the problem. Now, bottled water solved our problems early on. Had it not been for bottled water and the bottled water contracts we would have had a heck of a problem over here. But we got that ... the folks at ARCENT44--LTG Pagonis and his crew--got those contracts for us, and got the transportation to move it and made it work.
MAJ HONEC: The transportation was probably in-country transportation by contractor?
COL SULLIVAN: Oh, yeah. Understand, when we came over here the decision was made--and right or wrong, the decision was made and we lived with it--they were going to put combat boots on the ground first, followed by logistics. That meant that we had divisions, not a division but divisions, and corps here with no COSCOM, no logistics to sustain it. Doctrinally you can't do that. Host nation support is the answer to it. And Pagonis, in my view, did a great job of getting host nation support to work. We are having some problems with it now when we get down to the shooting war ...
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
COL SULLIVAN: In fact, when we were just deploying over here it was vital. It could not have been done without it. And those folks deserve a lot of credit for making that work.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Is there any equipment innovation that you know of that we need to explore or perhaps ... to solve this particular unique desert environment with a type of very abrasive dust that is around perhaps that we could expound?
COL SULLIVAN: No, I tell you. While people have talked about some things, I am not sure that I fully agree. The Army system--maintenance system--works just fine if you go out and do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it, then it does not bother most of our grounds systems too much. And frankly, we can lessen the impact on our ignition systems. What you have got to do is make sure you keep your equipment clean. That requires a certain amount of water. And you have got to make sure that you do PMCS.45 I have been in the Army for twenty years and we have talked about PMCS and the importance of doing PMCS all twenty years. Now, today it is PMCS, ten years ago it was something else. I do not know. The word changes, but what you have got to do is get out there in the morning and the operator has got to take a look at his vehicle.
When we first got over here we had all these damn rental cars, plus military equipment. Military equipment tended to operate. The rental cars started having a problem. And the reason was nobody did PMCS to them. You know, my car at home, and I have got to tell you I check the oil sometimes--I guess when the oil light comes on I go, 'It must need some.' But if you didn't take the air filter off and clean it just about every single day, with the amount of dust that we had, then you lost power and eventually the damn thing would not run at all.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: If you did not change the oil a whole lot more frequently, then we found that you started grinding up engines and bearings and stuff. If you didn't go through and purge grease and this kind of stuff in fittings more often. In other words, service intervals had to be shortened, increased, whatever you want to call it. You had to do it more frequently. And you had to forecast a requirement for those parts and that kind of stuff so you could do it more frequently. If you didn't, then you got more wear and tear on your vehicle. But as long as you took good care of it, then it would work over here, and it would work just fine. But you have got to take care of it.
Some of our sensitive electronics stuff, everything from computers to comm[unications] equipment--this dust plays havoc with it. It really does. I mean it really does create some problems. You know, our TACS equipment comes with plastic keyboard covers and all that kind of stuff so that the keyboard is protected. And the system itself is an enclosed system and it is protected from the dust. But all of these commercial computers we have got do not come that way.
MAJ HONEC: The Zenith ones, the laptops and the Zenith 248s?
COL SULLIVAN: Yes. Man, my kids went out and they got some real thin plastic and basically taped it over all of the keyboards and not quite shrink wrapping, but pretty close and made a cover for the keyboard. Because I mean we were losing computers left and right just because of dust. It is kind of MILSPEC-ing civilian equipment. Because we cannot operate any more without it. We have become totally dependent upon computers to do our job. But at the same time, we have got equipment that just was not made to operate in this environment. It was not made to operate in this kind of heat. We have gone off and found things that work best.
We went off and bought these what we call clam shell aircraft maintenance shelters, the best thing since sliced bread. We could not do maintenance over here without them. And we did a lot of maintenance besides maintenance in aircraft in those. We work on trucks and tanks and all kinds of things inside those.
MAJ HONEC: Those clam shells are in the Army inventory or are they commercial?
COL SULLIVAN: Those are one of those things that we better give credit to AVSCOM for. We sat down and we said, 'Hey, we need something; we need a shelter of some kind.' And what I was thinking of is something that is similar to this. Back when I was at the Pentagon I made a number of trips over to this part of the world and the Air Force had in their prepositioned equipment stocks a smaller version of a clam shell. I said this is really what we need over here. And Williamson said, 'Hey, listen--I have got this thing that is 190 feet long and 80 feet wide, what do you think?' Hell, it sounds like exactly what I need. He says, 'How many do you need?' And I said, '45.' It sounded like a good number to me. And he went off and bought 45 of them. Now, he bought 45 without asking anybody permission, no 'mother, may I's'. No nothing. And he frankly got his ass chewed because he did it. If he hadn't done it and had not executed it when he did, we would have been trying to operate out here without these things and our availability would not be what it is today.
So, what I am trying to tell you is that we had a whole lot of people who leaned forward and took a look at the requirement. You know, we went back and we said ... we called DA, we called AMC and those folks on just about a daily basis.46 And in fact, for the first three months that I was over here I called the CG at AVSCOM every single day, seven days a week, and told him what my problems were. And the fact that he would take the time to pick up ... come out of a meeting or whatever to talk to some damn colonel strikes me as ... about his interest in trying to make sure it works. I called folks at DCSLOG47 at DA. I called folks at AMC headquarters in Alexandria daily. And so did a number of other people. I am not the only one who did. We were trying to say, okay, here is our problem. Here is what we need in cutting through a whole lot of crap in between us and them, to make sure that the message got back. And then the next day when we called said, you know, they said, here is the answer you requested, and we are shipping this to make things happen.
I think I got sidetracked on what you were asking.
MAJ HONEC: Well, it was specifically about innovations to equipment or modifications to equipment to solve this awful dust problem we hear about. But really, offhand, do you know how much those particular clamshells cost?
COL SULLIVAN: $185,000.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: We have taken all of ours down at least once and put it back up again. The fabric panels that go in them go in a plaque that you pull over. It can be replaced at a cost of $11,000. Those things can very easily, once we finish up, repackaged back up into 6 boxes, go back into a contingency stock. If in fact panels that have been in storage for so long they are no good, we can buy some, vacuum pack the damn things, and have them ready to go in contingency stocks. And if we have got to go some place as a contingency corps, and this is the contingency corps, we do this all the time. You know, my soldiers were gone last Christmas ... well, not last Christmas, the Christmas before last now I guess, on JUST CAUSE; this Christmas for DESERT SHIELD. I do not know where we are going to be next Christmas, but the chance of being at home ain't good. The fact that we are gone all the time is just a fact of life. It's what makes life exciting in my view. This is my third time back, so I have got to tell you I would not be back here if I did not like it.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. I am sure of that. Let's see ... talking about your organization, could you expand the numbers that you have ordinarily at Fort Bragg, as opposed to now in DESERT STORM/SHIELD?
COL SULLIVAN: We, at Bragg, were responsible for about 3,000 people, divided up into a couple of battalions and a couple of functional support centers. Over here we have six battalions. And while the functional centers still get their administrative support from us, we do not count those in our numbers. We don't have command and control, nor should I, over those. And additionally, I have OPCONd to me three additional battalions. A chemical battalion--most of its companies are already farmed out. A POL battalion, which has got about 750 people. And a full-up transportation battalion that is about 1,400 people.
MAJ HONEC: All right, so that ... roughly 6,000 is twice the number. 7,000.
COL SULLIVAN: Well, if you count the three battalions that are OPCONd to me I am at 9,000.
MAJ HONEC: 9,000 people. Okay. Quite a large force.
COL SULLIVAN: We operate here, at Log Base CHARLIE, I have about 7,600 people here. We have a very small contingent of people at KKMC. They are taking all of the containers, and there must be 3,000 containers of stuff. Now, some of it is Class IX. Some of it is unit equipment. I mean we are talking containers of stuff. We do not even know what is in them. And we are shipping it all to KKMC, open the doors up, and we go, 'Ah, this is for XVIII Corps.' Close the doors and I get it. If it is VII Corps, they get it. If it is theater stocks, then they get it. If it is a combination of things, then we take it out and restuff it so it is only one corps'. That gets shipped up here to the flight landing strip. And we have a company down there that does that.
MAJ HONEC: This is the XVIII as we have seen it down there, it is the XVIII Airborne Corps bulk breakdown point (BBP), is that the unit you are talking about?
COL SULLIVAN: Yes. The break bulk point is actually here on the flight landing strip. We do all of our break bulk operations here. All we have the people doing down at KKMC is just taking the container, segregating out all those that belong to the XVIII Airborne Corps. If in fact it is pure stuff, if it is all for one particular customer, as an example, and they know where it is supposed to go, then they tag it. If it is break bulk or pure, it does not make any difference, we ship it all up here to the FLS, and then make distribution from here.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: Plus I have got about 1,000 people left in Dhahran. The HMMWV-CUCV48 exchange program--you know all the divisions are picking up HMMWVs and exchanging that for CUCVs. Well, somebody has got to take the CUCVs and wash them out and fix them and do all of that. Well, we are doing that. We are doing it back in Dhahran. We have got some operations that we just could not completely, totally unplug from the Dhahran area. The Class VII yard that receives all of the new equipment coming in, we have still got that. We are still running it. And to try to unplug our people from it at this point and have the EAC do it, who really should be doing the mission, would have meant that ... would have created a little bit of confusion. We do not want to do that.
MAJ HONEC: Not at this point.
COL SULLIVAN: No. It is not in the interest of this corps to see that get confused. I want everything that this corps is supposed to get to get to this corps. And if that means we have to do it for the theater and VII Corps too, that is fine, we will do that. Plus, we have got a fair number of facilities down there that have got parts and equipment and stuff that we did not bring up here that has got to be cared for down there. And so we ended up with almost 1,000 people left in the Dhahran area. I have got my three rigger companies in Dhahran. The rigged supplies are going to fly out of King Fahd [International Airport], and so they were back there rigging the supplies and getting that all straight.
MAJ HONEC: The numbers on the riggers companies?
COL SULLIVAN: Yes, there are three. There is a rigger detachment, the 49th [Quartermaster Detachment], which is responsible for corps operations. The 612th [Quartermaster Company], which is the non-divisional rigger company. And then the 600th [Quartermaster Company], which is a supply company. Now, I combined the 600th and 612th into one company that is now about 250 people strong; OPCONd the 600th people under control of the 612th. And then the 49th has got 75 or 78 people ... I would have to go back and look at my files ... that are physically here on the ground. To make a long story short, there are about 325 people that are rigging the stuff in country, and they have done all that. That job is basically finished. They are the ones now that are making sure that the pallets of supplies that come up here are properly loaded and they are reloading them and repackaging them, tightening down nets, and that kind of stuff to get it moved up here. And they are acting as our agents back there to make sure that the parts and so forth that we need get moved up here to us.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, could you explain why you chose the road that you did for the FLS? What were the feelings about that?
COL SULLIVAN: The first thing and foremost was that we needed a place that had proximity to the Log Base itself. Because the Log Base was going to have to receive the supplies and make the distribution. Secondly, we had security here that we might not have someplace else. And lastly, we own the terrain here, if you will. I am the terrain manager. Anybody who wants to use any space in what is called Log Base CHARLIE as it is depicted on the corps graphics has to coordinate that space with me. Now, people who want to use land some place else have to coordinate with whoever owns that land. Now, I own that section of highway. That one is mine.
Secondly, as you have driven up and MSR DODGE, what you have seen is that in some places the road is newer and wider than it is in other places. We had a stretch that was within the Log Base, within property, within the terrain that we owned that was the new wide stuff. That meant you could land directly to the road, as opposed to trying to build and FLS out here in the dirt someplace. It was possible to go out and build one elsewhere in the log base; it would have required a hell of a lot more engineer work than letting an airplane land on the road and putting in a bypass. So the corps engineer is the guy who came up with that idea. I wish I could say it was mine, but I wasn't. [COL] Bob Flowers49 said 'hey, we're going to use the highway.' I said 'like hell you're going to use my highway; I need the damn highway to move equipment.' We talked, you know. 'I'll build you a bypass.' And I said 'I'll believe this bypass when I see it.' But he did it.
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
COL SULLIVAN: That's probably all you need.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, in addition to the bypass getting too close to the FLS, and what you really wanted to do, did you want to think about bringing it out a little bit?
COL SULLIVAN: We had to take and move the bypass route. The problem is that we're now at the point of time in operations out here when engineer assets become absolutely critical. We can't afford to take and let any more go. We're preparing to cross the border here very soon. So, no, we probably won't expand it at this point in time. If, after we've crossed the LD, the engineer assets get freed up again, we can do it. In the interim we're going to have to suck it up. But, in order to look at things, we're going to build another FLS when we get up here to [Log Base] ROMEO.
MAJ HONEC: Right.
COL SULLIVAN: And we can put a bypass around that right easily.
MAJ HONEC: That's better. [LAUGHTER]
COL SULLIVAN: Like I told you earlier ... and I don't look for 100 percent solutions, I look for 80 percent solutions; that FLS is an 80 percent solution. There will be people come back and say 'well, you ought to have done this.' Yeah, maybe so. But if I'd done all those things, then we wouldn't be landing on the damn thing now; they'd still be doing something to it. We just wanted to get something on the ground that we could use, that was safe. And that's in the ball park. That really is our goal.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, the stretch of road that you have designated, is that enough room for the number of aircraft that have to land on it?
COL SULLIVAN: Yeah. They only land one aircraft across at a time, of course, but the taxiway and the offload area (the ramp space, if you will--if that qualifies as a ramp) is six long. In other words, it will take six C-130s on the ramp at one time.
MAJ HONEC: Great.
COL SULLIVAN: All we did to make that is we just pumped a small amount of diesel fuel on the ground and rolled it out and over to keep the dust down. A small amount ...
MAJ HONEC: That mix is ...
COL SULLIVAN: Probably 250 or 300,000 gallons of diesel out there. They need a lot of diesel to keep that down.
SSG KIRKLAND: Is that a day? Did you put all that down?
COL SULLIVAN: Oh, no. I just put 20,000 a day.
MAJ HONEC: How long does it last? Roughly. Does all the diesel stay, or does it evaporate?
COL SULLIVAN: Initially we had to diesel it every single day. And you'd go out the first thing in the day, in the morning. I did it at night. As soon as the last plane landed, I got the lights turned on and we started dumping diesel fuel down there, and rolled on it, and all this kind of stuff, trying to prepare it for the next day's operations. The next day you'd come in and there'd be puddles of diesel fuel all over the place. About four or five days of that, and then you'd start every other day, and then you'd start every couple of days. And then it got down to like once a week. I mean, once you get enough of that to really establish a base, it almost becomes like asphalt. And you can run around on top of it with no problem at all. We also went out to try and find some crude oil and some other stuff to dump on it as well as dumping diesel fuel. And we got some of that, some of that stuff.
MAJ HONEC: Does the crude oil do as well as diesel?
COL SULLIVAN: Yes. Does better. Now, if you put the two together, you end up with ... it does it a whole lot quicker. It's just that we had diesel when we didn't have crude.
MAJ HONEC: The going with diesel fuel as opposed to any other palliative ... did you experience a shortage in that? Evidently ...
COL SULLIVAN: There was a period of time when we weren't building stocks up as fast as we wanted to. And so I put a stop to the use of diesel fuel on roads. And I've done it again. I'm not going to dump it on the roads right now because we're shutting down. But there just wasn't another palliative that was available to us at the time. It's not what we wanted to use, but it was just the easiest--the only--thing that we were able to use. And so that's the one we used.
Now, every single day I make the decision on how much diesel fuel do we have on the ground? Fine, you can dump this much. Occasionally we got in some fuel that was off spec. In other words, it didn't come up to quality standards that we would demand. And we would dump that crap on the roads. We'd purge the tankers out. But, by and large, they made the decision to make sure that we didn't dip below stock levels that we needed to have on hand. And we ran every single day as if we were going to go to war that day. If you're going to go to war today, and I want to make the decision, the answer is no. And that was it.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, if I'm in a logistical support group, do I have a map depot?
COL SULLIVAN: No, I don't have a map depot. I wish I did. Maps have been a critical problem for us. Especially 1:50,000s, trying to find something that predicts the area that we are going to go set up--initially, this log base, then other log bases as we go forward. There was a map depot established over in Bahrain that had a fair number of maps in it that I was familiar with from my days back in JCS. But it didn't have all the map sheets that we needed. And ... no, we don't have that here; that's an engineer function.
SSG KIRKLAND: Okay. Sir, the maps that you do need, where do you go?
COL SULLIVAN: We go back through channels and pick those up. And the Corps has made a prodigious effort of getting what's available to us. And what's not available ... you know, they've got a satellite that generates the things somehow. That's all magic and mirrors to me.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
COL SULLIVAN: The bottom line is that we didn't get any. The maps.
MAJ HONEC: Is there any other ... is there any other specific, unique things about Log Base CHARLIE and the operation that you can think of that we haven't covered? Perhaps you could add to this history?
COL SULLIVAN: Well, I think that I'm probably ... it's kind of hard to reflect back on the last hour and a half, or so, of conversation and make sure that I've covered everything. I'm sure, in fact, that I've left out an awful lot of what I really need to say. But, I'm unable at this point to put my finger on exactly what it is.
MAJ HONEC: Security. You have organic to you or attached to you, rather, ADA50 assets for a foreseen aircraft threat?
COL SULLIVAN: I don't have ADA attached, but I am under the umbrella of one Patriot and then two, for ground security, they gave me an MP company out of the 18th MP Brigade. That's one of the things we talked about that we had to have on day one when we came out here. And they've been on the ground for protection of the fuel and the ammo and the FLS--those are the Number 1, 2 and 5 spots on the ground for XVIII Airborne Corps. And they've been protected in accordance with that. We've had, actually, superb support. And it's made life here a whole lot easier knowing that we have these assets up doing their job. Of course, we have our own security elements, but they've got the night vision devices. Of course, the MPs have got the HMMWVs where they can get out and get around in.
MAJ HONEC: Mainly with the M-60 [7.62mm] machine gun on them?
COL SULLIVAN: Primarily. Yes. So, initially, they made the job here a little bit easier.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Communication. How was your communication lines?
COL SULLIVAN: Communications--and before I throw a stone at the communicators, let me say that they really did a good job. We in the Army have never had enough communication assets. We've always known we haven't had enough. And somebody at the Pentagon, I guess, does a study and says, you know, we can do three things with two, and, of course, when you get out in the field it never works. He's never been in the field, so he doesn't understand that.
When we got out here we thought we had nineteen telephones for Log Base CHARLIE. We found out that we didn't have any.
MAJ HONEC: Mobile Subscriber Equipment?
COL SULLIVAN: No, KY-68s.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, sir.
COL SULLIVAN: We went from nineteen to zero in ... frankly, that created a small problem. It might have been a blessing in disguise because nobody could call us, either. But we went back in and patched in to it, and they gave us four telephones here at the headquarters (which has now been increased to eight) that we used for a combination of the headquarters and that's for my battalions. That has alleviated part of the problem.
But communications for us is primarily FM.51 The FM net is about all that is compatible to us. And there, again, you go back into the TOEs that we have in the Army. You know, it authorizes ... for example, my transportation group TOE before I switched over to the corps support group, I was authorized one radio. For a group headquarters: one radio. Let me tell you, one radio does not make a group headquarters work. You can't do anything with it. So ...
MAJ HONEC: How many do you really need?
COL SULLIVAN: Well, I've got one--how many do I really need? That's kind of a difficult line to come up with. I'm authorized two [AN/GRC]-46s ... I mean, two [AN/GRC]-47s, four -46s, and one [AN/GRC]-68 and one [AN/GRC]-106, right now. And for command and control of the group, in one location, that's sufficient to do the job. But I'd like to see some more -106s (that's the AM radio; a little more range). I'd like to see a RATT52 rig organic to the group headquarters--and don't have that, although the signal community has given me one.
A couple of things I'd like to have and don't have, and I'll address those as time goes on. Transportation. My new TOE gives us transportation that we didn't have. It authorizes me HMMWVs. Before we were authorized one deuce-and-a-half and like three vehicles. We couldn't do anything; I mean, you just simply couldn't do the mission with the number of assets that were available. I guess most transportation groups task subordinate organizations to provide it, but we were mostly functional and didn't have a lot of transportation assets. I mean, we had the [M]-915 tractor-trailer rig, and that doesn't do real well to drive around in.
The Army needs to take a real hard look at what it's done as it has gone through various series of TOEs. We've gone through H-series all the way up now to the L-series and some other things. In the process of trying to save some spaces and try to do some other things, we've really cut ourselves pretty severely. Then we took all those cuts and in the logistics community we said we're going to have everything at ALO-353 instead of ALO-1. And then we're going to have, in the case of officers, only the minimum, and do ODP.54 And something similar to it for the enlisted folks. But they only support a percentage of your spaces. The shortfall is ... I mean, you can have an allocation of a popular shortage, and you end up with an organization that is just barely able to make the grade.
Now this is a parochial topic to me, but ... we need to have a full-up organization. Especially in 1st COSCOM and XVIII Airborne Corps. The contingency corps needs to be a full-up corps, with ALO-1 units (both combat and combat service support), ready to go in and do the mission. And organized to support that combat force that makes up XVIII Airborne Corps. Now we've looked at the contingency corps--I know GEN [Edwin H.] Burba, [Jr.]55 has looked at it. And we're talking about ... talking about it ... adding some heavier forces into XVIII Corps so that it is more robust and can do things such as this, and other things. Not just be a light corps.
The COSCOM or the combat service support that supports that needs to be tailored to support it as well. Back at Fort Bragg I've got ... one of my battalions is the Special Troops Battalion. Now, under Special Troops Battalion we've made it a multi-functional battalion. It has the normal STB functions and so forth, the Headquarters Company for the COSCOM. But it's got five units--five TOE units--that are assigned under it as well. Which is at least as many as most TOE battalions have. How many people do you think they have authorized to command and control the STB? Twenty. They've got to try and be a battalion headquarters with twenty people. That guy's at a disadvantage. He is not going to be able to do as well as somebody else, because the Army just gave him short shrift on his organization.
This is a long, round-about way of me saying that when this is all over with, we need to take the lessons-learned from this and we need to sit down at the drawing board. It's a shame that the folks at TRADOC56 aren't over here. Because the TRADOC community really needs to be over here taking a look at the kinds of things that are going on so that if they write doctrine for Battlefield 2000 and all that kind of good stuff, that we are looking at what we did here, not so that we design for desert warfare in the future (I don't want to repeat that mistake), but so that we take a look at the organizations and the kinds of changes that we need to make to them.
You know, we did a WHEELS Study back in the 60s and 70s that said you don't need trucks. [INAUDIBLE] We have done commo studies trying to decide whether we have all the requisite comms we need, and somebody found a way to do more with less, and we end up with ... . Let's take a look at what we need, and either totally up and buy it, or just not have available the organizations and equipment. We're trying to kid ourselves and say yeah we've got an organization that can do the job, but it's not able to. And all we do is delude ourselves into a sense of false security that we can haul off and do great and wondrous things.
And I guess over here we've kind of proven that you can do a lot of things. We could have done it a lot easier. We wouldn't have had to take the gamble quite as often; wouldn't have always had to be the 80 percent solution--we could have done the 90 percent solution if we had had the right organizations to start with.
In some of our maintenance organizations they skinnied those suckers down so much, pared them down, that they can only support at one location. You can't go to multiple locations now, so (that is organization I'm talking about) that support capability ... . Well, the way we deploy on the battlefield is we disperse. That's almost elementary to what we try to do. But you can't disperse some of this stuff. You've got to centralize it. Now that means if you loose one, you loose it all.
We need to kind of re-look at some of that and make sure we're making the best decision for the Army. There have got to be trade-offs. The Army can only be so big and so that means that every space is a scarce space. But I believe we have people who do the designing get out of their air-conditioned and heated offices and come over here and see what the hell's going on. And then when they go back and write, they'll have somebody who knows what they're talking about as opposed to what they think happened. Soap box for me, I guess.
MAJ HONEC: Well, ... okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, with all this supporting of equipment that you see along Tapline Road, are there any wrecks, fatalities--to the drivers?
COL SULLIVAN: You know, in comparison to total activity and total miles driven and all that, no, fatalities are way down. In fact it's kind of sad that you ask that question, because the first two we had in millions of miles that we've driven over here were just yesterday. Two soldiers from North Carolina National Guard who died in a vehicle accident. The number of accidents that we've had is (once again, in relation to total miles driven) is about where it ought to be, I guess. But it really bothers me a great deal. So we have ... safety is something that not only we preach, but we practice. We work very hard at safety. Perhaps because of my aviation background, I got into the safety, because safety is something that is ingrained in everything you do. And I have ... I feel very strongly about that. We have very strong safety programs in all of our units.
The two soldiers who died yesterday had attended a safety class that morning at 8:00 at ... where the platoon leader sat them down and talked about seat belts and the need to wear their seat belts, and the fact that we had just had rain and the roads were going to be a problem, and, you know, all of that. They spent about 40 minutes and going over some safety things. Two soldiers didn't wear their seat belts. Had they worn them, they probably would be alive today. Well, it's just the kind of thing that ... of all the good things that happened, all it takes is one of them like that ... . Any loss of a soldier, no matter what, no matter what the reason, is too great a loss. We just simply ... there are lots of resources that are scarce, but none of them are as scarce as the soldiers. Whatever we have to do to take care of soldiers and make sure that you don't have to eat that kind of a loss, we have to take that step.
The group problem that we've experienced over here, from a safety point of view, has been with the Saudis. It has been absolutely incredible. I don't know how the hell these people managed to have a population of eight million. The way they drive, I'm surprised they have a population of over two. We can have trucks that have literally come to a stop on the highway and have been hit at 60 and 70 miles an hour. They were driving down a two-lane road three abreast. Even with the guy stopped they hit him anyway. Just incredible numbers of accidents where they have run into our trucks. The fact that we hadn't had anybody seriously injured up until this point was, in my view, a minor miracle. And the kind of a thing that alarms the hell out of you.
That's why we've spent so much time talking about safety--just trying to make sure that we reduce as much as possible the exposure our soldiers have to some of these idiots that drive out here. In the process of all that, some of the soldiers have picked up some of the Saudi habits. Suddenly I'm seeing US Army soldiers that have gone off and are doing some of the same damn things that the Saudis do. In this group we take a dim view of that. Now ... you'll have to ask somebody else--LTC Stern, the disciplinarian--all those kinds of things.
I will tell you that the soldiers that I catch 'cowboying' their vehicles--truck drivers 'cowboying' their vehicles--are going to get hammered in some way by me. If they get a ticket, they get a letter of reprimand from me, personal, every time. And it goes not just to the soldier, but to the battalion commander and the company commander and it says 'I'm disappointed in you; you didn't exercise due caution, the chain of command didn't work, and I'm not happy about it; I don't want to see it continue; I want you to come up here and tell me how the hell you're going to make it right.'
Then we have people who go off and do things that I think are just literally excessive. And then we take whatever action's appropriate. There's no hard, fast rule; there's nothing that says if you drive this fast, you get an Article 1557 or anything like that. Everything is situationally dependant. You've got to go in and look at it before you make a decision. I would say to you that we have in fact given Article 15s to NCOs for speeding. And we have given Article 15s to NCOs who were passengers in vehicles when the driver was speeding. Now I didn't give it to the driver, I gave it to the NCO, and I gave it to the NCO because the NCO knew what to do and didn't do anything about it. And that's not acceptable.
COL SULLIVAN: I think that probably has helped us a little bit. But safety is one of those things that ... I don't care how much time and effort you put into safety, there's always more, and there's always a greater requirement. And you've got to reinforce it every single day. It's not something that just goes away once you've made a speech once.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, this concludes the interview--DESERT STORM/DESERT SHIELD interview.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
1. Continental United States.
2. Operations security.
3. Commander in Chief, United States Central Command (CENTCOM).
4. 3d Armored Cavalry, a regiment from Fort Bliss, Texas.
5. King Khalid Military City.
6. 2.5-ton trucks.
7. A primary staff element in the group headquarters.
8. Supply Class V is ammunition. Class I is food; II is organizational clothing and equipment; III is fuel; IV is construction materials; VI is personal items; VII is major end items; VIII is medical supplies; and IX is repair parts.
9. Advance detachments; i.e., each battalion of the group deployed an advance party forward before moving its main body.
10. In the case of XVIII Airborne Corps, this was the 330th Transportation Center (Movement Control), a subordinate element of the 1st Support Command (Corps). The latter is commonly called 1st COSCOM.
11. Authorized stockage list.
12. Meals, Ready-to-eat.
13. H-Hour was actually at 0200. All times are local, which was C time zone, three hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time.
14. Military Police. In this case, elements of the corps' 16th Military Police Brigade.
15. COL(P) John G. Zierdt, Jr.
16. Tactical operations center.
17. Containerized delivery system, used in conducting airborne resupply.
18. Chemical Protective Outer Garments, also commonly called MOPP (Mission-Oriented Protective Posture) suits.
19. Tray Rations, prepackaged hot meals that can be prepared simply in Mobile Kitchen Trailers (MKTs).
20. Forward Landing Strip. An airstrip capable of handling C-130 Hercules intratheater transports was constructed in Log Base CHARLIE by using part of the Trans-Arabian Pipeline ("Tapline") Road, which was Main Supply Route (MSR) DODGE.
21. Commander, 20th Engineer Battalion. From Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
22. 62d Engineer Battalion.
23. Tactical air liaison officer; MAJ (USAF) Daniel W. Speer.
24. See DSIT-AE-053.
25. United States Air Force mobile aerial port squadron.
26. Operation JUST CAUSE, December 1989-January 1990.
27. Direct support unit.
28. Prescribed load lists.
29. Line of departure.
30. Division support commands.
31. LTG Gary E. Luck.
32. Under operational control.
33. Echelons above corps.
34. Command sergeant major.
35. MSR TEXAS was the XVIII Airborne Corps primary route north into Iraq because just north of the border it became the only hard surfaced road leading to the Euphrates Valley. Nearly 100 miles north of the border it intersected with the only east-west hard surfaced road south of the Euphrates Valley (MSR VIRGINIA). Other north-south routes established were MONTANA (terminating at Log Base CHARLIE), GEORGIA (cut as the 24th Infantry Division's connector to VIRGINIA), and NEWMARKET (the 101st Airborne Division's divisional MSR to VIRGINIA). Corps-level MSR names were selected based on the home states of the members of the Corps' G-3 Plans Directorate.
36. Objective WHITE was the As Salman area, and served as the final objective for Corps forces on the west flank, primarily the 6th (French) Light Armored Division reinforced by the 2d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division.
37. 70th Ordnance Battalion (Ammunition).
38. 540th Quartermaster Battalion (Petroleum).
39. Supply and service.
40. Table of organization and equipment.
41. King Abdul Aziz Royal Saudi Air Base in Dhahran.
42. Whatever can go wrong will go wrong.
43. This is a slang usage that reveals that COL Sullivan spent time in Vietnam early in his career.
44. United States Army Forces Central Command. LTG William Pagonis was the Deputy ARCENT Commander for Logistics and also the Commanding General of the ARCENT Support Command (later 22d Support Command). He rose during the operation from BG to LTG.
45. Preventive maintenance checks and services, the first-echelon maintenance done by the actual equipment operator.
46. Department of the Army; Army Materiel Command.
47. Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics.
48. M-998-series High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicle; M-1008-series Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle.
49. Commander, 20th Engineer Brigade; the corps engineer.
50. Air Defense Artillery.
51. Frequency modulated radio.
52. Amplitude modulated. Radio-teletype.
53. Authorized level of organization. ALO-1 is 100 percent of wartime requirements; ALO-3 is 80 percent.
54. Officer development programs.
55. Commander in Chief, US Forces Command [FORSCOM].
56. US Army Training and Doctrine Command.
57. Non-judicial punishment under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.