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 026
MAJ (P) Philip X. Naven, Jr.
S-3, 62d Medical Group
Interview Conducted 28 February 1991 at Logistical Base CHARLIE, Northern Province, Saudi Arabia
Interviewers: 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 026
MAJ HONEC: This is a DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interview. My name is MAJ Robert B. Honec. I'm here today with SSG LaDona S. Kirkland. We're both of the 116th Military History Detachment [at] Log[istical] Base CHARLIE. We're here at the 62d Medical Group to do an individual interview, oral interview. For the record, would you please state your name, Social Security number, unit, assignment and how long you've been assigned to that particular assignment.
MAJ NAVEN: MAJ Philip X. Naven, Jr., Social Security number is ***-**-****. Currently assigned as the S-3, HHD,1 62d Medical Group, and I have been with the Medical Group for just a little under two years at this time.
MAJ HONEC: Great. Okay. Starting with deployment, as a medical planner, could you elaborate on the various issues you were faced with getting the 44th Medical Brigade over here to Dammam or the Dhahran area and then we can walk it forward to King Khalid Military City [KKMC] and to Log Base CHARLIE where we are right now. Please start.
MAJ NAVEN: As a unit headquarters, medical group headquarters, out of Fort Lewis, Washington, we were originally alerted for deployment on the task ... time-phased force deployment data list (TPFDL) back in August [of 1990]. We were subsequently dropped from the TPFDL and it wasn't until 12 November that we were again realerted for mobilization deployment to Saudi Arabia.
So, between the period of August to the period of November we had gone through many task organization changes, who we were going to be under, whether it was 44th Med Brigade or echelon above corps [EAC] organization as far as a medical group headquarters goes. Upon arriving in-country on or about 17 November we were originally told that, yes, we were still being looked at as an EAC unit, but for the time being we were part of 44th Medical Brigade. During that time period we had a pretty good idea of what our task organization ... subordinate task organization structure was going to look like. And at that time it included two battalions, the 56th Medical Battalion and the 36th Medical Battalion. The exact missions that they were going to have at that point in time was still unclear when we arrived in the country. In addition to that, for hospitalizations units we had a task organization structure that at that time had several active duty evacuation hospitals, the 85th Evacuation Hospital, the 86th Evacuation Hospital. Combat support hospitals--we had the 28th Combat Support Hospital.
And from that point in time on from about Thanksgiving onward it continuously changed, which one of those organizations was going to remain with us. As you know, at that point in time we were in the defensive posture, so things were constantly being looked at, at the present time, and very little as far as the future. It wasn't until about mid-December time period when the EAC started developing itself as far as what their structure would look like and what the 44th Medical Brigade structure looked like, specifically, the 62d Medical Group structure. As things ... as time went on, within the December time period it started to clarify itself as far as having reserve organizations, specifically the 44th Evacuation Hospital, in conjunction with that the active duty hospitals, the 93d Evacuation Hospital, the 15th Evacuation Hospital and the 86th Evacuation Hospital or the 85th Evacuation Hospital. The 85th Evacuation Hospital dropped out and became an EAC unit. The 86th Evacuation Hospital would remain part of the task organization hospital. And based on future plans, they were in fact were moved to KKMC.
So at that point in time we focused our attention on receiving the 109th Evacuation Hospital, which is a reserve hospital out of the Alabama [Army National Guard]; the 44th Evacuation Hospital out of Oklahoma; the 93d Evacuation Hospital (active duty) out of Fort Leonard Wood, [Missouri]; the 15th Evacuation Hospital out of Fort Polk, [Louisiana]. And the 86th Evacuation Hospital was already in-country, so we began the process of moving them to a new staging area, that being KKMC. And so that's how things kind of processed. At that point in time we were specifically oriented toward the reception of those other four organizations. Since the 56th and 36th were primarily on the ground. Some of their subordinate organizations were still in the process of being received into country, which in fact did not occur specifically with the 36th Med Battalion, with the ground ambulance company, the 514th, it wasn't until about the January time period.
So, that's how we specifically oriented our structure while at Dhahran as far as the reception, trying to find out when advance parties were coming in. TPFDL continuous changed, indicating to us when the advance parties were coming, when the main bodies were coming. There were no strong indications of movement from home stations into Dhahran and specifically with the equipment, primarily with all of those organizations, it was a mixture of receiving Deployable Medical Systems [DEPMEDS] out of POMCUS2 stocks, out of Europe, so there was many loads coming to us, many ships coming to us. Some coming from Europe and numerous ships coming out of the home stations ... ports within CONUS.3 Most of their logistical loads were split three or four different ships. That's an indication of not close supervision of when they took it from home station down to port; of supervising it to know which ships it got on; what the names of the ship were; specifically manifesting each individual piece of equipment on it. So, therefore, the other end of it coming into country, we were unsure which ships the actual items were on, how much was on there, how many milvans, how many trucks. So, it was a very interesting time trying to record the actual reception of equipment and when it was actually coming.
The personnel issue as far as receiving airloads of advance parties, main bodies, quartering parties was a little bit easier. But, to say the least, the TPFDL continuously changed. And from that point in time we continued our movement on into KKMC and on up here to Log Base CHARLIE.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Do you have all of your equipment now at the G+4 or G+5? Do all of your elements have all their equipment? Given this obviously confused state of shipment over here of the, you know, mission essential? And also please touch upon the quality or the availability of the equipment coming out of the pre-positioned supplies?
MAJ NAVEN: Kind of a two-phase question.
As far as the first question of whether all of the units have received all of their milvans, trucks, the answer is no. There is still one organization, the 93d Evacuation Hospital currently located at Rafha that is still missing six Sea-[Land] vans. The location for those six Sea-[Land] vans is still unknown. Which included most of their functional operational equipment, communications equipment, records, forms, the things to do day-to-day business with, are still missing. So, that included much again of their communications equipment.
Most of the transportation ... I would say all of the transportation assets have been received that were organic to the organization. We have certainly augmented them with the receipt of additional transportation that we have picked up from some of the divisional units that they have cross-leveled upon receipt of their new transportation, i.e. HMMWVs. We've given them CUCVs.4 But, again, the big prime movers, most of those were received from either home station.
As far as the Deployable Medical Systems go, all of the equipment now has been received. In itself that started probably in the January time period. Here we are at the end of February. The last of the Deployable Medical Systems shipments was received just prior to G-Day5 on or about 22 February. The internal configurations, we are still in the process of still receiving blood gas analyzers, defibrillators, anesthesia machines. Those type of items are still coming to us, but we are, in fact, capable of performing any medical mission that would come to us at this point in time, as we have been doing since the onslaught of G-Day. So, yes, we have all the primarily pieces of equipment, but there is still some of it missing. But, as far as the majority goes, yes, we did receive it on time prior to G-Day.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Phase I was basically medical support in the defense. The planning involved in that and into transition into Phase II and III, planning for the offense. What sort of additional issues did you come up with that perhaps was characteristic that perhaps was characteristic of I, but was not characteristic of ... was not found in the subsequent phases of this operation?
MAJ NAVEN: Certainly when we were in the defensive phase, the organizations that were currently tasked-organized underneath us were certainly sufficient based on the troop strengths that were currently deployed into country. As we started to transition and plan for the Phase II, the offensive operation, and we started to firm up the task organization of what it would exactly look like for the Phase II with the evacuation hospitals, our primary concern was certainly the reception and staging and follow-on movements of the Phase II organizations under the offensive TACS organization.
That was our biggest problem because recognizing the fact that we had four organizations that were currently not in-country. The date of what we were originally looking at for offensive actions to commence on or about the 15th of January, we knew full well that we would not be mission capable of supporting the offensive operations either logistically, with personnel, or operationally-wise. We were nowhere close to being ready to support the offensive operations with the missions that we had for the offensive.
Within the defensive operations we were currently structured, again as I said, with the 85th Evacuation Hospital, the 86th Evacuation Hospital, air and ground evacuation assets, and some veterinary support. We were fully capable of supporting the defensive operations as we were currently set in Dhahran with command and control and with the hospitalization aspects. As we transitioned, though, it became very apparently to everybody that we were nowhere close to being ready. Again, as I indicated, it wasn't until G-Day that we were fully operational and ready to start receiving casualties.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Let's focus in on nuclear, biological and radiological and/or chemical [NBC] casualties. Have you changed the configuration from Phase I to Phase II any, or have you gone with the same plan to provide that support to ... ?
MAJ NAVEN: The principles within nuclear, biological, chemical--specifically chemical--agents, since it was well spoken that Saddam had a chemical threat, we have not changed the way we have done business all the way from Dhahran to the way we currently have done it here.
Our organization which identifies the 36th Medical Battalion had two clearing companies in it. A clearing company is a 240-bed configuration. Each one of those is broken down into three platoons, which gives us an 80-bed configuration within each of those platoons. Their primary mission was to support a patient decontamination site so in the event of a chemical strike from Iraq, regardless of where the incident occurred, initially what would happen is that we would send out a trauma treatment team, as we call it, basically consistently of probably an air evac aircraft to include a doctor, a few medics to initially do trauma treatment, to analyze the situation, to request additional support if needed.
But, if it was a chemical strike basically what we would do in working with the chemical battalion down in the Dhahran area, the idea is that any chemical casualties would be taken by the unit, if they had self-sufficient transportation, to move chemical casualties to a consolidated decontamination site. At that decontamination site we would also have a patient decontamination site. So, after going through a hasty decon or a deliberate decontamination station, they would then go through our patient decontamination station, which in this case would be decontamination treatment and then get them to the fixed facility hospital that was down in Dhahran (that included at that point in time the 28th Combat Support Hospital, the 85th Evac and the 86th Evacuation Hospital). Each one of those facilities, in addition, had another patient decontamination station so in case we missed something, we could pick it up there, decontaminate it and then process them through a hospital.
Our primary concern was the buddy system, that the screaming guy with the injuries and being contaminated would rush the door of the hospital. We had closely tied it together with the medic--military police, as far as basically blockading the hospital to insure that no chemical casualties entered that hospital. Because once it became contaminated, all that equipment within the emergency room, OR,6 everywhere else in the hospital was basically contaminated, regardless of where that patient had gone, mainly because of the filtration, the air conditioning, the climatic control systems of the hospital. Once it enters the hospital, it's circulated and goes on through the hospital and basically the entire hospital is contaminated. So, all efforts were devoted to the fact that we would not allow any contaminated casualties coming in to the hospital.
We did not receive the CAMS (the chemical agent monitoring systems) in-country until almost the end of January, beginning of February. It's a little gun, computerized system that basically picks up any agent type system. The other systems that were currently on board at that time were M-8 paper [detectors] and M-256 to determine to any chemical agents on board or within the area and the M-8 alarm systems. So, those were the only systems they had. They were time consuming. The CAMS system, basically you shoot it within the area or the item that you're trying to figure out if there is contamination and it gives you an immediate type of response. So, that was a great help to us. So far we haven't had a chance to use it to see its reliability, but that was our initial usage to see if any possible contaminated casualties would come into us.
Stepping from the Dhahran area, we continued to use the same doctrine, the same concepts that we had established there and move those up to KKMC. At KKMC we had established two evacuation hospitals. I should say one hospital. The other one was we were continuously trying to establish from the beginning of January all the way up until G-Day. But, we did have one hospital established and we did establish two patient decontamination sites, again utilizing the same configuration, the same concept. A patient decontamination station, by a clearing platoon, was established in the vicinity at one of the evacuation hospitals. Initially the patients would come to that patient decontamination site and after going through a hasty decontamination station established by the chemical battalion, processed through the patient decontamination station, and then into the hospital to have the trauma, the injury or whatever it was treated.
We took that with us. We brought that concept with us up here to Log Base CHARLIE. Based on the co-location of two of the hospitals, the 109th and the 15th Evacuation Hospitals, we established one centralized patient decontamination station here at Log Base CHARLIE and one out at the Rafha area due to the distance factor, again co-located with the 93d Evacuation Hospital at Rafha. Subsequent to that we would be the initial reception of any chemical contaminated patients coming out of the front lines until the 1st Medical Group had established its fixed facilities. 1st Medical Group did it the same way we did. They had a clearing platoon in conjunction or co-located with each of its hospitals that would provide immediate patient decontamination support prior to going into the fixed facilities. The problem being within the first 48 hours all casualties would be evacuated back to the Corps rear, would be processed through the patient decontamination stations prior to entering the evacuation hospitals--the 93d, 15th and the 109th.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Going back to what you mentioned in KKMC about equipment, why ... this is the 44th Medical--I mean, Evac is what you're referring to?
MAJ NAVEN: Yes, it was the 44th Evacuation Hospital. Again, they were a DEPMEDS unit, receiving all their DEPMEDS equipment out of POMCUS. So, they did not come on line until on or about the 15th, 16th of February. So, they made it prior to G-Day, about a week prior to G-Day.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Is DEPMEDS ... has DEPMEDS been performing well here in a possible chemical environment or is perhaps some things that you can see that needs to be done to enhance that particular system?
MAJ NAVEN: The DEPMEDS system is certainly not an enclosed system where you could close the door, seal it up and become chemical proof, if you will. That does not exist with any of our facilities. So, if any of our facilities would have received a chemical attack, they would basically become non-operational and cease any further operations. That would have happened in any of our areas, if any of our hospitals would have been hit, either at KKMC, Dhahran or up here at Log Base CHARLIE. The system is not enclosed in any shape, form or fashion.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Is this normal up to this point the types of equipment that have been available prior to DEPMEDS? Would this in fact ... would this have been a fact also with previous systems that they had?
MAJ NAVEN: Yes. Oh, yes. Much so. All the evacuation hospitals previously were all under canvas. Now, you'll see a spread be under ... and the only difference is is that you have some temper tents which are a little cooler or a little more self contained for climatic control. Yes, there's a little bit of difference between the GP7 medium configuration and the GP large configuration as they are climatically controlled. But, as far as being able to resist or keep out chemical agents, there is no difference. Probably even almost as worse because you cannot seal them up in any shape, form or fashion.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Do you have anything else to talk about about the NBC effects on previous systems or the DEPMEDS system that may have called to mind?
MAJ NAVEN: No, not as far as organizational structures. They're within the evacuation hospitalization systems.
MAJ HONEC: Good.
MAJ NAVEN: I still think we need to look at the air evacuation systems, coming up with some sort of containerized system or patient wraps, which we did have in-country, that we could have put soldiers in or casualties in to protect the aircraft from further contamination. But, I think we need to relook at doctrinally who does what as far as decontamination ... . Not only of remains, for example, within the patient decontamination stations. If we would have had chemical casualties come through there and had died within the patient decontamination station, who in fact does the decontamination, the medics or the graves registration people or the chemical organizations before the graves registration people pick them up?
Within the air evacuation system and some of our older ambulances, again they are not over-pressurized, so if you put a patient in there you have contaminated internally as well as externally once they fly into a contaminated area. So, our contamination system or decontamination system with high pressure hoses or those type of devices, probably need further development within the technical arena. We'd get a lot of things that were improvised. Whether they would have supported us to the degree of protecting us is certainly unknown at this point in time. But, we had some good ideas such as lining the aircraft and ground ambulances totally in plastic so that if we did get contamination in there, it would limit the actual hardware contamination. So that basically you would this plastic in there, put the patients in there, be able to do your thing, and reduce the contamination within the aircraft and ground ambulances.
The idea originally came out with covering all items to include canvas with plastic, outside supplies with plastic. Probably a good idea except plastic was never received, so we never got that far. Apparently the contract was ordered, because ... . I'm not sure why the order was cancelled, but it was cancelled. So, in that sense--individual clothing-wise, individual protection-wise--I think we've made great strides. The detection systems, such as the CAMS, I think that was a great improvement and certainly something that would be of great use. The M-8 alarms, the length of time that that battery is capable of being used--somebody needs to take a look at the length span of life of the battery for the M-8 alarm as well as making sure there's plenty in-country if we can't improve the lifetime of the battery. But, as far as the individual equipment, again untested, the protective masks, the clothing suits, the CAMS, the NAKs (nerve agent kits), the chemical agents, all those things. I think we've come a long way. It's just a good thing we haven't had a chance to test them, but I'll leave that up to the researchers.
MAJ HONEC: Very good. Very good. You mentioned a medical system uses large amounts of water and water is of premium in the desert, as well as probably in parts of Europe anyway. How did the availability of water figure into your planning from deployment and then forward here?
MAJ NAVEN: Recognizing the fact that we were coming into a desert environment, the logisticians, that was certainly one of their key issues to look at when they got here to country. To tell you the truth, the water problem was never an issue. The individual consumption of bottled water was certainly a lifesaver as far as intestinal problems for all the soldiers. The amount of disease associated with decontamination of the water was almost nonexistent throughout the entire theater based on the fact that most of it was bottled water for individual consumption. As we came to new sites water was treated with calcium hyperchloride to such a large degree that there never really was a water issue. The desalinization system that the Saudis had used certainly produced large volumes of water for consumption throughout the theater and it was never an issue.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
MAJ NAVEN: If the desalinization problem had become an issue based on the oil slicks that Saddam [Hussein] had generated, we may have found ourselves in a predicament. There was a slow-down period there of bottled water because everybody went into a conserving mode, assuming that the fact that the oil slick problem was going to effect the desalinization process. It never came to bear. So, in each site, certainly within Dhahran, the water system was there, straight out of the desalinization process. It was right there.
At KKMC water systems were available and certainly up here at Log Base CHARLIE spring-fed wells at such a degree and such a volume that it was never an issue at any point in time since our deployment into country. Certainly an issue that always needs to be watched when coming into an arid environment like we had here, but it was never a problem.
In fact, the reverse is true that the amount of rain that was received here in Saudi Arabia during the December, January and February time periods was more of a problem based on site selection because anywhere you look in the desert, it looks like it's very flat and you can never tell where those lakes and puddles will form within the desert arena. Certainly one thing to look at is anywhere where there is any sort of foliage such as trees or sage brush or whatever they call the little bushes around here, you can be guaranteed that in any sort of rain that the water will remain there and it will turn into a lake within a very short time period of any sort of rainfall. So, site selection is very, very important within the desert and it's very, very difficult to tell what is level and what is subject to having lakes or ponds being formed. We had several problems with some of our evacs basically being under water within a couple inches--or within an inch of rain--time period, which really prevented the hospital from continuing operations. So, the reverse is true with water here in the desert. Or maybe we were just in that cycle of 100 year rainfall that we rain into a problem. It should always be considered.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Moving now to the broad topic of communications. Have you had enough communications in your ... to plan for and also the logistics involved, have you had enough equipment?
MAJ NAVEN: There is probably never enough communications systems. The FM8 communications systems work anywhere between a ten- to twenty-five mile range, and that's based on the fact that it is so flat around here. If you get into certain areas that have escarpments or sand dunes, that range is broken down possibly into ten miles. The weather conditions, based on the heat and the atmospheric conditions certainly influence FM. The lifesaver has been the AM communications system. The AM [AN/PRC]-193 radio that came to us as part of the Theater Army Medical Material or Medical Management Information System--the TAMMIS system--was a lifesaver and allowed us to communicate at ranges of 200 to 400 miles, allowed open communications. One of the problems was that it was not secure.
The number of tactical communications systems available to us, tac[tical] phones, Multiple Subscriber Equipment [MSE], was not available to the numbers that we required. So, with the one or two lines that headquarters units got it was certainly a lifesaver. Which requires units to either co-locate very closely together so they can establish a land line system, or the FM system. But certainly if you're going to expand the perimeter, if you will, to move your units out to a larger degree, tactical systems need to be in place, Multiple Subscriber Equipment needs to be in place, or the distribution of the -193 AM radio system needs to be increased. The old AM [AN/GRC]-106 radio, one of the problems certainly associated with that is that it's old. Repair parts are not in the system. So, if you did have one go down, you basically had to cannibalize it in order to keep another one going. It's heavy. It's bulky. It's not as powerful as a -193 radio and I certainly would recommend that the -193 radio be produced to a greater degree and across the board distribution.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Global positioning equipment, would you expound upon that? I know that's a shortage here.
MAJ NAVEN: Again, we did get quite a few systems through the aviation units, also the Global Positioning System as well as the LORAN system. We had adequate numbers for the aircraft, but certainly our ground ambulances, which were being dispatched out to remote sites, had to trust kilometer markers on the oil pipeline or measurably mapped it ...
[END OF SIDE ONE]
MAJ NAVEN: [Global] Positioning System, LORAN system. We had plenty for the aircraft, but very few for the ground ambulance systems, so our ground ambulances would use kilometer markers, mileage markers, the kilometer markers being on the pipeline that ran north and south along Tapline9 Road, but as far as getting out to the distance, they had to be very careful as far as measuring odometer-wise, kilometer-wise. As far as finding that patient at a remote site, with the LORANS or the Global Positioning System it would have made it much easier for the individual evacuation system to know where they were, know how far they had to go. There is not enough in the system for a terrain that is like this, which has no terrain features in which to gain reference to. If there is not a hard paved road there, it's very difficult to navigate in the desert.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. About compasses, is each of the ambulances equipped with compasses as a back-up system?
MAJ NAVEN: None of the ambulances had any sort of compass system. It was all based on odometer readings, how many miles to go from a certain known reference point, turn left, north, south, and, again, using mileage from that certain known reference point, continuing on to the mission.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Okay. Communications ... the TAMMIS system has got a problem with the IP ...
MAJ NAVEN: APIU.
MAJ HONEC: APIU, rather.
MAJ NAVEN: Automated processing something-or-other unit. The idea is that you could receive the data over the AM radio. It would process it, which would allow you to either have a screen version or a hard copy version of data to be printed. It was constantly down. We had it working within the environment of Dhahran in a nice stable environment for temperature and power. It seems to me the biggest problem was power fluctuation. If you could figure out a way to stabilize that, then maybe the system would work. But, since we had moved from Dhahran it never worked at KKMC and it never worked up here at Log Base CHARLIE
MAJ HONEC: How many hospitals are using the TAMMIS internally then?
MAJ NAVEN: The TAMMIS system for actual data is used right now by one. The one that has the -193, and the APIU system is all that is on board. None of the other hospitals received the -193 radio except for the group headquarters. So, right now except for collecting data, that's the only purpose it's got right now.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. That would be the 86th Evac?
MAJ NAVEN: The 86th Evacuation Hospital. Right.
MAJ HONEC: At KKMC?
MAJ NAVEN: Right.
MAJ HONEC: Very good. Okay. Any other communications issues that you would like to ...
MAJ NAVEN: Well, again, the only problem we had was for deploying units. Their milvans were not received in the country, so we had to make a lot of cross-leveling decisions to make sure they all had equitable distribution of secure equipment, KY-57s, [AN/]VRC-46s, antennas (the -254s or the -292s), TA-312s, wire ... the amount of wire, which is a four-strand wire for tactical telephones. Tactical telephone systems for the Multiple Subscriber Equipment were not on hand. Batteries, microphones.
Primarily the biggest fault that I can see is DS10 maintenance level repair system that had very little to non-existent repair parts in order to keep communications going. Almost non-existent as far as repair capability. Maybe that was just our area, but we had a very difficult time trying to reproduce any sort of equipment.
The fax machine--and I don't know the numerical designation of the fax machine--was a lifesaver. We had as well as our subordinate headquarters had fax machines, that as far as processing reports, frag[mentary] orders, it certainly saved time for courier runs. It's capable of being used on the landline system, capable of being used within the Multiple Subscriber Equipment system, capable of using it on the FM system and the AM system. A great help as far as processing reports. I would seriously recommend that fax systems be distributed to every level of command down to the company level because it is a tremendous lifesaver for hard-copy reports.
MAJ HONEC: Very good point. Very good point. I'm making note of that--faxes.
MAJ NAVEN: But, again, the same problem exists that repair capability is non-existent.
MAJ HONEC: Is that because the equipment is so new or is it just that the Class IX repair parts problems over here cover that too?
MAJ NAVEN: As we have taken it to the electronic maintenance DS support units, they know about the equipment, but it's the fact of no Class IX in-country.
MAJ HONEC: Very good.
MAJ NAVEN: So, they say they will order it and call us when the repair parts come in and then they'll fix your piece of equipment. Well, we've had pieces of equipment for supposed repair parts at a DSU unit three months ago. Whether he ever got the repair parts, we don't know, because he's in a different location than where we are now. So, we never saw the repair parts and the equipment is still down.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. The DSU was what unit, do you know?
MAJ NAVEN: Don't remember, but it changed each time we moved to a new location.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Very good.
MAJ NAVEN: So it was either a fill or kill requisition. Some of them said "we'll keep you on the list and when something comes in, we'll let you know." To date we never found out. Now, maybe upon redeployment when we go back in that direction maybe we'll have our repair parts.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Communications, transportation. Obviously we have touched upon some transportation issues. You need a lot of transportation to move your hospitals around. They're clustered together here in a small area as they are at KKMC. Is that for the anticipation of large casualty amounts coming in so they're convenient to all evac hospitals, or is transportation figured in to the planning to put the hospitals in that configuration?
MAJ NAVEN: One is certainly the command and control relationship of having those organizations somewhat close to their higher headquarters. But, primarily the reason that the evacuation hospitals are where they are is based on (for us at least) at this level for evacuation hospitals, the out of hospital evacuation, not so much the in-hospital evacuation. We can establish those anywhere and with aircraft and ground ambulances we can always evacuate into them. But, primarily as far as putting hospitals at KKMC as well as at Log Base CHARLIE, is that you will notice that each one of them are located next to an airfield configuration.
Which at KKMC is capable of [C]-141s, C-130 and also C-5A11 at KKMC, which makes it a tac[tical] evac[uation] hub. And a strategic evacuation hub for incoming flights of -130s and out of hospital flights for -141s. Same thing is true up here along Tapline Road. The 109th and the 15th are co-located, again because of their proximity to the C-130 strip here on the highway, 11 miles east of us on Log Base CHARLIE, Tapline Road. The same thing with Rafha, at the airfield there at Rafha, again configured so that if needed, we have the C-130 capability there. And you will also find that true up forward that the combat support hospitals are co-located very close to what was going to be C-130 strips up north.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. That is pretty well doctrine? There has been no changes or digressions--no, I wouldn't call it digressions--but any changes to doctrine that you need to illuminate in that? Is it better ... or was this for DESERT SHIELD, DESERT STORM? Was it pretty much a better way of doing things?
MAJ NAVEN: Doctrinally, basically the configuration, at least for the evacuation hospitals, is that there are two evacuation hospitals supporting each division. In this configuration the decision was made basically to have a forward and a rear medical group. Whether it was better or whether it was worse? Probably better in this sense because the divisions were highly mobile which kept the mobile units (being the MASHs and the CSHs) right behind the divisions, with the non-mobile evacuation hospitals close to the transportation hubs.
In this sense we did change doctrine. Whether it's better or whether it's worse--six of one, half a dozen of the other. It works both ways. We found it works this way. Whether we were tested to the degree that we can say this is new doctrine, this is the way it always should be done in the future, I'm not going to say that. Whether it should be the old way of MASHs and CSHs and evacs and supportive divisions in a horizontal, linear fashion, vertical fashion, I'm not going to say that either. Each war is going to be different based on the tactical situation. So, in that sense I'm not going to make a determination on the spot of which way was better. It seemed to work. We were close to the hubs. We got the casualties from the forward elements back here. We put them in the aircraft and sent them back to the Echelon Above the Corps units for further evacuation out of country. In a sense, a step-case mode, it worked.
MAJ HONEC: Good. Good point. Maintenance. Increased intervals for maintenance on all the vehicles, all the machines, all the equipment that you had, because of this desert environment. How has that impacted on planning? What sort of planning did you have to ...
MAJ NAVEN: Well, initially we were concentrating certainly on the extent of sand within the systems and the extreme heat. By the time we had deployed into country the temperatures had started to moderate down into the 70s and 80s. I think the highest day we had after deployment--after 17 November--was 90 degrees. The lowest we had was 22 degrees. So, we didn't have the impact of temperature variations as previous units had when they deployed here in August.
The locations that we had, we did not have the problems with the blowing sand as the 1st Med Group units had until we got up here. Any of the maintenance problems that we currently have ... I don't think we've had a problem because again the dust factor, we've had three or four dust storms up here. But, again, most of the units have had the opportunities to get their technical equipment inside of canvas, so dust did not impact upon the medical equipment problem. Truck problems, yes, there was the normal problems associated with filters, clogging of filters, fuel lines and things like that.
Let me just go back, if I could, to the transportation issue.
MAJ HONEC: Go ahead. Go ahead.
MAJ NAVEN: Certainly one of the problems as you iterated earlier was transportation. You focused your question primarily on why the hospitals were located the way they were. I think I oriented my answer back to the evacuation thing. But, going back to the transportation issue to move units, one of the problems that they have certainly, once they get themselves established, is organic transportation or secondary transportation to make that move. Most of the equipment they had was moved in Sea-[Land] vans, containers. The size changed from either 20-foot to 40-foot. They also had Iso-shelters that are moved with dolly sets. But, primarily most of their equipment from DEPMEDS as well as the home station equipment was moved in the Sea-[Land] vans.
One of the things that the AMEDD fell on ... short of many years ago was the palletized loading system that came out back in 82, '83, '84 arena that allowed pallets that were self-contained pallets to be moved organically by a palletized loading system. It's basically a configuration that moves a box, 20-foot [or] 40-foot box, onto a flatbed truck that provides the organic transportation to move it once, drop it, go back and pick up more systems, come back, drop it and move more systems. Without that we had to rely very heavily on secondary transportation to move us. We have exercises, many exercises and FTXs, that the transportation would always be made available to us.
Every move that we made, transportation was basically non-existent. We had to do it with organic transportation, deuce and a halves,12 five-tons, which certainly increases the sorties; which increases the delay of getting to a site from A to B.
So, without some sort of flatbed organic system, the dedication of transportation assets to move medical units, they fall down on the priority list as far as movement of hospitals. And, again, we have done this exercise-wise. We have come to war. We find we have the same problem. Secondary transportation is not available to make the moves, whether it's the smallest company to the headquarters to a hospital. Secondary transportation is not made available because the priorities of the war fighters is dedicated to other things, as it probably should well be, to the movement of bullets and beans and other items.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
MAJ HONEC: Any other maintenance issues that you want to get on the record that you can think of? I'll give you time to think.
MAJ NAVEN: No, other than specifically again with the NBC arena as far as being able to fix, calibrate any of the NBC items, again, there was some slight problems there with M-8 alarms. But, the rest of the chemical detection equipment is so low tech ... again, we never got the chance to use the CAMs to find out if somebody had a repair capability or not. So, other than that, I think that's pretty much it as far as maintenance issues go.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
MAJ NAVEN: I won't spend any time on the aircraft, aviation side of the house. I'll let you talk to the guys that know that better than I do.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Moving to personnel. The staffing of your hospitals was in a ... an orderly fashion, but scheduled at certain times. Could you ... how did that figure in to your planning, when your hospitals were supposed to be coming on-line with the various services? Give me an idea of how that impacted your planning.
MAJ NAVEN: Let me just kind of take you back to a few months ago to August when we started initial deployments of units. The system called Professional Filler Systems [PROFIS] generated by ... Health Services Command is responsible for supporting FORSCOM with filling each of the TOE13 organizations with physicians, with nurses. And they basically pull them out of the medical activities [MEDACs] or medical centers [MEDCENs] throughout CONUS. One of the problems, certainly, associated with that is that they were responsive in identifying the personnel, but just like anywhere else you want to try to continue the CONUS medical treatment, so you can't degrade that at the same time, pull these people out of the hospitals and try to get them their TA-5014 and get them shots and get them all trained up in order for deployment. But, I think Health Services Command, FORSCOM and all the other installations that have MEDACs and MEDCENs did an excellent job as far as preparing their people for mobilization deployment.
One of the problems certainly associated with that is the mix of specialties that you get versus the MTOE15 required slot is that you'll get a pediatrician for a general surgery or you'll get a OB/GYN16 for general surgery. I think the hospitals that managed to have the amount of the time they have to train themselves up to work through some of those issues ... that it did not have an impact upon us as far as treatment of casualties as they came in during G-Day and all the other levels of treatment that they had done up until G-Day. There was no severe impact associated with it. The number of specialties, the thoracic surgeons, the cardio-vascular surgeons, neurosurgeons, I think they were made available to us in significant time that would not degrade the mission. So, overall I would say that there was no severe impact on the mission of the type of specialty bumped up against the actual TOE position.
MAJ HONEC: Good. Okay. You talked about physicians. How about enlisted?
MAJ NAVEN: Enlisted side. Yes, again, we ran through shortages, specifically within the 91C, within the communications arena, within the 91A (the basic medical specialty), 91Ds. I won't get into a great detail. I'm sure you probably got that from my personnel folks. But, again, the system performed to such a degree that they came on-line in time before G-Day. So, the shortages were recognized. The school houses pumped them out in time enough to get into country, be in position, be in place and be able to react to the G-Day. If we had gone in January, there is no way we would have been ready to do what we did on G-Day. So, in a sense, my hat's off to the Academy of Health Sciences and the other TRADOC17 schools to produce the MOS18 specialties that they to produce and get them into country and get them into their units prior to G-Day.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Good. SSG Kirkland, you have some questions?
SSG KIRKLAND: Yes, sir. Is it true that you're treating more EPW19 patients than allied forces patients?
MAJ NAVEN: Don't have the specific numbers in front of me, but yes, the count is, I think, a little bit slanted toward the EPW side versus the U.S. side, yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: Great. And when I was over at the 109th I noticed they had a latrine for patients and a latrine labeled EPWs. Why is the separation?
MAJ NAVEN: One of the things certainly associated with EPWs is to what degree they may be carrying some sort of disease factor, vector. Unknown because we're not going to sit there and take a whole bunch of blood and find out what immunizations they have. We're not going to find out what kind of diseases they have. So, we're being generically precautious by allowing them to use separate facilities so that the U.S. ... in case they do have contaminating diseases that they don't come back and contaminate the U.S. forces. It's just a very generic, very simple preventive medicine type of factor.
SSG KIRKLAND: Now, concerning latrines, do they know--the EPWs are who I'm talking about--that they're supposed to sit down? Or do you have any problems?
MAJ NAVEN: Well, I haven't watched them, so I can't answer that question. [LAUGHTER] I would assume, noticing the latrine facilities and fixed facilities that I have seen, I have seen both the flush mode as well as the floor mode, so I'm sure that they can probably figure it out. We were ingenious enough to figure out that we had to squat on the floor to do our thing in their fixed facilities, so I'm sure they figured out what they had to do in our field latrines.
MAJ HONEC: Good point. [LAUGHTER]
SSG KIRKLAND: Okay, sir. Great. One last question. Are the medical units going to be the last ones to deploy back to the United States?
MAJ NAVEN: Unknown in the fact that we have not received any redeploying guidance. I can pretty well tell you, though, that there is always going to be a need for medical facilities. We are always the first ones in and we are always the last ones out. Just like any other combat service support guys, the maintenance guys have always got to be there to fix them and fuel them. We've got to be there to patch them up when they get hurt and crushed in between vehicles, so we will always be there.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, that's all the questions I have.
MAJ NAVEN: Okay.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Is there any other issues? I have one. I understand that tomorrow, March 1st, if the effective date for your lieutenant colonelcy. I'd like to point that out for the historian listening to this tape. Is there any other issues that perhaps we haven't touched upon that you feel is needed for inclusion in the record?
MAJ NAVEN: No, just run down through some things that may not have been specifically addressed.
MAJ HONEC: Great.
MAJ NAVEN: The medical regulating system in which we regulate patients from hospitals to EAC (echelon above corps) hospitals, or out of country in conjunction with the Air Force--the air medical evacuation liaison teams--the radio systems, the C-130s, the C-141s. European bed availability I thought was superb. The doctrinal system as it currently stands is sufficient and has proven itself time and time again in other previous conflicts. And again, it was proven here that it works and is a functional system and should not be changed. Communications, NBC, we have talked about.
MAJ HONEC: TAMMIS however is being used ... has an overall function, a medical regulating function. However, that's being used internally in the hospital, the one hospital that has it operational because of its current equipment constraints. I want to point that out for the record.
MAJ NAVEN: TAMMIS is probably a good system if you could get the reception of the data through the transmission of the -193, process it, and being able to put out hard copy reports either on paper or disk. It's got some bugs, I think, that the developers need to continually look at. The best thing, again, that they did provide was the -193 radio which has been a lifesaver across the board and throughout each command. But, I think the system is there. I think we just need to fine tune it in order to make it work better.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. All right. Continue your run down on some other items.
MAJ NAVEN: Well, other than that ... you've got the feedback from the logisticians and the personnel people?
MAJ HONEC: Yes. He touched upon transportation a lot. He seemed to be very heavy on that particular issue, as you were. Properly so.
MAJ NAVEN: Again, the biggest thing is the organic transportation versus secondary transportation availability. Movement, handling equipment is always going to be an issue with hospitals. Getting wrenches; 10K forklifts, 4K forklifts.20 They're not available when the war is going on because they're busy moving other things. It's a matter you have to go out and scratch and scramble in order to get those things. Somebody needs to, again, go back and look at organically that they need to be available within the facilities, especially evacuation hospitals, combat support hospitals. If you co-locate those facilities with each other within the theater, then maybe you don't need to assign or make them organic, but you do need to have those things readily available within the medical community. Otherwise you're going to experience problems throughout. Other than that there is no significant issues that jump out and strike me.
MAJ HONEC: How about air superiority? We got air superiority early in the Phase III--Phase II/Phase III movement to attack. Did that have a profound effect on your planning or did you plan ahead that perhaps we would be able to gain that sort of thing for the evacuation side of ...
MAJ NAVEN: Based on what we knew about the air war and the length of the time that the air war was going to take place, it wasn't even part of our planning factor because we knew and suspected that we would have air superiority rapidly, as was proven not only by the destruction, but the exodus of the Iraqi air force. We did not even consider that as far as a deterrent against us or something that we had to consider.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Very good. Any other ...
MAJ NAVEN: There is nothing else that I can think of, but if you're coming back in about two weeks I'm sure I can think of something.
MAJ HONEC: Very good. All right. This concludes this portion of the DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interviews.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
1. Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment.
2. Positioning of Materiel Configured in Unit Sets, a pre-positioning of materiel in Europe.
3. Continental United States.
4. M-998-series High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles and M-1008-series Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles.
5. 24 February 1991.
6. Operating room.
7. General Purpose tentage. It comes in large, medium, and small sizes, generically called "GP large", etc.
8. Frequency Modulated radio, as opposed to Amplitude Modulated (AM).
9. Trans-Arabian Pipeline.
10. Direct support.
11. C-141 Starlifter; C-130 Hercules; and (correctly) C-5B Galaxy.
12. 2.5-ton trucks.
13. Table of Organization and Equipment.
14. Field equipment authorized under Common Table of Allowances [CTA] 50-909.
15. Modified Table of Organization and Equipment that tailors the basic TOE for the unit's mission.
17. Training and Doctrine Command.
18. Military Occupational Specialty.
19. Enemy Prisoner of War.
20. 10,000- and 4,000-pound forklifts.