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 032
15th Evacuation Hospital
CPT Laura M. Rutizer (S-2/-3)
SFC Jose Claudio (S-3 NCO)
SSG Gary J. Danberg (S-2 NCO)
SGT Terry L. Buford (Assistant S-3 NCO)
Interview Conducted 6 March 1991 at Logistical Base CHARLIE, Northern Province, Saudi Arabia
Interviewers: MAJ Robert B. Honec, III, and SSG LaDona S. Kirkland (116th Military History Detachment), and SGT Dorothy L. McNeil (130th Military History Detachment)
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
7 August 1990 - 15 May 1991
Oral History Interview DSIT AE 032
MAJ HONEC: This is a DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interview. My name is MAJ Robert B. Honec of the 116th Military History Detachment. We are here today with SSG LaDona S. Kirkland, also of the 116th Military History Detachment, and SGT Dorothy L. McNeil of the 130th Military History Detachment, [at the] 15th Evacuation Hospital, Log Base CHARLIE. Today is the 6th of March 1991. For the record, we are going to start with the S-2 NCO.1 Would you please state your full name, Social Security number, the unit, and how long you have been in the S-2 NCO.
SSG DANBERG: My name is SSG Gary J. Danberg; Social Security number ***-**-*****; 15th Evac[uation] Hospital; S-2. I have been in the position since 1 December .
MAJ HONEC: Okay, would the S-3 NCO ... ?
SFC CLAUDIO: My name is SFC Jose Claudio; ***-**-****. I'm the S-3 NCOIC,2 and I have been in the position since 1 June 1989.
MAJ HONEC: No middle initial?
SFC CLAUDIO: No.
MAJ HONEC: And your name?
SGT BUFORD: My name is SGT Buford, Terry L.; ***-**-****. I have been S-3 NCO since 1 July 1989.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Starting from deployment back at Fort Polk, Louisiana, what sort of [S]-3 issues did you all work on, and you can do it a [S]-2 and a [S]-3, you know, chime in on the ... to add to the interview. For the record, you know, start from the beginning, and kind of work forward.
SFC CLAUDIO: Okay, well basically we had to do a lot of different plannings because we had a lot of different advanced parties. First we got alerted back in August, then we did a lot of planning: what equipment we were going to take; who was going to go advanced party; what we needed to do to get ourselves out of Fort Polk; equipment that we had to get, like uniforms and other things like that, equipment like that, flack jackets.
The weapons issue came up, of course, in the training portion, where everybody needed to be qualified within 90 days of being deployed. That was a bit of a problem. Because of the weapons ... everybody did not have a weapon. Plus the availability of a training area--at Fort Polk they have different periods where different units trained, so we had to bump a lot of units. Not only that, getting equipment; we don't have a lot of our own equipment to train people on the ranges, so we had to get new equipment. Fort Polk has this 35-day rule thing that, of course, we had to bump that. But it was a problem, trying to get ranges, trying to get everybody trained, and that created a problem which we handled. We had to do a lot of training during late hours, and stuff like that. And a lot of working every day trying to get ourselves ready.
And then, of course, we got taken off the deployment and we were put on standby. During the whole standby period, though, we continued to train and continued to get ourselves prepared in case we were leaving at any minute. And then we got the word again that we were leaving. We had certain dates that told us we were leaving, and we were getting ourselves prepared, getting our equipment identified, that we were going to take with us.
The problem that we did have was we didn't know whether we were going to take our MUST equipment or whether we were going to get DEPMEDS.3 And that created a problem in itself. So we identified a lot of our MUST equipment that we were going to need. But then we were told we were going to get our DEPMEDS equipment out of Europe, and we were to identify a team to go and pick up the DEPMEDS equipment in Europe, which we did. We had problems with getting numbers. First we were told a team of 30, then we were told a team of 20, then finally it was a team of five. So that's what we sent to Europe to get our DEPMEDS. So that kind of created a lot of problems. That kind of creates problems [in] the way you plan, not only on grounds for training itself, but family problems and things like that.
MAJ HONEC: Sure.
SFC CLAUDIO: A roller-coaster type feeling that the whole unit had. Because as we went on, of course, and were given different departure dates. We were POMd,4 and we were POMd since August at least, we got re-POMd to make sure that everybody had everything squared away. And then we sent another party to help the advance party receive the equipment in country. That was a party of twenty--twenty personnel.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: To help the party that was coming from Europe with the equipment. After that, we did ship ... we did start shipping our equipment, we started shipping our vehicles, and we started receiving most of our equipment, we voided all our shortages, and we identified a lot of the equipment that we needed to have. We continued our planning and developing, an N-Hour sequence for when we were 96 to 72 hours out.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Where was ... let's stop for a minute ... where was the shipment from? Which ports?
SFC CLAUDIO: It was from Fort Polk through Houston on the ships. And I know some of the stuff was going to go by plane also, from Egland Air Force Base, for example.
MAJ HONEC: What sorts of items did you ship out of the air port of embarkation and which ones out of the sea port of embarkation?
SFC CLAUDIO: Most of our stuff came by ship. We later on received a couple more milvans which went by air.
SGT BUFORD: Most of our stuff went by air.
SFC CLAUDIO: Most of our TAT, correct, most of our tactical equipment went by air. And that is when we sent the party of thirty with the tactical, and that was our third advance party. There were thirty personnel with our TAT equipment, who were going to go via sea.
MAJ HONEC: Now the TAT equipment was T-A-T?
SFC CLAUDIO: T-A-T.
MAJ HONEC: That may not be clear.
SFC CLAUDIO: Right. We had to leave some of the equipment at Fort Polk because we didn't have enough milvans to load our equipment. But we identified equipment that we would need in country so that our rear detachment could put it together and ship it to us, which it is on the way.
MAJ HONEC: It is on the way now? As of 6 March 1991.
SFC CLAUDIO: Well, it was shipped when? About a month ago? Our rear detachment called us about a month ago, I would say, I can't say approximately what date, but I would say approximately a month ago and told us that our equipment that we left in the rear, that we identified as needing in country, was shipped. So, it should be getting here soon. I know the war is over and all that, but the stuff's on the way. We didn't know how long this conflict was going to last. We needed the equipment that we had over there that we couldn't ship with us. We would need it, so it is on it's way.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. How are you keeping in contact with the port here at Dammam, where it should be coming in aboard ships. How are you arranging to watch the ships coming in so you make sure the cargos ... which ... the ship that has the specific cargo on it is going to be there?
SFC CLAUDIO: Okay, all those issues were taken care of through S-4.
MAJ HONEC: Oh, good.
SFC CLAUDIO: They got all the shipment numbers, and all those documentation numbers that they would need to identify the equipment that was to be shipped from the rear detachment to the S-4. They immediately took care of that. So we won't loose our ...
MAJ HONEC: There was enough to just store on one ship? So it's coming over on one ship? Or multiple ships?
SFC CLAUDIO: No, just on one ship. There wasn't a lot of things. I would say, maybe two milvans full at the most. I would say two milvans at the most of this equipment, and that would be it.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. And that covers the equipment that was left behind, and came ... is being sent here so that you can ... plus on those shortages you have. Setting up.
SFC CLAUDIO: Setting up here?
MAJ HONEC: Yeah.
SFC CLAUDIO: Of course, then after that, we ... the main body moved, finally, after two or three episodes of, yes, we're leaving and, no, you're not. We finally did move, got in country.
MAJ HONEC: What dates?
SFC CLAUDIO: January 8th we left. We got in about the 9th. January 9th, late at night, and we went into Dhahran.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, what was your flight? You were coming over on airplanes. What route did you take?
SFC CLAUDIO: We came in a 747, went to Egland Air Force Base, Louisiana, and from there we went ...
SSG KIRKLAND: Did you get there by bus?
SFC CLAUDIO: Yes, by bus, because it's about an hour away from Fort Polk. We got on a 747 and went to Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. We picked up some more personnel there. They are not in our unit, just some personnel that were coming over. To Langley Air Force Base, and we picked up other personnel from other units that were coming in country with us, because we had room on the plane. Then we went straight ... then we went to New York City, as a stopover, JFK in New York City, and from there we went to Germany (Frankfurt). At Frankfurt we de-boarded and had about a, what, three-hour break?
SSG DANBERG: Four- or five-hour break, right.
MAJ HONEC: SSG Danberg?
SFC CLAUDIO: We had a break there and went to the Red Cross tent, and just kind of relaxed a little bit over there. We boarded again and came straight to Dhahran.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Coming into Dhahran was the reception ready for you, that you knew where you were going to go? Could you ... please recite for me ... how squared away was ... how orderly was the transition in country to the ...
SSG DANBERG: It was a do-it-yourself operation.
MAJ HONEC: Good, SSG Danberg. Bring that forward.
SSG DANBERG: We had problems identifying a place to stay, and we all boarded buses from Dhahran airport after the sorting process there, and went to Khobar village, affectionately known as Little Beirut.
MAJ HONEC: How do you spell that? Can you spell the name of that village? Oh, Khobar, K-h-o-b-a-r.
SSG DANBERG: Khobar. On the outskirts of Dhahran. We spent several hours on the bus, while command was trying to arrange quarters for us. And finally after several hours we did get our quarters and we all moved in.
MAJ HONEC: SFC Claudio?
SSG DANBERG: In this apartment complex in the city there were an estimated 15,000 U.S. troops there also, so we took several hours, you know, moving our equipment in and setting up operations there. Trying to arrange things and just kind of finding out what our next move would be. So this was sort of a pre-stage area.
MAJ HONEC: Whom were you in contact with at higher headquarters to give you this guidance?
SSG DANBERG: 44th Med[ical] Brigade was our higher headquarters.
SFC CLAUDIO: I think one of our main problems down in Dhahran was communications. There was no phone, and of course we had no radio. It was really hard to communicate with higher headquarters.
SSG DANBERG: It was really spread out.
SGT BUFORD: It was really hard to get a message to the company commander from the battalion commander. We would have to go at least twenty to thirty minutes or more to locate him and then take his response back, because the telecommunications were so poor.
MAJ HONEC: That was SGT Buford. Okay, SSG Danberg, you wanted to add something to that?
SSG DANBERG: About the lack of communications?
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
SSG DANBERG: Well it was a problem coordinating things, but after approximately, what, five to seven days we stayed there, we sent an advance party by convoy with our POMCUS5 equipment vehicles that came over on the ship. We sent an advance party up to Log Base VICTOR at KKMC6 to arrange to set up our pre-staging area. And that took several days for that to develop and for everybody to get there.
MAJ HONEC: But you set up as a DEPMEDS ...
SSG DANBERG: No, we did not set up as a hospital. It was more a receiving equipment and that was more a ...
SFC CLAUDIO: It was more a receiving equipment and coordinating ...
MAJ HONEC: Coordinating?
SFC CLAUDIO: ... gathering area for all these ... marshalling area, right. Correct. And mainly receiving equipment and fielding of our DEPMED equipment. We had a team there from the 93d, teaching us, helping us field our DEPMED equipment.
MAJ HONEC: This was the 93d Evacuation?
SFC CLAUDIO: Sorry, the 109th Evac[uation Hospital].
MAJ HONEC: The 109th Evac sent a fielding team to help you out?
SFC CLAUDIO: Right, to identify the equipment, help us inventory, and all that.
CPT RUTIZER: Before we ever got the DEPMED, they left from KKMC ...
SFC CLAUDIO: But we still had some ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay, that was Dr. Rutizer, which is ... once again, for the record, could you give me your name, rank and social security number?
CPT RUTIZER: CPT Laura M. Rutizer, 539-70-1426. I'm the S-3.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, thank you, ma'am. Okay, so you marshalled and organized everything at Log Base VICTOR?
SFC CLAUDIO: We received all our equipment, we had DEPMEDS fielding there, and tried to locate a lot of equipment that was in country.
MAJ HONEC: Were you successful?
SFC CLAUDIO: Well, yes and no.
MAJ HONEC: Good. Expand upon that.
SFC CLAUDIO: We located most of our equipment. We had problems locating some of our equipment. Some of our milvans were lost, in other words.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah.
SFC CLAUDIO: We did locate most of our equipment.
CPT RUTIZER: We weren't given the equipment to transport the milvans. Picking up the milvans, dollying them up and such.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, you don't have organic ... you needed greater ...
CPT RUTIZER: Cranes, flatbeds, that sort of things.
SFC CLAUDIO: It takes a lot of equipment to move our stuff. A lot of flatbeds, a crane, a winch, forklifts.
CPT RUTIZER: We were sitting there with about 55 milvans worth of DEPMED for this whole hospital. Fifty-five milvans.
SFC CLAUDIO: We do require a lot of outside transportation.
MAJ HONEC: What sort of organic material handling equipment [MHE] do you have to do that with? You obviously don't have a winch.
CPT RUTIZER: We had two forklifts and nineteen five-tons.
MAJ HONEC: Nineteen five-tons. You still have them today, and dolly sets?
SFC CLAUDIO: Right.
CPT RUTIZER: Six dolly sets.
MAJ HONEC: Right. Correct. Okay, besides the material that is coming over, that is being sent by the rear detachment, have you located all of your materials? Do you have it all accounted for, or is there still a loss due to shortages, or whatever.
SSG DANBERG: We had pilferage at the dock. We had one milvan that was completely ...
MAJ HONEC: How did that ... was it sealed at the port of embarkation? With a lock? With a standard lock?
SSG DANBERG: With a padlock. It was cut.
MAJ HONEC: Who cut it?
SSG DANBERG: Whoever it was who helped themselves to the equipment.
SSG KIRKLAND: Do you think this was U.S. personnel who might have broken the lock?
SSG DANBERG: It's hard to say.
MAJ HONEC: Very good question, SSG Kirkland. Okay, so there was pilferage, and therefore you were short that equipment. What about ... okay, with those in mind, what sort of planning issues or what sort of issues then did you have to work on?
SFC CLAUDIO: Well, we had to get guidance from high headquarters, once we were at Log Base VICTOR, as to exactly what our mission was going to be, where we were going to be, and what type of setup we were going to have, how many beds in the hospital and so on. We finally got guidance and our movement order and moved up to Log Base CHARLIE supporting XVIII Airborne Corps.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, so you just ... you marshalled and then you moved to Log Base CHARLIE?
SFC CLAUDIO: Correct. We marshalled at Log Base VICTOR, and then we moved up here to our final staging area.
MAJ HONEC: Could you give me the dates on that?
CPT RUTIZER: We came in to Dhahran; a week later we went to Log Base VICTOR ...
SFC CLAUDIO: That was January 15th?
CPT RUTIZER: A week later we went to Log Base CHARLIE.
SFC CLAUDIO: Which was January 25th?
CPT RUTIZER: No, it was the 22d or so.
SFC CLAUDIO: So we were ...
CPT RUTIZER: A week later we were operational.
SSG DANBERG: Right, we were in VICTOR on the 17th of January, approximately.
SFC CLAUDIO: Right, right. We went to VICTOR the day the war was supposed to start.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, good.
SFC CLAUDIO: It was about the 25th we were up and a week later we were fully operational.
MAJ HONEC: You were going to say ...
CPT RUTIZER: We were operational about the 31st of January.
SSG DANBERG: Right.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. How long did it take the crews to work. And what sort of shifts did they work to get that accomplished?
SSG DANBERG: I was on the advance party that came here.
MAJ HONEC: SSG Danberg was.
SSG DANBERG: And first and foremost was the security of the area.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. You mean there was no berm, there was no barbed wire, there was nothing, just flat desert for you to start doing your work?
SSG DANBERG: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Very good. Okay. We'll expand on that.
CPT RUTIZER: The other thing was [that] we were ... when they brought the COSCOM7 units forward as war fighters, so that was a little odd compared to the documents. Security was a big issue.
SSG DANBERG: We got MP8 support. They were the only security ... security that was around the area, and some engineers. And so, based on that, you know, security was the first thing. The second thing was getting engineers to level the area, lay out our hospital, lay out our sleeping areas, lay out our operational areas, getting berms up for protection, and building individual fighting positions, sandbagging operations, cutting a road into the place, leveling and building a landing zone for the BATS ... emergency LZs.9 Basically getting all the equipment necessary to start up the operation.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: We were operational with a 60-man slice of the hospital. I believe it was 72 hours, and there was an advance party of approximately 60 people--50 or 60 people. We humped that place for three days, and in the meantime, at VICTOR (the folks back at VICTOR) were programming the next group, the next slice that would come up here, another 100 beds, and so on, until we arrived at our 400-bed slice with seven different wards.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: So we had to plan all these moves. You have to plan, you know, who was leading, what equipment was leading, what was necessary to get up here right away. What can wait a month at VICTOR till last. And who was absolutely necessary up here to start setting up the hospital. All based on what next slice of the hospital was going to go up, we had to figure out what equipment, personnel, etc., we would need.
CPT RUTIZER: On the other hand, by about the 23d of January ...
SSG DANBERG: That went smoothly enough. The drivers got tired of shuttling from VICTOR to here. It was about four or five hours by convoy. Drive, drop things off, then turn around the same day and go back, and the next day transport ... it would get pretty tiring.
CPT RUTIZER: It was ... one of the command's major worries was their safety.
SSG DANBERG: That, along with all the other units that were holding that Tapline Road10 trying to set up different bases.
SFC CLAUDIO: The good thing was, we got some assistance.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, what was ...
SFC CLAUDIO: The 93d sent some of their drivers and vehicles to help us. So that helped a lot, and of course we got the outside support of the flatbeds and all from the 20th [Engineer Brigade] and the 351[st] MP Company.
MAJ HONEC: Did you have enough engineer materials (Class IV) to accomplish ... did you have enough supplies to accomplish setting up around here?
SSG DANBERG: We had enough from the engineers to do everything. We had enough here. But after ... towards the end as we reached our 400 bed goal, a lot of other units were up here and were requiring the same assistance, the same engineer support that we did. So there was a place, obviously, you know, and getting the equipment and the job done. So the engineers did one heck of a job, and we really shuttled them around.
MAJ HONEC: SGT Buford?
SGT BUFORD: They really helped us a lot. We did get our heliports, dieseled them up, and tested the different types of birds coming in on the helipads to see how much they were going to kick up, how that was going to affect our hospital setup.
MAJ HONEC: I see, the diesel was for dust abatement?
SSG BUFORD: Yes, sir.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: How long do you think all this took you?
SGT BUFORD: This was just in the first stage, the first few days we were operational. Later on, we ...
MAJ HONEC: Yes, how often did you have to maintain or re-diesel the pad, the helipads?
SGT BUFORD: Just a few times.
MAJ HONEC: And that was enough?
SGT BUFORD: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: And we received ... on top of that, we packed on as well some asphalt-like compound, its real hard.
MAJ HONEC: SSG Danberg will be talking about the ground around here, about the hardness of the ground as opposed to what Log Base ECHO was like.
SSG DANBERG: We reconned that, pounded our tent stakes in the ground ... there was that much rock. All marble, 90 percent marble. Some lava. So we had to acquire a jackhammer support through the engineers in order to jackhammer the holes for every individual tent peg. This whole hospital was set up like this. It took a great deal of time and effort.
MAJ HONEC: Right. So how did that slow down the erection of the hospital? By what percentage?
SSG DANBERG: Not by much, because the engineers were there, willing and able, with equipment. And they had plenty of equipment and the right types of things. And of course they had the experience after helping set up their own outfits and operations and a couple of other units by the time we got over there. They had learned to operate the equipment and it went real smoothly, and actually went pretty fast. A lot faster than you would think.
MAJ HONEC: You had some folks from ...
SSG DANBERG: We were taught by the engineers ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Our own maintenance people had ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: That was the main thing, and the most time consuming, but it didn't take as long as you might think.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. On the desert surface, the graders, when you were grading off this to make it all nice and flat ...
SSG DANBERG: Eight inches was as far as it would go down.
SFC CLAUDIO: Eight inches was as far as they got.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: And of course jackhammers could go down as deep as their heads reached. It took a lot of scraping and leveling just in this area to get everything pretty level.
MAJ HONEC: Do you happen to know any unique problems to the desert, setting up in the desert, that they might have run into to get the assistance, you know, like the jackhammers, the heads wearing out faster than they should ...
SSG DANBERG: They were wearing out really fast, as well as the hydraulics.
CPT RUTIZER: The blades on the bulldozers ...
SSG DANBERG: The blades on the bulldozers?
MAJ HONEC: Okay, they get bent up, and then they had to be replaced or welded a new piece on?
SFC CLAUDIO: Spot repairs.
SGT BUFORD: We had bought a brand-new jackhammer also, that lasted ... how long did that jackhammer last?
SSG DANBERG: Two days?
SFC CLAUDIO: Just a couple of days.
SGT BUFORD: In three days, the jackhammer was totally junked.
MAJ HONEC: This was a commercial jackhammer off the Saudi economy?
MULTIPLE VOICES: Right. Yes, sir.
SSG DANBERG: That other jackhammer that we bought? It wouldn't work at all. That didn't even work at all. The first night when we set up this tent right here ... this is the one we slept in. And we could not even dig the holes with our jackhammer that we brought. So what we did was use sandbags. We filled sandbags, and put the rebar tent pegs, laid them flat on the ground and laid five sandbags on each rebar to hold them, and that's how the tent stayed up until we got jackhammer support a couple of days later.
MAJ HONEC: But if you had encountered one of the desert winds, it would have blown the tent over, probably?
SSG DANBERG: No, this held real well.
MAJ HONEC: It did? I'm surprised.
SSG DANBERG: We put a lot of pressure on it, but not any sudden storm or we might have lost it.
SFC CLAUDIO: We had wonderful engineer support. If it wasn't for them I don't think we would have gotten set up as quickly as we needed to, especially with the mission that we had then. We didn't know when the war was going to start, when we were going to start receiving casualties, so the engineers really helped us out and did a hell of a job.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Any other ... in laying out your sanitary fields and things that a hospital uses, getting water into the hospital ...
SFC CLAUDIO: There was a well about a mile away, a natural well.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: We knew that well in advance. Obviously we'd plan for that. We'd go through gallons and gallons.
CPT RUTIZER: I think in the total operation we used like 86,000 gallons of water a day.
MAJ HONEC: Is that just normal cleaning, or is that also with additional life support?
CPT RUTIZER: That's cleaning, equipment operation, food preparation ...
SGT BUFORD: Showers, baths, laundry ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay. We'll get into that laundry issue a little later on, too.
SGT BUFORD: Okay.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. But the quality of water coming out was excellent enough?
SFC CLAUDIO: Yes. Okay. We tested it out.
MAJ HONEC: Do you know by any chance what the test was on it?
SFC CLAUDIO: Sediment-particle test, which is remarkable, considering the deposits centered in this area.
MAJ HONEC: What sort of deposits?
SFC CLAUDIO: I want to say carbon, but ...
MAJ HONEC: Calcium carbonate?
SFC CLAUDIO: Calcium carbonate, yes, and sulphur ...
MAJ HONEC: And sulphur? Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: It was naturally occurring substances, so ... but I suppose that was why the rock formation filtered out most of this stuff over thousands of years.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
CPT RUTIZER: We had a water distribution system that worked out really well in the hospital. The well has a flexible pipe that comes over the berm and into the hospital, and there it goes into every one of those wards, the OR11 and all the boxes, even a little sink, and it's just like running water.
MAJ HONEC: It's a straight feed, and it's been processed, it's all ready to go. It's potable water, in other words?
CPT RUTIZER: Actually, it goes into big, huge, 20,000 gallon bladders, and the bladders go into the hospital system.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: They test the bladder all the time.
MAJ HONEC: Test it for what?
SGT BUFORD: Parts per million.
MAJ HONEC: Parts per million what?
SGT BUFORD: Chlorine residual.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Yeah, I think we needed to narrow in on what it meant by parts per million.
SFC CLAUDIO: It has been testing anywhere from three to four parts per million.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. How about for the laundry issues, the equipment for laundry, what short of issues did you all have to deal with in trying to get a laundry?
SFC CLAUDIO: A hospital with 400 beds creates a lot of laundry, understand. But laundry was not a priority.
SGT BUFORD: We had two washers and two dryers.
MAJ HONEC: Two washers and two dryers, SFC Claudio?
SFC CLAUDIO: The thing is, our laundry for our hospital, our own laundry people, they are supposed to do the laundry for the hospital only. The cadre is supposed to get our stuff done by the Quartermaster. But we had problems getting it done by the Quartermaster ... i.e., they are not available or they can only take so many per day, and we have almost 400 people. We have 356 people.
SGT BUFORD: They would take only thirty bundles a day.
SFC CLAUDIO: Thirty bundles a day ... that's a ten-day turnaround, so, you know, and our laundry people are trying to take care of us, too, because they don't want to see us with a ten-day turnaround. So they kind of ...
MAJ HONEC: So they would have to take up the slack for these particular conditions. Why ... do you know, from your level, why the Quartermaster couldn't fully service you?
SFC CLAUDIO: Well, mainly because ... they were servicing us, but then they had to move, because obviously the war moved them north.
MAJ HONEC: I see. Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: They were down the road, and then, when everybody else moved, they moved too.
MAJ HONEC: This was the 561st S&S?12 That laundry?
SSG DANBERG: The 429th Quartermaster [Battalion].
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: That became an issue and a problem in itself.
SFC CLAUDIO: Right now, we're getting Quartermaster support again.
MAJ HONEC: Where from?
SFC CLAUDIO: I don't know. I'm not sure, sir.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: We are getting Quartermaster support. We are sending ten pieces, twice a week, so it comes up to twenty pieces, but it's coming back the next day, right away, so it's not too bad. Because our laundry cannot support us and the hospital. They can only do the hospital's. The hospital in itself is a lot of work.
SSG DANBERG: If our laundry facilities with World War II vintage equipment ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay, expand further ... why is it? How long has it been that way? And why is it ...
SSG DANBERG: It's been that way since the inception of our unit. That has not changed.
MAJ HONEC: But DEPMEDS is still saddled with ... a DEPMEDS concept for the hospital, is still saddled with a World War II vintage laundry system?
SSG DANBERG: Right. In our case. I don't know how they are in any other ...
MAJ HONEC: In your case ...
SSG DANBERG: How they field the DEPMEDS hospital who has more modern laundry facilities, but in our case we have the old equipment, so consequently the boilers are breaking down, we can't get replacement parts, so we are cannibalizing and designing our own replacement parts that are ending up on line. The guys have done a good job, a great job of it.
MAJ HONEC: This would be a maintenance shop, inside the formation.
SSG DANBERG: Laundry and bath section.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: That is their function, to do the hospital's linen and patient pajama items. For a 400-bed hospital, two units, practically 24-hours a day with a seven-man crew. It is quite a job, quite an accomplishment.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. The next thing, besides going into communications hospital-wide, we are going to go into power generation. Do you have enough power? Do you have organic power to run the hospital?
SFC CLAUDIO: We do. We do now. We have a number of generators. We have fifteen generators now. It is working out just right. They are not at all close to 100 percent of the load, but they are running in the 90s.
MAJ HONEC: All fifteen are running? There is no reserve or ... you decided to run all fifteen?
SSG DANBERG: We have two reserve and we have a smaller portable one.
SFC CLAUDIO: What we do is we have generators on standby in the critical areas where a back-up generator is necessary. And that would be the intensive care unit, the operating room. You know, if it goes out, they can switch the other generator right on. We don't want to be operating on somebody and the lights go out. So it is a matter of switching the machine, one off and one on, in a matter of less than a minute. So we do have a back-up generator for critical areas.
MAJ HONEC: Is there any fuel issues with these generators?
SFC CLAUDIO: Fuel is not a problem at all.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. You run it on diesel fuel?
CPT RUTIZER: Yes, sir.
SSG DANBERG: The belts.
SFC CLAUDIO: Oh, yes, we had a problem with the belts.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. The belts on the generators?
SFC CLAUDIO: Supposedly, I guess, a fan belt you might call it. We had a problem of them breaking and not being able to get the belt here in country. We have taken care of the problem. They have been shipped from the states. We didn't have a problem in the beginning.
MAJ HONEC: You had to go to the United States, or to have your rear detachment ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Have the rear detachment purchase some and send them over right away.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: The problem has been squared away.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, but there was a ...
SFC CLAUDIO: There was a problem.
MAJ HONEC: There was a problem with securing the ...
SFC CLAUDIO: No, not right now. We have enough.
MAJ HONEC: How long are the belts lasting, do you know?
SFC CLAUDIO: I am not sure.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Now we move on to ... from power generation to communications. How much communications do you have? I see a field telephone over there, and I see a single telephone with an AM13 radio.
SGT BUFORD: The MSE equipment is non-operational since ...
MAJ HONEC: Mobile Subscriber Equipment? Right. Okay. Go ahead, SGT Buford.
SGT BUFORD: Outside of the nodes on the capabilities of an interphone center, so that equipment is not effective for, you know, one ...
MAJ HONEC: Was it ever used during the time here in Saudi Arabia?
SGT BUFORD: That equipment would come up on line for an hour or two at a time, and then due to weather or hookup failures and equipment would shut down the phone indefinitely. It was not reliable for this operation at all.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. How did the weather affect it?
SGT BUFORD: When there was cloud cover, we were down to a single line, so I can't say that ...
SFC CLAUDIO: We do have an MSE phone going into our patch section.
MAJ HONEC: MSE phone?
SFC CLAUDIO: Right.
MAJ HONEC: Douglas?
SFC CLAUDIO: It's a type of equipment.
MAJ HONEC: Oh, MSE, okay. MSE.
SFC CLAUDIO: Over in the patch section, and that one has been functioning ...
MAJ HONEC: Throughout ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Throughout the whole operation, and that's good. We tried to put one in here, in our TOC14 and we were unsuccessful with that one, like I say ... like Buford stated.
SSG DANBERG: We have FM communication.
SFC CLAUDIO: With our group.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, describe what do you have here? Are we on land line?
SFC CLAUDIO: Yes, we have a land line with them, we have FM radio. We are also monitoring the MEDEVAC radio, which we have a direct speaker into the Emergency Room so that they can monitor the MEDEVAC flights as they come in.
MAJ HONEC: Very good.
SFC CLAUDIO: Then we have all the information that the MEDEVAC personnel give concerning the patients and all that, so that they can have a heads up on what's coming in. I think our communications were pretty good except for that MSE problems.
CPT RUTIZER: There were some critical areas, especially the OR, Pharmacy, in those kinds of places we have a remote set-up where we make overhead announcements--where we can call in and say "don your masks; don your masks." But they would be ideally the pharmacy [where they are] making IV solutions in an enclosed box unable to hear gas alarms, air alarms, etc, early warnings, also without contaminating their environment.
SFC CLAUDIO: We had that, yeah, the P.A. system, in other words. We have the P.A. system and the small speakers hooked up to the same system inside the boxes, what we call the isolation boxes (Iso-boxes).
MAJ HONEC: Okay, that leaves the next question, which is how do you keep in communication ... is it just the P.A. system, or ...
SFC CLAUDIO: And ...
CPT RUTIZER: We had -312 through the switchboard operation center.
SFC CLAUDIO: Right.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: We had -312s to all the sections and as a matter of fact in some of the tents, like where the doctors sleep, or where the nurses sleep, where the commander, the XO,15 they all have phones in their tents. Plus we also have walkie-talkies.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: Personnel who are on call ... anesthesia, X-ray, orthopedic tech ...
MAJ HONEC: How many of those do you have and what kind of radios?
SFC CLAUDIO: We have fifteen of them. Of course, the Sergeant of the Guard gets one and the ... for security at the dismount point, and all that.
MAJ HONEC: What do they call it?
CPT RUTIZER: Prick 27 [AN/PRC-27].
SFC CLAUDIO: Prick 27 is correct.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: Small, hand-held.
MAJ HONEC: SGT Danberg, you said there was a problem with those?
SSG DANBERG: The hand-held radios?
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
SSG DANBERG: Yeah, we ... they didn't come with instructions on how to program, so they were totally useless to us, and we had to ... we ended up going to the MPs who the one of the colonels, COL Palley, just happened to notice was carrying the same type radio. So we tracked them down. This was at Khobar Village.
MAJ HONEC: Why were they missing instructions?
SSG DANBERG: It was out ...
MAJ HONEC: Fifteen radios?
SSG DANBERG: Fifteen hand-held radios, and all they had was a -10,16 not operational, not how to program. So I went over to the MPs in Khobar Village and they showed me how to program them. So we were good to go. The next day, we were starting the convoy out here, up to VICTOR, and so they worked out real well in the small five or six vehicle convoy or any convey.
SGT BUFORD: They had about a three-mile range.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. But the other units that have obviously those radios ... have you talked to any of those units? Did they have the same problems with programming them to make them work? Is it just a commo problem here?
SSG DANBERG: It's not exactly the same type radio. All the other units had Motorolas. And this is not a Motorola.
MAJ HONEC: What is this one?
SSG DANBERG: I couldn't tell you. You would have to look in my Army type.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, we need to identify that because it is a packaging procedure problem. Okay, let's hold on for a second while I ...
SFC CLAUDIO: They have the stock numbers, as a matter of fact ... 5965-01-274-5016. It's a P/OAN/PRC-127.
MAJ HONEC: They're probably government issue.
SSG DANBERG: The problem with those is that we had bought, or they came with ... we either ordered the wrong type of base battery ...
MAJ HONEC: Battery charger base?
SSG DANBERG: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: Or it required a regular AA battery and ten batteries per radio, so ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Only lasting 6 hours.
SSG DANBERG: Very small ... very short life on that. And we had all the battery charging stands for them, but we had the wrong battery base for it.
SFC CLAUDIO: We lucked out and got the rechargeable battery pack for it, so that's what we are using now. We have no problems, it is a solid battery piece that hooks on the bottom, instead of using the AA batteries.
MAJ HONEC: So you would recommend that that would be more effective ...
SFC CLAUDIO: I would recommend using Motorola. [LAUGHTER]
MAJ HONEC: Very good, SFC Claudio.
SFC CLAUDIO: We had to local-purchase batteries, and those batteries ... you're talking ten batteries per radio that only lasted four hours.
SGT BUFORD: Fortunately we had a recharger so that we could recycle some batteries. But it wasn't fun to do that.
SFC CLAUDIO: But it wasn't functional.
CPT RUTIZER: But the hand-held radios were ...
SFC CLAUDIO: But was as many radios as we had, it was not functional to keep doing that, so I am glad we got the ...
SSG DANBERG: Fifteen was not enough.
MAJ HONEC: How many would be enough?
SFC CLAUDIO: At least double that.
MAJ HONEC: Thirty?
SGT BUFORD: Twenty-five at least.
MAJ HONEC: Twenty-five to thirty radios.
SFC CLAUDIO: When you are talking large convoys, we don't always operate in serial of five or six convoys, it could be an entire convoy. And being in a foreign country and not knowing exactly where you're going, and haven't been there ... that's my experience, getting lost, driving to Kuwait. Once we got operational here, though, I think everything has been going rather well. We've gotten the information we needed, we've planned what we need to plan and ...
SSG DANBERG: The mail system sucks.
SGT BUFORD: Yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: What's the problem with the mail system?
SSG DANBERG: It's always been a problem.
SGT BUFORD: You get your mail backwards.
SSG KIRKLAND: How long do you think it usually takes to get a letter?
SFC CLAUDIO: It takes ... I've gotten mail lately that has taken thirty days. I have also gotten packages that have only taken nine or twelve ...
SGT BUFORD: Ten days is about average for a package.
SFC CLAUDIO: Most of the time my mail, my personal mail, has taken approximately two weeks, fourteen or fifteen days, that kind of time frame. We had to change our zip code when we left Khobar Village and VICTOR and that kind of raised delays and problems.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. And it is still a problem today?
SFC CLAUDIO: In the sense that it is just taking an inordinate amount of time to get over here. And when we heard that they were only using MAC17 flights to bring mail from the States over here, because civilian airlines refused to carry the mail because they had no way of screening it for bombs. This has really caused morale problems. But for the most part, you know, it has worked itself out. We don't know whether the APO,18 servicing APO that we have right now, is going to leave--real soon, or within days, or weeks, or ...
CPT RUTIZER: One thing that has helped the operation of this hospital has been having 56th Med[ical] Battalion right next door.
MAJ HONEC: How many meters away? Say 500 meters away?
CPT Rutizer: 500 meters away, yeah. That's the evac[uation] unit that brings most of our patients in, and having a land line to them and being in FM distance and the MEDEVAC freq[uency] right there has helped immensely having the flow of this hospital go.
SFC CLAUDIO: Once we get an initiation that we have a dust-off coming, we don't have time to test out 100 channels any longer; we go to the land-line or we go to a separate FM band.
CPT RUTIZER: Plus we set up a working relationship so that they and all of their birds call in and give us plenty of warning time. It's the MEDEVAC units of other units outside of the 56th that we tend to have little problems with.
SFC CLAUDIO: The one drawback to that is. of course, that we get all the patients. Never mind if there is another hospital 500 meters to the west. So consequently we got most of all the patients in this theater.
MAJ HONEC: This is to illuminate ... that's ... the point that you need this information so that you can set up your receiving for ER (emergency room), with the proper people--staff--so that they can accept ... so that they can work on the patient.
SGT BUFORD: It is immensely helpful to have the advance information.
SSG DANBERG: Advance warning from MEDEVACs has been an ongoing problem, but basically it is from other units other than 56th Med Battalion.
SFC CLAUDIO: Some of them are landing here and calling us, "we are landing," or "we are 15 seconds out" ...
SGT BUFORD: We are 15 seconds outside of your pad.
SFC CLAUDIO: And then they complain that we give them poor service.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. But these units, the other MEDEVACs, where are they coming from?
SFC CLAUDIO: Since the war started, they have been coming from everywhere.
SGT BUFORD: The MASHs, CSHs ...19
MAJ HONEC: Okay. All of the divisions?
SFC CLAUDIO: They are coming from all the division areas; they are coming from the 24th [Infantry Division], from the 101st [Airborne Division]; they are coming from everywhere.
SGT BUFORD: Car crashes, etc.
SFC CLAUDIO: Auto accidents and things like that. But they would be landing and telling us, we are landing on your pad, and we have so many patients. So then we have to scramble. But it went fairly well.
SGT BUFORD: As for the 56th being over there, it is nice to be able to put a face to whom you are talking to on the radio, and not everyone gets the chance to do that here, and that's the advantage that we have.
MAJ HONEC: (SGT Buford). Yeah, so that you can have personal contact at times with the folks over on the other side.
SSG KIRKLAND: CPT Rutizer, what are some of the problems you have with the surrounding units? Besides the 56th ... you have a good relationship with them, right?
CPT RUTIZER: We don't have any problems with any of the surrounding units.
SSG KIRKLAND: Are they helpful?
CPT RUTIZER: There is the 62d Med[ical] Group in our own compound in our back yard, and it has worked out very well.
SFC CLAUDIO: That's our next higher headquarters.
CPT RUTIZER: We have a good working relationship with them too.
SSG DANBERG: Ladies and gentlemen, being I've sat on that side of the house, through our compound, our command requires that we utilize light discipline, which is to say the brigade (as I understand) put out a directive [implementing] light discipline from the hardball20 back. And the other units that are around here, that are parked right on the points, they come on at night, and automatically, regardless of our discipline, our guards' night vision is being lost. And so that is a problem for us caused by them.
MAJ HONEC: Because they use their headlights.
CPT RUTIZER: That happens at almost any hospital because you get people from all over the place coming in and they don't know your particular compound rules.
MAJ HONEC: Uh-huh.
CPT RUTIZER: So they come in all over the place. That is not necessarily anything that is a surrounding unit problem.
SSG DANBERG: Well, you know, there is stereotyping, too, you know, like, this is a hospital, it's a medical unit, they are not going to be doing the light discipline and going to blackout and all that stuff, you know, ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay, I just expected ...
SSG DANBERG: ... you know, those are the medics type syndrome.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, well, how is the ... now that the war is pretty much over, and it is getting over, how has that changed the light discipline?
SSG DANBERG: We're still maintaining it.
MAJ HONEC: You're still maintaining light discipline?
SFC CLAUDIO: Yes, we're doing the same thing, still maintaining it.
CPT RUTIZER: We've shed the flak jacket.
SFC CLAUDIO: That's the only thing we've taken off. Everything else has remained the same.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, so how about guards and ...
CPT RUTIZER: Training, exercise rules, instead of combat rules.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. What ...
SGT BUFORD: We act as security guards.
MAJ HONEC: Well, going back to security, what ... have you had any Bedouin problems or any other security problems here?
CPT RUTIZER: No.
SFC CLAUDIO: None.
MAJ HONEC: It's been pretty quiet? The entire time you've been here at Log Base CHARLIE?
SSG DANBERG: Right.
SFC CLAUDIO: Correct.
SSG DANBERG: Quiet, surprisingly so.
SFC CLAUDIO: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: Do you attribute that to being so far off the road--Tapline road?
SFC CLAUDIO: No, I attribute that to being surrounded by friendlies. [LAUGHTER]
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: We are completely surrounded by friendlies. Nobody's going to come back in and bother us.
SSG DANBERG: It's controlled by the Corps, the Tapline road.
SFC CLAUDIO: All these helicopters flying around here, nobody's going to come near us. [LAUGHTER]
CPT RUTIZER: Plus, a lot of the Saudi Arabians fled when we all started coming up here. A lot of them wouldn't come up this far.
MAJ HONEC: Good point.
CPT RUTIZER: Now we're starting to see them coming back into the ...
SSG DANBERG: They're starting to come back in now, you can see that.
SFC CLAUDIO: I don't think they're going to come near our compound, though. I doubt that seriously.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. So that's ... we're up to ... now today, March 6. So perhaps any other things that I haven't covered that you want to add to the ...
SGT BUFORD: The Class I was an issue for awhile.
MAJ HONEC: The Class I (food). Okay. Talk about that.
SGT BUFORD: Well, the folks that were originally at the Log Base VICTOR were left eleven or ten days without ...
MAJ HONEC: Yes?
SGT BUFORD: ... a hot meal.
MAJ HONEC: Uh-huh. SGT Buford, speak up a little bit, too.
SGT BUFORD: About 11 or 10 days at Log Base VICTOR with no hot meal. You understand the conditions we were under, and everything. I also saw, as we moved up here, that we continued to have problems drawing our share of rations, the hot meals. We had MREs,21 we were eating two meals a day MRE, three meals a day MRE. And other units around us were having Class A meals three times a day. And that was kind of tough to explain to the soldiers when they would go out on missions supporting these units and, you know, people are right next door eating three hot meals a day, and here you are eating two hot meals a day. And you know that's an issue ... low troop morale.
MAJ HONEC: Sure.
SFC CLAUDIO: Of course, that is going to be another issue when Class I slows down and leaves. Then we're going to find ourselves going back to three times a day MREs, as soon as the Class I's go out. Hopefully that won't last very long.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: We're going to be in a retro[grade] period. Well, there was something else I was going to bring up.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Go ahead.
SFC CLAUDIO: We ran into problems that we never anticipated. SSG Danberg was ... the disposition of patients.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: We started taking on sick calls from the surrounding units, and consults. Other units would drop them off, and leave and go back to their units. We would have no contact with the units, none at all. So we would have to end up boarding, billeting these patients as outpatients--in- and outpatients--for maybe days at a time while we tried to make contact with the units and tell them to come and get them. It was an ongoing problem. We don't have the ability to maintain communication with all of these units: the 82d, 101st, 24th, all these guys.
CPT RUTIZER: Because we were operational before the 19th Replacement Detachment became operational, so when we were ready to send these Return to Duties back to their units, the 19th Replacement Detachment whose responsibility that is, wasn't working then. So we had a whole tent set up with just Return to Duties, instead of keeping them on the wards.
SFC CLAUDIO: The same amount of billeting, feeding?
MAJ HONEC: Uh-huh.
SFC CLAUDIO: They had access to our showers ... not our laundry facilities, but they could hand-wash whatever they wanted.
CPT RUTIZER: Since we had to keep on feeding, it threw the numbers off in the mess hall, so they would be eating our rations, and we'd end up being ... you know, the left-overs ...
SFC CLAUDIO: It was somewhat of a hotel at some points. And we had other detachments stay with them. We had a signal detachment, we had the neurosurgical detachment, the dental detachment, the 62d Med Group. We were going to get graves registration sometime, or so we thought.
CPT RUTIZER: So all of them were eating out of the mess hall, and they have their numbers fluctuate, so the mess hall has quite a job on their hands in this compound, trying to ...
MAJ HONEC: Forecast?
CPT RUTIZER: Get the rations and forecast the meals.
SFC CLAUDIO: It was something on the order of 422 or somewhere in there, personnel on the compound, not including patients. That was not counting patients.
SGT BUFORD: Also in line with the patients coming through the facility, and being left here by their unit, they were not just being left here by their unit, but, you know, if we had a radio call sign for those units that they, you know, that they could provide that to the soldier. Or, a lot of the soldiers didn't even know their next higher headquarters so we could work it back down and find out where they were. They were just not informed that their next higher headquarters. Maybe they knew their group or their battalion, but as far as going on up the chain ... I am with the XVIII Airborne Corps ... you know, a lot of the troops didn't know ... well, I don't know my next higher ... this is my battalion command, this is my brigade and that's it. And the, the CS, the S&Is aren't broken down like that for this operation.
SSG DANBERG: The other problem was communication in the compound in which we brought in the P.A. System, so we had this P.A. System.
MAJ HONEC: SSG Danberg, go ahead.
SSG DANBERG: I'd suggest, just as, whatever in this historical moment when you get one powerful hint through your P.A. system. We had to locally purchase one. And, of course, being as large a compound as we are, we had to try several different scenarios in which we turned these speakers in who could hear what. So even now, at the end of all this, are still are areas of the compound where you cannot hear. This is a big problem with chemical alerts, aircraft imminent ...
CPT RUTIZER: Any kind of imminent danger ...
SSG DANBERG: Any kind of alert ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: We're all so spread out over all these acres in the compound, that not everybody was guaranteed to get the word, even with hockey horns and all that. That was a significant concern was that everybody get the word about to mask, whether to arm and hit the berms, or whatever; fire; any kind of thing.
CPT RUTIZER: I think we are used to talking about communication between our unit and this unit, or our unit and higher headquarters. But we don't even consider communication problems within our own little compound here. And that is something that should be addressed in the future.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: Another issue with communications that I found was kind of sad was that you would go out here, for example, looking for a unit. And you know where a unit is basically located. This, of course, is the desert and sometimes off the MSR and it's kind of hard to locate a unit sometimes. You go and find the unit, you stop at one unit, and you say, do you know, is this the so-and-so unit? And they'd say, no. Do you know where they're located? No. And you would go a quarter of a mile down the road and that's where the unit is at. Nobody knew who their neighbor was. That's ridiculous.
MAJ HONEC: Uh-huh.
SFC CLAUDIO: Each soldier should know who is around them. Our people, you can go out here and ask them, who is that over there? And they can tell you the 56th. Who's that over there? They'll tell you that's the 109. Who is that over there? That's the 36th.
SSG DANBERG: We had to make a conscious effort to make sure that we all knew, the right people knew, who was around us, where to go.
SFC CLAUDIO: You would go to other units, and the other unit we're looking for is right next door, and they didn't even know it. In fact, we went to one unit that ... it was a compound, just like ours where we have the 62d Med with us and we have the 926th Preventive Medicine.22 We went to one compound looking for somebody and I said, I'm looking for this unit. I don't know where they're at. So I asked somebody else, I'm looking for this unit. Oh, yeah, they're on the compound. I said, well, where on the compound? I think they're down in this corner. So we go down to that corner. No, they're on the other side of the compound. So that's ... I think that's piss poor that people don't even know who their neighbors are. I didn't like that. I didn't like that.
CPT RUTIZER: Excuse me. As many strip maps on everybody in this whole area, up and down, a good twenty-plus miles, we had a few good strip maps, and they'd change as it goes on.
SSG DANBERG: Speaking of maps ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Oh, yeah, well, if you want to bring up the issue of maps ...
CPT RUTIZER: Sure, sure. Show them that map.
MAJ HONEC: That's fine.
SSG DANBERG: See that map that's missing, and the one that's missing a corner? These are critical maps. Now see this map right here? This is the map of where we're at. Do you know how many strips of these we have? You're looking at it.
MAJ HONEC: One map.
SSG DANBERG: One map.
MAJ HONEC: No way.
SFC CLAUDIO: Oh, there are different series of maps, also, they are not of the same scale of this map.
SSG DANBERG: They don't match up.
CPT RUTIZER: Our higher headquarters, and the next higher headquarters couldn't get us that map.
SSG DANBERG: Couldn't get us that map.
SFC CLAUDIO: And it still can't get this map.
SSG KIRKLAND: What maps are those? What's the result of ...
SSG DANBERG: This one is all right here.
SFC CLAUDIO: One is 1:100,000; one is 1:250,000.
SSG DANBERG: This is us.
CPT RUTIZER: In the very center is the Airborne Corps operations.
MAJ HONEC: And this is the only map?
CPT RUTIZER: NH 38-11.23
MAJ HONEC: NH 38-11?
SGT BUFORD: I think what happened is that they did ... they were told that they would need that particular map in this area so they just didn't bring it up. I think I had water holes on that map ...
SSG DANBERG: Any time you're at an operation of this scale, you want to know everything ...
SGT BUFORD: Right ...
SSG DANBERG: ... that could possibly affect you. Since we were originally slotted to get just patients from the 82d. Well, we were getting them from the 24th, 101st ... we needed to know their areas.
SGT BUFORD: That's pertinent for us to let our radio people know. We had one incident where a bird was flying to us and there was potentially a chemical hazard between us and the bird, and without us knowing which direction that bird was coming from, we don't know the identity ... we can't identify that as a hazard to the bird.
MAJ HONEC: SGT Buford.
SSG DANBERG: Not only that, the issue of maps is that certain officers and certain senior NCOs that should have a map of the AO.24 We couldn't even give them out to the company commander. We'd say, we don't have one, I'm sorry. You have to come over here and look at it. That's a big issue.
MAJ HONEC: I can't believe that.
SSG KIRKLAND: SFC Claudio, is there a map available here for this area, Log Base CHARLIE.
SFC CLAUDIO: I don't think so. We get our maps from our next higher headquarters.
SSG DANBERG: You look behind you on that board--100 sheets of maps that are totally useless to us.
MAJ HONEC: Oh, yeah!
SGT BUFORD: These on this board are the ones we brought from Fort Polk before we deployed.
MAJ HONEC: I see, I see. The ones that you have, your basic load of maps, basically, and ...
SFC CLAUDIO: We had a stack about this high ...
SGT BUFORD: They're useless.
SSG DANBERG: They're useless--they were of Saudi Arabia.
MAJ HONEC: I see.
SSG DANBERG: We didn't know exactly where we were going to be deployed.
SFC CLAUDIO: So a map is a big thing.
SSG DANBERG: There is a lot of concern about being this far forward and north--or south of the border, eight to twelve miles from Iraq, and actually the closer you are, the safer you are.
CPT RUTIZER: Yeah.
SSG DANBERG: As far as the rear goes, we were not the object of any SCUD25 attacks. They were aiming for Hafar al Batin, KKMC, and Dhahran and Riyadh.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, let's go to the next tape. This one is going to run out.
[END OF SIDE ONE]
MAJ HONEC: Okay, this is the second side. About the weapons, the amount of weapons that you have per individual. Not enough for the individual assigned, so could you elaborate on just how many would be adequate enough, considering that the doctors and the nurses don't need weapons or don't normally desire them. So how many weapons would you need to properly function?
SFC CLAUDIO: About 325 for 353 people assigned to the 15th Evac Hospital. We have authorized 181 M-16s and 19 M-9s.26
CPT RUTIZER: We have required 400 people that should be here. We are short of what we required, and even shorter of the amount of weapons that we have.
SFC CLAUDIO: We have approximately what? 250 plus enlisted? That's what we should require: an M-16 for every enlisted ... every enlisted person should have an M-16.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Very good.
SSG DANBERG: And adequate M-9s for staff, folks that are frequently leaving the area on runs. The M-16 is cumbersome for those who are handling them, so an M-9 would work out.
MAJ HONEC: A pistol, then. Okay, okay. Anything else?
SFC CLAUDIO: I would say another half-dozen M-9s. Each enlisted person should have an M-16.
SSG DANBERG: With basic load. That's a basic load.
MAJ HONEC: Speaking of equipment shortages, do you have enough SLGRs27 and that sort of thing for the ...
SSG DANBERG: Sluggers?
MAJ HONEC: Yeah, you know, global positioning equipment or ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Higher headquarters had that, the Lorans.
MAJ HONEC: The LORANs to find ...
CPT RUTIZER: We didn't have any.
SFC CLAUDIO: That would be helpful as a useful item, as well as night vision goggles.
MAJ HONEC: Night vision goggles for ... ?
MULTIPLE VOICES: For the guards.
MAJ HONEC: Oh, for the perimeter guards, very good, okay.
SFC CLAUDIO: That's definitely a requirement, and even more so since we're forward.
SSG DANBERG: If we could have had some night vision goggles for the roving guards and the dismount point guards, it would have been excellent.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: I think it's absolutely necessary, actually.
SFC CLAUDIO: Obviously, you're apt to think like commo equipment, MSE equipment that's functional ...
SGT BUFORD: We need to have phone equipment so we can get out to other units ...
MAJ HONEC: Okay, any others?
CPT RUTIZER: Did you bring up the LNO?
MAJ HONEC: Liaison Officers?
SFC CLAUDIO: Yeah, we have Liaison Officers ...
CPT RUTIZER: Those are also essential for hospitals. Their function is to get people to return back to their unit.
MAJ HONEC: Sure.
CPT RUTIZER: And we have a liaison officer for each of the divisions and one for the Corps. And there should be a whole bunch of them so we don't have Return to Duty tent and have to billet them ...
MAJ HONEC: Good point. What about uniform items?
SSG DANBERG: No DSUs.28 No replacements for worn out ...
MAJ HONEC: There's a shortage they're experiencing in the Class II29 arena and ...
SFC CLAUDIO: These things here are worthless out here ...
CPT RUTIZER: It's better to bring the winter BDUs30 if you have to bring BDUs instead of the summer ones.
MAJ HONEC: The lightweight ones are not appropriate.
CPT RUTIZER: They fall apart.
SFC CLAUDIO: They do.
SSG DANBERG: Also, one last issue that I want to bring up is the interpreters.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG DANBERG: We only had one interpreter, and we had like 70-something EPWs.31 You had the patients in the ICU and in the other intermediate care wards, and one interpreter was not enough.
SFC CLAUDIO: Nor were there adequate numbers of MPs to properly guard and keep an eye on all these. We had one MP per ward of 40 EPWs. That's not enough. Not that they were a problem, nobody ... none of them gave us a problem. They were all happy to be here.
CPT RUTIZER: But that may not be so in the next ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Next time it may be totally different, I think.
SSG DANBERG: But interpreters were a problem, because you'd have patients come into the emergency room and need an interpreter, things they are asking you where you might need an interpreter, you have patients on the other wards, where they might need an interpreter, so that was a bit of a problem.
CPT RUTIZER: Initially it was. [Graves] registration was responsible for picking up the remains, and they didn't have a vehicle to do so, so we had to transport ...
SFC CLAUDIO: Our S-4 had to ...
CPT RUTIZER: Our S-4 had to ... and that shouldn't be their function. They picked that up real well.
SFC CLAUDIO: They sure did.
MAJ HONEC: They've got a vehicle?
CPT RUTIZER: They've got the vehicle.
MAJ HONEC: I see. Okay, this concludes this portion of the DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interviews. Thank you very much for your comments.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
1. Noncommissioned officer.
2. Noncommissioned officer in charge.
3. Mobile Unit Self-Contained, or Deployable Medical Systems. Two different equipment configurations for hospitals. The Army was just in the process of making the transition to DEPMEDS.
4. Processed for Overseas Movement.
5. Positioning of Materiel Configured in Unit Sets. In this case, the equipment the 15th drew from stocks in Europe.
6. King Khalid Military City.
7. 1st Support Command (Corps).
8. Military Police.
9. Landing zones.
10. The Trans-Arabian Pipeline ("Tapline") Road was Main Supply Route (MSR) DODGE.
11. Operating room.
12. 561st Supply and Service Battalion.
13. Amplitude Modulated, as opposed to Frequency Modulated (FM).
14. Tactical operations center.
15. Executive Officer.
16. Operator-level preventive maintenance checks and services handbook.
17. Military Airlift Command.
18. Army Post Office.
19. Mobile Army Surgical Hospitals and Combat Support Hospitals that had displaced forward into Iraq.
20. I.e., the area extending back from Tapline Road.
21. Meals, Ready-to-Eat. Corps policy at this time directed that ALL units consume MREs for two of the three meals each day, and one meal of T-Rations.
22. 926th Medical Detachment (Preventive Medicine).
23. 1:250,000 scale. Maps were critically short throughout theater.
24. Area of operations.
25. Soviet-design SS-1C SCUD-B medium range ballistic missiles.
26. Respectively 5.56mm rifles and 9mm pistols.
27. Satellite Locating Ground Receivers; also known as Global Positioning Devices (GPSs).
28. Correctly, Desert Camouflage Uniforms (DCUs).
29. Organizational clothing and equipment.
30. Battle Dress Uniforms.
31. Enemy prisoners of war.