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 050
MAJ Charles S. Clark, Jr.
Executive Officer, 70th Ordnance Battalion
Interview Conducted 19 February 1991 at Logistical Base CHARLIE, Saudi Arabia
Interviewers: MAJ Robert B. Honec, III, and SSG LaDona S. Kirkland
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
7 August 1989 - 15 May 1991
Oral History Interview DSIT AE 050
MAJ HONEC: This is an Operation DESERT STORM/DESERT SHIELD interview. I am MAJ Robert B. Honec, along with SSG LaDona S. Kirkland, of the 116th Military History Detachment. We are here today, February 19, 1991, at the ASP [Ammunition Supply Point], Log[istical] Base CHARLIE, [operated by the] 70th Ordnance Battalion.
For the record, sir, could you please state your name, social security number, unit assignment and duty position?
MAJ CLARK: My name, MAJ Charles S. Clark, Jr., Social Security Number ***-**-****, and I am currently the battalion Executive Officer.
MAJ HONEC: How long were you in that position?
MAJ CLARK: I've been in this position going on 20--for 21 months.
MAJ HONEC: Very good. Very good. Okay. Operation DESERT SHIELD, Phase I, and DESERT STORM had caused you to do a lot of changes to your operation. Before we go into that, though, could you bring a little chronology of how the unit was activated, how it came over, go into what its mission was at each particular point, and in 35 words or less, so that we could capture that for the record?
MAJ CLARK: Okay, for the record. Prior to the announced conflict, say, early August , the battalion consisted of: the Headquarters and Headquarters Company [HHC]; the 13th Ordnance (Missile Maintenance) Company for HAWK and PATRIOT; the 62d Transportation Company (Medium Truck); the 233d Transportation Company (Heavy Truck); the 507th Medical--the 2d Platoon of the 507th Medical (Air Ambulance) Company; and we had assigned to us for logistical control the 41st EOD [explosive ordnance disposal] Detachment. [That is the composition of the 70th Ordnance Battalion] as it was configured prior to the conflict.
MAJ HONEC: This was where?
MAJ CLARK: This was Fort Bliss, [Texas].
MAJ HONEC: Okay, very good.
MAJ CLARK: Then as things began to evolve, the 13th Ordnance Company was attached, in toto, to the 11th A[ir] D[efense] A[rtillery] Brigade and that happened on or about the 4th of September 1990. Soon after that, in configuring the rear detachment for the 70th Ordnance [Battalion], we took elements that were nondeployable of the 233d, the 62d, along with the 41st EOD, and at that time the 507th--the 2d Platoon of the 507th--and attached them to the 1st Support Battalion at Fort Bliss, Texas, and they remained behind as a rear detachment. However, I found out that the 507th is now back to its parent unit and since then, it's been deployed under a separate battalion.
As we came over to Saudi Arabia, we went to CEMENT CITY and we remained there coordinating and identifying a mission to support 1) either the theater, or 2) the corps.
MAJ HONEC: Before that, let's back up. How did you come over, by ship or by ... ?
MAJ CLARK: Our equipment came by ship and all personnel came over on air troop carriers over a period of about three weeks.
MAJ HONEC: These were C-5s [Galaxies] and [C]-141s [Starlifters]?
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Did you have all the equipment you needed or did you draw any POMCUS [positioning of materiel configured in division sets] stock?
MAJ CLARK: We had all the equipment we needed through installation cross-leveling at Fort Bliss. Fort Bliss was very, very helpful in assisting us in getting all the equipment we needed to deploy.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, now as you came over, you were located in CEMENT CITY?
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: Your mission was--you didn't have a clearly defined mission?
MAJ CLARK: Correct. The missions were still being, I guess you can say, coordinated and negotiated amongst units that had prior peace-time affiliations which they wanted to maintain that affiliation in combat for obvious reasons, you know, habitual relationships, knowledge of the processes and so forth. So, we negotiated with the 80th Ordnance [Battalion], our sister battalion in Fort Lewis, Washington, to swap out with them, and so we took their proposed alignment and they took ours, and then we became a corps-aligned support unit for the ammunition mission.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, you got ... when did you receive your mission?
MAJ CLARK: I would say--the specific day now?
MAJ HONEC: Well, as close as you can recall, please, in months?
MAJ CLARK: Days turn into weeks and months here. Just before Christmas, it was, oh, the 20th, the 21st, somewhere in there, it was pretty much solidified what the mission would be, and we went off to KKMC, in the vicinity of KKMC, to set up what we referred to later on as CSA CHARLIE, and then it changed the name, actually, then to CSA HARDEN, because there was some debate still in the concept as to how things were going to flow, so the name then became CSA HARDEN and also Theater Stockage Area 4.
MAJ HONEC: KKMC is King Khalid Military City?
MAJ CLARK: Military City, correct.
MAJ HONEC: CSA is a?
MAJ CLARK: Corps Storage Area. At the ... during the stay at CEMENT CITY, our unit pretty much began to be disbanded in functional purposes, okay? The 62d Transportation Company and the 233d Transportation Company pretty much were OPCONd [operational control] to other units for functional purposes. At that same time, we acquired under our control--attached--the 479th Ordnance Company from Mississippi and the 638 Ordnance Company from Alabama. They have since been with us from that time on doing the ammunition mission. Off and on, the 62d has come back to us and then OPCONd off again. Right now, the 62d and the 233d Transportation Companies are under the 7th Transportation Battalion which is still part of our 507th Corps Support Group. So that remains. Right now at the moment, we also have another company OPCON to us, ammunition type, the 664th Ammunition Company which is an active duty ammunition unit out of Fort Hood.
MAJ HONEC: These other units are Army or Army National Guard?
MAJ CLARK: The two other--the 638 is--gosh, I think it is National Guard on active duty and the 479th from Mississippi is the Reservists on active duty. The one from Alabama is the National Guard on active duty. They have undergone extensive training with us at this point. They are practically the experts in the ammunition business.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. At KKMC, would you describe your operations, how you set it up, what problems you ran into?
MAJ CLARK: Okay. The one significant difficulty that we encountered was the close proximity of the CSA HARDEN to the Theater Stockage Area 4, okay. It was basically maybe just a dirt berm dividing the two areas and then you have a corps storage area and a theater stockage area, which made it very difficult when the trailers came in to deliver. They didn't really know. There was some confusion and they got on the wrong road and sometimes off-loaded ammunition in the wrong location, which I believe had to be swapped out to the right location.
MAJ HONEC: Was there a shortage of land? Why did this come about?
MAJ CLARK: It just so happens that the missions that we had accepted at the time--we had accepted a mission to assist with the corps storage area and at the same time we had accepted to assist with the theater stockage mission because there was no unit on the ground to take, you know, that initiative, so we offered to provide that support and so we did. The 479th took care of the CSA HARDEN and the 638th took care of the Theater Stockage Area 4.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, and that was then ... then you received the word, the orders to come up here to establish an ASP at Log Base CHARLIE?
MAJ CLARK: Log Base CHARLIE, correct.
MAJ HONEC: Ammunition supply point. And when ... what time did you leave here and how did your units move to go into Log Base CHARLIE and set up? What sort of--go into the establishment of communication, of security?
MAJ CLARK: Some of the planning that went into that?
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
MAJ CLARK: Well, this part of the terrain is still within Saudi Arabia, so there was some concern on possible Iraqi infiltrators in the area so there had to be some amount of recon[naissance] done to see what type of land it was, whether it would sustain heavy vehicles moving ammunition up here, whether it was soft sand, hard sand, those kinds of things, what type of terrain it was in the overall landscape and what did it look like. Was there any natural concealment to be able to put ammunition out here? From looking at it, you can tell that it's just as flat as the eye can see, 360 degrees out there, so basically we had to do some planning for combat engineers to come out here, with either combat engineers or just plain earth-moving equipment to come out here and just make berms to give us some protection from, you know, a ground fire fight or something if there was such a case. We planned to have ground equipment, bulldozers, ground moving equipment, those kinds of things, and then to investigate how hard it would be to dig into the ground to prepare bunkers for overhead cover. At that time, we had no idea on the accuracy of SCUD [Soviet-designed SS-1C guided missile].
MAJ HONEC: The SCUD rockets?
MAJ CLARK: And, of course, what the artillery was from the other side, so we were planning on digging into the ground and setting an underground bunker or something to cover from overhead artillery. So, we prepared for that. We prepared for defense in the perimeter and, of course, we had the concertina wire and things like that. So, we came out here and did the recon and, of course, land wise, it was as much as you needed, basically, based on the constraints of the 507th, which is our higher headquarters, that said, "This is the plot of land. Go forth and lay out your area."
MAJ HONEC: How many acres does the ASP occupy?
MAJ CLARK: Well, its ... on the longest ... it's an expanding goose egg at this point in time. It's 3.1 kilometers wide at the longest at this point. However, because of ammunition, it's continuing now to expand on the sides now. The short diameter becomes 3.1. The long diameter, it may be up to four or five kilometers and growing, so it's an expanding goose egg.
MAJ HONEC: With this huge space to work with, you obviously had to organize and coordinate the matter of ammunition?
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. [TAPE STOPPED AND RESTARTED] So, you have, I see there, as ...
MAJ CLARK: Then they are grouped. Those rows are grouped by categories of ammunition for the combat engineers, for the infantry, for the armor, like type of things related to each other, so when you come in to do the "shopping," you tell the guys, "Here's your list. Go to this location, this location, this location, this location and pick up at that location." Then they do the inventory and off they go.
MAJ HONEC: 3.1 kilometers wide, each row in that particular graphic is ...
MAJ CLARK: About 100 meters between ...
MAJ HONEC: That's the way it's started out to be, but now it's expanded out to a ... and a road was ... it was really a perimeter road around that. Is 32 rows a normal ...
MAJ CLARK: No, it has to do with the "CC" (combat configured) loads that were designed for all the typical type units that we're going to service.
MAJ HONEC: Good, okay. All right, so it's now an expanding goose egg and it will--when ammunition then is given out--it will shrink back down?
MAJ CLARK: Begin to collapse. It won't collapse uniformly. This pocket will be gone and that pocket will be gone and we'll have to go back in there and check to make sure the EOD goes in and checks to make sure there's nothing left behind. We don't want to blow up any camels that just kind of wander by.
MAJ HONEC: EOD is the explosive ordnance disposal?
MAJ CLARK: Explosive ordnance disposal, correct. They'll probably have to go in there and check and verify that it's clear and free from any unattended rounds and burn or do a demolition of the rest or whatever and that will clear that area.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, very good. Okay. That's the way it is now. You came up from KKMC.
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: You established it security-wise.
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: You had the 101st [Airborne Division] out in front of you as the first barrier of defense?
MAJ CLARK: At one time, correct. In fact, when we showed up over here, there was basically--I guess you guys are all cleared for whatever, I don't know.
MAJ HONEC: Yes, we're cleared up to SECRET.
MAJ CLARK: At one time, and this is where we're at now, this point here [INDICATING ON A MAP], as far as our areas of responsibility, it was pretty sparse on our own being around here for protection so there was some great amount of concern as to doing an infantry thing with a Combat Service Support Ammunition Unit, but information was that ...
MAJ HONEC: There were light forces in the area, so, therefore, the threat ...
MAJ CLARK: The risk was there, but it was very, you know, minimal.
MAJ HONEC: Minimal, okay, and that explains why ...
MAJ CLARK: We leaned forward logistically to go beyond doctrine to get up here ahead of the combat units to set up this thing.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. That's important to point out, that you got here in front of the combat units.
MAJ CLARK: A little bit ahead of schedule, if you may, and set up this, with some risk involved. But a lot of it hinged on intelligence information and things like that. There was some risk and nothing would be able to stop them if they came across with very little warning. But we have since found all this other red stuff [INDICATIONS OF ENEMY UNITS ON THE SITUATION MAP] up the road.
MAJ HONEC: Identified more units that have appeared now?
MAJ CLARK: Right, that supported us pretty much like that, you know, and right here.
MAJ HONEC: It was a border but they said it changed, and it's debatable whether it was an agreed-to border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia or what, but it's in there somewhere. [LAUGHTER]
MAJ HONEC: I understand. Communications and transportation. Communications first: did you have enough?
MAJ CLARK: We have internal communications with the RATT [radio-teletype] rig, which we call radio and teletype, but basically, it was only on the receive mode, okay, because we didn't want to give out the signature that we were here, indeed here.
The RATT rig, the ranges that we have for the type of commo [communications] that we've got is FM [frequency modulated], so there's no range for where we split from KKMC down here, which is where we were at in this vicinity of TSA-4 and CSA HARDEN. We communicated all the way up to there and we had no commo organic to us that allowed us to do that. There was some relay ongoing, but very little.
It basically was a time-phased plan to get from here to there and get us all up there without creating too much havoc, because we had to sever communications with higher headquarters and then we, in turn, catapulted up there, got in here and then we followed up in pieces up the road and set up the CSA then CHARLIE, now REGISTER.
MAJ HONEC: For the record, this is CSA REGISTER?
MAJ CLARK: Correct. At one time, it was called CHARLIE. Now, it's REGISTER officially for the record, for the historical record, this is CSA REGISTER.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, very good. The transportation aspect, your organic transportation was stripped from you at some time to form the 7th Trans Battalion?
MAJ CLARK: The battalion, right, but when we go organic to the HHC, we did have some five-ton capability and some deuce-and-a-half [2.5-ton], but that was not sufficient so we had to task through the group externally for the flat beds and some HETs [heavy equipment transporters] that we had to transport. We had to get quantities of those.
MAJ HONEC: That's H-E-T-T?
MAJ CLARK: Heavy equipment, but internal still to the group, so the group had to arrange it for us within the group.
MAJ HONEC: And you've had enough that you ... to fill your needs, or ... ?
MAJ CLARK: Right, there was some competition for that within the group itself from the other trans[portation] battalions and all the other units and we had to compete for that and justify the reason for them and the quantities and all that stuff, and then come out with a time table as to when we wanted to do this, allowing them to better manage the resources so that everybody could use those and we'd all get up there and set up the water battalion, fuel, ammunition, and all that stuff that we have in the group.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Engineer support. Who is the engineers that supported you?
MAJ CLARK: Okay. There is the 20th Engineer Brigade that was working with the 507th Group and they in turn supported some of our berm building capability; however, the two ammunition companies also have some earth-moving equipment with them, [bull]dozers. And then using their organic equipment, they had, in turn, built up the berms that you see, these dirt little hills around here. They used their berm building capabilities using their 'dozers.
MAJ HONEC: Are these D-7s?
MAJ CLARK: D-7 'dozers, correct.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Very good. All right. In the future now, as you're making plans for Phase III, you intend to obviously pretty much shrink the ASP, is that correct, and then, of course, establish ... ?
MAJ CLARK: Correct. Collapse it and form another one in the next future location, wherever that is. It's miles down the road.
MAJ HONEC: Right. Okay, so this will essentially be--will go away?
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. And will your unit entirely control that or will that be ...
MAJ CLARK: Right now, for the group, yes, this battalion will be the controlling entity for the ammunition (Class V), just like the other units control water, fuel, we will control ammunition, as far as storing it and keeping it. Now, as far as issuing it out, it has to come from a higher level for us to give it to a customer. It has to be approved in the quantities and so on. That has to be approved through the MMC, the [materiel] management center Class V [section]. They are the approving authority for the issuance.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, accounting for it. Could you go into ... DESERT SHIELD was an unusual situation where you had large quantities of ammunition coming in, of all sorts.
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: And that presented some problems.
MAJ CLARK: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: That followed on here. As well as ... that followed on here to DESERT STORM, Phase II. Could you elaborate a little bit on those problems in Phase I and then the ones that--some of the innovations that you've seen done?
MAJ CLARK: Innovations, well, as far as the procedures ... the procedures I'll leave for the MATO to go over, but on the typical observations and the things we encountered were mixed lots of ammunition, maybe the same ammunition but it was a mixed lot. And in managing ammunition, you have to manage it by lots such that if there is a "safety feature" or something that happens with a particular round, then you have to track it back to the lot and if there's a faulty bit of ammunition, you have to cease issuing that lot. So that was a bit of a production line problem, so you have to track it by lot numbers, so you have to separate all your ammunition into piles like that and manage it that way, so you know if it's a faulty thing, you can go back to there and shut down that line and do not issue that anymore, as it's got a problem. Okay, problems in ammunition not being properly containerized; problems of the ammunition being damaged in handling, you know.
MAJ HONEC: Damaged in handling at the port?
MAJ CLARK: At the port or coming out or just handling it in the process of getting it stored. That's been minimal in our case. We have superb materiel handling fork lifts, equipment and all that other good stuff. Everybody knows what they're doing. There have been one or two punctured containers for the MLRS [M-270 Multiple Launch Rocket System] that were found that way or improper management, whatever, but very minimal, very minimal.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Do you have any questions, SSG Kirkland?
SSG KIRKLAND: Yes, sir, I do. Who delivers the ammunition?
MAJ CLARK: To us, we get it from the truckers. Basically, it is the transportation companies. They come in on a [M]-915 [tractor] and [M]-872 trailer, a combination of a M-915 and an -872 trailer. Various typical units not just belonging to the 507th. They come out of wherever the ammunition points are, HEISER, you name it. It's somewhere out there. They wanted to move the ammunition and they moved it. So, all I can give you typically is the type of equipment, the M-915 and the -872 trailer; that's the combination of equipment. Our units, you know, [M]-915 [equipped], we have the 1454th [Transportation Company], we had the 62d Trans[portation Company]. There's more than those out there.
SSG KIRKLAND: Do you ever have Saudi drivers delivering ammunition?
MAJ CLARK: Occasionally, but very sparse, very sparse. That did happen on occasion at CSA HARDEN but now, since we moved up here closer, that pretty much has dried up. I've yet to see maybe one or two and there are hundreds and hundreds here.
SSG KIRKLAND: Will you ever deliver ammo to units if they request you to do so?
MAJ CLARK: Very much. That is an option right now because some of the units don't have the organic capability to move that large quantity so it is an option to move in these trailers as close as possible to the units. That is an option. That has not been, you know, totally ruled out. It goes maybe against the doctrine or whatever. It's a question of servicing the unit that needs the ammunition on the line. That's basically it. It's an option that's there.
It may be worked out on agreements with whatever the unit is and who he is and how fast they need it and whether we have the assets available to do it, so that would have to go through the group to get those assets prepped for them.
MAJ HONEC: You also have had units drop off their basic load for you to store temporarily?
MAJ CLARK: Correct. The 82d Airborne [Division] has been here. They had dropped 100-plus trailers with their ammunition on them for supervision, control, whatever, for us to keep track of and have a common storage area. However, we have no control over their assets and that type of thing. In fact, we have some of their trailers stored right now on the other side of the road right now, for 82d Airborne.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, how much ammunition would you say has moved in and out of your yard per day?
MAJ CLARK: Per day? I couldn't give you on a per day basis, but let me see if I can give you the--if I can show you these two here, this is from February on, the numbers of trailers. And if you estimate twelve to fifteen tons of ammunition per trailer, you can kind of get a flow of how much has been coming in off and on. I mean, this is ... .
I'm not getting into utilization of the space on the trailer, okay, like, you know, fully packed, but on the average, it would be between twelve tons to fifteen short tons on each trailer. So, if you were to take that and multiply it out by these numbers, I haven't ... well, what I'm trying to say is that I haven't tracked it by that specific statistic, but we can get that information by just crunching numbers.
MAJ HONEC: Crunching numbers.
SSG KIRKLAND: So according to your chart, it looks like the number of trailers coming in is between eleven and ninety-five?
MAJ CLARK: Ninety-five.
SSG KIRKLAND: Great.
MAJ CLARK: So, now, at one time, we did have a higher count than that. You can see from 17 January on, I mean, that was just the month of February at the beginning. We have gone also from nineteen at one time to 125 at one time.
SSG KIRKLAND: Trailers?
MAJ CLARK: Trailers coming in, estimating to be twelve to fifteen tons of ammunition on them.
SSG KIRKLAND: Per trailer?
MAJ CLARK: Per trailer, so you could probably go from eleven to 125 over a period from 17 January until 18 February which was, I guess, 1,125 trailers, guesstimating something like that.
Basically, we've been tracking the reservoir as it helped to fill the CSA registrars and most of them should be coming up by day, so I can crunch that out for you and you can just make a copy of that if you want it, and you can estimate or crunch out information from here.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, have you ever had units come by the ammo yard and trying to help themselves?
MAJ CLARK: Well, in a sense, yes. They come out to see what we've got and can we get some of that ammunition and so, at that point in time, is when the authorizations and the proper procedures have to be implemented.
You know, we understand the individual's mission and the fact that he may be at the front line, you know, but there are certain steps and procedures that have to be approved. Everyone has to know why you need it and how much you need, and his entire chain has to know and our approval chain has to know and there has to be an agreement.
If no one has it, go forth, and here's the operation, take it, so we track it that way. But it's not a "come all and help yourself" store. That is not the concept. It's strictly controlled by a supporting unit. So we support certain units and they have to through their chain justify, and then they come and get it. So, ARCENT [United States Army Central Command] gets in on it. The 2d MMC [Materiel Management Center] gets in on it to approve issue. We fill out a [DA Form] 581 form, Department of the Army form for ammunition issue, whatever, where they list everything out in quantities and it has to be approved. So, it's a procedural thing. I mean, you don't just show up and say, "I'd like some of that," and that's it.
MAJ HONEC: Sir, you do supply to XVIII Airborne Corps units?
MAJ CLARK: We are supporting other units, too, right now. We are talking at the 24th I[nfantry] D[ivision]. We are talking to the 3d ACR [Armored Cavalry regiment], the whole laundry list of the combat fighters right now, given the intensity of the situation and how they want to distribute it.
It's going to be on a time table of who is committing where first and who has encountered more opposition and who needs more ammunition. So, as we're not here to decide that, we get the word from headquarters, and they'll say ...
[END OF SIDE ONE]
MAJ HONEC: You add to the planning and ...
MAJ CLARK: We add to the planning and based on the information, we go back and we verify the numbers, the density of weapons, whatever rate of fire you say you're going to fight at, your distribution, and then we go back and compare that to all the other units and say, "Hey, given that everybody draws ammunition at this rate, then we can sustain this type of a war situation for so many days, and then we'll be out," or that kind of thing. So, you have to decide amongst yourselves the priority of fire and priority of support. It's a doctrinal thing. You've got to get in there to crunch out what customer's going to get what at what rate. And then we can advise, but that's all we can do is advise.
MAJ HONEC: What sort of operations concerns you have, I see that you have a full map in the background of the operation and also the units, the Iraqi units, are out there. You are obviously interested security-wise to find out, you know, like, for instance, where the artillery units are and what-not and if they're in range of you, but also what is your interest in ... how does that go into your planning?
MAJ CLARK: That has to do with our forward phase planning, okay. What typical resistance are we going to encounter? What kinds of things will we expect out there to plan and prepare ourselves for our next camp site, if you will: the berming, the concertina, the commo, and those types of things; pockets of resistance, sniper fire; those kinds of things that we have to prep everyone to be psychologically prepared for and those kinds of things. I mean, it's just planning. It's not going to be a Sunday ride up the road here where nothing is going to happen, so we have to kind of psychologically prepare ourselves of what is out there. And that's basically it for planning purposes.
MAJ HONEC: Now, other than ... to go back, other than transportation assets which, obviously, they've taken to form as a consolidated group, task group or whatever, do you have all your equipment now that you need to do your job?
MAJ CLARK: Yes, we do have--by table of authorization, TO&E [table of organization and equipment], we have all we're authorized. But we are finding out that we do need additional, because of the situation, the scenario, the distances, the coordination required, that we need more vehicles to transport back and forth, and closer coordination with the support units. To communicate we need more communications. We need more transportation. It would be nice if we had more, because of the environment and the sand, a better, cleaner environment to work with our ADP [automatic data processing], which has been catastrophic in some cases with the amount of dust and damage that this stuff has done out here. We're not hurting, but it hampers the operation. The continuous cleaning of the ADP vehicles and all that stuff.
But we're looking at ... based on our TO&E we're complete and told to go based on the concept of how the document was done, but now that we're here, we see that we need more transportation equipment, more commo equipment, perhaps more vans to be able to do staff work in, you know, for the typical type of planning that we're doing and the continuous moving, setting up, tearing down, setting up, tearing down. And under these weather conditions, it's just ...
MAJ HONEC: Vans, as opposed to these tents--they're GP Mediums, are they?
MAJ CLARK: Correct. Right, the mobility--the mobility is one thing that we thought about that we really would like to have more mobility. Our unit is less than--gosh, less than 50 percent whole organically, so that's why we have to go to external assets and get trucks to move us and move our tents and move this and tear down and set up and so on.
MAJ HONEC: How are the Japanese vehicles--the commercial vehicles, the 4-wheel drives and the sedans--have they helped in the missions?
MAJ CLARK: They have helped in the command and control, especially for the purchasing officer and for the commanders to move around quickly, and you could say blend in, for the purchasing officer, to blend into the host country/nation and be able to buy the things that we need to, you know, maintain our quality of life and continue to sustain operations out here. The admin[istrative] side of the war, the paper, the paper clips, the transparencies, the things that you don't think you're going to need, but you need to get the butcher paper or the markers or all that stuff that, when you were back in a peacetime Army, you'd go to a SSSC-store [self-service supply center], but then you get out here in this desert out here, so you've got to integrate with the economy to buy these little things that, you know, allow you to present your plan as opposed to drawing things in the sand.
MAJ HONEC: How about fuel? Have you had adequate supplies of fuel and, also, has any of the fuel caused maintenance problems?
MAJ CLARK: In the beginning, the local host nation fuel ... apparently, there was some problems with it. There was some water in it or contamination or something, so we experienced some problems, so we had to tighten up on the quality of where we were getting the fuel, and the inspection of the fuel. We had to basically inspect it to make sure that it was suitable for our equipment. So we did experience some of that. We had to continue to change fuel filters in a few cases, because we had some damage there.
MAJ HONEC: Because they were getting clogged?
MAJ CLARK: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Any engines blown?
MAJ CLARK: No, not that I recall. A lot of it had to do with the air filters. That was another big thing, the dust in the air filters, things like that, continuous changing. The bearings and hydraulic seals and things like that, a lot of the units that had equipment that had not been used in a long time came up here and started using it. Because the seals were dry and cracked--this is a dry environment up here--so in most cases, the seals would crack and the hydraulic fluid would drip out and then that disabled the hydraulic equipment so we had to get that taken care of. But what they call packaged POL [petroleum, oil, lubricants], prepackaged POL, the hydraulic fuels and lubricants, a lot of them were found in the host country.
MAJ HONEC: Found in the host country, so that was a boon to use the local economy to augment your supplies?
MAJ CLARK: Yes.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, do you ever transport ammunition by air to those hard-to-get-to units?
MAJ CLARK: It is an option. Actually, we are doing some sling load training and Captain Breido's just attended--that's my S-3 Air--attended some of that training just today this afternoon, and the basic exercise there was to get the sling load equipment, the actual transport device that you're going to use this stuff and it has to be properly rated, you know, so it doesn't snap or break or bust or drop the ammunition somewhere, so you have to learn the proper ...
MAJ HONEC: Load rating on the ...
MAJ CLARK: Exactly, the crates, the vans and all that stuff.
MAJ HONEC: I notice you're using CH-47 Chinooks?
MAJ CLARK: Correct, to do the training, yes. So that is an option.
SSG KIRKLAND: Do you foresee a lot of that taking place as the ground war takes off?
MAJ CLARK: Well, if there is--if we encounter resistance, it's going to be a definite option because we may find ourselves pinned down on the roads, such that we cannot move on the road. And knowing that we've neutralized their air capability at this point from the air-to-air, and we're beginning to neutralize a lot of their anti-aircraft stuff right now, that would be the next fastest option, is to air load/sling load via Chinook to the unit that's committed somewhere.
So, that will have to take some coordination to ensure that there is a safe way that they can go through there without getting shot down, so they have to do some other coordination with the ground unit to neutralize any air defense or anti-air enemy unit to make sure they get free passage to the supporting unit and things like that, but that is a definite option, yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, one last question. When the ground war takes off, do you plan on putting the ammunition in different spaces or do you plan to keep all the ammunition in one spot?
MAJ CLARK: Well, the distribution--and it depends on how fighting units are going to go up the lane here. Without getting into too classified ideas about how they're going to distribute the quantities, the first few days will be fast and furious, as far as movement, so that pretty much restrains us to taking whatever--just what we need--for ammunition and then once we get to a location where we're going to stay a little longer, we'll let the logistics tail come up, and then ammunition will come up in larger quantities.
But the basic concept is to collapse the assets in here to more than one location in the front, and that depends on who meets what resistance and who's going to be committed again to preposition in an area where you will support the larger quantity of the weapons that need the ammunition. That's just the concept, without getting into too many of the details on the locations.
MAJ HONEC: It's pretty well doctrine, then?
MAJ CLARK: Yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, that's all the questions I have.
MAJ HONEC: All right. Very well. Thank you SSG Kirkland.
Let's see. MAJ Clark, I have a few more have occurred to me.
MAJ CLARK: Each weapon has got its associated main gun, if you may, and it's auxiliary fire power and survival devices--smoke or early warning flares or whatever, but they have the package for that particular system. So, based on that concept for an initial issue to facilitate replenishment quickly to the fighter, the crew unit, if you may, you configure the combat configured load to satisfy those requirements; however, there have been some problems in satisfying 100 percent that package, because of some of the particular components of that CCO are either not on hand, have not arrived or, for whatever reason, are unaccounted for.
So, we tried as best we could to configure the package to that family of main gun and auxiliary weapons together in packages, and for the crew, for the battery, for the whatever, in quantities. We can figure that through the firing rates and however the intensity of that conflict is going to be and the commander's concept or vision of how he intends to commit to the enemy.
MAJ HONEC: I notice in the rows, you have lanes set up for the various units like the 3rd ACR.
MAJ CLARK: Well, not necessarily by 3rd ACR, but by the typical corps, the infantry-type units, armored-type units, armor, aviation, cavalry-type configured packages. Certain kinds of ammunition are peculiar to certain types of units.
MAJ HONEC: You wouldn't be giving HELLFIREs to infantry troops, in other words?
MAJ CLARK: Things like that.
MAJ HONEC: No missiles?
MAJ CLARK: Bangalore torpedoes: only the combat engineers will get those clear, in certain areas. So, there are specific packages for weapons applications for the design over there. But basically that's what it is, is configuring those weapons, the ammunition to supply those purposes and functions, and that's basically what we've done.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. The flat desert environment, was this ground conducive to bunkering?
MAJ CLARK: Not really. This ground out here is very, very hard, in fact, maybe only five or six inches of soft sand, if you can get that deep into it. The rest is very, very hard sand--a lot of seemingly--it looks like volcanic rock. I'm not a geologist. I couldn't tell you, but it looks like something blew up here a long time ago and made lots of little pieces of rocks out here. It's very hard, very hard ground.
We've used some of the dozers to dig in, but what we did to get around that was to dig a two-foot hole, if you can call it say ten feet by ten feet, and then we laid out a wood frame, and then we had quarter-inch metal plates, eight feet by four feet that we had the host nation purchase us. We put those around and then we filled the rest with sand bags, and then again we bermed it on the side of the building with loose ground that was around and that was our "overhead projectile type of protection" or enemy artillery protection and that's about it.
MAJ HONEC: When you clear this ASP, will you leave those in place?
MAJ CLARK: If we have assets to move, some of the sand bags and some of the metal plates which now ... all those resources have been exhausted because where we're going now, you know, there's no way of doing that in local purchases. We don't have visions of--that's not the host nation, if you may--so it's going to be difficult over there.
It depends on the timing and moving. G-Day is around the corner and there is very little time to go back and dig up and disassemble a lot of these things, so basically this entire area will probably be turned over to another unit which will hopefully be able to utilize a lot of this stuff, because we realize we can't really carry all that with us.
Right now, we're looking at minimizing a lot of our personal type positions that we've done over the last few months here, to minimize that so we can better utilize the transportation equipment, because right now, we're in the process of trimming down that extra box of books that you thought you'd read, well, that may have to stay behind, you know. There are things that keep you too busy to read, the game, the this, the that and the other, that may have to be pruned down to zero in on space and really get compact here to travel in.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Power--do you have enough generators? Will you have enough electrical power?
MAJ CLARK: Those are the things that we found that we needed some of that were not on our table of distribution of equipment. We had acquired two 30-KW [kilowatt] generators. One is a main and one is a spare, so right now, the entire site here is powered off of one 30-KW generator. It's running continuously for 24 hours. The question is of refueling and maintenance and that's it. We found that we had ample power right now based on the fact that we did get those 30-KW generators.
MAJ HONEC: Morale support. Have your troops had a lot of time on their hands or have they been continually busy? What have you done in the morale area to compensate for hard work?
MAJ CLARK: Our troops on our side, there's continuous camp perimeter defense preparations, the internal housekeeping thing, the latrine detail, the KP [kitchen police] detail, the security details, the overall building of the tents and fixing up better perimeter defense positions, the maintenance on the vehicles, and the typical weapons cleaning and the NBC [nuclear, biological and chemical] training that still goes on. All those things have pretty much taken a lot of the time out of the day, and the cold weather has not helped any to continue on through the evening, so it's as much daylight-to-daylight, and pretty much things seize and button up and then light discipline. So then we have to preserve light discipline at this location, so we drive in black-out lights and the canvas and everything is just buttoned up. So, after dark, everything is buttoned up so we have daylight-to-daylight. So, the troops have been busy keeping track of their stuff.
We do have things like the televisions and VCRs [video cassette recorders]. We have had time to make a chapel. We do have a chapel and a battalion chaplain. So, we have a weight room. We also have a weight room. What else have we got? We do occasionally have a football game out there, so we have some entertainment capabilities for the troops.
MAJ HONEC: Does the PX [post exchange] truck come by?
MAJ CLARK: We do have a mobile PX, compliments of the 7th Trans Battalion. They put a van together and they have stocked it. They have rolled around the group for a couple of hours a day on a scheduled basis. They arrive at a certain location and the troops have time to go out there and buy whatever it is they need--food, goodies, letter writing material and all that other good stuff. Camera, film, and all that stuff, film, cameras.
MAJ HONEC: In NBC, that still is a threat, as I understand now. What decon procedures do you have to handle that?
MAJ CLARK: That is correct. Let me just start by saying that the biggest concerns for the troops has been the opening of the chemical over protective garment out of the sealed container. That's been one big concern the troops have because at one time, one bag said fourteen days. Another bag said twenty-two days. So there was some concern with the troops, "Hey, how long is my suit going to last? I opened it. I wore it for this SCUD alert, that SCUD alert, this SCUD alert, and so on and that was back on 17 January, so is it still good?"
So we had some technical read-out on that and basically it was determined that it had to be a continuous use for that chemical protective suit so then we laid aside some of the fears and concerns that they had by saying, "You have to have that thing on for that many days continuous for it to wear out its protective capabilities," and those kinds of things.
So those issues are continuous check on the hoods, the mask hoods and the chemical protective overgarments. We have identified if you spill water or diesel fuel or somehow tear your overgarment, that you've got to get another one, so that training has been going on.
MAJ HONEC: Do you have a decon procedure set up with trucks for the flatbeds and the ammunition?
MAJ CLARK: Correct. We do have that in the plan. We do have what we call hasty positions.
We are also now planning, through purchase of mops and tubs, plastic tubs or whatever, to do the decon, the hasty decon with a mop to get the stuff out of it. We're also considering getting some water pressure cleaners to do that, but that involves also going into the host nation to buy those kinds of things, so right now we're looking at just the old plastic trash bucket, 55-gallon type, mops, and doing things like that, because that also requires water. So, that's a consideration there is water for those kind of things.
But we have, in our NBC plan, identified in the camp four locations to do that hasty decontamination, quick and dirty, and then move on to some other location, so that's part of the plan. Alarms, chemical alarms, sound alarms, all those kinds of things, quick recreation kind of things.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, have you had any problem with your Reserve and Guard unit soldiers working with your Regular Army soldiers?
MAJ CLARK: In the beginning, there was some, you know, the typical, "You're a civilian and I'm active," and those kinds of things. But as time has gone on here, they've demonstrated that, hey, they're fully committed, fully capable, and sometimes are at more of a disadvantage than we are, because they have had to give up some of the jobs that probably were paying them more than they are receiving right now and going through more hardship in some cases, because they have taken, certainly, a cut in their pay, depending on what they were doing, to come out here.
So, it has been a question of learning from them their situations. First, they thought they were committed for three months, then it's six months. Now, they know it's a year, so we feel for them.
Some of the concerns we have for them are the ID [identification] cards and the benefits for the dependents. We had to make sure that their dependents were truly taken care of, because once their ID expires, they are out of benefits, so that's one thing that we had to go through a system to make sure that they were in the system for medical, for commissary, for PX, those kinds of things that happen back in the States. For those kinds of things, we have to have documents and orders saying, "You've been extended on active duty for whatever reason," so the dependents can go back to their mobilization stations and get taken care of back there, so there were some concerns there.
We've got along with them pretty good. They're real professional groups right now. We're lucky that ... in our case, I can't complain about them at all.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. I think this concludes this DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interview. Thank you very much, MAJ Clark.
[END OF INTERVIEW]