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 055
CW2 Mark T. Stone
(561st Supply and Service Battalion)
CW3 Bennie G. Wilkerson
(2120th Supply and Service Company)
Interview Conducted 25 February 1991 at Logistical Base CHARLIE, Northern Province, Saudi Arabia
Interviewers: MAJ Robert B. Honec, III, and SSG LaDona S. Kirkland (116th Military History Detachment), 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 055
MAJ HONEC: This is an Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interview. My name is MAJ Robert B. Honec, along with SSG LaDona S. Kirkland, both of the 116th Military History Detachment; and SGT Dorothy L. McNeil of the 130th Military History Detachment. We are here today near Log Base CHARLIE with ... on the 25th February . Now, could you state for the record your full name, social security number, rank, unit of assignment, and how long you've been with the assignment, starting with ...
CW3 WILKERSON: I'm Bennie Gene Wilkerson; CW3; ***-**-****; SSA with 2120th S&S1 Company, [an Army] National Guard unit out of Oklahoma.
MAJ HONEC: Great, and you are?
CW2 STONE: Mark Thomas Stone; ***-**-****; CW2 out the 561st S&S Battalion, and I've been here since May of 88.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, and you are Active Army?
CW2 STONE: Yes, Active Army.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. How long have you been SSA?
CW3 WILKERSON: Well, I've been SSA since 68. However, it has not been active SSA until mobilization in September of 90.
MAJ HONEC: I see, okay, and how long have you been in your position?
CW2 STONE: I've been in the position here since coming over the Operation DESERT STORM in September of 90.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Let's get out of the way some of the few administrative ... about sending up both the units, and you can both handle it from a standpoint of your unit and how you came over. But where did you deploy from, and how was your deployment? Was your equipment ... or did you have a mission, equipment, etc.?
CW3 WILKERSON: We deployed through Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and our mission equipment was pretty well TOE.2 We were about 85 percent full. From mobilization time until we got on the ground over here there was a lot of conflict between the Readiness Group and DOL.3 We should have believed DOL. They were saying if you don't bring it to country with you, it's not going to be there. Readiness says, don't worry about it, it's in country. It didn't happen. So that was a real problem for us. We did not bring adequate supplies from the States with us.
MAJ HONEC: What sorts of supplies? Also ... you're the 2120th. Okay. What sorts of supplies?
CW3 WILKERSON: Oh, basic supplies. Your toilet articles, your ...
MAJ HONEC: How about enough paper to run your operations ... forms, typewriters, typewriter ribbons?
CW3 WILKERSON: We had very little expertise in that area there to advise us, and it was just, reach up in the sky and grab a figure, what you thought you might use. I underestimated, on paper ... on the computer paper.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. All right.
CW3 WILKERSON: Once we got on ground, in country, and then tried to set up operation and begin to requisition through an automated system, the system didn't seem to work too well. We ... about 90 days later we got our first requisition that we had requested, and then we found out that there has been a big bottleneck on port. A lot of requisitions coming in and the higher echelons deciding that we need this, and take it, regardless of who it goes to. So we've been kind of left out in the cold as far as getting supplies to customer units. And it is a lot of real frustrations for me. I think it could be better managed at DSU level if the upper echelons would let the system work the way it's designed to.
MAJ HONEC: So obviously the priorities set higher has really severely impacted the operation of the DSU and your aspect of it. Could you fully ... what is a DSU?
CW3 WILKERSON: Direct Support Unit.
MAJ HONEC: Okay ... that's right.
CW3 WILKERSON: We support the troops, the first line troops out in the field.
MAJ HONEC: The transcriber needs to know that. Okay. When you came over from CONUS, where did you locate, did you set up operations first?
CW3 WILKERSON: GUARDIAN CITY is where we began to initially set up operation; then we moved to FORT CAMPBELL; and then up to where we are now.
MAJ HONEC: Were you always assigned under the 561st?
CW3 WILKERSON: Since arriving in country, yes, sir.
MAJ HONEC: Go on from there. So coming from GUARDIAN CITY, obviously here, or the stop-over in between, you described, still, when the ... have you ever had any of the shortages clear up? Particularly, which classes were you?
CW3 WILKERSON: Well, of course, we handled Class II, Package [Class] III, [Class] IV and passing action on [Class] VII. Class IV has been completely held up by higher echelon. Although we have customer requisitions for it, we cannot fill it unless the higher echelons releases it to a particular unit, and this ... some of the customers have been kind of upset because they haven't been able to get their supplies.
MAJ HONEC: Class IV is of course the ...
CW3 WILKERSON: Barrier material, barbed wire, engineering ...
MAJ HONEC: Plywood, engineering materials.
CW3 WILKERSON: That's correct. Package III, we have got an adequate supply of Package III but it's been all manual. Very little of our Package III has come in under the automated system. In other words, what I'm saying is, although we're automated and we pass tapes down to 4th MMC,4 in order for me to get supplies I have to sit down and make up a manual requisition and take down to our higher source of supply in order to get it. This shouldn't have to happen, but it does, and it creates an unnecessary burden on the SSA at my level.
MAJ HONEC: What do you think that's causing that in the operation at first Phase I DESERT SHIELD, now Phase III ... II and III now, DESERT STORM? What do you ... what do you think is ... has really caused that, besides the shifting priorities of higher echelons, has it been the inadequate supply ... shipping of certain classes of supplies, making it scarce for everyone, therefore a high priority?
CW3 WILKERSON: Possibly could be part of it, being inadequate supplies. However, they could do a partial fill on automated tape and it would still let the system work the way it's designed to work. And that's the part that kind of bothers me, is they're not letting the system work, and it would work if they could just back off and say, okay, we can fill this much of the requisition, and send it under that request. But DCUs5 and things of this nature, of course, I understand the front line troops are the ones that should have it, and that doesn't upset me so much for the nondivisional troops not receiving this type of thing at this point. But there are some items that we should be able to get. Boots, we had some troops that come in ...
MAJ HONEC: Be specific about shortages.
CW3 WILKERSON: Okay. Boots, for instance, I have unit ... customer units come in begging for boots, and I've got guys in tennis shoes. I've got people with tape around their boots. I can't help them. I don't have any boots to assist them with, and that's a theater-controlled item. And although it's needed on front lines, there are also people that ... their boots are in that bad a shape, they certainly need some boots. And I have ... sometimes they get their clothing burnt up. I do not have the clothing to replace burnt-up clothing. They've had sleeping bags burn up. I can't replace them. So this is a problem at my level.
MAJ HONEC: Interesting on boots that you should say that, because there seems to be a big supply of boots just down the road with the ... under the 507th Support Group. There's an operation down there.
CW3 WILKERSON: That's a theater-controlled item, right now, G-3.
MAJ HONEC: I see. Okay. Did you have something more to add?
CW2 STONE: Oh yes, especially about the supply system.
MAJ HONEC: Identify yourself.
CW2 STONE: CW2 Stone, again. Anyway, one of the major problems is, when they came over in country the S-4s were given ... you know, go buy the stuff on the local economy. Toilet paper, pencils, pens, whatever they needed, and that created one of the first problems in the logistics system, is that when they went out and bought the stuff they didn't drop a demand history at the DSU so that we could pick up the demand so we can stock the items. That's one of the major problems.
Another thing, they'd completely bypassed the DSU, because you're supposed to go to the DSU and they'll sign off zero balance at this DSU, then you can go out and local purchase it and order it. So that's one of the first problems, and that's been going on for four months now, sometimes six months, and now everybody's wondering, where's their stuff? Well, they didn't order it. A few of the units have ordered it and they are getting it.
The first major problem of logistics came when LTG Pagonis6 wanted to micromanage tents. He was the only authority to let tents go. And from there they started micromanaging chem[ical] lights, boots, clothing. All Class II is controlled now. And I understand that some of it, you know, is needed to be reserved for wartime, but the unit has a valid requisition, then it should be filled. Not only did LTG Pagonis control tents, he sent a lieutenant down to port and gave him full authorization to take what he wanted to take and send it up to the 406th up at KKMC where they were at at the time and stockpile it for theater reserve. And that included all Class IV and whatever else they deemed fit to put in theater reserve.
MAJ HONEC: That's the 406th Support Group?
CW2 STONE: Right. Well, 406th DSU.
MAJ HONEC: DSU, I'm sorry.
CW2 STONE: I don't know if there's any other name.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. At King Khalid Military City?
CW2 STONE: Right. Right. They call it KKMC. That created a problem. And another problem was when the stuff started arriving at port is that anybody ... everybody took it. They just showed up and took it. And the transportation was not there to send it to the proper units, because the unit would be in one location one day, a week from there ... a week from that time they'd be in another location, under another supporting DSU, so that it was confusing. And another thing--down at Dhahran Airport, it was down at Port ... or, the sea port. I can't remember exactly when. They got a lot of supplies in. LTG Pagonis went down and said, I want it all out in 48 hours, or else.
MAJ HONEC: Was this before Christmas, or after Christmas?
CW2 STONE: This was before Christmas, and the stuff ... they just, you know, whatever trucks showed up, they loaded it up and let it go. That's wrong. That's wrong. He got away with that, and nothing was done about it. It crippled a lot of units for getting their supplies, because supplies probably went to units who did need it and they stockpiled it, and that's where it starts snowballing. When everybody sees that a general can okay it, why not me, you know? So what's happened, now units that are coming in, there's no set transportation to get it shipped to us. When a shipment comes in, the people at the port notify the 4th or 2d MMC, whichever--whoever--you know, they fall under. They are supposed to coordinate transportation to get it up to the supporting DSU. The DSU is not a pick-up and delivery service.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah, normally that's what the book says should happen.
CW2 STONE: Right. We've had to scrape together transportation, go crawl on our knees to get transportation to go down and pick stuff up. And people change the names on the packages so they can pick it up, or even now you go down and just get it and go. There's problems now, like even down here at the APOD.7 This here's the 2120th S&S Company. They can't even go pick their own stuff up. They're not allowed to.
MAJ HONEC: You're talking about the APOD. That was a specific unit?
CW2 STONE: APOD is ... I don't know who runs the APOD down here, but it's where they're flying the C-130s [Hercules] in, right down ...
MAJ HONEC: Oh, okay, at the forward landing strip.8 Okay.
CW2 STONE: They can't even go pick up their own supplies. They have to have special permission to go pick up supplies, and that hasn't been granted yet. And that's ridiculous for an S&S company.
SGT McNEIL: May I ask you a question?
MAJ HONEC: Yes, go ahead, SGT McNeil.
SGT McNEIL: When you order supplies, don't you have to fill out a requisition also, using a DODAC9 number?
CW2 STONE: Yes.
SGT McNEIL: Okay, so when the supplies come back in, the other units are going, picking up without using identification. So will these supplies be charged to your account?
CW2 STONE: Well, there's no ... there's no financial accountability over here, because ... well, they came over with none. And the problem is under wartime accountability [rules], you've just got to recognize that you're a soldier, what unit you're from, and that's it, and you can order as long as you loaded up in the system. That's why we asked you earlier what your DODAC was so that we could load you into the system in case we run into you again. The problem is, is everybody's getting mis-shipments, also. What little we do receive, it doesn't belong to us. But, 4th MMC and 2d MMC said that if you receive a shipment, and just one little piece of it is yours, you have to accept the whole shipment or lose it. And that shipment immediately goes into theater reserve. That was the message sent out by 4th and 2nd MMC. We have a copy of that, too, and I'm going to frame that. I can't believe that. Like, we got a shipment the other day of STB, which is for decontamination.
MAJ HONEC: Super tropical bleach.
CW2 STONE: Right, and we have to accept it. We can't turn it away. You have to accept a shipment, and that's ridiculous.
MAJ HONEC: So that means other units that need it will go wanting, if ...
CW2 STONE: Right. Right.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, good point.
CW2 STONE: And that's created the problem with boots. In fact, there are people running around without boots. As Mr. Wilkerson said, in tennis shoes. Some people now are coming from the United States without TA-50.10 What are you going to do? Another problem is that we fall under the 101st Corps Support Group.11
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
CW2 STONE: 101st is the same as the 101st Airborne, so all our packages come in marked, 101st, and I'm sure that some of them got diverted to the 101st Airborne. Of course, you can't do anything about it, because you're supposed to accept the shipment, and you know, they're doing it right, accepting the shipment. We've accepted some shipments for the 101st Airborne. We got it over to them, because it's flyers ... you know, aviation. We didn't need it.
Those are some of the problems in the supply system, and nothing's been done about it. Everybody knows about it and says well, it's broke. Nobody wants to fix it. It's a shame you've got people managing the supply system who don't know a thing about the supply system and a lot of them are Quartermaster [Corps branch]. That's a real shame. It's a slap in the face to the Quartermaster Corps. You've got people that have been branch transferred out of infantry, artillery, up to positions where a warrant should be at, and trying to dictate what they're going to do, and they have no idea, don't even confer with you about, hey, should we do this or that with the supply system. A good example is, Mr. Wilkerson built this ASL from zero lines to 1,800 lines of stuff to service the soldiers, and we were told to delete it ... all the lines.
MAJ HONEC: But, then ... what are you going to replace that with, though, with those stockage ... the lines of stockage?
CW2 STONE: Nothing.
MAJ HONEC: Nothing? You just delete it?
CW2 STONE: We were told to delete the ASL. I was given a direct order through my commander to have the 2120th's ASLs deleted first to under 500 lines, and then they didn't care what ... it could have been 500 different lines of toilet paper, different colors, for all they were concerned about. They just wanted it under 500 lines.
MAJ HONEC: ASL is an authorized stockage list?
CW2 STONE: Authorized stockage list, correct. Then we did a demand analysis.
MAJ HONEC: Uh-huh, like you're normally supposed to do to keep it ...
CW2 STONE: Right, and it drops down to 25 lines, and I've tried to tell them not to do it. I did it, but I tried to tell them we shouldn't do it because it's a new unit. They haven't been here long enough to build demands like an Active Army unit, but it didn't work. They haven't listened to any kind of suggestions from us. Another problem now is where we're going up to NACHO.
MAJ HONEC: To Log Base ...
CW2 STONE: NACHO, up in Iraq.
MAJ HONEC: Yes. It's a ...
CW2 STONE: Where we're going is NACHO.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. It's probably a log base, or something close to that.
CW2 STONE: No. It's just called NACHO.
CW3 WILKERSON: [Log Base] ROMEO.
MAJ HONEC: ROMEO's in ... okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Is it a base camp?
MAJ HONEC: It's a base camp. It's NACHO. It's near Log Base ROMEO. Okay.
CW2 STONE: Okay, one of the problems there is, and I've just brought it up over the past couple of days, is there's no method to get us our supplies to the DSU from the APOD down the road, here. No method.
MAJ HONEC: No transportation at all?
CW2 STONE: No transportation. Nobody's thought about it. Nobody's thought about how are we going to service the customer up there. The 406th is supposed to be the primary support up in that area. You see where they're still down the road sitting down, down-loaded. Like Mr. Wilkerson was saying, almost every request needs a G-3, G-4 approval. G-3 has nothing to do with supplies or logistics, but they got their hands in it somehow, or it has to have COSCOM12 approval, which is not right. Like with XVIII Airborne Corps, the brown boots, there's only 300 pair authorized for the XVIII Airborne Corps.13
MAJ HONEC: Is that right?
CW2 STONE: That's ridiculous. You know who's going to get that. It's the staff. Staff on down, and that's not right. They should let the logistics system work. They didn't let it work. Everybody's got away with murder over it. The only level of supply that has worked properly is the direct support unit. Because even the S-4 level has screwed it up by not dropping demand histories or coming in and doing the proper procedures for local purchases. Granted, some units have done that, you know ... very few ... and they are getting their stuff. Another bad thing is what little shipments we do receive, they're pilfered. Boxes are broken into, taken ... stuff taken, what they need, and you get the remnants of what you need.
MAJ HONEC: I see. En route, they're actually ...
CW2 STONE: Right, en route or down at port.
MAJ HONEC: Or down at port ...
CW2 STONE: It's just being ripped off.
MAJ HONEC: Which means a systemic problem, maybe, with security.
CW2 STONE: Well, security, that's part of it, but it falls in the transportation-logistics arena, getting the stuff to the proper DSU. They say it's hard to locate where the DSU's at, and I don't accept that for a proper answer. Initially, when we got in country, yes, but not now.
And getting back, this is an S&S company, it's not a mobile. An S&S company can't be mobile. They've got to be able to set long enough to supply and support the customer. But then again, they've got to be able to be supplied by transportation. This company does not have the assets to go down to Dhahran or down to the APOD to pick up supplies to bring back and process. And you've just got too many people in this operation that are making observations and suggestions and dictating about what to do about logistics and don't know about it. And I refer back, just start thinking about it, most of them are Quartermaster. They're not even referring to the warrants for guidance or help or anything like that. And it's a shame. You've got some units that are really hurting out here.
MAJ HONEC: Do you know ... can you give me a few?
CW2 STONE: Engineers. Any of the engineer units up in through here. 937th [Engineer Group], 20th Engineers [Battalion]. Boots are their big problem. Chem lights was another one. Controlling ... everybody was controlling chem lights. And it's just been a logistical nightmare from my point of view.
MAJ HONEC: Who have ... could you identify the "they" that you let the concerns know of the conditions up here?
CW2 STONE: Sure. My battalion commander, LTC Marker; the Corps commander, COL Beauchamp.14 That's as high as I've been. And his staff, you know, people in between, that fall in between. We've let them know. My boss, MAJ Singer, she knows it, and she beats the CSG staff up. That's where you start running into people who are in positions that they shouldn't be.
MAJ HONEC: You don't ... with no good effect, it's been to no effect yet, her efforts?
CW2 STONE: No. A lot of talk. A lot of talk. And what it is now, it's come to the point where everybody's just interested in ME, not the soldier, and another problem that I've noticed over here, they should strip the ordering officers out, because what happens you get your battalion commanders and other commanders who get with their S-4s, and they can go into town and buy stuff, you know, that they want--food, items like that--that they can eat, and to heck with the soldier, and that's not right.
MAJ HONEC: You're talking about ordering officers. Is that Class A--the local purchase agent, or ...
CW2 STONE: Right. That's what I'm talking about. I don't know exactly the formal names that they're using for it.
MAJ HONEC: I wanted to narrow it down.
CW2 STONE: This isn't the only unit or operation that's like that, because we've talked to quite a few people coming in here. Another major problem that I notice over here is mail. People getting their mail. One unit's--it was an engineer unit again--couldn't even get their mail, even though their First Sergeant went to pick it up. He wanted to go into town and go shopping, and ... not getting the troops' mail back, little things like that. The logistics system just went to pot.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Do you have something to add?
CW3 WILKERSON: Back on local purchasing.
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
CW3 WILKERSON: It seems ... the local purchasing agents seem to be able to go into town, local-purchase sandbags, pickets, and whatever. And we're not able to get them through the system. If that's the case then the Army ought to purchase, go local purchase, put them into the system and distribute them out. But it's not working.
MAJ HONEC: It'd not working. Thank you, Mr. Wilkerson.
CW2 STONE: I got a solution to that, too, if anybody listens to this that can do something about it, is what they should do worldwide is have pre-positioned stocks. Like, let's say, over here in Saudi just for an example, what they should do is have all classes of supply minus Class I (which is your food) set up. Of course, you can't have fuel either, but ...
MAJ HONEC: Well that, and spare parts get old.
CW2 STONE: I'd say Class IX, II, and limit it to III Package and Class IV. It should be pre-positioned worldwide in different countries at support of division. And they should have maybe one or two Army people there and local nationals to run it and make sure everything stays maintained. And that way if there's another emergency, like there is to come to Saudi, that equipment can be moved quickly to that theater of operations and units will have the stuff immediately when they hit ground. Also they ought to have pre-made tapes from the DAS-3, but by that time they'll probably be SARS objective or ...
MAJ HONEC: Yeah, software changes all the time, so ...
CW2 STONE: Yeah, some kind of software where automatically once there's a deployment to that theater the requisitions ... there's a set of requisitions that automatically go in and tell us to start ordering for a division, a minimum of a division-level contingency force. And they ought to have Class VII, a certain amount of Class VIIs, so where they could just get on the plane, don't worry about shipping their stuff, get over here and get in the trucks and roll. They should have that set up worldwide, in different theaters of operation.
MAJ HONEC: Well, there is ... there was a certain amount. There was pre-positioned naval ships out there. There was the POMCUS15 stocks that were in Saudi Arabia, but obviously they weren't adequate enough to handle the massive build-up.
CW2 STONE: Right. Well, it should be for division level. And local procurement should be very, very tightly controlled. And I think it's very sorry that they have POMCUS sites in Germany and they weren't allowed to tap into them. They may have now, after the fact, but initially when they came in country they weren't allowed to draw from those stocks. One of the units I came over ... prepared to come over with, the 584th Maintenance [Company], they were one of the few nondivisional units that came over here completely with their Class IX ASL. And they ought to have warrants also that manage the logistics system at each level. They don't. They don't have them pre-positioned for that. They have them at the COSCOM level. Whether they have them at the theater level, I don't know. If they do, they're not paying attention to what they're saying, and the logistics end just went to pot. And it's not over with yet. It's not over with yet.
MAJ HONEC: Go ahead, Mr. Wilkerson.
CW3 WILKERSON: I think probably when this is over, about the time we get ready to go back home, we're going to be flooded with supply parts over here, not knowing what to do with them except maybe return them back to the States.
VOICE: Send them to VII Corps.
CW2 STONE: Give them to VII Corps [who] is going to stay here.
MAJ HONEC: A very good observation. Mr. Stone.
CW2 STONE: Probably what they'll do ... they'll probably do a mass cancellation of everything that's still due out. They should. Another problem which is ... it's in the logistics arena, is the problem of Class I, which is your subsistence.
MAJ HONEC: Yes.
CW2 STONE: You know, everybody supposedly north of the KKMC is supposed to be eating MREs, but you know, some units have people go all the way down to Dammam so they can eat Class A rations three times a day. I mean, the inequality is just amazing, and soldiers see that, and somehow the upper echelon's not seeing it, and it really has a lot of effect on the morale of the soldiers ... a lot of effect. Another thing, when it was colder, getting heaters. You know, you had to kill to get a heater, and that's ridiculous. When your commander and staff have heaters in the tents and the troops don't, something's wrong. Something's wrong with the program.
MAJ HONEC: Interesting.
CW2 STONE: That's just a personal opinion.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, who've you seen going to Dammam to get these three hot meals a day? What ...
MAJ HONEC: Get Class A rations.
SSG KIRKLAND: Right.
CW2 STONE: Class A rations? One of them's the XVIII Airborne Corps, whoever the general's staying up here, wherever he's up in this area. He's getting it. I know he's getting it.16 101st's commander,17 he's getting it. Those are the only two that I know of off the top of my head.
SSG KIRKLAND: They travel back and forth frequently to do this?
CW2 STONE: Well, they're sending them back. Must be ... I don't know if they're doing it now, but that's about two weeks ago they were sending them back on a daily basis. Probably an S&P, I would imagine. They don't pick up more than one day's supply, so they could eat.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, what was the reason for troops not being allowed to draw from the stock from Germany, do you have any idea? Did they just flat out say no?
CW2 STONE: I understand ... well, I understand GEN Saint said they're not going to touch the POMCUS sites.
SSG KIRKLAND: Going to touch the what?
CW2 STONE: POMCUS sites--the pre-positioned, like, Class IX warehouses; Class II, III, and Package IV warehouses. That's my understanding, that he said no, they're not going to touch it, because there's still troops in Germany.
MAJ HONEC: GEN Saint, is he a logistician?
CW2 STONE: I think he was ... no, he was USAREUR18 commander.
MAJ HONEC: He's USAREUR commander, okay.
CW2 STONE: Crosbie Saint--GEN Crosbie Saint. Now, whether that's true or not, I don't know. That's what I heard, and if that's true, that's ridiculous, because at that time Germany was reuniting.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, do you have any idea who has been pilfering from the supplies in the port?
CW2 STONE: Well, we can start with LTG Pagonis, whoever that lieutenant that he assigned to go to port and transfer all Class IV up to the 406th. That's where you could start with. What happened is the theater people got their job made easy by all of the DSU people, because we all put Class IV on order and requisitioned it for the units and for our ASL stockage, and they just took it when it came in country and sent it up to the 406th.
SSG KIRKLAND: So did they just go ... just show up ...
CW2 STONE: Sure.
SSG KIRKLAND: And did they fill out any paperwork?
CW2 STONE: No, they just took it.
SSG KIRKLAND: They just took it.
CW2 STONE: Yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: They said, I'm taking this?
CW2 STONE: They had authorization to take it and send it to theater stockage. Where it's at now, my God, I hope it's forward. I hope it's forward. They need it.
MAJ HONEC: Very good. Okay.
CW2 STONE: That's about it. I suggest that the Army highly ... take a hard look at their logistics system after this is over. It's not over with yet.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, what problems do you foresee in the logistics area?
MAJ HONEC: In phase three now that we're in, which is the attack, obviously they're going to need a lot more supplies because they'll be used up?
CW2 STONE: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: By just ... by just the battle. Go ahead and ...
CW2 STONE: Well, when we go up to NACHO, for example, how are supplies going to get up to the 2120th? Nobody's even thought of that. How are they going to get to the forward? Sure, they may fly them from forward up to the APOD. How are they going to get from the APOD up to wherever we're going to be at, and wherever we move to after that? We don't have [CH-47D] Chinooks available to fly them in. 101st has that capability, and I'm sure they'll do that. That's one of the problems.
Another problem is that the tapes that we run for requests out of the DAS-3 system, the S-4, is how we're going to get them down to the people in rear so the requests can be ran? A lot of ... no thought, or if there's been any kind of thought, nobody's sitting down and saying, hey, we'll try this, about how the logistics system is going to work. Of course, they're concerned with the Class V, which is understandable, which is ammunition, and Class I subsistence, and move the troops. I understand that. But you still need basic supplies to operate--basic supplies--and having that controlled just doesn't cut it.
MAJ HONEC: DAS-3, of course, is a DAS-3, which is the type of van--computer van they do in logistics.
CW2 STONE: Correct.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
CW2 STONE: Right. Anything else?
SSG KIRKLAND: I have. Do you have something, sir?
CW3 WILKERSON: I think we've pretty well covered it.
CW2 STONE: Okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Once a unit requisitions items, how long does it usually take for them to get their items, once--if they go the correct route?
CW2 STONE: If it was to go to the normal system, once it gets established, anywhere from twenty days on up, to get it. Now, if we had stocks on hand, they'd get it right on the spot, if we had stocks on hand.
CW3 WILKERSON: The ASL.
CW2 STONE: That's why it's your ASL--authorized stockage list. They would get it right on the spot, and that's where the problem goes back again that they didn't let the supply system work. They didn't let it work.
SSG KIRKLAND: Because units are supposed to stop by here and pick up their items, how do you get in contact with them? Do you have enough ...
CW2 STONE: Yes. We make a listing every night of units that have items to pick up, and we forward that to the CSB--the Corps Support Battalion--who forwards it to the Corps Support Group and they both call the units. We list the DODAC, the name of the unit, and they call them, and they have eight days, which is by Army regulation, to pick the parts up. And if they don't pick it up within eight days we pick it back up into stock and reissue it to the units who need it. And that goes back to another problem down at port. They're only holding supplies for three days, and so if we got notified that supplies were at port from up here, one you've lost one day because they've just called you, and another it takes two days to drive down there, so you've lost your supplies before you can even get down there, and that's a shame.
SSG KIRKLAND: So you cannot get aircraft support so you can get them to pick up the items?
CW2 STONE: No. No. We're not.
MAJ HONEC: You're ... on the priority list you're probably very low.
CW2 STONE: Yeah. We're very low, because the only one that can probably do any kind of air support internally is probably the 101st, because they're air mobile.
CW3 WILKERSON: They're probably the only ones.
CW2 STONE: They can probably fly down, just get it themselves and come back. They're probably the only division that can do that and get away with it.
SSG KIRKLAND: Okay. For those soldiers that don't have ... they walk in here with tennis shoes, is there some way you can expedite them getting ... ?
CW2 STONE: No. Theater-controlled.
CW3 WILKERSON: I can sign on a ... if the DSU is at zero balance and they can go to another DSU and attempt to get it filled. However, I've sent them up to 101st which operates a CIF,19 which is a direct exchange-type thing, and I've had them come back and said they told me I wasn't the 101st so, so long.
MAJ HONEC: I see. So they've been turned away because they weren't a part of that unit?
CW3 WILKERSON: That is correct. That's what the soldiers have been telling me.
CW2 STONE: They weren't attached to that unit. And in here we've got over 350 customer units who are nondivisional units, and provide back-up support for the 101st. We've also provided support to the 101st and the 82d Airborne and the Marines since we've been in country. And the Air Force.
CW2 WILKERSON: And the Air Force, but we caught them stealing so we cut them off.
SSG KIRKLAND: The Air Force?
CW2 STONE: Yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: You caught them stealing?
CW2 STONE: Yes.
SSG KIRKLAND: What were they stealing?
CW2 STONE: Hats. Desert hats.
SSG KIRKLAND: The camouflage floppy?
CW2 STONE: Floppies. Yes. We caught them.
MAJ HONEC: I understand they took 28 of them?
CW2 STONE: 28, yes.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. All right.
CW2 STONE: Well, you have to be specific.
CW3 WILKERSON: Yeah, 28 of them.
MAJ HONEC: We're trying to go. Okay. Anything else, SSG Kirkland?
SSG KIRKLAND: Personnel shortages? Do you have enough people here to handle the stocks on hand?
CW3 WILKERSON: Basically we have enough folks to handle it, if ... our shortage is materiel handling equipment [MHE]. Forklift type equipment, there's a big shortage for this type of unit. We have to scrounge and fight with Class I to borrow or beg or steal a forklift when the S&P comes in. So that is our main shortage, I guess, as far as the operation here, is forklifts.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, well, if you were in, like CONUS, and everything was equal, how would you ... where would you get the materiel handling equipment if it is not in your MTOE? Where would it come from?
CW3 WILKERSON: We would probably have adequate equipment in the cantonment back in back in the States, because Class I would not be supporting 30,000 troops.
MAJ HONEC: Good. Okay. So that equipment's being handled by ... by the sheer weight of that particular requirement of Class I, they're pretty well tied up trying to move their stuff?
CW3 WILKERSON: Class I takes priority, and it's understandable. It should. But in this type of an operation, we have trucks that set over here maybe half a day, or a day at a time, waiting on some equipment to unload it. Mr. Stone.
CW2 STONE: There is a critical shortage of 76Vs in, which is warehouse supply, in country, and they're mismanaged very badly. We got four up in our battalion headquarters that aren't even working in their MOS, but yet it's a critical shortage. But that falls back on the commander, too.
MAJ HONEC: What are they working as, clerks?
CW2 STONE: One of them's in the motor pool, two of them just details--whatever detail's handy--and I think the fourth one is a clerk. And it happens Army-wide. It's just not this unit where people are working outside of their MOS.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, but it's still a problem.
CW2 STONE: Yeah, it's still a problem, and it's an Army problem even in peacetime, too. That's a problem. Like you said, MHE, forklifts.
CW3 WILKERSON: One thing that has caused the problem here is that we have equipment that's breaking down. Material ... forklifts and things that are breaking down, and we do not have, where we can draw out of a storage site, other equipment. So when one breaks down and they do not have the parts to fix it, we're just short of another forklift, and right now we have two 10,000-[pound forklift]s, and both 10,000s are dead in the water. And we've got two 4,000s left between the company, and it's really stretched it.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Do you have any other questions?
SSG KIRKLAND: Mr. Stone, you mentioned mail, that you have problem getting mail? What unit provides you with this service?
CW2 STONE: Well, the 561st, I'm part of the battalion. They get the mail. Who they draw it from, I'm not ... I thought it was the 101st Airborne, but I could be wrong. You know, I don't know where they drop off their mail to and from. I have no idea. The last letter I received was dated like 12 January, and I know some of my family write more often than that, and 12 January was the last I received. That's not the last day I received it that's the last post-marked letter that I got, so that's what, a month? Almost a month. Five weeks just to receive a letter.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Go ahead, Chief Wilkerson.
CW3 WILKERSON: I understand the U.S. Postal Office reassigned an APO number for us, and I think that may have caused some problems, from what I've been hearing. Most of my mail is still coming under our old APO number, and to date I've not received one letter with the new APO.
MAJ HONEC: Very good point. Okay.
CW2 STONE: In fact, I can ...
MAJ HONEC: Go ahead, Chief Stone.
CW2 STONE: ... add something to that, is ... the letter I did receive was from my mother, and she did mention that she had heard what our new APO was and they went to the post office in the United States and they wouldn't recognize it as an APO number because it's not on their listing. That's how new it is.
MAJ HONEC: An interesting fact, very interesting. That would be ... the old APO number was 09675 ... 57? 657?
CW2 STONE: Ours was 09309 ...
MAJ HONEC: 09309.
CW2 STONE: ... and it was changed to 09654, and my mother's from Colorado, and they said they won't even--they won't ship it out, at that point in time.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah.
CW2 STONE: Won't recognize it.
MAJ HONEC: Which was back on ...
CW2 STONE: January 12. Back somewhere in January, yes. They won't recognize that APO.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, that's all the questions I have.
MAJ HONEC: Anything else to add to ... okay. What specific TOE changes do you see ... do you have enough equipment, for one thing, and if you don't, what do you think would be the minimum to accomplish a mission of this nature, or in the future? Go ahead, Chief Wilkerson.
CW3 WILKERSON: No, we do not have adequate equipment internally. We have to depend on external transportation which at times is very difficult to get in this situation. We ... as a minimum we need one 5-ton tractor. We need either two 5-ton drop-sides, or an S&P, just to move the SSA with. And this would certainly help, but it wouldn't solve the whole problem as far as transportation is concerned.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. It wouldn't, but would that ... you'd need ... with organic units ... with organic rolling stock then you'd need additional mechanics and so ...all the logistics that are involved keeping those vehicles operating.
CW3 WILKERSON: That's all on the MTOE.
MAJ HONEC: How old is your MTOE?
CW3 WILKERSON: I don't know how old that is.
MAJ HONEC: An S&S battalion ...
CW2 STONE: S&S company.
MAJ HONEC: Company.
CW2 STONE: So they would have to be--they'd have to be pretty much the same worldwide, which was an MTOE 29-147.
MAJ HONEC: H.
CW2 STONE: At a minimum, they should have at least three 4,000-pound forklifts, two 10,000-pound forklifts, a bobtail truck to haul the DAS-3 van. They should have at least seven S&Ps to haul supplies, a minimum of five GP large tents, two mediums (GP mediums) to work out of, and proper shelving to go into there.20 And at a minimum they should have at least, I would say seventeen vans to store supplies in so they could be mobile. Along with those seventeen vans you're going to need seventeen trucks, or ... eight trucks ...
CW3 WILKERSON: Tractors, too.
CW2 STONE: ... tractors, where they can shuttle back and forth. That's as a minimum to operate a proper S&S company, because a proper S&S company is supposed to have a minimum of 1,200 lines and a maximum of 1,800 lines, and you're talking sleeping bags, you're talking bulk. Anywhere from pens and paper clips to sleeping bags, or what-have-you, and they need at least that as a minimum. Then you need your light sets, you know, for your tents. They need more SARS or TACS equipment.
MAJ HONEC: You're running the SARS program on there?
CW2 STONE: Right. Of course, that's software. In time, that changes anyway.
MAJ HONEC: Well, certainly some of that.
CW2 STONE: That's what they need as basic minimum requirements, and I'm sure that's S&S company Army-wide. That's just at the SSA level--SSA warehouse level--to do the job properly, and that ... the MTOEs should be looked at very hard. And that's something that is not mobile ... an S&S company is not mobile. It is not a mobile unit. It needs to be set in one area, and that's it. You cannot provide the customers proper support when you're mobile all the time. You can't do it.
MAJ HONEC: Of course, if you're ... being with the XVIII Airborne Corps, how would you tailor it to be more--more mobile?
CW2 STONE: It's as mobile as it can get now. That's with what they got. The XVIII Airborne Corps ... I'm not sure if they have any S&S companies actually assigned to Fort Bragg or not. I'm not sure if they do have.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
CW2 STONE: Have to match those MTOEs up to see how mobile they are. Of course, an S&S company can't be airborne because of the, you know, the system where it's set up. It's just not an airborne ... it's not a light unit.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah. The Corps is very mobile.
CW2 STONE: Yeah, it's not a light unit. So I doubt if the XVIII Airborne Corps has an S&S company. This just happens ... you know, we're out of the 561st. They just happen to be assigned to them. Now, the 101st has an S&T21 company. Of course, they can't support the division either, and I know that because I'm from Fort Campbell, so you've got a problem there, too. The division's much faster, and the S&T battalion, the 426th, can't provide support just where they're at. So it's a problem.
MAJ HONEC: I see.
CW2 STONE: It is a problem. An S&S company needs to be more stationary. You could always have forward elements out of that company go forward to support somebody, let's say, like Fort Bragg and keep up with them. For example, now I'd say Fort Bragg is up around Kuwait City right now and over in this area. You'd have forward elements go up there and push supplies to them, and have a base camp, and that's how you can maintain your mobility. In fact, you should be able to move just as fast as they do, because wherever they move they have to have plane or helicopter support, and so you just have a Chinook on the side with those supplies. That'd be a way of doing it. In fact, it'd be faster than trucks.
CW3 WILKERSON: It's a nice wish list.
CW2 STONE: Assign maybe a log bird, like two Chinooks, with ... have an Apache escort, and you could get your supplies immediately. You as a commander, for example, let's say you were up in Kuwait City and we were at An Nu'ariya, for example, or Dammam, you say, hey, I need this. And of course you just don't fly back for a case of toilet paper, either. You need the following supplies. Fly back to the S&S company, get it, have a landing pad at the S&S company, pick it up, take it back to your location, and that's where your forward element of S&S is at, like two people to handle off-coming supplies and requests, get it to the unit, and that's how you maintain your mobility.
MAJ HONEC: Those two people would be, like, 76Ps?
CW2 STONE: Vs--76Ps. It really doesn't matter. Both MOSs eventually should merge together. It would be a V and a P. Probably an E-6, E-5; or even at the most four people should go out of that unit, and that's how you maintain your mobility, and of course being the XVIII Airborne Corps, they'd have to be Airborne-qualified. But you know, whatever unit you're in you'd tailor your forward elements to that, and that's how it would work, and that way your S&S company could really build (like it should), build an adequate stock, and you could fly back and get your stuff.
MAJ HONEC: Do you have something, SSG Kirkland?
SSG KIRKLAND: Mr. Stone, could you spell An Nu'ariya? You mentioned ... is it the name of a town?
CW2 STONE: Yes. It's the one where we were FORT CAMPBELL. What is it? I can't remember. It's the one where [Forward Operating Base] BASTOGNE ... it's where BASTOGNE was located with the 101st.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah.
CW2 STONE: I can't--A-n--I can't remember how to spell it. No, it's not on there.
MAJ HONEC: That's all right. The location's close enough, I guess, if you can't remember.
CW2 STONE: Yeah, BASTOGNE was there for the 101st. That's the town. I can't remember how to spell it.
SSG KIRKLAND: 480 k[ilometer]s from here? Okay.
CW2 STONE: South of.
SSG KIRKLAND: All right. And Mr. Wilkerson, you mentioned a problem with the heaters. Could you explain what the units could have done to get heaters, or what the soldiers were doing to get them?
CW3 WILKERSON: Well, what the units could have done was through their purchasing officer they could have went out and local-purchased them. However, they had to have authority from higher headquarters to local purchase and they was not given that authority, so many of the soldiers went out and bought their own heaters at their expense.
SSG KIRKLAND: How much were they paying for these? Where would they get these heaters?
CW3 WILKERSON: $50, and they ... anywhere. They'd get them at truck stops, towns, hardwares ... anywhere up and down the highway. They're available.
CW2 STONE: I know one person who paid 600 riyals for one.
SSG KIRKLAND: What is that equivalent to, American dollars?
CW2 STONE: $300? I don't know. I've never bought any ...
MAJ HONEC: 600? About $200.
CW2 STONE: Is it?
MAJ HONEC: Roughly, by 3 to 1, match-up.
CW2 STONE: Okay. I never buy it, so I don't know what the rate is.
MAJ HONEC: $300 for a heater. Interesting.
SSG KIRKLAND: They're buying these from the host nationals?
CW2 STONE: I don't know where he ... well, he had to get it somewhere on the economy.
CW3 WILKERSON: Mine was bought at a truck stop. I didn't buy it, but an officer was going back through and I said, hey ... gave him the money and said, you find it, pick it up. He'd already bought three the night before.
CW2 STONE: It got cold--cold enough that you needed a heater here.
CW3 WILKERSON: They were readily available. That wasn't the problem.
MAJ HONEC: It was just the ... having them in a local-purchased supply channels, there weren't enough of them.
CW3 WILKERSON: And it didn't seem to be a priority.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
CW3 WILKERSON: See, and a lot of units were told not to bring their Yukon stoves with them because Saudi Arabia was so hot.
CW2 STONE: I wish it was.
MAJ HONEC: Yeah. They did not ... they neglected to take those Yukon stoves so people got cold. Is there anything else?
SSG KIRKLAND: Chief Stone, when did wartime accountability take place?
CW2 STONE: I believe the 20th--the message was dated the 6th or 26th January. We have the message.
MAJ HONEC: That's okay. Wartime accountability message was ...
MAJ HONEC: On the message about ... on the matter about accepting full shipments even though you had partial shipment was--contained those items that you needed--you had to accept the whole shipment. It said ... there's a message to all 4th MMC customers. It's undated. This one particular one is to the 2120th SSA. It says, "All containers that are rejected at their destination automatically revert to theater stocks. The TCMD--or the Transportation Command--the TCMD must be signed by the reception site even if the item is not accepted (without the signature, the driver will not receive payment) and the point of contact is Major Mulligan"--M-u-l-l-i-g-a-n--"of MTMC." So ... and about the wartime property accountability, what's the date on that?
CW2 STONE: The date in here is the 26th January, '91.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, Mr. Stone.
CW2 STONE: And another one, the message is dated 281210 January 91, and that's got to be the date-time group, so the other one says 26 January 91, wartime accountability from ARCENT.
MAJ HONEC: From ARCENT, okay. Thank you very much.
CW2 STONE: For XVIII Airborne Corps G-4 ... has a copy.
MAJ HONEC: This is ... okay. Any other items that need to be added?
SGT McNEIL: Nothing I can think of.
SSG KIRKLAND: Just one more question.
MAJ HONEC: One more question?
SSG KIRKLAND: Mr. Wilkerson ... oh, go ahead.
MAJ HONEC: All right. Mr. Stone?
CW2 STONE: For the MTOE, for the HHD for the 561st, the warrant, the 920B, needs to be put back into the nondivisional warehouses. They've taken him out of the nondivisional warehouses and put him up at the HHD level, and they have no job up there. They have no job function. They need to be put back into the warehouses in the nondivisional units.
MAJ HONEC: Thank you for that input. One more question, SSG Kirkland?
SSG KIRKLAND: Mr. Wilkerson, you've mentioned that some units from Germany are arriving here without any TA-50?
MAJ HONEC: No, this is from CONUS
CW3 WILKERSON: No, from the United States.
SSG KIRKLAND: From the United States?
CW2 STONE: From Fort Campbell, Fort Bragg. They've come in looking for TA-50, because ... in fact we got a couple of soldiers up in HHD, have come with nothing, just their uniforms.
SSG KIRKLAND: No masks, nothing?
CW2 STONE: Oh, they've got the masks.
SSG KIRKLAND: They have the weapons too?
CW2 STONE: Yeah. The weapons would be assigned when they came over here, but no TA-50. In fact, one person in our unit has only ... was it one set of BDUs,22 I think it is?
CW3 WILKERSON: Yeah.
CW2 STONE: Yeah, one set of BDUs and that's it.
SSG KIRKLAND: What units are these? Are these Reserves, National Guard ...
CW2 STONE: No, active ...
SSG KIRKLAND: Active.
CW2 STONE: Active Army. In fact, I haven't seen any Guard come over asking. They've all been active Army. They said don't worry about it, I guess, you'll get it over there. But they're not. These are active Army units.
That's something else I want to bring up, too. It's a disgrace the way the Active Army has treated the National Guard and Reserve units over here. It's a real disgrace.
MAJ HONEC: In what way? Could you elaborate?
CW2 STONE: Oh, "well, they're a Guard unit; they don't know how to do the job." Or, "they can't--they'll screw it up." In my opinion, from what I've seen from these people down here, they're if not equivalent, if not higher above the active Army units, because they don't have all the political stuff (unless they BS) that you have to go through to, you know, accomplish the mission. But the longer an active Army unit--or National Guard unit, Reserve unit--is here, you could see how they start going to the trend of an active Army where they start playing all the little political roles.
MAJ HONEC: Okay, go ahead about the political roles.
CW2 STONE: Anyway, the Guard units and Reserve units that I've been associated with, which is the 2120th and the 276th, have gotten bad publicity from the active Army units, and that's not fair. There's good and bad in all units, and they need to clean up their own back yard before they start looking at somebody else's.
MAJ HONEC: Okay.
SSG KIRKLAND: Sir, that's all the questions I have.
MAJ HONEC: Okay. Very well. Thank you very much. This concludes the DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM interview.
[END OF INTERVIEW]