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 076
2d Battalion, 319th Field Artillery
Battery C [Interview lost by equipment malfunction]
1LT Charles Evans (Executive Officer)
SFC Manuel F. Chaves, Jr. (Chief of Firing Battery)
Interview Conducted 2 February 1991 near Rafha, Northern Province, Saudi Arabia
Interviewer: MAJ Dennis P. Levin (130th Military History Detachment)
OPERATIONS DESERT SHIELD AND DESERT STORM
7 August 1990 - 15 May 1991
Oral History Interview DSIT AE 076
MAJ LEVIN: This is an Operation DESERT STORM serial interview. This is MAJ Dennis Levin. The time is 10:24. It is Saturday, the 2d of February . I am located at [INTERRUPTION] I'm at Bravo [Battery B], 2d [Battalion] of the 319th Field Artillery in support of 2d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division. [INTERRUPTION] It's at grid coordinate [QR] 796921. I am interviewing ...
CPT UBERTI: CPT John Uberti, ***-**-****, the battery commander for Bravo, 2d of 319th.
1LT THOMAS: 1LT John Christopher Thomas, ***-**-****, battery executive officer [XO].
1SG JACKSON: 1SG George R. Jackson, ***-**-****.
SFC LANG: SFC Timothy H. Lang, ***-**-****, gunnery sergeant for Bravo, 2d of 319th Field Artillery.
SFC SCOTT: SFC William B. Scott, ***-**-****, chief of firing battery, Bravo Battery, 2d, 319th.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Can you tell me a little bit about how long this battery has been in country?
CPT UBERTI: Okay. We've been in country since the 12th of August and spent most of our time up in the Al Jubayl vicinity and then moved down to Ab Qaiq at the end of September. We were the first ones down to Ab Qaiq with the 2d [Battalion] of [the] 325[th] Infantry. And deployed up here on the 25th of January and have been out in this location since early morning on the 26th of January.
MAJ LEVIN: When you first came over in country, were there any problems in terms of the deployment itself, in getting out here, getting to Saudi Arabia?
CPT UBERTI: Yeah. We had ... the biggest problem was with the air flow. We had our vehicles down on the scales and some of them had moved to the 'call-forward' area, and we were then instructed to move all the vehicles with the exception of three command and control vehicles back to the unit motor pool, and deployed over here with just the personnel initially. And our equipment followed about six days later.
And over the past six months, it's been a constant battle trying to get the stuff that the rear detachment didn't load on our equipment forward, and I think that's just kind of unique for our unit. Most everybody else, their air flow went fairly well and only had a few items--major items--that had to be sent forward. But we were basically looking for almost all our TO&E [Table of Organization and Equipment] equipment to come forward.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Were there any particular items that are still back there that you would like to have up here?
CPT UBERTI: Right now I've got two HMMWVs [M-998-series High Mobility Multi-Wheeled Vehicles], one of them for a ... it's the battery XO's vehicle, and the other one is a fire support team vehicle. Both of which are pretty critical in terms of using them for communications platforms. And there are some items still in the commo [communications] shop, some wire and field phones that would definitely help make things a little bit easier out here, but we're managing without them so far.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. What seems to be the delay in getting that stuff over? Have you simply not requested or have you requested or what?
CPT UBERTI: We've requested it. We sent letters back, messages back to the rear detachment, and then ... it's just not a good flow of information coming from the rear in terms of why things aren't coming. And from people that ... some of the replacements that we have received since we've been in country have actually loaded some of the equipment that we were requesting, and I guess with space availability on ships and aircraft, somebody somewhere is making a decision on what is really critical for the division and/or the brigade, and that doesn't necessarily correspond to what we think is critical for us to have over here.
But overall, we're managing. Some of the stuff we were able to request and get in country through the normal the supply channels. And other stuff we've been able to pick up from other units that have the items on their TO&E but don't necessarily have a need for it. So we were able to sign for some equipment from other units. But the biggest thing is the vehicles and a couple of trailers that are back there [that] would help make moving the unit a lot easier because we've got a ... trying to carry 70 people, their A bags, their ALCE [Advanced Load Carrying Equipment] packs, and enough ammunition to fight ... kind of ... we're loaded to the hilt.
MAJ LEVIN: What do you use for movement primarily? Do you have HMMWVs and deuce-and-a-halfs [2.5-ton trucks] or what?
CPT UBERTI: Okay. Our primary means of transportation is a HMMWV. It's the prime mover for the howitzer. We have three two and a half-ton trucks for the ammo section. We lost one of them in the convoy north up here. It was the one that was involved ... that caught on fire. It's still under investigation, but they're pretty sure it was the result of somebody passing the convoy and throwing an explosive or incendiary device into the bed of the truck. And that truck was carrying a good ... fair amount of ammunition and burned to the ground, so there is nothing left of the truck.
We also lost some ammunition and a [M-2] .50-cal[iber machine gun], but were able to get the .50-cal. replaced the next day. So we're doing most of the movement with organic vehicles. We also have a, right now, a five-ton truck from the 1122d Transportation Company attached to us which has helped out quite a bit in moving a large amount of artillery ammunition that we're carrying.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Has there been any real problem in moving with the deuce and a half?
CPT UBERTI: Up in this area, no, because the terrain is a lot firmer up here. The deuce and a halves are doing quite well up here. When we were down in the Ab Qaiq area and up in the Al Jubayl area, it's a lot sandier. So depending on what it was carrying or towing and who was driving it, depended on what type of trafficability or how good it was travelling across the desert.
But the drivers, for the most part, have learned very quickly how to handle the sand. And a lot of little gimmicks: letting the air out of the tires, getting up a good set of ... getting up a fair amount of speed before hitting the real sandy areas; and trying to stay on the high ground where the sand is not as deep. It really hasn't hurt us that much. We've gotten stuck a couple of times, but one of them has a winch on it. So we've been able to self-recover every time we've gotten stuck.
And the same pretty much holds true for the towing the howitzers. In the real sandy areas, they'll ... if they have to slow down for whatever reason, they sometimes get bogged down in the sand. But for the most part, the howitzer crew has been able to self-recover themselves either just by unhooking the howitzer and turning it a different direction and then re-hooking up the prime mover or by using a winch and winching themselves out. So overall ... initially we were getting stuck a lot, but, knock on wood, lately we've been faring pretty well.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Let me see. Let me talk to SFC Lang. SFC Lang, can you tell me what the effects Saudi Arabia had on the guns and on the ability to shoot and scoot?
SFC. LANG: Well, the main problem we had was maneuverability in the sand, you know. We had a lot of trouble with the tires: flat tires and getting through the sand. The dust itself ... had some problem with the mechanics as far as seals and stuff like this. So we had to be especially careful and make sure we keep those areas of the guns clean, and lubrication, bearing and stuff like this. Everything was kept ... good PMCS [preventive maintenance checks and services] done on all the equipment.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Have you found any innovative ways of keeping that stuff out or is it just the usual ... ?
SFC LANG: Just using general maintenance, you know, to clean the weapons systems.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
SFC LANG: At first we had some problems with the camouflage which, you know, we were camouflaging with sand and stuff. So we kind of got away from that, as you can see. Well, you're not on the gun line. We have painted the sand color on and got the sand off of them to keep some of the mud and that out of the seals and things of this nature.
MAJ LEVIN: I read somewhere before I came over here about the firing positions raising a lot of dust when they shoot. Were you able to do anything to suppress the dust?
SFC LANG: No, nothing on that. The only problem we had ... our main problem with the firing positions was the different types of the area. Like here we drive stakes in the platform, you know, to hold the gun down firm. And when we were in Al Jubayl and Ab Qaiq, we had trouble with, after a few rounds, displacement of the howitzer, coming out of the ground as far as the sand. But here it's a lot more solid and less ... I think it's even less dustier here.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay, very good. [INTERRUPTION]
1SG Jackson, can you tell me something about the level of training and morale since you've been in country?
1SG JACKSON: I think the level of morale, sir, is as high as it can be expected under the conditions. The troops have demonstrated a lot of initiative as far as training and stuff like that. Training here seems to be a lot easier, I guess because the soldiers realize that they're facing a real threat. And everything we do is geared toward that threat. It's not like being back in the States where you're on an EXEVAL [external evaluation] or ARTEP [Army Training Evaluation Program]. Everything has more meaning here: you know, cleaning your weapon, dig your fighting position like it's supposed to be done. Whatever the case might be, it's done 100 percent, you know, without the soldiers having to be supervised like you probably would have to do in the States. So I think the level of training here is much, much higher than it would be in the States.
MAJ LEVIN: How about discipline problems? Any problem with that?
1SG JACKSON: No. I haven't ... as far as the battery is concerned, I haven't had any discipline problems or, you know ... except sometimes morale gets down because of one reason or another, mail is slow or, you know, a guy just has his down days. But that's just the normal human nature. As far as the soldiers doing what they're told and keeping a high morale, it's really been high.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. What about -- you don't have all the amenities out here. There's no alcohol or anything. Has that had an effect on the troops?
1SG JACKSON: No, not really. I mean, you know, you get your normal soldier, you know, wishing I had a beer, I wish I were doing this, like that. But I think that is one of the reasons why we don't have the disciplinary problems we probably would have had. But it has no effect on, you know
... you know, we don't have it, so you don't miss it, you know.
MAJ LEVIN: Right.
SGT JACKSON: It has really no impact on it.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
1LT Thomas, can you tell me a little bit about the administrative situation? Is the administration going smoothly or are there problems or what?
1LT THOMAS: As far as down here in my end of the business, you know, I'm mainly concerned with logistics as far as maintenance. And that's mostly my concern. And about the only problems I've seen is ... we've been getting some pretty good parts, but there's a few things like HMMWV tires, glow box controllers, and control boxes for the HMMWVs that seem to be in short supply. I don't understand, you know, why we can't get them in. I guess it's a short supply over the whole theater.
As far as, you know, other supplies, clothes and everything, we seem to have been ... you know, extra socks, underwear, T-shirts, we seem to have no problems. It doesn't seem to be ... there's a short supply of [desert camouflage] uniforms, I think. And some of the things I've seen some of the other units have that, you know, we don't have, you know, it's more concerned with the front line troops, so I kind of wonder about that.
But, you know, I see a lot of people with the desert boots. And, you know, I think the people that need them most are the people in the front line. And as far as our units are concerned, I haven't seen anybody with those at all. The majority of it is going pretty good. We're getting, you know, a lot of what we asked for than what we'd normally get back in the States. And it's going pretty good as far as that's concerned.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. [INTERRUPTION]
1LT THOMAS: I think one thing they could improve on is the logistics as far as soldiers getting things they need and the front line soldiers getting them first. Like one case is the jungle boots; the other is the other set of the desert DCUs that we were promised. And I noticed all the units in the rear already have them. So somewhere in the logistics chain there's a problem with the front line soldiers not getting the stuff on time, whereas the rear soldiers are getting stuff; whereas they're not going to be the first one to fight, you know. And I think that should addressed somewhere along the line there.
MAJ LEVIN: I think you're right. I've noticed that in all the front line troops it's real hard to see anybody who's got the desert cover for ... ?
1LT THOMAS: For the flak jackets.
MAJ LEVIN: -- the flak jackets.
1LT THOMAS: Yes, sir. That's another area there.
MAJ LEVIN: That, to me, would be a real sore spot because I know that some of the [Army] Reserve and [Army National] Guard units have been coming over lately ...
1LT THOMAS: They all have it, they all have it.
MAJ LEVIN: ... and they've been getting them.
1LT THOMAS: And the desert boots. And so I think that needs a re-look. You know, if we get the stuff in country, the priority should be the ones on the ground first that's going to do the actual fighting. And then we can worry about the logistics people in the back further.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
SFC Scott, I don't want to overlook you. Is there anything you want to add to this as to your job?
SFC SCOTT: No. [LAUGHTER]
MAJ LEVIN: How's your job going?
SFC SCOTT: Just great. Now if I can just get them son-of-a-bitches to come over here so I could shoot a few of them, I'd be all right. [LAUGHTER]
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Can you talk to me a little bit about the mission that you anticipate coming up?
CPT UBERTI: The mission coming up, of course, will be ... right now we're under the operational control of the French 6th Light Armored Division, and the initial phase of the operation will be trying to secure the entry point or the border crossing into Iraq. That plan is changing almost daily based on the intel[ligence] that the patrols are picking up and what we're seeing out here. And it was initially going to be a non-supported attack, so we figured we'd pull into position and be prepared to support if necessary. Now it looks like that this will be a fully-supported attack, and I anticipate that we'll probably move in a few hours before the infantry crossing the line of departure and provide some type of preparatory fires on one or more of the three objectives that the brigade has. And once we've established the lodgement there and have crossed the border and cleared the way for the French to pass through us, we'll move up and try and keep as far forward as possible to support the ground forces.
The secondary phase of the operation, I guess, would be our intermediate objective. That's still being hashed out in terms of who is going to be actually taking part of that, but I anticipate that no matter who is given the mission for that intermediate objective, that all the artillery units are going to play a part in it. And I think we'll be doing a lot of shooting to support the operation.
You know, right now we're covering all the mounted and dismounted patrols that the infantry is sending out nightly, and I anticipate we'll just keep doing that throughout the operation. There is a possibility we may be given an on-order mission to move the battery by helicopters to support one of the infantry battalions that has an on-order air assault mission. They're still trying to work that out because we'd be using the French Puma or Super Puma to fly, and the French are not ... don't have the experience with flying external sling loads the way our aviation units do, so we've been trying to do a couple of practice runs back here in the assembly area. But the air assets are kind of limited.
So in terms of the upcoming operation, that will probably be the trickiest thing if we do have to execute that mission, is whether or not we'll be able to move a firing unit up to support that infantry unit that flies forward. I know the infantry wants to take us with them, we want to go. It's a matter of whether or not we'll have the assets to do that; to fully support that the way we should.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay, all right.
Anything that I haven't covered here that you'd like to add? Don't be shy. Okay. Good enough. Well, I'll be talking to you as this mission unfolds.
CPT UBERTI: Okay, sir. Thanks.
MAJ LEVIN: This is serial interview number two; interviewing Alpha Battery, 2d of 319th Field Artillery, in support of 2d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division. I am interviewing ...
CPT WASHINGTON: My name is Hodges L. Washington. I'm a captain, battery commander of Alpha Battery, 2d of 319th.
MAJ LEVIN: And your service number?
CPT WASHINGTON: ***-**-****.
1LT CHAPMAN: My name is John B. Chapman, 1LT, executive officer, Alpha Battery, ***-**-****.
1SG NEWBERRY: Kim A. Newberry, 1SG, ***-**-****.
SFC LEMON: SFC Philip C. Lemon, ***-**-****, chief of firing battery.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Can you describe your deployment to this theater?
CPT WASHINGTON: Okay. The deployment to the theater took place starting out on the 7th of August, which in turn we went to the CMA [Corps Marshaling Area] and spent about four days. Actual deployment out of the Fort Bragg area was around the 11th of August, which took us in arrival into the Dhaharan area. Back to the initial deployment, as far as equipment-wise, we was about the only battery within the battalion to get the most of our equipment here initially. And I think that's due to the effort of the 1-325 Task Force [task-organized around the 1st Battalion, 325th Infantry] configuration we was in when we first deployed. Some of our items--critical items--did not make it on the initial deployment, but as of now they have closed with us. And that's the ammo carrier type of trailers: things of that nature. Some of our vehicles that was critically needed. Some of the other equipment in terms of generators and things of that nature made it over a little later. We didn't encounter too many problems, therefore, as to the deployment at the beginning. Personnel-wise, we deployed pretty much with the strength, only leaving behind one to two personnel due to medical ... . Deployment ... and that's basically on the deployment side of the house. And you might want to get more technical with the XO as far as what he's seen as far as equipment-wise and what maintenance problems we may have had.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
1LT CHAPMAN: Equipment-wise, we were sitting on DRF [division ready force status] anyway and they guys already knew what they were supposed to load up. All the chiefs we have here have pretty much been here for quite a while now, so they knew what they were doing. We got our equipment ready, moved down to the CMA and, like the battery commander said, we sat there for a couple of days, loaded up ammo, got our briefings of what we were supposed to and hit Dhahran. Once we hit Dhahran, we went to an air base--an air defense area ["Dragon City"] for a little while. Sat there for two days and moved up to Al Jubayl. In Al Jubayl we had a defensive position there.
MAJ LEVIN: Was the mission in country anything like what they described before you left?
1LT CHAPMAN: Before we left, we thought we might be hitting the ground under fire, but once we got in the air we were told different. Once we got in the air, we were told that there was no hostile fire in the area, that we had nothing to worry about, and that we had total air coverage in the area. Once we got on the ground, we knew we were safe. And from there, the infantry picked us up and carried us to where we were supposed to go.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Now, you started out in the Al Jubayl area. You moved from there, right?
1LT CHAPMAN: Check.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. About what time did you move?
1LT CHAPMAN: From Al Jubayl, we moved from Al Jubayl around the 1st of October. We moved down to the Ab Qaiq area around the 2d of October, arriving there on the 2d.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
SFC Lemon, can you describe the kind of training that was taking place during the early days of the deployment?
SFC LEMON: Well, in the PHA [personnel holding area] we concentrated a lot on individual-type training and a lot of desert survival-type stuff. Once we got to this area, we started a lot of driver's training (as far as how to drive in the sand) and a lot of desert survival type training until we could actually get out and start training as a battery. It was generally on a section level, an individual level.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Did you note in training that you had to modify the kind of training that you did when you got in country because of the theater?
SFC LEMON: The biggest problem for us was the howitzers themselves because these howitzers aren't really designed to fire on sand. So what we had to do was come up with several different ways of modifying the base plate or something like that so that the base plate wouldn't keep coming up every time we fired.
MAJ LEVIN: What kind of modifications did you make?
SFC LEMON: What we finally ended up doing ... the DIVARTY [division artillery] came up with several different ideas, and the one that our battalion submitted is the best one, I think. We got two pieces of plywood that have eight stake holes cut out in it. And the base plate just sits right on it, and what it does is it will displace a lot of shock from the firing. The base plate and the roller tire are the ones that take all the shock. And we had the most success with that. Some of the other battalions have tried sand bagging in their base plates or using longer stakes, and it didn't work too good.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
SFC LEMON: One of our driving techniques, we were getting changed, because our vehicles are real heavy with cannon ammunition. We changed the way our convoys travel a little bit.
MAJ LEVIN: Can you describe the changes?
SFC LEMON: Well, basically with our convoys, we more or less had to go to a bounding over-watch type formation almost, because we're used to travelling basically in line, maybe a little bit off-center of each other. But you couldn't do that in the sand because the vehicles would just start getting stuck in the tracks behind you with the weight, so everybody just started kind of going echelon left or echelon right and following the lead vehicle into the position. The drivers had to learn basically how to drive in the sand, just like driving in the snow and ice. Don't slow down when you're in the bottom parts and speed up when you're on the top.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Any changes in the actual firing?
SFC LEMON: The firing itself isn't real different. There's a lot more care towards maintenance in the area of a lot of dust and stuff that get in our breech blocks and areas like down the howitzer. We have to protect the optics a little bit during the sandstorms, but other than that, there's really not too much a difference.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
SFC LEMON: Less humidity, so it's a little better for us in a way. There's less rust.
CPT WASHINGTON: And also they started out in the Al Jubayl area. We was told that the capability of the enemy here and being in a desert, we had to go to the 6,400 mil capability to fire in. So that was on of the little training that we had to change in order the way we operate from the Fort Bragg area. Usually at Fort Bragg we'll fire more or less in general directions with the 800 mil span, but we had to go to the 6,400 mil capability, so we did do a little training in that. In trying to change our methods how we parked our vehicles, how we erect our nets, being able to, you know, change our direction of fire at a moment's notice and fire in a complete different direction.
MAJ LEVIN: What kind of modification were they?
CPT WASHINGTON: Well, they was not really modifications. It's just that the individuals would leave it to the section chief down at the gun level. He had to think about how to pre-position their vehicles up under the net and how would that net be emplaced; if they could move the howitzer around and completely do a 180; and fire in the opposite direction. And that was the only thing. You had to think about that a little bit. We had the capability of digging it down and also here, we use a lot of the berm and parapets around the firing position, so they had to think about the capabilities of how they wanted that, what may cause problems, are there any obstacles that may be in the way as far as positioning. Other than that, that was basically what it was, all we had to do.
We also, on the fire direction side of the house, right now I'd like to introduce the fire direction officer, 1LT Dwight Burroughs and let him give you a little bit on the training side of the house. We did have to do incorporation of training in the fire direction side of the house. So he could give you the background on that.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Can you identify yourself by name, rank, service number, and your position?
1LT BURROUGHS: Sir, 1LT Dwight L. Burroughs. I'm the battery fire direction officer. Service number ***-**-****.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Can you describe the training that's done for fire direction?
1LT BURROUGHS: Well, sir, basically everything is the same here as it is back in the rear. The only significant change I really notice was in the summer time here when it's real hot, because we had some problems keeping the computer cool enough and keeping the radios cool, because they just want to burn up real bad when it's hot. And we did that mostly just putting wet rags on them, trying to keep them cool. Other than that, fire direction is fire direction no matter where you shoot.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay.
1LT BURROUGHS: It doesn't make a whole lot of difference. We also went and put a couple of little rotating fans in the FDC [fire direction center] to blow the air around in there, especially at night when we had the canvas down for light discipline. That helped out some. The only problem that we had with that heat was our computer did burn up after a while, and we did train for about a month, or a month and half, completely manually. And just brought our proficiency level up to where we were doing it faster manually than you could on a computer. But it's nice having the computer back now.
MAJ LEVIN: Can you describe some of the problems that you ran into with the heat and the personnel, maybe in terms of preventing heat casualties?
1LT BURROUGHS: Just the standards on that, sir. We just drank a lot of water and made sure we ate what we had to eat. And during the day, during the hottest part of the day we'd mostly just take it easy and stay from the hard physical labor and leave that for the cooler hours in the morning and in the evening.
1SG NEWBERRY: We did increasingly longer PT [physical training] and we did a lot of road march and stuff to acclimate. It's fairly humid in that area. It took a little more getting used to than it does out here.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. First Sergeant, you joined the unit later.
1SG NEWBERRY: Yes, sir.
MAJ LEVIN: Can you describe any administrative problems that you may have run into or how the morale of the troops has been?
1SG NEWBERRY: Well, the morale of the troops has been very good, especially when you stop and consider what we're doing and how long we've been here and what we're going through. I deployed with the 1st Battalion [of the] 319th. At the time of deployment, I was at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. We were undergoing joint readiness operational training. They cut us short in between phases, they moved us back to Fort Bragg, and we became phase three of the operation here as far as coming in.
Some of the problems I noticed is .... it's Fort Bragg tradition or maybe 82d tradition to when the DRF-1 unit moves out, it rigs ...
[END OF SIDE ONE]
... it rapes DRF-2 and DRF-3 of personnel and equipment. That became a very big problem for the folks moving out second, third and fourth, because our composite battalions were having to be formed; because all the equipment and all the good troops had already with a different battalion.
The command structure was totally changed. For example, 3d Brigade ended up moving with Brigade Headquarters, one battalion from one of the other two battalions [i.e., brigades], another battalion from one of the other battalions [i.e., brigades], and one of his own battalions. And we were kind like in that bastardized format until we actually arrived and got on the ground and then realigned ourselves.
The equipment, I don't believe we had enough space on an air package. We were all forced to tailor down what we would come to war with. For example, we deployed with four-gun packages instead of six-gun packages. Ended up ... well, I'm not going to say four gun, we all came with six guns, but the prime movers: the BC's [battery commander's] vehicle had to double-dip, the fire direction vehicles had to double-dip. Other prime movers: the supply truck came on; later on the fire direction trailer ... across the board, more or less, came on later on. So a lot of equipment that we would have needed immediately to support sustained combat operations from the get-go were in fact left behind because of a lack of space on something to put them.
A few folks are still ... you know, there are some items that are 'nice-to-have' that we could have brought with us not as actually combat essential, but they're still remaining ... well, nobody knows where they are. They were sent but never arrived, a few items like that.
As far as personnel goes, we thought we were coming to a combat environment and ended coming into a sustained training environment prior to combat, with a combat focus to building up toward war. In the administrative environment, most training records were left behind at the battalion headquarters, and they still remain there. So for the promotion boards and what have you, we've either had to re-conduct training, waiver training, or what have you in order to satisfy the administrative requirements of a peacetime army in a combat theater. And that was some of the problems I saw. Mostly.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Has that slowed down promotions considerably?
1LT BURROUGHS: No, sir. Promotions actually weren't affected at all. It just became an administrative nightmare gathering data for the promotion paperwork.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay, very good. Let's see. With the mission that you've got now, can you give some description of what you anticipate going through in the days ahead?
CPT WASHINGTON: As far as our being a light force has been told to us over and over; we're going against a light force. And the training we've conducted, fit's the suitability of the mission we have. I understand that it's going to be tactics, whereas we do a leap-frog type onto an objective. We've been training back at the Al Jubayl area--at the
Ali Range area--as far as the Iraqi-type tactics and how they set up in their defense. And training went real well there, as far as putting steel on target, attacking a three triangle-type of effect at the same time, being a moving force--moving forward with a force.
The tactics that we're going to do here is practically the same thing. The only thing that will be changed, I understand, [is that] we will leap-frog, not two units firing at one time and one unit moving type of leap-frog deal. And I think we won't encounter any problems. As far as with all the morale of the troops, everyone is ready to go, combat-ready at this time.
As far as training-wise, I think the skills that are sitting here now and some of the skills that they are honing is individual-type skills: are weapons cleaning, basic maintenance of weapons and things of that nature, are going through some of the gunnery-type skills, making sure that we have a cross-training level if we happen to do things to that key individual, that someone has to move in and take over the job immediately and continue on with the mission.
Other than that, I don't foresee any difficulty in the days ahead as far as the mission coming forward.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Is there anything that you'd like to add to what I've gotten so far that you feel is important, anybody? Okay. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.
MAJ LEVIN: This is serial interview number three. Tape count is 182. I am interviewing the executive officer of Charlie Battery, 1st of the 319th ... [correction], 2d of the 319th Field Artillery, in support of 82d Airborne Division, 2d Brigade. The person I am interviewing is?
1LT EVANS: 1LT Charles Evans, battery executive officer, ***-**-****.
MAJ LEVIN: Okay. Sergeant?
SFC CHAVES: SFC Chaves, Manuel F., Jr., Social Security Number ***-**-****; chief of firing battery, Charlie Battery, 2d Battalion, 319th.
[INTERVIEW ENDED BY EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTION]