DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS
FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA
US ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
JOINT TASK FORCE SOUTH IN OPERATION JUST CAUSE
20 December 1989 - 12 January 1990
Oral History Interview
CAPTAIN THOR T. MARKWOOD and STAFF SERGEANT RUDY G. BRITO
Secretary of the General Staff Section,
Joint Task Force SOUTH and XVIII Airborne Corps
Interview conducted 13 March 1990 at the Headquarters of the XVIII Airborne Corps, Fort Bragg, North Carolina
Interviewer: Dr. Robert K. Wright, Jr., Historian, XVIII Airborne Corps
JOINT TASK FORCE SOUTH IN OPERATION JUST CAUSE
20 December 1989 - 12 January 1990
Oral History Interview JCIT 029
DR. WRIGHT: This is an Operation JUST CAUSE interview being conducted at the headquarters of XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg, North Carolina; the date is 13 March 1990; the interviewing official is Dr. Robert Wright, the XVIII Airborne Corps Historian.
If I could get you gentlemen to please give me your name, rank, and serial number.
CPT MARKWOOD: Thor T. Markwood, captain, ***-**-****.
SSG BRITO: Rudy G. Brito, staff sergeant, ***-**-****.
DR. WRIGHT: And you gentlemen deployed on Operation JUST CAUSE in what capacity?
CPT MARKWOOD: Both of us were assigned to the command group, in peace time as well as on Operation JUST CAUSE. The both of us were deployed on the same flight, on 25 December , was that right?
SSG BRITO: No.
CPT MARKWOOD: No, 22 December.
SSG BRITO: No, 20 December, two days after.
DR. WRIGHT: 22 December was two days after.
CPT MARKWOOD: Yeah, it was 22 December.
SSG BRITO: Was it 18?
CPT MARKWOOD: No, the thing went down on the 20th, let's put down two days after.
SSG BRITO: 22 December.
DR. WRIGHT: And you were, as part of the command group you were performing what function?
CPT MARKWOOD: As members of the command group, we were both performing in the protocol capacity. As I understand it, there is not an SGS [Secretary of the General Staff] function during wartime.
DR. WRIGHT: That is correct.
CPT MARKWOOD: Therefore, SSG Brito was attached to me as a protocol NCOIC [Noncommissioned Officer in Charge] and I was the primary protocol representative.
DR. WRIGHT: Back here at Ft. Bragg, you worked as an element within the SGS section but, down there in Panama, who was your supervisor?
CPT MARKWOOD: Back here at Ft. Bragg, I'm the deputy chief of the protocol section. SSG Brito is the NCOIC of the SGS section. The protocol section falls underneath the SGS section. In Panama it was different, as I explained a minute ago.
In addition, in Panama, our supervisor was COL [J. L.] Frederick who is normally, at Ft. Bragg, the Corps G-1. He was assigned to be the primary protocol point of contact in Panama because, number one, they had assigned a, I believe a Navy admiral to act as the joint J-1 for the joint task force, in anticipation of COL Frederick's being on leave, which he was programmed to be on leave at the time the invasion occurred. And secondly, because of the immensity of the protocol mission, it needed to be handled at the 0-6 [colonel] level, rather than at my level, the 0-3 [captain] level.
DR. WRIGHT: That leads to an interesting question. To what extent were you guys pre-briefed into the plan, or did they wait to tell you about it until December 20th?
CPT MARKWOOD: I'll speak for myself first. I knew nothing about the invasion, other than a couple of indicators which I picked up on. One was when the SGS, [Lieutenant] Colonel [J. L.] Hickey, about one or two days prior to the invasion, came into our office and made a statement to the effect that "if you hear anything or see anything unusual in the corps headquarters in the next two days, there is no need for you to discuss it with anyone outside of this building, for operational security reasons. Outside of that one statement from him, which I complied with, I knew nothing about the invasion until it came out on the regular news media and I'm not sure whether SSG Brito was privileged with more information than that or not.
SSG BRITO: Okay, myself, I was not privileged to that information. I did not know anything, until the day the invasion--that morning, when I got a call at 6:00 in the morning. And that's when I was told by the staff duty NCO what had occurred. And then you know, of course, I came in and, basically what CAPT Markwood said, I was told, basically the same thing, this is what's happening, keep it to yourself. And that's exactly what I did.
DR. WRIGHT: When did you learn that you were going down range [i.e., deploying to Panama]?
CPT MARKWOOD: It must have been on the 21st of December, and to my recollection, it was in the afternoon, probably 1500 [hours], say. I was in a meeting with LTC Hickey and LTC [M. C.] Johnson [the Corps Assistant Chief of Staff] came into the room and said excuse me a moment, CPT Markwood, you need to pack your bags, your flight leaves in three hours. That was on the 21st. In fact, we went down to manifest that day, the flight had been changed to the next morning, and so we, in fact, left at, I think, 1000 on the 22nd.
SSG BRITO: That's correct, except I was different. I had already gone home. We were on half-day schedule at that time. LTC Hickey had told us, don't change your schedules based on what's going on. He says, "we're on half-day schedule, let the guys go."
On that day, I had let the guys go--I left the office, personally, about 1400. I had just gotten home when I got the phone call from LTC Hickey that said "you got an hour, be here." And of course, that's when I came down, and of course, we didn't leave till the next day, approximately 1000 hours.
DR. WRIGHT: And you were told that it would initially be just the two of you, and that was it?
SSG BRITO: That's correct.
DR. WRIGHT: What were you told to bring with you?
CPT MARKWOOD: Normal SOP [standing operating procedures] packing list. We are allowed to have one rucksack, one duffle bag, and--you know, it really was not--no specific instructions as regard to packing list, other than, follow the SOP and use common sense. We had such a short amount of time between--you figure between three hours between notification and time of take [off,] wheels up, there's not a whole lot of time for, you know, to go over the details. They just said: "get what you need; get back here ASAP; get down to Green Ramp [at Pope Air Force Base]."
DR. WRIGHT: What about weapons?
CPT MARKWOOD: Both of us drew weapons.
DR. WRIGHT: Drew weapons--your regular assigned weapons from headquarters company?
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes.
SSG BRITO: M-16s.
DR. WRIGHT: Both of you had M-16s and you were issued ammo before you went down or after you got there?
CPT MARKWOOD: Both of us secured ammo upon arrival and, as SSG Brito can elaborate, he accomplished that.
SSG BRITO: Okay, what had happened was, as soon as we hit, we got to Ft. Clayton, was when the first 1st sergeant of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company of USARSO [United States Army, South] and I approached him, I said, we came down, you know, we got here rather quickly, we need of course, we need some ammunition. And, of course, he squared us away, he gave me some ammo and, of course, we split it between ourselves.
DR. WRIGHT: What was it, basically [the] 210-round standard load?
SSG BRITO: Basically it was about that.
CPT MARKWOOD: I'm sure I had--I had--we had--I think I had six thirty-round clips. Five of them were full and one was half full.
SSG BRITO: That's correct.
CPT MARKWOOD: That was for my M-16.
SSG BRITO: For my M-16, I had three full clips. I had three full clips.
DR. WRIGHT: What about the normal gear--rucksack, LCE [load carrying equipment]?
SSG BRITO: We had, once we found ... I'd like to reemphasize what CPT Markwood said. We had basically the standard stuff, which was a rucksack and whatever you could fit into your rucksack, and [to] go as light as possible. Of course they had told us, "we're not aware of how many days, so you might have to make do with what you have." So we were rather prepared for that also. So, of course, you take the extra tee shirts, the extra socks, what have you. And of course we took our field desk, which was our administrative stuff--the stuff that we need to support [Lieutenant] General [Carl W.] Stiner and protocol functions.
CPT MARKWOOD: You know, it's interesting, the other side of that coin of being well-prepared. I actually and honestly did not know if I was going to be in a building or in a foxhole, and so I brought some things as a contingency. I brought--I'm an infantryman anyway--I brought an entrenching tool, and some items like that, because I wasn't sure. We could possibly be digging in somewhere, or whatever, you know--had no idea where we were going down there or anything. So, I came prepared with extra tee shirts, and so forth, for a relatively comfortable stay; I came prepared, on the other hand, to dig in somewhere and get ready to--whatever--put some rounds down range or whatever.
DR. WRIGHT: You mentioned [that] you bring down the field desk. Can you elaborate a little bit on what you keep that field desk stocked with--types of basic packing list that goes into that thing? And do you keep that loaded at all times, and set away some place so you don't break into it, or did you have to, in that very short three hours of time, start cramming things into the desk?
SSG BRITO: Okay, to answer your last part of the question first, that desk, right now, sits down in our warehouse, ready to go. If we was to be called out tomorrow again, we could go with it the way it is.
What it carries in it is basically what we consider necessary for the commanding general to be comfortable, wherever he's at, whether it's out in the field or whether he's in a garrison-type environment where he has a desk. Which means, pads, pencils, notebooks, etc.; stuff that he would need on an everyday basis. Because we realize that even during wartime, he's going to need something to write on and he's going to need something to do what we have to do. Because, like CPT Markwood said, we were not aware of where we were gonna go. We were not sure of where we were gonna be. So, if we would have been out in the field, we'd have been prepared. He would not have to say "well, where do I get something to write on, what am I gonna do?" We were prepared.
The only thing I believe we added was a couple of things that protocol normally carries, which is their SOPs, etc., and a couple of radios that we added to it, and that was basically --
DR. WRIGHT: Radios that--the walkie-talkie variety?
SSG BRITO: Motorolas.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you bring down any of the, what most people tend to think of as protocol supplies? You know, a stock of corps patches to hand out and things like that?
CPT MARKWOOD: We didn't bring any mementos on the initial load, if memory serves.
SSG BRITO: Right.
CPT MARKWOOD: I think I brought a three-star flag in my rucksack. I really, quite honestly, had no intention of using it, simply because I know that LTG Stiner probably didn't give two hoots about that three-star flag. I figured if it was necessary, I'd have it, and I never did end up using it.
We got mementos later. I knew there would be a need for them; I also knew that we could worry about them later, once we got down there. And indeed we made contact with the rear here, and told them what the requirements were for mementos at a later time, and they sent them on a follow-on bird. It wasn't a first load type of requirement for mementos.
The only other protocol item, I believe we had, was invitation cards preprinted with the corps logo. We never used those either, of course. There's nothing wrong with having something extra, you know, and not using it.
DR. WRIGHT: As you deploy out, you--what--somebody drives you over to Green Ramp on the morning of the 22nd to start loading out?
CPT MARKWOOD: Do you remember how we got over there?
SSG BRITO: On that morning, what had occurred was--that afternoon, what had occurred was, we commandeered, and I would use the word lightly, we grabbed the staff duty NCO driver and she took us--it was specialist (I'M not quite sure what her name was). Anyway, she took us over and she stayed with us over at Green Ramp because we weren't sure if we going to leave that afternoon, which of course ended we did not leave. And, of course, we came back and they said, be back tomorrow morning, again, or just stand by your phone, which is what we did and again we did the same thing.
That morning, again, we grabbed a driver, which fortunately for us it was the same driver, and we said, please take us down to Green Ramp, and she did, and she stood by the whole time, 'till we departed at 10:00 that morning.
DR. WRIGHT: Go out on a [C-]141 [Starlifter]?
SSG BRITO: 141.
CPT MARKWOOD: It was a 141.
DR. WRIGHT: Do you remember what else was on that aircraft going down?
CPT MARKWOOD: It was basically full to capacity with people, with their individual equipment. There was also some pallets in the rear section of the aircraft, you can't judge, necessarily, what's on a pallet, based on looking at it. I don't remember any specifics.
SSG BRITO: Except for the last pallet--it was MREs [Meals, Ready to Eat].
CPT MARKWOOD: Okay, I guess there was.
SSG BRITO: The last pallet was MREs. Because we were joking as they were loading them on--we said, "look, there goes our food," and one of the other guys was making a joke about it.
DR. WRIGHT: Do you remember who some of the other people were? Were they onesies and twosies or was it a--
CPT MARKWOOD: COL Frederick was the other individual that I remember being on the plane. And then there was those four lieutenants that were attached to the corps headquarters for the purpose of serving as PAO [public affairs]/protocol escorts, and they were on that plane also. I had gotten with them down at Green Ramp during manifesting; had gotten all their names and service numbers and weapon serial numbers and so forth; kind of got them under my control; prebriefed them on what their mission was going to be, at least to the best of my understanding; and I know they were on the aircraft with us.
DR. WRIGHT: These were the corps lieutenants from [Corps] Artillery?
CPT MARKWOOD: All of them were from the 8th [Field] Artillery. I think 3d [Battalion] of the 8th and/or 5th of the 8th.
SSG BRITO: I think it was 3d of the 8th.
CPT MARKWOOD: Just 3d of the 8th [Actually, 5th Battalion, 8th Field Artillery].
SSG BRITO: They were all from the same unit.
DR. WRIGHT: Had you known, before you ran into them, that they were going to be attached to help you out?
CPT MARKWOOD: No. I believe I was told when LTC Johnson told me I had three hours to deploy, I think he mentioned something about, there's going to be four escorts attached, lieutenants, that they are going to take down there with you; you can link up with them later, either down there or whenever, and police them up. And once again, with the three hours' time, there was no time to really worry about it.
I happened to recognize one of them at Green Ramp and just approached him. And he recognized me and he said, "hey, I think we're supposed to be working for you, or something" and I said, "okay," and at that time I got all the information and so forth. And we got it straightened out--we got the command relationship straightened out once we got down there, with some input from [Lieutenant] Colonel [Ned V.] Longsworth, the PAO, and COL Frederick, the acting protocol officer.
DR. WRIGHT: As you fly down you've got what, about a four and one-half, five hour flight?
CPT MARKWOOD: About five, I think it was.
SSG BRITO: It was about five hours.
DR. WRIGHT: Land where? Howard [Air Force Base], or do you land at --
SSG BRITO: We landed at Howard.
DR. WRIGHT: Get off the aircraft and what? It must have been say about three--1500, about 1600.
CPT MARKWOOD: We must have left later than 10 because it was dusk when we got off the aircraft.
SSG BRITO: It was about 1630, going on 1700, when we landed, because you're correct it was --
CPT MARKWOOD: I remember it was just a little after sundown, a very pretty time of day. In fact, that was the first thought that struck me. It was an absolutely beautiful, scenic country and very warm. I think it was 89 or 90 degrees.
SSG BRITO: That's correct because --
CPT MARKWOOD: It was minus 28 wind chill when we got on at Pope, so it was very noticeable.
SSG BRITO: The difference was there.
DR. WRIGHT: What's your first impression at the scene at Howard?
CPT MARKWOOD: Combat--for myself. People ... virtually all people who were working permanently at Howard had on flack vests, kevlars [helmets]. They looked like they were extremely busy; you didn't see people kind of lollygagging around, or anything. Everybody was moving with a sense of urgency. People were acting and glancing about as if there was a possibility that they could be in danger; in other words, there was an air of danger in--a sense of danger. And I, very quickly, became impressed that perhaps I too should be cautious and be looking around for perhaps snipers, or whatever. Because, when you see people with bullet-proof equipment on, and you see sandbags piled up, and you see live ammunition, and you see the activities--the heightened pace that's associated with a busy airfield like that, in combat, and a heavy load of aircraft coming in and taking off, you tend to, you know, realize that it's the real thing, so to speak. And, SGT Brito's --
SSG BRITO: The first impression, ironically, when I looked out the aircraft was seeing a UH-60 [Blackhawk] flying around and that really snaps you to attention. The fact that this is not your everyday, casual, get-off-the-plane and walk off.
And like he said, it was ... there's a guy escorting you and he's got an M-16 in the air and he's got his flack jacket on; he's telling you to stay together. And that's correct, it snaps you and it lets you know that you're in a combat environment. And this is not--everybody is looking around and pretty soon you're doing the same thing. You feel like you have to have eyes in the back of your head because you're looking around and it starts to make you feel antsy. Like, why are they looking?--I guess I should be looking. And you have a tendency and pretty soon everybody's doing the same thing, you're looking at the bushes.
And even though, like CPT Markwood said, it's a scenic place, and I've been stationed in Hawaii and I almost felt like I was there again, it almost felt like the same thing, but again, when you see the UH-60 flying around and he's doing a sweep of the ground and you're looking around, it makes you realize "this is paradise, but not paradise as we know it," because it's been changed.
CPT MARKWOOD: I made another significant observation right after getting off the plane, and maybe it was the same UH-60 that SSG Brito saw, but I saw a UH-60 in level flight about 300 feet AGL [above ground level] or 200 feet AGL and that sucker was moving. And I thought to myself--in fact I think I even commented to one of those lieutenants--you know, that's about as fast as I've ever seen a UH-60 fly. And I said, I don't know what their SOP is, or if they fly slow on purpose in peacetime, but this thing came in relatively low and it was just really moving fast. And I thought to myself, you know, if I was a pilot, I'd be going about as fast as I could too.
And that was another thing that sort of triggered the reality set-in: hey, this is a combat zone and, you know, there's some fighting going on down here.
DR. WRIGHT: Okay, how do you get over from Howard to [Fort] Clayton?
CPT MARKWOOD: A bus, Air Force bus.
DR. WRIGHT: Yellow bus, or was it ... ?
CPT MARKWOOD: It was a blue ...
SSG BRITO: Dark blue.
CPT MARKWOOD: ... a dark blue Air Force bus. And I'm not sure if all the people that were on the plane with us fit on to that one bus or if we ...
SSG BRITO: No, what had happened was that some of the people had to go somewhere else.
CPT MARKWOOD: Yeah, that's right.
SSG BRITO: And, what was really funny was, some of the people that were on the aircraft were individuals that had been recalled off of leave, from the States, and they were still in their civilian clothes so they had to go and do their thing.
And, if I'm not mistaken, we ended up having to grab somebody to drive us because it was getting late at night and late at night they had put a curfew on--you couldn't drive on certain roads unless you had an MP escort. Well, the big problem with us was, we didn't have an MP escort because, of course, the MPs were being pulled thin, you know, they had been patrolling and everything and, I believe, COL Frederick had gone out and ...
CPT MARKWOOD: We actually found some MPs that were on a break and they were quickly removed from their break and told that they were going to escort ...
DR. WRIGHT: Is this an O-6's prerogative?
CPT MARKWOOD: Exactly. They came off their break and made an armed convoy, and escorted our bus through the restricted area that SSG Brito mentioned. And across the--what they call the Swing Bridge--which was only ... which is usually not used for traffic but was swung out across the canal (the canal was closed anyway) for vehicular military traffic and [that] allowed us to get over to Ft. Clayton without going clear down and across the Bridge of the Americas.
DR. WRIGHT: Okay, so then you came out the back side of Howard and took the short route to avoid having to go through Balboa and ...
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes, took the Swing Bridge almost directly across the canal over there to Ft. Clayton.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you come in the main gate at Ft. Clayton?
SSG BRITO: Yes.
DR. WRIGHT: Right there by Building 95?
SSG BRITO: That's correct.
DR. WRIGHT: What's your impression of Ft. Clayton?
CPT MARKWOOD: There was quite a delay waiting for the MP's escort, so I think by the time we got to Clayton is was probably 2100 or 2130.
SSG BRITO: It was late, it was about 2100 when we got there.
CPT MARKWOOD: My impression was sort of the same flurry of activity that was going on over at Howard; I mean, you don't have the aircraft, obviously, coming in and out, although there were helicopters landing behind on the quadrangle there, of Building 95, but, quite a bit of activity.
The lighting had obviously been reduced from peace time. You did not see lights on in the windows and so forth. You could tell that there was a brown-out or a black-out in effect, you know. And, just a lot of, I guess you could say, weary looking people moving around with what appeared to be a sense of urgency.
They took us to the recreation center where we were probably going to be billeted they said. And we tried ...
DR. WRIGHT: That is the Valent Rec Center over by the swimming pool?
SSG BRITO: That's correct.
CPT MARKWOOD: SSG Brito and I did not end up staying there. We, in fact, ended up sleeping in the office where we worked, pretty much out of necessity, and we've done that on all the exercises anyway. So we ... even when we arrived at the rec center we really had no intention of staying there. We arranged with the mess sergeant to get the chow hall to stay open for a few more minutes, we got everyone over to chow, and then we (SSG Brito and I) went up to the commanding general's office and checked in with his aide and his staff.
DR. WRIGHT: Who was the aide at that time?
CPT MARKWOOD: MAJ [M. T.] Anderson was the aide. I recall Sergeant Major [CSM T.] Lloyd was present and the driver, SGT [Todd] Dowd, and they were expecting us. We just walked into the office. We said, hey, we're here, we're gonna crash here for the night until we figure out where we're going to stay for the rest of the duration. And, so, we pretty much swapped stories with these guys for a few minutes and got off to bed in the CG's [commanding general's] office.
SSG BRITO: That's correct, cause that first night we slept on the floor in the CG's office because ... all of us did, in fact, I believe, other than the CG. He was with ...
CPT MARKWOOD: The CG was, I think, was on a couch, but pretty primitive.
SSG BRITO: Once again, just to back up a little bit, the first impression is, is the fact that, you know, this is serious. And lights are out and people roaming around and you've got concertina wire around the headquarters. Now this is on top of the wire that you have outside so, again, it lends you to believe that this is serious, extremely serious.
And plus at that time SGT Dowd had come out, the CG's driver, and his first remark was, "you guys got here, you just barely missed it, they had some sniper fire over in the MP company." So those are his first words to me. So that kind of, again, it slaps you in the face. You realize, gee, that this is serious.
You know, of course, then we did what CPT Markwood said. We went over to the rec center and then we went upstairs and checked in with the aide, and just ensuring him that we were there. We were ready to go at it, do whatever we had to do.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you leave the four lieutenants over at the rec center?
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes, I told them, I said, your duty status is still to be determined, I said. In the interim, I issued them a radio, gave them a call sign and a frequency, I said, you'll report to me on this channel. I said, go ahead and go to bed, I don't have anything for you right now, I want you to report to me at, I think, 0630 or 0700 tomorrow morning and we'll try to figure out, first of all, what your role is in all this and until then I'll try to get some more guidance from the powers that be.
DR. WRIGHT: The morning of the 23rd, then, you get up, get squared away, get breakfast in, and what's the mission that you get at that point?
CPT MARKWOOD: Well, sometime on the 23rd I found my way down to the USARSO protocol office. I'm sure SSG Brito--well, I remember we had sort of split up, he had his things to do and, as far as like, getting the ammunition and so forth, and I had my things to do. We split our ways and I can, I guess, tell my bit first.
I remember finding the USARSO office. I was still in doubt as to my role. I was told I was going to be working in the PAO mode, perhaps managing press influxes, and so forth. Over a period of the next one to two days, we got the relationship clarified, where COL Frederick would be overall in charge of protocol and PAO, LTC Longsworth would be principally in PAO, I would be protocol under COL Frederick. So LTC Longsworth and I were working underneath COL Frederick in the two separate sections there. The four lieutenants would work over for LTC Longsworth as PAO escorts.
And, once we had that command relationship identified and streamlined, and understood by all parties concerned, then we were able to sort of move forward. And once I understood, okay, now I'm going to be working in protocol for COL Frederick ... at some point I made liaison with the USARSO protocol office and immediately upon entering their office found them to be inundated with VIP visits.
DR. WRIGHT: Already?
CPT MARKWOOD: Already.
DR. WRIGHT: Although it was only three days into the invasion?
CPT MARKWOOD: Oh, absolutely. In fact, I believe the Secretary of Defense [Richard B. Cheney] was going to be there at 8:00 the next morning. So, I kind of like rolled up the shirt sleeves and dove in, you know, and I mean, they were very glad to see me because they were overwhelmed. And that same day, or perhaps the next day, the 24th, I went to a meeting at SOUTHCOM [Southern Command] Heaquar-ters, chaired by a two-star admiral, who was the operations chief for US Army South, and I'm trying to remember his name ...
DR. WRIGHT: Working at SOUTHCOM, rather than US Army South.
CPT MARKWOOD: I'm sorry, SOUTHCOM. And his name started with an "s," ... Admiral ... or a "c," maybe Chandler or ... . I'll probably remember it later. But he was either the chief of staff or the operations guy for SOUTHCOM.
Went into this meeting to brief him on JTF SOUTH's role and preparations in the SecDef's visit tomorrow morning. And really had absolutely no idea, first of all, that I was going to be called on to brief and second of all, what our involvement was or what our preparations had been. Terry Friendsly was one of the protocol officers at USARSO. The chief of protocol at USARSO was on leave and was not, did not, come to work for about the next week. And so, Terry Friendsly, the deputy chief of the USARSO protocol was in charge and, as I said, was overwhelmed from the get-go. So, I show up, she says, hey, glad to see you, we could use your help, we got to go to this meeting with admiral so-and-so.
We went up there and immediately was asked to stand up and discuss, okay, what's JTF SOUTH gonna do with this guy. Well, first place, I don't know even what JTF SOUTH consists of, I mean, because it was a far-flung, joint organization which had been put together for this mission. I'm sure the planners knew well in advance who was involved, but a guy like me, you know, the only thing I knew about it was what I saw in the news and they don't discuss, you know, the task organization and so forth, on the news in very great detail. So, I didn't even know what units belonged to us, didn't know where they were located, didn't know what their missions and activities were, and basically ended up standing up and telling this admiral in the meeting, sir, I do not know the answer to any of your questions. As soon as we leave this meeting we will go and try to figure out, you know, who is in our organization, what they're doing, where they are, what they have to offer the Secretary of Defense when he's here tomorrow.
And so, he was, I think, a little bit understanding of the fact that I had just arrived, that the normal person was on leave and so forth. I remember simply working just about nonstop for about the next four or five days. Because after the SecDef I think it was Powell very shortly after that.
DR. WRIGHT: That's GEN Colin Powell, Chairman of --
CPT MARKWOOD: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and then after that, I think we had two CODELs at once, and I'm probably mixing up the order --
DR. WRIGHT: CODELs are congressional delegations?
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes, and the first one, I think, was two individuals.
DR. WRIGHT: Senators [John] Warner [R-Virginia] and [Sam] Nunn [D-Georgia]?
CPT MARKWOOD: Warner and Nunn and then, of course, after that, we had a group of about 50, which was lead by [Representative Richard] Gephardt and-on-and-on. And I probably left some out, I've probably got them in the wrong order, but it was simply a blur of very high level visits.
DR. WRIGHT: Getting into this mode a little bit. What happens: did you develop a stock tour to take these people on, or were they coming in with agendas of what they wanted to see?
CPT MARKWOOD: It was a mixture of both. We had a 'cookie cutter' itinerary that we would prefer to offer to all clients, if you will, or visitors. Obviously, some of them had individual interests that they expressed, and that ... which we tried to accommodate. And in each case, I would have to say, that it would start out as our standard recommended itinerary; it would gain approval through the various levels of command, up to and including GEN [Maxwell] Thurman; and then be subject to change, either by the visitors or by, perhaps, combat conditions. Things that were interesting to see one day, would become not interesting the next day because the units had moved; weapons capture sites were interesting, but when the weapons, obviously, were evacuated then they became no longer a point of interest on the itinerary.
So, the itineraries were ... we tried to make it easy on ourselves and do something standardized. But it was virtually impossible because the units moved all the time, and as I said, the points of interest moved, the weapons caches and so forth moved, the enemy moved, and it was just a very fluid situation all around.
DR. WRIGHT: How did you get your information, when these moves were taking place? Where were you getting your updates from?
CPT MARKWOOD: We had ... at COL Frederick's level, he had to work very closely with the chief of staff, the JTF SOUTH chief of staff, BG [E. E.] Scholes, and with the operations, J-3, side of the house to determine ...
DR. WRIGHT: COL [Thomas H.] Needham?
CPT MARKWOOD: COL Needham. And to know in advance who was going to move, and where, and in fact, that hey, this thing which was interesting on this day, will no longer be a valid place to take the CODELs or the VIPs on the next day because it's no longer there.
DR. WRIGHT: What were the standard things that pretty much never changed, that always remained? They all pretty much want to see La Comandancia, see Fort Amador?
CPT MARKWOOD: La Comandancia was interesting until it was leveled by army personnel and by bulldozers and by civilian ransackers, who were seen to be hacksawing the gratings off of the fence, and so forth, for sale as scrap iron. Tinajitas airfield. Torrijos or Tocumen airfield--Torrijos was also, I think, an objective which was overthrown.
DR WRIGHT: Torrijos is the civilian side, Tocumen the military side.
CPT MARKWOOD: Okay, that's where I'm mixing up.
DR. WRIGHT: Tinajitas was that cuartel up on the hill.
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes, okay, that was overflown a number of times. Panama Viejo was a frequent stop. What was known as the beach house, Noriega's beach house ...
SSG BRITO: Out at Rio Hato.
CPT MARKWOOD: Out at Rio Hato, as well as the bomb craters at Rio Hato and, you know, of course, the objectives, the air strip and so forth. David ...
[END OF SIDE ONE]
DR. WRIGHT: Alright, continuing with Side 2. You were saying CPT Markwood, about being out at David on the 10th?
CPT MARKWOOD: 10th or 11th ...
DR. WRIGHT: Of January?
CPT MARKWOOD: Of January. And at that point the 7th Infantry Division had handed off the responsibility of that area to the 7th Special Forces Group. And so, that sort of fell out of our realm and we redeployed on the 12th anyway, so, David was a point of interest up until about the 10th or 11th, when the handoff occurred, 7th ID pulled out of there and it was all special forces folks after that.
DR. WRIGHT: When you developed the itinerary, and you work it through, get it approved and everything, how did you handle coordination of the units? Did you work through the LNOs [liaison officers] that were in at corps headquarters?
CPT MARKWOOD: We started out doing that and it was--it did not work very well at all because in combat, the LNOs that worked in the CTOC [corps tactical operations center] are too busy, basically, with combat-related tasks, to worry about protocol. It's that simple. And it doesn't matter if it's the Secretary of Defense or whatever, you simply cannot impart enough urgency, that hey, you need to get your unit commander to agree to this schedule, when the guy's dealing with casualties and real world things like that. And so, that was one of the reasons why the SecDefs visit was so difficult, because we tried to coordinate everything through the LNOs, and it simply was just a last priority.
And so we beat ourselves to death trying to get it accomplished. And even as the visit occurred, we went into a lot of the units' locations where we had been given a grid [coordinate] where the unit was going to be. We went in with two UH-60s and with the Secretary of Defense--I'm mixing up visits now, in this case I'm talking about Chief of Staff of the Army, GEN [Carl] Vuono. I escorted on that mission with MAJ Anderson, the CG's aide. And we went into a lot of those grid coordinates completely blind, having never made face to face coordination with the units, having never agreed upon the radio frequencies or the signal, as far as "yellow smoke marks the LZ for the ships," or anything like that. And, both MAJ Anderson and I had really, a number of times, crossed our fingers and hoped that there was someone on the ground to meet us because here we come with the Chief of Staff of the Army and, by golly, there better that platoon leader standing there ready to 'grip and grin.'
And, it certainly was not for lack of effort that the coordination was not made as well as could have been. It was simply because, in combat again, that we were just relegated to last priority through the LNOs. And after that rather harrowing visit, which went off, I think, rather well under the circumstances, after that took place, COL Frederick and I made the realization that there's got to be a different way to coordinate these things than through the LNOs. Let's get a protocol representative from every unit. And, especially as the combat activity subsided, officers in some cases who were very busy days before were left with not much to do, and were able to become full-time protocol points of contact. And then we developed a master list, and "hey, you're the guy we coordinate everything with and we'll leave these LNOs completely out of the picture because they don't have time to do this stuff."
DR. WRIGHT: You would take that down to what, to the brigade level or the battalion level?
CPT MARKWOOD: We took it down, in some cases, only to division level. For example, [at] the 82nd [Airborne Division] and the 7th ID we only had one point of contact in the entire division, and anything that was to occur in their area they were responsible for, because even at that level, even at the division level, I think we had about 15 people on our list. Because we're talking the MARFOR [Marine forces], the NAVFOR [Navy forces], 82nd, 7th ID, ...
DR. WRIGHT: ... 193d Infantry Brigade ...
CPT MARKWOOD: ... the 193rd Infantry Brigade, several assorted aviation units, JSOTF [Joint Special Operations Task Force] elements, and I'm up to eight and I'm probably forgetting several more ... Air Force forces. And so, we didn't have the resources to go much beyond ... below division level.
DR. WRIGHT: Were these mostly people out of their [G]-1 shops or was there any pattern?
CPT MARKWOOD: I would say there was not much of a pattern. There were probably a preponderance of S-1/adjutant-related folks. But the guy in the 82nd, for example, was an artillery officer who had been snatched up to jump in with the division command group.
SSG BRITO: He jumped in, and they said you're now the protocol guy.
CPT MARKWOOD: And so, he had had one role during the hostilities. And then as things subsided, he was an example of one of these guys that [were told], okay now, you're the protocol representative.
DR. WRIGHT: Now, you talk about that transition. From where you were sitting, the two of you, watching the pressures on LTG Stiner, did you notice a different kind of pressure then, as suddenly everybody in the western world with any importance wanted to drop in and see the thing? Did that begin to distract him?
CPT MARKWOOD: Well, my observation was that LTG Stiner, to me, appeared to be pretty unaffected by anything throughout the operation. And, I took note of that. He seemed to me to be seasoned and able to deal with a range of incidents, from extreme to minor, without it affecting his own behavior, his own ability to make decisions, and of course, this is just from a lowly captain's point of view, but I did sit in on most of the briefings to him and listen as he gave guidance to the subordinate commanders.
And whether the item that was reported to him was casualties or a combat incident or some kind of enemy activity or the fact that some bigwig was going to be there the next day, he always reacted with a fairly calm demeanor. Issued, what I thought, was very rational guidance at all times, and so, I would say that there didn't appear to be an effect on him from any outside factors.
DR. WRIGHT: What about the others that you saw in the command group, did everybody pretty much stand up to the two different kinds of strain? First, of actually doing the combat operation and then, the winning [of] the public relations-type war with the VIPs?
CPT MARKWOOD: Yeah, I think, and COL Frederick obvious has an opinion about this too. My opinion is, that COL Frederick and I both continued to come under increasing stress as the operations transitioned from one of combat to one of media and VIP attention. Because COL Frederick and I were the ones that were in the hot seat, and probably COL Frederick, you know, more so, that me just as his subordinate. We were the ones that were looked upon by the command group and by everyone down on JTF SOUTH as the people responsible for worrying about the VIPs so that the COL Needhams and the LTG Stiners didn't have to worry about them. And therefore, the stress ... the pressure was placed on us, which is, you know, as it should be.
DR. WRIGHT: Anything along those lines, SSG Brito, from what you were seeing with the admin staff that was right there--taken away from the CPT Markwood's view, which is as escorting, but from your point of view?
SSG BRITO: What I saw was ... as far as ... first of all with LTG Stiner a question you had asked before was, to reemphasize what CPT Markwood said, he really didn't change that much. And, I think that impressed me, in a way, too, because, it almost felt like you were here [at Fort Bragg], his attitude did not change at all, he just basically took it all in stride.
To get to your question of the staff, it was ... . In a way, it was two different pressures. Because the pressure first involved the combat and everybody was more tense, and you could see it in people's faces and, you know, the levity just wasn't there. You know, there was a joking but it was more like a forced joke, which is, well, we know what we're doing and we know that we've got lives here and et cetera.
But after that was done, I think the pressure, the extra pressure, was the fact that, on the protocol side and the admin side, was the fact that we came in and we took over basically USARSO and basically, we were everything that was occurring there in Panama. And because of that we had no help from anywhere. Everything that was occurring was because of us, and we were handling it and we weren't getting any help from below (USARSO) or above (which was GEN Thurman's side of the house). Their protocol wasn't assisting us. USARSO protocol, they were helping us with what they could, but they were basically, you know, they were not really well aware. So, basically, the protocol and the admin was handling everything and we were doing it and that's where the strain came in. Because you had it from all sides and you, of course, were going to take care of the CG, LTG Stiner, and our job is to, of course, make him look good and make the corps look good and JTF SOUTH look good.
But, like I said, the pressure was one us. We had it from up above, down below, and of course, from our level. And it just, you could see it in people's faces.
DR. WRIGHT: You mentioned levity. Anything of great human interest type humor stuff that you can remember from any of these--attempting to get these delegations, and what not, around some place?
CPT MARKWOOD: I'd have to think. There was a lot of funny things that happened down there. LTG Stiner has a great sense of humor and, of course, he made a lot of jokes and so forth that was funny--that's not the question you asked, the question relating to VIP visits, and I'd have to think. I don't remember laughing a whole lot, okay.
SSG BRITO: On our visits ...
CPT MARKWOOD: But I'm sure something happened that was funny.
SSG BRITO: On our visits, there was a couple of nights where our sleep consisted of two hours and one hours, and, you know, your chance for laughter is far and few. I
have to give credit to COL Frederick; I think that he was the one that basically kept us laughing. And he would make a little joke. I can't really bring all the jokes he made about our visitors and whatever, but all it would take was one remark and we'd burst into basically tired laughter. Which is basically what it was, because you reach a point where, at two o'clock in the morning or three o'clock, where you're sitting there saying, you know, these visits and everything, you say to yourself, okay. And then COL Frederick would say something and of course it's a tired laughter. You're laughing more because ... it's not so much, it was funny, it's the fact that you have to change what's going on around you.
DR. WRIGHT: Any of the visiting delegations get confused about who they were looking at, make any mistakes along those lines?
CPT MARKWOOD: Not to my knowledge. I did not escort all the groups that were down there. In fact, GEN Vuono was the only one that I flew the entire mission with.
And again, as we sort of hashed out areas of responsibility ... I mean, we were essentially creating a headquarters down there. I mean, JTF SOUTH. A lot of it was preprogrammed and so forth, but when you go down ... . SSG Brito made a good point earlier. We go down there, we pop into the USARSO protocol office and it's not in the mode of, "hi, we are here to visit you," it is in the mode of hi, we are here and we are JTF SOUTH and you now work for us. And yet, at the same time, you don't know what's going on so you can't tell them, okay, here's your first mission, here's your second mission. It's more like, you work for us, now tell us what we need to try to figure out how to do together.
On top of that you had SOUTHCOM, and SSG Brito was very correct when he said that they did not offer a whole lot of assistance from their protocol office. And, I think that is simply because they were maxed-out, number one, and number two, because everything that was happening in Panama was JTF SOUTH-related. And so if a visitor came down to Panama, there was a 99.9% probability that he wanted to see JTF SOUTH. Therefore, SOUTHCOM would, as a protocol entity, would hand that entire visit off to us, JTF SOUTH here comes CODEL so-and-so and CODEL, your action. And again, we just got here, we just took over their protocol office, we don't know what's going on and they tell us hey, the SecDefs gonna be here tomorrow, your action. You go up and brief the admiral on what you're going to do with him.
SSG BRITO: The thing to add to that is--there are certain things--there's a certain way that you handle certain times when ... . I'm sure that if you do it in peacetime, when you go in and take over somebody's section, you do it in a political way. You say, "hi, I'm here to take over your section." In wartime you don't have that luxury. You have to go in an say, "hi, I'm here to take over your section, now, assist me in what I have to do." And, there's not that protocolish type thing that you could say, "okay, let's be fair about it, let's do this." You don't have that luxury, because you have to perform.
When you hit the ground, like CPT Markwood said, you hit it running, and you don't have time to worry about people's feelings and, you know, the little intricacies of rank and all that neat stuff. And that kind of, in a way, gave us a little bit of problems, because, of course, you've got USARSO below you and you've got a higher headquarters above you, and we're in between, but, we're the reason the ball is going the way it is, see. So, you've got a situation where you've got the people below you resenting you, because you just moved into their section and said, here we are, we're the reason for all of this activity, stand aside, but assist when needed. And then you've got a headquarters on top saying, well, you're the reason for all this hoopla, handle it, handle it.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you see any difference between, say, the military visitors who came down and what they were interested in, and the congressional delegations and civilian leadership types, or did they basically want to see the standard 'dog and pony show?'
CPT MARKWOOD: I think they wanted to see the standard thing. The military leaders, perhaps, or the military VIPs, perhaps, were a little more concerned with getting out and making presentations to soldiers, and visiting soldiers and making their presence known among lower ranking soldiers.
Now, the CODELs had an interest in doing the same thing, obviously. I think in some cases ... I started to say the CODELs may have been interested in, obviously in some of the political aspects of it, and in being reassured that things like collateral damage were taken into account, and being reassured that civilian casualties were minimized, being reassured that looting, and so forth, was minimized, but I think the military VIPs that visited were probably concerned with those things as well. So, I can't ... I don't know if I can differentiate the interests.
DR. WRIGHT: Did the military appear to want to do things like, present CIBs [Combat Infantryman Badges] and things like that?
CPT MARKWOOD: Sure.
DR. WRIGHT: Or was that primarily done back here in the States?
CPT MARKWOOD: Well, I think the bulk of people who received a CIB, received it upon return. However, people who visited there, VIPs who visited there, particularly those in the chain of command, direct chain of command of XVIII Airborne Corps, e.g., the FORSCOM commander ...
DR. WRIGHT: GEN Burba ...
CPT MARKWOOD: ... GEN Burba, were very interested in taking the opportunity to present some of those things on-site, and did so.
DR. WRIGHT: Presenting any specific coordination problems for you?
CPT MARKWOOD: No, we told the 82nd, you know, he's going to be here at this time, if you would like to make presentations, if you would like to have soldiers awarded awards that they're eligible for by the FORSCOM commander, you know, have them in this place and be prepared to execute, and we'll have him there, and no, it wasn't a coordination problem.
DR. WRIGHT: Thinking back now to the different units that you coordinated with. What was their response as we dragged on towards mid-January with this constant stream of visitors coming in? Does that start wearing thin on their part? Do you have to start doing a certain salesmanship job to get them to cooperate?
CPT MARKWOOD: No, we were very directive in nature. We simply told them, you know, you're gonna do this. And you know people realize that you're in a position, you're representing LTG Stiner as JTF SOUTH commander; he is the commander over your unit, and therefore, it is in the interest of all of us that, you know ... this VIP would like to see this visit, or we have determined that it would be appropriate for this VIP to see this visit. Therefore, this is what we've selected as the itinerary.
On the big ones we would have IPRs [in-progress reviews], conferences and so forth, and there would be a chance for interplay, feedback: "well, hey, that's not a good idea because this location moved," or whatever. In that case, of course, we'd accommodate them and work with them.
No, there wasn't a resistance ... .
DR. WRIGHT: No begging, on the part of them, that hey, this is 13 straight delegations that we've had to show building 8 at Ft. Amador, couldn't you like, maybe, show them something else this time?
CPT MARKWOOD: Well, that complaint was not heard, in terms of hey, substitute something else for what we have to show them. But, what was heard was, this particular location used to be interesting, but I really don't know if there's any merit in bringing the person here now, because it's either been, you know, in the case of La Comandancia, it no longer exists, it's been leveled, or, in the case of say, I think, one of his quarters, hey, it used to have a lot of neat stuff in it but it's all been packaged and stored and put in the warehouse, therefore, it's an empty building. And so, some of the things that were interesting early on, as I eluded to earlier, were not necessarily good stops for a itinerary later on.
DR. WRIGHT: When do you get the word that you are going to redeploy?
CPT MARKWOOD: I'll let SSG Brito pick that one up.
SSG BRITO: I received word that I would redeploy that morning--I came back on the 10th, CPT Markwood came back on the 12th. I received the word that morning. And, COL Frederick came up ... and the reason it had been brought up was because, I believe, on the 8th, they'd asked for a redeployment plan, a tentative redeployment plan on, who would you like to go back first, or what would you ... how many people are in your section. I, of course, had already typed up a command group list of everybody from command group that had been there, and I had said, this is who we are, whenever we go back. Because we were basing it upon LTG Stiner. Whatever day he came back would be the day we came back.
But COL Frederick, that morning, had told me, listen, I want you to go back, of course, 'cause I had some stuff I had to bring back, separate stuff, some important papers from LTG Stiner, some stuff from PAO and some stuff from COL Frederick, and he said, would you like to go back, I said, sir, whatever, and he said, fine, go back. So, that morning I had gone over to Howard and I didn't leave until that night on a C-5A [Galaxy] and I came back on a big giant bumpety.
DR. WRIGHT: How did you come back, CPT Markwood?
CPT MARKWOOD: I think it was a [C]-141.
DR. WRIGHT: Jump in?
CPT MARKWOOD: No, I can't. It was an airland[ing] aircraft. I'm not on jump status anyway because I've got ankle surgery and screws in my ankle. But it was just an airland bird. There were no jumpers on board that aircraft.
DR. WRIGHT: You had more time that SSG Brito did to plan for the orderly transition and to close up shop, to do the handoff to USARSO PAO ... or [rather] USARSO protocol?
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes, and, you know, at that point it was just sort of a, hey, nice working with you, and, you know. I think the visits had--I'm sure the visits were--continued to be somewhat high density after we left. So, it was a matter of just wishing them luck, and, you know, hope you have fun and I'm glad we're leaving.
DR. WRIGHT: The one other question then, that you had raised early on was the mementos that were shipped down from corps after you had been down there a while. What exactly were those, and how were they employed?
CPT MARKWOOD: We had, I believe, eight shadow boxes sent down and we handed out just two of them, I think, and ended up just bringing six back. So, because those were ... it's limited who you can technically can award those things to, based on different regulations, governing P-10 and 0-121 funds and so forth.
DR. WRIGHT: What about handing out things like the [commemorative corps] coins, and stuff? Did the general get a supply of those to distribute?
CPT MARKWOOD: I did not.
SSG BRITO: CSM Lloyd had given, I believe, a certain amount to each sergeant major to the major commands and said, use your judgment as you see fit. And, the only reason I had heard about it was because that had happened on the, I believe, the fifth day we had been there and CSM Lloyd had asked the rear ear here to send him some coins. But, as far as who he gave them to, I'm not aware, because that was all I heard, and you really didn't hear much about coins. Most people weren't much interested in coins anyway, at that time.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you get involved, at all, in the procedures on the idea that handing out the [trophy] bayonets then once we got back or ... ?
CPT MARKWOOD: No, I think that was strictly a G-4 mission and we didn't have any involvement with it.
SSG BRITO: The big questions, I believe, when we had talked, I had talked to CSM Lloyd again, and he kind of mentioned it to me. He said [that] the question had been brought up, of course, by this time. Once everything settled, people started raising the questions of awards, you know, what am I gonna get and that type of thing.
And CSM Lloyd and LTG Stiner had already put out a USARSO letter to the corps saying, these awards we are tentatively scheduled and he had put that one out for USARSO because USARSO had also been asking. And in there he said, you know, corps will be taken care of at a later time. And CSM Lloyd, of course, privied me to a little bit of that information, he said, don't worry about it, we're going to be taken of. Maybe not an award as like, you know, a bronze star or stuff like that, you know, but, there would be something.
DR. WRIGHT: Anything that strikes you, sort of in the way of final observation, you know, something I haven't thought to ask you about, but that you think is significant?
One slight aside, you mentioned you brought down your SOPs and you had rehearsed this procedure in FTXs or CPXs. Did it pretty much work the way you had rehearsed it?
CPT MARKWOOD: Well, honestly, SSG Brito and I have been on a number of exercises together so that the technicalities about deployment were not a problem. I think this corps, as a whole, was well-rehearsed in deploying quickly, with short notice, and getting down there with the right equipment to get the job done. And I think that is true in protocol and SGS as well as the other sections.
But, I would add to that, that protocol is, characteristically, the kind of a mission where one is forced to be in the reactionary-type of mode when you get there, because often, even on the exercises, often there is not a whole lot of knowledge about who's going to show up at things prior to when they happen.
And so, in the real situation, on JUST CAUSE, it was not much different from maybe going on an exercise, in that, when you arrived there, it's kind of a chaotic thing, number one. Number two, not a whole lot of people are interested in the VIP situation, except for the G3-, obviously, cause he needs to be keyed into everything, and the protocol officer, and then the CG when he's got time to just listen to us, a quick overview.
Other than that, people are involved doing their jobs. And they want the VIP stuff to be left out of their arena, and they want you to take care of it. So, in that sense, you know, I was kind of used to, and COL Frederick is wise enough to realize that people don't want to be bothered with that stuff if it's not necessary, that it's going to be somewhat reactionary and you just have to get down there and do the best you can, you know. And I think that's what happened, and I think that the mission was accomplished. A lot of hard work down there, went into that effort of making all those visits happen, you know, coordinating with ...
DR. WRIGHT: Did you come up with any totals or ballpark totals of the sheer number of people that came through?
CPT MARKWOOD: I could make a guess, I certainly didn't bother to try to tabulate or count it at the time. I mean, we were too busy to do that, with ongoing ones. As soon as the visit was over, boy, that was just it, you just forgot about them and worried about the one tomorrow. But, we had, I don't know, maybe four or five different four stars, a number of three stars and below and then the one large group of CODELs and, I think, two other smaller groups of CODELs, and then the defense officials: SecDef, I think SecArmy [Richard Stone] was down there.
SSG BRITO: Sergeant Major of the Army [Junius Gates].
CPT MARKWOOD: Sergeant Major of the Army and, you know, pretty much the whole gambit of folks.
SSG BRITO: It was just ... just to add to what CPT Markwood said, you depend a lot of it on ... a lot of it's spontaneity, I mean, you cannot, I mean, it's kind of like the old cliche, you train for war and you train for it and let it be a reaction-type thing. And that's basically what you do, you go down there and you react to whatever occurs and you trust your knowledge and what you know, your experience. You trust your experience and what you have seen and what you have done. And, fortunately, this corps headquarters is very well prepared in that, I mean, we do it quite a bit, so you know what you have to do.
And, from my point of view, I don't think ... it's just ... everything that we did was just perfect, it was just ... I mean it was just like ... if you would have seen it from somewhere else, if you didn't now there was an engagement going on, you would have thought it was just an everyday thing. We were just running around with our heads cut off, that was the only difference.
DR. WRIGHT: Anything else?
CPT MARKWOOD: Well, one other thing I can think of to add to that, is that, as an example to the chaos and the reaction-type mode that prevails, there was more than one occasion, and I don't know if you've ever interviewed COL Frederick yet, or not, but I'm sure he could elaborate on this, probably better than I. On more than one occasion, LTG Stiner had completely approved itineraries for VIPs that were due in the next day and then we received word, say after 2200 hours at night, that GEN Thurman had reviewed it and changed everything around completely. Therefore, at 2200 hours or later we were starting, from scratch, on an itinerary of a higher- than-four-star VIP that was due in the next morning. And that happened more than once.
And so, for that reason, you simply have to be flexible and be willing to just work hard to try to accommodate whatever happens. Because you think you've got everything locked and cocked; and your boss, the three star, says this looks good, let's do it; and it gets up to the four star level, for whatever reason at the last minute--his own staff has not been getting feedback from him or guidance from him perhaps, or whatever (and I'm not qualified to criticize staffs at that level as a captain)--but, for whatever reason, he has not been involved in the planning process of this itinerary, sees it, and doesn't think that it's what he wants to happen, and changes it on the night before. So you're back to, you know, 11:00 at night or whatever, you're back to starting over. And I think that you could get COL Frederick's testimony or statement to probably corroborate what I said.
DR. WRIGHT: One point there: aviation assets. Did you have any problems getting your hands on those for the VIPS?
CPT MARKWOOD: No, I don't recall ever having a problem with that.
DR. WRIGHT: Who did you get them from?
CPT MARKWOOD: There was a, I can't remember the number designation, but there was an aviation element at USARSO.
DR. WRIGHT: The 1st [Battalion] of the 228th [Aviation].
CPT MARKWOOD: Okay, which provided a liaison officer to us for protocol purposes and that individual, the captain, was actually from 7th ID, but he was working closely with the 228th. And he sat in on all our briefings and meetings and so forth and identified the requirements and had, in advance tasked and fenced off the helicopters that we would need and they were provided out of those assets.
DR. WRIGHT: What was it, mostly [UH-60] Blackhawks?
CPT MARKWOOD: Yes, virtually all the ones that we used for VIP missions were Blackhawks and then they would have a--in some cases have an [AH-64] Apache, you know, armed escort.
DR. WRIGHT: Anything else?
CPT MARKWOOD: I don't have anything else.
SSG BRITO: I don't have anything.
DR. WRIGHT: Well, I appreciate you taking the time to get down on the record, thank you very much gentlemen.
END OF INTERVIEW