DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY
XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS
FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA
US ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY
WASHINGTON, D. C.
JOINT TASK FORCE SOUTH IN OPERATION JUST CAUSE
Oral History Interview
MAJOR GENERAL WILLIAM M. MATZ, JR.
Former Assistant Division Commander for Support
7th Infantry Division [Light]
Interview Conducted 30 April 1992 at Building 2025, Fort Lewis, Washington
Dr. Robert K. Wright, Jr., US Army Center of Military History
Dr. Larry Yates, US Army Combat Studies Institute
Mr. Joe D. Huddleston, I Corps Historian
JOINT TASK FORCE SOUTH IN OPERATION JUST CAUSE
20 December 1989 - 12 January 1990
Oral History Interview JCIT 098Z
DR. WRIGHT: This is an Operation JUST CAUSE interview being conducted on 30 April 1992 in Building 2025, at Fort Lewis, Washington. The interviewee is MG William M. Matz, Jr., who was at the time of [Operation] JUST CAUSE the Assistant Division Commander of the 7th Infantry Division. Interviewing officials are Dr. Larry Yates from the Combat Studies Institute, assisted by Dr. Robert K. Wright, Jr., XVIII Airborne ... former XVIII Airborne Corps historian.1
MG MATZ: Now it's been a couple of years. So, I don't know how--I'll do my best.
DR. YATES: What is your current rank and position?
MG MATZ: Yes, MG Bill Matz, Deputy Commanding General of I Corps and Fort Lewis.
DR. YATES: And during the Panama crisis, what was your rank and position?
MG MATZ: I was a brigadier general; the Assistant Division Commander for Support [ADC(S)], 7th Infantry Division, Fort Ord, [California].
DR. YATES: As such, what were your responsibilities for the Panama crisis and then JUST CAUSE itself?
MG MATZ: In my capacity as the ADC(S), I was responsible for the complete EDRE2 program within the division and also for the deployment and outload system at both Ford Ord and our departure airfields at Travis Air Force Base and Monterrey.
DR. YATES: I should have asked this at the beginning, but excuse me. When did you take that position?
MG MATZ: I took that position in August of 1988. So, I had been in about almost a year and a half before JUST CAUSE took place.
DR. YATES: August of '88 precedes [Operation] NIMROD DANCER,3 but ... so you were doing, performing these duties during NIMROD DANCER as well as JUST CAUSE; is that correct?
MG MATZ: That's correct.
DR. WRIGHT: Okay, sir, as you get into the job, at that point we are still under the original [Operations Plan (OPLAN)] BLUE SPOON concept and 7th [Infantry Division] is going to be the primary force that would go in, rather than, as it turns out, the 82d [Airborne Division] jumping followed by the 7th air landing. When you are configuring your planning on how you are going to deploy if the BLUE SPOON plan is activated, what had you seen as the way the division would kick out? Would you remain on the ground to push it out? Would you go out in brigade size packages?
MG MATZ: Yes. Under the BLUE SPOON as I recall, we would have deployed incrementally by battalion DRF4 or brigade DRB5 and build up the force down there that the degree that the situation required. And we would have been prepared to actually deploy all three of our brigades had that situation required it in the earlier plan--BLUE SPOON.
DR. WRIGHT: And utilizing air flow as a light division for the rapid reaction rather than sea flow?
MG MATZ: Yes, utilizing air flow, correct.
DR. WRIGHT: Okay.
MG MATZ: That's right, absolutely. There was no sea flow--it was not built into it, as I recall.
DR. WRIGHT: And this was to be a gradual, incremental build up instead of the surge?
MG MATZ: Yes. I think the BLUE SPOON series, as I recall, was a much more gradual build up down there.
DR. WRIGHT: A seven- to ten-day time frame, something like that?
MG MATZ: Something like that, yes.
DR. WRIGHT: As we shipped over [OPLAN] 90-1 and then [OPLAN] 90-2, and the mission changes somewhat, does the planning continue? I mean, are you able to do that with ... strictly by SOPs without having to do a lot of nut roll rethinking?
MG MATZ: Yes, when we moved into the 90-2.
DR. WRIGHT: Yes, sir.
MG MATZ: Yes. When XVIII Airborne Corps and LTG Stiner really got into the 90-2 planning, a couple of times I was sent as a 7th ID rep[resentative] down to Panama with LTG Stiner's staff and do some of the very secretive planning at that time. And it did not require us to make many changes at all from our CONUS6 flow, our DRB or DRF. The 90-2 plan, as I say, really fit pretty much right into our EDRE program and contingency mission.
DR. WRIGHT: You talk about the EDRE system, the Departure Airfield Control Group system.7 Was that something that the 7th had been doing for a long time or was that something that, as key personnel had come here with a background from, say, Fort Bragg, [North Carolina], or Fort Campbell, [Kentucky], that they brought with them and said, hey, shouldn't we be doing it this way?
MG MATZ: Yes. Before General Cavezza8 and I got there in the summer of 1988, the division had that system pretty much in place. I think what MG Cavezza and I brought with us was a lot of experience from the 82d and the 101st [Airborne Division (Air Assault)]. And we really emphasized the EDRE program in my view. There was one there. They had one at the time, but I think we put a little more emphasis on it. And we were able to get some more monies and continue to flesh out what our predecessors had already started with the deployment system.
We also increased the manning of the DAG at Travis Air Force Base. And that was simply out of necessity because of the increase in the relationship that we struck out with the 62d [Tactical Airlift] Wing up there and with the EDRE program. We just needed a more robust system and permanent facility up there.
DR. WRIGHT: As I have talked to people at Bragg, they have commented that the proximity of Pope9 and their ability to live on a day to day basis, particularly with the 317th Tactical Airlift Wing, really makes their air operations work at a high speed. It sounds to me like you were achieving on an air land basis the same sort of arrangement with your locals, the 62d.
MG MATZ: Exactly, we were, Bob. But of course we had a much greater distance to go, as you know. We had 152 miles to travel to outload our equipment, ammunition and personnel from Travis. Which, therefore, required us to have just a very tight and very well-rehearsed deployment system.
DR. WRIGHT: When you ran your EDRE, a normal EDRE at Fort Ord, you worked your N-Hour sequence10--done at a brigade level or a battalion level?
MG MATZ: Well, we were really started at division level and the EDRE could be either a company, battalion or brigade level fly-away. But normally, almost always, we would alert the DRB, the brigade. And then from there they would alert the battalion, if it were to be a battalion fly-away. The entire battalion would move out. Or if it were simply a company fly-away, the battalion might have a recall for everybody, but then the company would simply go through the balance of the EDRE procedures, which would lead to the ultimate fly-away at Travis.
DR. WRIGHT: Each time ... now, you had mentioned, also, yesterday the creation of the DRF-1 package pre-positioned at Travis.11 Does each ... when DRF changes,12 does each battalion go up and recover it's own equipment and place the new set out there or did they hand-receipt off?
MG MATZ: That's a good question. We really looked at that.
No, when we would change a DRF, each battalion would go up and take their own equipment: their own vehicles, trucks, pre-packaged equipment, etc., and change it; and the other battalion would bring its equipment home. The ammunition and the palletization of the common stocks would stay the same. However, during the exchange, each battalion would (by line item) inventory the ammunition and those stocks and then sign for them.
DR. WRIGHT: What was the thinking in the decision process about signing over versus keeping your own, just accountability? Would the people care more if they do it themselves?
MG MATZ: Yes, exactly. And also people wanted to keep their own equipment.
DR. WRIGHT: Company commanders didn't want to feel that they were being stiffed with the division's ... ?
MG MATZ: Yes, that is a part of it, but I think it was, by and large, a unit really wanted to keep its own MTOE13 equipment, that equipment for which they were responsible for and signed for in the proper place.
DR. WRIGHT: Now, under the EDRE system, you would have a company that would be on a string with a certain number of hours and then the remainder of the battalion had so many hours and the brigade in so many hours?
MG MATZ: That's correct. In fact, the DRF ... the lead company, which is the Immediate Ready Company (the IRC) was on a two-hour string.14
DR. WRIGHT: And that was the company that would be wheels up at eighteen hours?
MG MATZ: That's correct. That's correct, followed then by the other companies.
DR. WRIGHT: Now, when you worked the EDRE system, who pushes out that ... who at that time at Fort Ord pushes you out? [Does] DRF-9 push out DRF-1? Do you use all those same systems we use at Bragg?
MG MATZ: Yes, pretty much. DRF-8 and -9 would be responsible for providing a lot of the soldiers and some equipment to our Bayonet Combat Support Brigade commander, who was a full colonel. At the time I was there, it was COL Jim Carlson. His brigade was separate, totally separate from the division. And his brigade was responsible for providing the DAGs at both Fort Ord and Travis. But the DRF-8 and -9 was tasked to provide the manning to assist him in doing the many tasks that are needed when we push out a unit.
DR. WRIGHT: So, he is in essence playing the COSCOM15 role from Fort Bragg?
MG MATZ: Yes, probably pretty much. I'm not quite sure right now what role COSCOM has there at Bragg, vis-a-vis deployment responsibilities.
DR. WRIGHT: They run the ammo. They do the moving of the people. And then they will assume, as you get further into DRB flow--as DRB-2 goes--then they are responsible for picking up as DRF-8 and -9 need to get stood up.
MG MATZ: Yes, okay, then you are exactly right. He would assume that COSCOM role there. Now also, under our system, the garrison side of the house played a fairly significant role in our EDRE program there at Ord. For example, the DOL16 was responsible for ammunition.
DR. WRIGHT: And you were relying at Ord fairly heavily on the civilian garrison side to do a lot of that stuff, or did you have a fairly substantial uniformed contingent?
MG MATZ: It was pretty much a substantial uniform contingent, but as the majority of the division would leave, then more and more of garrison side (the civilians) would have to take over and man things.
DR. WRIGHT: When you go through your rehearsals, you rehearse not just the troop unit, but also the whole rest of the system?
MG MATZ: Yes. Yes, we did.
DR. WRIGHT: And about how frequently?
MG MATZ: We had ... we strove to have an EDRE at least once a month. And we really held pretty tight to that right up until JUST CAUSE. In fact, as I recall, we had like about ten or eleven good EDREs, mostly battalion-sized EDREs, prior to JUST CAUSE in December of '89. We even had ammunition EDREs where we would check the ammunition outload system.
DR. WRIGHT: And there are fly-aways? I mean, you actually put them on the airplane and get wheels up?
MG MATZ: Most of them were fly-aways to areas distant from Fort Ord. Some were not fly-aways. Some just took us all the way, say, up to Travis where you would do everything and then because of lack of aircraft, not being able to get the aircraft, we couldn't fly them away.
DR. WRIGHT: But in each one of these rehearsals, the troops aren't told until they get into lock down that it is just a rehearsal? You maintain ... rehearse that way?
MG MATZ: Yeah, we do. The troops are not briefed usually on where they are going until we get them into the secure areas. Then they are briefed. Now, the leadership, down to at least battalion command level, is briefed around the N[-Hour]-plus-two.
DR. WRIGHT: Okay. So again, we do it at Bragg. The N-plus-two briefing is the critical leader briefing.
MG MATZ: Yes, it sure is.
DR. WRIGHT: In looking at that 152 miles versus walking over to Green Ramp from the PHA,17 you have a major problem there in that you are being held to the same eighteen-hour concept, but you don't have eighteen hours to do it, because you're on the road just trying to roll wheels. More stress on your people?
MG MATZ: Yes, I think so. Really, you're right. The eighteen hours is still the same, but we have to go a much greater distance. So, I think where the difference is between us and the 82d is, the 82d's troops are probably taken over to their alert holding area and sit there longer than our troops. Our troops spend about four hours on those interstate and state highways on busses or trucks enroute there. So, it has to be so timed and so well rehearsed and laid out that we can get there in time to make our load times, block times and our takeoff times.
DR. WRIGHT: The second thing that does is, you now have a much greater signature to the media or anybody else who is looking than Fort Bragg does.
MG MATZ: Boy, you're right, Bob. So, OPSEC18 becomes very paramount in all of these EDREs. And we would always rehearse that and try and do our best to reduce that signature. I would say in most cases, we did a pretty good job of it.
DR. WRIGHT: How close were the local media with your PAO19 in understanding how this is just an exercise and we do this all the time?
MG MATZ: Yeah. The local media was fairly cooperative. They knew that the 7th ID was a contingency force there, and that we were ... we would be chopped to XVIII Airborne Corps on actual exercises and EDREs. And there was always that chance that we would have to leave on short notice and if we did, that we had to go out the main gate and on those highways and actually leave at Travis. They were fairly cooperative.
DR. WRIGHT: The night of December 19th, , when you started rolling the vehicles out, did everything go the way it had been rehearsed?
MG MATZ: The night of December 19th, of JUST CAUSE, of course, that was like four or five days before Christmas Day. So, there were many shoppers out on the roads. Plus a terrible fog rolled in and made it extremely difficult for the convoys making that 152-mile trek. Not to mention, as I say, the heavy stream of Christmas shoppers that were out there clogging the roads. We did take that into account, although the weather really didn't roll in until we actually started convoys on the road. But knowing it was Christmas shopping, we did kick our vehicles and troop buses out perhaps an hour and a half or two hours earlier. They crossed the S[tart] P[oint] earlier than they would have normally. And we did run into difficulties because of that traffic. When we got to Travis, we ran into severe difficulties as did the Air Force of bringing in the lift aircraft as a result of the fog.
DR. WRIGHT: You mentioned yesterday that you had some problems with the aircraft that came in, being not necessarily the mix of airplanes you thought or [that they were not] internally configured the way you thought. Was this sort of--because I did not hear one word of that from the flow that was going out of Pope. Was this because you were getting second cut on priority of aircraft, or was it because you were drawing on a much larger geographic area?
MG MATZ: You know, I really can't answer that as to whether or not ... who was getting the priority aircraft, Bob. But we ... as I recall, we got a lot more C-520 aircraft than we thought we would. We usually always configure and base our loads on the C-141.21 But those couple days and nights when we were deploying--the 19th, 20th and 21st--we got a lot more C-5s than we thought we would. So, that was one difference there.
Then there were times when the aircraft would come in and the trucks would be moved out to load on, and the aircraft were configured, perhaps, a little bit differently than we thought they would be. So we had to go through some changes right there on the ramp. All of which really worked out. As I said, I think, yesterday, the Air Force loadmasters and our units pitched right in and we were able to change and reconfigure those aircraft quickly, so that we could continue the airflow.
But I think one reason, as I recall, some of the aircraft didn't get in configured the way we thought was because they were having difficulty getting in to Travis as they were coming from air bases from all over the United States--because of the weather.
DR. WRIGHT: As you talked yesterday, the unit movement officer, whether it be an officer or NCO, becomes absolutely the crucial player in reacting to the changed aircraft configurations and the adjusting the loads and stuff like that?
MG MATZ: Absolutely. And that was the point I was trying to get across to everybody in our discussion yesterday. These young officers and NCOs became so critical, particularly at the final JI22 point, where you get your joint inspection and then move right out to the call forward area and the ramp. And, of course, I was there almost the entire time assisting in keeping things going and orchestrating things with my Air Force counterpart. And these young officers had to make quick decisions as to what vehicle to pull off the chalk or what one to put in, etc. So, they became very critical and it is something that we're really trying to emphasize here now at I Corps as we build towards a more capable and larger contingency outload system.
DR. WRIGHT: Computerized ... did the AD/ACG have computerized system to run off the manifest every time you made a change and stuff like that?
MG MATZ: Yes, it did.
DR. WRIGHT: Critical?
MG MATZ: Yes. And that worked out very well. That was linked in with our computer system down here at the AHA at Fort Ord.
DR. WRIGHT: In terms of getting your air flow set up, you cross-leveled aircraft rather than send out pure units, pure aircraft. In the event that something goes wrong, you haven't had all your radios on one airplane and things like that?
MG MATZ: Yes, right. We went through that when we actually worked with the chalk configurations and, of course, the major factor in sequencing your loads is METT-T.
DR. WRIGHT: The night of the 19th, everything goes out of Travis and then it's on the 20th that you start picking up the ability to use Monterrey as well?
MG MATZ: Well, actually, Bob, the first aircraft did not take off until 0056 hours in the early morning of the 20th ... four minutes ahead of its 0100 18-hour wheels-up time. But yes, on the 20th and the 21st, everything went out of Travis. I think it was beginning around the 22d when we started to send out DRB-2 that ... we had to, the Air Force had to divert a lot of aircraft into Monterrey. And so we were using, then, simultaneously, two departure airfields--Travis and Monterrey--beginning on the 22d.
DR. WRIGHT: How do you handle being physically in two places at once to watch two airfields?
MG MATZ: Well, I'll tell you, yes, that was difficult. Of course, I had to be by the CP23 there where I could talk to my boss via SATCOM24 or a telephone. I had a helicopter at my disposal and also an Army fixed-wing [airplane] where I could get back and forth. But what I did is, when we had to fly DRB-2 out of Monterrey, I went down and went Monterrey and kept Jim Carlson, the BCCSB Commander, in charge of the Army DAG operating at Travis.
DR. WRIGHT: Travis. Simply because there was--you had to do more to get out of Monterrey.
MG MATZ: Right, I just felt they needed my presence down there at Monterrey, because we were having some minor problems there in getting authority to use that civilian airfield. And I just felt I needed to get down there to work out some of those things and get that operation going so we could maintain a continuous, uninterruped flow of follow-on troops and equipment into Panama. In fact, I remember spending a couple nights on the ramp at the Monterey airfield getting the 9th Regiment out.
DR. WRIGHT: Jump on to another side of it. You talked yesterday at some length about--and LTG Cavezza did--about the criticality of good family support groups, good rear detachment folks. I assume that is your responsibility until you get called down into Panama to sort of be the pyramid, the top of the pyramid on that?
MG MATZ: Yes, I was, Bob. And I'll tell you, I think we had a marvelous rear detachment and family support program--as I know the 82d did too, in reading some of their after-action reports. But really a good, workable, well-defined rear detachment program, which was primarily centered at battalion level, as I think [LTC] Johnnie Brooks25 mentioned yesterday. And all of the battalions had earmarked very key officers and NCOs to stay behind to handle all those rear detachment problems and issues that are going to come up. Both from the family side that stayed back there and also from the point of view that, when the unit is down there, they are going to call back for certain things on the log birds.26 Those people were there to insure that the right things from that battalion was put on those log birds.
DR. WRIGHT: Yeah, that was one of the 82d's comments, was that, it was a critical issue to have a smart guy who knew the plan sitting back, so he knew what to send you.
MG MATZ: You're absolutely right. And also somebody who had the right temperament and personality to deal with the anxieties of the spouses. [LAUGHTER]
DR. WRIGHT: We watched the whole operation start going. The first thing we are briefed on at the EOC27 at Bragg is, oh, my God, the folks at Monterrey and surrounding communities are just falling all over themselves to be nice to you guys pulling out. That there was potential there for, had there been a hostile civilian community, to have complicated matters and it really didn't happen.
MG MATZ: Well, you know, you are right, Bob. What I did there after--I don't recall when it was. After the first few days, I called all the local town mayors in. I recall there were eight or nine in the surrounding communities: Salinas, Marina, Monterrey and some of the others. And we briefed them up on how things were going and what we were doing, as best we could security-wise at that time. And then we did that two or three other times during the course of the operation. They very much appreciated that. And that, of course, helped them in their organizations and the programs that they did in their respective communities for our soldiers and their families who were living in those communities. Nothing in the world beats good, open communication in a major deployment operation like this. It paid off because there was an outpouring of support for our troops from the local communities.
DR. WRIGHT: And adjusting to the financial turmoil that suddenly losing all those soldiers can cause. [Operation] DESERT SHIELD, being a much longer thing, had very major impact on the Fayetteville.28 You know, just if you keep them informed, it is much easier for them to adjust ordering patterns for foods and stuff like that.
MG MATZ: You're right, you're right, absolutely. That aspect of it was never brought to my attention. I mean, never did they ever bring up the impact [that] the departure of so many of our troops would have financially on their communities.
DR. WRIGHT: I'm not sure that was ever raised in Fayetteville either, but it's something maybe you need to think about in the future ...
MG MATZ: Yes.
DR. WRIGHT: ... going out the last few days before Christmas does have a negative impact on Christmas presents.
MG MATZ: Yes, yes, you're right; you're right. But I will tell you, I think the point here is, when something like this happens, if the installation can bring in the local civilian leadership, they are very, very appreciative and you're getting one step ahead of events.
DR. WRIGHT: All right. You get DRB-1 down.
MG MATZ: Yes.
DR. WRIGHT: You get the call for MG Cavezza to send DRB-2?
MG MATZ: Yes, I got a call about 2215 hours on Thursday night. So, that would have been the 21st, saying, "hey, Bill, the situation is such that kick out the 2d," the next brigade, which is DRB-2, [COL] Dave Hale's brigade. He also told me that DRB-1 had arrived in good shape and to keep up the flow.
DR. WRIGHT: Is it at that time that you also start getting asked to send more of the aviation and CSS29 slice?
MG MATZ: Yes, right. We were going to start to build up our DISCOM30 and to help [COL] Doug Terrell31 with the aviation maintenance.
DR. WRIGHT: LTG Cavezza talked about the creation of modules within the division structure so that you could send these modules, one through five, or something like that.
MG MATZ: Exactly. We had prepackaged certain combat service support-type modules and some combat support-type modules, which we could very easily redo to send down, based on the needs of the commander in the field. That really paid off in certain instances.
DR. WRIGHT: When did you yourself go down, sir?
MG MATZ: I went down, as I recall, about the 10th or 11th of January, just when LTG Stiner and XVIII Airborne Corps was leaving as the JTF32 and returning to Bragg and MG Cavezza was given the responsibility to carry on the stability operations as the JTF commander. My boss called me and told me to come on down, that he wanted me to take over and run the Army forces that were subordinate to the JTF. Just prior to LTG Cavezza's call, COL John Fuller, our Chief of Staff, called and told me to saddle up, the boss needed me down there ASAP to help with the ground operations.
DR. WRIGHT: At that point, you had been hearing the stories about the continuing civil-military operational problems and everything. Does the thought go through your mind about, say, boss, are you really sure you need me?
MG MATZ: No, I'll tell you, in fact, just the opposite. I was chomping at the bit to get down there. Like, I guess, any soldier--who all your life you prepare for something like that and you see almost your entire division moving out. I wanted to get down there and see how I could help General Cavezza in Panama. So, I was delighted to get the call. I recognized that my job at Fort Ord and the departure airfields in getting the troops, ammo and equipment out was almost complete. I wanted to get down there and help my boss with the continuing operations.
DR. WRIGHT: How did you handle things once you got down there? Could you ... did things need tweaking once you got down there, because now you have just lost a corps (the command and control element of the corps at least) and a substantial chunk of manpower that was pulling out?
MG MATZ: No. I can recall ... when I arrived, I arrived at Howard [Air Force Base]. They had a bird there waiting for me. [COL] Jim Wright, the DISCOM commander, was there and he took me right over to [Fort] Amador, which was where the 7th ID CP was at that time. And LTG Stiner and MG Cavezza had worked out a very smooth transition, in my view. When I arrived, it was the first day they started the transition with General Cavezza, who was the JTF commander. So, I just fell right into the 7th ID's operations. And at that time, Task Force[s] BAYONET, SEMPER FI, etc.33 had been chopped to the 7th ID. So, I just fell right into overseeing the ground forces operations from Amador for General Cavezza.
DR. WRIGHT: The drawdown and transition and everything went, from your point of view, very, very smoothly?
MG MATZ: From my point of view, Bob, that transition of command--major command and control--went very smoothly.
DR. WRIGHT: A function there, do you think, possibly, of the personalities: that everybody knew everybody; everybody had served with everybody before; this was a relatively simple deal?
MG MATZ: Yes, absolutely. The personalities are always a major factor, I think, in something like that.
DR. WRIGHT: Now, you also alluded to the fact that, you and LTG Cavezza had been together a year and a half. You've got, then, a fairly stable division leadership team down to the primary staff? Guys who had had a chance to go through a number of exercises and shake the bugs out?
MG MATZ: Well, I'll tell you, to me, that was the key to all. We had a marvelous group of commanders and a great staff. We had just worked through a BCTP34 in November, which allowed our staff to become very proficient in just operational staff work in the field. And our commanders were superb. And the EDRE programs that we had put together and rehearsed and worked, everything just came together.
DR. WRIGHT: So, you fought as you trained?
MG MATZ: We fought as we trained, yes.
DR. WRIGHT: And in coming back, did you change anything that you trained?
MG MATZ: That's a good question. Coming back, one of the first things we did was reviewed our METL,35 the division METL. As was pointed out yesterday, I think we confirmed that we had accomplished in JUST CAUSE about five or six of our key METL [tasks]. Two or three things like, I believe, river crossing, etc., obviously we didn't. But we reviewed our METL and thought that our METL was good and did not need to be changed.
DR. WRIGHT: And I believe ... LTG Cavezza also mentioned this yesterday. You looked at the CMO36 type things and said, hey, those aren't METL tasks.
MG MATZ: Yes.
DR. WRIGHT: They are OPD37 things you handle ... things you handled through other aspects of the development programs.
MG MATZ: Yes. We talked about the CMO and stability operations quite a bit yesterday. And that's really what we pretty much did as we worked on into February and March--doing stability operations, etc. But we did not feel that that should become an actual part of the division's primary METL. But certainly we would concentrate on that in the future in our operations and in our exercises.
DR. WRIGHT: We asked LTG Cavezza this a little while ago. Role players ... as you come back, having seen what a zoo it actually is instead of a nice, clean exercise when we're doing an FTX,38 trying to work with hundreds of civilians running around. Did you get into trying to use, to incorporate role players more into your FTXs?
MG MATZ: Oh, oh, I see what you mean. In other words, in subsequent training-type exercises like.
DR. WRIGHT: Yes.
MG MATZ: Yes, we do. We did. You mean, role players as civilians and things like that?
DR. WRIGHT: Yes.
MG MATZ: Yes, absolutely.
DR. WRIGHT: Did the troops react favorably to that?
MG MATZ: Yes, they did.
DR. WRIGHT: What about your junior leaders and your senior NCOs,39 the ones who are really at the cutting edge of having to make those tough calls, because they are out there all alone in that village now. Are you having a chance to take your newer soldiers, the one who haven't deployed with the division, but who have come in as replacements since, to try to give them some sense of what it was like?
MG MATZ: Okay, you mean in the subsequent training programs back at Ord?
DR. WRIGHT: Yes, sir.
MG MATZ: Yes, they were real leaders and real astute role models: the junior non-commissioned officer and the younger officers who had been to JUST CAUSE. And when they got back, we thought they integrated their experiences into the training programs very, very nicely for the younger soldiers that were coming in.
DR. WRIGHT: Did you see any negative aspects in terms of the down morale of those in the division who didn't get to go?
MG MATZ: No, I did not see that. I'll tell you, largely, most of the infantry went. I guess a fairly significant part of DIVARTY40 did not go, because early on, as I mentioned yesterday, we realized that there just was no need for a lot of indirect fire support. But no, I didn't see any low morale.
DR. WRIGHT: Do you have anything else?
DR. YATES: Yes. Aircraft availability for JUST CAUSE. I've heard the comment made that, had it not been Christmas, that more of the airlift would have been spread out or dispersed doing normal missions, but coming so near Christmas, more of it was available for this. Could you verify or ... ?
MG MATZ: That's probably a good point. And I'll tell you, honestly, I never heard that, but you're probably right. Since it was so close to Christmas, I'm sure the crews were standing down, because like all of us, in peace time, you want to try and give as many people leave as you can. That's probably a good point. I'm sure had it not been Christmas, they (airplanes and crews) probably would have been more widely dispersed.
DR. YATES: When you were talking yesterday and then again today, I had this vision of the buses trekking down an interstate highway. I was thinking of I-5 out here in rush hour. Is there any means that you can employ for traffic control, or do you just have to take that into account?
MG MATZ: Now, what we did, we used a combination of Fort Ord military buses and civilian contract buses and we had two or three civilian companies on a standing contract in the Monterrey area. Because, you know, that is a high tourist area, so we're never sure that buses would be available. We had two or three companies always on a standby to provide immediate numbers of buses and drivers, plus we also had some of our own Army buses that were driven by garrison civilian drivers. And we would go up the highway in serials.
We would not have military police escort, because that would really send a signature that we didn't want. And in fact, we left it up to units primarily. Some units would infiltrate the buses. Some would go in fairly tighter convoys. There were certain check points along the route that we did need local police assistance. For example, there was a toll bridge northeast of San Francisco that we had to go across. We could not be stopped there. We always had the number of tickets and the right tickets to give the toll booth guy. [LAUGHTER]
So, as I say, it was really a very, very different deployment and outload procedure. I'm not sure a lot of people fully understand the impact the distances, crowded highways, poor weather, and multiple departure airfields has on the planning and execution of a major short-notice deployment operation like the one the 7th ID executed for JUST CAUSE. It was not easy!
DR. YATES: NIMROD DANCER. When you deployed for that, in what ways did the deployment differ from JUST CAUSE other than, of course, the number of troops?
MG MATZ: Yes, the number of troops and units differed significantly. Well, NIMROD DANCER, I'll tell you, that was a very short notice. We went into an X-Hour.41 Twenty-four hours later, I believe, we got our N-Hour. And we went right out very smoothly on an eighteen-hours wheels up N-Hour sequence. Of course, the weather cooperated then, it was excellent. It was a lot different and, of course, it wasn't over the holiday season and it was a much smaller contingent of troops and equipment. That was around May 11th, as I recall.
DR. YATES: How much advance notice did you have, if you recall, prior to the President's speech that you were likely to be going down?
MG MATZ: Now, is this for JUST CAUSE?
DR. YATES: For NIMROD DANCER.
MG MATZ: For NIMROD DANCER? You know, I don't recall that. We didn't have a whole lot of notice, but sufficient enough notice to allow us to get into an X-Hour sequence and then as I said, into an N-Hour.
DR. YATES: That pretty well covers my questions.
MR. HUDDLESTON: I have a couple of questions. Sir, this has cropped up both in ... well in each of the three battle analysis conferences that we have had--the two that we have had and the one that is coming up.
MG MATZ: Yes.
MR. HUDDLESTON: On logistics support, the fact that the early-in forces, both in DESERT STORM and JUST CAUSE and even back in POWERPACK,42 rely on logistics support from their home base. This is not according to logistics doctrine. It subverts the logistics system. And I was just reading General Hauser's book in which he puts out that this reliance, this old business of you always have a 'credit card' that the 7th Division can lay on Fort Ord, rather than on the supply system, is a detriment and a subversion of the logistics system; that, if the unit should stay there for any extended length of time, could be a negative. Of course, Bob has seen this also in DESERT STORM. So, have any comments on that?
MG MATZ: Of course, our DRFs and DRBs, when they went down, they went down with sufficient classes of necessary supplies to get them through the first couple of days before follow-on logistics or in-country logistics could catch up and sustain them. They went down with prepackages of fuel and, certainly, plenty of Class V (ammunition), plenty of Class I (MREs43), etc. Now our DISCOM folks did have the 'credit cards,' as I recall the things that you are talking about. But I don't recall where we had a major problem down there.
MR. HUDDLESTON: Well, this is a rhetorical, kind of a theoretical question. Because I understand you were not down there long enough, certainly, not to use up your basic load of ammo.
MG MATZ: No, that's true.
MR. HUDDLESTON: It wasn't a heavy combat situation. But, you see, the Army's logistics system should have been in place to pick up that logistics program rather than you having to go back to Ord, you see. And the same thing is true of DESERT STORM. Whereas it is my understanding that, in all of these cases, you wound up going back to home base instead of going to your friendly neighborhood DISCOM, and the DISCOM making ....
MG MATZ: Oh, I see. I see what you're getting at now.
Let's just pick up on ammunition. I pushed out a lot more ammunition with those initial DRFs and DRBs than we needed, but of course, you never know at the time. And we ended up backhauling and bringing back a lot. And some of it we, of course, left down there for US Army, South [USARSO], to use. There was absolutely no problem with ammunition. There was all types of ammunition. I think, as I recall, we had some problems with aviation parts.
DR. WRIGHT: Major problems with aviation parts.
MR. HUDDLESTON: Did you go to Ord or did the XVIII Airborne Corps have its COSCOM so configured and on the ground that you could make the Army system work instead of the old boy, old buddy network?
MG MATZ: Well, I know that I got involved in sending some of our rear detachment folks in the aviation brigade. We got involved in sustaining some of our own helicopters with some of our own ASL and PLL44 parts, yes. To what extent, I just don't remember. I remember there were some aviation parts that they needed down there. We had to scurry around and get that.
DR. WRIGHT: I think what Joe is hitting at here is the necessity for log birds to get critical items that just get left behind. No matter how good your packing list is, there's always going to be something. And there are always a couple of critical items. The distinction is, when do you tread past it being that normal, essential log bird into a ... it's cheaper to call back and say, hey, boss, throw on 80 more cases of MREs than it is to go over to 41st Support Group45 and try to beat on them to get the MREs.
MG MATZ: Okay, right, right.
DR. WRIGHT: It's a fine line.
MG MATZ: No, you're right and I see exactly what you're getting at now, Joe. You know, in not being down there, in the early days, I'm really not sure how much the 7th ID had to rely on host-nation support and in-country 41st Support Group other than what we had planned. But I do know that I was busy. We had a log bird every day for a while and then it went to every other day. And we were always sort of packing that full with pieces of equipment and soldiers with special MOSs that we needed.
[END OF SIDE ONE]
MG MATZ: I see what you're getting at, but I just don't ...
MR. HUDDLESTON: What I'm looking for (or thinking in the back of my mind) is I Corps, the I Corps moves out of here and finds itself in the Philippines. It starts out like JUST CAUSE. It winds up like DESERT STORM and you are there for six months. And you still--as far as I know, there were company commanders, battalion commanders, brigade commanders calling Fort Bragg from Saudi Arabia saying "send me this," you know, instead of going to the log command for theater assets that the Army ... . I think the Army is deceiving itself and I don't know--this is probably not the forum to bring that up.
MG MATZ: No, well, but it's a good point. Whenever you send a fairly large force like that away for a sustained period of time, you must sustain them. Now, whether the CONUS logistical air flow replacement system kicks in to do that or whether you as a unit have to continue to go back to your home station on log birds provided by the Air Force, I'm just not sure. Doctrinally, the CONUS to theater logistical system will eventually kick in and sustain the deployed forces.
MR. HUDDLESTON: I'm not sure either and that's the point of the whole question. I don't think anybody is sure.
MG MATZ: Well, if it is a theater conflagration or theater war then doctrinally the CONUS logistical base picks up.
MR. HUDDLESTON: I don't think it is clear in anyone's mind how the handoff takes place.
MG MATZ: And that's right. It's probably situational-dependent.
MR. HUDDLESTON: A different topic, the EDRE program. Since you and LTG Cavezza have come in within weeks of each other, into a corps that is building into a contingency corps, have you in large part brought this experience that Bob was just talking to you about in terms of EDRE programs, rehearsals and so forth with you? Obviously, I'm sure, certain elements of it are there.
MG MATZ: Yes, let me address that. There were a lot of things already in place here [Fort Lewis], in this superb installation, which is right contiguous to a great departure airfield with about 50 C-141s sitting over there on a full-time basis. But I think LTG Cavezza and many of the other folks here, hopefully myself, were able to lend our experience in these types of situations to the deployment process that we're trying to enhance and build here right now.
For example, I'm in the middle right now of really refining the deployment system that has been here at Fort Lewis for some time. And it is an excellent one. But just tweaking it a little bit and defining it so that we can meet a no-notice, eighteen-hour wheels up, which this post has not really had to do with the exception of perhaps the ranger battalion46 that has been here. But we are trying to tweak it and get it ready so that when the 7th moves up here, a much larger outfit, we will be able to handle an entire division or the greater part of it on a very short notice basis ... like we did for the JUST CAUSE deployment.
MR. HUDDLESTON: Well, this is the very best opportunity for combat lessons learned to be applied.
MG MATZ: Boy, it sure is. I think our little forum yesterday and you gentlemen coming out, was just what we needed. We had absolutely the right target audience, because we're starting to build a culture and a mind set here for rapid deployment ever since the Army has given us this contingency mission.
MR. HUDDLESTON: One other question and then I'll throw it back to the real guys here, the JUST CAUSE guys. We had some experiences, some negative experiences here during DESERT STORM, with the family support group. What started as being admired as a superb support effort wound up being considered a privilege--not a privilege, but a right. Even to the point where we had wives calling the DEH47 demanding to know when they were going to mow their lawn. Did you have any of that kind of experience at Ord?
MG MATZ: No, I don't recall anything like that, but there were many phone calls. But the phone calls were largely "when is my husband coming home? We still have the Christmas tree up and we still have not opened the gifts." And many of them didn't until the end of February when some of those troops deployed back to Fort Ord. I don't recall any calls or concerns of that nature of when are you going to cut my grass and do this. It's not to say that we didn't get some. They just didn't bubble up to me.
MR. HUDDLESTON: That's just something to consider also. It's important. You can make a welfare state out of the families on the post fairly quickly, apparently.
MG MATZ: That's why, again, it is so important that you have these rear detachments and these family support groups established and in place and attuned to the things that could possibly happen. So then when it does happen, you have been pre-briefed and you are somewhat receptive to it, and both the soldier and the waiting families can better cope with the attendant problems that invariably come about as a result of a short-notice contingency deployment.
DR. WRIGHT: The last question I always ask everybody, sir. Tell me the funniest story that happened to you down in Panama or during the deployment.
MG MATZ: Oh, let's see.
Well, the funniest story that happened to me during the deployment was at about midnight on the 19th. We are getting ready to launch the first aircraft and on that first aircraft is my boss, MG Cavezza, his command sergeant major, our G-3 and, of course, the rest of the Tac[tical] CP. I was moving him out to the parking space on the flight line to put him aboard the aircraft with the Air Force guide in front of us, and because the fog was so thick you could cut it with a knife we got lost and went to the wrong airplane. You actually didn't know you were at the airplane until you were maybe 20 or 30 feet away from it. You couldn't see it. In fact, the Air Force guide said he had never seen anything like it ... it was terrible.
DR. WRIGHT: You couldn't read tail numbers easily?
MG MATZ: Not only could you not read tail numbers, you couldn't find the airplanes. And finally, after I think we went to two wrong aircraft, we found the correct tail number and got them on. It still got launched four minutes before takeoff time. So, I would say--at the time that was not too funny ... but later I thought about it and laughed. But that simple incident also protrayed for me very vividly the ominous task that lay ahead in outloading the Division that night. There was a sinking feeling in my stomach.
DR. WRIGHT: You were feeling a little tension mounting? Did the CG take it well?
MG MATZ: Yeah, oh, yeah, absolutely. He took it a lot better than I did.
DR. WRIGHT: What about the sergeant major? They sometimes get a little excitable about things.
MG MATZ: I don't recall the sergeant major's reaction. He was busy doing a lot of other things. But my pucker factor was up, I'll tell you. [LAUGHTER]
MG MATZ: And the Air Force was too.
DR. YATES: Sir, thank you very much.
MG MATZ: Yes. Thank you all.
[END OF INTERVIEW]