Army Interview with Army Major re: Military Police Procedures, Detainee Handling and Processing at Abu Ghraib Prison

An Army Major with the 320th Military Police Battalion Internment Resettlement discusses Military Police Procedures and Detainee Processing at Abu Ghraib Prison. He discusses the operations at the prison and the challenges faced. He describes certain events such as the Palm Sunday riot and other riotous acts by the detainees and other issues faced at the prison.

Doc_type: 
Interview
Doc_date: 
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Doc_rel_date: 
Friday, July 29, 2005
Doc_text: 

IFIT-35-117 Major

(c6

Q:Twith the 377th Theater

Hi. This is SergeantT

Support Command Historians Office. Today's date is 20 May

2003. The time now is 1347 local. I'm here at Camp Buka,

10(60 -t

Iraq. And I'm interviewing Major

A:
19 it --I

Q:Tsorry, sir. And if I could get you to please
spell out your first and last name.

A:Tapita111111111111

Q:T

Thank you sir. All right. And what is your unit and your
duty position?

A:T
It's the 320th Military Police Battalion Internment
Resettlement. And my duty position is the S3.

Q:T
OK, and which regional support command do you belong to?

A:T
The 99th Regional Support Command.

Q:T
OK, I know in the military we tend to use acronyms. If you
could, please try to avoid them, I -- right there, I said
RSC, instead of regional support command. All right, I'm
going to read some boilerplate language if that's all
right. Do you understand that the tape and the transcript
resulting from this oral history to be retained by the
United States Army Reserve Historical Research Collection
and/or Seacliff Military History Group will belong to the

1
United States government to be used in any manner deemed in

the best interest of the United States Army as determined
by the command historin or representative? Do you also
understand that subject to security classification
restrictions you may be given an opportunity to edit the
resulting transcript in order to clarify and expand your
Original thoughts? The United States Army may provide you
with a copy of the edited transcript for your own use
subject to any classification restrictions.

Yes.

A:T

Q:T\o (cA
Thank you, sir. Could you please provide me a brief
biography of your military career?

A:TI was
I was an ROTC cadet inT
commissioned 2nd Lieutenant in the Military Police Corps in
May of 111111 Left for observation course Fort McClellan,
Alabama at the time, through the MP school in October of
1111. Finished that in February or March of Iv Went to
Germany, IIIIIIIII1Germany as a platoon leader in the

11111111 MP Company. Was a platoon leader there for about a
T

year and a half, and then I was a in

1111111 Germany for about nine months. Came off active
duty. I was in the reserves. In IIIIII was in the low
Civil Affairs Brigade in Riverdale, Maryland, participated
in a couple of exercises inilliaand I was there. And

.1 "it4 5
2

then inIIIIIII met up with Brigadier General

who was the commander of the 1111111Military Police Brigade,
and he asked me to be the HAT Company Commander. So I
T

transferred units to the Maryland. I

was a company commander there for about two and a half

years. And then in OIL put in an AGR packet, Active

Guard Reserve packet. I was selected and PCSd

Germany, where I was the full-time operations officer for

the 101111 Crew Operations Center in the 1st Infantry

Division in Hamburg, Germany. I was mobilized there in,

see,T

for -- we ran the Division Deployment Center for
the 1st Infantry Division Headquarters inTfor the
T

deployment to PCSd from
there in July of Illito the IIIIIIMP Group, which is also
T

in Pennsylvania where theTlocated.
I was the acting'S3 there and my position was eliminated

there, to eliminate the full-time slot. So I moved over to

the 320th MP Battalion in October Illigto the present.

And that was a full-time slot at the 320th.

Q:T

A:T
Correct.
OK. Good deal. Thank you, sir. Let me ask you, during
Desert Storm then, you were in Germany at that time?

Q:T

I had just come off active duty, when it started.

A:T

m4

3

Q: OK and about your experience in.. has that helped you

at all for this experience?

A:T

Oh tremendously. The culture and the people and the

N2 (-kt
desert.

Q:T

And your Civil Affairs train%ng?

A:T

Oh yes. I did a lot of c?owntown work in 11111.1110.1.111.
when I was in Civil Affairs. So you got to know a'Jot of
the ins and outs of the culture and the people. So it
helpl a tot over here.

OK. And you deal with Iraqi prisoners and probably some
civilians to a certain extent as well. Could you give some
specific examples where you might use thattraining in this
operation up ere?

Q:T

A:T
Well, when we came htre, the .British Air Defense Artillery
Unlit was running the holding area. TheT:had :about 4,200
prisoners. A lot of which were civilian internees. And
actually they had civilian internees and EPWs in the same
facility. It was a facility designed for about 2,000
prisoners. When we took it over at 4,200, we then had a

b L2)
population of $000 in this facility. More than half of

which were civilian internees and half EPWs. We also had

civilian criminals. We also had some mentally disturbed

individuals. So we had a variety of everything. And my

past experience in dealing with -- in Egypt, helped me

3 I 2.1 G 0
4

tremendously understand and be prepared for the customs and

how the people -- how their customs are. For instance,
when they talk loud and fast, it's not necessarily that
they're angry. It's their culture, and they talk very -­they're very close to you, which I then had to -- we had to
explain to the MPs that were guarding them. So it helped a

4
lot.

I've heard that has happened a couple times. MPs, US
soldiers, aren't used to someone talking to them within six
inches. All right. Good deal. Then if we could, you
joined the unit in October of 2000, and I'm curious from
that point on what was an average drill weekend like for
you? And for the unit? Because as I understand it, you
set the training for the unit during peacetime.

Q:T

Correct. I've been associated with many reserve units and
active duty units. Even when I was at the 367th MP Group,
the 320th was one of our subordinate battalions. The 320th

has always had a reputation of being extremely proactive,

non-lackadaisical, and a high degree of energy. A normal

training weekend would be hit the ground, run and don't

stop running until you left on Sunday afternoon. So we did

many FTXs, field training exercises, which prepared the

unit for handling of prisoners and civilians, riot control,

riots and civil disturbances, and we trained that as well

A:T

14 G 1
0 .1 z4
5

control, and you don't know them. Versus the MP company,

which is a Guard company as well, the 305th, that we've

worked with for many years, we know the people, we know the

personality of the company, the demeanor of the company as

a whole. You don't bring them, you come over here, you

pick up a foreign company, so to speak, which has the same

mission as the 305th, but every unit has a different

personality. So you have to quickly dive in and see if you

can determine the personality and how to best utilize them,

and it's just a tremendous disadvantage. The Reserves are

set up with the geographical C2 versus the war train C2 is

a disadvantage.

All right. So could you go in a little more detail on how
you'd like to see that changed if you could?

Q:T

Yes. If an IR battalion is supposed to have two Guard

companies or two MP companies -- the way they did it over

here was you didn't necessarily always get a Guard company.

You may have a combat support company, which is a doctrinal

change. Only because they're so short of MPs. If you're

supposed to have two Guard companies, then those Guard

companies need to be placed under your peacetime control.

There's enough on the east coast to do that with a

battalion. And then when you get deployed, those Guard

companies go with you. That's the way it should be.

A:T

11

They had too many soldiers at Fort Dix because they
couldn't get them out.

A:T

And could you use your own vehicles for transportation or -

Q:T

We did. We had very limited POVs, but those that did used

them when they had to to transport, make runs,
coordination.

A:T

And what about your military vehicles, sir? Were those
still locked up or --

Q:T

We used them up until the point where we had to have them
technically inspected, put in a sterile area, because once
they were inspected if you used them again, they broke
down, they wouldn't fix them, they had to be fixed in
theater. So we didn't want to take any chances, because
the vehicles are probably older than both of us put
together. As a matter of fact, the oldest deuce and a half
we have is 1961.

A:T

Q:T
Vietnam veteran possibly.

He had been through more wars than most people.

A:T
All right. If you don't mind me asking, how much equipment
does EPW battalion need? Or AJC company --

Q:T

A:T
We set up a city. We literally set up a city. When you
look at an EPW battalion or an internment resettlement
battalion, the problem is EPWs are civilians, and you set

0 1 II 4 1
15

up approximately up to B000 internees, with the capability
of going to j000, you set up an entire city. So with the
tents, the wires, the poles, lights, electric, feeding
equipment. It's a city, a miniature city.

And how many vehicles? Like Humvees, deuce and a halfs?

Q:T

A: I think we have 111111 deuce and a half s, maybe"...
Humvees. We can't move ourselves. We don't have the
organic equipment to move our battalion.
But you have the equipment to move the camp for the
prisoners.

Q:T

A:T
Yeah, we require a lot of outside logistical support in
order to take care of -- especially when you have a
capacity 00 as we had down here.

of1011k

Q:T

How many personnel are in the 320th?

A:T
It's an MTO strength ofililland we brought over -- we had
1011Imobilized under a derivative UIC. Three I believe
remained at Fort Dix for a while, so we came over I think

1111111111IN
OK, and as I understand it, there was a lot of cross-
leveling as well. When you first got called up, there were
about Sand then --

Q:T

A:T
Well, we always maintained a high strength, either close to
11111pr over. In fact you had so many people that were
double-slotting because they had same MOSs. But we then

014 4 7:-1
16

Felt that the 320th above and beyond going through that
type of exercise. And we were prepared to do it, but we
didn't do it, based on whose decision I'm not sure. I
think probably Fort Dix, I think they're the only ones I
think that can let you out of a mission readiness exercise.

Q:T

All right, and at that time you did not have your
subordinate units.

A:T

No.

Q:T

Did you know who they were at that time?

A:T

We were originally told it was 314th MP Company, who did
fall under us here, and the 1138th MP Company, but I don't

even know if they're in theater.

Q:T

All right. Now the unit's preparing to move to Iraq.

Again, a lot of this was going to fall on you, operations

to ship the equipment, make the coordination. Who are the
key people you're trying to contact? Or the key units?

And what was the process like? Because I know nothing

about this process.

A:T
Well, a lot of the moving of the equipment falls under --
and the coordination falls under the S4. And the R&U
officer, which is repair and utilities officer, which is

19(4
CaptainTlike an assistant S4, took most of that
and did it all. The loading of the CONEXs, the
coordinating, the tagging, the sealing of the CONEXs, when

01 11474
18

the CONEXs were going to be shipped, when the vehicles were
going to be shipped. My key focus had to be on when we get
there what we're going to do, who we're going to see, who
we're going to talk to, and of course hoping that it all
falls together where the equipment and the personnel get

\o(7')-3
there at the same time. We basically operated a 11111ran
facility with resources that were begged, borrowed or
stolen because we didn't have any of our equipment.

OK, let me ask, the equipment, who provided, did the 800th

MP Brigade provide some or --

Q:T

A:T

Well, we used a lot of the tents that they were actually
going to use for the different facilities which they didn't
end up building. So the tents we were able to get from
800th. Our R&U section built our tables and chairs out of
wood.

Actually, where did you get the wood from? Or should I not
ask that question, because I think that's --

Q:T

A:T
We actually made legitimate requests to the engineers to
get their wood as far as I know.
Because I've heard wood's a rare commodity here, or was
during the initial setup.

Q:T

A:T
It was. Soldiers will be soldiers. When you give them a
mission, their goal in life is accomplish that mission.
Sometimes the rules are followed. Sometimes they aren't.

19

T T

Q: All right. This is Sergeant I'm resuming
the interview. Sir, you were just talking about the plans
to go north.

Correct. The members of the 320th, which were myself, my
13((k)
operations sergeant major, Sergeant MajorTtwo of
my operations NCOs, Staff SergeantTand
Staff SergeantTwe were the five -- or four
from the battalion that were going to move up on D plus
four. And then elements of the battalion were going to
come up to D plus six or eight. And then the rest of the
battalion was to follow on D plus ten I believe. When we

A:T

10(0L)

got up to Camp Coyote and met up with Colonel of the
800th and the 724th was there, I desperately wanted to be
on the advance party. Because they were going to set up an
area from which our battalion was also going to be
operating with the 724th. So I had an interest
operationally, that our best interest was served, so to
speak. So I convinced ColonelTto allow us to go in

11111i k

i r
the advance party. And he's told me many times he's glad
that I did that, because I then became his Brigade 3
Forward. Sergeant Major 111.01was his operations
sergeant major forward. And we utilized the members of the
320th within his brigade staff forward.
As a supplemental staff basically, all right.

0 4: 4 3 27
A:T

So we all moved up to Coyote and then the next day is when

he said they were leaving. With me on his coattails

pushing to get my soldiers to get out there with him. He
called back to the general and the general said OK. So
that's how we ended up on the advance party.

Good deal, and as I understand it, you crossed over o4 the
20th of March, you believe,,the day after the ground war,
or it was the 24th of March?

Q:T

A:T

Oh no, it was the 20th.

Q:T

20th of March.

A:T

Yeah, we went up to the Marine Expeditionary Force holding
area out of Coyote. The advance party. The 724th didn't

-1

go, they were going to come a couple days later. So
members of the 320th who had joined in on the 800th MP
Brigade's advance party and the engineers, we went out and
stayed at the MEF Marine Expeditionary Force holding area.
We did recons with Colonel...to find a place to put
the facility.

Q:T

Let me ask you, have you seen any satellite imagery,

photographs, or any type of maps of this area you were

getting --

A:T
Prior to leaving Arifjan, in Colonel 11111111 office we
went over that.

Q:T

OK, good.

ni ft An is
28

responsibilities with a subordinate, or did you have

everything planned out for the battalion before you moved
out?

Well, approximately 60 of our MPs came up to Buka North,
additional MP support for force protection.

A:T

Q:T
And that was in the second wave.
Right. The advance party was already there. And then
724th and the engineers were there. Not all the 724th
Battalion, but most of it were there. Most of the
engineers were there. They brought up additional 320th
Battalion MPs for force protection, and they remained there
two, three days at the most. And the move down here went
in serials, from Buka North down from here to Camp Buka.
Because the engineers had so much equipment to move. So
it's a big coordination piece between the units that were
up there to insure that A as the area began to shrink with
forces that they still maintained a force protection
atmosphere, so that was just all just a big coordination
piece that was locked in and went very well actually. So
we came down --

A:T

Q:T
If I can -- all right, moving up from Camp Coyote to the
original Camp Buka, your soldiers are crossing the berm
that day. You're crossing the berm, which is the border

014490
34

outside of Buka North were in a civilian vehicle that had
fired upon I think it was the British soldiers. So that
was the biggest threat that we had heard for that type of
activity.

OK, and how many vehicles went up in the advance party

approximately?

Q:T

A:T

Well, from the 800th MP Brigade and the 320th actually we
caught rides, because we didn't have any vehicles. They
had a couple up-armored Humvees for security. One deuce
and a half. And a couple soft-top Humvees. It wasn't a
long train originally.

So you had the armored Humvees. So I assume you had some

true cert weapons with those as well.

Q:T

A: Oh yeah, wand
END OF SIDE

ID ( 0 ---2-

Q: All right. This is Sergeant gillainallin I'm resuming
the interview. And sir, I was asking did you feel safe
going up with the convoy.

A:T
Yes. It had growing concerns when originally hit the site,
watching all the firefights and bombs.
Well, let me ask, driving on the way up, did you see many
wrecked or ruined vehicles or vehicles that had just broken
down?

Q:T

A:T

A lot of destroyed tanks --

014492

36

had to leave there because -- that's another reason why we
had to leave was because the Marines were moving north and
we had nothing between us and Al Nasriye or us and Talil or
us and the Iraqi Armor or the artillery division that we
were underneath their umbrella, there was nothing there for
protection.

Q:T

All right. Now Main Supply Route Tampa ran right by Buka
North. Did you ever see any ambushes out there or Iraqi
soldiers?

A:T

No, I didn't. I know that elements of our advance party
that had gone up to Talil actually assisted in the
capturing of some Iraqi soldiers. Ambushes got hit quite a
bit from MSR Talil where Buka North was to -- I mean MSR
Tampa, from where Buka North was to Talil. Quite a few
ambushes there.

Q:T

And you could hear the firing or --

A:T
Oh yeah.

All right, so you head back to Buka South, the current site
on which date, sir?

Q:T

A:T
I think it was -- they came up the 27th. Somewhere around
March 29th I believe.

That's right, I think you did mention that before, I'm
sorry. So March 29th you arrive at Buka South. What are

Q:T

O ielA tr°)00
44

Q:T
And now the unit, they've arrived, the 320th has actually -

-your sections of it have arrived before you, because you
were up there at Buka North with about 60 MPs from -- and
there's 150 people, so I assume the remaining 90.

A:T
No, they came up after we arrived here. The rest came up
here after we arrived.

Q:T
Oh, OK. OK. So how soon were you tasked to begin
operations for the 390th and the two companies?

A:T
Probably a week. Maybe a week. We pretty much hit here
running as well. So it wasn't even a week I believe. We
then had to assume the work with the Brits, until they felt
comfortable and we felt comfortable based on resources,
communication, transportation, etc. that we could assume
the entire operation and that the Brits would then leave
and go north. And the big thing with that is they have
different rules of engagement than we do. So we've
conditioned MPs to our rules of engagement, and when
they're working side by side with the Brits, but it's still
under British control, the prisoners were still under the
British control. Therefore we had to go by their rules of
engagement. Big difference is the United States military
is allowed to shoot an escaping prisoner, the Brits are
not. So it was difficult for a while. Doctrinally not a
doctrinal facility that our soldiers are trained to

014503
47

operate. Normally in an EPW facility you don't carry
weapons. Well, our compound guards actually had to carry
weapons. Because it was so packed in with so many people.
And the Palm Sunday riot proved that. Approximately

-
prisoners rioted, and we had to literally take the b (2) 3 facility back compound by compound. That took a couple hours. Resulted in two prisoners being shot. Neither one died. They were superficial wounds, but they were shot. And that was the Palm Sunday riot, that's what that was.
Q:T

All right, you said this wasn't built according to
doctrine. As I understand it, it was the British Air
Defense Artillery people who actually first built the Buka

compound here.

A:T

Correct. The Gurkhas.T
\7(

Oh, the Gurkhas.

Q:T

A:T

The Gurkhas built it. They built Illinan compounds, which you can put IIIPmen in that compound for a very short period of time. Compounds were too close together. They
weren't even ten meters apart, where they should be at

least illineters apart.
Q:T

So if there's a collapse in one compound you want to try to
avoid it spilling over into the next.

A:T

Correct. Correct.

014504
You mentioned bringing weapons into the compound. You

Q:T

don't want to do that because --

A: Yeah, we 111.11.100111111111.1.11111111.1Mthe compound
itself. But in the runway and around the compounds we had

Normally doctrinally our MP guards outside the
compoundsTBecause the
compounds would be built in one facility, and no one would
be allowed

Q:T

Because you're concerned

A:T
Right. And that's why you had

OK, and what were some of the other changes in doctrine
that you had to adapt to?

Q:T

A:T
The battalion is set up with four compound control teams.
We would normally run al111111nan compound or11111111man
compounds. flere we had -- we ended up with 110total
compounds instead of 1111Wr IMP So the compound
control teams had to actually split their personnel, and
they just,. ran illiguards per compound on a 12-hour shift.
So we were using 011iplatoons for every shift ,control
teams every shift, and then 011imore would come in. So
there were very limited resources. The Guard companies,
they'd be the outside, and they'd do the feed teams, which

01 ,1505.49

strikes, not eat. So we moved them out, took them down to
13, got approved through the 800th to have the officers
ship right over to the 724th immediately, and we did that,

and after that day we only had a couple of incidents
afterwards.

Q:T

And as operations officer, warden if you will, how do you
handle hunger strikes? I've heard that's happened a couple
of times and --

Well, I learned that running an EPW facility you're more of
a diplomat than you are an officer in a lot of ways. If
people go on hunger strikes, you let them be hungry. If it
reaches the point where it's medically dangerous for them,
then it's going to get taken to the facility, the aid
station. But if you allow them to use the threat of we're
going on a hunger strike, we're not going to eat until we
get more cigarettes or we can go home, and then it becomes
a game of chicken, who's going to win.

A:T

Q:T
And someone had told me, and I'd like to hear your opinion
on this, that the British were a little more lax,. Someone
said their policy was a little bit more like appeasement
actually was the word used.

A:T
Well, they would handle things very diplomatically. But
they also handled prisoners a lot more intensely than we
did when it became one on one. They would rather talk out

014 50 9
53

a situation, as I would, and when you bring an MP in, or

you bring any soldier in, because we had mechanics,

everybody out there, when you put them there and they're

(-0

looking at1111111prisoners in this little tiny area the
size of a couple of football fields, and if they have to
walk down the middle and stand there and guard them and
there's no escape from them if they get out, because you're
totally surrounded if you're in the middle of the facility,
it's very difficult for a soldier to be a diplomat at that
time. So that's why I had to assume that role. And they
were just constantly briefed on the rules of engagement,
the rules of interaction, and how to deal with the
prisoners.

Could you please state what the rules of engagement were?

Q:T

Well, originally CFLCC had put out general rules of
engagement. Which then when you deal with any prisoners of
war, the 800th MP Brigade has to put out different rules of
engagement, which we hadn't received till at least a week
in running the facility.

A:T

0

Which you had or hadn't, I'm sorry.

Q:T

Had not. So we pushed them. They finally produced them

from the rear and brought them up. It's pretty long. I

probably couldn't recite them word for word. That's why we

have so many copies hanging around the TOC so that we don't

A:T

014510
54

have to memorize them all the time. But the levels of
force was the biggest issue. The example I used to give to
my soldiers was that if I walked up to you every day and
pointed a weapon at you, the first time it'll scare you,
the second time it'll scare you, the third, fourth, fifth,
sixth times it's not going to have any impact. Now if I
walked up without my weapon pointed at you, seven days in a
row, and on the eighth day I pointed my weapon at you, that
is now a little bit more scary, and you've increased the
level of force. So that's how we had to do it. It was
verbal, physical, obviously firing a weapon was the last
step to use. But then, when we received the canine, the
military working dogs, and then when we finally received
the non-lethal equipment, there were two more levels of
force we could use first before firing a weapon. Now
granted, if a soldier's life is in danger, as occurred
approximately one week later after the Palm Sunday riots,
Compound 1, an EPW went into the tent, got a tent pole with
a very sharpened end, and swung it at an MP, missed. The

MP just moved. He was on the feed team. So he was in the
compound. The exterior guard shot at the EPW and missed
him because he'd swung. And when the EPW went to swing
again is when the guard shot and killed him with his second
shot.

01 X 511
U.4. 41U11.
55

Q:T

And let's go to feed team. What is the procedure for that?

How does it work? Because you're responsible for feeding
them. I expect that's a tough operation in itself.

A:T

Well, in theory we have a food service section in the
battalion that's supposed to teach the prisoners to feed
themselves.

Q:T

But you just said in theory, so --

A:T

Right. What the Brits did was they would prepare the food,
bring it down, line up the prisoners, 20-man fronts and
however far back they had depending upon the number that
were in the compound. They'd send approximately 11
soldiers in. Prisoners come out, get the food, they line
the food up inside the compound. You had soldiers that
would control the crowd, tell them which ones could get up
and go eat. You'd have prisoners serving, with feed team
members behind them watching that they don't steal the
food, give too much to certain people. And then you had
MPs or feed team personnel behind. Because once they
receive their food they were supposed to go back to the
tents and eat it. The reason why you had to put them
behind is because they would drop it, come back with
another bowl and spoon and get in line again. So once
everybody did that, the feed team was to keep them back
until all the food was moved out of the compound, not allow

014512
56

them to go to the water or to the latrines, which were up
front, until all the feed team members were out of the
compound for safety. So sounds really easy. But as many
times as we fed some of the prisoners, and they just
couldn't understand the concept of get in line, sit down
and be quiet and you'll eat very quickly. At times it
would take hours, two hours, three hours, to get them to
sit down and eat. Then the feed teams would just go to
another compound. Which would then start a problem because
they didn't feed that compound. So the feed team concept
was brand new to anybody who did it. When the Brits had it
I participated in the feed teams, just so I knew what we
were going to have to do, because it was not a facility
designed to teach prisoners how to feed themselves. It
wasn't designed that way. Now later as the population
reduced, and when people started getting released, we would
allow the prisoners to feed themselves. And the EPWs did a

much better job than the civilians.

OK. I've heard that EPWs were better than civilians. Now
you mentioned that you let prisoners feed themselves. So
let's talk about you're the warden, what are the ways you
reward the prisoners for good conduct, and how do you
punish them for bad conduct?

Q:T

57

DOD-018124
A:T

A point that was discussed over and over again with many
different opinions, of which mine was always the winning
opinion. Punishment is a difficult thing. If you threaten
and you don't follow through you lose face. Because while
they were fed, they were also receiving three cigarettes
per meal. So it's a culture that smokes. So one form of
punishment, if it was a compound, or even if it was
individuals, they wouldn't receive six cigarettes a day,
they'd only receive four. Doesn't sound like a big deal,
but when they only get six cigarettes a day, for them it's
a big deal. And it would escalate to no cigarettes for the
next day. If it was individuals or a group of individuals,
we would extract them during a feed time. We'd wait for
them to get the food in their hands. Then we'd escort them
out, because they won't spill their food. So that's how
you do it peacefully without any trouble versus going in

with nightsticks and that only causes problems with people
getting hurt. We didn't do that. And then we'd remove
them, we'd put them in segregation for 24 hours. If they
didn't straighten up while they were in segregation, they
would then be put down in Compound 13 away from everybody.
Rewarding them, soccer. They love soccer ball, playing
soccer. So if a compound was being extremely good we'd
give them a soccer ball. They'd get extra food or

,r71 A
Ll :11 J.
58

DOD-018125
cigarettes. If we received something new in that we could
give to the prisoners, we had one compound that was always
good, they'd be the first ones to get it -- sandals,
jumpsuits, towels, and that sort of thing. So it worked
out very well. The levels of discipline and punishment
were you don't always jump to the extreme. You start out
slowly and see if you can end it there. But they were
pretty persistent. They're a very proud people. They're a
very proud people, and they don't -- they're difficult to
bargain with, that's for sure.

And how about cigarettes? I've heard you discuss it
somewhat as rewards and I almost understand it's like you
said, it's a smoking culture. What about the juveniles?
Do they smoke or --

Q:T

A:T
They do.

It's a different culture than America.

Q:T

A:T

They do, and that was a point of discussion at brigade

meetings very often, was don't give the juveniles

cigarettes. It's not our culture. However, a juvenile

over the age of 15 is not considered a juvenile here. A
lot of them are soldiers. A lot of them -- some of them
came over and joined the fedayyin, the militia. But the
decision was made, under the age I think of 16 or 17 they

don't get cigarettes. Then it finally came to the point

0114 tr .; r.7
59
where the British were giving them cigarettes, we didn't,
because my commander and 800th said no, so we didn't give
it to them. Now I don't know what happened when they were
transferred over to the 724th. But they were juveniles but
they were soldiers too. And some of them were Syrian that
came over to fight the US and coalition forces. So
juveniles, difficult time to sometimes follow the -­started out with three or four and I adopted them in a way.
I'd take them a soccer ball or give them shoes or something
like that. But then we had up to 18 or 19. It was mixed.
Because some of the ones that were in the juvenile facility
were 19-year-old individuals that were not doing well in
their compounds because they were weak and small stature.

Q:T

Well, let's go ahead and you were speaking about the
differences earlier about civilians and military and we're
speaking about juveniles. Let's break down the compounds
into the different how they were segregated.

A:T

They were segregated with officers, anything above the rank

of lieutenant, anything -- a warrant officer is not

considered an officer in the Iraqi Army. They won't allow

them in their compound. So we don't put them in there.

They would go into an enlisted compound, or other ranks it

was called. Because they would have junior officers and

enlisted in that compound. Civilians, we had civilian

014516 60

compounds. Originally we had four compounds, officers,

other ranks, which were enlisted and junior officers,
civilians and juveniles. Because we had so many, we
couldn't segregate, put the Syrians here, put the Algerian
here and we just didn't have that capability. When we
discovered personalities or conflicts within a compound,
where one was a Sunni and Shiite, and most of them are
Shiites, or whatever, we would take that person out, put
them in another compound. So we did that 1,000 times a
day. Just to make the personality of the compound better.
But we had Compound 9 for instance, was a civilian
compound, that was just the worst compound we have. It
just rioted all the time.

Q:T

And was that because they weren't used to military
discipline? Or were they angry at being here at what they

might have felt unjustifiably?

A:T

Combination, combination. A lot of them were civilians

just walking down the street they say or pulling up to a

checkpoint, and that's why they increased the screening

process, they got a lot more JAG officers up here to

increase that to release a lot more people. So when that

started happening, tempers started going down, because then

they knew that we're doing something to get them out of

here. So that worked out well.

014517
61

Q:T

So you take away that feeling of hopelessness or you give

them hope that they'd be getting out, that actually brought
about better behavior as well. All right. What about -­you've mentioned the canine and non-lethal weapons. If you
could describe the value of both of those in your
operations as well.

A:T

When we did receive the MWD, the military working dogs,
after the Palm Sunday riot, and after the shooting of the
one prisoner, the fatal shooting of the one prisoner, we
didn't tolerate a pebble being thrown. If someone was seen
throwing a rock into another compound or at the guards,
we'd get the compound representative. He was someone who
usually spoke English, or if he didn't speak English, he
just had a power over the compound. We would tell him to
bring that prisoner out or we would come in and get the
prisoner. And if the compound wouldn't bring them out, and
we couldn't identify him, the compound would be punished.
Instead of six cigarettes they'd get five. But when we got
to the point where we weren't able to tolerate that. We
wanted the individual who threw the rock because we wanted
to show the other thousands of prisoners that we weren't
going to put up with this. So when you bring a QRF, when
you tell the compound rep to have all the prisoners sit on
one side, sit down, 20-man fronts, and you bring in two,

01451.8
three or four MP dog teams, with the QRF, we're extremely
effective. Even prisoners won't fight a dog. And we used
the dogs to sweep the tents, because sometimes prisoners
would hide in the tents when they were supposed to be out.
They would hide in the tents. But basically the use of the
dogs was for going after escapees and for security when we
had to go into the compounds and do an extraction.

Now I've heard that when the prisoners get unruly, dogs are
very -- a calming force if you will, extreme calming force.

Q:T

A:T

Yes, I use that very often. When I personally witnessed a
prisoner throw a rock at the juvenile compound, and I got
the compound rep, my compound guards weren't getting
anywhere, sometimes we have to escalate that to me. And I

basically told him he had three minutes to go back into the

tent and bring out the prisoner. He argued a little bit, I
said you now have two minutes or I will get the dogs.

Well, he walks back in, he comes back out, says I don't
know. So I pick up the radio and call the dogs. We bring

the dogs in and we do a shakedown of the tent. If you

can't find the prisoner while we're in there, we search for

weapons, anything illegal, so we bring the dogs in, which

is very effective.

Q:T

So did you get him?

014519.63

escaped and went over the berm into the living areas. They
went into our living areas, where you got a battalion of
MPs. So of course every unit has been briefed that when
you see a white star cluster be on the lookout for an EPW
running somewhere. So one did escape in a mild sandstorm
and ran into an MP who was at the time burning the shit
barrel. And he tackled and subdued the EPW.

But that seems like a bad situation to me, having your

living conditions so close to the EPW compound.

Q:T

A:T

Oh yeah, it is, it is.

Q:T

OK, what was done to rectify that? Or --

A:T

Well, when they built the 724th facility and we shut that
one down, that's where the Brits had it. There's not much
room here to move. So it wasn't real close, but it was too
close. So the building of the other facility eliminated
that.

OK, good deal. Now you've talked about using dogs to
search for prisoners. What about night vision gear?

Q:T

A:T

We had no night vision gear. Many problems exist with the
IR community's intel. Many problems.

Let's say you're doing an after action review. Would you

go ahead and list some of the equipment issues, like night

vision goggles?

Q:T

1"-1 1 `14fq
65

prisoners. As you can see, he has two black eyes. That's
from the last two compounds he was in. So once we
explained that to them and say this is for his safety and
the safety of others, they leave it alone. But they didn't
hinder our operation in any way. They made suggestions.
We looked at it and said yes. Good suggestion. We'll fix
it. One suggestion they said was Compound 1 doesn't have
showers in the compound. I said well, if they give us back
the buckets and rebuild the showers that the buckets were
hanging from, they will have showers. But due to the fact
they stole the buckets and tore them down, I'm not giving
them showers again. That's part of the discipline of the
compound. So they understood that.

And who was in Compound 1?

Q:T

A:T

Civilians. Civilians. So they understood that. They
didn't have any hindrance on the operation at all. (C6

—t

T

Q:TI'm

Sir, all right, this is Sergeant
resuming the interview. All right, sir. We were talking
about working with the Red Cross and you just gave the
example of the one prisoner that had been thrown in the
compounds. What are some other examples of working with
the Red Cross?

A:T

Well, they had issues of sanitation, their toilets,

showers, notifying relatives of prisoners, which is totally

fir
69
out of our control, that was basically the big ones that I

heard about.

Matter of fact, I understand that was a big concern,
because there would be civilians outside the gates here
trying to find out about their relatives.

Q:T

A:T

That's correct. And that did lead to some problems. Part
of the April -- the Palm Sunday riots in April was
allegedly the general, the officers were passing around to
different compounds that their families were outside
waiting for them. So yeah, that led to problems.

OK, and another subject I've heard about was razors. The

Red Cross wanted razors issued.

Q:T

A:T

The British had originally issued razors. We did not. We
acquired clippers. Hair-clippers and if they wanted to
shave we would give them razors, have them shave, and
return the razor to us.

19M__2_T

END OF TRgE

SergeantT

and sorry about that, sir. All right, so you were talking

about you would search -- or after the razors you would go

ahead and search the tents.

Q:Tresuming the interview yet again

A:T

Correct. We would find amazing ways they would take little
holders and take apart the razors and put the blades inside
the holder. Which they could use cupped behind their hand

0.1.4526.
70

A:T

It does. The ones who did it never did it again that we

know of. So it must have worked.

Q:T

All right. We're actually getting to the end of the
interview. You mentioned the Palm Sunday riot, but what
other riots have there been, and what have been the root
causes for those?

A:T

Well, there were quite a few, a lot of the fights and
disturbances began during feeding or later in the evening.
It would occur during the feeding because they would fight
to get in line. In front of each other. Knowing that
we're never going to run out of food, because if we run out
of food we have to get more. That would then create a
fight between two of them, which would escalate. It would
escalate to the point where they would go in their tents
and pull out the pegs and the poles and the weapons they've
made and come out. Now the result of that is they just put
their feeding back hours. Because now we line them up,
bring in the QRF and the dogs and we do a shakedown in the
tents for their weapons. Then we pull out the
troublemakers. Who will then end up eating less anyway.

Have any prisoners killed other prisoners in the compound?

Q:T

A:T

No. One was very close. One actually pulled out a very
long knife that he had made out of a pole. And luckily,
the MP was there and a warning shot was fired at that time

0! 4531.75

and it stopped him for a second, and we were able to get

the QRF in and grab him and bring him out. So the one
where the prisoner was shot and killed was as I talked
about earlier, it was probably the worst incident in an
individual compound that we had. But most of the other
disturbances were rock-throwing for it could be reasons,
they want more water, they would receive over 6,000 gallons
of water a day, and when they spill it all and use it all
and waste it all and then they wanted more, it wasn't
programmed that way, they were receiving more than what was
required by the Geneva Convention or the Army Regulation
190-8. And that's just a condition, a discipline. This is
the water you receive. Use it. Don't waste it. You can't
get any more. So that water started it. Medical care. If
we saw -- if a medic saw 100 men a day, maybe 30 actually
needed to see him. They would do anything to get out of
the compound. The medics even identified no, seen me 300
times, you're not coming back. They want to go home. They
don't know why they were here. It's just endless, the
reasons that would cause a disturbance.

Your soldiers are right among the prisoners. Is there much
interaction? I know there's not supposed to be interaction
between prisoners and soldiers.

Q:T

014532
76

A:T

There's always going to be -- you can't have personal

relationships develop. You must have interaction with the
prisoners. The most interaction that they'll have with the
prisoners is with the compound representative. The one who
has identified within his own group as the leader of the

compound. They had a lot of interaction with the compound

representative. Because they don't talk, the idea is not
to talk to the other prisoners. Is to talk to the compound

representative only. Unless of course one of the other
prisoners is doing something wrong. No, they didn't
develop personal relationships. That's fraternization.

It's also not safe for themselves. But they had a great
deal of interaction with the prisoners. Again because of
how the facility was built. If you back up from your
compound to get away from it for a little while, you're now
standing right in front of another compound. And that's
only 15, 20 feet away. Over in the 724th's facility, if
you back up you have 30 yards, 40 yards that you can go
before you hit another compound. So you have room to get
away from the prisoners and still see them. So the
facility was not designed to support no interaction or --
it was a very taxing job for the MPs. Very taxing. My
sergeant major and I put in 20, 23 hours a day. We've got
1111111risoners, we're going to have incidents all the

014533.77
time. And especially towards the end of the shift when an

MP has had 12 or 13 hours of constant verbal abuse so to
speak from the prisoners, that's when we spent most of our

time down there because we knew people can lose their

patience and it's just human nature. They never did. The

prisoners did. But the MPs didn't. Which is very
impressive.

Q:T

How do you maintain the morale of your MPs who go down
there? It's a little bit outside your field perhaps.

It is but it isn't. All the MPs work for me. They all
belong to the S3. So I care about the frame of mind they
come down in. The frame of mind while they're there. And
the frame of mind when they leave. I've told all of my
NCOs that I may have concern over one MP that seems a
little bit out of it today, is taking things very -- is
very short-tempered, why don't you pull him off and talk to
him and see what's going on, come to find out the MP did
have a little family issue at home, which was affecting his
job, which could affect prisoners, which could lead to
problems.

A:T

Q:T
Affect your job.

A:T
Right. So he was replaced just for the day, just to get
him away from things for a while. Because they work 12
hours a day for a month and when you're surrounded by

014534
78

OK, good deal. Let's talk about the layout a little bit.
Because you've mentioned you have towers there. So how are
they positioned?

Q:T

A:T

The towers were actually CONEXs, empty CONEXs, that the MPs
built their own shade on. And they're positioned at all
as well asTat the 1111111111111111
IIIIIIIIand then., inTonT. And in
between the towers there are
11111111M So you would surround them with IIIMPs just on

Plus all of your MPs on the
inside of the facility itself. Plus your external Buka
force protection security, plus the QRF.

And when did you get the non-lethal weaponry? And what

types did you get?

Q:T

A:T

We received that actually towards the end of the mission.
I thin it was a CFLCC issue as to who was going to receive
it. I wish we'd have had it during the Palm Sunday riot
and I wish we would have had it a week after the Palm
Sunday riot. We received the shotgun shells that have
beads in them. Which we ended up using one time. We did
fire non-lethal.

What was that incident?

Q:T

A:T
This incident was actually a very -- it was unfortunate.
It was a compound that we were transporting over to the

n.r_71
J. '1
80

Q:T

All right. Let's get some statistical information. It was
two meals a day for prisoners, I believe?

A:T
Correct.

Q:T

All right, and what was the highest number of prisoners you
had to the lowest number of prisoners you had?

A:T

The initial balance we started with was approximately T

lolls The highest we had, I think it's around PN-kk TThe
reason why it's difficult to give the exact number is
because they were doing transfers over to the 724th

facility but we were still receiving new prisoners. The
lowest amount of prisoners we had for the longest period of
time is we had ten individuals in the segregation unit in
the CONEXs. That's after we had emptied the facility but
we kept them because they were high-risk, three are wanted
for -- are probably going to be prosecuted for rape of a
fellow prisoner. Three are other suspected rapists and
murderers. One's a British criminal who shot two British
soldiers. They have since been transferred over to the
724th's high-risk compound. But that would be the least
amount that we had.

Q:T

OK, let's talk a little bit about the segregation compound.
What were the cells? I believe you said they were CONEXs.

A:T

CONEXs.

Q:T

When the Red Cross came by.

0 1453 9

83

We'd go in and sweep and clean up the compound in case we

had to use it again.

And how many guards would be with theT

time?

Q:Tprisoners at that

You had/10rT
putting them on the trucks, riding the trucks over, driving
the trucks over. And there was usually myself, the
sergeant major or the battalion commander would lead all
the transfers.

A:Twe had people counting, searching,

Q:TOK, so it was abdut allillito Illior evenT

to
prisoner to guard ratio.

A:T

Correct.

Q:T

OK. Just trying to get that out. You elaborated on the
320th, what they've accomplished. Is there any other
statistical information, short -- some people look for
short bites of information. Like you said, 7,200 prisoners
in 30 days now. Meals, escape attempts, you said there
were about ten and you believe they were all caught except
for possibly the three, the rumored three.

A:T
Correct.

Q:T
All right. Let me ask do you have an idea what the next
mission is or whether or not you're going home?

A:T

No. At this time consulting the brigade yesterday, there
isn't, not another mission slotted for the 320th. And in a

n I 4
41. 85
DOD-018152
way I'm glad, and I hope for the unit that we don't. They
did their mission. They did a mission in one month with
7,200 prisoners. And after a while --cyou don't burn out,
but after a while you get to a point where either give us a
bigger facility'or reduce the number of prisoners. So what
we did in a month would take another unit six months to
reach burnout on. These soldiers can be told tomorrow that
there's another mission and they'd do it. But in my mind
they did their mission and they did it for the entire war.
No one ran a facility the size that we ran. Especially as
small a facility as it was. So there isn't one slotted for
us. I personally hope it's redeployment.

Q:.Now frequently during my interviews I'll ask senior leadership about the conditions of the camp. But I will pass over that unless you want to touch on it. Like frequently I'll ask how it improved, but you're operations, you're training. So won't go into that with you. I'll hit your commander on that for sure, but I am curious, what do you think about retention? Because that's a big issue with Reserve component units returning home.
A:T

Well, a lot of MPs not only within this battalion but in

other battalions just came home from mobilization before

they got mobilized for this. The MP Corps is too small.

We don't have enough MPs. Most of the missions out there

86
DOD-018153
are now MP missions. Rumor has it that units could be
redeployed now and six months later be deployed back over
here. If that's the case, they won't have an MP reserve
anymore, because Reserves are not active duty. If they
were, they'd be active duty. People have civilian lives.
Families yes, but so do active duty soldiers have families.
But they need to relook at the use of the MPs in the
Reserves. A lot of them are on homeland defense, not
necessarily in their own state. So I think it's going to
have a tremendous effect on retention. Every deployment
does. I just think this one's going to have a bigger one
because a lot of them just came home from mobilization. So
I hope that someone doesn't redeploy this unit in six
months after they redeploy -- or doesn't -- yeah, deploy
them again, because that would be a mistake. They're going
to ruin units if they do that.

Do you have any idea what percentage are going to stay?

Granted, not everyone leaves just because they're

dissatisfied with the Army Reserve National Guard. Some

switch branches, services, or even just join different

units.

Q:T

A:T
Some might go back to their old unit. I'd say at least 30%
will either get out of the unit, get out of the MP world,
or get out of the Reserves.

87

DOD-018154

Doc_nid: 
7059
Doc_type_num: 
73