Army Interview with Army Staff Sergeant re: Military Police Operations in Iraq

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An Army Staff Sergeant with the 314th Military Police Company describes his unit’s deployment to Iraq and his experience at Abu Ghraib prison. He describes handling detainees on a day-to-day basis and certain events that occurred at Abu Ghraib, i.e. two (2) riots, feeding the detainees and handling detainee discipline.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
Friday, July 29, 2005

IFIT-35-111 Sergeant

N9( -
SGT 111111111111111111(sp?)) of the 35th Military History


detachment. I'm with Staff Sergeant He's

11111111116 al/

with the first squad leader, third Platoon of the 314 MPs.
023 -1
SGT state your name, spell your

could you please
last name and give us your duty position please.

b ( (.0 -b L CA) A 10111111 My name is Last name spelled 1111111 yLO
VIM First, I'm First Squad Squad
Leader in 3rd Platoon 314th MP Company.

OK, now what was the day that you were mobilized?


The date I was mobilized was 6 February.
(break in tape)



SGT 41111111 where were you actually--where did you report
to your move station?

1111111111111111 18 February 2003.


And where was that?
Fort Bliss, Texas.


And how long did you stay there?
1111111111 Approximately two weeks. We left 24 March 2003.


OK and while you were at Fort Bliss, how did your
mobilization go?

MEND Fairly well actually. The MSRP itself, getting

certified, it went fairly fast considering the number of

014361 1
soldiers being mobilized out of there at that time. You

can imagine, there were a few, about a hundred units.
Seemed like they were moving all at once. So there were
soldiers from all over. 3,000 soldierS;; t one time went
through the same stations and it went fairly fast. It
seemed liki4 it was coordinated well and it went smoothly
and efficiently.

Q: And when you weAe ready to dissqnt overseas, did your
vehicles leave aheaef of you?


IP -

1111110 Yes they did, they left approximately two weeks ahead


of us.

Ahd were they in country when you arrived in Kuwait?
11111111 Yes they were.

So when did; you actually arrive in Kuwait?
111111111 We actually arrived 24 March here in Kuwait.

And upon your arrival in Kuwait, when did you come to Camp

11111111/ We came to Camp Buka on 29th of March.

Q: And what was the condition of the camp when you arrived?

Man It was extremely packed. There were units everywhere.
It was dry and bare and there was not a whole lot out here.
I remember when we got here and got off the bus, the sand
was glowing. It was extremely hot. You had all your gear
with you and you're on the bus and for miles and miles, all


you saw was dessert. When you got off the bus, it was
extremely hot and extremely high, extremely high winds.

Q: Let me take you back to your arrival in Kuwait. What
happened upon your arrival when you just got off the

‘i9 1111110 First thing that happened I remember is that we had a
scud ((sp?))alert where we had a scud missile alert it went
off and the sound went off. We were inside the plane, we
didn't know it went off. So you can imagine we've come to
a rolling stop in the plane, getting ready to get off the
plane and I look outside the window and I see some of the
grounds crew and they have their protective masks on. I
look around and everybody's got the same look and
immediately somebody yells gas and everybody starts to put
on their gas masks. I remember thinking to myself at that
very moment that this was the real deal, that I wasn't in
Kansas anymore. I remember thinking that I was scared, I
didn't know what was coming next, I didn't know if a
missile was actually going to hit. I didn't know what to
expert. A thousand things going through my head at that
time. My family was going through my mind, my children, my
wife, my mother, my father. And then I stepped back and I
remember I felt the sense of helplessness as we're packed
in this airplane thinking, if there is an attack, we're all

01 4363

trapped in this airplane, we're not going to be able to get
out. You have your gear with you, your M16s, full battle
rattle, you're barely able to move, maneuver around one

6) person, let alone trying to get out of a plan that has over

tC people on it.

Q: And IWhat was the feeling of the other soldiers with you at

the time?
I remember they felt pretty much the same thing. A


little bit of panic, a little bit of terror. Not knowing

what was ahead. The uncertainty of whether or not it was

the real thing or not. Everybody had the same scared,

confused look in their eyes. And they were just waiting

for someone to assure them that everything was going to be

okay. Waiting for that all-clear sign to be given. And

once it was, it was just the sign of relief. I remember

looking at the crew that was working board the airplane,

the pilots and the stewardesses and I remember looking at

them putting on their protective masks and half of them

didn't know how to put them on. So, many of our soldiers

assisted them, putting their masks on. I knew for sure

that if this was serious, this was something that

definitely needed immediate attention.

Q: So with all the training that you had, your past training

really paid of when being able to direct your soldiers and
to get everybody off the aircraft in safety.

Yes, yes. All of our training with the NBC training
which is Nuclear Biological Chemical training, all the
different drills we've had. Practice drills, putting our
masks on, putting them away, putting them on, putting them
away. Going through the procedures over and over again.
The repetitious drills that we've done, it actually paid
off because when it came time to it, when we looked around,
everyone had their mask on within the amount of time
allotted for normal conditions. Mind you, it was close
quarters, it was very cramped, lack of space. Everybody
had all their gear. And everybody did really well. Our
training's what stopped the panic from taking over and the
fear from clouding our judgment, it helped us make clear

Q: While you were in Camp Arifjan, were there other occasions
when you had to go into your (inaudible) gear?

11111111 You know, as soon as we got off the plane, got on a
bus, even before we got to Arifjan, while we were making
way to Camp Wolf, which was our first destination, it was
kind of like your reception camp. I remember it was over
100 degrees and I was sitting in the front of that bus and

n 1 4 3 t3

each bus had about 60 soldiers. SO we were caravanning

these busses and all of a sudden, another scuddler ((sp?))
went out and we want to MAC4 ((sp?)) and in MAC level 4, I
remember I was sitting in this bus, crammed so tight, I
remember thinking to myself I was going to pass out it was
so hot. I just felt like I couldn't breathe. I was already
in a confined area and in those conditions, I remember
feeling like I was going to pass out. I looked in the eyes
of my soldiers equally as scared, equally as confused, and
I remember one thing that stood out in my mind was that the
driver of that bus, he was of Mid-Eastern descent, maybe
Kuwaiti, maybe Indian, and he had a radio playing and he
put the siren on for the scud missile, for the scud alert,
and the siren made this unforgettable annoying siren sound
that just kept playing over and over and over again. And I
looked at him and he smiled at me because it's something
that--scud alerts are something that he's obviously been
used to for quite some time now, and it was something that
had us completely flustered and scared. But it was no big
deal because to him it's just part of his everyday life out

here in a country that's so unsettled and chaotic.

Q: OK. And did you actually see any scuds or any patriot
missiles being shot off?


We didn't see any, I don't think. Thankfully we didn't

see any until we got to Camp Arifjan. Once we were in Camp

Arifjan, about a week into our stay there, we would be

woken up about 2 o'clock in the morning by a loud explosion

and some vibration that shook the particular warehouse that

we had been sleeping in. I remember everybody yelled gas

and we donned our protective gear as fast as possible, took

cover and waited for the all-clear sign to be given. Once

the all-clear command was given, that next morning, just a
few hours later, we had learned that a scud missile had

landed approximately two miles away from Camp Arifjan where

we were staying, and again, a sense of reality set in and

it really brought it home to each soldier how serious this

really was. And how serious they had to take this mission.

Q: Okay and once you got back up to Camp Buka, had you been
under scud attacks or missile attacks while you were here
as well?

11111111 No, once we got here, scud attacks had already ceased
by about a few days, so ever since we arrived, we had not
had a scud attack out here at Camp Buka. There were
instances where there were small arms fire from rebels or
militia type soldiers passing by the perimeter. There was
reports of a couple RPG rounds being launched from outside
vehicles as they drove away but no scud attacks.



Q: OK, SGT IWO could you tell me a little more about your

14.0‘ primary responsibilities here at Camp Buka?
1111.111 Yeah. Primary responsibilities here at Camp Buka is

to lead a feed team, one of into the compounds. And
our mission was to conduct feed operations. This operation
entailed feeding the prisoners twice a day, breakfast and a
late lunch or early dinner, if you will. And also, to
ensure that our soldiers had everything they needed. They
had to make sure their tents were set up properly,
organizing their tents, making sure we had the right number
of bodies in each tent. Separating the females, making
sure they had whatever they need. So the first initial is
just the set up, once the set up was over the next mission
was to get ready for work and assign various tasks, who
would be on what team. And from there on, it was just your
normal, everyday operations. Taking care of soldiers and
completing the mission.

Q: And what kind of food do the prisoners receive?

Usually, they--okay for breakfast, a typical breakfast

would consist of milk, something they call biscuit, which
is a cracker type meal, some bread which usually consists
of a pita bread, one jelly, one butter or cheese, and
usually two hard boiled eggs. That's your typical
breakfast. For dinner, you'd have one scoop of rice, one



scoop of soup, a cup of soup, that they would pour onto the

rice, a glass of tea, three cigarettes, bread, jelly,
cheese and that's all.

4: Was this enough food for them?

IMO It was sufficient but they always claimed that they
were hungry and they always claimed that there was not
enough, that they weren't getting enough portions. But
portions were clearly weighed out beforehand and it was
determined how much food each of them would need to sustain
normal health, good health.

Q: And during that period of time, was there any fighting
among the prisoners, as far as for the food?

Not as far as for the food, but there were instances
where they did try to take extra food and steal extra on
many many occasions. Not necessarily from each other, but
from the feed line itself. From the people handing the
food out, they would try to get extra any time they could.
A hundred times over, even if they've been caught the day
before, they would try the next day. If there friends were
on the serving line serving the food, they would try to use
their friendship to gain extra food. More soup, more rice,
more cigarettes and we'd have to constantly monitor that
because we would run out of food and the food was accounted



Q: SGTIIIIIIINIcluring your feedings and other guard duty, were
there other circumstances that came up that may have put
you or your guards in danger?

Well, there were a few incidences where tensions
within the camps got really high for various reasons.
Reasons like when they would hear on their radios, that
they had, their little home-made radios or radios that they
had acquired somehow or brought with them. As they heard
the war winding down, their tensions got higher. They
wanted their freedom. They felt that they no longer
deserved to be prisoners because the war was over, Saddam
Hussein had been chased out of Iraq. That was probably one
of the most motivating factors for the tension I would say.
Was the fact that they heard on the radio through a media
source that the war was winding down, that Iraq had been
conquered, that Baghdad had been conquered in general. SO
that caused tensions to rise. Also, whenever we would
extract a prisoner for reasons, maybe he wasn't compliant,

maybe he was aggressive and he needed to be taken out and
put into another camp where he couldn't do any harm either
to our soldiers or to the fellow prisoners inside.
Sometimes that would cause tensions to flare up. Sometimes
the prisoner would protect that individual, not wanting
that individual to be taken out of that camp. Sometimes it

would be a matter of maybe a prisoner being fed up, he's
just fed up with following rules. We had--you know, it's
really ironic, we had to teach these people how to live by
rules when it seems like they haven't known any rules all
their life. Generations and generations of chaos and
animosity, and yet we brought them into an environment that
was controlled and we expected them to know that they
should follow the rules and then we expected them to
enforce them by disciplining them or rewarding them. So we
took a--basically a non-civilized society and taught them
how to live, civilized, respect each other, don't steal
each other's food, don't steal each other's blankets.
There's plenty to go around. Don't cut in front of one
another in line. Don't hit one another, don't assault one
another. Respect each other's human beings. Respect each
other's rights. It was a hard concept to break to them, to
get them to actually believe in, and to actually want to
do. Because we had no reason to do it. They'd been living
in their eyes just fine before. We had to show them that
there were rewards for doing this things, for living in-­and one of the rewards was being able to self feed. This

meant that we would take the food, drop it off and that
compound would, with the help of the compound
representatives and their helpers, would be able to feed

014371 1 1

themselves without having soldiers decide. This gave them
a sense of freedom and it helped them to give them
something to shoot for as they saw other camps do it. A
sense of liberation in a way, if you will.
Q: Any occasion where the prisoners may try to attack the
Yes. Two occasions during both riots. The guards
were attacked. We had to bring our quick reaction force in
and during both riots, guards were attacked by both
physical objects i.e. shoes, poles, rocks, cups of sand,
anything that they could get into their hands to use as
weapons they would. And during both of those riots, many
of those items were used.
Q: OK, you said you had two riots. How were they started and
how did you contain those?

The first riot was started due to the fact that there
was a rock throwing frenzy among the compounds. The
prisoners one day just decided that they were going to riot
and they weren't going to stop until they were let free. We
had to withdraw everybody from within the compound,
assemble a quick reaction force and a plan, and we had to
go in physically and take one compound out. This compound
was the compound that contained the officers. One of the
officers was a high-ranking general. The general had



instigated these riots. He had planned them, coordinated

them and instigated on that date. It was on his order that
the riot happened. So the first thing to do was, we went
in there and we set the perimeter. We chased each compound
back to give us a safe perimeter in the middle and we took
a quick reaction team and went in and physically escorted
thOse officers to another compound far away. They should
have never been that close to the lower enlisted soldiers.
So that's how we controlled that one, and again,
unfortunately that did result in the shooting of one EPW
who refused to listen to the orders given and the rules of
engagement and he was shot. The second riot was started
due to the fact that a trouble maker was identified. He
was going to be extracted by myself, by making contact with
an Enemy Prisoner of War, he resisted and he was taken down
to .the ground where he was subdued to be extracted. The
crowd then stood up and came at me in a hostile and
aggressive manner, attempting to do great bodily injury to
me. During the course of us trying to get out of the
compound safely, while backing the crowd up, trying to sit
back down and prepare to be--continue to be fed, a crowd of
over someone ran passed our formation and went into
the tent. Came out with a three foot tent pole and went to
swing at my head. He missed my head by inches due to the

014373 13

fact that one of my soldiers yelled, "watch out SGT

he's got a pole behind you." I turned, just as I turned, he
swung the pole and missed my head again by inches. And the
EPW then turned and kept coming at me with that pole. I
was clearly at a reach disadvantage and my only action was
to evade and try to talk him into putting the pole down.
But to no avail he kept coming and approaching at a very
rapid pace, in a very aggressive manner and he was shot at
center mass and killed.

Q: So are you the one that actually shot him then?

C (°
VNkL One of my soldiers, by the name of Specialis1111111
((sp?)) was the one that actually shot him.

Q: And what was his question of knowing how to handle, how to

react in this situation?
No, he was clearly knowledgeable in how to react. All


of our soldiers knew exactly what the rules of engagement
and the rules of interaction were. He saw the rules of

engagement try to be implemented, he saw the first two

levels, he saw the third level and the fourth level. He

reacted quickly, without hesitation, with due regard to

personal safety for other innocent EPWs. But he made a

split decision that was the right decision, and he

eliminated a threat which is obviously--was not going to

stop for anything.

01 „A ft./

Q: What happened to the rest of the prisoners? They got backs
or they---
\?((i) -` They got down. Once they heard the shots fired, they got down on their knees and put their heads down. They
were afraid that they would be shot next. They gave us
this split second toget out of the compound safely without 1­)C7)-being mobbed by11111111PWs standing there.
Did you try to separate the trouble makers or separate the
possible other trouble makers as well?

WIM What happened was--yes. What happened was, the second
riot started because of the fact that we tried toaseparate
them. We were unsuccessful, the riot happened, there was a
shooting. But the very next day, we went back and we had a
formation, we had them sit down like they normally would.
And as they went to get their ISN number checked in, we
just made an excuse. Led to ISN counts. This gave us the
ability to separate the prisoners one by one in an orderly
and safe manner without them having the protection of the
rest of (inaudible) sitting down. So, as they came up to

me, I was able to physically identify them and say yes or
no. If I said yes, then this prisoner was able to go past
and get his food. If I said no, then this prisoner was
extracted. At that point, he was apprehended right there
and he was rushed out of the compound, quicker than anybody


could realize what was going on. And we did that, and that
day we extracted a bunch of them, like fliprisoners out of
that facility that were determined as trouble makers
Q: And with the different prisoners, were these soldiers, were
they civilians, were they a mixture? What kind of prisoners
)9(06-' did you actually house?

11111111, They were a mixture of everything. They were a
mixture of citizens, a mixture of civilians, mixture of
soldiers, both officers and enlisted. All walks of life,
all walks of life. All ages. There were civilians who were
innocently caught up in the whole thing. I met two Syrian
brothers who were teachers and were here in Iraq studying
their doctorate degree. And on their campus, the
university that they were at, they had an anti-war
demonstration and it got a little out of hand on the way,
walking to their next class, the police came in and the
next thing you know, they were taken prisoner and here they
are. There was another gentleman, an older gentleman in
his late 50s. He's from Jordan. He owns a--he's a retired
Jordanian army lieutenant, now runs a library with him and
his wife. Again, in his mid-50s. And the way he got
captured was he was here in Iraq in a taxi cab, coming to
look for his brother who had been missing for two weeks.



-Th Goes through a checkpoint, gets captured. So there were
many civilians and--mixed in with the crowds of soldiers.
Q: You have some young adults that were captured as well?

211111111 Yes, we had juveniles. We had a whole compound of
juveniles, approximately 35-40 bodies. Ranging from the
age as early as 10 years old. And some of them were caught
with their families, some of them were caught with their
friends. Some of them innocent, some of them not. All the
way up to the age of 18 until they were considered an
adult. Some of them very, very educated. Some of them
were just babies who didn't know what they were doing.

Q: And did you see if any of these prisoners had identifying
marks on them that would identify them as soldiers or part
of different militias?

Other than the wrist bands that would declare whether
they were civilian or soldier, no.

Q: On your different guard duty, as you've been here for a
while, has that--has your position here, as far as your
service, has it changed as far as your mission goes?

111111/ No, no. It's pretty much the same. It's pretty much
the same.

Q: As of recent date, have you done any type of escort service
of escorting prisoners from one area to another that you
recognize were a significant find?

01437 7


IIIIIIIII Yes, three days ago while I was working our new
mission, which is the out processing center now, we're no
longer conducting feed operations as the prisoners have
bden moved over to the new permanent facility next door.
So our unit has been tasked with running the tribunals and
the in and out processing station. While I was over there,
I was NCOIC that shift and it was told to me that there
were three individuals that needed to be escorted over to
the JFIZ ((sp?)) which is the MY complex to be
interrogated. Once I got over there to see who the three
individuals were, I was told that two of them were the


the third one was a Unabomber.


This individual had been known for blowing up a lot of
things. He had left a signature on a lot of the things
that he had blown up and he was a very hard catch. We
weren't able to catch him for a long time but finally I'd
caught him. And I was asked to escort him over th6re and I
remember thinking to myself as I'm looking at these
individuals and I'm walking them, and it's just me and them

and I'm thinking ya know, these are some bad people that

made some bad history happen in this war and here they are

within reach distance from myself. And I couldn't help but

feel a little bit of anger, a lot of anger actually,

knowing what they did to that poor girl, knowing that she's

one of ours and a lot of anger. I felt no sympathy for
them. And I couldn't help to feel like I just wanted to do
something for her, ya know. Knowing that if she had the
chaice, she would.

Q: Did you have different occasions where you actually talked
to any of the prisoners?

IIIIIIIII On many occasions I got to know a lot of the

especially during the feed operation. Many of them knew me
by name. They would call my name out, I
developed a certain trust and report with them. Many times
there were riots that were going to happen. One particular
instance, we were going into compound nine, which is a
compound that I fed on a regular basis. Many of them
trusted me and I trusted them a great deal. Upon going
into the compound, a compound representative stopped me and
said he would advise me to not come in today, that it was
not safe, to take my team and go feed another compound. I
took his word for it, I thanked him for giving me the
warning. And as soon as my team got in the vehicle and
left the compound, within seconds a rock throwing frenzy

had ensued. And there were many, many soldiers who had


gotten hit by rocks and there were also a lot of prisoners

who had sustained injuries due to the rocks flying.
(break in tape)

Q: SGT'''. obviously with the type of prisoners that you
are watching, you have to be on a high state of alert. How
are you going to maintain that with your soldiers?

11111111 We're able to maintain that by talking to them.
COmmunication was the key. It's too late to train out
here. There's not training involved. It's just doing what
you know, using your people skills, being alert, being lion
your toes, knowing how to read body language. Many of our­-there's a few of our soldiers, NCOs within our company,
who have correctional type experience. People we left,
those NCOs gave little classes on how to read body
language, ways to avoid being manipulated by the prisoners.
Our soldiers were told that there would be many attempts
and the prisoners trying to manipulate them, whether it's
to get something they want, get something they need, or to
get something, get the soldier to do something that they
normally wouldn't do. So, we talked to them on a regular
basis, prepare them by telling what to expect, what you
could expect. But at the same time, letting them know
that, although it's OK to be scared, not to let the fear

VA1"443. °1



cloud your judgment. To be confident in your soldiering
skills and in your military police skills.

Q: Did you find that the type or prisoners that we had here in
Iraq,': as to the correctional officers that were giving you
instruction, the circumstances would be different, where
there would be a different style of body language that was
different than the Americans?

UM' Yeah, it's different, but it's similar. The basic

- f\\ concept is the same. They will try to get extra, just like back home. The prisoners who are incarcerated back home, they'll try to get extra. Just like the prisoners back home, they'll try to manipulate you for things. There are just different items that they'll manipulate you for, but there's still manipulation, the deceit, the dishonesty, the ability to lie directly to your face. And it's all the same to prisoners back home. The only difference I would say here is that they have nothing to lose. Back home, you know, they know if they have a time to get out, they can go back to their families and live a life. Here, it seemed like a devotion to where they had nothing to lose, so they didn't mind, you know, trying anything, because they knew that the consequences, they were willing to deal with them.
ql Anoi
A_ 41 o

17 0)-\ k\'

During your training and your off times, how do you keep
your soldiers motivated, keep them alert and sharp for the
next day's service?

Well, the only way we could do that was by talking to
them, seeing where they're at every day after a shift,
conducting after-action reviews after every shifts, brief,
you know, discussing how the shift went--what went right,
what went wrong--what could be done differently and room
for improvement. Other than talking to our soldiers, the
only thing we could do was try to provide some kind of MWR
or R&R within our own company because of the lack of
support. So, we acquired a tent from another unit that was
nice enough to give us one. And we put up, made that our
MWR tent and then some of the NCOs pitched in, we bought a
TV and a DVD player. Now, those soldiers had somewhere to
go relax and unwind and not be a soldier for an hour or
two, watch a movie, go and relax (break in tape) civilian.

That's helped. What about personal relationships with

11110111111 Well, just like any deployment in any situation where
you have a certain group of people crammed together at all
times, tensions are going to flare up. For the most part,
the morale was really good. And collectively as a company,
we're pretty close. However, you do have tensions flaring


up due to the fact that it's getting hotter, it's harder to

stay cooler, people are more irritable, so short fused,

short tempered. And so, you're going to have natural spats

and disputes, disagreements, but there has not been one

single incident where it has escalated to a physical level.

Q: Has your mission started to change since you've been here?

milli Yes, it's gone from an (MP?) operation and external
security and it's now changed to the in-processing out-
processing tribunals. That is our new mission.

Q: And what exactly would be doing for those?

MOO We provide bodies for the inside of the in-processing,
make sure it runs smoothly, makes sure that the newly-
arriving prisoners can placed in their proper pens, make
sure that the prisoners who are going through the in pro-­out processing stations, make sure they get there, to their
station, make sure once they gone with their station they
go on to the next. Make sure that circle is complete so

they can released.

Q: And have you noticed a difference between the style of
prisoners that you've received as to the beginning part of
the war as to today?

Yes. We're noticing that now they're criminals.
These are criminals; they're not soldiers. So, although
they may be more dangerous in some ways, they're less


aggressive. There's a sense, they have a sense of: I've
been caught. I don't want to be here but I've been caught,
so I'm just going to take whatever I've got coming to me so
I can go home. So, it's a different atmosphere.

Q: And the wanting to go home, I'm sure the loneliness is
starting to set in. Have you had the need to actually sit
down and have to counsel any of your soldiers to, you know,
change their feelings and console them in any way?

10111110, No. No, I haven't had to do that. Everybody knows
that we're going home someday and that they're not to
speculate, guess, or wonder when that is. They know that
when it comes, it comes. Rumor control is a job of an NCO,


make sure when you hear a rumor you dispel it. You crush
it. You stop it, and that's all there is to it. So, for
the most part, everybody is just doing their job and when

they get the word we're going, and our stuff is on the

plane and we're heading to the bus station, then we'll

believe it. Until then, we've got a mission to do and we

can't even concentrate on going home.

Q: OK. (break in tape) So, if I could talk about the support
of lack of support that you may or may not have received
within the company here at Camp Buka.

Well, the lack of support has not been from the


company level; it's been actually at the brigade level.

There are many things that should have been done way before

our arrival here. For instance, phones. There is no phone

center set up for the soldiers. There are only DSM lines,

which have been shut on and off on a regular basis due to

the overloading on phone calls. A soldier's ability to
call him and talk to his or her loved ones is a direct

reflection of the morale. If a soldier does not have good

morale, you can look at whether a soldier made a phone call

home. Has the soldier had a chance to do his laundry? Has

a soldier had a chance to get on the internet and check

their email? All those little things are things that
should have and could have been done as preventive medicine

but have not. I clearly believe that it's a failure and a

lack of initiation on the part of the senior leadership,

mainly the senior NCOs and senior officers. They seem to

have forgotten about the soldier, concentrating solely on

the mission. They seem to have forgotten somewhere down

the road along the lines of soldiers' morale and welfare.

There are many things they could do, provided a USO
soldier, maybe a source of entertainment for our soldiers.

Just show the soldiers that they generally care. So, that

would have to be my biggest problem with the support.

Q: Iou mentioned a USO show. Has anything of that sort been,
has anything like that come to Camp Baku as yet?

0 143 2.5

11111111 No, it has not. The closest we heard it's come is to
Camp Doha, where they had a celebrity band playing with a
guest (inaudible) of Conan O'Brien. Events like that bring
the morale of the soldiers to an extremely high level,
especially when they're down pretty low right now.

Q: What kinds of amenities are you trying to make in the camp
here to make it more livable?

110/111 Well, just within our own camp itself, we have an MWR
tent, which is, which shows you movies at night. Everybody
can go relax, watch a movie on the DVD player. And we have
a weight room now where soldiers are able to conduct
physical fitness. They're able to get back in shape, work
out some of the aggression, and that seems to be helping a
lot. We're trying to build better showers, more showers.
We're putting in hardwood flooring in the tents to get
everybody off the dirt. Amenities like that. We can't do
anything about the phones because that's out of our lanes,
out of our hands, that's a whole different level. But
hopefully, it'll be fixed soon.

(Break in tape.)
In relation to morale, another area that I feel is a
definite concern that should be look at somewhere down the
road is the politics that seem to have set in now. Now
that the mission is winding down, the prisoner count is

el 3 .8 6

just oversell now, and it dropped from 41111, to OP, now 16 .2-3 that the war machine is slowing, the activity is slowing, now it seems like there are--there's almost too much time on our hands because the politics are setting in. When I say "politics," it's coming from the brigade level. Soldiers who are working are no longer allowed to yell or push or touch the soldiers in any way. When we were working with them before during their most hostile of times, the MPs felt like they had more support, more backing from brigades and from their H battalion. Now the brigade is listening to the CID and MI people, and many of the prisoners are making complaints that they're being yelled at, that they're being treated too aggressively,
when just a month ago, they were being shot at and being
hit by the British. And I don't understand that. I think
it's, it directly affects morale. On two occasions, we've
had speeches from the major from the 320th, from our
battalion. And he's, on two occasions he basically gave us
a chewing out for a unit's actions that was not ours on our
own. One unit had been escorting prisoners and had gotten
too aggressive and had pushed one of the EPWs, and because
of that, there was a mass type punishment where everybody
was going to get the same lecture. So, a little politics
like that, I don't understand. We have one prisoner who


would make demands for certain items, i.e., a cold Sprite.

Or he asked for crackers or a salad. And he would get
these items. I think that, yeah, we should be humanitarian
about our operation, but at the same time, we should
remember that they are EPWs, and so long as we give them
the basic necessities, we should be able to do our job
without brigade sticking their nose in and telling us--or
micromanaging, telling us how to operate.

Q: (break in tape) Any quick solutions?

Quick solutions? I would say, first of all, maybeNEM

bC61)1PC1\ someone needs to take the MI guys, the military intelligence, and the CID people and take them and have
them get a better view of what's really going on out there,
closer to what we're doing, rather than sitting in a tent
all day just interviewing, hearing the stories, because
they're only hearing one side. But if those CID agents
would have seen what kind of hostile environment we were in
just a little over a month ago, how each of our lives were
at stake, I don't think they'd be making these--be so quick
to make the judgments they've been making.
Q: And --

.1111111 Just in my chain of command, but they say right now
that this is what the brigade wants. The brigade has also
made, recently came down with a policy list. Many things



were on this policy list. One, for instance, was you
confine each--soldiers are confined to their immediate
company areas. They're not to leave. They're not to

associate with the Spanish or the British. They are not to

consume alcoholic beverage. And little things like that is

affecting the morale of the soldiers. Again, my suggestion

was that these are adults. They've behaved like such, they

should be treated like such. (Break in tape.)

Q: Sergeant, would you like to make any conclusion to this

FRANCO: The only conclusion, I just want to say that I realize
that it's not the higher-ups, it's not the officers, it's
not the senior leadership that make this mission happen.
It's the soldiers. It's every young man and young woman
here who's wearing that uniform with that flag on it, no
matter where they're from, all walks of life, all parts of
the world. It's these soldiers who get up day in and day
out, who live and deal with the dust, who walk through the
sand and deal with the heat, the bugs, the prisoners who
smell and who are disease infested, it's these soldiers
here who will make this war happen.

Q: Think you, Sergeant Oft, and this concludes this
interview on 20 May, 2003. bt(IY-