DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY

320th MILITARY POLICE BATTALION

APO AE  09432

REPLY TO

ATTENTION OF   

 

                                                                                  12 April 04

 

MEMORANDUM THRU COL KARL M. GOETZKE, Staff Judge Advocate, III Corp

 

FOR LTG Thomas Metz, CG, III Corps

 

SUBJECT:  Rebuttal of AR 15-6 for LTC Jerry L. Phillabaum, 320th MP

Battalion

 

 

1.  I acknowledge responsibility for al actions taken by soldiers

assigned to the 320th Military Police (MP) Battalion (BN).  I have been

thoroughly embarrassed and humiliated by being suspended from my duties

while the 320th MP BN has returned home.  I acknowledge the failure to

implement all corrective security measures as ordered by BG Karpinski

and documented in GOMOR dated 10 November 2003.  I acknowledge failing

to have all soldiers assigned to the 320th MP BN trained in

Internment/Resettlement (I/R) Operations and knowledgeable in the

protections afforded detainees in the Geneva Convention relative to the

treatment of Prisoners of War.  I acknowledge failing to properly

supervise soldiers working and "visiting" Tier 1 of the Hard-Site at Abu

Ghraib understanding that proper supervision would have prevented

prisoner abuse.  

 

2.  I offer the following information in deciding on administrative

actions to be taken against me.  I assumed command of the 320th MP BN in

June 2002.  I was selected for promotion in November 2002.  In

accordance with Army Reserve policy, I found an O-6 position and

requested a transfer of units in January 2003 to obtain my promotion.

My request was denied because activation of the 320th MP BN was

expected.  The battalion was called to active duty on 10 February 2003.

After packing unit equipment to operate a 4000 man Theater Internment

Facility (TIF), the 320th MP BN began the mobilization validation

process at Fort Dix on 19 February 2003.  At Fort Dix, the 320th MP BN

received training on the Geneva Convention, Law of War, and Arab

cultural awareness.  On 12 March 2003, the 320th MP BN departed Fort Dix

for Kuwait.  The battalion was able to validate in only three weeks when

other units exceeded five weeks at Fort Dix at that time because of

demonstrated expertise in I/R operations.  First Army and the 78th

Training Division used the tactical SOP of the 320th MP BN to validate

the mobilization readiness exercise of all other I/R battalions.  In

2000 and 2001, the 320th MP BN performed its wartime mission in South

Korea extremely effectively.  The 320th MP BN had served as a test bed

for various versions of the National Detainee Reporting System (NDRS) so

that personnel were well prepared to process and account for EPW.  The

competence of the battalion and an aggressive training schedule enabled

the 320th MP BN to arrive at Fort Dix weeks after the 310th MP BN and

744th MP BN and depart weeks ahead of those battalions.

 

3.  The 320th MP BN arrived in Kuwait on 13 March 2003.  While waiting

at Camp Arifjan, at my request the 320th MP BN received another cultural

awareness class from the Free Iraqi Force (FIF) which included a mock

prison scenario involving female MPs giving orders to Iraqi EPW.  On 22

March 2003, the 320th MP BN operations staff to include MAJ DiNenna, SGM

Emerson, and several other NCOs entered Iraq as part of the advance

party for the 800th MP Brigade (800th MP Brigade staff was slow to

appear at the TIF near Umm Qasr, Iraq.)  By 29 March 2003, I had moved

the HHC of the 320th MP BN and two recently arrived MP Guard Companies

to the TIF by commercial 20 ton dump trucks, SSTs used to empty

porta-lavatories, and commercial busses.  My units were committed to

action while vehicles and containers of MTOE equipment were aboard

ship.  (Vehicles and equipment arrived in Kuwait in late April through

late May.)  On 1 April 2003, I assumed command of Camp Freddy from a

British Air Defense Artillery unit.  Camp Freddy was not designed to TIF

standards in that compounds were small and located very close to one

another with a total design capacity of about 2500.  By 13 April 2003,

the population of Camp Freddy exceeded 7200.  All soldiers under my

command were working a scheduled twelve hour shift (routinely working

14-16 hour shifts) without any days off.  I typically worked 18-19 hours

daily.  During April, I recall two meetings that I held with officers

and NCOs regarding the review of proper treatment of detainees following

alleged events that were investigated and subsequently found to be

groundless.  By mid-May, engineers had completed the TIF named Camp

Bucca, Holding Area Freddy was closed, and the 320th MP BN executive

officer had been REFRAD.  (The battalion CSM was held at Fort Dix for

medical problems until December 2003.)  We continued to provide security

for in-processing, the medical clinic, Tribunal screening, and the Joint

Forces Interrogation Facility.  The 320th MP BN assumed some escort

missions from the 223rd MP CO.  On the afternoon of 12 May 2003, MSG

Lisa Girman was assigned on the first escort mission along with 9 other

soldiers to take an empty bus to TSP Whitford at Tallil, pick up

prisoners, and return to Camp Bucca for processing.  Prior to departure,

a mission briefing was held which included a review of the Rules of

Engagement.  At this briefing, I emphasized treating the EPWs firmly,

but with respect and emphasized utilizing the 223rd MP CO personnel to

resolve questionable situations (223rd MP CO was providing the left

seat/right seat ride.)  When MSG Lisa Girman returned to Camp Bucca

shortly before midnight, she took vigilante justice against EPW that she

believed had raped PFC Jessica Lynch.  4 out of the 10 320th MP BN

soldiers abused some of the EPWs; a clear indication that the abuse was

the responsibility of those individuals acting alone and was not

condoned by myself or any leader at Camp Bucca.

 

4.  Between April and June 2003, four different MP Guard Companies were

assigned to the 320th MP BN for varying lengths of time.  This resulted

in a very dynamic mission with transition being the norm.  In June 2003,

the 800th MP Brigade made me the Commandant of Camp Bucca when they

relocated to Victory Camp.  During June and July 2003, I was responsible

for a population of about 3000 prisoners and 1500 soldiers (320th MP BN,

530th MP BN, and 724th MP BN).  On 17 July 2003, the 320th MP BN was

ordered to relocate to FOB Abu Ghraib and assume command and control of

the prison complex to include Camp Vigilant, Camp Ganci, and the

renovated prison facility.  I was assigned the missions to construct

Camp Ganci, improve Camp Vigilant, and be prepared to operate the

renovated, existing prison complex.  I was told by the Deputy Commander

of the 800th MP Brigade, COL Ecke, that the 320th MP BN was selected

over the 530th MP BN and 724th MP BN because the 320th MP BN had

demonstrated a greater ability to accomplish this assignment than other

battalions. 

 

5.  I arrived at Abu Ghraib with the main body on 24 July 2003 without

the battalion S-4 who was evacuated to Walter Reed Hospital for knee

surgery.  (The escapes and shootings at Camp Vigilant on 4 June and 13

June attributed to the 320th MP BN on report pages 27 and 28 occurred

while the 400th MP BN was responsible for Camp Vigilant.)  Within ten

days, all the concertina wire for all eight Camp Ganci compounds had

been laid.  Simultaneously, we were receiving prisoners from Operation

Victory Bounty into Camp Vigilant and Iraqi criminals into compound 1 of

Camp Ganci.  We immediately assisted the Military Intelligence (MI) unit

with intelligence collection effort by isolating detainees as much as

possible and by executing sleep management. (Annex A)  Accounting for

all detainees at all times was an extremely high priority for me.  I

asked the battalion S-1, CPT Delbalso, at least daily if there were any

prisoner accountability problems.  It was a very rare event when there

was a lapse in prisoner accountability.  I visited the processing area

and the compounds daily and asked about compound manifests.  I found the

compound manifests to be accurate with a few minor changes required.

These changes to NDRS were worked behind the priority of physically

accepting detainees, transferring detainees to another detention

facility, or releasing detainees.  Inaccurate NDRS information does not

constitute an inability for me to account for detainees.  Whenever there

was an escape, a timely report identifying the escaped detainee was

filed.  I believe that 1LT Raeder, as quoted on report page 24, to be in

error.  I believe that the escapes he identified are recorded as e. on

report page 28 and p. on report page 31.  I find 1LT Raeder's confusion

understandable as he was the platoon leader in charge of escorts and CPT

Brinson was in charge of the Hard-Site until December 2003 when CPT

Brinson was REFRAD. 

 

6.  At the end of July 2003, seven PR&Cs were submitted for logistical

support that MAJ Green, 800th MP Brigade S-4, combined into a single

PR&C only to realize its impracticality through the PR&C process and was

subsequently forced to divide the one huge PR&C into several PR&Cs.  The

net effect was that support requested in July 2003 was not received

until October 2003.  Since arriving at FOB Abu Ghraib, there was a

continuous expansion of facilities and of number of personnel working

there.  My schedule at Abu Ghraib consisted of 18-19 hour days without

any days off.  This schedule enabled me to visit many soldiers and

observe operations.  I reviewed all statements from soldiers assigned to

the 320th MP BN (Report Annex 59, 60, 62, 63, 64, 68, 71, 73, 76, 80,

81, 83, 84, 85, 86, 101, 105, and 106) and conclude that I was seen

frequently while BG Karpinski was rarely seen which contradicts in part

paragraph 19 on report page 43. 

 

7.  Expansion of operational compounds in Camp Ganci was very painful

because of the lack of support.  Water, food, porta-lavatories, light

sets, and sufficient personnel were issues that took significant effort

to overcome to open additional compounds to meet the growing prisoner

population.  On 25 August 2003, the first three wings and the medical

clinic of the Hard-Site opened while the remainder of the prison

remained under renovation.  No CPA representative was assigned on-site.

The Iraqi correction officers assigned by the Ministry of Justice were

supervised by MPs.

 

8.  Force protection was a major issue from day one of arrival.  FOB Abu

Ghraib is routinely subjected to small arms, rocket propelled grenade,

mortar, and rocket attack.  An internal threat arises from local labor

used to renovate the Hard-Site.  The 320th MP BN provided all perimeter

security and force protection until A CO of the 1/504 PIR arrived at the

end of September 2003 and until the 165th MI BN arrived in December 2003

to assume the northern perimeter and assist at the entry control point.

On the night of 16 August 2003, 59 prisoners were injured (43 required

Medevac) and 6 prisoners were killed when a mortar round impacted in

Compound B of Camp Vigilant and Compound 2 of Camp Ganci.  On 23

September 2003, two MI soldiers were killed by a mortar impact in Camp

Vigilant.  At this time, I requested a Combat Stress team visit.

Thereafter, MAJ Thompson's Combat Stress team periodically returned

because of the high stress levels faced by soldiers at FOB Abu Ghraib.

This contradicts in part the conclusion reached in paragraph 20 on page

43 of the report. 

 

9.  The CJFT-7 IG, COL Ballard, inspected FOB Abu Ghraib in late

September 2003 and exited with the observation that "You are the

forgotten."  COL Ballard found that we were doing the best job possible

with the resources given, but were receiving woefully inadequate

support.  On 30 September 2003, LTG Sanchez inspected FOB Abu Ghraib.

He made FOB Abu Ghraib an enduring base.  He also initiated efforts to

correct deficiencies.  My early October 2003 was spent escorting primary

CJTF-7 staff officers on inspections of FOB Abu Ghraib, integrating four

new MP companies into confinement operations, providing information to

an engineer team to develop a base master plan, and familiarizing CSM

Scanlon (acting as the 320th MP BN CSM) and LTC Cantwell with FOB Abu

Ghraib.  BG Karpinski reassigned LTC Cantwell from serving as commander

of the 324th MP BN to mayor of FOB Abu Ghraib.  (I strongly recommended

to BG Karpinski that she provide a staff for LTC Cantwell, but a staff

never arrived.)  On 15 October 2003, the 372nd MP CO relieved the 72nd

MP CO of operation of Camp Vigilant and the Hard-Site.  On the morning

of 18 October 2003, BG Karpinski reassigned me to the 800th MP Brigade

staff.  She said that she wanted a new face and new ideas.  She wanted

me to work with CPA on detention facilities.  LTC Chew would be the

interim 320th MP BN commander for two weeks until someone else could be

found.  She had expected the mayor of FOB Abu Ghraib (LTC Cantwell) and

not me to brief and escort MG Ryder during his inspection the previous

day.  She wanted CJTF-7 to provide a mayor.  Finally, BG Karpinski

suggested that I go to Camp Arifjan to meet with the 99th RRC Commander,

MG Kennedy, during her visit.  I did go to Camp Arifjan, met with MG

Kennedy, and returned to the 800th MP Brigade on 22 October 2003.

(Annex B)  When I first met with BG Karpinski upon my return, she

informed me that she intended to reassign me to duties as 320th MP BN

commander at the completion of LTC Chew's two weeks.  In talking with

LTC Chew, he told me that he reported to BG Karpinski that the mission

at FOB Abu Ghraib was overwhelming and that there were no major problems

with the 320th MP BN.  On 31 October 2003, I returned to FOB Abu

Ghraib.  During the time that I was assigned to the 800th MP Brigade

staff, 85% of the egregious acts were committed in wing 1A of the

Hard-Site.  Some acts also occurred in early November 2003 while I was

commander.  The egregious acts of abuse did not occur every night from

late October through early November 2003; rather, the acts occurred on 3

isolated nights.  My oversight of operations eliminated the abuse after

mid-November. 

 

10.  On 10 November 2003, I received a GOMOR for failing to take

corrective security measures as ordered by BG Karpinski.  In my rebuttal

to the GOMOR, I pointed out compliance with all corrective measures for

which adequate resources were provided.  I also pointed out corrective

measures which were not complied with involved positioning of light sets

to illuminate all dark areas that could provide an escape route for

prisoners within the grid square of FOB Abu Ghraib and involved the

number of personnel to assign to operate Camp Ganci compounds and serve

as an interior FOB Abu Ghraib roving patrol.  These corrective security

measures could not be complied with because all available light sets

were used to illuminate Camp Vigilant and Camp Ganci compounds and there

was an insufficient amount of soldiers to meet doctrinal requirements

for operating detention facilities at FOB Abu Ghraib.  I made personal

contact with the 800th MP Brigade S-4, MAJ Green, and S-3, MAJ

Cavallaro, to request additional light sets and soldiers.  In December

2003 when the 320th MP BN located a vendor for light sets, MAJ Green

sent all the light sets to the 530th MP BN.  MAJ Cavallaro repeatedly

denied all requests for forces.  During mid-November, MAJ Sheridan was

assigned as my acting executive officer.  On 19 November 2003, COL

Pappas became FOB Abu Ghraib commander.

 

11.  On 24 November 2003, 4500 prisoners rioted in Camp Ganci.  While

conducting an AAR of the operation to quell the riot, I was informed of

the shooting in the Hard-Site.  In early December 2003 the 165th MI BN

arrived to perform duties of overseeing FOB Abu Ghraib operations.

Actual transition of responsibilities was limited because the 165th MI

BN expected to return to Germany in early February.  The 165th MI BN did

not want to transition things twice within 2 months.  All units on FOB

Abu Ghraib continued to attend my daily briefings.  The 320th MP BN TOC

continued to coordinate internal and external force protection.  The

165th MI BN assumed responsibility for mayoral functions and the

management of hundreds of local contract laborers to fulfill contracts

awarded to improve FOB Abu Ghraib.

 

12.  On the evening of 13 January 2004, SPC Darby turned a CD of digital

photographs over to CID.  At 2300 hours, Agent Arthur came to me and

showed me the photographs.  I agreed to assist his investigation by

utilizing the Quick Reaction Force to secure the crime scenes.  Between

2400 and 0400 on 14 January 2004, I helped Agent Arthur secure evidence

and take sworn statements.  On 18 January 2004, I was suspended from

duties by BG Karpinski.  On 16 March 2004 while the 320th MP BN prepared

to redeploy home, I received a continued suspension from duties from LTG

Sanchez.  To this date, I have never seen MG Miller's Report, MG Ryder's

Report, or COL Falcone's Report making it impossible for me to implement

their recommendations absent direction from my higher command.  I have

recently received notification that MAJ (P) Rauh will assume command of

the 320th MP BN in early June at a change of command ceremony.

 

13.  In summary, during this entire deployment, I was assigned missions

without the resources to accomplish the missions by doctrine.  A lack of

unit equipment and vehicles existed until May.  Other logistical issues

were present throughout the deployment.  There was a chronic shortage of

personnel which necessitated 12 hour shifts with few days off.  On the

320th MP BN staff, for the majority of the deployment I was without an

executive officer, S-4, and command sergeant major.  I relied heavily on

MAJ DiNenna to run the day to day confinement operations so that I could

concentrate on everything else.  The "numerous" witnesses referenced on

report page 39 were statements made by CPT Hampton (Annex 64) and SGM

Emerson (Annex 80) who worked for MAJ DiNenna that confirmed "day to day

operations were ran by MAJ DiNenna."  My assigned missions were

constantly changing, usually growing.  Over the course of the

deployment, I had command and control of ten MP companies not counting

the battalion HHC.  At Abu Ghraib, MP companies received training during

transitions that failed to include formal, documented training on the

Geneva Convention or I/R operations.  I accepted missions assigned,

requested support as needed, task organized, and completed the missions

to the best of my ability.  In my opinion, MSG Girman and CPL Grainer

led acts of abuse in clear violation of any standard of morality.

Training alone would not have prevented these acts of abuse.  As

battalion commander, I could not be everywhere at all times and

therefore delegated authority.  If I were omnipotent, I would have

removed MSG Girman and CPL Grainer from their duties and avoided the

abuse of prisoners and the disgrace to the nation.

 

14.  On the civilian side, I elected early retirement from Exelon

Corporation at the end of 2002.  I applied for various jobs prior to

mobilization.  I have a federal government position held open for me

with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission if I return home in April. 

 

15.  I offer OERs from my previous mobilization where I worked for the V

Corps G-5 to my OER ending in June 2003 to show that I have a history of

accepting challenging assignments and doing well.  (Annex C)  My OER for

the period of December 2001 to December 2002 is not included because the

electronic copy in my OPMS is for a captain unknown to me. 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        JERRY L. PHILLABAUM

                                                        LTC, MP 320th Military Police Battalion