Interview with William Henderson

Kyle Kazmierczak, Interviewer | 1510
UW-Madison Campus Voices | Badger Veterans

0:00No transcript.

0:00 - Military technology in early career

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Partial Transcript: [Interview begins mid-sentence]... surpassed the radar at that time, but they were good for if was limited visibility...

Segment Synopsis: Describes military technology in his early career.

Keywords: chemical reconnaissance vehicle; military technology; U.S. army

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0:44 - Captain's career instruction in Fort Huachuca

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Partial Transcript: After that, they sent me down to lovely Fort Huachuca, because they wouldn't let me stay in command...

Segment Synopsis: Served as instructor for captain's career course, regarding military intelligence, 2003-2005. Learned about unconventional warfare from a British officer who fought against the IRA.

Keywords: Fort Huachuca; instruction; military intelligence; security clearance; site exploitation; U.S. Army; unconventional warfare; warrant officer

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4:50 - Disaster response in Fort Sam Houston

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Partial Transcript: Q: And then after that? A: After Huachuca, I went to Fort Sam Houston.

Segment Synopsis: Had a background in combat arms, so he was usually put with armor and infantry, rather than military intelligence. In Sam Houston, he worked in ARNORTH, working on homeland defense and mostly disaster response.

Keywords: armor; ARNORTH; combat arms; disaster response; FEMA; Fort Sam Houston; homeland defense; Hurricane Katrina; infantry; military intelligence; missile defense; National Guard; natural disasters; U.S. Army; USNORTHCOM

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9:06 - Work on homeland intelligence planning and response

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Partial Transcript: Now, when I was there, I was in the [unlcear] division as the intelligence planner.

Segment Synopsis: More on his stay at Fort Sam Houston. Trained for preparation for natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

Keywords: biological warfare; chemical warfare; homeland security; intelligence planning; Joint Terrorism Task Force; JTTF; military intelligence; natural disasters; nuclear warfare; terrorism; U.S. Army

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11:24 - Began military intelligence work in Iraq

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Partial Transcript: And then, you were there for 2 years at Houston?

Segment Synopsis: One year at Ft. Sam Houston. Then volunteered for a trip to Iraq 2007-2008, in the Multi-National Forces Iraq Unit, an Anti-Terrorism force cell. Collected intelligence on how terrorists in Iraq were attacking Coalition forces.

Keywords: anti-terrorism; counter-terrorism; Iraq War; military intelligence; Multi-National Forces Iraq; Operation Iraqi Freedom; U.S. Army

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13:40 - Coordinating security of Iraqi ministers

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Partial Transcript: Now, once I had more free time - and, you'll find that, in the military, it always depends on--

Segment Synopsis: What were your tasks in Iraq? To give intel briefs to Generals, to protect Iraqi ministers, and to advise and equip private Iraqi security guards for Iraqi ministers.

Keywords: arms; Baghdad; Green Zone; Iraq war; military training; Operation Iraqi Freedom; personal security; private security; U.S. army

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19:42 - 2007 Iraq War troop surge

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Partial Transcript: And that was where one of the-- Were you there during the-- I guess you were right after the surge?

Segment Synopsis: What was the surge like? Surge occurred right when Henderson arrived.

Keywords: Iraq War; Multi-National Forces Iraq; Operation Iraqi Freedom; troop surge; U.S. Army

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20:22 - General Casey compared to General Petraeus

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Partial Transcript: Now, one of the things I'm kind of researching is how, I guess, commands shift..

Segment Synopsis: Was there leadership difference between Gen. Casey and Petraeus? Yes, big difference. Casey was reserved and Petreaus was very attentive and hands-on. The surge had heavy casualties

Keywords: David Petraeus; General Casey; General Petraeus; George W. Casey Jr.; Iraq War; military leadership; Operation Iraqi Freedom; U.S. Army

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22:16 - Casualties during the surge/ religious division of Baghdad

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Partial Transcript: How many-- do you know how many troops were in Baghdad at the time?

Segment Synopsis: The surge had heavy casualties. More on the Surge and the religious divide of the city, the Sunni and Shia split.

Keywords: Baghdad; car bomb; casualties; explosives; Iraq War; Mahdi army militia; Operation Iraqi Freedom; religious division; Shia-Sunni relations; troop surge; U.S. Army

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25:26 - Tactics of militia

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Partial Transcript: What were, I guess, some of the developments you saw in the types of weapons they employed?

Segment Synopsis: What were the tactics of the suicide bombers? They were quick to evolve and capable adversaries.

Keywords: car bomb; IED; Iraq War; Madhi Army militia; Operation Iraqi Freedom; suicide bomber; U.S. Army; unconventional warfare; urban warfare

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27:42 - The 2007 surge had a positive effect/ religious divisions remained

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Partial Transcript: I guess, the overall climate, in the year that you were there-- was there an overall shift..

Segment Synopsis: What was the attitude among Americans regarding the direction of Iraq? The surge had a positive effect on the moral of the soldiers. Some Iraqis were competent while others were not. Government was managed through religious lines. The climate was very religiously polarized.

Keywords: Iraq War; Kurds; military training; Operation Iraqi Freedom; religious division; Saddam Hussein; Shia-Sunni relations; Sunni government; troop surge; U.S. Army

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31:26 - Nisour Square/Blackwater incident

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Partial Transcript: Okay, anything else you'd like to add about that stint in Iraq?

Segment Synopsis: Henderson speaks more of Iraq. Speaks about the Blackwater massacre and the ability to track private contractors.

Keywords: Blackwater; civilian casualties; General Barbero; Iraq war; Nisour Square; Operation Iraqi Freedom; private contractors

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33:34 - Meeting with Vice President Cheney

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Partial Transcript: Next big thing I did in Iraq was-- Vice President Cheney was coming...

Segment Synopsis: Vice President's visit to Baghdad.

Keywords: Ali al-Sistanti; crisis action team; Department of State; Dick Cheney; Green zone; Iraq War; military security; Operation Iraqi Freedom; secret service

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38:54 - Collaboration between Iraqi soldiers and US Army

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Partial Transcript: I guess with the-- leading into something else, the partnered forces...

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Iraq war; Operation Iraqi Freedom

Subjects: How effective were the Iraqi soldiers? Hard to say.

39:39 - Masters degree/Deployment to Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: After April 2007, you got back from deployment.

Segment Synopsis: What did you do after Iraq? After Iraq went to CGSC, got a masters in USA then Henderson volunteered to go Afghanistan.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghanistan; CGSC; Command and General Staff College; deployment; Fort Sam Houston; Iraq war; Masters degree; mobile training team; Qalat; Security Force Assistance Team; SFAT; US Army; War in Afghanistan; Zabul

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43:04 - Structure of bases in Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: Where'd we leave off? A: We left off right after Zabul and Qalat.

Segment Synopsis:

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghanistan; FOB; forward operating base; military intelligence; military training; Qalat; SFAT: Security Force Assistance Team; US Army; War in Afghanistan; Zabul

Subjects: What was the structure of command in Afghanistan like? 4th brigade 82nd airborne. Sketches layout of bases in Afghanistan.

48:11 - Difficulty maneuvering in Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: So, we each had our own separate mission.

Segment Synopsis: More on the intricacies and mission profiles of Henderson's unit. Living conditions. Cultural interactions with Afghans. Structure of Afghani army.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghanistan; IED; living conditions; military training; Security Force Assistance Team; SFAT; US Army; War in Afghanistan

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54:43 - Quality of the Afghan army

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Partial Transcript: This goes back to what I was talking to you-- We show them how we fight...

Segment Synopsis: Henderson changes topic and speaks about the fighting capability of the Afghan army. The Afghan army was poor quality.

Keywords: Afghan army; maintenance; Saudi army; War in Afghanistan

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56:26 - More on command conflicts in Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: Like I said, the Strykers, they left. So then we were responsible...

Segment Synopsis: Henderson returns to the topic of the command structure of his local unit.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghanistan; military planning; military training; US Army; War in Afghanistan

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60:14 - Corruption in Afghan culture

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Partial Transcript: That took a few years of training of the Afghani forces...

Segment Synopsis: Was the Afghan army capable of operating on their own? Yes, some units were competent while others were not. Henderson also notes the tribalism and the political disconnect among the locals.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghan election; chai boy; corruption; tribalism; War in Afghanistan

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64:02 - Imposing Western culture on Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: How hard do you think it was for American forces to realize that?

Segment Synopsis: How hard was it for the Americans to realize the difficulties of the local culture? Henderson says the Americans were naive in changing the local culture.

Keywords: caste system; colonialism; intervention; Iraq War; US Army; War in Afghanistan

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67:11 - Celebrate small victories

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Partial Transcript: I guess sometimes you've got to look at victory as small steps.

Segment Synopsis: Henderson says one had to take the small victories while in Afghanistan like building a road and an outpost.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghanistan; FOB; forward operating base; IED; infrastructure; military planning; military training; Qalat; War in Afghanistan

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72:01 - Difficulty of shifting command to Afghan army

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Partial Transcript: You said earlier, um, when you-- Towards the end of it, you were one of three left over...

Segment Synopsis: Why did your team leave when you stayed? Comment on the difficulties of shifting command. Henderson stayed to provide continuity and stability. Henderson also thought each commander in Afghanistan differed based on their personality.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghan culture; US Army; War in Afghanistan

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74:57 - More on shifting command to Afghan army

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Partial Transcript: How long did that type of report take you to build in country?

Segment Synopsis: How long did it take to build good relations with the Afghans? It took three months. And Henderson saw that transitioning units ended up caring little about the personalities of the locals and making good connections with the locals.

Keywords: Afghan army; Afghan culture; Afghanistan; Canadian army; US Army; War in Afghanistan

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78:05 - An anecdote about angering the President of Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: I guess, anything else about the specific area that you'd like to add?

Segment Synopsis: Henderson tells a story about a road closure that angered the President of Afghanistan.

Keywords: President of Afghanistan; VBID; War in Afghanistan

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79:34 - Impression of tactical leadership in Afghanistan

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Partial Transcript: So, that was your last deployment, that second one?

Segment Synopsis: How often were you communicating with the regional leaders? Yes and no depending on his position. Also Henderson noted that his co-commanders saw inconsistent results of American intervention.

Keywords: Afghan army; War in Afghanistan

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81:21 - Story about a resupply mission that hit an IED

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Partial Transcript: Now, I can tell you about one more thing in Afghanistan.

Segment Synopsis: Henderson tells another story regarding a casualty, 24 hour security, and an IED. A Humvee hit am IED and the gunner died.

Keywords: American casualties; FOB; forward operating base; IED; resupply mission; War in Afghanistan

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87:14 - Attempt to connect with Afghan civilians

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Partial Transcript: When I was out doing the investigation here, we were reinforcing the defensive positions...

Segment Synopsis: Henderson also continues on about winning the hearts and minds of the Afghans. Overall moral was down. He says that after the IED attack Henderson saw a Afghan elder throw away the candy given to his grandchildren.

Keywords: civilians; military training; War in Afghanistan

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89:09 - Work as a military science professor at UW

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Partial Transcript: I guess, is there anything you'd like to touch on your time here at UW?

Segment Synopsis: How was your time here as a professor of military science? Henderson loved it. He liked training the college kids and sharing his experiences. And overall working with the university was a positive experience.

Keywords: Department of Military Science; Military Science; military training; professorship; ROTC; University of Wisconsin; UW-Madison

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90:56 - Suggestions for ROTC

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Partial Transcript: Any suggestions if future cadets ever listen to this...

Segment Synopsis: Any suggestions for going into an ROTC unit? Prepare yourself as best you can. Rely on your subordinates and do the best you can in whatever job you find yourself in.

Keywords: military training; ROTC

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92:09 - End of Interview

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