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[Interview Begins]

PIOTROWSKI: All right. There ere-- this is an interview with Miguel--Micabil.

DIAZ: Yes.

PIOTROWSKI: Diaz, or Mike, as he said. Um, who served with--

DIAZ: Well, um, depen--I served with the U. S. Army.

PIOTROWSKI: U.S. Army, and what sort of units?

DIAZ: I saw originally began my service in 1985, with the, uh--Delta Company, 3 of the 351st, 84th Training Division, here in Milwaukee.


DIAZ: And from then, I got my commission and then I served with the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea. Then I served with Headquarters Headquarters Company and joined [inaudible] Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, Louisiana.



DIAZ: I then was assigned for a short time at Airborne school and then from then, I ended my career with ah, Headquarters Headquarters Company of the United States Army Special Operations Command.


DIAZ: That is, Army Special Operations Command out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And uh, you started in 1985?

DIAZ: No, it was--

PIOTROWSKI: Was that ROTC, or?

DIAZ: No, it was [inaudible] service. I was um, basically entering in '85 and then my basic training in Fort Knox, Kentucky. And then when I returned, I went to serve in the unit as a private first class.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, so were you initially in a Guard unit, or Reserve unit?

DIAZ: That's a Reserve unit.

PIOTROWSKI: Reserve unit, then you went active duty after you graduated college?

DIAZ: Correct, mm-hm, that's correct.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. Were you in the ROTC program in college?

DIAZ: I was in it for two years. And--

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, and that was at UW Milwaukee?

DIAZ: Marquette.

PIOTROWSKI: Marquette.

DIAZ: That would be the Warrior Battalion at Marquette University.

PIOTROWSKI: Alright, um, alright--way-back background.

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: When were you born?

DIAZ: I was born 1964.


PIOTROWSKI: And hometown?

DIAZ: San Juan, Puerto Rico.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. When did you come to the States?

DIAZ: I came here and uh, I'll be--1982. August of 82.

PIOTROWSKI: Was that for school--

DIAZ: I was going to college.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And ah, your folks stayed in Puerto Rico?

DIAZ: Yup, all my family's still in Puerto Rico.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And so, you finished college but then, before the military, before your active duty military?

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: And then, I see you have your J.D. degree now?

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you got your law degree after the military?

DIAZ: No, I was at college and that's why I was in the Reservists. Then I went to law school and I while I was in law school, that's where I got my commission.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh, okay, so you--okay.

DIAZ: Okay, when I graduated from law school in '89, I got my commission. I was 00:03:00accepted into JAG Corps and by that point, then I began service with the JAG Corps in 1990 to--


DIAZ: --as active duty.

PIOTROWSKI: So, the entire time you were in active duty, you were in JAG?

DIAZ: Sure.

PIOTROWSKI: As you actual official assignment, but you worked in these different--

DIAZ: Different unit, attached to different units.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. Okay. Um, oh, and just for the record, the interviewer here is Steve Piotrowski.

DIAZ: Mm-hm.

PIOTROWSKI: You got to do some of their little-- [both chuckle] um, things at the beginning. Um, and the date of this interview is November 11, 2011, and it's three o'clock in the afternoon. Okay, um, let's go over this entry into military service. So, you came up here from Puerto Rico and you joined the Reserves about three years later.

DIAZ: Yeah, when I was between my junior and senior year of college.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And why'd you do that? And--

DIAZ: I just basically, always when I was a little boy liked the military. I had an uncle who was in--who served in Korea.


DIAZ: And, you know, I basically felt like I wanna go, and I decided to serve. 00:04:00And so, I entered as a Reservist.

PIOTROWSKI: And that was an infantry--

DIAZ: No, that was an armored unit.

PIOTROWSKI: Armored unit, okay.

DIAZ: Mm-hm.

PIOTROWSKI: And uh, you just entered as a private--

DIAZ: Mm-hm.

PIOTROWSKI: Did basic training between junior and senior year.

DIAZ: Yup, I--

PIOTROWSKI: And then after you graduated from college, you did your AIT the next year, or?

DIAZ: Yup.

PIOTROWSKI: And you just stayed in that Reserve unit while you went to law school.

DIAZ: That's correct.

PIOTROWSKI: Once you completed law school, then you were offered the commission.

DIAZ: Mm-hm.

PIOTROWSKI: What rank did you--?

DIAZ: I entered as a first lieutenant.

PIOTROWSKI: First lieutenant? And uh, okay. Did you, did you find the time in the military while you were going to school, that Reserve, help or hinder school? Uh--

DIAZ: Well, it depends, you know. When I was, I didn't have a problem. You know, really was--uh, getting to the unit was no problem because obviously, you take the bus. I used to take on number 30 bus in downtown Milwaukee, puts me all the way by Silver Spring Drive.



DIAZ: And then basically, you walk across a park and there was a training unit. So, that was no problem, I think the biggest challenge was later when I was in law school. Had a lot of things to do--


DIAZ: And, uh, that put a little bit of stress. But you know, I manage my time. There's a lot of time management. So, my biggest challenge was basically trying to stay in shape.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, finding enough time--

DIAZ: Because--trying to find the time to do some workouts. So therefore, you, you, you remain in shape to do the service, but uh, I didn't have a problem. I think it was a great service. I served in a good unit and the extra income didn't hurt at all, so, I didn't have a problem. As a matter of fact, I think when I was at home in 1991, that's when Desert Storm started. I got a phone call, because they put me in uh-- because our unit was an Army unit. And at that point there was a big challenge. There was-- not a challenge, but there was a big fear because at that point, Saddam Hussein has all these armor units. So, 00:06:00they think basically the war was going to be very, well, create a lot of casualties with armor units. So, basically, they called us to say, "Be ready because you will be the second wave--"


DIAZ: "--to replace those who died."

PIOTROWSKI: Back then, you were already done with law school, right?

DIAZ: Yeah. And I was, at that point, studying for the bar exam.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, so you--oh, so you weren't actually in the JAG?

DIAZ: Not yet. I needed to pass my bar exam. So--

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, so I'm just, I'm trying to pinpoint how this works. So, you came in as an enlisted guy, you did this time, you graduated law school, then you were commissioned as a first lieutenant? Or, not until you pass the law exam?

DIAZ: I needed to pass the bar exam--

PIOTROWSKI: Before you got commissioned, right. You were still an enlisted guy.

DIAZ: Correct. I was still an enlisted guy, but I was in Puerto Rico, and then at that point I got a phone call that--

PIOTROWSKI: They wanted you to come back.


DIAZ: Just to get ready. They wanted to have my address and everything, so, for the call-up--because what they wanted to do was have armor crews ready that they could activate to go back, get a refresher training--


DIAZ: --at Fort Knox to be sent down to Saudi Arabia, the war lasted only how--a hundred hours, so I never really got called up.

PIOTROWSKI: You didn't, yeah. And I know that Silver Spring unit was on alert, but not called--part of it was called up,

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: But not a whole lot of it.

DIAZ: Right, not a lot. I was one of the five guys who were called up, because at that point when I went in '85, '86, I did the beginning of--where there was a transition between the M60A3 and the M1s.


DIAZ: Then the M-1s were coming out.


DIAZ: There was a one that that had a 105 millimeter. The original one had a 105. And at that point, that was coming out of the line. So, they were looking for people who knew how to drive, you know, how to--


DIAZ: How to run the M1s. You just need a quick refresher and, you know, so. That's why they called me.


DIAZ: And, but, I never really had to report to Fort Knox or anything.


PIOTROWSKI: Okay. When you finished Marquette law school, which bar were you trying to get in?

DIAZ: Well, I got a minute in Wisconsin, but I was--

PIOTROWSKI: Because you were graduating.

DIAZ: Correct, but I was back home to take the Puerto Rico Bar.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, so that's when--

DIAZ: And at that point, at that point, I got, you know, uh--Somebody told me, "Hey. If you pass a bar exam and you're ever thinking about joining the JAG--" At that point, I was clerking for a judge.


DIAZ: And at that point, he was a retired JAG, so he put the seed in my head.


DIAZ: And then when I passed the bar exam, I put all the paperwork. He basically helped me out. And then, I basically said--and then I was admitted into JAG Corps, and they were gonna commission me as a first lieutenant.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. So--why did you go that way? I mean, I'm just, I'm curious as to what your motivation was.

DIAZ: Well--

PIOTROWSKI: Was it a good way to get experience as a lawyer, or?

DIAZ: Well, at that point, I still loved the military. But then they were offering me--You know, the whole idea of serving as a lawyer, I was in active duty,


DIAZ: You know. I said, "Well, it's a great idea." And obviously the JAG 00:09:00Corps--I thought that was gonna give me a lot of experience and practice at law, which in truth, it was, so--

PIOTROWSKI: Um, were you married? Single?

DIAZ: No, uh, single.

PIOTROWSKI: Single. Okay, so no, no family to say--

DIAZ: To deal with.

PIOTROWSKI: To say, "Hey, why are you doing this?"

DIAZ: Yeah, yeah. Well, my mother, right--um, wanted to know what I was doin', so I explained to her, and she said, "Well, okay, that's what you want? Okay."

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm. Okay. But, wives are a little different about that sometimes--

DIAZ: I imagine they are.

PIOTROWSKI: [Chuckles] Okay. Um, so then you entered the JAG Corps, and you said your first assignment was to the 2nd Infantry?

DIAZ: Yes, 2nd Infantry in Korea.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you got--

DIAZ: I was stationed at Camp Stanley.


DIAZ: Which is in the city Uijeongbu. At that point, at that time, Camp Stanley was the headquarters of the Division Artillery and the Division Aviation Brigade. So, ah--


DIAZ: So that's, that's where I was stationed.

PIOTROWSKI: And as a JAG officer, were you under the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry?

DIAZ: Yup.

PIOTROWSKI: Or were you assigned to a particular--


DIAZ: Well, I was, I was at that point, uh-- I was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, DIVARTY--Division Artillery.


DIAZ: But I served the post. So, I was the lawyer. I was a lawyer. I was one of two lawyers on the post.


DIAZ: I was, was called the legal assistance lawyer, which means uh, people who have problems like their rent, divorces, they want to do power of attorney--they came to see me. I was not the criminal lawyer. That was the job of my associate, Captain Causey[??]. And he basically was their trial--what they call them, the trial lawyers.


DIAZ: The trial JAGs. I was just the legal assistant, so if somebody came over and says, "I got some problem, some bill collectors, what do I do?"

PIOTROWSKI: You're the one.

DIAZ: I was the one that handled that. Uh, issues regarding uh--people who wanted to get married in Korea. That's what [Piotrowski chuckles]--made sure I filed the paperwork, issues of consolation payments, you know, claims. An example being, when the Army was training and they destroy a farmers--


DIAZ: --crops. You did something called--in Korea, it was called a solatia 00:11:00payment. That is a payment that's to compensate the farmer for the loss of the crops.

PIOTROWSKI: Say that word again?

DIAZ: Solatia.


DIAZ: S-O-L-A-T-I--that's what it was called.

PIOTROWSKI: Is that an acronym, or--?

DIAZ: No, no, that was a word. It was your solatia thing. You went there, I basically--me and the finance officers, we evaluate how much was the loss. And we, ah, would pay in that, that would be in Korean money, wons.


DIAZ: So, that's what I did.

PIOTROWSKI: And so that--

DIAZ: I have to compensate for--

PIOTROWSKI: Crop damage.

DIAZ: --crop damage, you know, the tanks were going through the field and destroy the crops. So [chuckles], we went over there and--Or, a lot of the problems that was in the aviation units. Some of the aviation helicopters that used to fly, that was called map of the world. And they used to scare cows.


DIAZ: And sometimes you'd have aborted fetuses, aborted calves. So, we have to 00:12:00go there and pay the--and apologize to the farmer for the damage.

PIOTROWSKI: How did the people accept that? I mean, were they pretty, pretty good about it? Ah--

DIAZ: I used to--

PIOTROWSKI: Pretty reasonable, or was it a big--

DIAZ: Well, you know, sometimes. Sometimes, they were asking some more than they wanted, but I had a Korean interpreter and most people were accepting. Of, of the payment. I think one of the biggest problems at that point was that [inaudible] Korea was still run under military dictatorship.


DIAZ: [Inaudible], he was still-- Chun Doo-hwan was the president, he was a former military general. And they began to transition into democracy. So, there was always a little tension, uh, between some of the local Koreans who wanted the Americans to lead the country.


DIAZ: There always was that uh, that issue. There was a couple of incidents in which an American soldier killed a Korean national.

PIOTROWSKI: That [inaudible]--

DIAZ: And that created a lot of anti-American--


PIOTROWSKI: Is that something you ended up being part of that dealing?

DIAZ: I was--

PIOTROWSKI: Or was it other--

DIAZ: Well, that happened in Seoul.


DIAZ: So, that was part of the Eighth Army. But what happened was at this point, the private--I still remember his name--was gonna be attached to 2nd Infantry Division. So, he arrived in Seoul. And basically, what happens, he got drunk. And uh, got into a fight with this uh, bar girl. And he killed the bar girl.


DIAZ: So, what happened was, because he killed a Korean national under, at that point, something called a Status of Forces Agreement.


DIAZ: And basically, he was going to be tried by the Korean--


DIAZ: --y'know, Korean Court and everything. We just basically monitor, making sure that his rights were protected. I was involved in that case almost at the 00:14:00end. Because once he was found guilty, he needed to be discharged from the military.


DIAZ: So, I was--I was part of the lawyer who put the packet to have the gentleman administratively discharged from the service.


DIAZ: Under a, uh, basically a--

PIOTROWSKI: I assume we got a general, other than honorable discharge--

DIAZ: No, no, dishonorable discharge. Because, because of the crime. He was convicted in a foreign court for a crime, so--

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. There's always a balancing in that where, where that line falls.

DIAZ: Well, and the reason was that we could have jurisdiction over this individual because of the crime. Because it was a very heinous crime. And we, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, he could be charged with, you know, to be--to be put to death.


DIAZ: But we agreed to surrender him to the Koreans, provided that uh, he was given life in prison. And the Korean prosecutors said, "Yeah. We'll give him life in prison."

PIOTROWSKI: In Korean jail?

DIAZ: Yeah, he served-- He's still in a Korean jail.

PIOTROWSKI: Ooh. That wouldn't be good.

DIAZ: Nope, it was not good [Piotrowski laughs]. He served in a Korean jail.


PIOTROWSKI: I wouldn't wanna be-- [Piotrowski exhales sharply]

DIAZ: Nope, no, that's not the--

PIOTROWSKI: Don't want to be the only American or one of the few Americans in a Korean jail, that would not be a good situation.

DIAZ: Would you have seen the show, "Locked Up Abroad"? It's a show called "Locked Up Abroad"?

PIOTROWSKI: Ehh, I--I know it's out there, but I don't watch it. [Chuckles] Yeah.

DIAZ: Well, it's about the experience of Americans in foreign prisons. So, it's about that.

PIOTROWSKI: It's not good. Yeah.

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: So, okay. Um--did you enjoy your work, then?

DIAZ: I really loved Korea. I really enjoy Korea. I think it was--I extended my tour. Because uh, single people, they get a one-year tour in Korea.


DIAZ: I extend it.


DIAZ: Because I really love the culture and love to travel. I had a good experience there, uh--

PIOTROWSKI: Good people.

DIAZ: They're good people, and then I was offered that if I stay there one more year, they were gonna give me the prosecution job.


DIAZ: In Korea. And I said, "Sure, I'll take it." Uh, not many people wanted to serve in Korea [chuckles].


DIAZ: And I was single. So, you know, this is--

PIOTROWSKI: This is--what year was this?

DIAZ: '92.


DIAZ: And I served there from '92 to '94.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And uh, did you get promoted to captain, then, too?

DIAZ: I was promoted to captain when I was in Korea.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah. And you did get the prosecution job.

DIAZ: I did, yes.


PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And did you find that rewarding, or--?

DIAZ: Ah, it was rewarding to an extent, but uh--Obviously--there was a case that obviously I had, uh, I had some hard times. Now the--it was one of those cases in which, uh, there was an allegation of a--of rape. It was a he-said, she-said.


DIAZ: But the problem was that I could not bring it to prosecution, because there was no, uh-- lack of uh, evidence. You know,


DIAZ: Basically, they saw the two individuals going together to the bar, getting drunk in the bar. Going to the clubs, you know? And then at the end, when they did the rape kit, which is basically after somebody--somebody alleges to be raped, there was no evidence of abrasions, lesions. They'd said it was forceful.


PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, that's-- [exhales sharply]

DIAZ: So, when you have it--all the evidence it appears to be consensual, more than anything else. So, I had to explain to, at this point the soldier, that we could not bring charges for that. But, we brought--

PIOTROWSKI: It was a female?

DIAZ: Yeah, it was a female against a male. But we--

PIOTROWSKI: Both soldiers.

DIAZ: Both soldiers. But, we were able to bring a charge of--this gentleman was an NCO, this person was enlisted. So, basically, we brought a different charge of fraternization. Obviously, she was not happy with it, so. But I had to--as a matter of fact, me and the chief, uh, the chief of trial services came with me and explained to her, "You know, this is gonna be a very tough case to prove."


DIAZ: "I know--" you know. So, that's one of the things that I had a hard time. Because obviously, you know, you wanna do the right thing for somebody, but, when there's--

PIOTROWSKI: Did you-- just, in retrospect, after having more experience, would it have been that much different in the civilian court?

DIAZ: I think, no. I think basically, uh, we don't--The thing that I was very, very proud is that I told people, "If you bring me somebody to charge, I need to have ninety-nine-point-nine evidence.


DIAZ: Y'know, if you bring me something that is weak, I'm not gonna charge 00:18:00somebody. Because I know of the impact it will have on somebody and somebody's career, right? And I told the two commanders, "You know, you know, you cannot do that." An example was something very funny because--that happened-- the aviation brigade. Lot of aviators was like a big fraternity,

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, they tend to be cowboys by nature.

DIAZ: Right, a lotta cowboys. [Piotrowski laughs] So, the 2-1 Aviation and the 2-2 Aviation always competed, and they have something of a bell in the bar. And part of the tradition was to go in and steal the bell. And they used to engrave it, who did it, and what years. So, when I was the [sighs] trial counsel for the Aviation Brigade, two warrant officers basically were tasked to go to the other 00:19:00camp's bar to steal the bell.


DIAZ: Well, they stole the bell. But as they were running, the local guards from the post were Korean nationals, went after them.


DIAZ: So, they create a big brouhaha.


DIAZ: So, it came to me whether or not, you know, I want to prosecute this. And I just looked at the whole thing and say, "You know, this is basically--ah, for lack of a better word-- this is like, high school jinks."


DIAZ: Pranks. And I said, "I'm not gonna waste my time or anybody's time and ruin two aviators' career. Because once you've charged them, they lose flight status.


DIAZ: And there's nothing more that they hated, that--


DIAZ: They'll want to fly. And so, you know--and that says, you know, I was very happy that I knew if there was any other prosecutor, they just wanted to rack up one more notch. On the prosecutor belt. Well, I didn't do that, I just basically look at the facts. I went to the colonel, said, "You know, Colonel, you want to chew their asses. You do whatever you want. But really, you know, this is basically high school jinks. You might want to give an instruction that, for the-- for the end of the year, no more hijinkses. And yeah, so--


PIOTROWSKI: So, that was--did you feel the good backing from your command in terms of those sorts of decisions?

DIAZ: I had, I had a good colonel that really backed me up. And even though he was stationed in a different camp, Camp Casey.


DIAZ: I was stationed at Camp Stanley. Uh, that individual was very, you know, very good at, you know--If there was an issue, I could pick up the phone, call my boss and say, you know, "What do you think? Should I? Is this the right approach?" And you know, uh, that was a good thing. The senior leadership in the JAG Corps. They really--ah, what's the right word, to um--mentor you. They'll train and try to mentor you. So, that was nice.

PIOTROWSKI: So, yeah, particularly in Korea--

DIAZ: In Korea, I found that very good. In Korea, I found that very good.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. So, after two years in Korea--


DIAZ: They offer me going to Fort Polk, Louisiana.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh-ho, what an offer! [laughs]

DIAZ: Oh, yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: Had you ever been to Fort Polk, Louisiana, before?

DIAZ: No, never been--

PIOTROWSKI: Or any idea what Fort Polk, Louisiana--?

DIAZ: No, I mean, I did not know what Fort Polk, Louisiana, was [inaudible] Fort Polk, Louisiana, was. So, I arrived there and I arrived there in '94.

PIOTROWSKI: And then--

DIAZ: So, I was serving in Korea from '92 to '94 for Second Infantry Division, and then I took thirty days leave, went home, visit my folks. And then from then, I reported to Fort Polk.

PIOTROWSKI: And who were you assigned to there? I mean a JAG, obviously, but--

DIAZ: Correct. But I was, uh, garrison headquartered, headquarter company garrison.

PIOTROWSKI: So that's the people who were doing like the infantry training

DIAZ: Correct. Mm-hm.

PIOTROWSKI: --that's going on there and not, not a particular unit, but the training unit more than anything.

DIAZ: Right.


DIAZ: Correct. And so, uh, I basically, my job down there--I was what's called an administrative law JAG. Which is basically, I review contracts that, you 00:22:00know, service contracts for the military. We did a lot of--I did a lot of uh, investigations. AR-15 investigations when there was something missing, equipment missing. I did a lotta those. [Inaudible]surveys investigations. I did a lot of investigation when there was a violation of--what's it called, uh, the EPA.


DIAZ: Y'know, discharge of oil on property. 'Cause Fort Polk, Louisiana, it was--

PIOTROWSKI: [Chuckles] It's a swamp.

DIAZ: Well, it was a swamp, but they had a couple of things. They have some protected species.


DIAZ: They had the red-cockaded woodpecker, which is a protected species.

PIOTROWSKI: And very rare.

DIAZ: Very rare. And therefore, you know, sometimes when you have people training on the box. They may have altered that particular, uh--where the birds 00:23:00used to live. So, there was something going on, I had to be the one who had to file the paperwork, and--


DIAZ: --do that. And also, there were small Indian, ah, mounds.


DIAZ: So, we had identified those--

PIOTROWSKI: That's a whole different section of law, too.

DIAZ: So, we have we had to invest--my job was when the units were coming into training.


DIAZ: I had to brief them and say, "This is what you need to do. This is what you don't need to do. This is--you should not--if you find this mound, stay away from it and report it, because that was our registered national historical site." I tried to tell them, "You know, you see, these trees are a red band, stay away from them because that was a sign that that particular tree was inhabited by the red-cockaded woodpecker." So, a lot of that training for the 00:24:00trained troops, because, as you know, at that point, JROTC was beginning to create a box for a particular country called Cortina. And basically, they did a lot of peacekeeping training.


DIAZ: So, units used to cycle there for thirty days to do what's called M-O-U-T. Uh--

PIOTROWSKI: And is that--M-O-U-T--mobilization?

DIAZ: You know, forgot what it was, uh--[sighs].

PIOTROWSKI: Something--

BOTH: --operational unit training. Yeah.

DIAZ: Mobile operational unit training.


DIAZ: Yeah. Well, and they basically--they created a village, kind of [inaudible]-- in Vietnam, they created a Viet Cong village.


DIAZ: So, now they're training to regular village


DIAZ: To do peacekeeping operations, training people how to do law of war and all those kind of things.

PIOTROWSKI: It sounds like that would have been from strictly from a legal standpoint--


DIAZ: Mmm.

PIOTROWSKI: As a lawyer.

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: Very interesting education for you in a whole different section of law--

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: --than you'd done before.

DIAZ: Yeah, and they told me to do that. And then for a while, I became what's called the operations lawyer.


DIAZ: Which was basically, I was in the box with the unit making sure that they were doing everything right.


DIAZ: Legally speaking.


DIAZ: Um, and then at that point--

PIOTROWSKI: And let me just ask before you go further with that. Did you find your support at Fort Polk as strong as it had been in Korea? Or--?

DIAZ: My--my immediate supervisor? Wonderful.


DIAZ: And the old man, the colonel, he was almost retiring, so. He was basically counting his time.


DIAZ: He was counting his time. So, I dealt more and more with my immediate supervisor, who was a major.


DIAZ: Which a matter of fact I still, to this day, keep in contact.


DIAZ: She was a wonderful individual, a great sense of humor. Um, but when I was there in the box, I used to go all the time, so I was on the field with the 00:26:00units. And then at that point, I think there--was it created before 1993, '94?

PIOTROWSKI: Just so we have that, just checking [inaudible].

DIAZ: So, they decided to do something called Partnership for Peace. Partnership for Peace was basically before all these eastern European countries became part of NATO.


DIAZ: They created something called a Partnership for Peace. And they decided to do an exercise in Fort Polk, Louisiana, called Cooperative Nugget 95.

PIOTROWSKI: Cooperative Noggin?

DIAZ: Nugget.

PIOTROWSKI: Nugget, oh.

DIAZ: Like gold nugget. Nugget 95. So, you got countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, coming to--


DIAZ: --Fort Polk to train. And my role at that point was to involve the right--as part of the standard operation procedures, I did the appendix to the SOP regarding immigration issues. One of the biggest problems that we had was, that I kept telling people was, "What if Boris, who comes from Bulgaria comes, 00:27:00trains in Fort Polk, and says, 'I don't want to go back to Bulgaria.'"


DIAZ: Political asylum. So, I have to work with a lot of the folks from Lake Charles, um, the Office of Immigration.


DIAZ: To figure out a way in which if somebody said, "I want political asylum," what to do with that individual. How to isolate him from the unit with the military police, how to contact Lake Charles immigration so they can send an agent to interview him. To make sure, if, in fact, that--


DIAZ: --he fits, whether he could request political asylum. Because, in order to request political asylum, you need to be feeling--feeling that you are, uh, if you are returned to your country, you fear for your death and all that stuff.


DIAZ: Plus, we've also had to deal with ATF, because you've got all these people 00:28:00coming in this country with firearms, AK-47s.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh! From less than, shall we say, our friends at that point.

DIAZ: Yeah! And so therefore, so therefore, we had to talk to ATF to figure out, okay, when these guys come in in these airplanes, how do we inspect these? How do we classify? You know.


DIAZ: So, it was a very interesting--

PIOTROWSKI: I would think, from legal from a standpoint.

DIAZ: From a legal point of view, we created a lot of questions that I work directly with the folks in immigration at Lake Charles, but also I work with the guys at the Pentagon.


DIAZ: Ah, because they were bringing ah, another senior lawyer to come down there. So, I was the boots on the ground, but I was dealing with this. I think he was at that point--he was at the time a lieutenant colonel, to make sure that everything went okay. Because I kept telling him, you know, "We got all these issues. We need to figure out. You guys in the Pentagon are doing the planning. Make sure that--"

PIOTROWSKI: Somebody looks.

DIAZ: That everybody, you know, that you talk to your guys in Washington, D.C., at ATF, your guys in Washington about immigration. So, we're on the same sheet of music, so we don't have that problem. So, ah--

PIOTROWSKI: Did it work?


DIAZ: Oh, it did. It did. I was not there when the whole thing began, because at that point, my boss offered me to go to Airborne School. So, I went to Airborne School in September of '95.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you just went to jump school because you wanted to?

DIAZ: Well, because um, at JRTC, um-- one of the things in the military--


BOTH: Joint Readiness Training--


DIAZ: Center.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh, center, okay.

DIAZ: And most of those people who were there are were Airborne qualified, Special Forces Ranger tech[??]. You know, all those guys. And I walk in and, you know, basically when I first walked in to report to the commander, he looked at me and he said, "Oh, you don't have you don't have your wings." So--

PIOTROWSKI: Did he say, "Dirty leg?" [laughs]

DIAZ: But you could see it in his eyes, he was saying that. So I went to my boss, now the one that I'm talking to, and I close the door and she asked me, "Well, how was your day?". And I said, "Ma'am, you better send me to jump 00:30:00school." [Piotrowski laughs] And she said," Well, you know, get ready will make the paperwork, we'll send you to jump school." So, it was funny because once I graduated from jump school, I reported back again, and I was his lawyer. The old man said, "Oh yeah, this is my JAG." You know, so--

PIOTROWSKI: It makes a-- I was Airborne. Makes a difference.

DIAZ: It is. It is. It does make it different. It's a kind of unknown language. You know? Because he saw me, and I knew what he was looking at. He said, "Oh, so you don't have a--


DIAZ: "You don't have no wings and you wanna be my lawyer?" So, but what happened was, going back to my story, was--Well, I was gone. Exactly what I was talking to my boss happened.


DIAZ: There was this guy from--I don't, I don't remember which country it was. From an Eastern country, it was exactly that. "I want political asylum." but because we had worked all the kinks--


DIAZ: [Snaps fingers] It worked, it would work perfect.

PIOTROWSKI: They could get--

DIAZ: They get the guy. They got him asylum. Blah blah blah, you know.

PIOTROWSKI: And he did get asylum, because he--


DIAZ: Yes.

PIOTROWSKI: --because he qualified.

DIAZ: He qualified, but we had--[inaudible] because we worked all the kinks, who to call, where to call, what--where to send the message. Making sure everything we, you know--because we went, and we--That SOP was as--line by line of what to do. So--

PIOTROWSKI: Than that went right down to the company commander sorta people--

DIAZ: Sure.

PIOTROWSKI: To know what to do--

DIAZ: Correct. All that SOP went, uh--it began from at that point, it was Brigadier General Sheffield who was commanding general. All the way down to the company commander.


DIAZ: Those, those SOP--[silent break in recording]

PIOTROWSKI: You, your boss said--

DIAZ: Told me, told me, "Hey, you did work. Everything went great." I'm like, "Wow. I'm happy." So, I was very happy that that happened.

PIOTROWSKI: Did anybody put that in your records? A check box or someth--

DIAZ: Well, what happened was, when I left Fort Polk, Louisiana. Um, usually when you're a captain, they gave you Army commendation.


DIAZ: You know, usually that's wha--you know, what they gave about as high as you can get as a captain. When I left, they gave me an MSM, Meritorious Service Medal.

PIOTROWSKI: Well, good.

DIAZ: So, I was--

PIOTROWSKI: So, they did recognize that.


DIAZ: They did recognize that--

PIOTROWSKI: As exceptional.

DIAZ: And as a matter of fact, my boss pushed for that.


DIAZ: My boss went like, "You know, this guy saved our bacon [both chuckle]. He thought about this problem." So, she pushed for an MSM.

PIOTROWSKI: Was that in part because you came from Puerto Rico, and had faced some of-- [audio distortion, crackling, and word repetition interrupts recording] I know it's part of the U.S. There's a weird, weird relationship there.

DIAZ: Well, I think because--probably because I was more in tune coming from Korea, and all these problems and issues.


DIAZ: And also because of, you know--that I basically was thinking ahead about those things. I think, you know, "We go these guys from--" And at that point I was, ah, my degree at Marquette was History.


DIAZ: The history of Eastern European countries in the Soviet Union.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh, okay, so you had actually studied this?

DIAZ: So, I studied this stuff. So, basically, I-- the first thing I told my 00:33:00boss is, "You're bringing all these people from, these Eastern Europeans. They're going to come to the United States and even though it's Fort Polk, Louisiana, which is not the greatest place in America. [Piotrowski chuckles] But trust me, it's much better than that little ding hole that they are in. I don't know where they were--where they were in Eastern Europe. But they'll come and say, say, 'Hey--'"

PIOTROWSKI: "Look at this."

DIAZ: "Look at this." And the thing I told them, they weren't going to take them for a two day tour in Houston.


DIAZ: To see the Astrodome and all that stuff. It's--and to go to Astroworld. Astroworld was next to the Astrodome, which is like a--

PIOTROWSKI: Didn't know about it, but--

DIAZ: But yeah, it was like a, I dunno like a-- like a Disney World.

PIOTROWSKI: About land, about the space program.

DIAZ: Yeah. So, I'm telling you, these people see all this stuff. Next thing, they say, "I don't wanna go back." [Piotrowski laughs] "Who wants to go back?" So, so it was fun. Um--

PIOTROWSKI: So, you were at Fort Polk, '94, '95.

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: Just one year, or--?

DIAZ: Uh, I was there--well, I began early '94. I left late '95.


PIOTROWSKI: So, almost two years.

DIAZ: Almost two years, almost two years, uh--

PIOTROWSKI: And then you went to--

DIAZ: Then--oh. Let me take a step back, when I was also at Fort Polk, um, I spent a short period of time in Haiti.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, as part of the Operation--

DIAZ: Operation Uphold Democracy. I dunno if you remember 1994, Aristide was deposed by the military. The general was called Raoul Cédras. Basically, the American government wanted to bring back Aristide into power, and there was a moment in which they were gonna basically invade Haiti and the last moment they changed. And so, basically--

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, that's when Carter actually went down and did--

DIAZ: Correct.


DIAZ: Correct. And when--

PIOTROWSKI: Negotiations, and the U.S. had all its forces right off --

DIAZ: Ready, ready to go invade and that was when the generals say, "Okay, we give up."


DIAZ: And then, we change from an invasion force to a peacekeeping force.


DIAZ: So, I was there for 'prolly a couple of months in Haiti.


PIOTROWSKI: Okay, what--

DIAZ: I was one of the legal advisors because I speak fluent French.


DIAZ: So, at that point--

PIOTROWSKI: So, Spanish, French and English.

DIAZ: Yeah. And at that point, the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana. And that unit was designated as one of the units that was gonna go to uh, to Haiti as part of the invasion force.


DIAZ: And they, and they wanted to have a lawyer, and then they found out I spoke French. So, they said, "Well, you--

PIOTROWSKI: [Inaudible]

DIAZ: [Piotrowski chuckles] "You come with us." So, I was there for a couple of months and then I rotated back to Louisiana.

PIOTROWSKI: In that situation, did you work a lot with senior leadership in Haiti, or what was your--

DIAZ: I basically--we worked with what's called NGOs, non-governmental organizations.




DIAZ: A lot of the UN guys. I was attached to a lot of the local police.



DIAZ: The local Haitian national police. Because at that point, the military was disbanded


DIAZ: The military was disbanded, but there was no, ah, law enforcement, you know. Riots were beginning to happen. And so, we were working with the national police to retrain them, telling them, you know, "You don't go beat up people." [Chuckles] "It's not the way we do it in this country."


DIAZ: And so, I was part of that team and working also with the Haitian authorities, particularly in the courts. Because they had a lot of backlog of cases, and they were trying to help them move the cases.

PIOTROWSKI: Move the cases? Or reestablish the court system?

DIAZ: Reestablish the court system because the court system, obviously was very corrupt.


DIAZ: It was an instrument by the military dictatorship. So, they were bringing, ah, people who had--lack of a better word--clean records that were not associated with the old government, so.


DIAZ: And we're trying to help them put back together the justice system.

PIOTROWSKI: Frickin--you had some fascinating work.

DIAZ: It was interesting. It was interesting, and I loved it. So. But then, I 00:37:00got rotated back--


DIAZ: Because I was there for a short period of time. And then my role was to train people who were going into Haiti.


DIAZ: Ah, to tell them do's and don'ts, and this is what you're expecting, and all that good stuff.

PIOTROWSKI: Alright. So then from Fort Polk, you--

DIAZ: I got my dream job. It was my dream job was in Special Operations Command.


DIAZ: At uh, Bragg.

PIOTROWSKI: At Bragg, or you went to Benning first?

DIAZ: Oh, I--well, as you know, I went to Benning for Airborne school, jump school in September.

PIOTROWSKI: Right, yeah.

DIAZ: And then I reported to Fort Bragg in December.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, so then you went to Bragg. Okay, and you were in Special Operations Command?

DIAZ: Yeah, U.S. Army Special Operations Command.

PIOTROWSKI: Which is different than the Green Beanies, I--

DIAZ: Yeah, correct. Yeah, yeah, they're basically--Army Special Operations Command is like the umbrella organization for the Army Rangers, Special Forces, who else--? Ah, Special Operations, Army--Aviation Regiment. The 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment. And Special Operations Support Command.



DIAZ: But so, that's kinda the umbrella organization. And--and the Delta guys.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, which we don't talk about.

DIAZ: No, we don't talk about them [Piotrowski laughs]. As a matter of fact, I would not even recognize one if I saw them.


DIAZ: Uh, so I was there and that was a great job, I loved it. Loved that job.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm. Did you act strictly as a lawyer in that--

DIAZ: I worked--I worked in the headquarters and I was assigned as a legal guy for the 9--at the point, the 95th Civil Affairs Battalion.


DIAZ: At Bragg. Which, I was their lawyer.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm. And, talk about that.

DIAZ: Well, the Civil Affairs Battalion was basically one of the--now, at that point was the only uh, battalion that was active duty. Civil Affairs, active duty.


DIAZ: Uh, civil affairs, most of the Civil Affairs community or the United 00:39:00States Army Civl Affairs Command, most of it are Reservists. Like here in Wisconsin, there is a unit, the 412th.


DIAZ: Civil Affairs outta Green Bay.


DIAZ: So, what the--what this unit did is basically, they were like the-- they went first, and then, they were in country for about ninety days, that gives the alter to the reservists and when the reservists are ready to mobilize, they came and took over the active duty guys. And the active duties rotated back to Bragg.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, so their real purpose as a unit in the Army was to be the quick on the ground--

DIAZ: Yeah, the quick reaction team.

PIOTROWSKI: And to enable the reservists to come into play.

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: And what did--I, you hear 'Civil Affairs'.

DIAZ: Mmm.

PIOTROWSKI: And, y'know, you think, well, Civil Affairs uh, they walk around with loudspeakers saying, "Don't do that, do this."

DIAZ: Sure.

PIOTROWSKI: I mean, what did they actually do?

DIAZ: When, most of them, they met with the local--an example would be, uh, they 00:40:00go to a local village, they talk to the mayor or whoever's in charge saying, "What do you need?"


DIAZ: "Oh, we have problems with the school, we need a roof in the school." So, they'll get the supplies, rebuild the school. "We need clean water." So, they work to try and create an engineering project to get clean water to the village. They needed books, they'd get--y'know, they'd try to create, trying to win the hearts and minds of the local people.

PIOTROWSKI: So, they have a broad spectrum of things they can do--

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: Sorta thing?

DIAZ: Yeah, yeah, so basically they go there and, uh, contrary to Psychological Operations Command. Psychological Operations Command are those guys you were mentioning with the bullhorn and trying to convince people.


DIAZ: And they do, Psychological Operations Command is they make pamphlets.


DIAZ: And they--an example would be--

PIOTROWSKI: I've seen it, yeah.

DIAZ: Identifying, identifying in mi--identifying land mines and telling people 00:41:00don't touch certain uh--ordinances and let EOD handle it. And they used to publish that in their language. So--and, most of the guys in CA, they were--all of them, spoke more than one language.


DIAZ: And they were broken down in separate companies.


DIAZ: Each company had an area of the world. Like, Comp--I don't remember. But for example, Alpha Company: Latin America, Bravo Company: Africa, Charlie Company: Asia.

PIOTROWSKI: And so they would have those language skills--

DIAZ: For that particular, that region. So if there was an issue, you go to wherever in the world, you knew that Charlie Company, the issue was in Asia, they will send Charlie Company.



PIOTROWSKI: Um, and--were you assigned to that in part because you had these language skills, or--?

DIAZ: Yeah, language skills, because I was deployed in Haiti--

PIOTROWSKI: Or was it what you wanted to do--

DIAZ: Because I wanted to, because I was deployed in Haiti, and then in '95 as 00:42:00you recall, the Bosnia civil war ended.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, okay.

DIAZ: And they signed the date, an agreement. So, before we went in, our unit got activated and we went to Bosnia.


DIAZ: So, I got deployed with a unit in Sar--ah, the unit in December of--almost December of '95, I believe, was it?


DIAZ: And I went to Sarajevo with the unit.

PIOTROWSKI: In part to help with the--

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: The start of that rebuilding process?

DIAZ: Mm-hm.

PIOTROWSKI: This is what--

DIAZ: Rebuilding process, and because I spoke three languages.


DIAZ: Uh, as you know it was a NATO-led operation, so we had people from France, people from Spain.


DIAZ: And, um, people from Germany, Belgians, these things. I spoke three or four languages, the old man said, "You're comin' with me," because he needed somebody who could speak these languages. And, basically, some of the teams were deploying to different areas of the country. Some of them were deployed in Tuzla, where the American forces were. Some of them were deployed in Gornji 00:43:00Vakuf, where the British force was moving. Some troops were moved to Mostar, that's where mostly the Spanish force was. I was in Sarajevo, and a little place called Ilidža, and that's where the French forces were.


DIAZ: So uh, my job was basically to secure buildings. We used to buy buildings for the force. An example, we bought at that point, there was a building in Sarajevo called a PPT. That stands for--uh [exhales], P stands for "post," y'know-- "postal service." PPT. I forgot what the next piece stands for, the T stands for "telephone." So, it was like the big telephone exchange building.

PIOTROWSKI: Post office and telephone--communications of all sorts.

DIAZ: Yeah, a big--a big office building, and we bought that. Well, we rented it off of the local government, so we negotiated the contract, the services.


DIAZ: I negotiated contracts for service for the unit, particularly garbage removal. Buying wood, so we can fix buildings--



DIAZ: Uh, water--


DIAZ: Supply, 'cause we needed to have water being trucked into the country. Um, we also had to hire local people to assist us in cooking and, y'know, doing laundry.


DIAZ: So, that's part of my job at the beginning, when I was deployed with a unit. Then, I don't recall when, but at some point I got the message that one of the units up north--I forgot, what city was it. Let's see--was it Ilidža? I think the other one, the first one I was at. Oh, what's the name of this. I forgot, but they'd found evidence of mass grave sites.


DIAZ: So, I went--I was assigned to go with military police guys to check the 00:45:00area. And then I developed and I wrote standard operational procedures of what to do when you saw a--when you could, when you thought it was a mass grave site. And it was basically kind of a short order to tell people how to cordon the area like a crime scene. Y'know, cordon the area, don't let people come in or disturb anything because one of the things that we did is we communicated directly with, ah, the folks at the International War Crimes Tribunal.


DIAZ: At that point there was an International War Crimes Tribunal. And we had to send the forensics experts to take care of that. But, our role was to identify it, y'know, grid it, protect it, and secure it. And the people from the International War Crimes Tribunal, provide security to them--


DIAZ: --when they were there. Y'know, they used to remove the corpses and all 00:46:00that stuff, so.


DIAZ: So, I did that for a couple of times when I was in--over there, in Bosnia. So.

PIOTROWSKI: Set up the--but you also set up the procedure for the future, any time they found somethin' like this--

DIAZ: Correct. Mm-hm, yeah, because we did not--we didn't have that. Nobody explained, nobody knew about it.


DIAZ: People knew there was mass graves, but nobody had thought about, "Okay, what if we find one, what do we do?"

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, and it was just the beginning of that whole war crimes tribunal--

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: --starting and knowing somebody was gonna do--

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: --something about the war crimes that had happened during this time.

DIAZ: And basically it was a typical--see, 'cause I was, used to be --well, more as a lawyer but also as a prosecutor. You say, "Okay, what do you need to preserve evidence?"


DIAZ: You know. What do you do to preserve evidence? Basically the first thing is you put the yellow tape [both chuckle] to let people in, ah, start taking statements from the locals.


DIAZ: And then, and then uh, have security twenty-four-seven. And you've got people with cameras and videos, take-- videos and cameras, and try to take the 00:47:00dimensions of the area. At that point, at that point GPS was developed, so we used to start sending reports to the--


DIAZ: Um, at that point, we went Vincenza, Italy. 'Cause that was where we reported to. So, they from Vincenza sent it to Belgium, and then from Belgium, it went to the Pentagon. I dunno who did it, I just know that I report to Vincenza.

PIOTROWSKI: That's where the 173rd was.

DIAZ: Correct.


DIAZ: Correct. Exactly, that's where we did it. 'Cause--

PIOTROWSKI: But you used GPS to locate, at that point, you were sayin'. It was developed? Or it wasn't?

DIAZ: I rem--well--

PIOTROWSKI: 'Cause the Army was pretty early on the GPS.

DIAZ: Well yeah, that was, that's what the SF guys had.


DIAZ: The SF guys had what we would now call GPS.


DIAZ: It was so brand new.



DIAZ: '95--as a matter of fact, I had a satellite phone, and that was the first time I had a cell phone [Piotrowski chuckles]. I never seen one in my life, and immediately the guy from SF, "Here you go, sir, who you wanna call in Vincenza?" Boom, boom. And so, I mean, it was secure satellite communication.


DIAZ: And only the SF guys have that [Piotrowski chuckles], they have all these great toys.

PIOTROWSKI: Yes, they do! [Both laugh]

DIAZ: That I loved [chuckles], like, "Wow, this is great stuff."

PIOTROWSKI: So, this was--you got to them in '95, so this was '96 you were--

DIAZ: Yeah, '95 or '96. '95 or '96.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, and you stayed with Special Operation Command?

DIAZ: Yeah, until--until, until '97.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay. And uh, any other exciting or y'know, special--

DIAZ: No, they [inaudible]--The other thing that happened to was, when we were over there, at that point, uh--some of the Serbians did not like us to be there.


DIAZ: So, they used to take potshots at us [chuckles].


DIAZ: And uh, I remember one time, one of the guys got hit with a bullet. It didn't hit him--it didn't kill him, just basically scratched 'im. But I 00:49:00remember, the next day, we were told that they brought a French anti-sniper team with a nightscope.


DIAZ: To find where they were. They found the guy, and they killed 'im.


DIAZ: They found the guy, and one kill, one shot.

PIOTROWSKI: That slow down pot shots?

DIAZ: Oh, [chuckles] immediately. When they found out that, y'know--'Cause the rules of engagement was, basically, we could not return fire unless we could identify the target.


DIAZ: Y'know, if--you could, you could defend yourself but since you couldn't identify the target--

PIOTROWSKI: You couldn't fire back.

DIAZ: --you couldn't fire back. So, basically we're bunkered down. That's why they brought the sniper team with all their beautiful scopes.


DIAZ: They found it was from across the river, they had a little abandoned building, and they guys took a shot out and then took care of it.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm. Okay, um, so then you went back to the States from there?


DIAZ: Yup.

PIOTROWSKI: You spent '97, basically as--

DIAZ: State op--what I did was, at that point they attached me to the uh, Joint--JFK Special Operations Center. Basically--because I was one of they lawyers that was already originally deployed


DIAZ: --to Bosnia, I was part of people training the new guys.


DIAZ: That were going out in Bosnia. As a matter of fact, my unit was substituted by the guys from Green Bay.


DIAZ: That was hilarious, because at that point, I had a Cheesehead hat. [Piotrowski laughs] My friend got it for me. And when the guys from Green Bay were coming, I put the hat on [Piotrowski laughs]. And they all look at me like, "Oh geez," I'm like, "Yeah, from Wisconsin." It's kinda funny. And um, I'll tell you a funny story. Since I spoke French--


DIAZ: I basically made good friends with the guy who was the, kinda like the--The Sarajevo airport was controlled by the French Army. And um, I became 00:51:00very close friends with a guy who was a flight guy in--at the airport, he was a French guy. And uh, the reason why I became good friends with him is he could tell me when were the flights coming for us.


DIAZ: So, we could be there--

PIOTROWSKI: And pick things--

DIAZ: And pick them up right away. Instead of being put someplace and then, god forbid, if things were lost or missing. I'm telling this story because I don't smoke.


DIAZ: But we were given cigarettes. And French loved American cigarettes.


DIAZ: So I told him, y'know, used to give him a couple 'a boxes of Marlboroughs. He loved it.


DIAZ: We were gonna be rotating back to the United States. And, what happened was, we were given a direction that the Air Force wanted all those vehicles 00:52:00clean. They will not take dirty vehicles.

PIOTROWSKI: On their clean little planes.

DIAZ: On their, on their planes. And when I got that instruction, I told the guy, "Look around, do you see a car wash around here?" [Piotrowski laughs] So, we were in a quandary. So, I tell my problem to my--to the French colleague, and he just look at me and said, tells me in perfect French, "Well, that's very easy," he said. "What do you mean?" He said, "We'll do a fire drill." So basically, I went out to the guys--because also, since the airport's controlled by the French Army, they have all these--you see all these huge airport trucks?

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, fire trucks.

DIAZ: They were controlled by the French Army. So I talked to those guys, and I said, "I need this," and I talked to all my guys, and I collected all these boxes of cigarettes. Marlborough cigarettes. Given 'em to them, and we're all ready to roll. It was the most beautiful thing. I got two huge trucks with their nozzles, and the trucks went through them and they all got cleaned up [Piotrowski laughs]. And as soon as they were getting cleaned up [Piotroswki laughs], we were loading them on the C-5 Galaxies.



DIAZ: And we went out. And that's how I earned an Army Commendation Medal [both laugh].

PIOTROWSKI: No! [Both laugh] For the truck wash [laughs].

DIAZ: Well, they say for initiative and--

PIOTROWSKI: Oh yeah, quick thinking, and--

DIAZ: Yeah, but that's the reason for it.

PIOTROWSKI: Well, good relations, took a lot--

DIAZ: And I--all the guys in the unit loved me because everybody wanted to go home, and pshhh. Basically we flew and from there we landed in Germany. And from Germany we went to Iceland, and we stayed there in Iceland, and from Iceland we went to Dover. We landed in Dover, Maryland.


DIAZ: But that was a great story, I love that story because I remember when I told that to my boss, I said, "Hey, I need as many cigarettes as you need." "Why?" He's like, "This is what we're going to do. When we're ready, let me know, I'll tell the guys,"


DIAZ: And--I, a good thing was, at that point, '94, '95. Michael Jordan was huge.


DIAZ: So, a friend of mine sent me couple of posters of Michael Jordan, a few Chicago Bulls [chuckles].


DIAZ: So, when I gave them posters of Michael Jordan and cigarettes, they said, "Oh sure, no problem, we'll do this as a fire drill."



DIAZ: Training exercise for the French firefighters!

PIOTROWSKI: There's always a way to make it a training exercise if--

DIAZ: And it was a great training exercise, and all the vehicles got washed.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm, yup.

DIAZ: The Air Force was happy, my guys were happy, the French got their cigarettes. Pshht. Win, win, win.

PIOTROWSKI: Yup, sounds great. Um, so this gotcha back to Bragg, ah, you kinda became routine duty for--

DIAZ: Yeah, routine duty.


DIAZ: '97. And at that point in my ah, my service contract, I was, I'd say--almost, it was ending.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you had actually enlisted, or signed up for six years for the commission.

DIAZ: Yeah, that was ah, the active duty contract. So at that point, by that point, my service was ending.


DIAZ: I was supposed to end on December '97, but because of the uh--peacekeeping, y'know, the wall has collapsed. There was no need of a large army at that point, so they were doin' a lot of people that were close to 00:55:00retirement or leaving.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, they were [inaudible]--

DIAZ: They gave them their--exactly, they [inaudible] them. So they told me, "Well, we can terminate you in this December, [voices in background] because we know you're gonna end this December. We gonna end you in, May 1st. So they gave me six months early.


DIAZ: Six months out, so.


DIAZ: And then I decided to come to Wisconsin.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you just came back to Wisconsin.

DIAZ: Practice law.

PIOTROWSKI: And did you, have you joined back into the Reserves or anything after you--

DIAZ: No, nope, no, no. A coupled of times, it itched. It itched for a while, I was really upset because ah--you being Airborne guy, you'll appreciate this. Um, well, let me take a step back. As an Airborne guy, you know everybody, first of all, is a leg then you become a jumper. Then from that point, everybody wants their foreign jump wings.


DIAZ: 'Cause otherwise you don't show how brave and smart you are. Because I 00:56:00spoke French and I was attached with a French unit, I was able to jump with the French Foreign Legion.


DIAZ: So, when I returned to Bragg--

PIOTROWSKI: You had French wings.

DIAZ: French Foreign Legion wings. And they were very rare.


DIAZ: And they were lookin' at me, "How the hell you got those?" I said, "Well--" And at that point, I was done. But then what happened, flash forward, when the invasion of Iraq occurred. I dunno if you remember, there was a--a jump into, um--what's the name,[inaudible]? No, not [inaudible], it was--

PIOTROWSKI: They jumped into--?

DIAZ: There's a couple jumps but the 173rd jumped at, what's the name, uh--the other side--


DIAZ: The other side, it's not in the--the north, the northern part.

PIOTROWSKI: Because they wouldn't let 'em transfer--

DIAZ: Correct.

PIOTROWSKI: Direct to Turkey, they had to jump--

DIAZ: Yeah, so, what is that province called?


DIAZ: It's the--[pondering] uh, yeah, yeah, the--


DIAZ: Yeah, the Kurds. That area of Kurds. And you know, that was the 173rd combat jump.

PIOTROWSKI: Yep. Yeah, I knew that.

DIAZ: And I was so mad, 'cause I told my wife, "Dammit! Am I--" Because at that point I was married. I was married, I was done with the military, so I got 00:57:00married. And I said, "Dammit!" And my wife said, "What?" I'm like, "Those are my old guys!" [Piotrowski chuckles] She said, "Why?" I said, "I could've gotten my gold star!" [Piotrowski laughs] It was an easy jump, 'cause it was--no one was shooting you back!


DIAZ: But you jump in combat, and guess what? You get your gold star!

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, and there's only a handful of people who have that. That's really--

DIAZ: Yeah! And I--my wife said, 'What?" I'm like, "You don't get it. You don't get it. You've never been in the military, you'll never understand it, so. " But, y'know, I--I miss. What I miss really, I miss the camaraderie, y'know? The guys. That's what I miss.


DIAZ: Particularly in working for Special Operations, I mean, everybody really--they really value the team.


DIAZ: And everybody does their job, irrespective of rank. Everybody [inaudible] their hands and do things. And that's what I liked there, because they were 00:58:00so--anti-establishment in the military.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah. For the military, they're about as anti--[chuckles]

DIAZ: They're--y'know basically, they do their things, they do 'em--Y'know, they try to--as I say, they follow the rules as much as they can, but if they can stretch it, they stretch it.

PIOTROWSKI: And when they need to, they can spit and polish with the best.

DIAZ: Right, but they don't--to them, that to them, they're--they don't get impressed by that stuff. They just, they look and say, "Can you do the job." That's what I miss, I miss those guys, I miss doin' that kinda work.

PIOTROWSKI: So, in general, did you find the military egalitarian, equalitarian?

DIAZ: Egalitarian. Well, you know, it depends. Y'know, I never liked--and I still don't like [chuckles], since I was an enlisted--


DIAZ: I couldn't identify with a lot of the enlisted.


DIAZ: And when I was an enlisted, I had a bad experience. With a West Pointer. 00:59:00For some reason, I just don't know.


DIAZ: From that point, I never liked ring knockers.


DIAZ: Never have liked ring knockers, because they believe they're better than anybody else. And I used to get along, usually, with the NCOs. I got along with the senior NCOs, because I--particularly the young officers who were with me, and I said--"Y'know, if you want to survive, listen to that NCO."


DIAZ: He'll tell you just--go to him , and say, 'Everything okay, top?" He'd say, "Yes, sir." Walk away, 'cause that's his shop, it's no your shop.

PIOTROWSKI: [Chuckles] Yeah.

DIAZ: The NCOs run the military.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh, absolutely.

DIAZ: And the NCO tells you to do something, you do it.


DIAZ: But, I-- but I never quite liked the, um, the ring knockers and sometimes--particularly officer corps. There's a lot of lieutenants, and it keeps shrinking and shrinking and shrinking, so as it becomes to shrink, a lot 01:00:00of the officers are cajoling or pushing to get above everybody else.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm. Becomes a very personalized competition after a certain rank.

DIAZ: Yeah. And I basically, I was not into it. That I did not like.


DIAZ: I never liked that, I never liked that. I used to get along better with the [chuckles] senior enlisted and the NCOs.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you didn't--you didn't see that, though, as a particularly racist sort of thing, or--

DIAZ: No, no, it was--I never felt that my race or anything. If anything, I think that the military--if you know what you're doing, no matter what color you are, what language you speak, you movin' up. 'Cause after all, everybody bleeds red.


DIAZ: And that's--y'know, cut--


PIOTROWSKI: That's the ideal. Whether it happens--

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: That's unity, I mean, you find that much more in the Special Forces.

DIAZ: Yeah, in Special Forces it's different. I think if I would find it in other units. That's why my members of the military in that period were my best.


DIAZ: Y'know. Uh, being stationed in Louisiana, eh-- y'know [Piotrowski chuckles], it was a job, I did my job. I really--since I had interesting things to do, it kept me busy.


DIAZ: But uh, I was, mmm--you know, didn't get along with the other officers. Y'know. In the sense that they were always looking for career advancement. My thing was, "Let's get the job done now. Figure out how to fix the problem." And in my career, it gets--gets a boost, great, and if not--hey.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah that's--

DIAZ: Life--life goes on.

PIOTROWSKI: Mmm. Um, let's see what else we have for that--Anything, anything else that you particularly want to talk about in terms of your experience in the military? I mean, uh--

DIAZ: The only thing is, basically, uh--I can't stand, uh, fireworks.



DIAZ: I don't see fireworks, I don't go to Fourth of July parades, I never see 'em. I don't. [Inhales] The reason why is because, when I was in Bosnia, and we were--part of the things, we were an observation post. And we got a lotta se--fire, to us.


DIAZ: You know, so you could see the tracers and everything. So, loud noises and fireworks, I'm not very fond of.

PIOTROWSKI: [Chuckles] It's funny how that sticks with you.

DIAZ: Oh, it is. And uh, for a long time I could not sleep very well, because I used to put my nine millimeter behind my pillow.


DIAZ: And uh, and my wife noticed me, "Why your hand is always behind your pillow?"


DIAZ: And I was like, '"Well," And I told her that, "If I'm ever flinching like this, don't wake me up."


DIAZ: "Don't wake me up. Just--stay away from me." [Both chuckle] And my wife, 01:03:00to this day, she knows Fourth of July--she's like, "Oh--" I'm like, "You go, have fun--"


DIAZ: "I'll stay downstairs in the basement with the dogs, watching somethin' else.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm. Did you--did you notice that right away when you came home? I mean, at this--did you--

DIAZ: I didn't notice it--

PIOTROWSKI: Did you, I wanted to ask if-- [break in recording] Oh, the getting out and feeling, um-- y'know, you were--how you felt when you first got out?

DIAZ: Well, you know, I felt different. Literally, because, it's a--bein' a civilian is completely different from being in the military.

PIOTROWSKI: Well, I'm wondering, as a lawyer, did you f--did you find a lot of the other, well, there weren't many lawyers who had military experience.


PIOTROWSKI: I mean, there were some, but--

DIAZ: No, no, and basically, I think people did not know what I did.


DIAZ: And uh, when I was in the military. So sometimes they get surprised when I tell them, "Yeah, I did this, I did this, I did this--" And people lookin' at me like, "You did that?" I'm like, "Yup." I don't talk a lot about it--

PIOTROWSKI: But did--did it, did you use it as a positive, negative, I'm-- 01:04:00because you're from a different period than me.

DIAZ: Sure.


DIAZ: Yeah, you did--I don't know if you're from Vietnam.


DIAZ: So--

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, and it was a real negative.

DIAZ: So it--yeah, I know. For me, I don't think it was a positive or negative. I just, myself, I find that sometimes--sometimes people who did peacekeeping operations don't get the uh, to me, the accolades that other veterans do. You know? Don't get me wrong, y'know, what you guys went through in Vietnam, or the guys who are goin' to Afghanistan, y'know--it's, it's tough. But people do not know that, y'know--in what we did, in Haiti, and what we did in Bosnia, we were trying to save people. It is the same thing. People were taking shots at us. And--

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, it's not fun.

DIAZ: In Sarajevo, we used to joke around, because lah-di-dah-di, everybody had 01:05:00an AK-47.


DIAZ: And every time we were driving, we kept looking behind our shoulder. To wait whether or not that guy was pulling the AK-47 out of his sling to take a shot at us.


DIAZ: And sometimes you saw small kids with their hands, shooting at us. You know, making the sign of having a pistol, that they were gonna kill us.

PIOTROWSKI: Mm-hm, mm-hm.

DIAZ: And every day, I had to travel from my base camp to, through Sniper Alley in Sarajevo.

PIOTROWSKI: Which is--how long is that, I mean--

DIAZ: It's about four miles.


DIAZ: In downtown Sarajevo, and it was called Sniper Alley because--

PIOTROWSKI: --for pretty obvious reasons.

DIAZ: For obvious reasons. So, and I used to go there, to the old uh--it was Zetra Stadium, which used to be the old Olympic stadium in Sarajevo.


DIAZ: 'Cause that's where we used to pick up the mail.


DIAZ: So we used to go there, pick up mail and stuff to take back to our units. And we used to do it, and every time we were driving through--through uh, Sniper Alley, you truly didn't know if it was your last day. And we were doin' the Humvees with the canvas.


DIAZ: Now, now you see the Humvees that--

PIOTROWSKI: Up armored and--

DIAZ: Armor and everything, which at least gives you some protection.


DIAZ: I'm not complaining, I'm just saying people really don't understand what 01:06:00happened in Bosnia. People think that nobody died in Bosnia, nobody was shooting in Bosnia. I mean--

PIOTROWSKI: I know we didn't lose a ton of people there, but the people who I've talked to who've been there said it was not a fun place.

DIAZ: It was not fun! It was not fun. I spent may, many months in [chuckles] Bosnia, never took a hot shower.


DIAZ: It was basically doing' the famous cat bath [laughs].


DIAZ: 'Cause there was no running water. So, y'know, people--so, do I feel a little bit, ah--I dunno, mad or something? Sometimes I tell my wife that. I say, "Y'know, sometimes I wished the museum placed--would do an exhibition about the peacekeepers. Because there was a lot of us who went there and did our job, came back, and [hand drops to the table]." Okay. That's fine.

PIOTROWSKI: That's not a bad idea, they should--

DIAZ: Well, y'know, I kinda mention it to people because there's a lotta people 01:07:00who did that, who went to Bosnia, went to Somalia.


DIAZ: Guys who went to Haiti. There are still guys right now who are in Kosovo.


DIAZ: Doin' this kind of shit.


DIAZ: And nobody--y'know, the guys right now who are in Korea, those who are in the 2nd Infantry Division, they're in the DMZ.

PIOTROWSKI: Right. And there's--

DIAZ: And that's not, and that's not--People think, "Oh, there's peace over there." There's no peace!

PIOTROWSKI: It's still Demilitarized Zone--

DIAZ: Zone!

PIOTROWSKI: There's regular sniping and--

DIAZ: There's no peace treaty between North Korea and South Korea.


DIAZ: Those guys point at each other with live ammunition, and I've been there.


DIAZ: So, y'know, what--this is not a, this is not a happy deployment, you know. You go there and you don't know if your next day will be your last day.


DIAZ: It's just kinda like a calm, very quiet calm, but very tense.


DIAZ: Because when I was in Korea, at that point, there was a--I remember, '92, '93. There was a submarine, midget submarine.

PIOTROWSKI: Oh, I don't--

DIAZ: With Korean spies, who landed in South Korea. And a lot of those spies, I 01:08:00mean, literally the whole country was shut down. They were looking for all these spies.


DIAZ: And uh, there was very tense moments between the border.

PIOTROWSKI: Yup, I remember when that happened, that really was a tense time.

DIAZ: Yeah, tense time. So, uh, my experience weren't great. I mean, but--there's days where like--I don't like fireworks. My wife asked me why, and I told her. She knows that.

PIOTROWSKI: Had you known her before you were in the service?

DIAZ: Nope.

PIOTROWSKI: Somebody you met after you came--

DIAZ: After. After service.

PIOTROWSKI: So, you were the way you were, when she met ya. So, it wasn't like you changed, from your service, but--

DIAZ: Well, I was a civilian then. I was civilian when I met her. It's--

PIOTROWSKI: So, if you'd known her in college or somethin', and then 01:09:00re-associated afterwards--


PIOTROWSKI: It's interesting how she sees you, how much you've changed. But, when--

DIAZ: No--well, there's some college friends that told me that.


DIAZ: Ones I've kept contact with, and they say "You're different from what--" I said, "Well, you know."

PIOTROWSKI: Grew up. [Laughs]

DIAZ: I saw things you've never seen.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah. And I guess that's what I was getting at. Do you find that the military experience and that fact, that you saw things that other people will never see, um, has made you a better lawyer? A better person? Better--you know, how do you feel about that sorta thing?

DIAZ: Well, one thing is I really--one thing that really made me think, was that--I don't, basically, I treat people basically how they are. Like people.


DIAZ: You know, uh, I've been around the world and you learn that if you try to 01:10:00learn a little bit about people, people are the same everywhere. Y'know?


DIAZ: I had a really good relationship with a local Korean family, and I learned a little bit of Korean with them. And to them, they really appreciated that I was not the--there's a phrase called, 'the ugly American,' that everybody should speak English because--like, y'know.


DIAZ: So, I really enjoy that now when I see people from around the world, we have stories, we talk. You know, I try to learn as much that they--about where they were, where they're from, and all that stuff. I mean, I tell people y'know, if there's anything good about the military where I was, was, they kept their promise. "Join the military, see the world." I saw the world.


DIAZ: I did not see a lot of the nicest parts of the world [Piotrowski chuckles] but, I remember. When I came home, I really--one time, I remember, I arrive and basically I was like the pope. I went down and kissed the ground [Piotrowski 01:11:00laughs.] I was like, "Oh, yeah. Oh yeah, I'm back."

PIOTROWSKI: Okay, um, when you mentioned that, you didn't see much of the world--nice parts of the world. Now, when you were in Korea, did you take--you spent two years there.

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: Did you take leave, and take advantage of--

DIAZ: Yeah. The only, I took leave and saw a little bit of Seoul, then I took leave and went to Japan.


DIAZ: And I really love Japan. I went there and had a really good time in Japan. I really wanted to know a bit about Japanese, I--and I was in a town--Kobe, Japan. Where, it's very famous for the Kobe beef.


DIAZ: And I was there, and I really enjoyed it. So, and I really enjoyed Korean culture. It was interesting, very interesting. I still remember my Korean. Very famous phrases.

PIOTROWSKI: Did you, uh, when you were in Bosnia, get a chance at all to go anywhere else in Europe?


PIOTROWSKI: No, that was strictly--

DIAZ: We were doing, we were doing the mission.


DIAZ: We did the mission.

PIOTROWSKI: How long were you there?

DIAZ: Uh, '95 through '96.

PIOTROWSKI: So, almost a whole year in Bosnia?


DIAZ: [Coughs] Yeah. The only time that we went--we went back, we stopped in Germany. On Rhein-Main.


DIAZ: And then, we took a little time in the base, but everybody wanted to get back to the States, so.

PIOTROWSKI: So you're--

DIAZ: And then we landed in Iceland, Reykjavik, for refueling.

PIOTROWSKI: But then you were in the airport--

DIAZ: Yeah, we were basically not, yeah, yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: So. So, okay. Um, anything else you wanna talk about? I--I mean, that's--I find this fascinating, because it's a totally different experience than mine--

DIAZ: No, no, it is. It is, and uh, I know the museum asked me for some stuff. I donate some stuff to the museum, and I told them, I still have a lot of pictures of my tour. And--movies and everything. And uh, one time I showed it to my wife, 01:13:00she was like, "Wow." I go, "Yeah, yeah." And she said, "You don't talk about those things, like--" I don't talk, 'cause it's--

PIOTROWSKI: It's hard to explain. You have to explain so much before you can get to tellin' 'em what you want to tell 'em [inaudible].

DIAZ: And to be honest--I dunno if it happens to you. But it happened to me once. I'm driving from Green Bay to Appleton. It's like in September or something, I don't remember. But, I had my windows open. And if you know that part of the state, there's a lot of uh, dairy farms.


DIAZ: As part of the dairy forms, you'll take a smell of--oh, what's it called, uhh--the cow waste. The waste.


DIAZ: The manure. So I'm driving, and the, I took a whiff of manure. My mind traveled to being in Korea--

PIOTROWSKI: In the latrines?

DIAZ: No, in the rice paddies.


DIAZ: Because they used--

PIOTROWSKI: The manure, right--

DIAZ: The manure, both human and animal, to fertilize.



DIAZ: They don't have phosphates, so that's what they used to fertilize it.


DIAZ: And in September, August, in Korea, the whole--Where I was stationed, we were surrounded by rice paddies.


DIAZ: So we used to do PT, run around the rice paddies. And I'm not kidding you, my mind--


DIAZ: [Snaps fingers] Went there.


DIAZ: My wife said--I was single at the time, but later, I told the story to my wife because my wife is a farmer.


DIAZ: She comes from big farmers of a dairy farm outta Iowa.


DIAZ: And I went to the, to the farm field and I went like, "My god." And she's like, "What?" Like, "I'm back in Korea." [Piotrowski chuckles] Anyway, my wife said, "What do you mean?" I mean, my mind just--went there.


DIAZ: It just felt like I was there.

PIOTROWSKI: Well, it's associations, yeah, the--I had a psychology professor tell me once that the strongest associations you have are smell.


DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: They're by far the strongest associations your mind makes.

DIAZ: And, and to be honest, I--it has only happened to me a couple of times, but I tell my wife, "It's amazing." I mean, there's a moment that even though I was driving, I had like an out-of-body experience in which, like, I'm in Korea.


DIAZ: I'm in Korea. And I told my wife once in a while, well, she said, "Do you ever wanna go back?" I'm like, "Yeah, maybe." Just to visit, just to see the old places I used to be.


DIAZ: Visit some of the--visit that Korean family.


DIAZ: That I really enjoyed being with them, because they--they were nice to me and I tried to learn Korean from them.

PIOTROWSKI: Do you stay in touch with the French guy you know?

DIAZ: Ah, yes.

PIOTROWSKI: You do, okay. That's cool.

DIAZ: Yeah, he and I became good friends. As a matter of fact, there's a picture I keep--

PIOTROWSKI: So you still exchange letters or emails--

DIAZ: Ah, we do Christmas cards.


PIOTROWSKI: Okay, somethin', yeah, somethin' [inaudible].

DIAZ: Yeah, he retired from the French Army. He's now--I think his, his little village by the southern part of France. I keep telling 'im my wife and I will stop by and say hello to him. Yeah, but, y'know--


DIAZ: That's what I miss, I miss that--the friendships, the connections.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, and they're special.

DIAZ: Do I miss getting up in the morning and doing PT and that stuff [scoffs]? [Piotrowski laughs] No. Do I miss [inaudible], no. But, do I miss the 'hurry up and wait' of the military? No [both laugh]. Y'know? Do I miss--y'know, we used to call it 'snafus'. At that point, there was a very popular movie called, uh--Bill Murray was uh, the comedian. Groundhog Day!

PIOTROWSKI: Oh [chuckles].

DIAZ: And part of our joke was, "Well, today is Groundhog Day plus a hundred."


DIAZ: Because we used to do the same over, and over, and over again, so. I remember, so--the monotony of doing certain things. It is true when they say 01:17:00that being in the Army is a lot of monotony, compressed by a short time of pure hell. And it's true.


DIAZ: Y'know, there were times in Bosnia that were not great, but, all the time we're doing monotonous things over and over again.


DIAZ: Writing reports, submitting reports, to--

PIOTROWSKI: And it's--[coughs] for somebody not in the military it's hard to even understand how you would joke about it bein' Groundhog Day, or plus one hundred.

DIAZ: And to be honest, and to be honest y'know, one of the things that makes you survive is having that sense of black humor.


DIAZ: You know, it's just being--it's sarcastic humor, you know, my wife tells me "You got this very sarcastic streak." And I said, "Well, y'know, when you're in a situation in which you have to deal with it, the best way is we used to make fun of it."


DIAZ: Y'know, like, when we're in Korea sometimes, we used to say, "It's another 01:18:00great day in the ROK."


DIAZ: You know? And that's--y'know, it's just to bring some levity to, to the stuff like the stupid, uh, Cheesehead hat I had.


DIAZ: There was a guy next to me that was from Hawaii, he used to wear this huge lei, garland lei [Piotrowski chuckles] around, just for the hell of it. So, and people say, "Why are you wearing this silly garland thing." Like, "Well," and he jokingly said, "If we get blown away, that's the only way they can identify me!"


DIAZ: "That son of a bitch with the lei? That's this guy!" [laughs]

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, and you have to have that humor, otherwise it just overwhelms you.

DIAZ: Yeah, it was. It was. But um, I mean, overall it was a good experience. There was moments I didn't like, but, hey--not every job is a perfect job.

PIOTROWSKI: [Chuckles] No. Very few are.

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: But uh, from a lawyer's perspective, you learned a hell of a lot.

DIAZ: Ab--that was a lot of fun. But to me, in that seven years, '92-'97, well--five years. That short period of time, I did so much interesting law [taps table].


PIOTROWSKI: Yeah, you did everything from criminal prosecution, to some of the higher level contracts, to--

DIAZ: Yeah.

PIOTROWSKI: To EPA, to ahh--yeah, just a whole range.

DIAZ: Yeah, and to me, that was fun. That--I mean--


DIAZ: And in comparison to this job, eh--we have some fun. But it's not as much fun as--

PIOTROWSKI: You're in a much narrower box.

DIAZ: Oh yeah, you're in a narrower--exactly. I just really, really--and a good thing about it in the military is, I knew every two or three years, I was gonna be someplace else.

PIOTROWSKI: And the whole move--

DIAZ: And the base--

PIOTROWSKI: Whole new adventure. Yeah--

DIAZ: A new base, a new camp.


DIAZ: And when you're single--


DIAZ: It was great mobility. My mother--at that point, she said, "Why aren't you married?" I said, "Mom, I'm married to the Army. The Army gives me housing, gives me food. Pssh, what else do I want?" [Both chuckle] And that's what I always liked. That every--if I didn't like to be there in Fort Polk, I knew I would have Fort Polk to do, but I knew that when I was done with Fort Polk, I 01:20:00was goin' someplace else.


DIAZ: I was not stuck in Fort Polk.

PIOTROWSKI: Yeah. So, good.

DIAZ: Well, I think we're done.

PIOTROWSKI: Well, and--yeah.

DIAZ: Any other questions?

PIOTROWSKI: No, I--I mean, they ask things like, "Have you attended reunions?" We kinda covered that, some people do stand--

DIAZ: I did keep in touch with some of my old mates through, now with Facebook and the internet. My old boss, I still keep in touch with her, so.

PIOTROWSKI: Okay! Alright, well thank you very much. Uh, it's been real interesting, Micabil. [Diaz laughs] I just--

DIAZ: Mike.

PIOTROWSKI: I was--[inaudible]. Okay, we'll close this, the time is--

DIAZ: Four thirty.

PIOTROWSKI: Four thirty four. Thank you.

DIAZ: Yeah.

[Interview ends]