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LTC Francis E. "Frank" Payne, Colonel Retired

Commanding Officer of the 720th Military Police Battalion
1 July 1967 to 14 December 1967 ~ Republic of South Vietnam

   Frank Payne first served with the Battalion in Tokyo, Occupied Japan, as a Captain and the Commanding Officer of C Company in 1954-55.

   As a LTC he served as the third Battalion Commander during the Vietnam War from 1 July 1967 to 14 December 1967.

  On 14 December 1967 LTC Payne passed command to LTC Robert Reinke, and was reassigned as Commander of the 89th MP Group and promoted to the rank of Colonel.


        Born in Enid Oklahoma, and graduated from Diver High School (OK), COL Payne enlisted in the Oklahoma National Guard on 18 February 1940.

        He was the youngest of the four Payne brothers who served together in the 45th Infantry Division during World War II. COL Payne was wounded in action while serving as a field artillery observer and evacuated through medical channels.

        Between 1940 and 1946, COL Payne rose to the rank of Master Sergeant, and on 20 December 1946 received a direct appointment to the rank of Second Lieutenant with the 793rd Military Police Service Battalion in Seckenheim, Germany. From Germany COL Payne was assigned to the MP School at Fort Gordon, Georgia, where he served as an instructor and completed the Military Police Career Course in 1950. In 1951 he attended Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he earned his parachutist rating.

        After completing the Infantry School, COL Payne commanded successively the 11th Airborne MP Company, Fort Campbell, Kentucky; the 55th MP Company, Seoul Korea; C Company, 720th MP Battalion and 392nd MP Detachment, Camp Zama, Occupied Japan; and the MP Detachment of the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Kentucky. In 1957 COL Payne attended the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. During the 1958-1959 academic year, COL Payne again became a student officer as he studied Police Science and Administration at Michigan State University.

        In August 1959, COL Payne was assigned to Fort Shafter, Hawaii, where he spent three years with the Provost Marshal Branch of the Office of Personnel, and as Assistant Secretary to the General Staff, Headquarters US Army Pacific. Following his return from Hawaii, he was assigned to the Military Police Branch of the office of Personnel Operations in Washington, D.C. Between December of 1964 and June of 1967, COL Payne was Military Secretary and Executive officer of the joint Command and Control Requirement Group in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. COL Payne next served successively as the Commanding officer of the 720th MP Battalion and the 89th MP Group in the Republic of Vietnam before being hospitalized for injuries received in a helicopter crash on 5 June 1968.

        Upon returning to the U.S. in August 1968, COL Payne became the Provost Marshal of the United States Army Infantry Center, Fort Benning, Georgia. Prior to returning to Fort Leavenworth to command the United States Disciplinary Barracks, COL Payne was a member of the 1969-1970 class of the National War College. COL Payne assumed command of the United States Army Military Police School on 1 May 1972.

        From Fort Gordon COL Payne was assigned as the provost Marshal, Sixth Army, San Francisco. His duties included staff, supervision, and coordination for all Military Police units and confinement facilities in the Sixth Army area, which included the Presidio of San Francisco; Fort Lewis, Washington; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and Fort Ord, Fort MacArthur, Camp Irwin, and the Desert Training Center in California.

        After 34 years of military service COL Payne retired on 1 July 1974.

        During his career COL Payne has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Joint Chiefs of Staff Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Purple Heart.

        On 2 July 2001 at 1050 hours Colonel Payne passed from our ranks at his home in Carson City, Nevada.

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