1965 Time Line ~ 615th MP Company
C Company, 720th MP Battalion, 4th Army, Fort Hood, TX
~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association ~ Vietnam History Project ~
4th Army
.
This Page Last Updated  17 December 2012
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720th MP
Battalion
April

6 April The 615th Military Police Company was activated at Fort Hood, Texas.

8 April The Company was reactivated with the majority of personnel coming from the newly reformed Charlie Company of the 720th MP Battalion, along with volunteers from HQ & HQ Detachment and Alpha and Bravo Companies. CPT Jan S. Monningh was appointed the Commanding Officer.

     Approximately thirty days prior to their scheduled departure the newly formed company began overseas duty processing consisting of medical examinations, shots, equipment inspections and some of the men were eligible for leave. With their deployment destination a top secret, there was no specialized overseas orientation training given.

August

1 August The company departed Fort Hood, Texas and traveled by troop train to the Oakland Army Terminal. The troops were informed that the transport orders were secret and to keep their window shades down on the train when they arrived in the Oakland area. During their arrival in Oakland they observed antiwar protesters lining the tracks protesting the arrival of troop trains for the buildup in South Vietnam.

3 August The Company consisting of four officers and one-hundred and seventy-eight enlisted personnel commanded by Captain John A. Kochenour, departed Oakland California for Vietnam aboard the troop ship USNS General W. A. Mann (T-AP-112). Also on board were elements of a U.S. Army engineer and medical unit.

     PFC Jerald "Jerry" Riske, a former member of C Company, 720th MP Battalion, who had a top secret security clearance, was assigned to guard the company shipment orders until the troop ship departed. Once the ship passed under the Golden Gate Bridge the orders were opened the the company was informed of it’s destination and final port of call, Saigon in the Republic of South Vietnam.

The trip on board the USNS General W. A. Mann was described as very long and boring. Having taken a northern route the first leg of the trip was cold. After they changed to a southern direction the weather became much warmer.

     The men were confined to below deck in the evenings and could only come topside during the daylight hours. There was some low key tension that developed between the company MPs and members of an engineer unit that was traveling with them.

     The problem was because the MPs had more freedom of movement due to their assignment as ship security. They were responsible for guarding the secure areas on the ship and insuring that all troops remained below decks in the evening.

     Sleeping and living quarters below provided very little privacy, they were hot, close and stuffy. The bunks were stacked 5 to 6 high and there was very little room in between them. The MPs, when not pulling guard duty, would sneak up on deck to sleep at night. Surrounded by the open water the air was cleaner and the view of the moon and thousands of stars were preferred over the six inches of space separating your nose from the bunk above you. Sleeping on the hard steel deck with only a poncho liner wasn’t very comfortable but was much better than staying in the quarters below.

     One of the benefits of the security assignment were the women nurses traveling with the medical unit. The MPs would "bend" the rules and also allow the nurses topside in the evening, which probably was the root cause for the tension with the engineers.

     When they were not working, card games of double deck pinochle were used to pass the time.

     The first port of call was at the U.S. Naval Base, Subic Bay in the Philippine Islands. The stop was less than 24 hours but the men were still grateful to be able to get on dry land to stretch their new sea legs. The MPs were assigned as shore patrol for the brief stop over.

     The next port of call was Cam Rahn Bay in South Vietnam. It is believed that the engineer elements disembarked while there.

Reflections We left Fort Hood, Texas by train to Oakland and boarded the USS General Mann. The ship was mostly filled with MPs, Medics and Engineers.  We stopped in the Philippines, proceeded to an area off the coast of Viet Nam (Cam Ran Bay?) and then further south to the mouth of the Saigon River where we were put into landing craft traveling up river to Saigon.  We were trucked from downtown Saigon to an area that became known as Tent City.  SP/4 Richard C. "Dick" Jones, 615th MP Company, 716th MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Vung Tau and Tent City Saigon, August-December 1965.

Reflections I was aligned to C Company 720th MP Bat at the end of November 1964. I was on leave in Los Angelese, CA around Easter when I received a telegram advising me to take an additional week and clear any personnel business because I was being assigned to the 615 MP Company.  SP/4 David R. Lilley, C Company, 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, TX. 615th MP Company, 716th MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Tent City Saigon and Can Tho, August-December 1965.

Click on Book icon above for Daves story

The 615th Arrives in South Vietnam
716th MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Tent City, Saigon

26 August The Company arrived in Vietnam and first stopped at Vung Tau before proceeding up the river to Saigon. While at Vung Tau their Commanding Officer, CPT Kochenour, went ashore to meet with the local Provost Marshal. He was late returning to the port and the ship sailed on to Saigon without him. The next morning CPT Kochenour was able to board a Royal Australian Forces chopper for a flight to Saigon and met the ship at the dock.

     Once anchor was dropped the company disembarked onto small landing craft and were transported to the Saigon Docks. From the docks they were transported by truck to what would be their new compound, "Tent City," at Pershing Field next to Tan Son Nhut Air Base in the Saigon Military District.

MACV
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716th MP
Battalion

     The first order of the day was to put up their tents and get organized and oriented to their new surroundings.

     CPT Kochenour credits CPT Verner Pike, the Commanding Officer of the 560th MP Company, with making their transition in-country much easier.

     Although the exact date is still unknown, the 615th was attached subordinate to the 716th MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV).

     The 716th having arrived in Vietnam 24 March 1965 was responsible for MP operations throughout all four tactical zones until September 1965 with the arrival of the 504 MP Battalion. The 615th MP Company at this time wore the MACV Patch.

     Within their first week the company was divided up into platoon size detachments. One detachment was assigned to Vung Tau in III Corps Tactical Zone (CTZ) and one to Can Tho  in IV CTZ.

WANTED  Information on any of the first detachment assignments, contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

     The new Vung Tau Detachment arrived at their destination and found that the MP duties were already being performed by another MP Company, believed to be a platoon of the 560th MP Company. They remained in Vung Tau for approximately 30 days and were reassigned back to the company headquarters at Tent City.

Reflections I was part of the Platoon that was assigned to Vung Tau. We flew on a twin engine Caribou and I remember there was a very well known war correspondent on board. I believe her name was Dickey Chappelle and I recall her sitting next to an officer and making the comment about how young we all looked.
 
      Vung Tau was a very interesting place.  There was a Special Forces group based there as well as Australians, New Zealanders and South Koreans.  It was a typical situation where we controlled the area in the daytime and the night belonged to the VC but I do not recall any major events during the time we spent there. It was standard town patrol and security. Our free time was spent in town or mostly at the beach. SP/4 Richard C. "Dick" Jones, 615th MP Company, 716th MP Battalion, Military Assistance Command Vietnam, Vung Tau and Tent City Saigon, August-December 1965.

1919-1965

Dickey Chapelle became one of the first female war correspondents, covering World War II, the Korean conflict and Vietnam. In the last years of her life, many of her photographs and stories were deemed too sensitive for publication. An outspoken anti-communist, Chapelle loudly proclaimed her pro-American views.

     In 1965 Chapelle convinced her editors to send her back to Vietnam. On the morning of 4 November 1965, Chapelle was hit in the neck by a piece of shrapnel by a land mine while on patrol with a platoon of U.S. Marines, and died soon after becoming the first war correspondent killed in Vietnam.

Her last moments were captured in a photo by Henri Huet. >

     Her body was repatriated with an honor guard consisting of six Marines and she was given a full Marine burial.

 

     Duties at Tent City consisted of Main Gate Security, working with Vietnamese Army MPs (Quan Canh)

     Villa Guard duty which consisted of guarding the officers quarters partnered with a Vietnamese National Policeman (Canh Sat). The villa was located just outside of Saigon.

Quan Canh
ARVN MP

 

     Discipline, Law and Order patrols at Tent City, Saigon and the surrounding areas. Convoy Escort Duty, escorting daily convoys from the Saigon Docks to Bien Hoa. The escorts consisted of two, two man gun-jeeps. For thirty days they escorted convoys carrying new tanks and Armored Personnel Carriers to Bien Hoa.

     Several MPs were also given the assignment as drivers for field grade officers attached to MACV and other headquarters units in the immediate area.

September

     The Company's Can Tho Detachment was reassigned after being replaced by elements of the 560th MP Company.

October

9 October Casualty PFC James Charles Bermingham, age 22, of Gordon, Nebraska was killed in a vehicle crash during the return trip from a convoy escort guarding a shipment of tanks from the Saigon Docks to Bien Hoa.

WANTED  Photographs of PFC Bermingham, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

PFC Bermingham
Photograph Index
G1209
 SSG Jerry Jensen.
B0012
 2LT Thomas & SGT Miller pick up the company jeeps at the Saigon Docks.
B0013
 Company Jeep inspection at Tent City, Saigon.
B0014
 Company Mess Line, Tent City, Saigon.
B0015
 Company Mess Line, Tent City, Saigon.
B0019
 Company Motor Pool, Tent City, Saigon.
B0044
 PFCs Armenta, Bermingham, Mattair, and Patterson.
B0045
 PFC Rich Titus.
B0046
 PFC Rich Titus.
B0047
 PFCs Dubois, Geist, Fahey, and SP/4 Hamilton at the Honor Smith Compound, Bien Hoa.
B0049
 PFCs Davis, Rowen and Carakasian at the perimeter fence during a practice alert at Tent City, Saigon.
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