~ 720th Military Police Battalion Vietnam History Project ~
720th MP Battalion
A Vietnam Era Military Police Detachment

Military Police Detachment [detachment] could range from as few as five MP's to as many as thirty-five and would be supervised by a junior officer or senior noncommissioned officer, depending on their size, formal designation, or mission.

     Most detachments were squad (7 to 12) or platoon (30) sized units of MP's detached to a particular assignment from Military Police Battalions MP or companies. Others were formal detachments or platoons with their own numerical designation organized by the Army for basically the same purpose. These detachments and platoons would usually have a junior grade officer, usually a 2nd or 1st Lieutenant as their commanding officer, i.e. 146th & 148th MP Platoons. However, depending of availability of junior officers, smaller detachments might have a junior or senior Noncommissioned Officer supervise their operations.

     Depending on the type of detachment assignment, some were temporary lasting only weeks or months used in combat field operations, others like base assignments could last for several years.

     In the case of base assignments, most of the battalion or company detachments would rotate their MP's from the detachment back to the main unit after a few months and assign them to other missions. There were some exceptions to this rule as with the 212th MP Company (Sentry Dog), where most of the detachment assignments were for the duration of the MP's tour in Vietnam.

     The detachments were usually assigned subordinate to the local Provost Marshal [PM], MP Battalion or MP Group that needed additional manpower to supplement the discipline, law and order, physical security or convoy escort functions within their area of operations.

     This was a regular occurrence at the larger U.S. infantry division bases where a divisional MP company was all that was available and would be spread thin due to their assignments away from the main base with many of the division's fire support bases.

    Considering most large divisional bases also had airfields and other combat and general support units assigned to them that did not have MP companies as part of their command, the MP's were always in short supply.

     In addition to their discipline, law and order mission, many of the detachments also assisted the local divisional MP companies with check point, convoy, route security, escort, POW and post security missions.

     In most instances all the the MP's from the detachment would be physically stationed at the location to which they were assigned. In others they were close enough to the area of the detachment operations to commute each shift from their unit compound to their duty stations, i.e. Bien Hoa Detachment was manned by an organic company of the 720th MP Battalion or 615th MP Company, located on Long Binh Post, only a few minutes drive.

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