18th Bde.
89th MP Group
Discipline - Law & Order Patrols
III & IV Corps Tactical Zones
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        The type of traditional MP patrol one would expect when you envision an Army Military Police Operation. Discipline, law and order (DLO) patrols were most often performed by vehicle, the standard 1/4 ton truck (jeep). However, in certain areas, larger towns and cities in South Vietnam, many MPs were also assigned foot patrols.

        The DLO were standard police patrols where the MPs were responsible for enforcing military law and regulations, safeguarding government property and equipment.

        The MPs drove a standard patrol jeep which clearly identified it and they wore standard MP uniform and identification suitable for the Vietnam theater of war. They were *armed with the 45 cal. semi automatic pistol, and communicated between their jeep and the Provost Marshal MP Desk via the jeep radio. During their patrols, both day and **night, they could encounter or be assigned to any number of serious incidents.

        They enforced traffic regulations, investigated ***minor vehicle crashes, AWOL's, disorderly troops, curfew and off limits violations, deserters, thefts, robberies, physical assaults, shootings, prostitution, drug and alcohol violations. You name it and they often encountered it, including run-ins with enemy soldiers.

        One has to remember that the MPs were responsible for law and order in a theater of war. Thousands of young troops, many exposed to every vice imaginable and away from home and the guiding influence of family and community in a foreign land for the first time in their lives. Many were naive to these new vices and some were experienced enough at life to take criminal advantage of it. There were also troops who were lonely, scared, or disgruntled, and relied on intoxicants to avoid the reality of it all. However, the most troublesome denominator of all was, most had a ready access to the tools of war and were trained in the art of war.

        Now that I have painted a dark, gruesome and unfavorable picture of these men let me back up and say thankfully that the vast majority of the troops didn't fit into that category. But as in any society, no matter how disciplined and well trained, there is a percentage that lives outside the established moral norm. With a war going on all around you, being responsible for law enforcement was a daunting challenge and the MPs that had to face it every day were no less heroic that the grunt in the field.

        Especially demanding was the DLO enforcement during 1970, and into 1972 before the Battalion was deactivated and the colors sent home. During this time period troop morale was at its all time lowest and substance abuse became extremely widespread. No one wanted to be the last man killed in a war our government no longer supported. Add to that the constant and uncontrolled transfer of personnel due to early release seniority programs, and units being withdrawn from the theater, the command and leadership ability of all US units including the MPs was severely damaged. And this was all happening during a time when MP manpower limits were stretched critically thin. It wasn't a pretty picture for those that had to stay behind and sort it all out before they could leave.

        In my personal opinion, based on my experience as an MP, I believe that the DLO patrols, especially the foot patrol, was one of the most hazardous MP assignments you could draw in Vietnam, especially those years towards the end of US involvement.

* MP's who's patrol areas were restricted to military post were very seldom authorized to carry anything larger that their standard 45 cal. side arm except at night or under special circumstances.

** Most DLO patrols were confined to the military installations after hours of darkness, because of curfew regulations, with a few exceptions of some larger cities.

*** Many larger MP units had designated traffic investigators to handle serious and fatal crashes, assisted by the Provost Marshal Investigators (PMI) and/or Criminal Investigation Division (CID).

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