1945 Timeline
  Regardless of MOS if you recognize or participated in any of the events listed on this Timeline page and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, media articles, photographs, or, if you can provide information on any events not listed, please take a moment to contact the History Project Manager at the Email Link provided below. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
   Please take the time to report any broken links on this page to the Webmaster via the Email Link.
    Send your photographs as .jpg via the Email Link. Scan them as large as you can, one to an Email and include as much information as you can. If you would rather send a CD of photos direct any questions via the Email Link.
720th MP
This Page Last Updated  16 November 2015
Click on Radio Tower or Record icons to play any of the audio files on this page.
Southwest Pacific Theatre Of War ~ Papua, New Guinea, Philippine Islands
Papua Campaign
Philippine Campaign
Japan Operations

     All major World War II events or incidents that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in blue American Typewriter Font .

     Throughout the year the island continents of Australia and New Zealand were secured, and as the Allied sea and land offensives were directed towards the liberation of the Philippine Islands, the battalion would join in the march towards the Imperial Japanese home islands.

     At the start of the year the battalion’s organic units were stationed as follows, HQ & HQ Detachment, Medical Detachment, Baker and Charlie Company at Finshhafen, North East New Guinea.

     Able Company at Hollandia, Netherlands New Guinea, and Dog Company was en route from Oro Bay, Papua (Australian) New Guinea to the Philippine Islands.


2 January The troop ship SS Joe Fellow with Dog Company onboard, joined a convoy of approximately thirty ships at Hollandia before continuing on to Baik Island, Netherlands New Guinea where another group of ships joined the convoy. Several members of the company were detailed onboard to guard a large amount of Philippine currency destined for the Philippine government on the island of Leyte.

9 January The U.S. 6th Army invaded Lingayen Gulf, and landed on the Island of Luzon, Philippines and engaged the Japanese forces who were fighting a vigorous rearguard actionn.

12 January The convoy from New Guinea was attacked three times by Japanese bombers, two ships, one in front and one alongside the SS Joe Fellow were hit, and four bombers were shot down.

13 January Four Japanese bombers attacked the convoy again, one ship was hit, and all four bombers were downed by antiaircraft fire. The SS Joe Fellows remained unscathed arriving at Higayen Bay, San Fabian, Philippine Islands the same day.

Luzon Island Campaign
Personal Reflections

     "While our convoy participated in the invasion of the Philippines, ou

r chaplain told us on the boat that many of us may die, but not to be afraid. He said, “We all want to meet God some day and how are we going to meet him unless we die?” I never forgot that as it gave me much needed courage to face what lay ahead for us, during the invasion.

     On the voyage we were subjected to many bombings by the Japanese, and one evening a nearby ship was hit and sank. We heard soldiers and sailors crying out for help from the waters below, but our Navy captain had strict orders not to stop during the attack and we did not save any of the men who called for help as we passed them by. I have often wondered if those men thought that their country had turned its back on them in their hour of desperation, but I know it couldn’t be helped.

      I have heard the chaplain’s words and those cries all my days.”   CPL Stanley V. “Dyke” Knoll, Dog Company, 1942-1945.

CPL Knoll

16 January Dog Company disembarked from the troop ship SS Fellows and immediately began working on the construction of a base camp.

     With the construction of Quartermaster Unit Base M, in five days Dog Company moved further into the island, and lived in pup tents and foxholes. Special details were sent to Mangaldan and Dagupan, where their duties included perimeter guard, road patrol, escort of enemy POW’s, and security at designated vital points

     Editors Note: Mangaldan was a small town near Lingayen Gulf, and to its north was a large U.S. Army airfield quickly built after the first days of the invasion

     Dagupan was a small town located between Lingayen Bay and the city of San Fabian, a railhead to Manila and served as GEN MacArthur’s temporary headquarters. He stayed in a small house in the West Central Elementary School grounds in the town. The railhead was critical in moving troops and supplies towards the offensive staging for the attack of the Philippines capital of Manila.

3 February The 6th U.S. Army attacked the Japanese forces in the Philippine capital of Manila on the island of Luzon.

     At 1330 hours, PFC Joseph P. Waldron age 35, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania serving with Dog Company was killed in action from a gunshot wound to the abdomen while involved in ground operations on the Island of Luzon, Philippines against Imperial Japanese U.S. Army forces that tried to infiltrate through their perimeter.

     During the skirmish PFC John Mitchell was also wounded. The place of casualty was listed in his internment file as Rabon, several miles northwest of San Fabian.

     His body was embalmed and wrapped in a shelter half and buried at the USAF Cemetery Santa Barbara No. 1, Philippine Islands in Row 9, Grave 459. His personal effects were shipped home to his sister. On 26 April 1948 at the request of the family, his remains were disinterred, positively identified, and shipped to Philadelphia for burial.

     His death was the last of the battalion’s known casualties of World War II. If others exist they have yet to be discovered.

19 February Two U.S. Marine divisions made the amphibious assault at Iwo Jima Island touching off a month of as severe fighting as American forces experienced during World War II. A third Marine division evenly had to be thrown into the battle against the 23,000 firmly entrenched Japanese troops before the island was secured for use as an air and supply base for the coming operations against the Japanese Homeland.
25 February Walter Winchell radio news broadcast covering the war in Europe and the Pacific along with other national stories.

3 March After an intense Japanese defense U.S. and Philippine troops recaptured the capital city of Manila.

10 March The U.S. 8th Army invaded the Zamboanga Peninsula on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines.

27 March Able Company departed from Hollandia, Netherlands New Guinea aboard the troop ship SS John W. Searles for Higayen Bay, Philippine Islands.

30 March HQ & HQ Detachment and the Medical Detachment departed Finshhafen, North Eastern New Guinea aboard the U.S. Army Transport Capeapa destined for Manila in the Philippines.

Exact Date Unknown During the latter part of the month MAJ Edward C. Longo was assigned to the battalion as the Executive Officer (XO).

1 April The final amphibious landing of WW II occurred as the U.S. Tenth Army invaded the island of Okinawa, Japan.

9 April Able Company arrived at Higayen, San Fabian, Philippine Islands where they disembarked with their equipment and proceeded to Dagupan where they boarded a troop train south to Manila where they briefly stayed at Rosario Heights in the southeast Manila metropolitan area, a subdivision of Muntilupa City.

10 April Able Company arrived at Manila, and moved to the grounds of Ateneo College where they set up their encampment. The company performed military police duties in the Pasay and Libertad areas of the city.

     Editors Note: Pasay, located south of Manilia, was one of the four original cities of the Manila metropolitan area. Libertad was a rail station and market area in Pasay.

     A detachment of thirty enlisted men and one officer of Able Company were deployed to the Iwahig, Palawan Island where they performed guard duties at the Penal Colony, twenty-two acres in size, and was built in 1904 to serve as a depository for civil prisoners who could not be accommodated at the Bilbid Prison in Manila

12 April At 1:00pm President Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died hours later. America's longest serving president was dead before he could witness the end of the war, and the nation went into a period of shock and grief. Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt’s Vice President, was sworn in as the nations 33rd President. Truman a veteran of WW-I had been vice president for only eighty-two days when Roosevelt died. Roosevelt had selected Truman for his VP for purely political reasons, to carry him to his third election victory as President. That left Truman in the dark about the many secret diplomatic issues relating to the war, and knowledge of the top secret Manhattan Project to develop the Atomic Bomb.

     The battalion commander MAJ Reilly received a promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

12 April At 1:00pm President Roosevelt suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died hours later. America's longest serving president was dead before he could witness the end of the war, and the nation went into a period of shock and grief.

     Harry S. Truman, Roosevelt’s Vice President, was sworn in as the nations 33rd President. Truman a veteran of WW-I had been vice president for only eighty-two days when Roosevelt died. Roosevelt had selected Truman for his VP for purely political reasons, to carry him to his third election victory as President.

     That left Truman in the dark about the many secret diplomatic issues relating to the war, and knowledge of the top secret Manhattan Project to develop the Atomic Bomb.

President Truman

20 April HQ & HQ Detachment and the Medical Detachment arrived at Manila.

21 April HQ & HQ Detachment and the Medical Detachment moved ashore and started construction of a new camp in the area of Ateneo College in Manila.

     Editors Note: Manila was the capital city of the Philippine Islands, and the largest city on Luzon Island located on the eastern shore of Manila Bay. The thirty-day battle for Manila was described as the worst urban fighting in the Pacific Theater. The Japanese defenders often used the local citizens as human shields and almost every unit trapped within the city fought to the death. The city was totally destroyed, and all that remained were bombed out foundations of the buildings and piles of rubble that were now home to the tens of thousands of displaced families and orphaned children.
8 May VE (Victory Europe) Day, The act of military surrender signed on 7 May in Reims, France, was ratified in Berlin Germany, ending the war in Europe. In the event the Allies would have to invade further home islands in Japan, many of the troops were being readied while others were deployed to the Pacific Theater.

25 May The U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff approved Operation DOWNFALL, the overall Allied plan for the invasion of Japan scheduled for November 1.

     The plan had two parts: Operation OLYMPIC- the invasion of the southern island of Kyushi, and Operation CORONET- the invasion of the main island of Honshu. The recently captured island of Okinawa was designated as the staging area.

28 May LTC Reilly was transferred to Headquarters Base K at Tacloban on the Philippine Island of Leyte, and MAJ Edward C. Longo the executive officer, assumed command of the battalion.

Operation DOWNFALL
MAJ Longo

9 June Japanese Premier Suzuki announced Japan will fight to the very end rather than accept unconditional surrender. With U.S. estimates of over one million Allied troops and even larger casualty totals for civilians, President Truman made a decision to use the newly developed atomic bomb to bring Japan to the peace table.

18 June The Japanese resistance on Mindanao Island in the Philippines against the U.S. 8th Army invasion of 10 March ended.

22 June The U.S. campaign against the Japanese home island of Okinawa formally ended. The Japanese Army commander and his staff committed ritual suicide rather than surrender.

Japanese War Flag
     During the Ryuku Islands campaign 12,520 U.S. troops were killed or missing, and 36,361 wounded, in addition to 15,613 nonbattle casualties.
     Japanese loses were, 110,000 combatants and service troops killed, and another 7,400 captured. Japanese civilian casualties, most of who ran and hid in the rocky caves and fortifications of the home army were estimated to be one-tenth to one-fourth of the islands population of 500,000.
     The fanatical resistance also played a large part in President Truman's decision to use the Atomic Bomb.
Letter Home

4 July "Today brings back memories to me. Three years ago I was on the train coming west for embarkation. If I’m not mistaken, we were in Chicago on the 4th. The 24th of this month will give me three long years overseas. I can hardly realize I’ve been away from all of you that long. I don’t feel any older, but I guess I look it.

     “Mom and Pop, I can’t tell you how anxious I am to see you again. There is no place like home and believe me, I should know. New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea, Philippines - I certainly never thought I’d see the world, but out outfit has really traveled thousands of miles since leaving ‘Frisco.”  CPL Stanley V. “Dyke” Knoll, Company D, 1942-1945.

5 July General Douglas MacArthur declared the liberation of Philippine Islands.

3 August President Truman warned the Emperor and government of Japan of the dire consequences to befall them for their resistance.

     President Truman announced to the Emperor and government "A rain of ruin from the air, the like of which has never been seen on this earth."

     Truman wanted an unconditional surrender, while Japan was still hoping to broker a better deal. When Truman’s offers were ignored by the Emperor and his hard line militaristic Prime Minister’s, Truman secretly made the decision to use the Atomic Bomb.

6 August At 0815 hours, the first Atomic Bomb was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, Japan. President Truman announced the use of the Atomic Bomb to the American public.

8 August Russia finally declared war on Japan and attacked their forces in Manchuria.

     On the same day at San Fernando, Luzon Island in the Philippines, fifty members of Dog Company were reassigned to the 814th Military Police Company.
Letter Home

     “The Filipinos attend all the movies we go to around here, and stand or squat around in the back somewhere. I know they don’t know what is going on most of the time, but they seem to enjoy them.

     When someone cries in the movie, they usually laugh as they don’t know what it is all about. They seem to get a big kick out of some of the comedies, which wouldn’t even make us smile. I guess it’s because they’ve never seen movies before in their lives.

     They’re very simple people and I believe all they want most in the world is to be left alone. I’ll bet they will be glad when we Yanks pull out... Good night now and take it easy, Mom. Pop, drink another beer for me, will you. Nite”  CPL Stanley V. “Dyke” Knoll, Dog Company, 1942-1945.

9 August At 1102 hours the second Atomic Bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
Japan Agrees To The Terms Of Surrender
14 August 6:30 pm, ABC radio News Broadcast on the announcement of the acceptance of surrender terms by Japan and related news details.
15 August VJ (Victory in Japan) Day, the Allies celebrated victory over Japan on 15 August 1945, although the Japanese administration under General Koiso Kuniaki did not officially surrender with a signed document until 2 September. Both dates are known as VJ Day.
18 August Baker Company less the 1st Platoon, departed from Manila and arrived at Cita, Batangas, the capital of Batangas Province located on the northern coastline of a bay of the same name on Luzon Island, Philippines sixty-eight miles to the south.
     The remainder of the battalion, minus Dog Company still attached to the U.S. 6th Army, departed from the Philippine Islands for Yokohama, Japan.
24 August The 1st Platoon of Baker Company was attached to the 112th Regimental Combat Team (1st Cavalry Division) and departed from Manila for Japan.

31 August Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment at Batangas was loaded onto LST-951, and joined a large convoy of all types of ships headed for Japan. They landed at Yokohama for a brief stop, and then moved on to Tokyo.

     The remaining members of Company D departed Manila, Luzon Island on the USS Admiral C.F. Hughes (AP124) on 24 September, destined for Japan

     It is unknown how long MAJ Edward C. Longo commanded the battalion. Sometime between his appointment on 28 May 1945 and January 1946 there were two other commanders, exact dates of command unknown. They are LTC Phillip C. Lawton and MAJ John S. Lovis, followed by a MAJ Jackson whose name first appears in the timeline in January 1946.

     Editors Note: In the printed pamphlet authored by the battalion staff officers of the 1960’s, “1942-1956 History of the 720th MP Battalion,” the name MAJ Edward C. Hango appears in March 1945, along with the name of MAJ John S. Lovis at the start of 1946.

     At this time in the U.S. Army’s and battalion’s history there was much turmoil and confusion with units and personnel coming and going as the military was trying to cover its occupation commitment and downsizing. As a result many of the historical records were neglected, lost or inaccurate, and at some times completely ignored.
Japan Surrenders

2 September, 0905 Hours General Yoshijiro Umezu, Chief of the Army General Staff, signed the Instrument of Surrender on behalf of Japanese Imperial General Headquarters, onboard the Navy battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo harbor.

Click on projector icon for Newsreel with audio of the surrender ceremony.

      Click on photograph thumb nail for audio of President Truman's radio announcement to the American people.

     While the Occupation of Japan was still in progress, the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff issued a "Basic Directive for Post-Surrender Military Government in Japan Proper,” this directive reiterated GEN MacArthur's authority as Supreme Commander of Allied Powerss (SCAP) and defined policies for his guidance in the occupation and the control of Japan.
     SCAP was granted authority to establish direct military government if necessary: he was, however, to exercise his power, as far as compatible with the accomplishment of his mission, through the Emperor of Japan and the Japanese Government.
    This authority determined the administrative character of the Occupation. Direct military government, similar to the type operating in Germany, was not established in Japan. The Japanese Government was permitted to exercise normal powers in matters of domestic administration; certain changes in governmental machinery and personnel were made to insure that requirements of the Occupation were met.
     Shortly after the signing of the Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay, GEN MacArthur (SCAP) issued his General Order no. 1, which was transmitted to Japanese forces by the Imperial General Headquarters.
     In section f. paragraph 2 the orders specified that, “Pending further instructions, the Japanese police force in the main islands of Japan will be exempt from the disarmament provision. The police force will remain at their posts and shall be held responsible for the preservation of law and order. The strength and arms of such a police force will be prescribed.”
     Foremost among the accusations leveled against prewar Japan was that it was a police state, not only in the broad sense of being totalitarian but in the narrower meaning that policemen dominated every social, political, or economic activity. The uniformed man in the police-box under the Imperial sixteen-pedaled golden chrysanthemum crest ruled the neighborhood; the Home Ministry to which he was responsible controlled the Empire's internal affairs.
     To destroy police dictatorship, to free the citizen from close supervision over his daily living-so strict that it even dictated when and how he must clean his house-and to loose the stranglehold of Tokyo bureaucracy were fundamental objectives to which the Allied Occupation policy was definitely committed.'
     Recognizing that by orders issued in October 1945 the infamous secret police system was abolished, the iniquitous military gendarmerie destroyed, and the more obviously evil leaders purged.
The Battalion arrived in Japan for occupation duty subordinate to the 8th U.S. Army

     According to several of the battalion history summaries for the period, the bulk of the battalion is reported to have arrived at Yokohama, Japan on 2 September, and was immediately deployed to Tokyo to take up military police and security duties in the now occupied capital city.

Palace Gate

      However, according to the chronology of battalion movement dates, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and Alpha, Charlie and Dog Companies arrived in Tokyo on 13 September, with Baker Company arriving from the Philippine Islands on 4 November.

    There is also some confusion as to where the battalion headquarters and each company were first physically encamped in the burned out city. Several locations are mentioned, not all with the specific units identified.

      What we do know is that Charlie Company was housed in the armory of the former 8th Imperial Guard. The Japanese Imperial Guard, an arm of the Japanese Imperial Army, was dedicated to the protection of the Emperor and his family, palaces, and other imperial properties. The 8th was part of the Tokyo 3rd Guards Division.

     Baker Company was first housed in the Central Imperial Police Headquarters opposite Sakuradamon, the "Cherry Village Gate" at the Imperial Palace in Chiyoda Ward, one block from GEN MacArthur’s SCAP Headquarters at the Dai Ichi Building.

8 September General Douglas MacArthur entered Tokyo, Japan, joined by his SCAP headquarters from Yokohama on the 17th.

     The total number of U.S. troops in Japan was estimated at 400,000. The 8th U.S. Army was given overall responsibility of the Japanese Occupational Theater, and separated into four island group areas of responsibility. Of the main islands: Kyushu and Shikoku were occupied by the U.S. 24th Infantry Division; Honshu (Tokyo) by the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division, and (February 1946) the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces; and Hokkaido by the U.S. 11th Airborne Division. They would remain the Army divisions of occupation, then security, until the start of the Korean War in 1950.
Army Policeman and Diplomat

     The battalion, now wearing the 8th Army patch, was tasked to share military police duties with the 545th MP Company, 1st Cavalry Division in the Metropolitan Tokyo Area, which in 1945 was 15.8 square miles. It had a population of 3.49 million, not counting the U.S. and the Allied occupational troops that numbered around 400,000.

     Add to that the expected animosity of the city’s population who during 1944 through 15 August 1945: suffered over 124,000 casualties; the destruction of 286,000 homes and buildings; and over one million homeless; a direct result of the Allied bombing campaign. The people were faced with the considerable hardships of food shortages, heating, housing and employment. (see map on right).

     In addition, at the end of the war over six million Japanese were scattered throughout the islands in the Western Pacific and on the Asiatic mainland. Their early return to Japan was desirable for purely humanitarian reasons as well as for the purpose of easing the economic burden of the liberated countries.

     There were also approximately 1,170,000 aliens in Japan, many of whom had been forcibly removed from their homelands. Early in September 1945 a large number of these displaced persons flocked to ports hoping thereby to obtain preferential treatment for their repatriation. This influx resulted in congestion and created health and sanitation problems, which threatened public welfare in Japan.

     Recognizing this urgent problem, SCAP promptly initiated a program for mass repatriation, placing it under the staff supervision of G-3 in conjunction with the Naval High Command.

     These burdens would compound the difficulty of policing the capital city of Tokyo.

Bombing Campaign Map
Bombing Campaign Results

     The disciplined combat hardened Japanese troops whose creed was to “die rather than surrender,” and their accompanying civilians supporters who served as overseers of their brutal colonial occupations would eventually be repatriated to Japan, and the Allied Occupation forces would now have to change their troop posture from combat soldier to peacekeeper.

     For many of the combat arms units that spent the past four years fighting the fanatical and brutal troops of the Japanese Imperial Army and Marines the hatred and bitterness ran deep, so this would be much easier said than accomplished. Only strict command supervision and control of their new cantonments and movements could prevent the unwanted conflicts that could change the plans for a peaceful occupation to one of needless violent confrontation.

    For the veterans of the battalion trained and tested during their four years of deployment as professional law enforcers and peacekeepers, the new task of dealing one-on-one with their onetime antagonists, while at the same time keeping the peace between the radicalized elements of the Japanese people and those troops of the combat arms branch who were still looking for retribution, would be a challenging one. Especially when the peacetime rotations back to stateside assignments and or civilian life would quickly deplete their ranks of veterans, now being filled with new and previously untrained and untested replacements

     Given the magnitude of the task at hand, providing peace and security as an occupying army for over two million people in their now devastated capital, historically, it would be the battalion’s finest hour to that period in their young timeline.

Personal Reflections

     “ Any broad-strokes painting of the history of that Pacific War campaign and the resultant occupation of Japan, understandably, can not detail the vital contributions of individual units such as the 720th Military Police Battalion.

    However, the battalion probably earned and deserves exemption from such anonymity by reason of two separate but intertwined successes.

     First, because of their key, point-guard role in the initial occupation and repatriation of the capital city from September 1945 to February 1955, and secondly, beginning in April 1952, the orderly transition of governing authority back to sovereign, Japanese responsibility.

     By any criteria, these were truly unique and monumental undertakings because their jurisdictional mandate included not only all United States and Allied military, and civilian personnel, but the Japanese citizenry as well.”   PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.

PFC Cook
Demobilization Map

     Under direction of GEN MacArthur, SCAP Headquarters used the existing Japanese army and naval authorities to conduct the demobilization of nearly seven million troops under arms, four million still overseas under two Demobilization Bureaus, the 1st and 2nd.

     Their job was to identify and roster the Japanese servicemen. The repatriations were physically conducted on U.S. Liberty ships and LST's that transported the Japanese back to demarcation points off Japan.

     A second problem that could have a serious effect on the occupation forces was the tons of hidden Japanese military armaments throughout the area. Before the surrender, the military, civil police and general populace were preparing for the possibility of a house-by-house defense of their homeland, and weapons stashes, both large and small, were not uncommon. If allowed to fall into the wrong hands they could wreak havoc on the U.S. and Allied forces.

     The Demobilization Bureaus, working with U.S. ordnance specialist, were also quickly addressing those concerns.

<  Click Map left for locations of demobilization and repatriation numbers.

Overcoming the Language Barrier

     Knowing the best way to maintain civil order was to keep a Japanese face in the forefront of Japanese-on-Japanese civil law violations, GEN MacArthur stressed combined patrol responses to complaints. Although not perfect, the revamped civil justice system under SCAP was critical to the peaceful transition.

     To better service the military and civil populace of the city, over two hundred vetted Japanese Civil Police were assigned to “ride along” with the military police. In addition, Japanese American (Nisei) members of the U.S. Army Military Intelligence Units attached to the battalion as interpreters often accompanied the patrols.

Personal Reflections

     “My Hawaiian born uncle, PFC Paul S. Sakuma, served in the 720th MP Battalion with Company D during the first year of the Occupation until his discharge in October 1946. He was a Hawaiian born, and was in Chicago in college at the time of his induction. However, when he was drafted, he was assigned to go to Europe as part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team. In a twist of fate, a close relative or friend passed away and he received a bereavement leave. During that time, his unit had shipped out to Europe, and they sent him to Fort Snelling's Military Intelligence Service Language School instead.

     After graduating from the school he eventually received orders for service in Japan and was attached to the 720th MP Battalion. Frankly, like quite a majority of the veterans of that horrific time, Uncle Paul rarely spoke of his military days to my Aunt Eiko. She did tell me one story Paul had told her about his days as "an MP."

     She said Paul had to go on raids to prostitution houses as a MP looking for GI's breaking the off-limits regulations. During a couple of these raids, there would be a fellow Nisei among them. He'd let them go, but not the "Howlies" [Hawaiian slang for foreigner]," as he put it.

      Many "Nisei" who fought in the U.S. Army (442nd, 100th, and the Military Intelligence Service) were bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal early last month [November 2011] in Washington, D.C. Unbelievably, my aunt had not even heard of it nor did I even think Uncle Paul would have been in the Military Intelligence Service or attached to the MPs, for that matter. But shortly after the ceremony, Aunt Eiko brought out an album when I saw Uncle Paul in his Army duds. I recognized Ft. Snelling in the background from my WWII Pacific War research (I'm just an amateur fascinated by that history).

    I didn't say anything then, but upon returning home, I checked the official WWII roster for the Military Intelligence Service which was given to me by Grant Ichikawa of the Japanese American Veterans Association and there he was: Paul S. Sakuma, Ft. Snelling, September 1945. He thusly qualified as a recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal - as did my Aunt Eiko as his surviving spouse. She cried deeply after I told her.

    My uncle passed away in May 1980, just a few weeks before he and my Aunt Eiko were to fly out to Los Angeles from his beloved Tokyo to attend my first wedding. He succumbed to a massive heart attack at the young age of 57. As she was very much in love with him, she was devastated and misses him greatly even to this day.”   Koji D. Kanemoto, Nephew of a Soldier of The Gauntlet.

PFC Sakuma

14 through 17 October Japanese police along with U.S. military police, infantry and ordinance specialist under the command of CPT Michael G. Frisch, chief investigator of the Tokyo Provost Marshal’s Office, conducted four days of secret raids throughout metropolitan Tokyo gathering up cashes of firearms, explosives and bladed weapons from private homes.

     Although the official position given was it was a routine seizure, the influence of the Japanese dissident movements, especially the Communist Party, recently given freedom by SCAP to participate in democratic political endeavors, was the primary reason for the urgency of the raids.
     The haul of weapons filled twenty trucks, and included, approximately 1,600 modern rifles, a dozen knee mortars, hundreds of hand grenades, revolvers, pistols, and some 12,000 Samurai swords, along with any knives with blades of nine inches or longer. Many of the firearms and other military grade weapons were manufactured in Germany, Belgium and the U.S.
     PFC Raymond C. Goode was assigned to the 38th Infantry Division in Japan; it was being readied for return to the states in October 1945. Short on points, he and several other soldiers found themselves transferred to Able Company and work as MP’s.
Personal Reflections

     “I went with a lieutenant who wore a handlebar mustache- he had to sleep on his back. He was a real nice guy. When I first went to the MP’s we had to go downtown to guard the Emperor. I had to roll out the carpet for him to come walking out on, and to guard him if he took a stroll or rode around on that white horse he had.

     In Tokyo, I did a lot of MP work guarding the brewery, the railroad stations, and hotels and different things, and drove the lieutenant around. I drove a jeep quite a bit in the cold winter of 1945.

     Then they picked a bunch of us to go down to guard the war crimes prisoners, as part of the International Military Tribunal (War Crimes) Far East."   PFC Raymond C. Goode, Able Company & IMTFE, 1945-1947.

PFC Goode

     The diversion of military funds and supplies into private hands began the day before the emperor's surrender broadcast. It was later estimated that approximately seventy percent of all Japanese Army and Navy stocks in Japan, sufficient for a force of some five million men at home and three million more overseas, were disbursed in the first frenzy of looting lasting perhaps a month or two.

     During the turbulent two weeks following the emperor's surrender broadcast, a great many men of influence spent most of their waking hours looting military storehouses, arranging hasty payments from the military budget or from Bank of Japan to contractors and cronies, and destroying documents.

     These goods would eventually end up on a growing black-market, and the end results would severely affect the countries financial and economic growth.

31 October Black-market operations involving the exchange of army supplies for hundreds of thousands of dollars were uncovered by the provost marshal’s office in a raid at the Marunouchi hotel in Tokyo. Four American soldiers, two former Italian diplomats Mlarino Bocca, age 35, and Giovanni Muratore, age 36, and two Japanese were arrested. An undercover soldier working for the provost marshal, Gen. Hugh Hoffman, had been associating with the principals as a guest at the hotel located across from the Tokyo Rail Station in the battalions area of operations, and sat in on a deal in which $476,000 was to have changed hands.

     Housed In the Marunouchi, which had been set aside by occupation officials as a civilian hotel, were people from almost all axis and neutral countries, Including Germans and Italians who had been attached to their own embassies before the entry of American troops into the capital. Meat and other rare foods were available there at black market prices, and almost unlimited quantities of beer and liquor attracted American soldiers, to the hotel.

     The ring had been under observation by the provost marshals office since the first tip was given to military police ten days prior. Squads of MP’s under command of the assistant provost marshal and chief investigator, CPT Michael Frisch of Ithaca, N. Y., surrounded the hotel, guarded all exits, halted elevator and telephone service and then entered rooms of the suspects.

     The two Italians had been using their diplomatic pouches for illicit dealings in currency, jewelry, and other items even before tile American occupation troops entered Japan. The GIs held were attached to the quartermaster office which came to this theater from Europe, and the provost marshal believed It was possible that the ring was successful in operations In the European theater. The investigation was expected to turn up other soldiers who were profiting from deals.

     The raiding party seized uncounted quantities of Japanese money in addition to silk and pearls. Eighty-seven cases of 10 in one army rations were confiscated as evidence.

     Negotiations had been under way on the rings last deal for three days. One Item had been identified as a truckload of woolen underwear for which buyers were ready to pay $27 per two-piece suit.

     The roundup came a day ahead of schedule because of a story that appeared In Stars and Stripes the previous morning that said more than 2,000 Japanese were seized for possession of American supplies.

     The raid originally was scheduled to take place in the evening, when an army truck was to deliver two hundred and fifty 60-pound bags of sugar to the ring. The sale price of the sugar in the black market would have been $50,000, and the amount was to be divided among four American soldiers.

     A price scale had been set by the suspects for various items that varied with quantities delivered. A 60-pound bag of sugar brought $200, and a case of 10 In one rations $50.

17 November BG Hugh Doffman, Provost Marshal, Tokyo announced in an official press release that, “behavior of U.S. servicemen and Japanese civilians alike has been surprisingly good,” since the occupation began.

     CPT Michael S. Frish, chief of operations of the 720th MP Battalion, reported that traffic violations and theft of jeeps are the most common offenses.
     Three servicemen have been killed, and no Japanese were involved. Of the hundreds of rape cases reported, only six have been substantiated.
     CPL Elmer C. Obermeier first entered the Southwest Pacific Theater on the Philippine island of Luzon as a member of the 43rd Infantry Division. Once the hostilities ended he was transferred to the 23rd “Americal” Division in Japan. Not having enough points to return stateside he again found himself being transferred, this time to Able Company and work as an MP in Tokyo.
Personal Reflections

     "I was sent to the 720th, to an old wooden barracks [Nanako] that was a fire trap. One of my first tasks as an MP was to learn Tokyo, and after a while Company A was given responsibility to patrol the southern part of the city. One of my memories of the winter of 1945 was the darkness of the city, and of all the orphaned children who congregated in the railroad stations for warmth at night.

     On night duty, we would get all of the leftovers from chow from the mess sergeant and watch all of the smiling orphan faces come running when that white MP jeep came to the station. And we gave them some of our clothes, which they wore never mind how lost they looked inside shirts and jackets which were much too big for them. When spring came, the children went to homes started by churches and the Japanese government.”   CPL Elmer C. Obermeier, Able Company, 1945-1946.

Ueuno Rail Station

     The veterans of the 3rd Army in the European Theater often complained that GEN George S. Patton was a fanatical stickler for the proper military dress of his troops, even in the midst of hostilities. But these troops had never served in Occupied Japan under GEN MacArthur. Patton couldn’t hold a candle to MacArthur when it came to the issuance and enforcement of regulations pertaining to neatness of appearance and proper military dress.

     He was well aware that the Japanese culture stressed cleanliness, order and bearing in all facets of their life, and that the U.S. military must at all times meet these standards or loose respect, and thus control. That strict code also included the fairness in which they were to treat the populace, regardless of past or current economic, political, or military status.

     This was still the brown shoe army, ties were still part of the dress and sometimes-combat uniforms, and fatigues (now BDU’s) were never worn off post without specific permission. Battalion troops would have four specific uniform configurations, three for MP line duty, and one, the “fatigue” uniform, for combat training and non-duty work details.

     The three line duty uniforms were dictated by seasonal weather conditions. In the winter they wore the plain woolen blouse and pants, or the Eisenhower blouse and pants, and in the summer they wore the khaki blouse and pants. The accompanying head cover, belts, web-gear, leggings (spats), foot wear and brassard to be worn, depended on the season, theater and duty assignment, as did the color of the helmet, web gear, and leggings.

     Editors Note: The word khaki is of Indian (Hindustani) origin meaning dust-colored.

     The U.S. Army GI has never been shy of generating irreverent prose aimed at individuals, circumstances, or geography, and duty in Japan was no exception. The following comes from the era of the Occupation of Japan when GEN Douglas MacArthur more or less ruled an empire.

The Occupation Prayer

     “Our General who art in Tokyo, Douglas MacArthur be thy name.

     Thy kingdom be OFF LIMITS, thy will be done in Tachidawa as it is in Tokyo.
     Give us this day our daily directives and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who command us, and lead us not into insanity, but deliver us from perfection, for SCAP [Supreme Commander, Allied Powers Pacific] is thy kingdom and thou art almighty for the period of the Occupation. Amen.”   The Author is unknown.
The Damn MP's
     “For MacArthur to face the angst of the regular GI alone would not be, for there was always his Damn MP’s!”
     The MP is my shepherd and I should not worry. He maketh me to fall down in rice paddies.
     He leadeth me by the stagnant canals.
     I do not fear, for he is right behind me.
     He prepareth a DR [Disciplinary Report] for me in the presence of my buddies.
     Yea, though I walk through the alleys in the shadow of the Geshia houses, I need not fear, for he will catch me.
     His gun and club do not comfort me.
     For this is his kingdom, his power, and his glory, as long as he is on duty. Amen.”   The Author is unknown.
     PVT (2LT Retired USAR) Billy Gaddis was a young 19-year-old GI when he arrived in Occupied Japan and assigned to a field artillery unit. And, as with many young GI’s like him at the time, if you possessed the right qualifications you were reassigned to an MP unit. It was November and PVT Gaddis found himself as a member of Able Company in Tokyo. He worked in various details, including motorized and train station patrols, checkpoint and dance hall guard duty.
     One of his most memorable experiences came on his first motorized patrol in the Shinagawa area, a southwestern ward of Tokyo, with his partner SGT William Hayes, who was on his first MP assignment. They were dispatched to a small hotel at the request of a local Japanese police patrol. The hotel manager explained that a woman he believed to be an American commandeered one of his rooms and refused to leave.

      SGT Hayes and PVT Gaddis went up to the room and found the woman, who appeared to be much older than she was, cowering in the corner on a sleeping mat clutching a small bundle of possessions. She was unbelievably filthy, infested with lice, and appeared half-wild.

     When they questioned her she quickly became belligerent, started to curse, shout and accuse, “The trouble with you Americans is you think you have to know everything.” Given her physical and mental condition, they concluded her situation was beyond their ability to assist. Thinking it would be unwise to forcibly remove her, they called on the Red Cross to respond

     Her name, origins, and how she came to be in this condition remained a mystery.

PFC Gaddis
18 December The U.S. requested that the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India, should each provide a national military contingent to participate in the occupation. The objectives of this force, which was designated the ‘British Commonwealth Occupation Force” or BCOF, were: to represent the British Commonwealth in the occupation of Japan and to maintain and enhance British Commonwealth prestige in the eyes of the Japanese and the Allies, while demonstrating to the Japanese people their democratic ways of life and living standards. The BCOF made preparations for deployment of their occupation forces from the Island of Morotai, Netherlands East Indies. The Australian Military Police – BCOF Japan, by Anthony Buckingham, Australian History Website, 2007.
     Among them were their organic military police units who would have interaction with the troops of the 720th MP Battalion.
     PFC Palmer L. Larson was 19 when inducted and trained as an anti-tank gunner before being shipped to Okinawa and the 27th Infantry Division in 1945. When the war ended he found himself on the Island of Honshu where the 27th was being deactivated for return stateside. Not having enough points for discharge, he was reassigned to Charlie Company in Nakano, and found himself in the MP’s.
Personal Reflections

     “MP duty with the battalion in Tokyo was sweet, you slept in barracks, could always find a hot meal and coffee, and somewhere to stay out of the rain or warm up when it was cold. Unfortunately, each sweet duty station also has its shit details, and rural checkpoint duty at night was one of them.

     On the nights of 27, 28 and 29 December, we set up checkpoints on the highway between Tokyo and Yokohama, 1800 hours until 24:00 hours.

      One night the wind was blowing from the east, off Tokyo Bay. Boy, it was cold out there, and one of the fellows discovered a Japanese home with a picket fence round it. We borrowed the fence to make a fire to keep us warm, but could not make it burn.

     Lucky for us, a few Japanese girls came along and showed us how to re-pile the wood to catch fire.” PFC Palmer L. Larson, Charlie Company, 1945-1946 .

PFC Larson
     At the end of 1945 the battalion was performing occupational duties in Tokyo, Japan subordinate to General Headquarters (GHQ) Far East Command.
     Editors Note: The Asiatic-Pacific and European-African-Middle Eastern Theaters of World War II were addressed differently than the other conflicts to follow after 1945.
     Many of the World War II campaigns extended over long periods of time, and overlapped other campaigns in the same theater. In addition, the war in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and that in the European-African-Middle Eastern Theater were treated as separate wars.
     Each war was described in a narrative style within a framework of broadly outlined operations. Within each operation there may have been more than one campaign covered.
     From 7 December 1941 through 2 September 1945 there were a total of twenty-one separate and overlapping campaigns conducted in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater.

     During the war Battalion Headquarters & HQ Detachment earned three of the authorized twenty-one U.S. Army Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Streamers, and a Philippine Presidential Unit Citation before moving into Tokyo on Occupation and Security Duty.

     Papua (Northeastern New Guinea) 23 July 1942 – 23 January 1943. New Guinea, 24 January 1943 – 31 December 1944. Luzon (Philippines) 15 December 1944 – 4 July 1945.
     Able Company earned the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
     Baker Company earned the Papuan Campaign Streamer, Meritorious Unit Citation (GO No. 19, HQ New Guinea Base Section, 25 June 1945), and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
     Charlie Company earned the Distinguished (Presidential) Unit Citation-Papua (GO No. 21, 6 May 1943 and GO No. 31, 10 June 1943), Meritorious Unit Citation (GO No. 19, HQ New Guinea Base Section, 25 June 1945), Papuan Campaign Streamer, and the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
     Dog Company earned the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
     Medical Detachment (+) earned the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation.
1945 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1945 that have yet to be directly linked to any specific Battalion Timeline event. If you can date any of the events depicted, or identify them as part of a specific event, operation, exercise or special duty assignment, please use the Email Link on the photograph or this page to notify the History Project Manager.
A "?" preceding the photo number denotes further identifications are needed, and an Email Link is provided.
 PFCTheadore Todd of Baker Company.
 PFC Paul S. Aakuma of Dog Company.
 SGT Marshal R. Stout and D Company jeeps at Nanako, Japan.
 SGT Marshal R. Stout D Company at Nanako, Japan.
 PVT Billy T. Gaddis on patrol.
 PFC George C. Ray of Able Company and unidentified buddies at Tokyo Zone- I Headquarters.
 PFC Samuel Hoxsie of Baker Company and unidentified buddies in Tokyo.