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1948 Timeline
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This Page Last Updated  24 September 2015
     All major theater improvements, Cold War events or incidents, including those leading up to the Korean War that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in blue American Typewriter Font.
8th U.S.
Army
General HQ
Service Group
720th MP
Battalion
720th
Bulldogs
     To better understand the situation in Occupied Japan that affected the mission of the battalion, one must also be aware of the diplomatic, political and civil climate of the United States, world and Japanese theater of operations at that time.
Security Duty, Tokyo, Japan
January

     The Cold War in Germany and the negotiation between the “Big Three” (United States, Great Britain, France) and the Russian Soviet Block over Berlin and their troop buildup, tended to obscure the “hot war” between the East and West being fought in the Far East.

     The ”hot brushfire wars” were being fought against the Communist guerilla movements in Korea, China, and down through the rich agricultural natural resource areas of French Indo-China (Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam), Malaya, Burma and the East Indies.

     In Malaya (also including the southern end of Siam, now Thailand), Great Britain was forced to spend billions and send military reinforcements to cope with Chinese Communists supported guerillas that were killing plantation owners who were trying to restore the flow of trade vital to the post-war economic reconstruction Malaya, Burma (now called Myanmar) and Europe.

     In Indo-China, the French were providing billions of dollars and thousands of troops against the Communist Viet Minh guerillas of Ho Che Minh for the same reasons.

     In Mainland China, the United States had their hands full in the civil war providing millions in aid and armament to support GEN Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Army against the communist forces of Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao).

     In Korea, the Soviet’s Communist sleeper cells within the new Southern Zone Korean Army were defecting with stocks of weaponry, and their guerillas sent south from the Soviet Northern Zone were ambushing civil government officials and small military patrols.

     In Japan GEN MacArthur’s reform and reconstruction measures were under constant political attack in the Japanese press by the Soviet members of the Japan Advisory Committee, and on the streets by their communist unionist’s cells.

     All this was occurring while the U.S. was trying to ease the occupation burden on the American taxpayers, and to knit Asian trade into a healing process for the regions indigenous people, and support the Marshal Aid plan for all of Europe.
     At the start of the year the 720th Military Police Battalion and its organic units, HQ & HQ Detachment, Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog Companies, and the Medical Detachment was performing occupational security duty in Tokyo, Japan.

     The battalion began making plans to move from their first compound (Camp Burness) at L and 48th Streets in Nakano to facilities closer to the center of Tokyo.

     The personnel shortages due to discharges and downsizing of the Army were still continuing. Due to the critical shortage of battalion personnel, all of the troops in the letter companies, except five overhead personnel per company, were attached to Baker Company for operational purposes.

     This was done in an effort to save manpower since the companies were now down in strength to about seventy troops each. The mission and method of operations remained the same as in 1947.

7 January, 1930 hours Members of the battalion Ping-Pong team played the Club 21 team at the tournament held in the Bankers Club (Service Club) in downtown Tokyo.

11 January A string of armed robberies in Tokyo was brought to a sudden end with the shooting death of a Japanese National named Hideo Ninomiya of Kanagawa-ken. The suspect, who was fatally wounded in a gunfight with battalion MPs, had been approaching his victims posing as a U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division investigator. A total of twelve robberies netting Ninomiya nearly a million yen were solved when victims identified his body as that of their armed robber.

     While posing as a technical sergeant, he was picked up in downtown Tokyo by an MP patrol of SSG London Meline of New Orleans, CPL Fred D. Lambert of Tall Timbers, Maryland, and PVT Daniel Crocker of Tallaposa, Georgia for being in improper uniform and having no Army identification on his person. He escaped from the vehicle while being transported to the Provost Marshals Office, but was soon trapped in a house by the pursuing MPs. CPL Lambert followed the suspect into the house, and climbed into the attic where Ninomiya was hiding. When Ninomiya pointed his pistol, CPL Lambert beat him to the draw inflicting the fatal wound.

     The Tokyo Provost Marshal BG C. S. Ferrin, commended CPL Lambert for his coolness in the incident.

20 January Service Clubs were considered a great morale booster, especially for the troops overseas where nightlife, beyond attendance at a local Beer Hall, was limited. The clubs maintained an ongoing and interesting itinerary of activities that didn’t require spending money, or drinking as the primary event de jour.

     The battalion was fortunate in that a service club was opened within the compound at Camp Burness. On hand for the grand opening ceremony of the new White Derby Service Club was Tokyo Provost Marshal BG C. S. Ferrin, who presented the club director, Miss. Tina Williams with a 720th MP Battalion “white derby” helmet liner with her name on it.

26 January During a patrol at Ueno Rail Station CPL Christopher H. Miles, Jr. and PVT Osby G. Tomlin, age 19 of Carruthersville, Missouri made an apprehension of Ichiji Nemoto, a 22-year-old law student of Chuo University. Ueno was a major rail station, and the neighborhood across from it was a thriving black market area. The circumstances leading to the apprehension were not available.

     During the apprehension Nemoto resisted, and struck CPL Miles on the back of his head, then grabbed his Billy Club in an attempt to continue the assault. PVT Osby rapped Nemoto across the knuckles with his club to break his grip, and he was taken into custody.

     The two MPs took him from the station to its radiotelephone office. Once inside the office Nemoto grabbed a butcher knife from a Japanese mess kit, and threatened CPL Miles with it. The two MPs succeeded in disarming him of the knife, but during the struggle he once again grabbed CPL Miles Billy Club and struck him on the head, knocking him down. PVT Tomlin finally subdued Nemoto, and he was placed in custody of the responding Japanese police.

     On 7 May, a 1st Cavalry Division General Provost Court sentenced Nemoto to five years hard labor. The court also recommended that three years of the sentence be suspended.

27 January During a patrol at Ueno Rail Station battalion MP’s CPL Christopher H. Miles, Jr. and PVT Osby G. Tomlin age 19 of Carruthersville, Missouri, made an apprehension of Ichiji Nemoto, a 22-year-old law student of Chuo University. Ueno was a major rail station, and the neighborhood across from it was a thriving black-market area. The circumstances leading up to the apprehension were not available.

     During the apprehension Nemoto resisted, and struck CPL Miles on the back of his head, then grabbed his Billy Club in an attempt to continue the assault. PVT Osby rapped Nemoto across the knuckles with his club to break his grip, and he was taken into custody. The two MPs took him from the station to its nearby radiotelephone office.

     Once inside the office Nemoto grabbed a butcher knife from a Japanese mess kit left by an employee, and threatened CPL Miles with it. The two MPs succeeded in disarming him of the knife, but during the struggle he once again grabbed CPL Miles Billy Club and struck him on the head, knocking him down. PVT Tomlin finally subdued Nemoto, and he was placed in custody of the responding Japanese police.

     On 7 May, a 1st Cavalry Division General Provost Court sentenced Nemoto to five years hard labor. The court also recommended that three years of the sentence be suspended.
February
Exact Date Unknown A fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed the B Company barracks building at Nakano with no injuries or loss of life to its personnel.

1 February As part of a series of showcase interviews with “typical” Japanese citizens, the Stars & Stripes Newspaper interviewed Isamu Ide, the 41-year old chief of the Waseda Police Station in the Shinjuku ward of Tokyo. The station was within the battalion's area of operations.

      Chief Ide was an 18-year veteran, first joining the police force in Saitama Prefecture in 1929, and was transferred to Tokyo in 1937 where he worked as a police inspector in the Home Ministry until May 1948, when he was appointed as chief of the Waseda Police Station.

     During the war Ide and his family lived in the former Home Ministry building to avoid the bombings. At that time policemen and school teachers were exempt from military service, and his only trip outside of Tokyo was to inspect their occupation police services in Manchuria.

     Chief Ide survived the recent SCAP-Japanese government purges of the Home Ministry to clear them of their radical and brutal wartime Imperial Army ideologues, a complement to his professionalism.

Chief Ide

     The Waseda Police Station was a three-story brick and concrete building that survived the allied bombing in a much-burned out district, one of five stations in the Shinjuku ward. The station, with a staff of 135 officers and clerical personnel, included a top floor assembly room, several detention rooms used for interview and interrogations, and clerical and administrative offices. The normal training period for police officers was three-months, but because of a recent increase in recruits it was shortened to two-months. None of his current staff or recruits were women officers.

     The ward encompassed the territory previously covered by the three former wards of Yotsuya, Yodobashi and Ushigome, the latter in which the station formerly served.

     Ide, although a desk bound administrator during the war, recalls the governments program to crack down on Communism through the use of force. He believed the present system of recognizing the Communists right to participate in the government process was the only fair and democratic way of handling any political development. However, he was not in sympathy with the Communists methods of intimidation and violence in their anti-occupation and government protests.

     As to the occupation in general, Ide said he had a great respect for the way it was being conducted, especially the discipline shown by the U.S. Army.

     He also complemented the SCAP Public Health and Welfare Section who assisted his police staff in the recent Kotobuki Maternity Hospital investigation in January. The target of the investigation involving the deaths of numerous babies, was a midwife named Miyuki Ishikawa, who even to this day is Japan’s most notorious serial killer.
8 February Battalion T/3 Harris E. Sheltman and his wife welcomed their son Jackie W. Sheltman who arrived from Lawton, Oklahoma to live with them in Tokyo.
24 February The Pacific Stars & Stripes Newspaper had no editorial page, however, they did have a section on the front page called “Comment and Query” in which the readers could post their responses to other letters or articles. The header for the section displayed a cartoon style graphic of one soldier throwing what appears to be a brick at another soldier he is chasing. In one letter an NCO from a U.S. quartermaster unit took issue with the battalion’s efforts to prevent vehicle thefts in Tokyo.
Letter To The Editor

Food For Thought- “It seems to me, that with such a large number of automobiles, owned by private parties and the Government in the Tokyo-Yokohama area, something should be done to protect our vehicles against the damage and theft, which is being done by the Japanese. It seems like every Army [movie] theater is too well guarded by MP's, while outside our cars are afforded no protection whatever against these Japanese who seem to take delight in breaking up a person's car.

     What do the Japanese police do? Surely some of them could be detailed to watch our cars against the above offenders. Parking facilities at the Ernie Pyle' P.X. Commissary are not large enough to accommodate the increasing number of cars. Several more guarded parking areas are very much needed, and would ne appreciated by car owners.”   T/SGT Anthony P. Lynchosky, Tokyo QM. APO 181.

To respond to the letter, several members of the battalion sent in a letter.

Doing Their Best- “In reference to T/Sgt. Lynchowsky's letter of February 12, we would like to ask him has he inquired how many MPs are stalking the streets at night for the specific purpose of watching cars and apprehending Japanese" meddling in Civilian and Army vehicles? Does he know that 85% of stolen vehicles have been recovered and many Japanese have been caught in the act of stealing Army jeeps? The 720th MP Bn. Is down to1/2 strength and still doing the same job they were doing with twice as many men.

     We don't ask for praise, but we would like for you constant gripers to know the story before you gripe.” (signed) Three SGT's, one CPL, one PFC and Two PVT's.

26 February The skyline of Tokyo was filled with flames and billowing black smoke as three fires within five hours destroyed seven buildings. The battalion patrols were kept busy at most of the major intersections assisting the city police with traffic and crowd control.

     The first and largest of the three was reported at 1530 hours and destroyed a building housing the Japanese press club, and other buildings containing the offices of the prime minister and the Central Screening Commission. Although hampered by strong winds and a lack of sufficient water pressure, firemen managed to get it under control before it also destroyed the residence of the prime minister.

     At almost the same time a mile away, a fire broke out in an office of the Daido Steel Manufacturing Company. It ruined the top two floors of the three-story building.

     The third fire razed three building at the Grant’s Heights Dependent Housing Area. In all only minor injuries were reported for all three blazes.
29 February Vehicle owners were warned by the Tokyo Provost Marshals office that inspections stickers on privately owned vehicles were to be displayed at all times on the lower right corner of the windshield. The announcement also informed the public that military police will be on the lookout for the stickers and disciplinary reports would be issued to those not conforming to the rules
March

12-13 March The battalion moved to a former Japanese Paymasters School located at Z and 20th Streets in downtown Tokyo, near the Sumida River, adjacent to the Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest in the country. The facility was previously occupied by the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division. Work details were immediately begun to improve the facility.

     Their new compound had plenty of room for their operational and recreational needs. It was surrounded by a wall, and contained thirty separate concrete block buildings, including a large three story main building (No. 100) which became their headquarters, training rooms and enlisted billets. The bays slept eight to ten personnel; they had high ceilings, and were in much better condition than the wooden firetraps of Nakano.

     Situated along the Sumida River and the nearby Kachidoki Bridge (the only drawbridge on the 27 mile long river) gave them quick access to all parts of the city. The only drawback of being along the river was the large neighboring Tsukiji Fish Market. During the hot days of summer the odor of fish permeated the entire area.

Main Gate
      Some 40 years later the battalion veteran’s of the era would name their reunion group the Tsukiji Social Club.
Personal Reflections
     “There was a place called Cavalry Circle [nine miles from Camp Drake] where the 720th and 1st Cavalry Division MP sectors came together. It was a dangerous place as there was bad blood between the two units.”    CPL William J. Piper, Baker Company, 1947-1948.
Personal Reflections
     “The 1st Cavalry Division, you know, the one with the patch of a horses head and black slash. They always told me that the slash or stripe separated the horse shit-from the chicken shit. Maybe so, but all I know is that there were many buildings in Tokyo with that patch painted on it.”   CPL Geryl “Jerry” Perkins, Headquarters Company, 1947-1949.
22 March On the third Conversion Day in Japan, the series 471 Military Payment Certificates were withdrawn from circulation and series 481 was issued.
     Although C-Day was suppose to remain a secret, someone provided to the United Press an internal Staff Memorandum issued by General Headquarters two days earlier, including a statement by a Headquarters Fiscal Officer that there was a great need to maintain its secrecy. The memorandum’s contents announcing the impending conversion, was reported by the Stars & Stripes newspaper on the 20th.
Series 471
Series 481

     In South Korea, MG William Dean, head of the military government, issued an order recalling and exchanging all old currency in the zone by the 24th. The order included not only the U.S. issued Military Payment Certificates, but also the old Japanese Yen notes that remained in use since the Japanese WW II occupation.

     The order was primarily to prevent the Communist in the Soviet controlled Northern Zone from using it to finance insurgency and violence in the south. Earlier, the Soviet military had confiscated most of the old Yen notes, and issued a Soviet sponsored currency in the north. They failed to destroy the old notes as required by U.N. agreement, and, instead have smuggled them to their agents in the U.S. Southern Zone to finance an ongoing program of propaganda, riots, and political assassinations.

April

5 April, 2030 hours Battalion patrols responded to at shooting call outside Sugamo Prison. The victim, Army Chaplain (Catholic) CPT John A. Ryan was murdered shortly after walking out of the front gate. He was a popular and influential chaplain who vigorously crusaded against the local gangs that ran the black-market and prostitution business around the prison.

     On the night of his murder he was dressed in his uniform, and while leaving the prison to take a customary short walk around the grounds outside, he stopped just outside the gate and spoke with a small group of American prison guards telling them that, “If you hear anyone cry out it will probably be me.” A few minutes later he was shot at close range to the left side of his chest with a small .25 caliber handgun. His wallet and watch were not taken. The discovery of his body was reported to prison guards by a local Japanese resident of the neighborhood.

     The CID investigator’s summoned to work the case with the Tokyo police believed the murder was not a robbery, and initially thought the small hole that caused the fatal chest wound was the result of a stabbing with a thin knife or icepick.

Chaplain Ryan
     They interviewed hundreds of local residents and people in the area, and at the same time had all of the American prison guards and staff restricted to the facility or their compounds pending questioning.

     The autopsy revealed later, that a firearm caused the fatal wound, and the investigators believed, and then reported to the Japanese and U.S. media, that the local crime gangs probably had him killed. For the next seventy-nine days the CID and Tokyo police chased down several high ranking members of the Japanese and Korean organized crime bosses without developing enough evidence to bring anyone to trial. The case was going cold, and pressure to clear it was being applied, until two of the local prostitutes whose original account to investigators was that Korean underworld figures were responsible, changed their story and identified a local prison guard as the shooter.

     PFC Manis, who steadfastly maintained his innocence, had previously been questioned by investigators, and told them that he was speaking with a Japanese girl (prostitute) about 300 feet from the shooting when he heard screams for help. The female later verified his alibi. It was the same prostitute and her friend that later corroborated her new story, that she and Manis were stopped outside the gate by Chaplain Ryan, who called him over to talk. It was after a brief conversation that Manis was alleged to have pulled out the gun and shot the chaplain

     Manis was then alleged to have run from the scene and ducked into an alleyway where the prostitute waited for him. When Manis tried to have her hold the gun for him, she stated she refused but did promise not to say anything to the authorities. Manis was convicted by court marshal and sentenced to life at hard labor. He served eight and one-half years in federal penitentiaries, was paroled in 1956, and returned to his native Tennessee, where he died in February 2003. To his dying day Manis claimed his innocence in the murder.

12 April After settling into their new facilities, Commanding General of the U.S. 8th Army, General LTG Robert L. Eichelberger, authorized the battalion to transfer the name Camp Burness from the Nakano facility to the new compound in Tokyo.

     With the move, the WW II soldier memorial statue was brought along and positioned just inside the front entrance of their new compound.

     The move kept the battalion extra busy, but didn’t create any disruptions in their daily operations.

14 April Army Service Club No. 11 opened its doors at the new Camp Burness, Tokyo.

30 April Members of Charlie Company mourned the death of PVT Coy Sherman Potts age 23 of West Virginia. No information could be found on the circumstances of his passing.

May

     Soviet Occupation Zone of (North) Korea, in defiance of the U.N. plan for Korea, the North Korean Peoples Committee under the direction of the Soviet Communist Party, adopted a communist style constitution proclaiming its jurisdiction over “all Korea,” including the American Occupation Zone in the south. The constitution named their capital as Seoul, while at the same time stating their present capital will remain Pyongyang in the north.

     Within five days of the announcement, two infantry battalion commanders of the Army of the Republic of (South) Korea who were secret members of the Communist Workers Party defected to the north with a total of 750 of their troops.

     In defiance of the U.N. the Soviet’s boycotted the elections by refusing to allow U.N. observers and election workers enter their zone.

     In the American Zone (South) the Korean’s held their first elections, while the southern communist’s and other anti-Rhee factions boycotted the vote and challenged its legitimacy. Dr. Syngman Rhee’s supporters won easily, positioning him to become South Korea's first president.

1 May In Tokyo, the Japanese police and battalion patrols were given a respite from the expected disturbances and violence of past May Day rallies. Even though the weather was perfect, the crowd at its peak, estimated at less than 5,000, was thousands short of the attendance seen in the plaza at the 1947 rally.

     The crowds of university students and labor union members remained orderly and disciplined while they paraded around singing the “International” and carrying the numerous banners and placards, of which the majority stressed an opposition to war and promotion of a communist style workers party rather than the anti government and occupation themes used in past rallies. No arrests related to the gathering were reported.

20 May The Tokyo area Army Service Club hostesses sponsored a five day meeting and conference at the Banker’s Club in Tokyo. The panel of a dozen club hostesses of the Far East assembled to hear opinions of their clients and enlisted men, to adjust their operations and itinerary to meet the troops needs. One of the speakers was SGT Thomas Dollarhide of the battalion. The opinions given varied, and the hostesses agreed with some and disagreed with others, but were willing to make adjustments to better serve their clients.

     SGT Dollarhide said the service club is one of the most potent factors for keeping the soldier out of trouble. However, he deplored the information service of the clubs, which so far has been ineffective in reaching the average visitor to Tokyo.

     The hostesses also informed the enlisted men that new training of hostesses had begun, and the opinions offered would be incorporated into their conference discussions.
June

     While on a tour of the West Coast to solidify his base for nomination by the Democratic Party, President Truman proposed Congress smother the ‘Red’ menace in America with “more and better democracy” instead of outlawing the Communist Party as some in Congress had suggested.

     At the same time, U.S. Secretary of State George Marshal deplored a Congressional move to slash foreign aid funds as providing “mere relief” instead of reconstruction.

14 June President Truman signed into law legislation making women regular members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force. It was in the early months of WW II when women were first enlisted for war duty, the Wacs and Waves in the Army and Navy were reservists on temporary duty. With the new law, they became regular members of their respective service, on the same footing as men. Woman Marines were not affected, since they were regulars all along.

     The Air Force immediately announced that their “Women of the Air Force, will now be known as Wafs.

     General’s Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Army Chief of Staff, and Carl Spaatz, a former Air Force chief, led the fight to admit women as permanent, regular members of the services.

25 June In Berlin Germany, in an attempt to destroy confidence in the U.S. Great Britain and France who controlled the western sectors of the city, the Soviet Russian’s announced that they were stopping all food supply to the Allied sectors of western Berlin through an order to the city government not to distribute Soviet-contributed food. The order effectively ended the three-year old food pool to which each of the four powers (Russia, United States, Great Britain, France) contributed food that was distributed on a citywide basis. In addition, they threatened to stop all coal shipments into the western sectors, thus effectively denying the West Berliners of the fuel needed to power the water and electric utilities.

     Coupled with the Soviet Army land blockade of the city, this left 2,500,00 Berliners with only a thirty-day reserve supply of food and fuel. Official diplomatic complaints to the Soviets by the U.S. Great Britain and France were rebuked.

     The Allied powers were now left with only the air supply route, and immediate plans were started to provide the need supplies to West Berlin through Operation VITTLES, also known as the “Berlin Airlift,” that lasted from 25 June 1948 to 30 September 1949.

30 June, 2200 hours Members of the battalion were called out to assist the patrol shift with a major fire at the Shubido Printing plant in downtown Tokyo. Twelve fire companies answering the call had the blaze under control by 2240 hours, and no one was injured. LT Raymond Allaman of the battalion was one of the first at the scene of the fire and said, “five persons were in the building at the time of the blaze but all managed to escape without injury.”

     The additional manpower of fifty MPs and 100 Japanese policemen formed a cordon to keep the estimated 6,000 Allied troops and Japanese spectators away from the blaze.
July

     In the American Zone of (South) Korea, seventy-year old Dr. Syngman Rhee, an American-educated Korean Nationalists leader, was elected by the South Korean Assembly as the first president of the new Republic of (South) Korea by a count of 180 to 13.

     Along the 38th parallel one U.S. soldier was killed and one wounded when a squad of Communist North Koreans ambushed them, and immediately fled back into the Northern Soviet Zone. The incident marked the first time since the post WW II occupation that an American soldier was killed in the Southern Zone.

     In Italy, police cracked the backbone of a Communist rebellion in Sicily with the capture of fifty armed rebels on the slopes of Mt. Amiata near Abadia.

     In Paris, France a call went out for a national coalition government to form to prevent a bloody showdown between the supporters of GEN Charles de Gaulle and those of the French Communist Party.

     In Kuala Lumpur, Malaya Communist insurgents killed one British officer and three policemen in an ambush southeast of Kajang.

     With the growing crisis in Berlin, Germany the U.S. deployed seventy-five P80 “Shooting Star” jet fighters to Scotland, and another sixteen to an Allied base in West Germany. In addition, sixty B-29 “Superfortress” bombers were sent to three air bases in Britain.

     Put an indefinite delay in the shipping of additional arms to Generalissimo Chiang Kai Check’s Nationalist Army in China due to the worsening crisis in Germany. The stockpile of arms was to be maintained to cover both the needs of the Nationalist’s Chinese Army’s defense against the Chinese Communist forces, and possible shipments to Western European Allied countries of the Brussels Pact.

     President Truman ordered all American men 18 through 25 to register for the draft between 30 August and 18 September. In the announcement he did not specify the exact dates the inductions would begin, however, by law, it could not be before 22 September or 90 days after the draft bill was signed into law.

     The 18-year olds not subject to the twenty-one month draft commitment could begin enlisting immediately in the military by volunteering for one year, and then serving a longer period in the reserves so they could avoid the draft later. The law specified that only 161,000 of the 18-year olds could be accepted.
23 July In response to the declaration by North Korean Premiere Kim L. Sung, President Rhee's South Korean regime proclaimed itself the independent Republic of Korea, denying the legitimacy of North Korea and claiming sovereignty over the entire Korean Peninsula.
The End Of self-Sergegation In The U.S. Armed Forces
26 July Because the U.S. Congress wouldn't touch the politically hot potato of segregation, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981, establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity In the Armed Forces, and thus took the first step of ending self-segregation in the U.S. military.

28 July, 1045 hours Battalion MPs responded to a call from Richard C. Ferguson age 29, the American manager of Acme News Photos of Tokyo. Mr. Ferguson reported he was being held by force at Heiwado Camera Shop located on route No. 11, Tokyo, in the Handa area. The patrols arrived and freed him from the owners of the store, Sentaro Nakajima age 39, and his brother Shuichi age 35

      Mr. Ferguson reported that several days earlier he went to the store to price a new camera. The owners gave him a price for the new camera based on the trade in value of his older one. When he returned to the Heiwado shop to make the purchase, the owners had raised the price. He became upset and threatened to telephone the military police. This is when the civil dispute turned into a criminal case. The owners became frightened, and while one was holding his arms the other locked the door to the shop. At that time there were approximately twelve Japanese inside the shop, and another ten to twenty standing outside. Ferguson said he was scared, but finally reached the telephone and called the 720th Military Police. Ferguson was detained in the shop about thirty minutes. The MPs took the two owners into custody and the Provost Marshal CID Section initiated an investigation.
     Editors Note: Mr. Ferguson went on to become a renowned photographer of the occupation period, and many of his original photographs are retained in the National Archives.
August

     In Seoul, Republic of (South) Korea, the U.S. Military Governor transferred authority to the new Republic of Korea and lowered the American flag officially ending their occupational mission.

     The U.S. Army Korean Military Advisory Group (KMAG) continued to assist the young and inexperienced ROK Army with training, arms and equipment.

4 August, 2255 hours While Tokyo police were responding to a fatal hit and run, battalion patrols responded to T Avenue to investigate a missing vehicle, and a subsequent report from Tokyo police of two U.S. soldiers assaulting and throwing a Japanese man into Naka River. It wasn’t until they arrived and began their investigation that it was determined the three incidents, only blocks apart, were related.

     The MPs learned that the missing and presumed stolen vehicle belonging to the Australian Mission chief was left in the control of his chauffeur Akira Nasai age 55 who was also missing, and last seen approximately two hours earlier at 2100 hours in front of the Dai Ichi Building.

     The Tokyo police were informed by one of their officers and several witnesses that a vehicle matching that of the missing car was traveling at a high rate of speed and struck and killed a Japanese peddler on a bicycle at Kameido traveled another two blocks before stopping on the Shinbashi Bridge over the Naka River, in Tokyo, where two American soldiers dragged a man from the vehicle, struck him several times, and threw him over the side before continuing on.

     A bloodstained brick was found on the bridge, and the chauffeur’s body was found in the river a short time later. Army CID was called to conduct the investigation into the incidents while the battalion patrols searched the city for the stolen vehicle.

     The next morning a battalion patrol recovered the stolen British Humber near T Ave. in Tokyo.

     On the morning of the 10th, CID Agents arrested one soldier, and his partner in the crime was arrested on the 13th. The two soldiers, Arthur D. Smith age 24, and Eugene K. Wilson age 18, both new recruits serving with the 56th Quartermaster Supply and Sales Company in Yokohama, were convicted on the 21st of December and sentenced to life in prison for the crime spree

     It was learned that on the night of the crime both stole the car and kidnapped the chauffeur in front of GHQ Headquarters at the Dai Ichi Building. As they were speeding away from the scene on Chiba Road, they struck and killed the peddler on his bicycle. Since the chauffeur witnessed the hit and run, they killed him and threw his body over the bridge.

5 August, 1135 hours At Tokyo Central (Rail) Station Japanese police and battalion patrols provided security, traffic, and crowd control to the 1,000 members of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) that were on hand to welcome their secretary general Kyuichi Tokuda. Security was paramount since an unsuccessful 19 July bomb throwing assassination attempt on Tokuda made during one of his anti-capitalism speeches.

     Tokuda was on a campaign tour to drum up labor support as a result of a public complaint registered by Soviet GEN A. P. Kislenko of the Allied Council for Japan, that GEN MacArthur violated SCAP regulation by denying labor unions the right to strike [in certain circumstances]. The complaint was later called baseless by the Truman administration and resulted in JCP demonstrations in Tokyo.

     Once the brief welcoming event at the rail station was completed, the crowd followed Tokuda to a morning rally in Hibiya Park in Tokyo where some 10,000 supporters waited. Along the way his followers shouted “Banzai,” “Banzai,” and sang the World Communist Workers Party anthem the “international.”

     In his speech at the park he informed them that only the Communist Party could win against the Fascists Japanese government and Allied Occupation Forces, and save the labor movement in Japan. Neglecting to mention that it was the World Communist Movement that was pushing the world to the brink of another war, he told the crowd that a “third word war will come if we don’t fight against Fascists.”

     Among his crowd of JCP supporters were young radical university students, members of the Government Railway Workers Union, All-Japan Government Communications Labor Union, All-Japan Electric Workers Union, Japan Coal Industry Union, All-Japan Automobile Workers Union, All-Japan Chemical Workers Union, and the Union of Koreans.

     Under the watchful eyes of Japanese Police supported by two battalion M8 Armored cars and several patrol jeeps, the rally was peaceful, others to follow would not be.

12 August SCAP Legal Section reported that 715 war crime suspects had been tried by 8th Army Military Commissions in Japan, and there were still more than 700 potential cases pending. Of the 714 defendants tried during the past two and one-half years, 660 were found guilty and 105 of them were sentenced to hang. Fifty-four were acquitted. Thirteen death sentences were carried out, fourteen were pending, seventy-seven were pending review and five were commuted- three to life, one to 30 and one to 20 years imprisonment at hard labor.

     During that time the battalion provided a vast majority of the prisoner transport and trial guards.

27 August SCAP sent out a reminder to all commands on the regulations pertaining to Allied recreational troop travel in Japan. Except for travel on inter-urban (yellow ball) rail cars, all occupation members traveling by train must have in their possession either competent travel orders, or a properly authenticated absence and travel authority form. For travel on inter-urban cars an identification card only, is required.

     The absence and travel authority forms were valid for seventy-two hours, and were issued only when prior arrangements for billeting and messing had been made.

     Travel by private conveyance to and inside any “on limits” area within 100 miles of the permanent station of the traveler was permitted, and required no authorization other than possession of an appropriate identification card by the traveler.

     Periods of absence in excess of three days required competent temporary duty or leave orders.
Editors Note: The term “identification card” refers to a military ID or government employee ID card. The term “yellow ball cars” refers to the inter-urban rail lines that traveled at a slower speed. All Allied Occupation troops were required to travel in the white-striped cars near the end of the train marked “For Allied Personnel Only,” and Battalion MPs strictly enforced the rule throughout the occupation.
September
     In Moscow, Russia, the Soviet government announced its recognition of Democratic Republic of (North) Korea (DPRK) as the only legitimate government of the Korean peninsula.
     The Military Police School was established at Fort Gordon, Georgia.

1 September General Headquarters Far East Command transferred all operational functions of military police, provost marshal and criminal investigation in the central Tokyo from the commanding general, 8th U.S. Army to the commanding general, Headquarters and Service Group, General Headquarters, Far East Command. The area consisted of 27 wards located in the eastern section of Tokyo between the Arakawa River and drainage canal, and Tamagawa. The area also included the majority of installations and activities of GHQ.

     Concurrent with the change, BG C. S. Ferrin, formerly Provost Marshal of the Greater Tokyo Area, became the Staff Provost Marshal of the Far East Command, and COL Polk J. Atkinson, the former acting Staff Provost Marshal Far East Command, became Provost Marshal Headquarters and Service Group, GHQ, Far East Command.

     The 720th MP Battalion, the 20th and 23rd Military Police Criminal Investigation Detachments, and the 473rd Interpreter Team were reassigned to Headquarters and Service Group, General Headquarters. The 8th Army retained responsibility for operations of Sugamo Prison.

     Headquarters & Service Group was formed in Japan on 10 June 1946, and located in the massive grey-stone Finance Building, near the center of downtown Tokyo. Media Document 1950_053. Unrelated to finance duties, the building was also the home of the Ten-To-Ten Service Club, one of the best in the city when it came to the variety of services and entertainment provided for the Occupation Forces.

     With the change the battalion removed the 8th Army patch from their uniforms and replaced it with the Genera Headquarters (GHQ) patch.

GHQ
Service Group
Personal Reflections

     “I had a lot of special details, jobs that weren’t on the roster because they were unexpected. Me and one of the other MP’s, and I’m sorry I can’t remember his name, were assigned a detail to go up to the war crimes building to pick up a prisoner, supposedly to take him to the doctor.

      We reported before anyone told us what the job was, or why were there. They brought out this prisoner and told us who he was Tojo. General Tojo, of the Japanese Army! We were to take him to the dentist.

     Now, as I said before, some of the little things you can’t remember after so many years have gone by, so I don’t recall the dentist’s name or where his office was. But I won’t ever forget Tojo. You know, here I am just a corporal in the U.S. Army and I am being placed in charge of, and have the responsibility for a man who commanded an army. It’s hard to say how many people his army killed, by his orders throughout the years that he was in command. Now, he was my prisoner.”    CPL Arthur J. Boggs, Charlie Company, 1947-1950.

CPL Boggs
     The battalion performed two basic types of patrol, foot and motor, and of the motor there were two assignments. One consisted of about a dozen jeeps that were assigned to fixed routes that were pre-mapped with specific checkpoints, mostly Japanese police stations. The patrols were required to call in to the PMO by radio or phone when they arrived at each. The duty was monotonous because there wasn’t a lot to do, unless the Japanese police had GI’s in custody and the patrols had to conduct a cursory investigation of the circumstances.
     On foot patrol in the zones they were required to perform train station duties, and during the rush hour the stations were busy enough to prevent boredom. The late night runs once the beer halls and clubs closed was another matter. The patrols insured that everyone in the designated troop car was properly dressed, and they hauled off any GI’s that were passed out from over indulgence. Very few ever got into any real trouble for being happy drunks, but there were nights when trouble was just looking for a place to happen.
Personal Reflections

“Well I doubt if there was any man in the company that didn’t have his bad days and his good days. I know I had mine, sure. One night I was on foot patrol, me and one other man, Eddie J. Hendricks, and our duties were around the Tokyo train station. The job was to check the trains as they came in. We had jurisdiction over American and English soldiers, and several other nationalities, and we checked to make sure these people weren’t in the Off Limits cars.

     We spotted a man that was in an unauthorized car and took him off and started questioning him. Usually, after we talked with people like this for a while we checked them out and let them go on back to camp. But in this case there was something not right, and we went into this little building that the station manager stayed in, and sat down at the table and proceeded to write a Disciplinary Report [DR] on the man. All at once I hear some hollering, dropped what I was doing, and looked around real fast to see this guy standing over me with a big dagger in his hand.

     We got him under control and wrote him up a report. I also called the PMO who sent one of the backup patrols. Then we went about our business and I don’t think Eddie and I had any more trouble that night.”    CPL Arthur J. Boggs, Charlie Company, 1947-1950.
     The second type of motor patrol, roving, was the favorite. They were able to roam around their zones and respond to other patrol calls for backup. They also were assigned to cover the dance halls and had special details like checking ID cards at the door to the Main Post Exchange in the Ginza area of Tokyo, which at times could be fraught with trouble if didn't pay attention.
Personal Reflections

     “I had this one lady come in and hand me her card, and I looked at it and said, “Yea, that’s alright. Go ahead.” And I went on back letting other people in, and after it slowed up a little bit this lady came back over and handed me her card and said, “You want to look at this again?” And I took it and looked at it and, well, I almost fell over. Cause it was Mrs. MacArthur, and we had special orders that were supposed to escort VIP people coming in, or at least ask if they needed an escort through the store.

     Well, I hadn’t done any of that. But I did ask after she brought it to my attention and I apologized. Boy, did I apologize!

     She went on in and bought her own things, so I never heard too much about it. I was looking to be called in at any time, but after a couple of days went by I guess it was all over. I guarantee I never allowed that to happen again.”   CPL Arthur J. Boggs, Charlie Company, 1947-1950.

     Providing security at the dance halls was no different that bouncing at a stateside nightclub. It was considered good duty and could be a fun assignment depending on the mood of the crowd. After a while you got to know the regulars and disturbances were few, except when new units training in the area from out of town appeared.

     And there were the special assignments that didn’t always make the duty schedule because they were unexpected escorts for the last minute changes in VIP tours; working as a car valet for Mrs. MacArthur’s large tea parties (50-60 people); traffic and crowd control at large religious gatherings at the coliseum.

     Although GEN MacArthur did have his special Honor Guard at his headquarters, a battalion patrol was often assigned to respond to the building entrance for crowd control when he arrived in the morning and departed in the evening. The generals normal routine was arrival at 1000 hours, departure at 1400 hours for lunch at his residence, return to the office at 1500 hours, and departure at 2100 hours or later. They were there to insure that the many Japanese people and tourists who appeared for the daily ritual didn’t approach him during his short walk between the car and the door.

     There was also the escorts provided for Emperor Hirohito. Whenever his sedan left the palace two escort jeeps from the battalion crewed by Thompson submachine gun toting MP’s would escort it, one in front and one behind. As a token of appreciation, the emperor always sent the battalion bottles of Saki.

     Prior to joining the Army 1LT Ralph E. Dillard was employed as a civilian with the Missouri State Highway Safety Unit. His first Army assignment was with the Provost Marshal General’s School at Fort Sam Huston, Texas, where he served in the Traffic Section until his separation from the Army in 1946.

     He returned to the Army in November 1948, and after a brief assignment as a platoon leader with Battalion HQ Company, he was assigned TDY to Headquarters & Service Group Safety Section as their Traffic Safety Officer. In his assignment he conducted a driver training and testing programs for the battalion. When an MP was involved in a traffic crash, he brought the driver, his vehicle, and the entire company into his classroom as soon as possible to study the causes, results and offer possible means of prevention. At least once a week 1LT Dillard conducted 30-minute lectures on driving safety to the members of each battalion company.
October
6 October Commanding General BG Rupert E. Starr of Headquarters and Service Group, GHQ presented battalion SGT Teddy Anderson of Russell Springs, Kentucky with a Bronze Star Medal. There was no mention of SGT Anderson’s organic unit, or the theater in which it was earned.
14 October, 1200 hours Battalion patrols responded to a vehicle-pedestrian accident call near the Main PX in Tokyo. The victim, Andrew A. Adinolfi age 40 a civilian lawyer employed as a prosecutor in the War Crimes Trial Unit for the SCAP Legal Section, was severely injured when a streetcar struck him as he was crossing the road. He was transported to the 49th General Hospital where surgeons had to later amputate his right arm.
15 October The battalion was reorganized under TO&E 19-55 with an authorized strength of 24 officers, 1 warrant officer, and 619 enlisted personnel.

17 October The League of Korean citizens held a gathering that attracted an estimated 5,000 members to select 120 representatives. There was no reason announced for the selection of the representatives.

     Editors Note: Immediately following the end of World War II, there were roughly 2.4 million Koreans in Japan; the majority repatriated to their ancestral homes in the southern half of the Korean peninsula, leaving only 650,000 in Japan by 1946. The League of Korean’s was a semi-political socialist ideological organization formed by the Korean citizens residing in Japan after the war.

     They eventually divided with the pre-Korean War separation of the North and Southern Koreas in 1948. Some repatriated back to Korea, most to the southern end. Those favoring the Communist North were called the Chongryon, and were the most ethnically militant, and those favoring the South were called the Mindan, who formed an offshoot of the League of Korean’s called the Korean Residents Union.
20 October Editors Note: To the uninformed public, the day appeared to bring some interesting coincidences in Korea, Japan and Germany, when in fact, most political and military strategists of the time believed it was too many to be just a mere coincidence, instead a well planned surge by the Soviet directed World Communist Movement to increase the pressure on the U.S. and its Allies in both hemispheres, as a major test of their individual and joint mettle to contain the communist movement.
     South Korean President Syngman Rhee arrived in Tokyo to visit GEN MacArthur and discuss the countries strides for reconstruction. Before the president’s departure from Seoul, an assassination plot was foiled to blow up the roadway his vehicle traveled to the airport. In light of this and recent past attempts, security for the visit was high. The battalion, along with the Provost Marshal Criminal Investigation Detachments were on alert during his hours long visit. No incidents were reported.

     Moscow radio reported that Soviet Russian troops were departing parts North Korea, and that the population was giving them a “magnificent farewell.”

    The Director of Public Information in South Korea countered the broadcast reporting that, the Soviets were leaving as a “military necessity,” because in the event of a third world war they would be trapped in North Korea with only a limited land based escape route through Manchuria. The exchange was seen by some as just political bluster by Moscow to lessen the impact and favorable attention given to President Rhee’s visit to GEN MacArthur.

     In addition, a North Korean broadcast reported that the League of Korean’s residing in Japan, sent a message to North Korean Premier Kim Il Sung that they were making passport arrangements for their representatives to visit for a proposed celebration of the founding of the North Korean Government in their capital of Pyongyang to coincide with the Korea question by the U.N. General Assembly.

    Forty North Korean Communist agents that infiltrated into the local constabulary in the costal city of Yosu, recruited sympathizers among other constabulary units and anti-Rhee dissidents, organizing them into a force of approximately 4,000 well armed rebels who were seen carrying communist flags and singing the Communist Workers Party anthem the “international.”

     Traveling by rail, the force then attacked other police stations and government buildings in neighboring towns and cities, gathering up stocks of arms and ammunition, and executing anyone that wore a military or police uniform, or opposed them in any way. Their goal was to create a civil war within the South to weaken the new Rhee government before the reunification talks at the U.N. ended.

     Loyal South Korean constabulary and small local military detachments in the area consolidated their forces, and fought pitched battles well into the next morning, halting the rebel advance while awaiting reinforcements that ended the movement with the captured several thousand members and supporters of the rebel force. During the week of fighting over 400 loyal constabulary police were killed along with hundreds of rebels and innocent civilians. Throughout it all, U.S. forces remained in their bases as ordered, to allow the fledgling South Korean military and police to handle the revolt.

     In Germany, tensions reached a new level with Soviet Russia when they tightened their blockade on Berlin by setting up roadblocks on all highways and rail lines that entered the city. Soviet soldiers and the East Berlin Police, who have now been “Sovietized”, were forcing all transportation destined for West Berlin through their checkpoints and confiscating any food, fuel and manufactured goods from the travelers that they deemed as illicit.

     The Soviet aim was to starve the population of West Berlin into submission in hopes they would turn against the governance of the Allied forces occupation.
22-23 October Two low level members of the Japanese Communist Party (JCP) were sentenced to prison for their part in a dual-purpose campaign run by their Central Committee to disrupt and withhold rural rice shipments to the government, to create hunger and disillusionment in the major cities. Their plan was to convince the rural farmers to withhold their harvest from sale, and at the same time to obtain support from rail workers to refuse to handle or ship any rice that did reach the railheads. Their members were told that, “such a situation would be beneficial to the party right now.” Both were sentenced for violating SCAP Directive No. 16, and a Japanese Imperial Ordnance.
23 October LTC Aubrey S. Kenworthy, on detached service from the battalion to the war crimes trials, gave a speech at the weekly TIP Hour for staff officers and group information and education officers at the Tachikawa Air Force Base, located in the western part of Tokyo.
November

Exact Dates Unknown The International Military (War Crimes) Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) completed its work, the seventy MPs who were assigned to the Tribunal were returned to the battalion and other duties.

     Sometime after the trials were completed, approximately fifty members of the battalion were again detailed to Sugamo Prison, this time to provide security until the Tribunal sentences could be carried out. The internees at Sugamo consisted of those condemned, those sentenced to long-term imprisonment, and those undergoing trial.

Personal Reflections

     “I was transferred from the Philippines to a replacement depot at Atsugi, Japan. From there I was assigned directly to the IMTFE. We never had any contact with any of the rest of the battalion, so I don't know anyone who served in downtown Tokyo. Unfortunately, very few of those who served with me know of the existence of the Association and I don't know of any way to get a roster to let them know.

     The highest-ranking NCO in our unit was a buck sergeant. There were two corporals, several PFC's, and the rest were buck privates. We were told that all the better grades were being taken by “those downtown” which led to some resentment.

     We were stationed at the trial building with six to a room. The food and lodging was pretty good. Some of us were assigned to the courtroom, and others transported the prisoners to and from Sugamo Prison. Occasionally, when GEN Tojo wanted to meet with his attorneys, I would be assigned to guard him. Although I could have I never discussed anything with him. Some got his autograph, but I wouldn't give him the satisfaction by asking for it. I was only 17 at the time and often think that GEN MacArthur would have gotten in trouble with Truman sooner had he escaped while I was guarding him, but I was watching him closely looking for the opportunity to shoot him.

     Little did I know at the time that I would eventually be an attorney or I would have paid closer attention to the courtroom proceedings. While there I was promoted from private to PFC, which was a big deal.”   PFC Ralph McKenna, IMTFE, Tokyo, Occupied Japan, 1947-1948.

3 November In South Korea, Communist in the South Korean Army stationed at Taegu in the southeast, had planned to revolt and seize police stations after the pattern of the Yosu uprising that occurred on 20 October. The plan was upset when Korean MP’s attempted to arrest an army sergeant major. A firefight between the sergeant’s comrades and military police resulted in the death of one MP. Loyalist soldiers moved into the area and captured the communist rebels ending the fighting.

     In Tokyo, claiming to represent 600,00 Koreans in Japan, the Communist-led League of Koreans of Japan sent a petition to the Allied Council for Japan asking them to lift the SCAP ban against flying the North Korean flag. The petition also included a demand by their chairman Keun Yun, that severe punishment be given to the soldiers responsible for the shooting and wounding of a Korean youth by U.S. Military Police at Sendai on 12 October. The incident occurred during a confrontation between the Japanese police and Korean League during an attempt to stop them from flying the North Korean flag.

     LTC C. H. Meek passed command of the Battalion to MAJ William C. Smith.

     MAJ Smith initiated a new duty system. Each letter company would rotate duties daily and be responsible for: 1st Day- military police line duty; 2nd Day- Compound interior guard and special (fatigue) details; 3rd Day- off duty; 4th Day- Training, and alert company standby for civil disorder aimed at U.S. facilities.

     No matter how large the Army, it’s still a small world. CPL Raymond T. Ogle arrived at the battalion in 1948 by chance - not choice, having asked for an assignment with the Mechanized Cavalry. He was assigned to Able Company where he worked regular line duty. With the onset of the Korean War his brother Patrick J., a member of the Minnesota National Guard and an MOS Mechanic, was called to active duty. Patrick, also a corporal, found himself in Japan and assigned to his brothers platoon in Able Company where he worked in the motor pool.

4 November Sir William Webb, President of the International Military (War Crimes) Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE), announced that all of the high value defendants had been found guilty.

MAJ Smith
Ogle brothers

5 November In Washington, D.C. the U.S. Office of Education announced that it had launched a nationwide campaign to uncover the cities, towns and rural areas that were potential “breeding grounds for communism.” They disclosed that they solicited every state to investigate their school citizenship programs on how effectively democracy was being taught as a bulwark against communism. They also assured everyone that this was not being done to investigate the loyalty of the schools, teachers or students.

18 November Once again the Soviet member of the Allied Council for Japan was stirring up anti-American sentiments with Japan’s North Korean population. Russian Army LTG Kuzma Derevyanko issued a message that was read by one of his delegations junior officers at a gathering of Korean communist supporters at Kyoritsu Hall in downtown Tokyo. The message congratulated them on the creation of the Soviet-sponsored Democratic Peoples Republic of North Korea, and their refusal to permit a U.N. supervised free election.
     Four–hundred Japanese police in riot gear stood by at the Kanda Police Station, but the Koreans who were well known for their violent gatherings remained enthusiastic, but orderly.
December

4 December Occupation organizations from the 8th U.S. Army, and Far East Air Forces held a meeting at the office of the Stars & Stripes Newspaper in Tokyo discussing ways to fund the All American Charity Ball for Japanese orphans. From GHQ the 720th MP Battalion representatives were also present, and presented a unique plan that was accepted by most if not all the other units that had small officers clubs.

     The battalion representatives from their Officers Club suggested that they would hold a dance and charge an additional five-cents extra per drink. The price hike will stand throughout the entire charity campaign. Also, the club would place collection boxes throughout, so officers who so desired could make additional donations to the charity program. LT E. J. Meyers was designated to handle all donations.
13 December The battalion Bulldogs trounced the 71st Signal Service Battalion team 42-28 at the National Gym, in the Tokyo Basketball League. CPL Doyt Pritchard of HQ & HQ Company was the leading scorer with 12 points.

20 December The Civilian Army Community Service (CIVAC) team stole a victory from the unbeaten 720th MP Battalion Bulldogs, 43-42 in overtime. The CIVAC’s tied the game at 40 with seconds left in the last period.

     In the overtime session, the CIVAC’s made a basket with their shooter being fouled, and then made the foul shot. Regaining the ball, the CIVAC’s stalled the remaining minute and a half. The MPs CPL Doyt Pritchard and CPL Frederick E. Ayres of HQ & HQ, Company were described as magnificent in a loosing cause.

23 December Former General and Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other defendants convicted and sentenced to death, were hung at Sugamo Prison between 0008-0035 hours.

     GEN MacArthur, afraid of embarrassing and antagonizing the Japanese people, defied the wishes of President Truman and barred photography of any kind. He instead had four members of the Allied Council to act as official witnesses. The general also ordered the bodies cremated, and the ashes dropped by aircraft over the ocean to prevent them from being enshrined as martyrs.
Personal Reflections

     “I was assigned to the 738th MP Battalion and shifted to the 8th Army’s NCO training school, in Yokohama. About that time (it was 1947), the 720th was short of MP’s and I was sent to Company B. The battalion discovered I could ride a motorcycle, so they made me a patrol sergeant on night duty, and I worked with the rest of the company.

     The Japanese war crime trials, which started shortly after the surrender in 1945, were still very much in session when I reported. There were two executioners at the time, LT Rexroad and LT Corey - I think that’s how he spelled his name. LT Rexroad, [2LT Charles C. Rexroad] who was with the 519th MP Battalion, asked me… “We need another man, can you get involved?” When I finished thinking about it, I said yes. Executions took place in Sugamo Prison, commanded by LTC Aubry S. Kenworthy.

     I was not allowed into Sugamo at any time, except on the day of an execution, and then entered quietly through a private door in the back of the prison 24 hours before an execution. As discrete as my entrance was, everyone knew I was there almost as soon as I closed the door.

     The prisoners did not see me until they came into the room, and looked up. My job wasn’t public knowledge, but even the Japanese civilians outside the prison knew me, knew my duties.

     On the day Tojo was hanged there were six executions. The condemned men said nothing in their last moments. Everything they had to say or write was done in their cells. Two Shinto Buddhist priests, who stood on either side of him, escorted Tojo like the others, to the gallows. Tojo was calm and silent. After every execution I got a three-day pass, a jeep, and a bottle of whiskey. Today I don’t drink at all.”    SGT Martin D. Luther, Baker Company, 1947-1950.
27 December Since their loss to the Civilian Army Civil Service team, the battalion basketball team fell even further in the GHQ Tokyo League standings, ending up tied for third place with 441st CIC (Military Intelligence Detachment), with a record of 3 wins and 1 loss
29 December Although in third place with a record of 4-1, the battalion basketball team was well on their way to annexing Tokyo League scoring honors. Their latest win (4th) was a 64-21 beating of the eleventh place (last place) 49th General Hospital. Battalion’s highest scorer, Ayres, scored more points that the entire Hospital team.
      By the end of the year the (indigenous) population of Tokyo was estimated at just over five million, the Metropolitan Police Force at 26,683, and Occupation Forces at 20,526.
     With many of the disillusioned repatriated troops joining the ever-popular Japanese Communist Party (JCP), the numbers represented a steadily mounting internal security risk.
1948 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1948 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.
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