23rd CID.
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PMI Detachment
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Translators-Interpreters Detachment
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1952 Timeline
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General HQ
Service Group
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720th MP
Battalion
720th
Bulldogs
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     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.
     All major theater improvements, Cold War events or incidents, including those relative 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.
     At the start of the year the war in Korea was still at a stalemate with small scale engagements being fought for small gains along the entire 38th Parallel, while negotiators continued their meetings towards a the goal of a cease fire in-place.
     History would also witness a contentious presidential election campaign year. The issues were controversial and many: the Korean War was in a bloody stalemate; the U.S. was continuing aid to the French fighting the communist insurgency in Indochina; Cold War tensions were building with the Soviet acquisition of nuclear weapons; and in the nations capital the congressional hearings on communist infiltration of the government and industry were adding fuel to the already raging partisan political fires.
Security Duty, Tokyo, Japan
January

     At the start of the year LTC Alvin B. Welch was commanding. The 720th Military Police Battalion and its organic units, HQ&HQ Detachment, HQ Company, Able, Baker and Dog Companies were located in Camp Burness at Z Avenue and 20th Street Tokyo, Occupied Japan subordinate to Headquarters & Service Group, General Headquarters (GHQ), Far East Command under the operational control of the Provost Marshal, Tokyo Metropolitan Area

     Sometime during the year the battalion also began publishing a biweekly Newsletter called “The Sumida Sentinel.” The staff consisted of one officer as the Editor, one senior NCO as the Assistant Editor, a junior enlisted man as the typist, and a junior NCO was the Art Editor. The Publication Editor was a civilian.

     The Armed Forces Press Service provided much of the material used. Each company was allotted a separate section similar to a community news column in a small town newspaper. The only know copy still in existence was published on 30 June 1953.

     The cantonment facilities at Camp Burness provided an opportunity for a well-balanced and orderly life. They included a service club, library, snack bar, hobby shop, post exchange, barber shop, pressing shop, gymnasium, pistol range (installed during the year), officers and enlisted men's open messes, theater, outdoor athletic courts, company day rooms, motor pool, bachelor officers quarters, and many other conveniences.

     Each member of the battalion was issued HQ Far East Command Bulletin No. 2, “Traffic Laws”, prepared and printed by the Troop Information and Education Section, Tokyo.

    High standards of moral principals were maintained in all units, with emphasis being given to the development of individual character. The high percentage of voluntary attendance at church services and the gentlemanly and sportsmanlike attitudes displayed in operational, athletic and other endeavors attested to the high caliber of individuals who were assigned to the organization.

     There were also many military service clubs available to those that were looking for a quieter nightlife than that found off base.

     By 1952 the city of Tokyo was also an entertainment mecca, and the draw of the many “On Limits” Japanese nightclubs, bars and hotel bars in and around the Ginza area that catered to the troops and tourists provided meals, drinks, live entertainment, dancing and female companionship for the thousands of U.S. and Allied military personnel stationed within the country, as well as those visiting for Rest & Relaxation (R&R) leave from Korea.

Camp Burness Tokyo
Personal Reflections
     “Z Avenue and 20th Street were dotted with Mom-and-Pop service shops to cater to the everyday personal needs of the Camp Burness occupants.
    Shortly after arrival, a GI usually caught on with a particular Mama’san, or shop to supply his personal service needs, such as laundry, cleaning and pressing, tailoring and other special needs.
    Many of us, in deference to already establishing, high level, personal and group standards, had most of our GI issued clothing tailored to personal fit. The high quality and low cost services of these Mom-and-Pop people was truly amazing, and much appreciated. As an example of special needs, I still have my brass police whistle, fully engraved with cross pistols, Company A, 720th MP Battalion, year 1952, Tokyo Japan, and the “Orderly Regulation” coat of arms with restrained Imp.
     Most of the monetary bartering was conducted in authorized Japanese Yen, but on occasion of special circumstances, neither party was adverse to an exchange of military script for mutual benefit.”   PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.
     The entire battalion was housed in one large permanent type building commonly known as Building 100, which provided the space for troop quarters, supply rooms, orderly rooms, class rooms, consolidated mess, and battalion headquarters.
     Generally, the personnel in the battalion were fairly well established throughout the year, and there was a relatively light turnover of troops during the 12-month period.
     CPL Berry Grandall joined the army in 1948, and did a tour as an MP in Germany along the Iron Curtain (Soviet front) before returning stateside after an injury. After a short stint in a transportation company, he was again assigned MP duties at Camp Polk, Louisiana and Hot Springs, Arkansas where his first enlistment ended. Reenlisting in 1951 he was sent to a replacement depot at Camp Drake, Japan, rapidly followed by a boat trip to South Korea, and assignment as an acting first sergeant in a brand new front line infantry rifle company. He was wounded in the knee, and returned to a hospital in Tokyo for recuperation. His next assignment brought him to the 720th and Baker Company at Z and 20th Streets.
Personal Reflections
     “Man did that place stink! [Tsukiji Fish Market] I’ll never forget is so long as I live, it stank to high heaven! You went to bed smelling like fish, and you got up smelling like fish.
    Later we moved to the 7th or 8th floor of an old building in downtown Tokyo across the street from the Emperor’s place grounds, just across A Street, to support Tokyo security. For a brief period I was with B Company when it transferred to another location, and then all of a sudden I was notified that I was going back to the States.”   CPL Berry Grandall, Baker Company, 1952-1955 .

 

     Numerous security missions were performed by the battalion throughout the year, including gate guard duties at the United Nations and Far East Command Headquarters at Perishing Heights, the protection of dependent housing areas, and the safeguarding of personnel and property of the U.S. Security Forces, Japan, in Tokyo, etc..

     Under operational control of the provost Marshal, Metropolitan Tokyo Area, other MP functions performed by the battalion during the year consisted of traffic control, town patrolling, security of installations, MP desk operations, special details for ceremonies, escorts for VIPs, and operation of a detention facility. The operational schedule provided for the maintenance of unit integrity and for the rotation of duties by - and in - the companies.

Personal Reflections
     “One of the more interesting regular guard assignments was a an underground, holding cell location. It was the detention facility for felony convicted U.S. military personnel awaiting transfer to federal prisons stateside. Your eight-hour tour was spent seated at an elevated desk, facing a bank of cells. Painted on the floor in front of the cells was a safety line that you were never to cross when alone.
      Of possible historic note, we were told that these were the cells in which captured U.S. Air Force personnel were held after the initial bombing raid on Tokyo.”    PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.
    All activities in the battalion, including the consolidated mess and the motor vehicle maintenance shops, the communications section and the administrative and logistical agencies, gave maximum support at all times to the military police operational requirements .

    A progressive and comprehensive training program was carried out, starting with development of the general proficiency of individuals during the early part of the year, followed by small unit training, and ending with company-sized field problems. Towards the end of the year, emphasis was given to specialized training, including the establishment of a Military Police School, and other courses of specialized instruction within the battalion.

     Participation in competitive sports and other events was encouraged to the maximum, with emphasis being placed on teamwork and sportsmanlike conduct. Teams from the battalion won league championships and trophies in bowling and baseball.

     Eleven enlisted men were members of the Headquarters & Service Command football team, which had a very successful season, losing only one game, by a small margin.

    Members of the pistol team won individual and group honors in various matches. Others won honors in boxing and hobby craft competitions. Credible showings were also made by battalion teams in basketball, touch football, and softball leagues. In the inter-company leagues, Charlie Company lost the touch football championship to the 34th Photo Mapping Company of the 64th Engineer Battalion.
Personal Reflections
    “In-house, the 720th fielded sports teams and individuals who completed regularly with other local military units. Those of us who were not talented enough to compete at that level, enjoyed hours of recreation time as spectators at those events, and as active participants in company level, intramural sports programs.”   PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.
      Inspections of the battalion during the year were made by the Provost Marshal General, MG Edwin P. Parker; by the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Far East Command, MG Blackshear Bryan; by the successive commanding generals of Headquarters & Service Command, BG Richard Stevens, BG Edwin Piburn and BG Onslow Rolfe; by the Provost Marshal Far East Command, BG Francis C. Howard; by the Provost Marshal, Metropolitan Tokyo Area, COL Andrew B. Padgett; and by Inspector General and other staff officers from higher headquarters.
Battalion Officers

     Visits to the battalion were also made by prominent officials of the Japanese Government, including the Grand Master of Ceremonies, Japan Imperial Household, Mr. Yasumass Matudaira; the Chief of Police, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department, Mr. Eiichi Tanaka; the Chief of the Police Section, Japanese National Safety Corps, Mr. Tadaichi Oba; and many others.

      During the year more than 360 members of the battalion earned and received individual recognition for their good conduct, efficiency, and faithful service with the award of the Good Conduct Medals, Soldier of the Month trophies, letters of commendation, certificates of proficiency, and certificates of achievement.

     Three Bronze Star Medals and five Commendation Medals were presented at ceremonies to members of the battalion for their prior services in Korea. In addition, many letters and verbal expressions of appreciation were received from outsiders, including general and flag officers, and civilians, for outstanding services rendered by individuals or groups of the battalion.

     As a result of the continuing war effort in Korea, U.S. Navy ships used Tokyo and several other major ports throughout the country for repairs and resupply. As a result, thousands of Navy personnel were given liberty and flooded the cities to enjoy their brief respite from the rigors of sea duty. To handle the added workload, which during the year was at its peak, Navy personnel, primarily junior NCO’s, were tasked as Shore Patrolman (SP) on joint patrol duties with the battalion.
4 January The battalion provided one platoon for a composite company to perform honor guard duty at an awards presentation ceremony held for nine members of Headquarters & Service Command in the Finance Building courtyard. The other three units were Honor Guard Company, Guard Company, and the 293rd Army Band.
Exact Date Unknown SGT J. H. Jackson of Able Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month   .
February
Exact Dates Unknown SGT William C. Malmquist of Dog Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.
      CPL Thomas A. Headrick from Moberly, Missouri a member of HQ Company wed CPL Katherine Klloczki of Franklin, New Hampshire. The bride served with the 823rd 2nd WAC Company as a medic in the Tokyo Army Hospital.

4 February The Tokyo area service men’s clubs doubled down their efforts to surpass their 1952 March of Dimes contribution goals by asking all the participant clubs to double their efforts. The battalion enlisted men’s club came through with a $200.00 donation, the proceeds of an auction.

14 February At home or away it was Valentine’s Day and the battalion enlisted men’s club held an open house for it’s troops and their guests, followed by a Japanese floor show at 2020 hours.

18 February In a brazen daylight robbery two men described as U.S. soldiers in uniform robbed the Senju branch of the Fuji Bank in Tokyo escaping with 2,800,000 Yen ($6,000.00 U.S.) in currency. Battalion MPs, the Tokyo U.S. Army 23rd CID Detachment, and Japanese Police responded to search for the suspects. The CID interviewed witnesses and obtained composite drawings of the two suspects for nationwide distribution.

     Japanese newspaper campaigns against American “gangsterism” followed the bank robbery, and were tied in with Japanese objections to terms of a recently concluded administrative agreement that gave Japanese authorities limited jurisdiction over personnel of the U.S. post occupation security forces.

Composite Sketches
Personal Reflections

     “ When I arrived in Tokyo the occupation was nearly over, and we were getting ready to settle into being the guest of the Japanese people. It was mostly an uneventful tour with one exception: the Frenchman.

     The story spread quickly and became the source of much amusement and speculation. It seems that a French soldier in Japan on R&R from the Korean War had robbed a bank in downtown Tokyo. The provost marshal took extreme exception to this crime and was personally insulted because it had taken place on his watch and in his jurisdiction. Part of his vexation was due to the timing of the robbery with the end of the occupation: he did not want to start the new era in Japanese-American relations with a manor incident – especially not an unsolved major crime committed by what was, presumably, an Allied soldier.

     The provost marshal immediately put all available CID personnel on the case, but after about a week, they had made no headway at all. He told the CID to produce, or else he would bring the MPs into the case, which he did a few days later.”    PFC Robert W. Snowden, Dog Company, 1951-1953.

PFC Snowden
28 February COL A. B. Padgett, the Tokyo area Provost Marshal, reported that despite repeated warnings issued by local unit commanders to their troops, ten deaths of U.S. servicemen from asphyxiation due to carbon monoxide gas from misuse of Japanese hotel room heaters were reported in the Tokyo area since the beginning of the year. To further address the problem meetings were held with hotel owners and managers asking their aid in properly orienting their guests on the proper use of the heaters, and by posting warnings in English and Japanese in each hotel room.
March
Exact Dates Unknown SFC E. Messer, Jr. of Dog Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.
     CPL Roger Bjorlin was already a Sergeant in the 47th (Divisional) MP Company, Minnesota National Guard when the Korean War began. In July 1951 he joined a small group from the company sent to Japan for duty with the Far East Command, and was assigned to the battalion. In the waning days of winter, he was working motorized patrol in Tokyo for Charlie Company.
Personal Reflections

     “I was on patrol and had checked in at the PMO in downtown Tokyo. I was told to take a jeep to one of the open plazas on the Imperial Palace grounds and await the arrival of a Navy admiral, incoming from Korea. After the chopper landed, I was to take the admiral to the Dai Ichi building.

     I was patiently waiting for the flag officer to arrive when, from the direction of the Imperial Palace, I heard a faint shrill blast of a police whistle. The sounds of police whistles grew louder as the signals were relayed down the hill from the palace, and I turned to face the direction of the palace and wondered what the heck was going on.

     The palace gates opened and an entourage of big limousines- I think they were Duesenbergs- emerged and headed right towards me. The first two were open turing cars and loaded with palace guards. The third car was a cabriolet, with the driver and guard in the open and the rear half enclosed. It was followed by another open car filled with guards, and they were going to pass within about twenty feet of me.

     Curiosity got the better of me, and I bent down to peer into the third oncoming car to see who was inside. It was Emperor Hirohito. We had made eye contact [something that before the war could result in a beheading for the offender] and he was smiling at me. Then he reached up and tipped his tall silk hat and bowed to me. I was stunned. As quickly as I could recover, I straightened up, came to attention and snapped a courtesy salute at the rear of the car, as the fourth car full of guards rolled past.”   CPL Roger G. Bjorlin, Charlie Company, 1951-1952.

CPL Bjorlin

1 March SGT Cornelius H. Patton of Charlie Company was one of forty graduates to successfully complete the Leaders Course given at the Armed Forces Education Center, Tokyo.

4 March As a direct result of the composite drawings of the two 18 February bank robbers that was published in the Japanese newspapers by CID, the Tokyo Provost Marshal’s Office received an early morning telephone call from an employee of the (Japanese) White Hotel in Kita-ku area of the city, who said a soldier staying there resembled one of the two bank robbers.

     Battalion motorized patrols were sent to the hotel to investigate the report. The MPs apprehended one soldier found in the hotel room but were unaware that another had seen them coming and escaped through a window.

     Questioning at the Provost Marshal’s Office revealed the 25 year old soldier was a member of the French Army named SGT Chef Alfred R. Sirven, who was working as an interpreter and attached to the 537th Replacement Company at Camp Drake. SGT Sirven confessed to the bank robbery and identified his partner as 25-year old PVT Edmond Parriel, also a member of the French Army who was AWOL from Camp King. Sirven also informed CID agents that two Japanese nationals, Ryunosuke Tezuka and Hideki Yajima, assisted them in the robbery, and no U.S. servicemen were involved.

SGT Patton
Edmond Parriel

     A search of the hotel room by CID agents uncovered a Belgian pistol, a gasoline ration card and vehicle registration for a stolen Plymouth sedan which had been recovered by authorities days after the robbery. It was believed at the time to have been used as the getaway car. SGT Sirven had $546.00 in U.S. currency and $550.00 in Military Payment Certificates on his person at the time of his apprehension by the MPs.

     A description of the second French suspect was issued to all civil and military law enforcement authorities, and the Tokyo police began an intensive manhunt for the two Japanese nationals.

     Believing the fugitive would hide in the Shimbashi area, notorious for its nest of small, unsavory hotels, the manhunt focused on the area. Both the battalion patrols and Tokyo Police surrounded the Shimbashi-Ginza District and began checking every automobile that passed through, and every foreigner that got on a bus or went into the Shimbashi rail station.

     Later that same morning battalion patrols spotted PVT Parriel in downtown Tokyo, and before they could affect an apprehension he fled, under fire, in a taxicab, eluding the MPs for a second time. Japanese Police finally caught up with the fugitive soldier at 1400 hours while he was sitting in the rear seat of a taxicab on T Avenue in the Komatsugawa District. At the time of his arrest he was found to have a cocked .45 caliber pistol in his lap, but offered no resistance.

9-10 March U.S. Army CID and the Tokyo Police arrested the two Japanese nationals involved in the bank robbery, ending what the press had called “the most intensive manhunt since the start of the occupation.” The four arrests lead to the recovery of 623,100 of the stolen Yen, in addition, during the investigation CID developed information leading to the arrest of a Turkish soldier involved in five unrelated robberies and two attempted robberies in the Tokyo area between 24 and 29 February. In all of the robberies, the two French and one Turkish Army suspect wore U.S. Army uniforms.

     With the clearance of the robberies, none involving U.S. troops, one of the Japanese newspapers issued an open apology to the U.S. occupation forces for mistakenly blaming them for the recent crime wave.

     COL R. T. Chaplin, Provost Marshal of General Headquarters, said in a statement that the capture of PVT Sirven should “give assurance to the Japanese people that lawlessness among Allied troops in Japan is not being tolerated. The apprehension of the bank robbers again demonstrates the fine, close liaison between American military police and the Japanese police. Primary credit goes to the Tokyo military police [720th] and CID. They were assisted throughout by the Japanese police.”
     Both Sirven and Parriel were eventually turned over to the French Military authorities in Japan, and shipped to Saigon, French Indochina [Vietnam] for trial before a military tribunal where they faced a maximum sentence of ten years at hard labor.
     Both also left behind their Japanese lovers, who were questioned by authorities and cleared of any involvement in the bank robbery. PVT Parriel’s “sweetheart” professed her love and stated she would wait for him because she believed he did it for her. SGT Sirvens “companion” refused to talk because she was tired.
     The successful conclusion of the robbery investigations in Tokyo helped to soften some of the immediate criticisms pertaining to civil police and court authority directed towards the Allied occupation forces just in time for the official start of the changes in sovereignty agreed to in the Treaty of Peace and the Security Treaty.

17 March The Defense Department issued a May draft call for 19,000 men, 15,000 for the Army and 4,000 for the Marine Corps. The call was projected to bring to 913,430 the total number of Americans drafted or called to duty with the armed forces since the Selective Service Act was renewed in September 1950. The Army’s share of the draft totaled 832,000, and the May call boosted to 81,430 the number of Marine draftees.

     The Air Force and the Navy had relied on volunteers for their manpower. Both the Army and Marines reported an increase in the reenlistment's by men who volunteered or were drafted shortly after the outbreak of hostilities in Korea. Another factor entering into the smaller spring draft call was the decrease in battle casualties in Korea, which had been averaging about 300 weekly for several months during the lull created during the armistice talks. The Army expected to have about 1,558,000 troops in uniform by 30 June.

     LG T. B. Larkin, the Army’s chief of logistics reported that it would be at least two or three years before a new automatic rifle (M-14) would begin to replace the semi-automatic M-1. The new rifle still required “two or three years’ worth” of tooling up, and a decision to begin was being delayed by “practical considerations. We’ve got to phase out the old and phase in the new.” Otherwise, there would be either too many or to few rifles.

     LG Larkin was talking about the M-14 rifle (7.62mm NATO round) adopted for use on 1 May 1957, and phased out by the M-16 (5.56mm NATO round) in 1964. The concept of the M-16 was originally designed in 1956, but production was delayed until 1963.

April
Exact Date Unknown CPL J. C. Mitchell of HQ Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.
9 April The battalion’s Camp Burness became the new home for the 23rd MP Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Detachment, the Provost Marshal Investigation (PMI) Section and the Interpreter-Translation Branch, when the main office of the Tokyo Provost Marshal moved from the Teikoko Soko building to room 116 in the Finance Building, home of the Headquarters & Service Group.

18 April The battalion’s PFC John C. Craig of Baker Company won first place as a singer in a field of seventy contestants who participated in an amateur talent “Star Hunt” sponsored by Headquarters & Service Command’s Special Services Section, and held before a crowd of 2,600 persons in the Ernie Pile Theater in downtown Tokyo. For his star performance, PFC Craig won a leather traveling case provided by the HQ&SG special activities fund.

28 April The battalion began serving as host for members of the five teams participating in the Far East All-Army boxing tournament “fight-off” scheduled for Memorial Hall held from 28 to 30 April and 1 to 3 May. The fighters of the teams from the 8th Army (Korea), Ryukyus Command (RYCOM), XVI Corps, Japan Logistical Command and Headquarters & Service Group will fight for the honors of being a member of the ten man Far East Command team that will move on to the All-Army finals being held in Monmouth, New Jersey.

     The boxing teams used both a ring set up in the battalion gym at Camp Burness, and the ring at Memorial Hall to prepare for the elimination bouts.

     The battalion’s lone representative on the HQ & Service Group’s team was Robert Varner a flyweight, who lost his fight in the semifinals on a decision.

PFC Craig
Peace & Security Treaty
     On the same date at 2230 hours (Tokyo time) the Treaty of Peace and the Security Treaty signed on 8 September the year before, came into full force. The U.S. occupation officially ended and became a security mission as Japan once again became an independent nation with full sovereignty, with one caveat; the island of Okinawa was still under full U.S. political and military jurisdiction. To maintain its dominance in the protection of the Pacific and especially Japan, Taiwan and South Korea, the island was used to expand U.S. airbases and naval port facilities. The move would create an issue of nationalistic importance to the Japanese dissident groups for years to come.
     To usher in the new independence, over 4,000 Buddhist pilgrims streamed to a temple near Mt. Fuji to promote their sect, and pray for the salvation of Japan and the world. Their gathering at a Tokyo rail station just before midnight to catch the last train, created a minor crowd control problem for the Japanese Police and battalion patrols that worked the area.
     The battalion’s transition from occupier to security force was accomplished without any major incident, and all elements eventually adjusted themselves to the changed status and jurisdictional procedures it brought. And, as with any major political changes, there were always those unforeseen political consequences that had to be dealt with later down the road.
     One of the first changes was ceding some, but not all, civil authority to the Japanese police and courts.
Personal Reflections

     “From the beginning of the Occupation, most line duties were performed by two man MP teams. This format was initially kept in play as our schedule makers penciled in teams of one veteran and one novice.

     Shortly after the April peace treaty mandated gradual integration, our two man teams sometimes began to feature one MP and one Japanese policeman, with the MP retaining final authority in both foot and motor patrols. This landmark change, and others like it might have produced significant problems had the battalion roster still consisted mainly of the veteran, Regular Army troops, many of whom, understandably, developed and retained bitter feelings of dislike and distrust of the Japanese from the war years. Though there was dissent and resentment, it was minimalized and defused by the judicious scheduling of we, the larger numbers of newcomers.

     While achieving its goal of gradual integration, this joint venture also evolved into a truly interesting and educational experience. Some of the policeman were veterans of the Japanese military and included former pilots, ship commanders and such. Most of them were reasonably proficient in their English skills. The routine quiet periods of an eight-hour tour were sometimes painted with fascinating stories of the war from their point of view.

      This was unquestionably a unique, odd couple relationship in which these educated, skilled, experienced veterans of command, had to defer to our youth and inexperience in final decision authority.”   PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.
     Under the treaty the U.S. troops were still protected from arrest by Japanese police for civil law violations, and U.S. MP’s retained jurisdiction over their apprehension, detention and courts martial. All other U.N. and British Commonwealth Forces were not, and the Japanese police wasted no time exerting their new jurisdictional expansion. While several years of political and diplomatic negotiations failed to rectify the problem, credit must be given to the BCOF Provosts for establishing a tact, diplomatic and amicable solution with their Japanese Police counterparts, by staffing all of their patrols with Japanese policemen. Thus in all but the most serious of crimes, Provost MP’s were still able to secure jurisdiction of all their errant troops.
     The sovereignty also resulted in other political changes that would complicate matters for the many ethnic Korean’s that lived in Japan.
     Editors Notes: Until 1945, ethnic Koreans were considered Japanese nationals. The end of World War-II and Japanese occupation left the nationality status of Koreans in an ambiguous position, as no functional nation existed on the Korean Peninsula. Their nationality was provisionally registered under the name of “Joseon” (“Ch?sen” in Japanese), the old name of undivided Korea. The political and economic conditions in Korea also started a major migration to Japan. As thousands of new boat people began arriving on Japanese shores, among them were North Korean agents.
     In 1948, the northern and southern parts of Korea declared independence individually, making “Joseon,” or the old undivided Korea, a defunct nation. Those in Japan with “Joseon” nationality were allowed to re-register their nationality to a South Korean one; however the same did not apply to North Korea due to the fact that Japan only recognized South Korea as the legitimate government of Korea, so supporters of the Communist North retained their “Joseon” nationality.
     The Ethnic Koreans in Japan established the League of Koreans in Japan in 1945, which was eventually dominated by Korean’s that followed a Marxist-Socialist ideology. In 1946 the pro-southern Korean’s broke away and formed an offshoot group of anti-Marxist. In 1949 the Marxist dominated group was banned by the order of GEN MacArthur, but re-formed under other names and continued to receive support from Communist North Korea.
     During 1952 North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung called on the Marxist Korean movement to be coordinate with the North Korean government, and to fight, not for a socialist workers revolution in Japan, but for the reunification of the Korean peninsula under Northern communism. Thus creating a second communist espionage movement, although aligned at times with the goals of the JCP, it remained separate from them, working against the U.S. occupation forces and new democratic government of Japan.
     Another result of the treaty and newfound expectations of national tranquility was the quick growth and expansion of the bases that provided dependent family housing for occupation officers and senior NCO’s. And, with more families, came more domestic dispute calls.
Personal Reflections
     “Our initial response to such situations was further complicated by the; enlisted man vs. commissioned officer equation. These calls were initially dispatched by the PMO to the nearest available patrol for possible stabilization and containment until the Duty Shift Officer or his counterpart could arrive.
     In training we had been taught that if serious, immediate need existed, situationally we would be one rank higher than our subject of the moment. However, with that empowerment came the caveat that the obligation of restrained, judicious, and last resort use of force or detention would face a final review, and you had better be able to satisfy the necessary criteria.” PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.
May

Exact Dates Unknown SFC J. R. Oliver of Dog Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.

     In a month that would be filled with tension and turmoil, the troops of the battalion were treated to a special event that would provide the necessary degree of humor to help them get by, the filming of a feature movie in Tokyo named Willie and Joe in “Back at the Front.”

     For those veteran’s that were born after the World War II era, Willie and Joe were the names of two archetypical GI Joe cartoon characters developed by Bill Maudlin, who started out as an infantry grunt himself, and went on to become a two-time Pulitzer prize winning editorial cartoonist. The two, who were loved by the troops throughout the U.S. military, represented two weary and bedraggled common GI’s who endured the hardships of warfare.

     In the movie, World War II is over and to get home quickly, Willie and Joe join the "inactive reserve." Just firmly settled back into civilian life, they're reactivated for a new bout of basic training at a base in Japan. From then on, the two are in and out of one scrape after another while being chased by the MPs, and get involved with a glamorous Eurasian Mata Hari and her sinister friends in the black market.

     Parts of the production were filmed at Camp Drake and in the Ginza area of downtown Tokyo. During the filming the battalion handled crowd security and traffic control. In addition, two battalion MPs, CPL's Roy Pritchard of Baker Company and Sam J. Costadina of Able Company played the part of the MPs chasing Willie & Joe.

Personal Reflections
CPLs Pensergast & Fahey

     “I arrived at the 720th in about May, and was assigned to Company D. During assignment processing we traveled through the Finance Building, the NYK building, “Tsukiji,” and ultimately Camp Drake. All new arrivals were restricted for a couple of weeks for orientation purposes before being permitted to go on pass.

     I had the good fortune to have as my mentor CPL “Penny” Pendergast, and on the completion of the two-week restriction, we unleashed ourselves on the Japanese Empire.

     On time, Penny and I visited the Blue Moon Café, imbibed too much, and sacked out there for the night. Early in the morning, we discovered that during the night someone had stolen Penny’s shoes and pants. The best Penny could rustle up was a kimono and gators [sandals], and we took one of the local Kamikaze cabs to make it back in time for the morning muster. We made it alright, but he looked funny as hell. Years later, Penny and I met up again at Fort Devens and we were still laughing.”   CPL Harold G. Fahey, Dog Company, 1952-1955.

Communist Instigated Anti-American Riot

     Throughout the war years the Fascist military government of Japan continuously suppressed any minority political resistance, often with extreme violence. With the advent of the occupation the small group of Communist Party members began their rise from obscurity under an era of what they described as "peaceful revolution" in an attempt to gain popular support. During the political occupation reform, with political influence and support from the Communist Russian and Communist Chinese governments, they portrayed the U.S. military occupation as just another extension of American colonial imperialism.

     After thousands of years of feudalism followed by the military fascism of the war years, the democratic reforms fostered during the occupation gained widespread acceptance by the Japanese people at the rice roots level. With the popular acceptance of the United States-Japanese Security Treaty by the fledgling Japanese government and people in September of 1951, the Japanese Communist Party saw their movement stalling and decided to change their tactics.

 1 May As on May Days the previous years, all nonessential U.S. military and civilian governmental personnel were restricted to their bases. At Camp Burness, the perimeter security was strengthened and the Alert Company was on standby and ready to respond if called out. Thousands of Japanese police were on duty as the first line of civil defense.

     At Meiji Park just before noon, some fifty Korean and Japanese Communists agitators broke through a police cordon and stormed a platform from which American Socialist Norman Thomas was to speak. The confrontation and their arrests enraged the crowd who quickly dispersed and formed into five different columns, two headed to Hibiya District, and others to Korakuen, Shibuya and Shinjuku areas.

     Their sudden and “orderly” split into separate groups was too well organized to have been just a random decision, and they were carrying many large Chinese Communist banners, portraits of Chairman Mao Tse-tung, and waiving large North Korean flags.
     The thousands of Communists workers and university students that now marched through downtown Tokyo shouting “Go home,” immediately began stoning buildings that formerly housed Allied forces, hitting Americans they came across with wooden clubs, and overturning and burning their automobiles with Molotov cocktails.
     Even with the presence of a contingent of U.S. Air Force Security Police who cordoned off the U.S. Far East Air Force Headquarters with bayonet tipped rifles at the ready, the rioters managed to shatter several windows of the building with stones. Several U.S. soldiers and Japanese police were shoved into the moat of the Imperial Palace. Another large group of demonstrators milled before the residence of the Prime Minister (Yoshida) shouting “Down with the Yoshida Cabinet.” They jeered the Japanese Police with calls of “puppets.”

      Before it was over two were killed and more than 400 others were injured, including scores of Americans caught outside on the streets. The Tokyo riot resulted in the death of one Japanese policeman, thirty who were seriously injured, and seventy with minor injuries.

     The standing orders from battalion were to avoid confrontation and stay out of sight during public demonstrations. Intelligence information indicated the goal for the demonstrators was attack dependent housing areas and American military installations. A group of demonstrators was reported to be heading to Washington Heights, a U.S. dependent housing area in the city.

     The battalion Alert Company was called to duty and assigned to establishing a protective force for the Washington Heights housing area. The force was comprised of two officers and 67 enlisted personnel, with one officer and 58 enlisted personnel from Charlie Company, and seven enlisted personnel from Baker Company. The force commander was believed to be either CPT Frederick G. Peacock or CPT H. H. Holland of Able Company.

     The force set up an interior perimeter with fixed and roving patrols inside the complex and was armed with .30 and .50 caliber machine guns. The Japanese Security Guard Unit and Tokyo Metropolitan Police set up a defensive perimeter around the complex including foot patrols. The first night passed quietly with no incidents reported.

Washington Heights

2 May 0600 hours A group of Japanese demonstrators began gathering at the southwest corner of the Washington Heights housing area and was kept under constant surveillance by the Alert Company, and Japanese Security Guards and Tokyo Police. It began to grow in size to approximately 500 people but made no attempt to instigate any trouble.

     One half of the Alert force was relieved of duty at 0650 hours, and returned to Camp Burness. By 0710 hours, the remainder of the force was relieved and returned to Camp Burness.

     The Department of the Army, Institute of Heraldry officially approved the Battalion coat of arms. The description of the shield is shown as "The golden restraining hand grasping the inverted black imp, which is symbolic of a petty devil or malignant spirit, is symbolical of the restraining functions of the organization, implying the means by which undesirable factions are kept under control.”

     The motto “Orderly Regulation” is expressive of the determination of the personnel to regulate with order, and alludes to the charges on the shield.

<  Click on Crest Icon for additional information.

     On the same day MG Edwin Parker, U.S. Army Provost Marshal General conducted an on site inspection of the battalion.

4 May Charlie Company, minus its 2nd and 3rd platoons, was deployed for detachment duty at Camp Zama with the 8030th Army Unit.

5 May, 1600 hours Thirteen people were injured as the National Rural Police (NRP) battled 300 Korean’s in a series of skirmishes at Himeji City, 291 miles southwest of Tokyo. The confrontation began when the police raided ten households suspected of harboring May Day rioters.

     Several hours later 500 Korean’s attacked the Himeji Police Station. The Korean’s withdrew after the arrival of additional NRP units from nearby towns.

     The Tokyo Metropolitan Police reported that 707 suspects connected with the May Day riot in Tokyo had been rounded up, and 266 have been detained for investigation.

12 May The battalion participated in the departure ceremonies of GEN Matthew Ridgeway, Supreme Commander of Allied Powers by providing escort and airfield security on the tarmac where his plane was waiting. GEN Ridgeway was reassigned as the Supreme Allied Commander Europe for the fledgling North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

24 May With all the turmoil during the month there remained one bright spot the troops of the battalion could quietly reflect on as a memorable achievement.

     With the cutting of a silk ribbon at 1100 hours by Monsignor Maximillian de Furstenburg, the apostolic delegate to Japan, the new building of the Seibi Gakuen (Beautiful Star) Catholic Orphanage at Akabone was officially opened. Funds for the $386,000 building were contributed for the most part by units of the U.S. Forces, Japan in the Tokyo area. The orphanage, at its site since the end of World War II cared for 380 abandoned children of all ages under the direct daily supervision of the Order of the Salesian Sisters.

     More than 100 persons attended the dedication ceremonies, including LTC Eldon B. Welsch, the battalion commander. The orphanage had been sponsored by the battalion, which began the project in 1950, and made $475.00 average monthly contributions since November of 1951 to construct the new building. Other Headquarters & Service Command units also made cash contributions to the building fund.

29 May Japan once again braced for violence as Communists and left-wing elements prepared to follow through with forty-one demonstrations throughout the nation despite repeated police bans on rallies over the Memorial Day weekend. Twenty of the demonstrations were planned for the Tokyo area alone.

     Anticipating major clashes with the Communists, and a direct threat to attack the residence of Mitsusada Yoshikawa, chief of the special investigation bureau of the attorney general’s office (equivalent to the U.S. director of the FBI), Tokyo Police alerted their entire 25,000 personnel and equipped them with anti-riot tear gas grenades, steel helmets, and wooden shields.

     The Imperial Place grounds were closed, and traffic bans were put in place from 1700 to 2400 hours in the Palace Plaza, Hibiya and Yotsuya Park’s. Warnings also went out to American military commands to advise all personnel to remain off the streets, since the anticipated demonstrations will all be anti-American in nature.

     The Japanese Communist Party (JCP) announced earlier that the demonstrations were in observance of the 1949 U.S. Memorial Day demonstration in which one of their members was killed during a clash with Japanese Police. The police also feared that the JCP might also use the day as a memorial for the recent 1 May riots in which three of their members died.

      Police believe the JCP would concentrate their demonstrations in the two sectors south and west of the city. Other points of major activities were expected to be at the Ishikawa Dockyard, Shinjuku Rail Station, the Shimomaruko plant of the Higashi Nihon Heavy Industry Company, and the Kojigaya area. The cities of Osaka, Kyoto, Kanagawa, Ibaragi, Sapporo, Miyagi, Hyogo, Shiga, Ishikawa, Gifu, Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Tochigi, Akita and Tamaguchi were also expecting trouble. Members of the North Korean Communists Democratic Front are also expected to participate in Tokyo and Kyoto.

     30 May, 0600 hours Able Company, the Alert Force company was placed on standby for possible deployment in Tokyo due to the continued threat of communist demonstrations in the city. At the motor pool, the battalion trucks were readied, loaded and placed in line for a quick departure.

     Key personnel were briefed on the rules of engagement if the unit was committed to the mission. The 1st and 2nd platoons were alerted for initial commitment; the 3rd Platoon was to be held in reserve. The distribution of ammunition and communication procedures was decided upon, and a system of reports on available transportation assets was initiated.

0830 hours, the battalion provided an honor guard to participate in the Memorial Day ceremony and command review held by Headquarters & Service Command. In years past the annual gathering took place at Meiji Park, but with the change from status of occupation duty to that of security duty, and with the imminent threat of civil unrest, this years ceremony was a brief and simple commemorative service held at the 71st Signal Service Battalion parade ground. All other smaller commands were also asked to hold their services within the confines of their installations.

     At approximately 1830 hours 1LT Thomas D. Whitlock, in command, assisted by 2LT Sidney J. Barry with 30 enlisted men was committed from the Alert Force to deploy to Washington Heights and set up a protective perimeter.
     At 2100 hours, an additional complement of six enlisted men from the 2nd Platoon was dispatched to supplement the force already on station. All personnel reacted excellently and performed their duties outstandingly. The elapsed time from call up to deployment was approximately five minutes.
     The night passed at Washington Heights without incident. At Pershing Heights, rioters tossed a homemade bomb into the courtyard. There were no injuries reported from the blast, and no further action was taken against the housing area.
     Japanese police estimated that hundreds of Communists and their sympathizers participated in the demonstrations and riots throughout the area. Armed with Molotov cocktails, bottles and water pistols filled with sulphuric acid, they attacked Japanese Police who time and time again charged their lines to disrupt their attacks. Numerous arrests were made and three rioters were shot to death when they launched an attack on a manned police box. Close to 100 policemen, and three members of the U.S. media were injured during the riots .

31 May, 0200 hours The platoon at Washington Heights was relieved by elements of Baker Company, and were later recommitted to the housing area force at 0700 hours, with the addition of 25 enlisted men from Dog Company, bringing the complement to a total strength of 132. No incidents were reported.

     At 1200 hours, all units were relieved to return to normal duties with the exception of the members of the company scheduled for Alert status, who were committed to restricted status at Camp Burness until relieved by the next company coming on line for duty.

     Generally, it appeared that the operation was carried out much more efficiently that the one on 1 May. It was determined that the improvement was undoubtedly due to past experiences and better liaison. A system of strength and vehicle availability reports to S-3, by accurately informing the staff of available personnel and vehicles, also did much to enhance the overall efficiency of the Alert Force.

     The battalion’s self review of the operation resulted in recommendations for devising an SOP for reports to be made on the strength of units during such periods. The reports should be automatic and reflect actual present-for-duty strengths. It was also determined that vehicle availability reports should be the responsibility of the Motor Officer.

     The battalion also determined that training during the past month, especially field training, pointed out a definite need for additional experience of the noncommissioned officers. Squad leaders in particular, exercised very little control over their squads during the field operations. A hesitancy to act decisively was particularly noted. It was believed that the hesitancy was a result of inexperience in infantry tactics. Training in the fundamentals of infantry tactics to correct the situation was planned at the company level.

EE
SRC3
SRC53

     It was felt too that additional intra-company communications were necessary and vital to the efficient operation of each company during field operations. At present, the only communications equipment issued were the EE8 field telephones, and Motorola radios mounted in the 1/4-ton patrol jeeps.

     The current commo equipment would probably be sufficient in static situations, but in any type of field operation, control of platoon and squads would be extremely difficult, if at all impossible.

     It was recommended that special authorization be sought for both SCR536 (Handi-Talkie two way Radio) and SCR300 (backpack Walkie-Talkie Radio), and for sound-powered telephones.

     Headquarters & Service Group announced the seven-man roster for their pistol team, scheduled for competition at the 3rd Annual U.S. Fleet Activities Pistol Match in Yokosuka on June 5, 6 and 7. Two members of the battalion were selected for the team, CPT Harrison H. Holland of Able Company, and LT Leander Woolard (unit unknown). The HSC team was scheduled to compete in fourteen individual events, and then combine for three team matches.

     At the three-day event the U.S. Fleet Activities team won all matches in both the team and individual events. The only score listed for the HQ&SG team was a second place in the center fire match.
June
      As the on again-off again peace talks continued in Korea, the fighting for dominant ground along the Demilitarized Zone increased. Communist and Allied artillery continuously exchanged thousands of rounds per day.
Exact Date Unknown CPL J. E. Nyman of Baker Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month. 

24 June Eighteen players from the six-team Tokyo Baseball League were selected for the team roster of Headquarters & Service Group to play in a series of exhibition games. Five members of the battalion were selected for the roster, 1LT Paul M. Timmerberg of HQ Detachment – assistant coach, PFC Stanley A. Clifford of Able Company – pitcher, PFC Clyde P. Agnew of Able Company – outfield, George D. Phillips of Baker Company – shortstop, and CPL Maurice R. Giesser of Able Company – third base.

     The teams featured exhibition game was scheduled for the 4th of July at Stateside Park against the all Japanese Kanto All-Stars.
25 June On the second anniversary of the Korean War the young student communist sympathizers again launched demonstrations against the U.S. occupation forces, this time outside the airbase at Osaka. They were protesting the U.S. air raids in Korea. Before being stopped by a large force of Japanese police they threw Molotov cocktails into a U.S. dependent housing area, and attacked a U.S. Army staff car injuring BG Carter W. Clark of Headquarters Southwestern Command.
July
Exact Dates Unknown CPL J. R. Gable of HQ Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.
     A major conference of the Far East Command provost marshals was hosted in Tokyo. Since LTC A. B. Welsch of the 720th was the commander of the military police unit providing security with Tokyo, he was in attendance. The other attendees were COL Richard S. McConnell from the Korean Communications Zone, COL C. V. Cardwell from the 8th Army, MG Blackshear M. Bryan the deputy chief of staff for the Far East Command, COL Charles M. O’Donnel of XVI Corps, LTC Henry C. Leech of the Japan Logistical Command, COL Maurice Fitzgerald Korean Military Assistance Group advisor to the Korean National Police, LTC William E. Walkup from Ryukyu Islands (Japan) Command, COL Andrew B. Padgett of Headquarters & Service Command, COL Clifford Oje from Far East Air Forces, and COL Raymond R. Ramsey the chief of the Prisoner of War Division, Provost Marshal Section, Far East Command.

4 July The Headquarters & Service Group baseball team selected 24 June that included five members of the battalion, 1LT Paul M. Timmerberg, PFC Stanley A. Clifford, PFC Clyde P. Agnew, George D. Phillips and CPL Maurice R. Giesser began their featured exhibition game at Stateside Park against the all Japanese Kanto All-Stars beating them in a pitchers duel by a score of 3-2 in the 9th inning.

     The H&SG team tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the 8th inning only to have the Kanto team score a go-ahead run in the top of the 9th. In the bottom of the 9th, with no out and two men on base, they scored the tieing run with a single. With two strikes, PFC Agnew of Able Company was ordered to bunt to move the runners into scoring position, however the lead runner was forced out at third for the first out. The second out came with a fly ball to right field. Their next batter, the pitcher Ted Kapuscinski of HQ Staff Battalion, who also pitched for the Detroit Tigers before being drafted, won his own game with a single to center field.
August

Exact Date Unknown CPL James C. Graten of HQ Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.

13 August Pursuant to Special Orders 152 the battalion’s organic units HQ Company, Alpha, Baker, Charlie and Dog Companies completed the qualification firing course with the M-1 Rifle and Caliber .30 Rifle (semiautomatic) pursuant to Army Regulations 775-10 and were awarded the appropriate Qualification Badges.

Personal Reflections
     “We re-honed our by-the-numbers skills in the nomenclature and field care and maintenance of those weapons, and select squad members benefited by extra training with the Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR) and the heavy duty Bazooka [2.36-inch recoilless rocket launcher].”    PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.
     The battalion had the pleasure of serving with Australian troops throughout WWII and in Japan, and learned quickly that they always take advantage of free time. So much so that one might think that drinking beer and fighting was their national past time. Actually the sport of rugby is, but it is not much different from drinking beer and fighting, except, there is a ball involved in rugby.
Personal Reflections

     “On a hot August night Charlie Company had the swing shift from 1600 hours ‘til midnight. At 1700 hours all beer halls were required to close for cleanup and reopen an hour later. I was town patrol officer when the PMO got a call from the Ginza Beer Hall that some of its patrons were refusing to leave. On arriving to investigate, the lieutenant and I encountered six Australian soldiers who were in Japan on R&R from the Korean War.

     Our explanation did not satisfy them. Some American soldiers at first also refused to leave the premises, but they finally got the message and departed. The Aussies wouldn’t budge and began taking off their wide web-belts, which they wrapped around their knuckles ready to fight. The lieutenant took action. Our Interior Guard and a paddy wagon were called for, the wagon backing up tight against the beer hall door. The Interior Guard was ordered to fix bayonets and set up a skirmish line, which gave the Aussies no choice but to funnel out the door and into the wagon. At the PMO an irate Australian general arrived. He stood his six troopers at attention as he paced back and forth chewing on their tails. Within twenty-four hours the soldiers were back in Korea, and as far as I know there were no other incidents from the Aussies.”    CPL C. James St. Pierre, Charlie Company, 1951-1953.

CPL St. Pierre

29 August CPL Edward P. Dimarco and PFC Billy Womack (MOS 46677 Military Police) arrived at the battalion from the Replacement Detachment of Headquarters & Service Command, and were assigned, respectively, to Dog Company and Baker Company.

     CPL John W. Wood of Charlie Company was promoted to Sergeant and received a change of MOS from 4677 Military Police to 1677 Military Police Supervisor.

CPL Dimarco
PFC Womack
SGT Wood
September

 Exact Dates Unknown PFC F. E. Craker of Baker Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month. 1952 Battalion Year Book.

         In ceremonies at Camp Burness MAJ Cletus N. Leinen the battalion’s S-4 officer, was awarded the semi-annual Headquarters & Service Group’s Engineer Safety Award by BG R. W. Stephens the HQ&SG commander. The award was received on behalf of the Repair & Utilities Section of the battalion of which MAJ Leinen was in charge. Other plaques were also awarded to eight Japanese foremen of the section for their part in preventing any accidents during the six-month period ending 30 June 1952.
5 September 1LT Sidney Graw of Charlie Company, and later to become battalion S-3 was granted a seven-day leave and gave his temporary address as 877 Kamikitazawa, Tokyo, Japan.
8 September The battalion started classes in their organic Military Police School with twenty-two students. Instructions were repeated each week until approximately 300 members graduated from the school by the end of the year.
    The Honor Students were: HQ Company- MSG Earnest Noble, Jr, and SGT John W. Rauberson; Able Company- SGT David H. Taylor, CPL’s Robert Mcakley, Robert F. Kadnuc, William C. Wilson and Robert Carrol, PFCs Victor Danner, James W. Potter, Thomas F. Snyder, and F. W. Tierney, and PVT Walter Jones; Baker Company- SFC Herbert B. Battles and SFCs Mervel L. Flanigan and Terrell Powell; Charlie Company- SFCs James T. Prevett, Ernest Messer, Jr. and William Yakus, CPLs Kenneth Smith, Dwight R. Adams, and Lee Fisher, and PFC Leonard J. Koressel; Dog Company- SFC Russel E. Milner, SGT Cornelius P. Long, CPLs Marvin L. Cook, Howard D. Charlton and George A. Koen, and PFC Joseph A. Cook.

16 September At 5:00 pm Tokyo time, was the designated deadline for all candidates to register in the first post-occupation general election in Japan. The 1,244 candidates running for the 466 seats in the House of Representatives (lower house of the Diet) included: 476 Liberals, 208 Progressives, 109 Rightwing Socialists, 107 Communists, 96 leftwing Socialists, 108 Independents, and 80 members of other minor parties.

     Of them were 393 incumbents, 317 former members, and 534 new candidates. Women candidates totaled only 26, while 329 former wartime leaders purged and prevented from running under SCAP, were vying to lead the nation once again.

17 September The Japanese National Safety Board announced that applications for the National Police Reserves were predicted to reach a total of 105,018 for the 30,000 new recruit slots that were made available.

23 September With almost six years of Allied controlled occupational democracy as a guide, Japan’s political parties now free to participate in unencumbered public campaigning, still had to overcome their heightened enthusiasm and the many temptations that came with the new freedom.

     With only eight days remaining until the general election, the election law violations rose sharply. The National Rural Police reported that violations- mostly bribery- had reached 319, with 1,051 persons, including a candidate, arrested. Other violations included illegal canvassing, campaign interference and electioneering by minors.

26 September The battalion hosted an open house from 0900 to 1100 hours at Camp Burness, to celebrate the 11th Anniversary of the Military Police Corps and the 10th Anniversary of the 720th MP Battalion. The battalion’s actual birthday is 20 January 1942. Camp Burness was opened for both the Japanese and foreign community of Tokyo. Displays of weaponry, communications, and other MP equipment were set up for escorted tours through the area. There was also a short subject film, “The Army’s Finest,” that was shown to the guests in the camp auditorium.
Personal Reflections

    “To support the occasion a very nicely decorated cake was prepared by the baker, and put on display to be cut by the battalion commander [LTC Welsch]. He arrived to do the honors, and after a little speech took up a knife and was about to cut the cake. From out of the blue pops the cake baker; up on the table he jumps, and in his hands was the biggest cake knife I ever saw. It was either a samurai sword or a Japanese NCO sword.

     With minimum flair and some very positive words, he indicated to all present that he, the baker, having baked the cake, was the only person who was going to do any cutting. While the rest of us stood in awe and shock, he proceeded to cut the cake himself. When he was done, the battalion commander and other brave souls stepped forward to get a handful of cake.”   CPL (SPC/7 Retired) Harold G. Fahey, Dog Company, 1952-1955.

     A number of ranking Japanese police and American military personnel were in attendance. COL Francis E. Howard, Provost Marshal, Far East Command said: "The Military Police Corps is observing its eleventh anniversary. Although this makes the organization appear relatively new in the Army, there have been military policemen serving with our armed forces since the days of George Washington's Continental Army.

     Now we can look at the first decade of our formal existence and realize that with the establishment of the Military Police Corps, uniform standards of training, selection and operation have been instituted which have resulted in a maximum amount of efficiency and service to the Army as a whole.

      The old attitude of fear and suspicion on the part of the individual soldier towards a military policeman rapidly is disappearing. Throughout the training period, all personnel of the corps are given instruction in courtesy and helpfulness which they combine with their courses in crime prevention,' investigation and apprehension.

     Today, with the experience of World War II behind us and with the Korean campaign giving us opportunities to demonstrate our capabilities, the - military police are ready for whatever job is assigned them.

      Military personnel at all levels, from the enlisted man to the highest commander, have been liberal in their praise of the military police. All have recognized the tremendous potential of the corps, and each military policeman is to be congratulated for helping to bring about this recognition.”

     On the same day, the Japanese government informed the Soviet mission in Tokyo that it had overstayed its welcome since it had “no legal status” since the San Francisco peace treaty went into effect on 28 April, finally abolishing the Allied Council for Japan. In addition, the Soviets did not sign the treaty, and had made no effort to establish diplomatic relations with Japan.

     Twenty-four staff members of the former mission, mostly soldiers, departed Japan for Russia by the 24th, leaving only a staff of fifty-five, mostly civil officials and a few military officers.

October
Exact Date Unknown CPL R. C. Miller of Charlie Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.

1 October A total of 35,749,709 Japanese people went to the poles and elected the new representatives of the lower house of the Diet. Forty-eight percent voted for the Liberal Party who won 242 of the 466 seats, 18.8 percent for the Reform Party with 89 seats, 12.8 percent for the Rightist Socialist Party of Japan with 60 seats, 9.8 percent for the Leftist Socialist Party of Japan with 56 seats, 6.4 percent for the Independent Party with 15 seats, Communist Party of Japan 2.5 percent resulting in a loss all of its 35 seats, with the other minor parties 1.7 percent, holding 4 seats and losing 18, and 412,349 people submitted a blank ballot.

     Within twenty-four hours, the Liberal Party’s two fractions led by Shigeru Yoshida and Ichiro Hatoyama, formed a coalition resulting in a slim majority in the lower house. Hatoyama dropped from the race for Prime Minister and backed Yoshida, who led Japan through most of the occupation years, guaranteeing his fourth four-year term as Prime Minister. The results also clearly showed that the Japanese people overwhelmingly rejected the Communist ideology, and dealt a humiliating blow to the resurgence of the Chinese and Soviet political movements in the rural villages, trade unions and universities.

5 October Newly promoted SGT Raymond F. O’Neil from Cleveland, Ohio, a supply specialist in Baker Company, cleared the battalion and departed stateside for Officers Candidate School.
24 October In French Indochina (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia), Communist Viet Min forces opened a massive new offensive against the French Union forces in the Red River delta region, 150 miles northwest of Hanoi. The Viet Minh moved three divisions into the area as the French airlifted equipment, ammunition and reinforcements to bolster their outposts in the region.
November
Exact Date Unknown CPL L. S. Kolbasinski of Charlie Company was selected as the battalion soldier of the month.

 4 November With incumbent President Harry S. Truman choosing not to run, (because his first term was due to the death of President Roosevelt, Truman could have run for another term) the large field of potential candidates for both parties was worn down to former WWII icon GEN Dwight D. Eisenhower (Supreme Allied Commander Europe), and Senator (California) Richard M. Nixon as his running mate for the Republican party, and Governor (Illinois) Adlai Stevenson and U.S. House Representative John J. Sparkman (Alabama) for the Democrats.

     Although there were many other national issues other than security, the public wanted a conclusion to the Korean War issue and a strong front to the threat of world communism.

     The Republican ticket of two former veterans won a decisive victory, taking over fifty-five percent of the popular vote and winning thirty-nine of the forty-eight states.

Eisenhower
Nixon
Stevenson
Sparkman
Personal Reflections

     “Our links to home were just three in number, and ancient in mode (by today's standards), those being: the battalion Post Office [APO 500] with its two to three week delivery service; Armed Forces Radio (AFR), mostly in delay mode; and finally venerable old Ma Bell, an expensive, static dominated land line telephone call via ocean cable.

     AFR aired our favorite radio shows, and the dying Big Band Music of our life, found us weekly by way of “Your Hit Parade.” In early November it brought us the excitement of the network anchors, and their state-by-state coverage of the popular and electoral vote.

     In late November, the Gillette Blue Blade Cavalcade of Sports, blow-by-blow description of Ezzhard Charles heavyweight championship win over Rocky Marciano was a big winner, even to the losers in the betting pools.”   PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.

27 November The 4th Annual Thanksgiving Day Football Game between HQ & Service Command vs. Far East Air Force Base, took place at Meiji Stadium in Tokyo at 1:30 PM.

     Eleven enlisted men of the battalion were on the HQ Service Command roster.

     There is no record available of the results.

December
Exact Date Unknown Headquarters Far East Command offered all it troops interested in reenlistment the chance to pick their next duty station, but only if they did so before they rotated back to the states. The selection was offered to any soldier wanting to reenlist for 3, 4, 5 or 6 years, and included a transport back to the U.S. for reception processing and reenlistment leave. The available duty stations offered were located in Europe (1,500), Austria (225), Alaska (225), and the Caribbean (50).

Exact Date Unknown With the Christmas and New Year holidays approaching the battalion troops were to find themselves extra busy during the month with numerous VIP security and traffic escorts as the prominent visitors to include, senators, movie actors, educator’s and newsmen arrived to inspect, report on or entertain the troops in Japan and Korea over the holidays.

     Included on the lists were: Senator’s John Sparkman (D) of Alabama, the Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, and Bourke B. Hickenlooper (R) of Iowa, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Columbia Broadcasting’s famous newsman Edward R. Murrow, and a party of thirteen reporters and technicians scheduled to stopover during their travel to Korea to film the holiday routine of troops in the field; Virgil Pinkney the publisher of the Los Angeles Mirror Newspaper who was bringing to the troops holiday recordings from their families from the Los Angeles area; Dr. Selman A. Waksman of Rutgers University, New Jersey, the 1952 Nobel Prize Winner in the field of Physiology or Medicine; and actor Paul Douglas (Angels In The Outfield) and stage, big screen and television actress Jan Sterling (Ace In The Hole & Johnny Belinda), a descendent of Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, accompanying several groups of lesser known entertainers scheduled to perform holiday camp shows throughout the region.

11 December SGT Ira L. Davis of Dog Company was one of several soldiers from the Headquarters & Service Group to receive an award at a formal retreat ceremony held at Hardy Barracks. BG O. S. Rolfe, commander of HQ&SG presented the Army Commendation to SGT Davis for meritorious service in Korea with the 558th MP Company.
17 December The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) adopted a resolution to support the French Union efforts against the communist Viet Minh aggression in Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam).

20 December Since the start of the occupation the U.S. troops in Japan were restricted from wearing civilian clothing when off duty. The civilian clothing restrictions in the European theater were lifted in 1951, and now with their mission in Japan changed to security, some of those regulations were loosened by orders of Headquarters Far East Command.

     For several months they were authorized to wear civilian clothing inside their quarters and military installations. However, effective this day the restrictions were reduced even further, and the troops were now allowed to wear their “civies” to nightclubs, hotels, theaters, and other public places.

24-25 December In addition to the battalion’s usual Christmas Day program for the children at the Seibi-Gakuen Orphanage, the troops culminated their two weeks of holiday festivities at the Service Club at Camp Burness.

At 1400 hours on Christmas Eve they decorated a large tree and followed the event with a popcorn party. In the early evening before attending religious services at the chapel and a midnight mass at the Ernie Pyle Theater, the troops attended a Christmas carol presentation given by the young peoples choir of St. Andrews Church in the main room of the club.

     As a holiday gift to the troops, the battalion presented its last known copy of the end of the year Battalion Souvenir Album. This was the most elaborate of the four known issues, and if there were others that followed, none have yet to be discovered. The album contained forty-nine pages, and as in previous issues there were photographs of the officers. However, in this issue, instead of just the printed names of the troops in roster format- each soldier’s rank and name appeared beneath a personal photograph. The last page contained this message from the commander.

Commanders Comments

     “This booklet presents a pictorial review of some of the highlight activities of the 720th Military Police Battalion during the year 1952. It is published by and for the members of the battalion with the thought in mind that in the years to come, it will serve as a pleasant reminder of their service in the organization and of the association they had therein.

     Throughout the year of 1952, the personnel assigned to the 720th Military Police Battalion upheld the fine tradition and examples set by their predecessors. Without fail, all assigned missions and tasks were accomplished with dispatch. The manner in which the accomplishments were attained warrants just cause for a feeling of pride on the part of every individual who assisted in the endeavors.

     It is with a deep sense of gratitude that I dedicate this booklet to the individuals who, by demonstrated loyalty, diligence, devotion to duty and hard work, contributed to another successful year for the battalion.”   Alvin B. Welsch, LTC MPC Commanding.

     According to the album, the only changes to the battalion command staff since December 1951 were: MAJ C. N. Leinen- executive officer, 1LT S. Graw- S2, CPT J. T. Hart- S3, 1LT Paul M. Timmerberg- assistant S3, CPT D. R. Roberts- adjutant, CPT R. E. Miller- S4, WOJG E. L. Myra- personnel officer, and CPT R. C. Hantke the motor officer.

Headquarters Company- CPT J. P. Schrogham.

Able Company- CPT H. H. Holland, 1LT T. D. Whitlock, 2LT W. H. Cunningham.

Baker Company- CPT William J. Morrisroe, 1LT B. E. Carr, 1LT A. Da Vires.

LTC Welsch

Charlie Company- CPT F. V. Perrine, 1LT D. L. Erickson, 1LT J. R. Bresnahan, 2LT B. G. Cox.

Dog Company- 1LT Raymond D. Wentz, 1LT E. W. Kulb.

The album listed the following officers as new arrivals without providing their staff assignments: MAJ R. R. Buck, 1LT R. V. Van Brunt, 1LT R. D. Baumfalk and 1LT M. W. Sweat. It also listed four chaplains: William E. Austill, Harmon D. Moore, Thomas F. Quinn, and Mayer Frenkel. 
PFC Cook

 "1952 Rerun In Focus, Fact and Fun"  Sixty-three pages of text and photographs  By PFC Patrick J. Cook, Able Company, 720th MP Battalion, Tokyo, Japan, December 1951-April 1953.

     A well written and very interesting account of his duty with Able Company in Japan. A must read for MP's of all eras.  You can also download the PDFs to pass around to other veterans.

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1952 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1952 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.
A0069
 CPL Alfred J. Gilles, B Company, and unidentified Member of 357th MP Battalion.
A0095
 CPL Roger G. Bjorlin at the Main PX in Tokyo.
A0133
 Members of the of Battalion motor pool work on a 1949 Chevrolet Patrol Sedan at Camp Burness.
A0134
 Members of the of Battalion on their M8 Armored Car during field training.
A0254
 CPL Borzoni and SGT Koufax at the main entrance.
A0306
 Provost Marshal Investigative Section.