23rd CID Detachment.
PMI Detachment
Translators-Interpreters Detachment
1953 Timeline
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This Page Last Updated  25 September 2015
General HQ
Service Group
Army Forces
Far East
720th MP
     All major theater improvements, Cold War events or incidents, including those relative to the progress of 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.
     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.
     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 the goal of a ceasefire in-place.
Security Duty, Tokyo, Japan

     At the start of the year the battalion and its organic units, HQ&HQ Detachment, HQ Company, Able, Baker, Charlie, and Dog Companies were headquartered at Camp Burness at Z Avenue & 20th Street in Tokyo, Japan subordinate to HQ & Service Command, General Headquarters (GHQ), Far East Command. The subordinate units of the 23rd CID, Provost Marshal Investigator’s Detachment and the Translators-Interpreters Detachment were not specifically mentioned in the historical summaries.

     Its missions continued to be military police duties within Metropolitan Tokyo, training for emergency duties and maintaining security of the installations in which it was located.

    LTC Alvin B. Welsch then LTC Weldon Cox are listed as the battalion commanders in 1953. It is unclear what their dates of assignment or departure were. According to a chronology written by LTC Welsch, the transfer of command occurred sometime in the late summer.

LTC Welsch

Exact Dates Unknown Headquarters & Service Command announced that recruiting since July 1952 showed a 22.1 percent increase. In December of 1952 the Battalion reenlisted 18 percent of its eligible personnel.

     SGT Raymond O. Blankenship of Charlie Company was selected to play the part of an American MP in a Japanese film “Spring Has Come,” produced by Saito Tatsuo and staring Miss Yukiko Shimazaki, and Akira Yamanouchi.

20 January Dwight D. Eisenhower was sworn in as the 34th President of the United States, and Richard M. Nixon as his Vice President.

     At the time of the inauguration ceremonies 768,000 U.N. soldiers were facing over one million Communist troops along battle lines that had not materially changed for nearly two years. However, several events would change the atmosphere at the negotiations in Panmunjom.

     The first was Eisenhower succeeding Truman as President creating an air of uncertainty among Communist leaders because of Eisenhower's WWII reputation.

     The second was the 5 March death of Soviet leader Joseph V. Stalin that triggered a succession struggle inside the Soviet Union. He would forever be remembers as the man who saved the Russian Nation from Nazi domination-and as the mass murderer of the century, having overseen the deaths of between 8 and 10 million of his own people.

     The Chinese and North Korean's now found themselves facing an aggressive U.S. WW II general as the new president, and an unstable Soviet supporter.   

     On the same day, the battalion’s 11th Anniversary, officers and their wives along with numerous official guests attended a party at the Washington Heights Officers Club. Mrs. Alvin B. Welsch, wife of the battalion commander who was assisting, sliced the huge festive cake. Standing with them at the table were Chunta Tsuda and Hisayoshi Kobayashi, both of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department.

30 January LTC William E. Austill the chaplain of Headquarters and Service Command announced that Tokyo servicemen, WAC’s, Department of Army Civilians and dependents would continue to support 4,692 Japanese orphans through the year, and estimated that over $55,000 would be spent this year.

    The report also cited those units that supported orphanages year round with the battalion sponsoring 88 orphans.

Exact Dates Unknown 1LT (MG Ret.) Paul M. Timmerberg’s three-year tour with the battalion in Tokyo came to an end, and he along with his wife and son returned stateside.

     SGT Dale J. Seifer of Baker Company was joined in Tokyo by his wife and two sons who arrived from Gervalis, Oregon.

SGT Seifer
7 February
Personal Reflections

     “Nearing the close of my tour with the battalion, I was once again called to Headquarters Company, and informed that I was to report to Headquarters Far East Command, for special assignment, probably because of my civilian training as an electrical maintenance apprentice.

     Located within the deep recesses of that command were a number of large diesel fueled, electric generators to be utilized in the event of a primary power failure of the local Japanese electric utility. This being the operations center for all the Far East Command, including naval units at sea, and the entire Korean theater, it was essential that radio and radar communications capability be uninterrupted.

     I was to be a member of a small group of teams charged with maintaining and operating those generators, and performing related switching operations when needed. To my delight, there were no “showtime” occasions during any of my eight hour tours.”   PFC Patrick L. Cook, Able Company, 1951-1953.

PFC Cook
Camp Drake Main Gate

28 February Consistent with the shrinking of the Allied military footprint in Tokyo, Headquarters and Service Command was deactivated and the battalion was assigned subordinate to Camp Tokyo, Army Forces Far East Command (AFFECD), a newly designated command with headquarters at Camp Drake that embraced Metropolitan Tokyo, and a large area east, north, and west of the city. With the change the troops now wore the “Fuji Patch.”

     Camp Drake was located seventeen miles northwest of Tokyo. It was the headquarters of the 1st Cavalry Division before their 1950 deployment to Korea, and still remained the home of the U.S. military’s busiest Tokyo and South Korea area U.S. troop Replacement Depot.

Army Forces
Far East

     Concurrently with this change in higher headquarters, the military police detachment previously stationed at Camp Drake was reassigned to the battalion, and the duties formally performed by them became the responsibility of the battalion. What, if any, numerical designation this detachment held before their reassignment is unknown.

      The MP patrol sedans assigned to the battalion’s Camp Drake detachment bore the bumper markings of the Army Forces Far East Command (AFFECD) 8013th Army Unit, and photographs of the Charlie Company troops assigned to the detachment wore the U.S. Army “Japanese Logistics Command (JLC) patch.”

U.S. Army
Japanese Logistics

     Because the footprint of Camp Tokyo encompassed such a large and mixed military and civilian metropolitan area, its already multi battalion sized contingent of uniformed paramilitary Japanese Security Guards under the command of the Security Division of the Provost Marshal, expanded to a total of five battalions by early 1954.

     Consistent with the 28 April 1952 Treaties of Peace and Security, nonessential (combat arms and service) U.S. military units were being moved from Tokyo proper to the outlying areas (Camp Tokyo) to lessen the military footprint within the capital. The many indigenous buildings they occupied since late August of 1945 were finally being returned to the Japanese government. The battalion’s main base would still remain as Camp Burness, but only for the next few months.

     At this period in the Army’s lineage timeline, a soldier’s personal initiative to further his or her education was always encouraged and considered as a prerequisite for career advancement, however it was not mandatory. Enlistment regulations at the time did not require it, and many troops of the era who joined or were drafted did not attend school beyond elementary level or complete high school, and in the Far East Command of Japan and Korea there were thousands of them. Many were also graduates of high school vocational or agricultural oriented courses where communications and grammar were not critical studies for their civilian career paths.

     Given that mounds of paperwork and skills in personal communication were the oil that lubricated military police operations of the time, the battalion commander and his company commanders must have seen a critical need for what was about to be presented to the troops of the 720th.

     In 1952 LTC Welsch initiated an experimental training program through the Tokyo Army Education Center. The enter offered more that a dozen basic educational courses to troops, English grammar, military correspondence, public speaking, shorthand, typing, psychology and life, bookkeeping, accounting, and similar mathematic and English aids, all aimed at improving the individual soldier’s efficiency in his job and in his personal contacts with others. The center was also open to creating a flexible on-duty training schedule beyond their normal morning and evening classes to meet the needs of specific unit duty schedules.

     The flexibility fit the needs of LTC Welsch’s idea. Realizing that the Army’s “long arm of the law” deals each day with a wide variety of personal, merchants, civilian police, public officials, and service personnel- Welsch decided that correct expression and grammar were essential to uphold the MP tradition of firm but courteous regulation.
     The colonel thus began an experimental battalion wide training program for English grammar achievement.

     The results of the first classes showed less-results that expected because the troops had not been adequately tested for the material they were being be taught. That glitch was remedied when each soldier was given a TI&E (test-inspection-evaluation), and they were divided into five categories according to their proficiency in English and grammar.

     LTC Welsch arranged to have his weekly “commanders time” used for the English lessons. “Commanders time” is certain hours of a training cycle which unit commanders may utilize as they see fit, often designated for the care and cleaning of weapons, etc.

     Many of the troops looked on the project with suspicion at first, some declaring they “hadn’t been to school for years.” But interest increased when the men walked into the first class and found the education center had assigned young women as instructors. An apple appeared from nowhere, and the experiment was underway.

     While only two teachers had been assigned in the previous year, there was now a teacher for each of the five levels. Some of the classes were given in the battalion area and the balance at the education center.

     The colonel stated that some of the troops had shown a gain of three year’s knowledge of English and grammar since the classes began.

     Editors Note: The colonel was not the only commander that had the foresight to initiate specialized training for his troops. There are other reports of military police commands of the era that began to stress mandatory training in psychology to help their troops better understand and deal with preventing and suppressing confrontations with errant soldiers and civilians in the field.
9 March Army personnel had been wearing their “overseas bars” on the lower half of their left sleeve since WW II, and Headquarters Far East Command issued an order that they were now required to switch them over to the right sleeve. The new Department of the Army regulation was outlined in Circular 10, dated 13 February, and gave the troops until 30 June to make the change.

     An exchange of sick and wounded Allied and North Korean prisoners of war took place called Operation LITTLE SWITCH. The U.N. released 6,670 Chinese and North Korean prisoners, and the Communist forces returned 684 U.N. coalition prisoners (including 149 Americans).

Exact Date Unknown SFC Daniel W. Bennett of Able Company successfully completed an army discussion leaders course, part of the Army’s vast troop information and education program held at Camp Tokyo.

SFC Bennett

     Confrontation with an individual who attempts to intimidate by virtue of superior rank is always frustrating, and particularly irritating is the dependent spouse of an officer who wears his rank on her sleeve

Exact Date Unknown Early one morning, CPL James L. Ewald and his partner, PFC Harold “Doc” Blanchard of Baker Company, were on motor patrol on N Avenue assigned to the Naramasu area on Route 9 between 10th Street and the Yamato Bridge, when a 1951 two-tone grey Oldsmobile sped by, hotly pursued by an MP vehicle with its red light flashing. Jim and his partner heard the other MP vehicle broadcast the code “Dandruff” [need assistance] on their radio.

     They turned around and followed the Olds, overtaking it on N Avenue just west of 40th Street, but the driver refused to heed their siren and lights until they pulled alongside and used a hand motion to direct the vehicle to pull over. The driver turned out to be the wife of an officer. She immediately got on a telephone and called her husband. Meantime, the desk sergeant instructed CPL Ewald to ride in the passengers seat and accompany the dependent wife to the PMO.

     They started to the PMO with PFC Blanchard following in the jeep. They had not travelled more than 100 yards when Blanchard came to a sudden stop behind them. CPL Ewald saw no traffic, and started to exit the Olds. When he had the door opened half-way, a motorcycle driven by a Japanese national suddenly came up from behind and collided with the door, springing its hinges, cracking the window, and stripping some chrome from the Olds fender.

CPL Ewald & PFC Blanchard

     It was an Osaba’man [hard working person], about 30 years old, a seller of hot noodles, and like all of his kind, he carried a great pile of trays stacked on the rear of his motorcycle. He went clean over the door, and his trays were scattered all over the road. His injuries were not serious, and he was released from the hospital just across the street after treatment for bruises and scratches incurred when his head collided with the Olds door window.

     The dependent wife, who had not displayed much patience to start with, was now extremely exercised and telephoned her husband again. As CPL Ewald was completing the necessary forms, her husband arrived on the scene demanding to know who was going to pay for the damages to his car and generally making it known to the corporal that he was the guilty party in the entire episode. By the officer’s comments, CPL Ewald was to understand that any thoughts he might have of a future in the Army were to be dismissed.

     The officer continued to bear down on him in no uncertain terms, threatening to “drum” him right out of the service. CPL Ewald’s explanations notwithstanding, the officer announced, “I'm going to see you get court martialed over this.”

     Back at the PMO CPL Ewald was obliged to complete a statement describing the incident under Article 31, of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The officer’s wife, it turned out, was not unknown to the PMO from other incidents, and her husband’s bluster came to nothing.

Exact date unknown CPL Paul M. Love of Headquarters Company was selected as the battalion’s Soldier Of The Month.

4 May Charlie Company, less the 2nd and 3rd platoons, was placed under the operational control of the Commanding officer, Camp Zama, 8030 Army Unit, Honshu, and moved from the Camp Tokyo Area to the new permanent duty station location that became the base for Headquarters, Army Forces, Far East. Camp Zama was 25 miles southwest of Tokyo close to the Sagami River, and before the occupation was the home of the Imperial Japanese Army Academy.

     The reorganization effected in higher headquarters, together with the increase mission and zones of responsibilities, necessitated adjustments in the operating schedules in the battalion. With the departure of Charlie Company (less the 2nd and 3rd Platoons) from the Camp Tokyo area, Able, Baker and Dog Companies frequently had to go on a 12-hour shift, with 24 hours off, in order to periodically rotate the duty hours.

     The situation was further complicated by an extremely large turnover in officer personnel, and by a shortage of enlisted men, many of whom were being returned to the Zone of Interior in April and May for separation from service.

     In the Camp Tokyo area it became necessary to temporarily eliminate all training as well as all furloughs except those of an emergency nature, pending the receipt of replacements.

     During the middle and later part of the month the battalion again started to receive enlisted replacements; however, in order to thoroughly alleviate operational problems, two weeks of special training were given to each individual before he was utilized for military police duties.

     Consequently, it was not until the early part of June that relief could be effected for the senior battalion troops who had been faithfully carrying out the tasks and missions with only very little opportunity for rest and recreation.
5 May
     Recalling the violent riot instigated by the Japanese Communist Party on May Day the year before, the battalion’s alert force was ready, however, the gatherings and demonstrations did not get out of hand.
Personal Reflections
    “On May Day the communists demonstrated. Two of us were assigned to a driveway near the Canon Camera manufacturing building. As several hundred demonstrators approached, they had long bamboo poles with red banners in front of them. As they passed by they broke the headlights on our 51 Chevy patrol car. We were young then, and it didn't bother us, but thinking back I wonder what we were supposed to do if trouble had started.”   CPL Russ Finch, 720th MP Battalion, 1953-1954.
19 June SFC Leo West of HQ Company was united with his wife Catherine and children Desmond age 3, and Sandra age 1, when they arrived in Tokyo upon the military transport General M. Patrick.

23 June Instructions were received from higher headquarters for the battalion to move from Camp Burness to the NYK Building (Nippon Yusen [Kaisha] Biru), located at A Avenue and X Street, in the downtown Tokyo area. Able, Baker & Charlie Companies occupied the third-floor, and the Mess Hall and Day Room were located on the top floor. The roof had an NCO club open in the summer and we stood inspection on the roof or in the hallway. Dog Company was located at Camp Drake.

     The Emperor's Imperial Palace complex was located to our front, directly across the street (Avenue A) to the West. The Department Of The Army Civilians (DAC Shack) quarters were located across the street (Avenue W) to the North. It has been reported that some of the MPs had high-powered binoculars, just to keep an eye on the place from their building.

     The Diet Building housing the Japanese government was located two blocks to the Southwest of the Palace Complex. The Tokyo RTO (main train station), was also conveniently located just two streets to the East of the NYK Building on Avenue X.

NYK Building
     It is unknown if the “Soldier” memorial statue that honored the battalion’s WW II casualties and stood in front of the compound at Camp Burness was brought to their new quarters. From the time of this move it cannot be accounted for by any battalion veteran, or in any currently available photographs or records. An intensive investigation of its whereabouts was conducted in 2014 by battalion veteran PFC John E. “Jack” Marquardt (Dog, Baker & HQ Companies 1946-1948) in Tokyo where he resides, through the use of local Japanese media, historians of the former HQ buildings, the company that provided the granite stone, and the family of the sculptor, sadly, all to no avail.
24 June The movement to the new quarters was started and by the 27th all units had closed out at Camp Burness, with the exception of the battalion motor shop. It remained and continued to function there because of the limited space available at the motor park in the rear of the NYK Building.
Personal Reflections

     “When we moved the motor pool stayed at Burness the patrol drivers had to be transported to Burness, and return to the NYK building before, and after their shift, lots of excitement seeing who could get back first.

     The 720th was always short of working MPs so we were working long shifts, and if you were lucky you might get 1 day off every three weeks.

     So many funny things happened like the time we had inspection in the hall at NYK. We had a new 2nd lieutenant and you would present arms with your 45, you would pull back the slide to open the chamber, and he would take it look it over release the chamber and place it back in you hand. You would pull the trigger and put it in your holster. This lieutenant gave it back to one of the corporals, and when he pulled the trigger it fired. No one was hurt but our ears rang for days.

     Some of the patrol areas were so quiet and boring that it was hard to stay awake. I don't know where the building was, but it was huge and had large columns with steps leading up to them, and the bases of the columns were just large enough to hide a jeep. You had to be careful if you were snoozing that "car 20" wasn't around, but you got to the point when you could tell how close he was by how clear the transmission was when he keyed his mike. You actually got to the point you wouldn't wake up unless your patrol number was spoken.

     I was named "Driver of the Month" and "Soldier of the Month" during my tour.”   CPL Russ Finch, 720th MP Battalion, 1953-1954.

     For the next month emphasis was placed upon the cleanup and renovation of their new space on the 5, 6, and 7th floors, and the roof. The materials for the construction of shelving, interior painting and labor, were provided by the troops. Receipt of items of clothing and TO&E equipment continued to be good; however, the procurement of supplies for renovations slowed due to the lack of funds allocated.

26 June The Army Service Club No. 11, which opened on 14 April 1948, formally closed its doors at Camp Burness because of the lack of available space in the NYK Building. Its supervisor CPT Jaegor was reassigned to the Camp Drake Service Club. He parted the club wishing the troops of the battalion his best for their future.

30 June The only know existing copy of the battalion biweekly Newsletter called “The Sumida Sentinel” that began publishing in 1952 was distributed to the troops.

Wanted: If you have other issues of the Sumida Sentinel, please notify the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.


     The average strength of the battalion was 23 officers and 595 enlisted personnel. A loss of 15 enlisted troops transferred and a gain of 80 enlisted troops were realized during the month.

     Military police task assignments were accomplished by dividing the Able, Baker and Charlie Companies, stationed in Tokyo, into four groups so that three groups could perform military police duty while the remaining fourth group conducted the required training that was temporarily ended during the personnel shortage.
Exact Date Unknown The U.S. 24th Infantry Division was issued movement orders for their return to South Korea to restore order in the many overcrowded prisoner of war camps. The battalion was given control of their motorized elements during the movement through Tokyo. They established refueling points in the city and escort units guided their convoy march-units through the heavy downtown traffic.

16-18 July The Japanese bus drivers union issued strike orders to its drivers. Since so many Japanese and civilian dependent government workers as well as Allied troops used the bus system for daily transportation, military buses and other forms of temporary vehicle transportation was immediately put into use.

     The battalion was called on to furnish a detachment of motorized patrols to be used for communications purposes between Headquarters Camp Tokyo Area and Central Command Motor Pools until the strike ended.
Armistice Agreement Reached In Korea

27 July The UN, China, and North Korea signed an armistice. South Korea refused to sign, but with little effect. Under the terms of the treaty neither side would be allowed to increase the number of non-Korean military personnel stationed in Korea.

     The armistice also established a 2.5-mile wide buffer between North and South Korea along the 38th parallel, termed the "demilitarized zone" (DMZ). Within this zone, all troops and weapons were banished. In practice, however, the zone was heavily militarized, with over 1 million troops facing off. In fact, because South Korea never signed the armistice, the two countries remain technically at war even today.

      Many in the international community see the armistice as a potential model for resolving the ongoing conflict in Indochina (Vietnam)between the French Union Forces and the Communist Viet Minh.

     Editors Note: Although direct fighting between the North Korean, Chinese Communist and U.N. Forces ended with the signing of the armistice agreement, accidental incursions and intentional violations, some small and some large, would occur for the next forty-eight years.

     The stalemate- failure of a direct victory just emboldened the world communist movement. North Korea continued to harass and kill U.S. and South Korean troops along the new Demilitarized Zone, even as President Eisenhower increased aid to the French in Indochina to 400 million dollars, the communist Viet Minh were winning in their fight, and Soviet Russia was threatening NATO troops all along the Iron Curtain in Europe.

     All of these events of the Cold War would indirectly affect the battalion’s staffing levels, training and operations in Japan. The training policies were expanded to create proficiency for their possible use as a provisional light infantry battalion.

     The North Koreans also stepped up their recruitment of ethnic Korean’s living in Japan to establish espionage cells to work against the U.S. occupation forces and Japanese government.
Operation BIG SWITCH
4 August Operation BIG SWITCH was the final exchange of prisoners of the Korean War by both sides. Yet to be identified companies of the battalion participated in the operation by providing eight military police sedans and 16 troops daily to provide escorts from Tachikawa to Tokyo Army Hospital Annex and the 8167th Army Hospital, in addition to providing 31 troops for duty as hospital guards.
     Operation BIG SWITCH (5 August – 23 December) was marked by controversy over voluntary repatriation and, later, by allegations of brainwashing and torture of United Nations Command (UNC), POWs by the North Korean Communists. The issue of forced repatriation of POWs proved the major stumbling block to successful conclusion of the truce talks. Communist insistence on the return of all captured nationals held by the UNC was strenuously opposed by the U.S. and South Korean governments, although a number of the other governments who had committed forces to the U.N. command in Korea argued that the principle of voluntary repatriation should not be permitted to obstruct an early conclusion of hostilities. Eventually it was agreed that a U.N. Neutral Nations Repatriation Commission (NNRC), chaired by India, would take responsibility for prisoners who had indicated a desire to remain with their captors. During a 90-day period in which the NNRC held custody of the “non-repatriates,” a series of “explanations” was provided during which the non-returnees were advised strongly to return to their home nations, generally without success.
     The UNC returned 75,823 POWs (70,183 Koreans, 5,640 Chinese); the Communists repatriated 12,773 U.N.C. POWs (7,862 Koreans, 3,597 Americans, 946 British). The vast majority of the 22,600 enemy non-repatriates were Chinese, most of them former Chinese Nationalist veterans. Only 137 Chinese agreed to return to their homeland before the expiration of the ninety-day period stipulated in the armistice agreement. Only 357 U.N.C. prisoners indicated a desire to remain with the Communists (333 Koreans, 23 Americans, one Briton), and of these, two Americans and eight Koreans chose to return within the allotted time for the changing of one’s mind. The UNC released all remaining former POWs thereafter, the Communists following suit a few days later.
Personal Reflections

     “I was in Japan when the Korean War came to an end, and the prisoners of war started to be repatriated. The return of the POW’s was called Operation BIG SWITCH, and my job was to meet them at Haneda Airport, pick them up, and escort them to Tokyo Army Hospital. I guess this was a small personal touch to make them feel especially welcome and cared for. I had the escort detail for thirty-one straight days, arriving at Haneda at all hours of the day and night. Some of them arrived on stretchers, and some walked to the processing building that had been set up to receive them. This process lasted an hour or so, so that their records could be checked or established anew.

     Some of them had been wounded before being captured, and I overheard one man speaking about his experiences in a POW hospital. Either a North Korean or Chinese doctor, who used no anesthesia on their patients, operated him on. This man had undergone the cutting and sewing of an operation on his wounds while fully awake, like a soldier in the Civil War.”   CPL Joseph P. “Cozzi” Scarpaci, Able Company, 1953-1955.

     The battalion’s mission to support BIG SWITCH operations continued uninterrupted to September.

CPL Scarpaci

12 August The day began a forty-eight hour walkout of all indigenous employees at Japanese Security Forces staffed installations in the Tokyo area. The battalion was tasked with providing MP’s to provide security until the labor dispute was settled.

     MP’s were posted at the following locations: Grant Heights housing area- 30; Washington Heights housing area- 25; NYK Building- 4; Camp Burness- 4; Naka No. 21 (train station)- 4; Tokyo Motor Center- 8; and Camp Drake Gate Guards- 16, per each eight hours shift. Radio equipped patrols were furnished for the Command Center’s of the Commanding General and Provost Marshal. Normal training was suspended, and Able Company performed the normal military police mission commitments. Headquarters Company performed interior guard within the NYK Building.

18 August The 3rd U.S. Marine Division was deployed from Camp Pendleton, California to Camp Fuji, one of four former Japanese Imperial Army training bases located at the base of Mount Fuji in the Shizuoka Prefecture. The battalion provided a detail of one officer and sixteen enlisted men, with four vehicles, for ten days duty to aid in traffic control of the movement.
2 September In a speech before the American Legion in St. Louis, Missouri, Secretary of State John Foster Dulles addressed the consequences the Eisenhower administration faced of direct Chinese Communist intervention in Indochina (Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam).
      “We do not make the mistake of treating Korea as an isolated affair. The Korean War forms one part of the worldwide effort of communism to conquer freedom. More immediately it is part of that effort in Asia.
      A single Chinese-Communist aggressive front extends from Korea on the north to Indochina in the south. The armistice in Korea, even if it leads to a political settlement in Korea, does not end United States concern in the western Pacific area. As President Eisenhower said in his April 16 speech, a Korean armistice would be a fraud if it merely released Communist forces for attack elsewhere.
    In Indochina a desperate struggle is in its eighth year. The outcome affects our own vital interests in the western Pacific, and we are already contributing largely in material and money to the combined efforts of the French and of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

     We Americans have too little appreciated the magnitude of the effort and sacrifices which France has made in defense of an area which is no longer a French colony, but where complete independence is now in the making. This independence program is along lines which the United States has encouraged and justifies increased United States aid, provided that will assure an effort there that is vigorous and decisive.

     Communist China has been and now is training, equipping, and supplying the Communist forces in Indochina. There is the risk that, as in Korea, Red China might send its own army into Indochina. The Chinese Communist regime should realize that such a second aggression could not occur without grave consequences, which might not be confined to Indochina. I say this soberly in the interest of peace and in the hope of preventing another aggressor miscalculation.

      We want peace in Indochina, as well as in Korea. The political conference about to be held relates in the first instance to Korea. But growing out of that conference could come, if Red China wants it, an end of aggression and restoration of peace in Indochina. The United States would welcome such a development.”

Sec. Dulles

7 September Battalion commitments to Operation BIG SWITCH were reorganized. Dog Company assumed responsibility for Camp Drake and the Grant Heights Housing Area. They were organized into four numbered platoons for the purpose of training and operations.

     Able and Baker Companies were divided into four platoons numbered A1, A2, and B3 and B4, for training and operations.

     Minor commitments and patrols were cut, dropping total police commitments from 191 to 170 (97 in Tokyo, 73 in Camp Drake), thereby reducing the total number of vehicles required in a day from 72 to 62.
     The battalion provided a security detail at Headquarters Far East Command, Pershing Heights, for ceremonies for MG Milburn, the former deputy chief of staff at Far East Command. MG Milburn was reassigned to Washington, D.C. for duty with the Office of the Army Chief of Staff.
8 September The battalion provided a security detail for GEN Mark Clark’s reception at the Tokyo Officers Mess.
21 September The battalion provided a security detail at Headquarters Far East Command, Pershing Heights, for ceremonies for MG William F. Dean, former commander of the 24th Infantry Division (Korea) and a Medal of Honor recipient, who had just been released on 4 September by the North Korean’s after being held captive as a POW since 25 August 1950. MG Dean was returning home from Japan after fifteen days of medical treatment related to an illness developed during his captivity by the North Korean Army.

22 September The battalion commitment to Operation BIG SWITCH ended and all personnel and motorized resources were returned to regular duty.

     That afternoon at after retreat an awards ceremony was held on top of the roof at the NYK Building. Able Company furnished the honor guard. During the ceremony, CPL Charles H. Vivas of Dog Company was presented the Silver Star Medal for action in Korea. Army Commendation Medals were presented to: CPT Earl Irish of Baker Company; Clyde Willis, of Charlie Company; 1LT Howard Dolan of Baker Company; SFC Thomas Hooley of Headquarters Company; SFC Murray Woods of Baker Company; and SGT Ray Gerner of Able Company.

25 September The 2nd and 3rd Platoons of Charlie Company were moved to Camp Zama, thereby requiring a further cut in the number of patrols in the Tokyo area.
26 September Military Police Day was celebrated.

28 September The battalion provided a security detail for at GEN Mark Clark’s house at Pershing Heights. They also provided a security detail for two days at Hardy Barracks (Roppongi Ward), Headquarters for Central Tokyo Command and home to the Pacific Stars and Stripes Newspaper.

     At 1430 hours, the battalion provided a detail to participate in a pass and review ceremony for MG LeRoy H. Watson, departing commander of the Safety Advisory Group Japan, Far East Command, held at the Hardy Barracks parade ground. BG Alfred E. Kastner, commander, Central Command, was the reviewing officer.
     The 12th Anniversary of the Military Police Corps was celebrated in with an MP ball at the Rocker-Four Open Mess located at Annex & A Avenues in Tokyo. All U.N. servicemen, Department of the Army civilians, and their guests were invited to attend. The tickets, $3.75 each, were sold at the Ernie Pyle Theater and Battalion Headquarters in the NHK building. The tickets provided for access from 1800 hours to 2300 hours, to dancing, an elaborate buffet supper and refreshments.
      The battalion sponsored the event, and the cosponsors were military police units from the Tokyo Quartermaster Depot, Ordinance Depot, and Tokyo Shore and Air Police.

29 September The battalion practiced its passive air defense plan.

     At 1630 hours, the battalion provided a detachment at Hardy Barracks parade ground to participate in a full retreat ceremony and pass in review for retiring U.N. commander GEN Mark W. Clark.
     During the month the main police commitments of the battalion remained unchanged.
6 October A semi-weekly patrol on Tuesdays and Fridays was established at Katakai (costal village & military camp) 86 kilometers East of Tokyo.

8 October The battalion hosted a visit by MG William H. Maglin, U.S. Army Provost Marshal General (February 1953-September 1957), who was touring military police installations in the Far East. Able and Dog Companies furnished troops for the honor guard.

     MG Maglin was the first military police officer to attain the rank of major general, and the first MP officer to be appointed the provost marshal general.
12 October Crown Prince Komatsu Akihito, the eldest son of Emperor Hirohito and heir apparent, accompanied by Crown Princess Michiko, returned from a world trip to thirty-seven countries. The battalion provided them an escort detail of five vehicles.
14-22 October All personnel participated in night problems involving offensive and defensive tactics in basic infantry training at Camp Drake.

24 October A detail of nine MP’s and seven vehicles were detailed to the Provost Marshals Office, Camp Fuji, to perform military police duties.

     Although unrelated to MP duties and having nothing to do with battalion intramural sports activities, it was a notable enough feat to receive mention when the battalion’s 1LT Jack Bresnahan of Charlie Company registered a hole-in-one with his eight-iron at the 145 yard eighth-hole at the Camp Zama golf course.

29 October The authority of Japanese police over U.S. troops increased with an agreement reached between U.S. authorities and the Japanese government. Any U.S. troops that commit crimes against Japanese people or their property while off-duty were now subject to jurisdiction of Japanese courts. The Japanese courts retained the right to waive jurisdiction at U.S. request, and in many cases involving lesser violations did so.

     Even with the assurance of the two governments, many of the U.N. and U.S. security troops feared a possible backlash of resentment from the Japanese police who had to play backseat observer to U.S. and other foreign military police since August 1942. However, their fears were quickly put to rest when statistics released on 22 December showed that although the Japanese Rural Police had been involved in 372 law violations by foreign military personnel, only six security forces personnel were indicted since the agreement. A total 125 of the cases were noted as light offenses, including traffic violations.

30 October Charlie Company organized a traffic section, and an honor guard to cover ceremonies, parades and other special details.

     As part of the battalion’s Safety Program, plans were initiated to designate a “Driver of the Month Award” to the most outstanding driver. The MP accorded this honor each month received a three-day pass, a trophy (furnished from funds provided by the officers) and letter of proficiency. In order to qualify for the award, a driver must have a minimum safe-driving record of 2,000 miles and an accident-free record for at least three months.

2 November As reported in a book review of the novel “Tokyo Doll” by Richard H. Larsh in the Stars and Stripes Newspaper, the author John McPartland, used battalion MP’s as characters to chase his ex-soldier hero in Tokyo during his super-secret mission to obtain a mysterious virus developed by a Japanese scientist that can be used to nullify radiation effects.

     The review was favorable only as far as the book being “light entertainment, escapist stuff for localities, written in a free-swinging style,” but criticized him for his lack of proper grammar and the spelling and use of Japanese words. McPartland was a former feature writer for Stars & Stripes in Tokyo before he began his career in writing paperback novels.

6 November Dog Company was transferred to Camp Drake; the move was made to improve efficiency. It eliminated the two-hour travel time per vehicle, per tour of duty. Able, Baker and Headquarters Companies still remained in the NYK Building.

     The battalion provided troops and vehicles for ceremonies for Admiral Sabiu at Pershing Field.

7 November The battalion provided troops and vehicles for ceremonies for Admiral Robert B. Carney Chief of U.S. Naval Operations
10 November The battalion provided troops and vehicles for ceremonies for GEN Ayub Khan Cinc of the Pakistani Army at Pershing Heights.
16 November The battalion provided troops and vehicles for ceremonies for the visit of Vice President Richard M. Nixon.
18 November The battalion provided troops and vehicles for ceremonies for LG Jira Wichitsongkhram former Minister of Defense of the Royal Thai Army.

21 November After years of dealing with crime on the streets of a major metropolitan city, every military policeman becomes hardened to a degree, to the daily routine of senseless violence and mayhem they must confront on the job. However, when the violence involves the senseless brutal murder of an innocent young child, even the most hard-nosed MP has been know to shed a tear or two. And with the event of a child murder, each also understood the immediate urgency for an intense and focused response to his duties to prevent the predator from striking again. At 1715 hours after calling the house of a playmate where his daughter was visiting and being informed she had just departed, COL Jacquard H. Rothschild, a chemical officer of Far East Command, became alarmed when his 9-year old daughter Susan failed to arrive at their home in the Sagamilhara dependent housing neighborhood in Kanagawa Prefecture, 1.8 miles from Camp Zama. The COL went out to retrace his daughter’s route, and at 1810 hours discovered her gagged and partially clothed body lying face down in a moat used as a drainage canal located behind the local firehouse. She was rushed to the 8160th Army hospital where she was pronounced dead within minutes after arrival. Patrols from the Charlie Company detachment, Army CID and Japanese police rushed to the scene to begin their investigation.

     An autopsy performed at the Tokyo Army Hospital revealed the child was had numerous bruises and scratches about the face and neck, a gag was stuffed in her mouth, she was not bound and there was no sign of sexual assault. The caused of death was determined to be by manual strangulation.

     The initial crime scene investigation led to the recovery of her jacket by the body in the moat, her bicycle, a scarf and some hair curlers in a lightly wooded path near the fire station, and travel between both houses by bicycle was estimated to be approximately eight minutes. No witnesses to the incident were located during the initial canvas of the area. Guards were posted along the entire length of the drainage ditch until it could be thoroughly searched at a later time. Both the military and Japanese Rural Police began an intensive media campaign and search for witnesses or informants in the area that might shed any light on the crime.
23 November The battalion conducted another passive air defense drill.

24 November The search for clues to identify the killer of Susan Rothschild continued in the fear ridden Sagmihara housing neighborhood, by the large task force of military police and Japanese investigators.

     The 150 foot long drainage ditch in which her body was found was drained of water and searched without locating any new evidence. Because the victim’s bike was found in a stand on the path, investigators were pursuing the theory that her killer might have been someone she knew or trusted. The CID agents questioned a former Rothschild houseboy, and released him after his alibi for the time of the murder was verified.

     While the Charlie Company detachment had its hands full with their manhunt at Camp Zama, their fellow battalion MPs in Tokyo found themselves involved in a citywide manhunt of their own.

     At 2150 hours that evening while hundreds lined the streets in downtown area of Sukiyabashi, three suspects described as U.S. airmen threw a Japanese male over the railing of a bridge into the river below. Some 2,000 spectators watched in vain as the swift outgoing tidal waters quickly pulled the man under killing him. The three suspects fled from the scene toward Ginza Street becoming lost in the crowd. The victim’s body was recovered from the water an hour and a half later.

     Witnesses on the bridge informed the responding military and Japanese police that the three American airmen picked a fight with the victim, later identified as 27-year old Susumu Hisano who was an employee of the Domei News Agency, lifted him bodily and threw him over the railing into the river. Three airmen found in the vicinity later were questioned by Japanese police, and released. A citywide alert was put out and a manhunt began.

     Editors Note: The results of the murder investigation of Susumu Hisano by the three U.S. airmen are unknown. Nothing further appeared in any battalion historical summaries or media accounts of the era.

25 November As the grieving Rothschild’s attended the memorial service for Susan surrounded by over 200 relatives and friends at the Camp Zama Chapel Center, the task force investigators caught a break with the discovery of a witness located by the Rural Police.

     The unidentified witness said he had seen a “Caucasian soldier” near the murder scene at about the same time the murder took place. The soldier was “carrying something heavy,” but he could not tell what it might have been. The task force was then able narrow down their suspect profile to U.S. military personnel.
26 November The battalion provided troops and vehicles for the Thanksgiving Day football game at Meji Park.

27 November For reasons that were not released by Far East Headquarters, military police investigators picked up a senior Army non-commissioned officer for questioning about the Rothschild murder.

     MSG Maurice L. Schick age 29, a nine-year Navy and Army veteran who was wounded during WW II, lived with his wife Jeanne and two young adopted Japanese girls in the same Sagmihara housing complex as the victim’s family, admitted after intensive interrogation that he murdered Susan Rothschild. Schick worked as a chief ward master since November 1952 at the same hospital where the victim was taken after her discovery. Schick and his family were due to return stateside in January 1953.

     Far East Headquarters released very few details of the suspect’s statement other than Schick said that, “he had no intentions of sexually assaulting the victim.” No motive for the attack was released to the public because investigators were still finalizing the case.

     With the arrest of MSG Schick the fear within the many dependent housing neighborhoods subsided, however, the once accepted feeling of complete safety for the children would never return to the pre-murder levels that once existed.

     The court marshal began within months, and the primary issue of the defense was Schick’s history of bizarre personality disorders that predated the murder. Both the defense and prosecution would argue over his mental state at the time of the murder before the board, who eventually rendered a finding of guilt, and sentenced Schick to death by hanging.

     However, that wasn’t the end of the legal battle that would continue until 1960 when President Eisenhower finally commuted Schick’s sentence from death, to life in prison without the eventuality of parole. From there Schick began defending himself by filing an appeal in 1971 claiming that the president didn’t have the authority under the constitution to sentence him to life without the possibility of parole. The case slowly worked its way through the appeals courts until the matter was finally put to rest in 1974 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Schick’s claim by a 6-4 vote.
28 November For a second time the battalion provided troops and vehicles for ceremonies for LG Jira Wichitsongkhram former Minister of Defense of the Royal Thai Army.
30 November The battalion provided troops and vehicles for a ceremony for MG Vernon E. McGee commander of the U.S. Marine Corps 1st Aircraft Wing (Korea).
     The U.S. Defense Department reported that the current standing military numbered 3,455,945 personnel as of November, with Army 1,502,522, Navy 778,057, Marine Corps 251,770, and Air Force 923,575.

     During the month training was somewhat hindered by a lack of personnel and heavy commitments, but the battalion was still able to process thirty-one troops through the basic Military Police School, and a new Desk Sergeant school.

     Vehicle accidents declined 47 percent with a total of ten with a damages total of only $28.64, with 148,725 vehicular miles driven on 3,089 different trips.

     Difficulty was experienced in obtaining serviceable clothing through replacement channels, and in getting boots repaired. A special honor guard detail was assigned for GEN Philip D. Ginder, the new commander of the 45th Infantry Division who recently arrived from South Korea.

4 December The battalion changed its shifts from one six, one eight, and one ten hours shift to three eight hour shifts. They changed shifts at 0700, 1500 and 2300 hours. The change provided for a fresh shift on duty at the greatest volume of traffic.

9 December A connection came to light between a former battalion MP and the infamous feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families of West Virginia and Kentucky during the late 1860’s. Now a career sergeant in the 112th Infantry Regiment, John F. Lemaster, Jr., who formerly served with Able Company from 1947 to 1950 (according to battalion year book rosters) and was assigned as the “game warden” at the imperial duck farm in Saietama, was a direct descendant of the McCoy family.

     The relationship came to light after he corresponded with a PVT Raymond Hatfield a direct descendant of the Hatfields, and now a member of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment stationed in Japan.

     It was also reported that LG Doyle O. Hickey, then chief of staff of the Far East Command, presented SGT Lemaster with a scroll and a 150-year-old vase at the end of his tour. It was undoubtedly for keeping the emperor’s ducks in order.

15 December MAJ Chet-Ram, provost marshal of the Indian Custodial Force in Korea included the battalion in his tour of provost marshal operations in the Central Command area of Japan. After a conference with COL Raymond S. Ramsey, deputy provost marshal Army Forces Far East, MAJ Ram visited the battalion, U.S. Army Stockade and the Far East Criminal Investigation Laboratory in Tokyo.

     The Calcutta born major supervises POW camps in both the northern and southern halves of the Korean demilitarized zone that house POWs who have rejected repatriation.

21 December The North Korean Army was discovered building tunnels under the new Demilitarized Zone. The discovery caused renewed fears by the South Korean government of another invasion, while at the same time two U.S. combat divisions were beginning their withdrawal from the country.
     During the week the battalion provided a special honor guard and security detail for the arrival and welcoming ceremony held at Pershing Heights for LG Sir Charles F. Loewen Commander in Chief of the British Commonwealth Far East Land Forces and LG W. B. Palmer the G4, U.S. Department of The Army. LG Loewen stopped in Tokyo en route from his Singapore headquarters to his home in Vancouver, B.C., while LTG Palmer arrived in Tokyo to begin an inspection tour of the Far East.

25 December, Christmas Day Once again the battalion tradition to provide an American style Christmas celebration for orphaned children was a success.

     CPL Leroy Lantz was named as the battalion “Driver of the Month,” for driving 26,000 miles over an eleven-month period with no accidents.

     A special battalion honor guard detail was assigned for the departure ceremony of Admiral Arthur W. Radford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who left Tokyo for South Korea.
28 December At 1530 hours the battalion provided a detail to participate in a pass and review ceremony at the Hardy Barracks parade ground for BG Alfred E. Kastner the departing commander of Central Command. COL Frank Silliman, III, commander, Camp Tokyo Service Unit was the reviewing officer.

29 December In Indochina (Thailand-Laos-Vietnam), Thailand declared a state of emergency as Communist Viet Minh troops under the command of GEN Vo Nguyen Giap was making an attack or reconnaissance southward from Tahkhek, a Laotian town along their border. Staff officers said a decisive battle may be shaping up in central Laos, and that the southward swinging Communist columns might reach French Union defenses “earlier than expected.”

     In Washington, D.C. Rep. Walter H. Judo (R) Minnesota proposed an emergency meeting of the U.N. to deal with the Communist invasion of Laos. “It’s just as much a test of our ability to stand together as Korea was,” he said.

     The U.S. State Department was watching the situation closely, and was reported to be considering rushing additional military aid to the hard-pressed French Union forces since the Viet Minh have cut the narrow waist of Indochina.
1953 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1953 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.
 CPL James L. Ewald and his Japanese Police patrol partner.
 CPL James L. Ewald and his patrol partner Harold "Doc" Blanchard.
 Members of HQ Company, relaxing in their billet at Camp Burness.
 The Battalion, M20 Armored Utility Car crews standing inspection at Camp Burness.
 CPL Paul M. Love and Fleming Lynch, HQ Company awaiting inspection at Camp Burness.
 CPL Paul M. Love in downtown Tokyo.
 CPL James St. Pierre of C Company standing by his patrol car.
 Richard Van Dyke age 11, son of MSG Russell Van Dyke, 720th MP Battalion, starting the new school year.