1955 Timeline
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This Page Last Updated  25 October 2015
Army Forces
Far East
4th U.S.
720th MP
     All major theater improvements, Cold War events or incidents that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in blue American Typewriter Font.
Duty in Tokyo, Japan comes to an end

     At the start of the year the battalion and its organic units, HQ & HQ Company, Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog Companies were headquarters in the NYK Building new Camp Tokyo area, Tokyo, Japan, subordinate to the Headquarters, Army Forces Far East/Eighth Army (Rear) under the command of LTC George E. Painter.

Exact Date Unknown The 720th MP Battalion, HQ Company, Able, Baker, Charlie, and Dog Companies were deactivated in Tokyo, Japan, and replaced by the 519th MP Battalion. The 720th’s commander, LTC George E. Painter, assumed command of the 519th MP Battalion. The 519th was at that time a HQ Company and three letter company battalion. They assimilated the personnel from Able and Baker Company in Tokyo, and Dog Company at Camp Drake. This left Charlie Company, at Camp Zama without a letter company designation. Charlie Company was then redesignated as the 392nd MP Detachment. The 519th MP Battalion took over responsibility for military police duties in metropolitan Tokyo, Japan as the 720th MP Battalion colors were reassigned to the 4th Army at Fort Hood, Texas.

519th MP

     Editors Note: At the time of the deactivation in 1955 the commanding officer of Charlie Company, soon to become the 392nd MP Detachment, was  CPT (COL Ret.) Francis E. “Frank” Payne. From 1 July 1967 to 14 December 1967 LTC Francis E. “Frank” Payne would become the third commanding officer of the 720th MP Battalion headquartered on Long Binh Post in Bien Hoa Province, III Corps Tactical Zone, in South Vietnam.

MSG Shoenberger

     After 14 years of overseas deployment through WWII and duty in Occupied Japan, the 720th Military Police Battalion colors were cased and transferred from its security duties in Tokyo, Japan to the 4th Army at Fort Hood, Texas. At that time the base was home to the 1st and 4th Armored Divisions.

Exact Date Unknown At Fort Crowder, Missouri MSG Joseph A. Shoenberger who served with HQ Company in 1952, then as First Sergeant with Charlie Company in Japan from March 1953 through October 1954, was presented with the Commendation ribbon with pendant for his service with the 720th MP Battalion.

1955 Miscellaneous Photographs ~ Japan
 PFC John E. Stafford with the 1949 Chevrolet Patrol Car.
 PFC John Stafford and unidentified partner on foot patrol in Tokyo.
 PFC's Rasha, Stafford, Norr and Japanese Policeman "Henry," at Camp Zama.
 PFC Stafford and unidentified member of C Company on Patrol Jeep.
 PFC Stafford and others at the C Company sign, Camp Zama.
 PFC Stafford's Ration book.
The Battalion returns to the United States assigned to Fort Hood, Texas

Expansion Of The World Wide Communist Threat

     Japan was reasonably politically stable, and busy at rebuilding its prewar industrial infrastructure and economy. South Korea was still undergoing the slow learning process of democracy, rebuilding its cities, and planning for an industrial future, all the while under military threat of its Communist sister nation to the north.

     Europe made good use of the thirteen billion in U.S. aid provided by the Marshal Plan, and was still rebuilding from the destruction of WW-II. With the production of the Atom Bomb, their Communist Soviet neighbors and once former ally, were now emboldened and saber rattling all along the Iron Curtain.

     The Soviets, although at odds ideologically with their neighbors the Chinese, were jointly involved in supporting Communist expansionism throughout the former European colonialist protectorates in Southeast Asia, Central and South America, and the African Continent.

     Of particular importance to the Soviet’s was the goal of gaining a foothold in South and Central America to use as a base to support their revolutionary goals and to counter the threat of the long-range nuclear strike capabilities of the U.S. To this end they had their eye on a young nationalist radical named Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, who was trying to overthrow the U.S. backed dictatorial “Batista” government in Cuba, just ninety miles south of Florida.

The U.S. Military Adapts To A New Strategic Approach

13 February The Army Field Forces developed a new force plan to meet President Eisenhower’s downsizing program with atomic weapons capability as its centerpiece. Their proposal was to train and test the capabilities of a newly developed strategy called the Atomic Field Army (ATFA-1).

     Based on the guidance of GEN Matthew B. Ridgeway, in the fall of 1954 the Army Field Forces developed ATFA-1. The study analyzed the organization of 245 different types of units. The armored division retained its current organization with three combat commands, but was reduced by 2,700 personnel to about 12,000. The new infantry division also had three combat commands (eliminating the regimental organization). The division would have about 13,500 personnel, a reduction of almost 4,000.

     To evaluate and refine their new strategy, the Army set in operation several major field exercises; the first was exercise FOLLOW ME soon followed by BLUE BOLT being conducted at Fort Hood from 13 February to 1 March, and Operation SAGEBRUSH from 1 November to 10 December 1955 at Fort Polk, Louisiana.

     While the ATFA-1 study was closing down, the experimental process continued with another effort that was being conducted simultaneously with the atomic army redesign. The Army Field Forces had determined that to develop a division that could fight on either an atomic or non-atomic battlefield required a separate analysis. In November 1954, GEN Ridgway commissioned the second study. This project was called "Doctrinal and Organizational Concepts for an Atomic-Non-Atomic Army During the Period 1960-1970;" short title the PENTANA Army.

     In June 1955, General Maxwell D. Taylor succeeded General Ridgway as the Army Chief of Staff. He took immense personal interest in shaping the outcome of PENTANA. Based on his airborne experience in World War II and combat in the Korean War,

     General Taylor believed he had learned a great deal about the problems and potential of the most likely form of future combat-dispersed, nonlinear warfare. General Taylor concluded divisions should be able to disperse into small units capable of independent action and yet be able to swiftly concentrate. Dispersed operations would prevent units from becoming lucrative atomic targets. Quick concentration would allow the division to rapidly mass combat power. General Taylor eventually decided that five was the optimum number of subordinate units to implement these tactics. Rather than having brigades, regiments or battalions, the division consisted of five battle groups. The new formations were called battle groups because they were each supposed to be capable of fighting an independent, sustained battle.                                                                                                      The Big Picture Newsreel of the Pentomic Army >

     In large part GEN Taylor pushed for the Pentomic [pentagram] division because he believed the Army needed a dramatic, new concept to demonstrate its relevance to the modern battlefield and improve its ability to compete with the other services for limited modernization dollars. Even as the Army began to overlay the Pentomic design over the divisions, there were concerns and sharp criticisms from among its senior commanders.

SEATO Forms To Counter The Communist Expansion In Southeast Asia

19 February In Southeast Asia, to counter the communist expansionism the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand, France, Great Britain, formed the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand. It was intended to be an anticommunist collective defense group, however, due to political posturing they were unable to be very effective beyond economic issues.

     The countries of Laos and Cambodia, part of the former French Indochina colonial empire, were bound by the Geneva Accords of 1954 to remain neutral. SEATO’s weakness as a collective defense enabled China to continue its financing and arming of rebel forces in Laos and Cambodia tying up their national armies, thus allowing North Vietnam unmolested access through their borders with South Vietnam.

The 720th MP Battalion Is Reactivated

21 February Pursuant to authority contained in letter AGAO-I (M) 233, dated 7 December 1954, G1, Department of the Army, Office of the Adjutant General, Washington, D.C., subject: Transfer and Organization of Certain Units; with 1st Endorsement, HQ 4th Army, dated 8 December 1954- the battalion was organized under TO&E 19-55A, with an authorized strength of twenty officers, one warrant officer, and 415 enlisted men. Company D would remain active but unfilled.

     The 307th MP Battalion was deactivated, and redesignated as the 720th MP Battalion. All personnel, property, and equipment of the 307th were transferred to the 720th. The 307th was released from active duty and placed in a reserve status in Boston, Massachusetts.

307th MP

     The new commanding officer of the battalion was LTC James L. Oakes.. The executive officer was MAJ Arthur E. Schuder. Both were carried over from their duties with the 307th MP Battalion.

     At this time the battalion consisted of HQ Company, Able, Baker and Charlie Companies. Dog Company remained active but without personnel and equipment. The strength of the battalion was 28 officers and 287 enlisted men.

     In addition to their standard discipline, law and order duties, other battalion missions at the time of redesignation were the operation of the Post Stockade, including the guarding of work details; provision of sentinels for twenty-four hour duty at the main gate information post; supervision of traffic control points and traffic patrols; and post registration of vehicles. They also provided off post patrols of adjacent towns, train depot patrols during the holiday seasons, and manned various emergency posts when dictated by the III Corps Provost Marshal. At the time they were also short four officers assigned TDY to other units.

     Consistent with their duty in Japan, the battalion found itself once again understaffed for its missions at Fort Hood, requiring extended duty hours with little down time for the troops.

     Located next to the town of Killeen, Fort Hood is sixty miles north of the capital city of Austin in the rolling hills of east central Texas. In the 1950’s it had yet to earn the title as the largest military base in the country. The base was named to honor General John Bell Hood, a former Union officer who resigned his commission and gained fame as a General in the Confederate Army during the Civil War.

     The area for Camp Hood, as it was known in 1942, was selected for the training of armored troops during World War II. Like many other training posts of the time, at the end of the war it was deactivated with only a small maintenance complement remaining. At the start of the Korean War in 1950, the fort was reactivated and expanded to 340 square miles to include an Air Force Base, and became a permanent installation by 1951. In 1953 the Department of Defense began a major expansion program of the facility.

      The battalion troops lived and worked in the original dusty two-story wooden framed barracks built in WW II, and trained for combat in the scrub brush and woods of the sprawling post

      The two nearest population centers were the town of Killeen, next to the base, and the city of Temple, both located in Bell County, Central Texas.

      In 1955 the ongoing base expansion and troop levels was both an economic boon and a strain on the municipal services of both. As the base expansion continued, the area would eventually grow into what is known today as the Temple-Killeen-Fort Hood Metropolitan Area.

Battalion’s officer roster at the time of redesignation.

Headquarters Company
Able Company  
LTC Lames L. Oakes, Battalion Commander
CPT James G. Yankosky, Commanding Officer  
MAJ Arthur E. Schuder, Executive Officer
1LT Thomas L. Williamson, Platoon Leader  
CPT Charles Fogleman, Chaplain
2LT William H. Deeves, Platoon Leader  
CPT Peter J. O’Neil, S-2
2LT Patrick J. Butler, Platoon Leader  

CPT James A. Underwood, S-3

CPT Virgil E. McKenzie, S-4

1LT Frederick A. Froeh, Assistant S-4

1LT Patrick L. Bellau, Adjutant-Personnel Officer

2LT Robert K. Cornell, Assistant Personnel Officer

2LT Laurence D. Vinet, Communications Officer

1LT Wilford O. Prados, CO Headquarters Company

Baker Company
Charlie Company  
CPT Walter C. Stono, Commanding Officer
CPT Bernard Ricker, Commanding Officer  
2LT Joseph J. DeSalvo, Jr., Platoon Leader
2LT Herberto J. Porras, Platoon Leader  
2LT Bernard E. Gerhardt, Platoon Leader
2LT Charles R. Venable, Platoon Leader  
2LT Eugene J. Sievers, Jr., Platoon Leader
Battalion officers that were assigned to Temporary Duty (TDY) with other units.

2LT John A. Bessolo, 1st Armored Division

2LT Henry J. Burch, 4th Armored Division

2LT Charles E. Welsh, 43rd Criminal Investigation Detachment

CPT Edwin M. Williams, III Corps HQ, Exercise BULE BOLT
Exercise BLUE BOLT

     At the time of the redesignation, one half of the battalion assets, one and a half companies, were already participating in Exercise BLUE BOLT.

Personal Reflections

     “With our participation in the field exercise, and our regular post commitments there was neither time, nor personnel available for formal ceremonies. However the change can be felt in the mixed feeling of enthusiasm and sadness throughout the battalion.”   LTC James L. Oakes.

LTC Oakes

     Exercise BLUE BOLT was developed to test the Army’s new TO&E’s for armored and infantry tactical units on an ATFA-1 nuclear battlefield without having to sacrifice the capability of waging conventional warfare. It involved reconfiguring traditional regimental structures of combat divisions to new combat and support commands for both infantry and armored assets, allowing them to become more flexible and self-sustaining. With two armored divisions, the 1st and the 4th, stationed at Fort Hood, the battalion’s future training would correspond with that of the armor and supporting infantry.

     The specific mission of the battalion MP’s assigned to the exercise was not specified in the historical summary, however, there were specific recommendations pertaining to generic military police support included in the official evaluation of the overall exercise.

     PFC Carl Buckery of Charlie Company recalled that he was assigned to traditional line duties in the base town of Leesville, where they patrolled the bars and establishments where the troops congregated when off duty.

24 February CPT Roy A. Carl reported into the battalion. One other gain in the officer’s roster was CPT Edwin R. Flynn who was on TDY to the MP School, at Camp Gordon, Georgia.


1 March Exercise BLUE BOLT came to an end, and the battalion assets assigned were returned to organic mission duties. Following the exercise several recommendations were made specific to the military police support of the ATFA-1 concept.

     The military police company and provost marshal should be moved from the Support Command section to the Division Command, specifically: G1 (Personnel)- on matters of discipline, law and order; G2 (Intelligence)- relative to POW’s; G3 (Operations)- relative to tactical plans and movements, and the division Engineer on road conditions.

2 March LTC James L. Oakes passed command of the Battalion to LTC Robert M. Allgeier. COL Oakes who was recently promoted, was reassigned to the 4th Army Provost Marshal’s Office in San Antonio, Texas.

     LTC Allgeiere previously served as the assistant Provost Marshal of III Corps. He came to Fort Hood in 1955 from Germany where he was assigned as Chief, Plans and Operation, Provost Marshal Section to Headquarters 7th Army. A native of Deer Polk, Washington, LTC Allgeiere was a graduate of Washington State College. He and his family resided in Walker Village.

9 March 1LT Patrick L. Bellau, battalion personnel-officer, and 1LT Wilfred O. Prados, commander of HQ Company were released from active service with the battalion. 2LT Horiberto J. Porras of Charlie Company, and 2LT William H. Deeves of Able Company were reassigned to Camp Chaffee, Arkansas.

LTC Allgeier

23 March CPL John F. Connole of Able Company was selected as the third prizewinner of the III Corps Fort Hood reenlistment essay contest, and received a check for $15.00 from MG Thomas L. Harrold, Corps Commander during the award ceremony. CPL Connole’s essay was titled “The Decision.”

Exact Date Unknown The Red Cross Fund Campaign launched its 1955 membership drive on Fort Hood. The 4th Armored Division was the primary divisional unit. LTC Robert M. Allgeiere announced the names of the non-divisional units participating. CPT Peter J. O’Neil of HQ Company was assigned to oversee battalion participation in the campaign, and 2LT Patrick J. Butler of Able Company was assigned the responsibility as the overall Red Cross Campaign supply chairman.

Exact Date Unknown The battalion received the latest technologically advanced Radar unit to be used in the apprehension of speeders. COL Hundley Thompson, III Corps Provost Marshal, LTC Allegeier, MAJ Arthur E. Schuder, battalion executive officer, CPL Loren E. Dunlap and PVT James Hamm of Baker Company, conducted an inspection of the new unit.

     The battalion at this time was still considerably below strength in the lower enlisted grades, and over strength in the top three enlisted grades. All of the battalion’s commitments at the Post Stockade, guard duty and work detail security, were ended, with the exception of a few positions as stockade cadre.

     With the two armored divisions headquartered at Fort Hood, the 1st (“Old Ironsides”) and the 4th (“Name Enough”], their combined personnel commitment at Hood was approximately 30,000 troops. Due to the large troop population both on and off post, the battalion provided six off-post patrols. Two patrols in Temple, with a desk sergeant at the Temple Police Department and four patrols in Killeen.

     On post there were twelve traffic control posts, and four interior-patrols. Since there was a surplus of staff in the top enlisted grades, the six off-post patrols, called Cen-Tex (Central-Texas) patrols, were comprised entirely of NCO’s.

1st Armored
4th Armored

Exact Date Unknown The battalion’s desk and operations offices were moved from the crowded Provost Marshal’s Office to Building 4310, where it set up operations.

     Also during the month, an accident investigation section was formed with staff taken from the 43rd MP Criminal Investigation Division Detachment. The unit was tasked with the responsibility of investigating all vehicle accidents, and was assigned to work under the battalion Operations (S3) section.

Exact Date Unknown LTC Allgeier presented CPL Jesse Jackson of Able Company with a Commendation Ribbon and Medal Pendant [in 1960 the decoration changed to Army Commendation Medal] for meritorious service in Korea during the period of 10 March – 28 August 1953.

      PVT Ralph A. Shonack (organic unit not identified) was also honored as the top student at a recent MP training school. The ceremony took place before the entire battalion, which was made possible by the 501st (1st Armored Division) and 404th MP (4th Armored Division) Companies who assumed the duties of the 720th for a brief period.

15 April A deadline was set by the III Corps Provost Marshal’s post-wide enforcement operation to have the battalion stop and remove all post decals from vehicles passing through the gates that didn’t have the required current state vehicle safety inspection sticker. Violators who failed to meet the deadline were stopped at the gates, ushered to MP headquarters, had their post decals removed, and they were escorted off post.

       New decals were issued only when current state inspection stickers were obtained.


No official documents or media articles were found on battalion operations for the month of May. If you can provide any information, documents or phoptographs, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.

Exact Date Unknown
Personal Reflections

    “In June 1955 I returned stateside from duty with the 504th Transportation Truck Company (Light Vehicle) in Japan on the USS Sultan. (21-22 days); docked at San Francisco; what a beautiful sight as we sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge!

      I was then assigned to the 25th Car Company at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Little did I know that I would retire here someday and also make San Antonio my home!

      I wasn’t there long when they sent some of us up to Ft Hood, Texas. There I was assigned to the 501st. Military Police Company, 1st Armored Division as a driver.

     A big maneuver was brewing, so off we went again to Company A, 720th Military Police Battalion. There we were made military policemen (O.J.T.). When I say "we," it is because they needed MPs and many drivers (naturally) became MPs! While there we made the largest peacetime maneuver up until that time.

     We were all over the State of Louisiana doing our "war games." This was called "Operation SAGEBRUSH.

     I was honorably discharged at Ft Hood, Texas on 29 March 1956; reenlisted 24 January 1958 in Los Angeles, California.”    CPL (SFC Ret.) William A. Sweeney, Able Company, 1955-1956.

CPL Sweeney

9 June The battalion veterans that served in HQ Company, Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog Companies in Occupied Japan from 27 June 1950 through 20 November 1954, and its former Medical Detachment from 27 June 1950 through 20 November 1951, were deemed eligible for the award of the Korean Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal under Department of the Army General Order No. 39.


     Unfortunately, those that were separated from service in the years preceding this order would not learn of their eligibility until decades later, and for the majority, the award would never be added to their service records.

22 June A warm and enthusiastic crowd of both soldier and civilian greeted the Fort Hood Little Theater’s presentation of Sidney Kingsley’s smash Broadway hit, “Detective Story,” as it set a new mark in Fort Hood entertainment in Theater No. 1.

     PVT Joseph Shnoack, a clerk from Baker Company, played the role of Charlie Gennini, one of a pair of crooks accustomed to the inside of a police station. The 50-cent Adult tickets were sold out, but there were still some 35-cent seats available. PVT Shnoack also served on the Little Theater Board as a member at large.

29 June One platoon from Charlie Company was transferred from Fort Hood to Camp Polk, Louisiana, and assigned to the 4th U.S. Army for approximately twenty weeks for participation in Exercise SAGEBRUSH.

Exact Date Unknown The doubles team of LT John Sahratian of the 4th Armored Division’s 126th AOB, and LT Bernard Gerhardt of the 720th MP Battalion won the doubles title in the 4th Army tennis tournament, and earned the right to playing in the All-Army tennis championships at Fort Meade, Maryland. LT Gerhardt starred in intercollegiate competition before entering the Army while playing for the University of Texas.

1 July, (effective) Under General Order No. 56, III Corps, Fort Hood, on 21 June 1955, the battalion was reorganized under TO&E 19-55R with Dog Company to still remain active, but unfilled.

2-4 July While most of the personnel at For Hood were celebrating the three-day holiday over the 4th of July, the MPs of the battalion were working harder than ever on their mission of service to the troops. In addition to their normal duties of post, town, highway patrol, and traffic control, additional duties were assigned to the battalion.

     On Sunday, July 3 a detail of 7 MPs were sent to the City of Marlin in Falls County, Texas to provide a military funeral for a soldier who was killed in action in Korea.

     On Monday night of July 4th at Pritchard Stadium, a detail of two MPs was used to control traffic before and after the fireworks display. An additional twenty-four MPs were added to the highway patrol to extend the patrol areas in order to prevent accidents. The town patrol in Temple was doubled to take care of the heavy traffic at the bus and railroad stations, and to serve the increased number of military personnel visiting Temple. Come Tuesday morning when all reports were in, it was found that not a single fatality had occurred within the area patrolled by the battalion.

7 July The second class of the Operations-Intelligence Course graduated at the III Corps Academy. The course was started after it had been noted in field maneuvers, and in garrison, that closer and continuous coordination was needed between staff sections, particularly between operations and intelligence. The battalion assigned PVT Richard Saunders of Able Company to the staff of eight enlisted men in the administrative section.

8 July The battalion was host to Chamber of Commerce members from Lampass, Copperas Cove, Moody, and McGregor, Texas. The visits were part of a new operation initiated by the Post Commander that invited visits by civilian groups to acquaint them with training and other activities at Fort Hood, and let them spend a day observing the operation of the post and various scheduled demonstrations.

Exact Dates Unknown The battalion was reorganized into an ATFA-type unit, under TO&E 19-55 ATFA (provisional), and underwent extensive field training until 10 October. The training was in preparation for Exercise SAGEBRUSH, a maneuver scheduled for Camp Polk, Louisiana.

     Two members of the battalion made the Fort Hood Tankers Football Team. Robert Mallory age 20, a 6-2, 210 lb. tackle, and Samuel Murphy age 22, a 5-11, 190 lb. guard. Before entering the Army Mallory from Lodi, California played at California Poly Tech., and Murphy from Memphis, Tennessee played for Memphis High School.

Line of Duty Casualty

16 August CPL Milton Robert Tucker age 28, a veteran of WWII and a member of Baker Company and the battalion motorcycle squad, was killed in the line of duty in a vehicle crash with a jeep at Park Avenue and 63rd Street while escorting an ambulance full of troops to the base hospital from the 279th Infantry, 45th Division who had been wounded in a mortar explosion during a live fire field exercise.

     The fifteen infantrymen were wounded on a training exercise when at 0930 hours a mortar shell prematurely exploded as it left the tube at a range near North Fort. An investigation revealed the shell had a defective fuse. All of the injured infantrymen eventually recovered from their wounds.

Wanted: Photograph of CPL Tucker. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.

CPL Tucker

25 August The battalion, minus the platoon from Charlie Company already stationed at Camp Polk, moved into a garrison-tent camp in the South Mayberry Park area fifteen miles south of Fort Hood to conduct road reconnaissance, traffic control, prisoner of war confinement, Chemical-Biological-Radiological defense, and other phases of military police operations in preparation for their support of III Corps during Exercise SAGEBRUSH.

     The eight-week field training was under the directions of CPT Peter J. O’Neil the battalion S-3. The battalion left a rear detachment of 150 personnel behind to patrol the Fort Hood, Killeen, Temple area. When the training day was over the MPs had a mobile Post Exchange unit, movies each evening, a quartermaster shower unit, and recreation tent available to them. On Sunday’s, services were held by the chaplain, and dinner was provided to the troops and attending family members.

     While at the camp the MPs requested and received permission to name it ‘Camp Tucker’ after CPL Milton R. Tucker who died in the line of duty on 16 August. The memorial ceremony was presided over by the battalion Chaplain, CPT Charles W. Fogelman who conducted the protestant services. Chaplain (COL) Robert J. Hearn of III Corps conducted the Catholic service.

     The operation of vehicles during the traffic control training was conducted at a specially constructed maze just north of Camp Moonraker. The maze, which had 21 control points and was the size of two football fields, was constructed by using a road grader. An outer circle enclosed the 400 x 300 foot area, and joined with the interior crossroads, which passed by a centrally located raised platform on which the control officer stood. All the control points and vehicles were numbered. The officer controlled the movement of both the vehicles and MPs at the control points via a public address system. A total of 50 vehicles were used on the maze at any one time. In addition to training control of choke points, accident scenes, and emergency situations, the MPs also used the maze for night blackout training in both wheeled, and tracked vehicle control.

     During the eight week training session at Camp Tucker the battalion senior NCO’s also conducted weekly parades of the troops. Performing the role of the Commander of Troops was SFC Samuel P. Smith while SFC Edward B. Wilson acted as his Adjutant. Company commanders were: MSG Hollis Graves of Able Company; SFC Carl Thomas of Baker Company; MSG Casimir Tybroski of Charlie Company, and MSG James H. Miller of the 701st MP Company. Battalion Commander LTC Robert M. Allegeier reviewed the troops.

No official documents or media articles were found on battalion operations for the month of September. If you can provide any information, documents or phoptographs, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.


Exact Date Unknown PFC Elmer O. Brumbel of HQ Company was selected as the winner of the first week of October’s Chest Fund Slogan Contest. PFC Brumble, a clerk typist in the battalion S4 Section, won with the slogan: “Your dividends are much greater that your investments in the chest fund.”


19 October Minus a small rear guard detachment commanded by CPT James N. Underwood the battalion S-3, the battalion deployed from Fort Hood for Camp Polk (Louisiana) Field Army Support Brigade, 9th Army, to participate in Exercise SAGEBRUSH.

      Exercise SAGEBRUSH became the largest joint field trials held in the United States since World War II. It included a total of 110,000 Army troops (1st & 4th Armored Division-friendly forces and 82nd Airborne Division-opposing forces) plus 40,000 Air Force personnel. The scenario tested the divisions under conditions of a simulated atomic war, covering twenty-five major areas of operations with a primary focus on dispersion, communications and mobility. The Area of Operations for the exercise involved over four million acres and seven states.        

     The exercise also included a test of a new helicopter borne aerial reconnaissance concept. The Continental Army Command (CONARC) formed an experimental reconnaissance company by combining the 82d Airborne's recon troop with a transportation helicopter unit. Labeled "Sky Cavalry," the unit performed traditional cavalry roles, though the aircraft were unarmed. The concept would later be further tested and developed in other exercises to meet the Army’s future plans for the formation of an organic airmobile division [Vietnam Era's 1st Cavalry Division-Airmobile].                                                                                                                    The Big Picture Newsreel of Exercise SAGEBRUSH>


     The Sky Cavalry concept beginning with SAGEBRUSH, immediately stirred a controversial rivalry between the Army and Air Force that lasted into the early 1960’s.

     At the end of the exercise, the 1st Armored Division packed up its assets at Fort Hood, and moved to its new headquarters at Camp Polk.

Personal Reflections

     “We Were All Over Louisiana. I recall that on Exercise SAGEBRUSH we left Fort Hood, Texas in a convoy that was pretty long. We convoyed all the way to Louisiana. Along the route you had to be very observant or you just may lose the convoy in certain places.

     One of the first nights, I remember we stayed overnight at Grambling College in Northern Louisiana. They let us sleep there for the entire night, which we all enjoyed. Later we were spread all over the northern part of Louisiana and moved around quite a bit.

     We conducted road patrols and traffic control points (TCP's). I remember being assigned to a TCP in Lucky, Louisiana. We even had the locals bringing us food! Later on we went to Campti and near Coushatta.

     Everywhere we went the locals always brought us food and most even let us use their restrooms and showers! They were very friendly folks! But their dark coffee was terrible!”     CPL (SFC Ret.) William A. Sweeney, Able Company, 720th MP Battalion, September 1955 to February 1956.

     During the period from 19 October to 10 January 1956, the rear guard was tasked with the main responsibility of security for post-housing areas. As a result, all off-post patrols and town patrols were temporarily discontinued, with the exception of one patrol that visited the neighboring towns once a night. With both armored divisions participating in the exercise, no traffic control points were used during the period because of the lack of vehicular traffic from Fort Hood.

1 November The Fort Hood Little Theater Group presented the one act play “Bachelor” before the Officer’s Wives Club. PVT Norman Kean of the battalion was co-credited with the design and construction of the staging. Media Document 1955_025. Camp Polk was redesignated as Fort Polk, Louisiana under Department of The Army General Orders No. 63, issued 27 October 1955.

15 November Many GI's have been forced to carry on long-distance mail or telephone relationships at one time or another. However, in this instance SGT John Gunter of HQ Company, a cook in the battalion, took it even further by arranging his marriage over the telephone to Miss Phileppine Hen in Germany. At the American end, the marriage ceremony was performed in Temple, Texas by Justice of the Peace Bob Watts officiating.

23 November Armed escorts from Charlie Company accompanied by tanks, armored cars, and a helicopter departed the First National Bank of Shreveport, Louisiana carrying a cash payroll $5,382,000.00 for the troops participating in Exercise SAGEBRUSH. For more than thirty minutes the local police blocked all traffic for several blocks around the bank while the Army helicopter flew overhead maintaining radio contact with the escorts until the transfer was completed. The five-vehicle convoy traveled the 126-mile route to Fort Polk without incident.

29 November, 0242 hours A fire destroyed the 162nd Street Service Club with an estimated loss of $200,000.00. The building and all furnishings were lost. Only the front porch, and part of the north wing were left standing.

     Firemen from Fort Hood and Killeen battled the flames in 22-degree weather for more than fiver hours. One soldier was injured in a fall from a ladder while trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the building housing Theater No. 3.

     Battalion patrols that responded assisted with traffic, and assisted the firemen with manning the hoses during the stubborn blaze. An investigation to determine the origin was initiated once the flames were extinguished.

     Not to allow a good idea to pass him by, another battalion MP quickly followed in SGT Gunter’s telephone nuptials’ of 15 November with one of his own. SGT Doyle C. Coward who’s fiancee Miss Ursula M. Perl also lives in Germany, was married via telephone, again with Justice of the Peace Bob Watts officiating.

Exact Date Unknown Towards the end of the month PVT's Robert W. Siegman and L. T. Jackson of Baker Company were on a daily routine traffic post on Highway 71 near Powhattan, Louisiana. Unknown to both at the time, the start of a war game operation had begun in their area.

     A wave of enemy force paratroopers had landed several miles above their location. Within minutes a force of over 100 tanks and armored personnel carriers approached their position from the opposite direction. True to the tradition of good MPs they directed the friendly armor towards the paratroops, and by their skillful handling of the traffic, enabled the friendly forces to capture or kill most of the enemy.

5 December Charlie Company, less their detachment already stationed at Fort Polk, were ordered to transfer on a permanent change of station from Fort Hood to Fort Polk, Louisiana under Department of The Army orders 369725 issued 2 December subordinate to the 1sr Armored Division. The company was assigned to provide military police support as “Charlie Company” to the 1st Armored Division organic MP Company at the newly established base until further notice.

     Editors Notes: Although secret plans to make Fort Polk a permanent installation began well before the start of Exercise SAGEBRUSH, when the announcement to make it the new home of the 1st Armored Division hit the new media, the projected loss of civilian related jobs and local economic income created quite a ripple of controversy and disapproval from the Texas State Legislature, Temple and Killeen Chambers of Commerce that quickly traveled to the halls of Congress in Washington, D.C.

1955 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1955 that have yet to be directly linked to any specific Battalion Timeline event. If you can date any of the events depicted, or identify them as part of a specific event, operation, exercise or special duty assignment, please use the Email Link on the photograph or this page to notify the History Project Manager.
A "?" preceding the photo number denotes further identifications are needed, and an Email Link is provided.
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