1956 Timeline
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This Page Last Updated  3 November 2015
III Corps
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.
STRAC Duty At Fort Hood, Texas

      At the start of the year the battalion and its organic units, HQ Company, Able, Baker and Charlie Companies, less a detachment from Charlie Company at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Dog Company (still active and unfilled) was headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas under the command of LTC Robert M. Allgeier subordinate to the 4th U.S. Army, III Corps.

     With the return of battalion elements deployed to Exercise SAGEBRUSH, minus Charlie Company, the mission, station, and method of operations of the battalion remained basically unchanged from that of 1955.

     While the situation of personnel shortages improved somewhat, it nevertheless continued to be one of the major problems throughout the year. The yearly battalion historical summary cited no specific activities outside of their routine organic missions for most of the year.

      The battalion conducted its routine missions and Cold War training as the world communist movement continued to tighten its grip on its European holdings, while fueling and expanding its foreign goals in Northern Africa and Southeast Asia. Throughout the year the Cold War began to heat up.


14 February After the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, four men joined together to lead the Soviet Union: Georgi Malenkov, Lavrenti Beria, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Nikita Khrushchev. As head of the KGB, Beria was perceived as a threat to the other three, and they arranged for his execution. As Soviet Premier in 1953, Malenkov oversaw the first signs of the Soviet “peace offensive,” in which a series of overtures to the West indicated the beginning of a change in party policies. By 1955, however, Khrushchev had consolidated his power, forcing Malenkov to resign as Premier due to his close ties with Beria, and Khrushchev emerged as the sole leader.

     The Soviet Communist Party Congress was an organization that included some 1,500 Communist leaders from fifty-six countries around the world, and its twentieth meeting opened in Moscow on 14 February. In a private session of the Soviet representatives, which was closed to foreign delegations, Khrushchev gave what was supposed to be a “secret speech” denouncing the legacy of Joseph Stalin.

     His speech condemned the brutality of the Stalinist regime, particularly the purges that led to the torture and execution of some wholly innocent party loyalists, which shocked the gathered representatives at the Party Congress. Khrushchev was careful not to extend his condemnation to the persecution of non-communists, because as a rising star of the Communist Party he too had played a role in these purges.

     A transcript of he speech was obtained by western intelligence and became the impetus for a series of grassroots movements demanding democratic reforms in Eastern Europe. Protests broke out in Poland and Hungary in the summer and autumn of 1956, both with tragic consequences.

15 February Charlie Company personnel and equipment arrived at their new permanent duty station at Fort Polk, Louisiana, AKDHD_CG, 370. 1st Armored Division, 20 August.


A change in the joint Army/Navy Phonetic (radio) Alphabet

1 March The joint Army/Navy Phonetic (radio) Alphabet used to identify the names of the battalion’s letter companies. Company A – Able, Company B – Baker, Company C – Charlie, and Company D – Dog first developed in 1941, was replaced with the International Radiotelephony Spelling Alphabet (ICAO or NATO phonetic alphabet).

     It was at this time that three of the letter company names, with the exception of Company C – Charlie, changed. Company A was now called Alpha, Company B – Bravo, and Company D – Delta.

15 March Under 1st Armored Division General Orders No. 46, Charlie Company was designated a support unit for the upcoming Exercise KING COLE.

Camp Gordon, Georgia is redesignated as Fort Gordon

21 March Camp Gordon, Georgia where the Military Police School was established in September 1948, became a permanent Army installation under the new name of Fort Gordon. 


15 April The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) placed the Capital Hotel, 107 W. 7th St. Austin, Texas off limits until further notice.

     Editors Note: The AFDCBs may were established by installation, base, or station commanders to advise and make recommendations to commanders on matters concerning eliminating conditions, which adversely affect the health, safety, welfare, morale, and discipline of the Armed Forces.

     They were structured according to the needs of the command, with consideration given to including representatives from community agencies and groups: civil Law enforcement; Legal counsel; Health; Environmental protection; Public affairs; Equal opportunity; Fire and safety; Chaplains’ service; Alcohol and drug abuse; Personnel and community activities; and Consumer affairs.

30 April The battalion Pistol Team scored a victory in the caliber 45-pistol competition at the Fourth Army Area Pistol and Rifle Matches. The team personnel were: CPT Roy A. Card (firing coach); 2LT Robert F. Rauchmiller; SFC’s Randal Phelps, Jr. and David B. Chester; SGT’s Johnnie C. Stewart, Gene R. Otinger, and Don H. Carter; CPL Donald R. Luckey, all of the battalion, who were joined by team members assigned from other units: COL Edward J. Ormison and MAJ Royce R. Taylor (III Corps); CWO William W. Clemons (III Corps Academy); MSG Stanley R. Sheppard (4005th S.U.); and PFC Robert C. Antram (53rd Signal Battalion). They competed in the caliber 22, center fire, and caliber 45 matches.

Wanted: Units of the battalion participants. Please notify the History Project Manager via the Email link at the top of this page.


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


Exact Date Unknown While on routine range patrol in the Pidcoke area between Copperas Cove and Gatesville, SGT Jesse A. Dean spotted a 130 pound deer entangled in a barbed wire fence. With a little trouble, SGT Dean managed to put the deer in his truck and take it to the Fort Hood Post Veterinarian where it was treated, allowed to recuperate and eventually released back into the wild.

3 June Camp Moonraker located in Mayberry Park (southern edge of Fort Hood) opened its gates for the summer to host the children, both boys and girls of the age 7 to 16 whose parent is, assigned to Fort Hood or Killeen Base and Gray Air Force Base, is overseas or a civilian employee and living on the post or in the vicinity. The two-week summer camp, the first two for boys, with a one week break, and followed by two weeks for the girls, was sponsored by the Fort Hood Dads Club.

     The camp was first established in 1951 by GEN Bruce C. Clarke the Post Commander, and commander of the 1st Armored Division. The Fort Hood Youth Activities Council sponsors the camp.

     The battalion under LTC Allgeier was designated as the support battalion for the 1956 encampment. The MPs provided the logistical support necessary for the successful operation of a camp that size. Counselors and Instructors for the varied activities to include Arts and Crafts, Swimming, Outdoor Lore, Archery, Fencing, Judo and Tumbling were handpicked from all units assigned at Fort Hood.


     In South Vietnam, Prime Minister Diem refused to hold the Geneva ordered national elections for reasons previously stated, and instead initiated programs to eliminate the communist opposition within the country. The Communist Viet Minh continued their guerrilla attacks against the South Vietnamese government to force the reunification of Vietnam under Communist rule. Ho Chi Minh, now unofficially being supported by Soviet Russia and Communist China, began a military buildup that included plans to secretly send its Regular Army troops south to support his guerillas, and their military activity in the South began to escalate.

     President Eisenhower, who was against direct U.S. intervention by the use combat troops, provided U.S. aid and military advisors under the existing U.S. Military Assistance Advisor Group (MAGG) to train and support the new Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). The Cold War was once again turning into a hot war in Southeast Asia.

Exact Date Unknown SFC Peter D. Pauli of Madison, Wisconsin was assigned to the battalion as a new patrol supervisor. The German-born Pauli has the distinction of serving as a sergeant assigned to a U.S. Army Military Intelligence collection point in Germany when he freed his father from a political prisoner internment camp at the end of World War II. He had discovered his father among the minor Nazi officials being held by the U.S. Army. Released in the custody of his son, the former stonemason returned to his pre-war monument business.

     Born in Bravaria in 1926, Pauli was brought to the United States by his mother in 1937. Because he spoke German fluently, he served as an interpreter in the 69th Division’s order of battle section.

     After a tour of duty in the U.S., Pauli returned to Germany where he was stationed 120 miles from his birthplace. Pauli who had 13 years Army service at the time, was a former road survey expert with the Wisconsin Motor Vehicle Commission, he has been assigned to the military police for nine of his 13 years of service.

     Editors Note: SFC Pauli’s career would take him to Vietnam where he served as the battalion’s Command Sergeant Major from 1970-1971.

CSM Pauli

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


Exact Dates Unknown LTC Robert M. Allgeier passed command of the battalion to LTC James A. Wiley. It is unclear what their respective exact date of assignment or departure was.

     LTC Wiley’s last assignment was with the Provost Marshal General’s Office in Washington, D.C. Among his other assignments, LTC Wiley has been instructor of the Provost Marshal General’s School, and also Provost Marshal of Trieste. The colonel wears the American Theater Ribbon, Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Occupation Medal, WW II Victory Medal, and National Defense Ribbon. He and Mrs. Wiley moved into McNair Village.

     "I am proud and happy to have the privilege of commanding the 720th Military Police Battalion, a battalion which has one of the proudest and most colorful histories of any Military Police unit in the United States Army." "We shall always endeavor to give the best possible military police service to Fort Hood and III Corps."

Wanted: background information and photographs of LTC James A. Wiley, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.

LTC Wiley

Exact Date Unknown During the end of the month the battalion Touch Football team lost their first game of the start of the Fort Hood Post Tournament. They were beaten in a close defense dominated game 7-6, by the 61st Engineer’s.

29 September The battalion headquarters along with the III Corps Provost Marshal Section, 4th Armored Division Provost Marshal Section, 404th Military Police Company, Post Stockade, 43rd Criminal Investigation Section, and Killeen Base, celebrated the 15th Anniversary of the Military Police Corps at a special event at the Fort Hood Officers Mess.

     The gathering formed in the VIP room at 1900 hours where the traditional cutting of the cake was conducted.

     Editors Note: As a result of General Order 19, effective 31 October 1978, all branches of the armed forces were mandated to celebrate their anniversaries on their traditional date of establishment. For the MP Corps it is 26 September of 1941.

30 September MSG Domingo Norat of HQ Company and the battalion S4 NCO retired after 20 years of service to a small farm in Cayey, Puerto Rico.


17 October PFC James F. Phillips age 21 of Warsaw, Indiana who was serving with the battalion’s Charlie Company Detachment at Fort Polk, died while off duty when his car left Louisiana Highway 171 and crashed.

22 October In Soviet Block Hungary, students and workers launched a national strike and street protest against the Soviet rule, followed by an announcement on the 31st by their government that they were withdrawing from the Warsaw Pact.

     As part of the division of Europe by the Allies at the end of hostilities in 1945, the small country of Hungary became an unwilling part of the Soviet Block in what was later known as the Warsaw Pact, an alliance for mutual defense between Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, and the Soviet Union, the Soviet response to the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

     The Hungarian government and people were tired of the draining of their wealth and resources by the Soviets to build their army and feed the motherland. In February when Soviet Premier Khruschev began to denounce the harsh policies of the now dead Joseph Stalin, the Hungarians expected more freedom, and when it did not come they took to the streets.

29 October In Northern Africa the British, French and United States had become increasingly concerned with the strong influence the Soviet Union held with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and thus access to and use of the Suez Canal when Nasser nationalized it.

     The Israeli’s invaded the Egyptian Sinai. Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to cease fire, which was ignored.


3 November The Hungarian government addressed the nation over Free Radio Kossuth, asking nations including the U.S. to help before the Soviet Union overthrows a “free and legal” government. Their appeals to the Free World went unanswered.

4 November In response to the continued student and worker unrest in Hungary, the Soviets sent their armored forces into the capital of Budapest and began openly killing the protestors to restore order. The Hungarian people armed only with rifles, pistols and Molotov cocktails, were greatly outnumbered and fell by the hundreds of thousands. The people of the world watched in horror as film of the fighting was smuggled out of the country to be broadcast on television in the free world. The carnage finally ended by the 14th resulting in even harsher repressions. With a threat of nuclear confrontation if the U.S. or NATO tried to intervene, they offered only moral support, and the Soviets became further emboldened.

5 November The Hungarian revolution was crushed and the Soviets installed a new puppet government to maintain control. Meanwhile in Washington, U.S. officials observed the tidal wave of events with shock and no small degree of ambivalence as to how to respond. The main line of President Eisenhower's policy was to promote the independence of the so-called captive peoples in communist nations, but only over the longer-term. There is little doubt that he was deeply upset by the crushing of the revolt, and he was not deaf to public pressure or the emotional lobbying of activists within his own administration. But he had also determined that there was little the United States could do short of risking global war to help the Hungarian’s. And he was not prepared to go that far, nor even, for that matter, to jeopardize the atmosphere of improving relations with Moscow that had characterized the previous period.

     The Soviet action stunned many people in the West. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev had pledged a retreat from the Stalinist policies and repression of the past, but the violent actions in Budapest suggested otherwise.

     The Hungarian Revolution is considered to be the first big blow to Soviet style communism and one of the first signs that the Soviet Communist Block was crumbling. The 1956 Hungarian Revolution: A History in Documents, The National Security Archive at George Washington University, 4 November 2002 (PDF); The Hungarian Revolution, Mt. Holyoke College, by Allison Carney, 2006 (Website saved as PDF).

     In Egypt, against strong U.S. objections by President Eisenhower, Britain and France landed paratroopers along the Suez Canal. The Egyptian forces were defeated, but the Nasser government was not overthrown and they blocked the canal to all shipping by intentionally scuttling several ships. Under pressure from the United Nations, Soviet Union and the United States, the Israeli’s, British and French forces withdrew by 7 November, and were replaced by a U.N. Peacekeeper force.

     Direct military involvement in the Suez Crisis was the primary reason that Great Britain and France, who shared the greatest responsibility of Allied security in Europe with the U.S., also ignored the pleas for assistance from the Hungarian’s.


2 December Cuban rebel leader Fidel Castro, a devout communist, launched his second failed invasion of the island from his base in Mexico. Although his meager rag-tag force was quickly defeated upon landing, Castro managed to escape into the mountains where he formed a populist cover movement under a banner of nationalism and waged a protracted guerilla war against the U.S. backed government of Cuban dictator, GEN Fuigencio Batista Zaldivar.

23 December The British ordered their forces in Egypt to withdraw, and through the eyes of the other Middle Eastern nations the invasion ended with an Egyptian victory. The colonial might of the British Empire was severely damaged, further bolstering the appearance of Soviet Communist political and military influence in the region for years to come. Nasser, a strong nationalist, had invited the Soviet’s into his house, and like termites they went to work undermining his government. Now he would spend decades trying to eradicate them while at the same time repairing the local and regional ideological damage they inflicted.

1956 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1956 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.
 Wanted: Your photographs for this page.