1957 Timeline
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This Page Last Updated  27 October 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’s organic units, HQ Company, Alpha and Bravo Companies, less Charlie Company (battalion TO&E active less personnel and equipment) at Fort Polk, Louisiana, and Delta Company (still TO&E active and unfilled) was headquartered at Fort Hood, Texas under the command of LTC James A. Wiley subordinate to the 4th U.S. Army, III Corps.

     The early part of the year brought the battalion to its approximate authorized strength while their commitments at Fort Hood, Killeen, Temple, and traffic flow on the surrounding highways remained the sam .

Emergence of the Civil Rights Movement

     Although the civil rights movement in North America began with our founding as a nation and has been fought for and defended in one way or another throughout every decade since, it was in 1957 that it officially begins to involve battalion operations.

     Racism and segregation was open and endemic in the south, something taught and passed down from generation to generation. Those that took solace in and touted its opposition in the north were only fooling themselves. Although not as accepted and open in the north, it still “unofficially” existed in many quarters.

     President Truman officially ended segregation in the military in 1948 with Executive Order No. 9981, unofficially it still existed, but its effects were greatly lessened through the tradition of strict military discipline. However, once off post, and especially throughout the south, the Jim Crow laws were still the rule of the southland and would continue until the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Until then, black citizens, soldiers and veterans were still being treated as secondary citizens

     In 1948, after years of contentious and often back room debate between the military and legislative branch, to avoid having to vote on and support segregation in a public bill, the U.S. House and Senate, especially many southern Democrats- with a wink and a nod, allowed President Truman to effect the change in the military via an Executive Order.

     Now, almost a decade later, the issue was in the public domain and back room deals and executive orders would not be acceptable to the growing calls by the public for change.

     In South Vietnam the Viet Minh guerilla’s increased their insurgent activity and through secret infiltration of men and arms through their training and supply bases along the borders in neutral Laos and Cambodia, they organize thirty-seven well armed companies in the Mekong Delta Region, assassinated more than 400 South Vietnamese officials, and began a terrorist bombing campaign in the capital of Saigon.

17 January In 9th place (bottom) in the Non-Divisional League of the three 4th Armored Division basketball leagues, the battalion had the worst team record with 1 win and 8 losses.

     In boxing, Dorores Ronrigues of Bravo Company defeated Rex Hillbert of Killeen in a three round match, one of fourteen bouts on the night’s card. The bout started rough with both boxers landing punches freely in the first two rounds, but Ronrigues came out in the third stronger than before to take the match on a unanimous decision.
24 January The battalion basketball team slightly improved their season record in the Non-Divisional basketball league moving from 9th into 8th place with 2 wins and 9 losses. By the end of the month the battalion would hold their 8th place standing with a record of 3 wins and 10 loses.
7 February The battalion basketball team was bested by the 3rd place U.S. Garrison team 62-51, and dropped another game to the 5th place 86th Ordnance 47-26, but still managed to hold onto their 8th place standing with record of 4 wins and 12 losses.
20 February CPL James V. Villines representing the battalion was one of ten top scorers from three Fort Hood Non-Divisional organizations selected to compete in the III Corps Post .22 caliber rifle competition. Of the ten, CPL Villines placed fifth with a qualification score of 34.

Exact Dates Unknown In mid-month The Fort Hood Wrestling Tournament ended with battalion wrestlers doing their best for a place in the finals: Charles Boyer of Bravo Company lost his Lightweight match to Jack Elliot of the 25th Recon, and later defeated Allmond Burnham of the 126th AOR; Welterweight Clifford Beauchamp of the 720th lost his match to Peter Ray of 25th Recon; Cleo Horton of the 720th won his Heavyweight bout with Gerald Gaccetta of the 25th Recon, and lost a bout with Raymond Padon of the 61st Engineers; James Cusack of the 720th won his Light-Heavyweight bout against William Wallace of the 510th AIB; Victor Giradi of Alpha Company beat Jack Elliot of 25th Recon in a Welterweight match; Clifford Beaucamp lost his Welterweight bout with Marvin Marion of the 25th Recon.

     In the championship finals it was a bittersweet match up when the last two battalion wrestlers that qualified found themselves vying for the Welterweight crown. Victor Giradi of Alpha Company pinned Charles Boyer of Bravo Company.
     Battalion XO, MAJ McKenzie presented SSG Henry Wright, SFC Seymour Zuckerman, and MSG Leonard Shelicki trophies for their fine showing as high scorers in the battalion Bowling Team.
4 March Victor Gerardi of Alpha Company traveled with the Fort Hood Wrestling Team to Fort Bliss, Texas to compete in the 4th Army Welterweight championship.
     SFC Edward C. Mancil of Bravo Company was selected as the Fort Hood Non-Divisional Units Soldier of the Month. The 25 year old patrol supervisor came to the post from Japan in February 1956. A Texan, he attended Nacogdoches High School before entering the Army in December 1948. During his service he has received the Bronze Star Medal, Korean Service and United Nations ribbons, and the Korean Presidential Unit Citation. SFC Mancil and his wife Francis resided on S. Fourth St. in Killeen.
     SSG Charles J. Walls of Alpha Company was honored with his retirement after twenty years of service. LTC Wiley presented SSG Walls an Army Letter of Appreciation signed by GEN Maxwell D. Taylor, Chief of Staff.
11 March The battalion Volleyball Team maintained its lead over the 8 team Non-Divisional League of the Fort Hood Volleyball League with a record of 5 wins and 0 losses.
Exercise KING COLE

15 March Charlie Company (attached to 1st Armored Division) was designated and deployed as a support unit for Exercise KING COLE, under General Orders No. 46, 1st Armored Division.

     Being held at Fort Polk, Louisiana from 27 March through 16 April, the purpose of the exercise was to provide training for commanders and staffs in tactical intelligence and logistical operations under assumed conditions of extensive atomic, chemical-biological-radiological and electronic warfare capabilities. The special weapons, antiaircraft and other participating units received realistic field training.

     Specific troop test that were conducted included: Testing of the tactical support concept to determine the best organization, equipment time control and coordination of all field Army tactical support operations; Testing of the revised doctrine pertaining to intelligence staff functions; Testing of a new supply concept for special weapons to evaluate proposed doctrine, organization and technique of new ordnance units.

     Over 23,000 troops from the 4th Army and XVIII Airborne Corps were involved in the war game. The testing was conducted as a series of short exercises with brief intervening breaks used for critiques and corrective actions.

     The exact duties of Charlie Company were not listed in the historical summary or media accounts, however, it’s believed they participated in traditional military police field missions of headquarters security, enemy prisoner transport and confinement, and traffic control and highway security.

Wanted: Interviews of the MPs assigned, and any photographs of the deployment. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.
22 March Fort Hood Girl Scout Troop 14 and their leaders received instruction on the importance of bicycle safety from SGT Cason, the Battalion Chief of Accident Investigation.
1 April The Fort Hood Volleyball Championship began with the battalion Volleyball Team winning their first match up in the III Corps Non-Division League by defeating the 25th Recon in two games, 17-15 and 17-15. The MPs kept their momentum in the 1st round with a win over 2nd Recon Squadron, 15th Cavalry Regiment 16-14, before taking a loss in the 2nd round to the 1st Medium Tank Battalion. In the 3rd round the battalion team was eliminated from the championship with two losses to the U.S. Army Hospital team, 12-7 and 12-7.
16 April The battalion baseball players combined with HQ III Corps, the U.S. Army Hospital, Food Services School and HQ U.S. Army Garrison to form the HQ III Corps team, one of nine command teams scheduled for play in the Fort Hood Baseball League. The teams will play at Red Lindsey Field every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. An All-Star team will be selected at the end of July to represent Fort Hood in the 4th Army Tournament in August.
30 April MAJ James A. Underwood the Battalion Motor Officer since June 1954, retired after 20 years of service. MAJ Underwood attended Oklahoma Baptist University before entering the Army in 1933. He was discharged in 1936 and worked as an engineer with the Lisbon Gasoline Company in Henderson, Texas, until 1940 when he again enlisted. His tours have taken him through the United States and the Far East during which time he has earned the World War II Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal (Japan), Asiatic and Pacific Theater Medals, and Korean Service Medal.
The Lampass Flood

13 May, 0115 hours COL Charles W. Henry, Deputy Post Commander, Fort Hood, notified the battalion duty officer that the Provost Marshal had requested a detail of forty MPs to be dispatched to Lampasas, to assist civilian authorities with traffic and regional security.

     The day before, the Lampasas area was severely affected by heavy rains and the worst flash flood of its history that swelled Sulphur Creek. During the night the torrential flows slammed through stores, public buildings, homes and carried away automobiles like so many wood chips, creating what was described in the local papers as catastrophic damage to sixty-eight city blocks. During the storm and flood 430 family homes were damaged, of which fifty were totally destroyed, and 168 businesses suffered major damage. Five people drowned- four in the city, and one in Gunderland Park, a privately owned recreational area two miles below Lampasas.

     The battalion went on alert, and all officers were summoned for a staff meeting. A scouting party consisting of MAJ Virgil McKenzie the battalion executive officer, and two other officers were dispatched to the town to survey conditions of Route 190, the main highway from Fort Hood. They had originally intended to set up their headquarters in the Court House. When they found the first floor was still underwater they established their command post at the local fire department building.

     LT Robert M. Rogers of Bravo Company, and CPT Irl Martin of Alpha Company, each with twenty enlisted men were placed on a standby basis under control of CPT Martin. In addition, seven radio vehicles were to be held in standby until the lead party reported back on highway accessibility to the town. Many of the MPs in the first wave of responders like SGT Sidney P. Herbert, PFC Richard Herrick, and PVT Frederick Lewis had been on duty until midnight when they were alerted shortly after for movement to the scene. SP/4 Charles Boyer was assigned to set up a coordinated radio network between the MPs responders and their headquarters at Fort Hood.

     A radio message from the lead scout party conveyed that Route 190 was closed. The motor convoy was directed to move via Routes 440 and 183, a more southerly approach. Wile the convoy was in route a new report arrived that Route 190 was now open for traffic. The lead party entered Lampasas to meet with the civil authorities and the Provost Marshal to plan traffic control within the town and surrounding area.

     At approximately 0530 hours the convoy arrived, and the MP’s were immediately posted to handle traffic roadblocks outside the town to relieve and allow local civil law enforcement officials to conduct the more important rescue and recovery operations within the disaster area.

     At approximately 0800 hours the Provost Marshal, III Corps, and Battalion Commander LTC Wiley, arrived to attend a meeting called by the civil authorities. They brought with them an additional six radio equipped vehicles and crews.

     The remainder of the day was devoted to providing ease of traffic flow around the town, and preventing non-essential traffic from entering the disaster area as engineer elements from Fort Hood arrived to assist with the clean up under the command of COL Walter Faiks.

     At approximately 1700 hours, upon orders from LTC Wiley, Bravo Company elements relieved Alpha Company at their traffic posts.
Wanted: Interviews of the MPs assigned, and any photographs of the Lampass deployment. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of the page.
16 May In the morning all battalion elements assigned to the disaster area were relieved of further duty and returned back to Fort Hood.
18 May Representing III Corps and the battalion in the Non-Divisional units Armed Forces Day Fort Hood “Rodeo” was SP/4 Leonard A. Hernandez of Bravo Company, who placed third in the preliminary trials. SP/4 Hernandez will compete against five other soldiers from the 4th Armored Division, and Non-Divisional units. The contest is a safe driving championship in which the soldiers use their own automobiles over a course set up to test their driving skill and reaction time. Members of the Texas Highway Patrol and Killeen Police Department judge the contest. Winners of the event qualify to enter the 4th Army competition at Fort Sam Houston on 28 June.
SP/3 Mosier

Exact Dates Unknown SP/3 Melvin L. Mosier of Alpha Company was selected as the Fort Hood Soldier of the Month for the month of June. SP/3 Mosier attended Fort Worth High School and entered the Army in 1955, taking basic training at Fort Ord, California and advanced training at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He returned from assignment in Japan in the spring of 1956.

     As In 1956, the battalion was designated as the support battalion for logistical support to the 1957 youth camp at Camp Moonraker. The activities had been expanded since 1956, and now included, fencing, tumbling, archery, arts and crafts, softball, high jump, broad jump, ping pong, checkers, dramatics, horseshoes, and swimming.

5 July MSG Loren Merrywell of Alpha Company was selected by the Heart of Texas Council Executive Board, Boy Scouts of America as one of the nine outstanding adult leaders in the ten-county council. He was also given the honor of accompanying two scouts as one of two adult leaders from Fort Hood and Killeen Base who will accompany an additional 120 other scouts from the council district to the National Jamboree being held at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania from 12 through 18 July. MSG Merrywell, a former Life Scout, has been associated with scouting for more than 35 years, and working as an adult leader for the past 29 years.
27 July The Southern University ROTC cadet corps staged a talent show dedicated to the support personnel on Fort Hood. The battalion was one of five units recognized. Five of the twelve acts were selected and shown on the monthly television show Fort Hood In Review on KCEN-TV, Channel 6 in Temple-Waco.
Exact Date Unknown Fifteen of the battalion enlisted wives got together to organize a formal Wives Club. Meeting in the home of Mrs. John L. Hayes in Chaffee Village, they scheduled their first meeting for 17 September. The new organization opened their membership to all enlisted men’s wives or mothers. Mrs. James A. Wiley, wife of the battalion commander was one of the three-honored guests in attendance for the planning meeting.
Exact Date Unknown Slow Pitch Softball was not one of the MPs strong sporting pursuits. The league consisted on ten teams, two were tied for 1st place, two for 2nd, two for 3rd, one held 4th, and two were tied for 5th. The battalion team had a perfect record of 0 wins and 8 losses holding down 10th place regardless of how the other races played themselves out.
 Little Rock Central High School Integration

4 September As the nation and much of the world watched, Little Rock, Arkansas and their Central High School became the focus of the Civil Rights desegregation movement.

     On 17 May 1954 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its historic decision in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (347 U.S. 483) declaring all laws establishing racially segregated schools to be unconstitutional. Immediately after the decision was handed down the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) began to register black students in previously all white schools throughout the south.

     As they did with the slavery issue of the 1860‘s, many southern segregationists ignored the constitutional guarantee of equality, and attacked the ruling and threat of its federal enforcement as another violation of states rights.

Mayor Mann

     In Little Rock, the school board with support of Little Rock Mayor Woodrow Mann (D) agreed to comply with the ruling setting the implementation date for the September 1957 school year. Nine black teenage students, later nicknamed the “Little Rock Nine,” were registered to attend Central High School.

     Local segregationist councils threatened to hold protests at the school and physically block the nine students from entering. Governor Orval E. Faubus (D), who opposed segregation, gave in to the segregationist wing of the Arkansas Democratic Party and deployed the National Guard to support the local segregationists mob in blocking the black students. On 4 September when the students tried to enter the building an angry mob of about 400 white students and local citizens surrounded the school stopping them.

     The sight of a line of white soldiers blocking nine black students from attending a U.S. high school made international headlines, and polarized our nation.

Gov. Faubus
     Another attempt was made on 23 September, and this time a mob of about 1,000 people surrounded the school again denying the nine students access. Mayor Mann appealed to President Eisenhower for federal assistance.
Operation ARKANSAS

24 September President Eisenhower (R) signed Executive Order No. 10730 federalizing the Arkansas National Guard, thus removing them from the governor’s control, and ordered the Secretary of Defense to employ them subordinate to federal troops to enforce the federal district court order in Little Rock. Within hours 1,000 soldiers of the 327th Airborne Battle Group, 101st Airborne Division, deployed to Little Rock from their base in Kentucky.

     The following morning, troops from the 327th surrounded Central High School while a small detachment was dispatched to pick up the black students and escort them to the school. Single file, and surrounded by the soldiers carrying rifles with bayonets fixed, they marched the students through a threatening crowd into the school to finally begin the fall term.

President Eisenhower

     Although the Army was able to get the students past the mob outside, once inside, the students were on their own and suffered constant harassment from the white students which at times included physical abuse. In addition, it has been reported that the military has failed to officially note that some commanders took it upon themselves to remove black soldiers from their rosters (Regular Army and National Guard) for fear of further inflaming the local white populace.

     The actions of Governor Faubus became a cause celebre for the world communist movement, and President Eisenhower was incensed.

     "Our enemies are gloating over this incident and using it everywhere to misrepresent our whole nation. We are portrayed as a violator of those standards of conduct which the peoples of the world united to proclaim in the Charter of the United Nations... Thus will be restored the image of America and of all its parts as one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

4 October Athletic Awards were presented to the winners and runner-ups in the 1957 Fort Hood Individual Sports Championships held from 4 September through 4 October. Receiving a runner-up award for Badminton Doubles were PFC Charles R. Feltman and SP/3 John Summerlin, both of HQ Company. PFC Feltman was selected as one of the two-man Badminton team members of the 12-man team representing Fort Hood at the upcoming 4th Army Individual Sports Tourney scheduled for 22 October at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Operation ARKANSAS
     The battalion was alerted to deploy 1 officer and 38 enlisted men to Little Rock to participate in Operation ARKANSAS. Their mission was to secure the Arkansas Military District Headquarters, and provide discipline, law and order support for the 101st Airborne Division troops participating in the federal desegregation operation at Little Rock Central High School.
5 October, 0615 hours The platoon deploying to Arkansas departed Fort Hood with the TO&E assets needed to accomplish their mission. Included in their motor inventory were: 5 sedans; 2 one-half ton pickup trucks; and 1 stake body Deuce-and-a-half. They arrived in Little Rock at 2355 hours, and were escorted to Camp Joseph T. Robinson, a National Guard training base in North Little Rock.

6 October, 0830 hours The platoon was assigned under the command of LTC Smith, Provost Marshal, HQ Arkansas Military District, and attached for logistical support to the 163rd Transportation Company (light truck).

     The Platoon was tasked with duties at Post-1, a twenty-four hour, seven day assignment at the main entrance of the Military District HQ; Post-2 a twelve hour, five day assignment at the Broadway Street entrance; and Post-3, a twenty-four hour, seven day assignment at the Federal Post office parking lot. The policing of troops included the establishment of a desk sergeant and clerk, and two motorized patrols, one in North and one in South Little Rock.

     The North patrol was comprised of a crew of three, one soldier from the 39th National Guard, and one MP from 101st Airborne Division and battalion. The South patrol consisted of a crew of two MP’s, 101st and the battalion. With the 101st MP Company deactivated (April 1957), the numerical identification of the MP unit they provided is unknown. At 1600 hours, the Platoon assumed official responsibility and became fully operational.

     Once the Platoon was settled in, passes were authorized from 1730 to 2300 hours on weekdays. On Saturdays, two pass periods were authorized: 1200 to 1730 hours, and 1730 to 2300 hours. A total of ten percent of the platoon strength was authorized a pass during off duty hours, and only when the pass times corresponded with off duty time.

     Overall troop discipline of the operation was good, and offense reports were few. The Military District HQ was more interested in getting rowdy troops off the streets than writing them up, so more often than not those cited for minor disciplinary actions were immediately turned over to their own HQ for further action.
Wanted: Personal stories and photographs of the deployment. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

18 October MAJ Virgil E. McKenzie received command of the battalion from LTC Wiley, who was transferred to the III Corps HQ to assume the duties of the Assistant Provost Marshal.

Wanted: Photographs of the change of command ceremony, and background information on the military career of MAJ McKenzi. Please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

22 October The battalion Enlisted Wives Club held their first elections at the home of Mrs. Donald Collins. Mrs. John L. Hayes was elected as Chairman: Mrs. John J. Kluepfer as Co-Chairman, Mrs. Edward G. Rector as Secretary, and Mrs. Loren W. Merrywell as Treasurer. The club announced they will make birthday cakes for enlisted personnel and have them delivered to the soldier at the end of each month.

MAJ McKenzie
24 October Alpha Company received the 4th Army Commanders Maintenance Trophy, for the fiscal year of 1957, for the highest standards in maintenance at Fort hood. MG William S. Biddle, the Post, and III Corps Commander presented the trophy to their company commander CPT Irl R. Marti.
     With a record of 7 wins and 2 losses the battalion Flag Football Team held onto a tie for 3rd place in their American League Division allowing them to enter the post tournament playoffs.
Exact Date Unknown CPT Malcolm R. Smith of the battalion was selected to receive his commission from reserve to Regular Army.

4 November Eighty youngsters from the Killeen Independent School District were guests of the battalion, for a tour of military police activities. The elementary school and junior high school students, all members of their school Safety Patrol, observed methods of handling traffic, pedestrians, and ensuring safety of personnel. The program was co-sponsored by the Battalion Safety Council, the Killeen School Board, and the Killeen Chamber of Commerce Safety Committee. MAJ McKenzie, and CPT Irl R. Martin the project coordinator welcomed the students.

     The group was shown a traffic safety film, a practical demonstration of a radar speed network by SGT Dewey E. Cason, a tour of the MP Station, and an exhibition by “Corky the Copter,” piloted by CWO Charles W. Anderson of HQ & HQ Company, 2nd U.S. Army Missile Command.
26-27 November The platoon at Little Rock was relieved of all Operation ARKANSAS duties, and began their return trip to Fort Hood. The other Army units still on duty would continue to be reduced in size until the operation was finally ended on 20 May 1958. With the continued growth of the civil rights movement and the lessons learned in Little Rock, the Army was now developing new contingency plans for the possibility of future federalization orders.
     At Fort Hood, the battalion received its yearly Command Maintenance Inspection. HQ Company, and Companies Alpha & Bravo each received a rating of Superior, with the following grades: HQ Company 97.82; Alpha Company 98.49; and Bravo Company 97.53. Charlie Company was still inactive. The battalion’s overall rating was Superior with a grade of 97.94.
5 December The first of the three-man detail to augment the Air Police stationed at Dallas, Texas departed the battalion. This was a continuing detail, with the teams being rotated approximately every three months. The origin and nature of the mission was not mentioned in the historic summary, and there was no Air Force base within the Dallas city limits, the closest at the time was a Strategic Air Command (SAC) base located forty-three miles west at Fort Worth.

7-9 December The battalion played host to the 4th Army Small Bore Central ROTC Rifle Matches preliminary, which were held at the Fort Hood Indoor Rifle Range, and sponsored and staffed by members of HQ Detachment. Participating were ten man ROTC teams from: A&M College of Texas; Arlington State College, Allen Military Academy; Hardin-Simmons University; Sam Houston State Teachers College; Tarleton State College; and Texas Christian University. The Match Director was CPT Malcolm R. Smith; Chief Range Officer - 1LT Gora E. Elsworth; Asst. Range and Safety Officer - 1LT Albert F. Green; Statistical Officer - 1LT Raymond C. Roane; Statistical NCO - SP/3 Donald E. Dahlin. Other members of the battalion who aided in distribution and collection of targets and maintenance of safety were SGT William R. Rogers, CPL C. Chepurney, CPL Charles Grooms, SP/3 Fred Pulver, and PVT Charles Mundy.

     The Texas Christian University team won the competition with an overall score of 3606, and earned the right to participate in the U.S. Army Area ROTC championship scheduled at Fort Hood for 14 February 1958.

16 December The battalion basketball team was off to a bad start in the Post Division league. Consisting of 11 teams, the battalion had a firm grasp on 11th place with a record of 0 wins and 6 losses.

20 December The 0900 to 1200 hours holiday work schedule was put into effect until 6 January of 1958. All commitments were reduced as much as possible to allow the staff to have leave time for the holidays.

27 December General Orders No. 118, HQ, For Hood, instructed the battalion to organize the 1st (Provisional) MP Company for activation 4 January 1958 and duty at Sandia Base, for subordinate to the U.S. Army Military Police Group, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico.

     Editors Note: Until 2010, not even the MP Corps Regimental History Unit at Fort Leonard Wood, MO was aware of the 1st (Provisional) MP Company or its mission. The secrecy of the company and its mission was at the time classified as a Top Secret special (nuclear) weapons testing program.

     The airfield is located southeast of Albuquerque and nestled between the Sandia and Manzano Mountain ranges. Originally developed by commercial interest in the 1920’s and 1930’s, the military contracted a section for maintenance and refueling of their area military flights.

     By 1939 the military bought a section and converted it into a full time airfield called Albuquerque Army Air Base. With the start of WW-II the base became the premier training school for B-17 Flying Fortress crews. Renamed Kirtland Army Air Field in 1942, the training expanded to include the new B-29 Super Fortress

     In 1946 all aircraft training had ceased and the base was placed under the Air Materiel Command. Its new mission entailed flight test activities for the Manhattan Engineering District, the organization that produced the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. Kirtland was considered ideal because of its proximity to Los Alamos Laboratory where the atomic bomb was developed, and Sandia Base where the Department of Defense had established the Armed Forces Special Weapons Command to direct military employment of the new generation of atomic weapons being built.
     On the same date the battalion’s HQ & HQ Company was redesignated as HQ & HQ Detachment.
31 December The year ended with the battalion totaling 721,412 road miles to its credit. During the entire year they had only one serious organic vehicle crash considered a total loss resulting in damages of $1,089.00.
1957 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1957 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.
  SSG Wright, SFC Zuckerman, and MSG Shelicki receive bowling trophies.