1958 Timeline
  Regardless of MOS if you recognize or participated in any of the events listed on this Timeline page and would like to contribute any information, personal stories, documents, media articles, photographs, or, if you can provide information on any events not listed, please take a moment to contact the History Project Manager at the Email Link provided below. Your contributions are important to the recording of the Battalion history and always welcomed here.
   Please take the time to report any broken links on this page to the Webmaster via the Email Link.
    Send your photographs as .jpg via the Email Link. Scan them as large as you can, one to an Email and include as much information as you can. If you would rather send a CD of photos direct any questions via the Email Link.
This Page Last Updated  8 November 2015
     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.
III Corps
4th U.S.
720th MP
STRAC Duty At Fort Hood, Texas
      At the start of the year the battalion’s organic units, HQ & HQ Detachment, Alpha and Bravo Companies, less Charlie Company (TO&E active without personnel and equipment detached to 1st Armored Division at Fort Polk, Louisiana), 1st (Provisional) MP Company being formed for deployment to Sandia Base, New Mexico (Administrative only) and Delta Company (TO&E active on paper without personnel and equipment) were commanded by MAJ Virgil E. McKenzie, and headquartered subordinate to the U.S. 4th Army, III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas.
     In the jungle-covered mountains of Cuba only 90 miles southwest of the Florida coast, Fidel Castro began to amass a guerilla army of more than 800 troops. His successful hit and run campaigns against the Batista government’s military gained him strong support among peasants, students, and even the local Catholic clergy. Castro, who declared himself as a politically unaligned nationalist, was actually a politically astute closet communist being closely watched as a major threat by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
2 January 1LT Gora E. Elzworth of the battalion, who was a member of the All-Army pistol squad and participated in the National Match this year, was one of three Fort Hood soldiers selected by the U.S. Continental Army Command to try out for a place on the U.S. Army pistol team to compete in the 1958 Mid-Winter Pistol Matches at Tampa and Coral Gables, Florida.

4 January Under Special Orders No. 14, Headquarters Sandia Base, Albuquerque, New Mexico, the battalion was authorized to reassign personnel to the new 1st (Provisional) MP Company. Forty-two members of Alpha, and 16 members of Bravo Company staffed the new company. There were no company officers identified in Special Orders No. 14, so if they were also assigned it was on separate orders. The new 1st (Provisional) MP Company had a limited TO&E of two years, and were to remain administratively subordinate to the battalion at Fort Hood.

5 January The battalion provided personnel to handle crowd and traffic control at the Fort Hood Sports Car Club races. A large crowd of spectators turned out to view the 14 sports cars competing in the Autocross competition.

Operation HARDTACK-I

21 January  As instructed in General Orders No. 118 HQ Fort Hood, 27 December 1957, detachments from company’s Alpha & Bravo, 720th MP Battalion, stationed at Sandia Base, New Mexico received orders for deployment, and left Sandia Base for the Marshall Islands, Enetwetak Atoll, Pacific Proving Grounds as the 1st (Provisional) MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, Task Group 7.2, Joint Task Force Seven, APO 437, San Francisco, California.

     The deployment was classified as Top Secret, and involved 58 junior enlisted personnel, 42 from Alpha Company, 16 from Bravo Company under Special Orders No. 14, ( Page-1 and Page-2 ) authorized by letter through the Armed Forces Special Weapons Program on 9 January, and issued 21 January 1958 by T. N. Leahy, Captain, AGC, Assistant Adjutant.

     PFC Ronald J. Talbott enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1956 and went to basic training, after which he graduated from MP school at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Under the enlistment he was required to perform two years of active duty, and his first assignment was with Bravo Company at Sandia Base.

     They wore the 4th U.S. Army patch and their duties consisted of routine MP line duty, town patrol etc. At Sandia they received their orders for deployment as the 1st Provisional MP Company, and left the base for the Eniwetok Atoll, Pacific Proving Grounds, Marshall Islands. The deployment was classified as Top Secret.

     At Enetwetak Atoll they performed base and security enforcement for all military and civilian personnel assigned to the Top Secret weapons testing. There were mostly civilian personnel assigned at the base. Due to the Top Secret status of the deployment no cameras were permitted on the base.

     Editors Note: From 28 April through 18 August during the deployment there were thirty-five atomic tests conducted during Operation HARDTACK-I. Of the thirty-five, a total of twenty-three were conducted at Eniwetok Atoll or in nearby waters.

     One was a safety test with no explosions and one was a dud. The test that were successful were conducted as high altitude air burst, surface, barge, and underwater bursts.

     The test names were taken from North American trees and shrubs. They ranged in power from Test FIG .02 Kilotons, ( 1 kiloton equals 1000 tons of TNT) to Test OAK 9.3 Megatons (1 megaton equals 1 million tons of TNT).

   Although Ron's memory has faded as to all the specifics, the orders, of which I have copies, clearly identify the MP’s as being reassigned from Alpha & Bravo Company, command unknown to the 1st Provisional MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, Task Group 7.2, Joint Task Force Seven, APO 437, San Francisco, California. The same headquarters issued him a Eniwetok Certificate,  Certificate of Participation,  Letter of Appreciation and  Letter of Commendation.

Wanted: If you are a 1st Provisional MP Company veteran or know of any former members of the company, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

30 January The first results of the preliminary pistol competition at the U.S. Army Advanced Marksmanship unit at Fort Benning, Georgia were tabulated, and the battalion’s 1LT Gora E. Eizworth ranked 10th with a score of 748 among the 21 competitors. The top marksman received a score of 779.
Exact Date Unknown PFC’s Terrell E. Scott and Albert L. Sullivan of Bravo Company were two of 13 soldiers that competed in the Fort Hood non-divisional small-bore rifle competition.
9 February During the U.S. Army advanced Marksmanship competition for the All-Army Pistol Squad at Fort Benning, Georgia, the Gold Team coached by 1LT Gora E. Elzworth of the battalion, and originally believed to be an underdog, set a new match record. Unfortunately 1LT Elzworth’s score didn’t qualify him as the All-Army Team’s Fort Hood representative.
11 February The battalion enlisted men’s Wives Club held their regular monthly meeting in the Headquarters Day Room. The meeting theme of the month was Crazy Hats. To make their zany millinery creations they decorated the wide brimmed stray hats with kitchen utensils, Indians, balloons, and Nike artillery.
15-16 February The battalion was selected to host the Fourth Army ROTC small-bore rifle championship held at the indoor range on Headquarters Avenue, Fort Hood. The battalion was complemented on its smooth handling and administrating of the details of the match, which included housing, and providing meals for the eight ROTC teams .
16 February Eight North Korean agents posing as civilian passengers hijacked a domestic South Korean National airliner traveling north from Pusan to Seoul, forcing it to land in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang. The communist demanded that South Korea enter into direct negotiations for the DC-3, and thus officially recognize North Korea. Instead of granting recognition, the South Korean government wrote the aircraft off as a loss. The American pilot, one American passenger, two West German passengers, and twenty-four other passengers, none of whom were injured, were released in early March.
3-4-5 March Elements of the battalion were deployed in support of field Exercise CENTRY BRAVO held in Mayberry Park south of Killeen, involving HQ & HQ Company, III Corps, and III Corps Artillery. The exercise tested the standard operating procedure for handling simulated high volume war time messaging of supporting combat units to Corps HQ, and served as a guide for planning the corps participation in upcoming Exercise ROCKY SHOALS, scheduled for later in the year in California.
10 March The Armed Forces Disciplinary Control Board (AFDCB) placed the Regal Club, 313 S. 8th St. Temple, Texas off limits to all U.S. military personnel until further notice.

22 March Thirty-four children of the Fowler School of Killeen were guests of the battalion for a tour of military police activities, and on the spot safety demonstrations as a part of the battalion safety orientation program. The event for the members of Cub Scout Pack 156 was arranged by MSG Aciel M. Sulck the Battalion Sergeant Major, and the Scouts Pack Master through arrangements with MAJ McKenzie, and the battalion S-3 CPT Malcolm R. Smith.

     The pack began their tour with an opening welcome, and itinerary of events by CPT Smith. To begin the day the pack viewed two films concerning safety in the Armed Forces and Driving Safety, after which they boarded a bus that took them to the Fort Hood Railhead Area for a demonstration of an active radar-net set up. From there they were taken to the MP Station where SFC James Shaw explained the daily military police operations, and a practical exercise of a typical offense case. The tour ended with a trip to the battalion mess hall for refreshments.
28 March Fort Hood was the sudden focus of the U.S. and European media with the arrival of rock-and-roll heart throb PVT Elvis Aaron Presley. A draftee, Presley was assigned to Company A, Second Medium Tank Battalion, 2nd Armored Division. With the exception of an emergency leave for the funeral of his mother, he completed his basic and advanced armored training at the post without incident before receiving orders for duty in Germany on 19 September.
     On the same day, at 1530 hours a post Retirement Review was held on Parade Ground No. 2 across from Theater No. 1. Battalion SGT Vesper L. Plummer was one of nine NCO’s who retired from active duty.
3 April MG G. S. Meloy, Jr., Deputy Commanding General of the 4th Army commended members of the battalion for the manner in which they conducted the 4th Army ROTC Small-bore Championship Rifle Match on 15-16 February. In a letter to MG William S. Biddle, III Corps and Fort Hood Commander, MG Meloy stated, “It is a pleasure to offer my heartiest thanks to you and the members of your post for the manner in which the match was conducted.” “Administrative details for this match were well planned and executed.” “MAJ Virgil McKenzie, CPT Malcom R. Smith and 1LT Albert F. Green of the 720th Military Police Battalion are commended for their work on this project.” The battalion also received similar praise from several of the institutions that competed in the match.

4 April The battalion Pistol Team of SFC Dewey Watts, SGT Leroy Arnold, PFC Bruce Welter, and, and CPL Walter Hawkins (alternate) took the trophy for “Top Team” at the Fort Hood Post Championship with a score of 893. The team competed against 220 soldiers.

     The soldiers also competed as individuals, where CPL James Sanders of Bravo Company placed 3rd in the top five with a score of 246 out of a possible 300. The awards presentation was scheduled for 14 June at Theater-1.

18 April The battalion officers sponsored a special “South of The Border” costume required Mexican buffet dinner in the VIP Room of the Officers Open Mess. Prizes were presented for the best costume.
Exact Date Unknown The battalion was presented the Fort Hood Outstanding Safety Award for the quarter of February-March-April 1958. The award signaled a record of safety in all situations, including both military and civilian vehicles.

20 May President Eisenhower signed a military pay raise bill, thus remaining true to his words in his 9 January State of the Union Address when he said, “Through increases in pay and incentive, we must maintain in the armed forces the skilled manpower modern military forces require.”

     His action was the first increase in military pay since 1955, and also included the addition of two new officer and enlisted ranks. For officers it created individual pay grades of 0-9 and 0-10, lieutenant general and general. They were previously paid at the grade of 0-8, and given additional increments of $100 and $200 a month, respectively.

     Sergeants major and first sergeants also qualified for the new pay grades of E-8 and E-9. However, only two percent of the total armed forces’ enlisted strength was able to hold an E-8 slot, and one percent the E-9 slot. In all, more than 2,500,00 personnel received higher pay under the bill. The changes in pay began on 30 June.

     The basic under two year in time and grade junior enlisted ranks monthly pay would increase to the following: E-1 under 4 months $78.00; E-1 $83.20; E-2 $85.80; E-3 $99.37; E-4 $122.30; E-5 $345.24; E-6 $375.81; E-7 $206.39.
29 May In the1958 Fort Hood Softball League season the battalion team was tied for 3rd place in the non-divisional American League with a record of 4 wins and 2 losses. In the non-divisional league overall, the team was ranked 17th of 19 teams.

30 May Bravo Company had the honor of conducting the Memorial Day flag raising and lowering at the Fort Hood Headquarters building. This year’s ceremony followed a special schedule that differed from the normal memorial routine.

     Normally the flag is run up to full-staff as the 21-gun national salute is fired at noon. This year, in honor of the unknown dead of World War II and Korea at Arlington National Cemetery, the flag raising took place at revile where it remained at half-staff all day until its lowering at retreat, by proclamation of President Eisenhower.
19 June The battalion was reorganized less Delta Company (active without personnel and equipment) with authorized strength of 19 officers, 2 Warrant Officers, 426 enlisted personnel, and less Charlie Company (active without personnel and equipment attached subordinate to 1st Armored Division at Fort Polk, Louisiana) with a strength of 15 Officers, 2 Warrant Officers and 300 enlisted personnel, under TO&E 19-55D, 1958, pursuant to General Orders No. 56, HQ, Fort Hood, dated 16 June 1958.

23 June The yearly ROTC six-week summer camp began with MG W. Paul Johnson, commander of the 2nd Armored Division, and provisional commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, expressing hope to the 1,178 ROTC cadets representing 27 universities, colleges, and military junior colleges that they would have an enjoyable interesting and beneficial stay here during their six week encampment.

     The battalion provided instructors for the military police functions course.

30 June MAJ Virgil E. McKenzie passed command of the battalion to LTC Ward B. Waits, and moved into his new assignment at the III Corps Provost Marshal Section.

     A native of Greenville, Mississippi, LTC Waits graduated from Pickens High School, Pickens, Mississippi in 1929 and enlisted in the army in 1930. Commissioned in 1942, he served in Europe in World War II with the 3rd Armored Division, participating in five major Campaigns, including the Battle of the Bulge.

     A regular Army commission in 1947 brought reassignment to the Military Police Corps and duties as commander of the Military Police Customs Unit in Germany. Before his current assignment, the colonel served in the Provost Marshal Division, Headquarters, U.S. Army in Europe.

     He is a 1955 graduate of the Command and General Staff College and also graduated from the Military Police Advanced Course. Among the colonel’s decorations is the Bronze Star for Valor with two Oak Leaf Clusters. He resided with his wife, Helen, and children at Apartment 1, Friedman St. Wainright Heights, Fort Hood.

LTC Waits
Wanted: Photographs of the change of command ceremony, please contact the History Project Manager via the Email Link at the top of this page.

1 July  Editors Note: Prior to authorization of the National Defense Service Medal in 1966, troops deployed to the South Vietnamese Theater of Operations who qualified became eligible for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal.

8 July LT I. J. Huntzinger of Bravo Company attended the Central Texas Chapter No. 76 Reserve Officers Association dinner-business meeting at the Killeen Base Officers Open Mess as Junior Vice-President of Army Affairs of the Reserve Officers Association National Headquarters.
24 July Battalion SGM Aciel M. Sulcer was selected by a 33 member nominating committee of major Fort Hood unit representatives to serve on a seven-member Military Credit Union committee. Under the direction of the post Staff Judge Advocate Office, they will represent the newly formed Fort Hood Military Credit Union in its application for a federal charter, and later act as a nomination committee to select representatives to run as candidates for the board of directors, supervisory committee, and credit committee. The proposal to form the credit union was originally started in August 1957.
25 July At a retreat parade, LTC Waits presented battalion Chaplain 1LT Quentin O. Hayes the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service while serving with the 11th Armored Infantry Battalion, 1st Armored Division in Italy where he served as a machine gunner in 1944 during World War II. Chaplain Hayes was also previously awarded the Combat Infantryman’s Badge.

1 August SP/4 Henry E. Power, Jr., of HQ & HQ Detachment received a Certificate of Achievement in recognition of his selection as Soldier of the Month in a post-wide competition. The certificate was presented by MG William S. Biddle the III Corps, and Fort Hood Commander. The award is judged on the qualities of outstanding military courtesy, bearing and performance of duties.

     SP/4 Power is a 1949 graduate of Glendale High School, Glendale, California. He attended the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, and was employed as a Deputy Sheriff for the County of Los Angeles. Powers entered the Army in February 1957, and completed his basic training at Fort Lewis, Washington. He was first assigned to the 46th Engineer Battalion before reassignment to the 720th MP Battalion in February 1958 where he worked as the administrative clerk in the Operations (S-3) Section.

SP/4 Power

4 August Bravo Company was presented a Unit Citation for 100 percent membership in the Reserve Officers Association, Texas Chapter. In a brief ceremony was held in the battalion headquarters hosted by LTC Ward B. Waits, the certificate was presented to, CPT Walter C. Stone Bravo Company commanding officer.

Burnet County Fire

6-7 August, 1235 hours The Burnet City Fire Department located 60 miles southwest of Killeen in Burnet County received a report of a massive fire of undetermined origin burning thousands of acres of pasture. The small volunteer department responded with assistance of the Lampasas, Marble Falls Bertram, Liano and Killeen departments, and armed with several municipal road-graders, fought the quick spreading blaze through the night in an attempt to establish a firebreak around the 15 square mile fire.

     The crews managed to establish control along the miles long front just north of Burnet. However, early morning winds- brisker than usual – fed the fire causing it to expand. The unfriendly terrain hindered their vehicle movement, while the dry grass and thickly clustered fir and pine trees fueled the flames. At 0330 hours on the 7th they realized they couldn’t control the massive fire with the limited equipment on hand. That afternoon they called Fort Hood for military assistance.

     MAJ Merle W. Hall of the 61st Engineer Battalion was assigned the mission and immediately assessed the situation before dispatching three bulldozers, two radio vans from the 165th Signal Company to provide a relay from the scene to the post, and three jeeps of the 720th MP Battalion to provide the much needed moving communication checkpoints, highway traffic control, and any needed evacuation alerts until the fire was contained. With the military assistance joining in the fight at 1830 hours, the combined crews of approximately 2,000 soldiers, volunteers and firemen managed to establish a new firebreak to control the spread of the blaze. The military task force remained through the night in the event of a reoccurrence.

     The Burnet Fire Department temporarily lost the use of one small truck that had to be pushed into a nearby river to keep it from burning when it broke down, and one soldier from the 46th Engineers was injured when a tree he was bulldozing fell onto his vehicle. Estimated loss of land was approximately 4,000 acres. The fire departments and local ranchers credited the quick response by the Army with preventing the entire county from burning.

14 August MG William S. Blddle, Commander of III Corps and Fort Hood, presented the Fort Hood Outstanding Safety Award for the quarter of May-June-July 1958 to Battalion Commander LTC Ward B. Waits. The award signals a record of safety in all situations, including both military and civilian vehicles. The battalion also won the award for the February-March-April quarter.

18 August The 1st (Provisional) MP Company, 720th MP Battalion with CPT Lee V. Worthen commanding, was redeployed from the Marshall Islands, Enetwetak (Atoll) Pacific Proving Grounds, and returned to the 720th MP Battalion at Fort Hood where throughout the next three weeks the personnel were processed for discharge and received various letters of commendation and certificates of participation. Exposed to the high amounts of radiation generated from the testing, all were subsequently qualified for medical benefits as “Atomic Vets.”

19 August 1LT Albert F. Green Commanding Officer of Alpha Company was promoted to the rank of Captain. CPT Green, from Stroughton, Massachusetts, first entered the Army as an enlisted man in 1947 and was discharged in 1950. He returned in 1951, graduated from Officers Candidate School in 1952, and was integrated as a Regular Army Officer a year ago.
21 August The battalion was in 7th place of the 9 teams in competition for the Fort Hood Commander’s Trophy competition with a total score of 510 points. Points are awarded for participation in 24 sports categories.
29 August The battalion was presented the best support unit Army Commander’s Unit Maintenance Award for high standards from June 1957 through June 1958. The competition is divided into categories, tactical and support units, judged by a series of Command Maintenance Inspections conducted during the previous fiscal year. In the inspection process each unit is graded on the maintenance quality of all its organic equipment, condition of buildings and areas, and accuracy of the corresponding maintenance records. The battalion received an overall score of 97.99 out of a possible 100. The Battalion Commander LTC Ward B. Waits accepted a recognition plaque and the Best Support Unit (traveling) trophy presented by MG W. Paul Johnson, the provisional commander of III Corps and Fort Hood .
15 September The Fort Hood Rod & Gun Club held their annual election of officers meeting. Battalion Commander LTC Waits was elected as a member of the 7-man Board of Governors.
26 September The Military Police Corps celebrated its 17th Anniversary (26 September 1941). Along with the traditional cutting of the cake, the battalion’s other social events scheduled to mark the occasion were: softball game; horseshoe pitching; foot races; and volleyball. Other Provost Marshal units that also marked the occasion on Fort Hood were the 502nd MP Company (2nd Armored Division), and the 43rd Criminal Investigation Division (CID) Detachment.
17 October SP/4 Cecil Beasley of Belvidere, Illinois serving with Charlie Company at Fort Polk, took leave to marry his fiancée Miss Bertha L. Burks of Idabel, Louisiana in a ceremony held in Shreveport, Louisiana.
24 October The battalion along with seven other support type units received notice that they would be subject to a series of STRAC (Strategic Army Corps) alerts during the 1959 fiscal year. The alerts would not involve actual deployment, but were instead designed to test their mobility and operational readiness for deployment. The results of the test alerts were to be used to assist other STRAC units in preparing for similar exercises.
29 October The battalion proved its efficiency and readiness for action under STRAC when they arrived at the Fort Hood railhead ready to ship out on an alert, 24 hours before the time allotted them for the exercise had elapsed. According to CPT Malcom R. Smith battalion S-3, this proved to unit officers that their soldiers were ready for anything that may come up, and that continued training and high morale played a key part in maintaining high standards.
SP/4 Treager

Exact Date Unknown The battalion was selected for the third consecutive quarter (August-September-October) as the top unit for the Fort Hood Outstanding Safety Award.

2 November The 54th Signal Company defeated Bravo Company for the Post-III Corps Flag Football championship by a close score of 18 to 16. The score changed hands with the MPs leading with two minutes left in the 4th quarter when the Signalmen completed a jump pass to their receiver in the end zone. Both teams were scheduled to meet again in the Post Championship series.

7 November SP/4 Harry D. Treager of Bravo Company was named as the Fort Hood Soldier Of The Month for October. A native of New York, SP/4 Treager attended Benjamin Franklin High School in New York, and completed his secondary education after entering the Army in 1955. He took his basic training at Fort Dix, New Jersey then graduated from the Military Police School, Fort Gordon, Georgia. He was assigned to Fort Hood in August 1955.

     Prior to his departure to a new duty station in Greenland, battalion Chaplain 1LT Quentin O. Hayes received a Certificate of Achievement for outstanding service from LTC Waits.

     Eleven Fort Hood soldiers were promoted from Master Sergeant to First Sergeant and the new pay grade of E-8, one was 1SG Etlo R. Enrico of HQ Company. The promotions list for the first time included enlisted men assigned to key positions in various TD units that included, post, camps or station headquarters units, and ROTC, Army Reserve, and National Guard instructor units. The promotion list was the third quota of E-8’s authorized the 4th Army area by the Department of Defense. 

     In Cuba the guerilla forces of Fidel Castro had the capital city of Havana surrounded, and were ready for their final assault on the Batista command.
19 December The Post-III Corps Basketball League play came to an end with the battalion team finishing in 7th of 10 places with a record of 1 win and 5 losses.
1958 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from 1958 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: Photos of your tour with the battalion in 1958, please use the Email Link at the top of this page.