1966 Timeline
1 January to 30 September
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This Page Last Updated  12 April 2016
4th U.S.
III Corps
720th MP
      All major theater activities, stateside incidents, or Cold War and Vietnam War events that affected the 720th MP Battalion’s force allocations, training, operations, deployments, morale or history are shown in Italic blue American Typewriter font.
     To see all the details of the events, maps and photographs of this Timeline and to have a permanent memento of your service to pass along to your grandchildren, we recommend you read Vietnam Journal, Volume-I, "We Did It All And Then Some". For information on how and where to purchase a hard cover or paperback copy, click on the book Icon. >
Strategic Army Command (STRAC) Duty, Fort Hood, Texas
     In 1966 the Table of Organization and Equipment (19-35F 1964) for an Army-level military police battalion consisted of a Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment and three organic letter companies, with a total authorized strength of 595 personnel. The breakdown was: twenty-one officers; four warrant officers; seventy-one noncommissioned officers, and 499 enlisted men. Each letter company was authorized at total strength of 180 personnel, four officers, twenty noncommissioned officers, and 156 enlisted men.
     During the months of January through 1 October the 720th MP Battalion HQ & HQ Detachment and its organic units, Alfa, Bravo and Charlie companies, were all headquartered under the command of LTC Glen Alan Hill and SGM Richard J. Hall subordinate to the U.S. 4th Army, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas.
12 January    Presidents State of The Union Address

     "How many men who listen to me tonight have served their nation in other wars? How very many are not here to listen?

     The war in Vietnam is not like these other wars. Yet, finally, war is always the same. It is young men dying in the fullness of their promise. It is trying to kill a man that you do not even know well enough to hate. Therefore, to know war is to know that there is still madness in this world. For we have children to teach, and we have sick to be cured, and we have men to be freed. There are poor to be lifted up, and there are cities to be built, and there is a world to be helped. Yet, we do what we must.

     I am hopeful, and I will try with the best I can, with everything I've got, to end this battle and to return our sons to their desires. Yet, as long as others will challenge America’s security, and test the dearness of our beliefs with fire and steel, then we must stand, or see the promise of two centuries tremble."

President Lyndon B. Johnson

 Exact Date Unknown     The home of LTC and Mrs. Glenn A. Hill was the scene for a tea honoring the new Fort Hood Provost Marshal COL Robert L. Staver and his wife. The social gathering involving 25 ladies and guests was organized and sponsored by the Fort Hood Military Police Wives of the battalion, 256th MP Company, Detachment C, 4th MP Group (CI), III Corps Fort Hood and 1st Armored Division Provost Marshal’s offices .
 Exact Date Unknown     A hail and farewell dinner party was held at the Killeen Base Officers Club for CAP and Mrs. Jan S. Monningh. LTC Hill presented him with a farewell plaque before the group consisting of the officers and wives of the battalion, 256th MP Company and Fort Hood Provost Marshal’s office. It was CPT Monningh who successfully completed the mission of reflagging Charlie Company as the 615th MP Company’s temporary commander and preparing and training it for overseas deployment to South Vietnam between April and August 1965.
28 January   The battalion provided a detachment of troops for a retirement ceremony pass and review held for 46 officers and senior enlisted men of the 1st Armored Division at Sadowski Field on Fort Hood.
31 January Presidents Address on Resuming Bombing in Vietnam
     “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen: For 37 days, no bombs fell on North Vietnam. During that time, we have made a most intensive and determined effort to enlist the help and the support of all the world in order to persuade the Government in Hanoi that peace is better than war, that talking is better than fighting, and that the road to peace is open. Our effort has met with understanding and support throughout most of the world, but not in Hanoi and Peking. From those two capitals have come only denunciation and rejection.”
     Citing Hanoi's failure to respond to his peace overtures during the thirty-seven day bombing pause, President Johnson announces bombing of North Vietnam will resume.

 Exact Date Unknown   Two months before the battalion was put on alert for overseas deployment PVT's Gary W. Short and John P. Roides, future MPs of Alfa Company who would travel to Vietnam in October, were still attending basic training at Fort Hood, Texas.

     At that time Fort Hood was the home of the 1st and 2nd Armor Division, 4th U.S. Army.

12 February     The battalion basketball team won the 1965-1966 III Corps Post Units Basketball Championship for Fort Hood by defeating the 53rd Signal Battalion 69-63 with 30 seconds left on the game clock during the double elimination tournament held at the post Main Sports Arena .
Exact Date Unknown   A coffee klatch gathering for the officers wives of the battalion and 256th MP Company was held at the house of Captain and Mrs. Francis X. Krahe (HQ&HQ Detachment). The affair was co-hosted by Captain & Mrs. Peter A. Davis (C Company). Plans were discussed for the March klatch and a committee selected to write a constitution to formalize the group. Members of the committee were 2nd Lieutenant & Mrs. Herbert E. Wellington, Captain & Mrs. Ronald K. Riggs (A Company), Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Krahe, Captain & Mrs. Berkwood M. Farmer (A Company), Mrs. James Jett and Mrs. Wendell Smith.
25 February    The battalion provided a detachment of troops for a retirement ceremony pass and review held for 36 officers and senior enlisted men of the 2nd Armored Division at Sadowski Field on Fort Hood.
13 March    SGM Richard J. Hall and five members of the battalion’s honor guard presented the National colors at the post Noncommissioned Officers Mess during the opening ceremonies of the annual Fort Hood religious retreat twenty-one day program of events.
Preparation For Overseas Deployment
Exact Date Unknown   The battalion wives NCO coffee klatch held their monthly meeting in the TV lounge of the NCO Club hosted by Mrs. Richard J. Hall (Sergeant Major) and Charles C. Bigoness (Sergeant First Class) with Mrs. Charles Lorimer as co-hostess. Also present were Mrs. Ann Bryant, Charles Poole, Vaughn, Julius E. Givens (FSG) and F. Cortez. The battalion wives Officers klatch held their meeting at the home of Captain (Chaplain) Mrs. Robert G. Jones. Newcomers to the group were Mrs. David L. Lemon (Captain) and Mrs. Romeo Garcia (Chief Warrant Officer 3, CID).
1 April   The battalion honor guard presented the National colors at Fort Hood Headquarters during the arrival ceremony for the visit of MG Charles A. Ott, Jr. the commanding general of the 40th Armored Division, California National Guard.
      CPT Roger N. Carson the Fort Hood Provost Marshal Operations Officer announced that effective this date the post military police units would be manning both boats and patrol cars to insure safety is practiced at Lake Belton a 7,400 acre U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir located on the Leon River in Northwest Bell County.
      The mission involved the use of two 24-foot cabin cruisers equipped with first aid and life saving equipment, and two-MP crew members each that are specially trained in their use. There will also be a 14-foot stand-by boat for use on small streams and ponds within the post. The additional motorized patrols will be assigned adjacent roads and the beach area.
      All boats and patrols will be in use at the lake during peak recreational periods on weekends, holidays and according to surveys, Wednesdays and Thursday afternoons. One cabin cruiser will be on patrol during off-peak hours.
4 April   Seven matches into the 1966 III Corps Post Units Volleyball season the battalion teams had respectable records and a chance at moving up to qualify for the elimination tournament. Bravo and Charlie Companies were tied for third place with records of 3-2, and Alfa Company was in fourth place with a record of 3-3.
27 April   The battalion was alerted for overseas movement. They were informed it was to the Pacific Theatre, possibly Thailand, but everyone knew they were going to Vietnam.
29 April    The battalion provided a detachment of troops for a retirement ceremony pass and review held for 43 officers and senior enlisted men at Sadowski Field on Fort Hood.
 Exact Date Unknown   The battalion honor guard presented the National colors and provided a 15 gun salute at Fort Hood Headquarters during the arrival ceremony for the visit of MG Carl C. Turner the U.S. Army Provost Marshal General who was visiting to present the 1965 Provost Marshal General Trophy to the pistol team of the 501st MP Company.
 Exact Date Unknown    Graduation ceremonies were held for the first class of forty-three trainees who graduated from the battalion’s MP Training School. The trainees underwent a cycle of four classes, spending eight weeks in advanced individual training learning the methods of apprehension, search & seizure, fundamentals of judo and unarmed defense, quelling disturbances and riots, traffic control, discipline, law and order. In addition they studied the techniques of drill and ceremonies as members of an honor guard.
     The guest speaker was COL Robert L. Staver, III Corps and Fort Hood Provost Marshal. LTC Hill presented the honor graduate plaque and citation to PVT James R. Lewis who was assigned to Bravo Company.
9 May     The battalion provided a detachment of troops for honor guard duty at a reception at the Noncommissioned Officers Open Mess on Fort Hood for visiting LG Andrew D. Bruce (Retired) the former post commander and deputy 4th Army commander.
27 May     MSG Louis C. Ledoux of HQ & HQ Detachment, 1SG Emmett V. Parker and SSG Antonio P. Gravel of Charlie Company and SSG Paul Lewis of Alfa Company were four of the 67 officers and enlisted men from Fort Hood to retire from active duty at a formal ceremony held at Sadowski Field.
Training For Overseas Deployment
     During June, July, August and September the Battalion conducted Preparation For Overseas Movement Training. The training included familiarization of the M-14 rifle; M-16 rifle; 3.5 rocket launcher; M-79 Grenade Launcher; .45 caliber Pistol; M-60 Machine gun; and .50 caliber Machine gun. The 15th Support Brigade provided a training class on “Mines and Booby Traps,” and the Battalion received Republic of Vietnam Orientation, which included lectures, films and field training in ambush techniques. Interspersed between the training classes and field exercises, the troops were also required to update their personnel files, life insurance policies and prepare a last will and testament. Their medical records were reviewed, they underwent dental and medical evaluations, and all the appropriate immunization shots were provided.
Personal Reflections

     "We spent weeks at a time out in the hills and brush of Fort Hood, Texas training for Vietnam. We would come in on weekends, shower, etc. and go out the next week.

     It was a bit rough living in shelter halves, drinking coffee you could eat with a knife and fork, and putting up with the largest tarantulas and mosquito's I have ever seen." SP/4 Cecil A. Rhodes, C Company, 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas and Vietnam,1966-1967.

Personal Reflections

   "The green T-shirts, shorts and handkerchiefs we had were not standard Army olive drab (OD) green. There were no official OD greens issued to us.

     We bought all the green type dye at the post exchange (PX) at Fort Hood, Texas, and dyed everything ourselves at the base laundromat. After we finished dyeing the clothing we didn't realize that you should run the machines on a wash cycle to get rid of the green dye remaining in the washing machines.

     The next people to use the washing machines were surprised to see their clothes come out looking tie-dyed green!"   Journal of SP/4 Allan M. Portnoy, Fort Hood, Texas, B Company & 615th MP Company, 720th MP Battalion, 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, Vietnam, October, 1966 to October 1967.

White Hat Duty
Khaki Uniform
Personal Reflections

     "I was "non-deployable" for a time and I missed most of the field training before the battalion left for the Nam. I was waiting for a class date for OCS (Officers Candidate School) so they classified me as non-deployable, I lived with the short timers who were still pulling duty and I also kept pulling duty. They would rag me pretty hard about how much time I had to go in the service since I was going to be an OCS candidate. But it was a party about every other day when someone was getting out and that was a great perk.

     Well, I decided not to go to OCS and I suppose you could say I volunteered for the Nam. I figured I had a better chance with the guys I knew and besides I'd get out after my tour of duty in the Nam so that's the route I took.

    So after running through the chain of command I was deployable. Captain Farmer [Berkwood M. Farmer] was disappointed, I was sort of an unofficial aid to him, running errands for him on my off duty time. First Sergeant Givens [Julius E. Givens] also quizzed me on my decision as he let me know where the unit was going. It was only rumor we were going to the Nam. They had only told us we were being deployed to the "Pacific Command."

    By the time I joined the training they were going to the field learning to dig "sophisticated" fox holes and waiting for aggressors to hit them. At times we got to play the aggressor and we would lay in ambush for late night convoys, ‘zapping’ each other with blanks and flares. There was a certain amount of training that was worth while I guess.

      We certainly learned to go long hours without sleep. But for overall preparedness for the Nam I think it was inadequate. As much contact as we had with the Vietnamese population they should have put some of us through language training. Especially learning to read identity cards and things of that nature.

White Hat Duty
Class A Uniform
     Although I do recall learning about the ID cards after we were in country. We were also busy packing conex's and getting the motor pool equipment (jeeps and trucks) ready to ship." SP/4 Gary C. Watts, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas and 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, Vietnam, October 1966 to October 1967.
4 June    Graduation ceremonies were held for the second class of forty-three trainees who graduated from the battalion’s MP Training School. The trainees underwent a cycle of four classes, spending eight weeks in advanced individual training learning the methods of apprehension, search & seizure, fundamentals of judo and unarmed defense, quelling disturbances and riots, traffic control, discipline, law and order. In addition they studied the techniques of drill and ceremonies as members of an honor guard. The guest speaker was COL Robert L. Staver, III Corps and Fort Hood Provost Marshal. LTC Hill presented the honor graduate plaque and citation to PVT Ear A. Reddick.
 Exact Date Unknown    Graduation ceremonies were held for the third class of trainees who graduated from the battalion’s MP Training School. The honor graduate was PFC Ronnie R. Stillion of Tulsa, Oklahoma who was assigned to Charlie Company.

30 June Marxist Anti War Movement  Three soldiers of the 142nd Signal Battalion, 2nd Armored Division, Fort Hood, PFC James Johnson and PVT's David Samas and Dennis Mora (called the "Fort Hood Three" by the national news media), announced at a press conference they were refusing to deploy to South Vietnam with their unit. Their reasons for refusal was the standard Marxist diatribe of "Imperialist America's Criminal War of Aggression" being taught and used on most college campuses. The three were subsequently court-marshaled and sentenced to three-years of hard labor.

     Very few soldiers resisted service, training or deployment to Vietnam for legitimate ethical or religious reasons, and the majority of those that did avoided confinement and were eventually granted conscientious objector status and discharged.

1 July The 4th US Campaign Begins Vietnamese Counter-offensive Phase II (1 July 1966 to 31 May 1967).
 Exact Date Unknown     The battalion was awarded The Commanders Cup Trophy for the first half of the fiscal year of 1966. The trophy is presented semi-annually by the Fort Hood Special Services Unit to the unit that accumulates the most points in various sporting events during the six month period. The battalion beat out the U.S. Army Garrison who had won the cup the previous two times. The battalion teams collected most of their points in two of ten events accumulating a total of 545 points. In basketball and volleyball alone, the battalion collected 455 points. HQ Company, III Corps came in third.
 Exact Date Unknown   Edwin A. Flechsig, Jr. of HQ & HQ Detachment was promoted to the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2.
 Exact Date Unknown   PFC Ronnie R. Stillion of Charlie Company and the honor graduate from the third battalion AIT class in late June, was fast tracked promoted to Specialist 4th Class just days before the anniversary of his first year service in the Army. PFC Stillion enlisted in the Army for four years on 25 July 1965, received basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and graduated from Security (Communications) AIT at Fort Devens, Massachusetts before his assignment in the communications shop in battalion HQ & HQ Detachment at Fort Hood where he decided to branch transfer to military police MOS.
29 Juny   SSG K. B. Barton of B Company was one of 55 officers and enlisted men from Fort Hood to retire from active duty at a formal ceremony held at Gaffery Field.
7, 8 August    After an exciting winning season in the Fort Hood III Corps Post Units Softball League, Bravo Company was stopped in the double elimination tournament by loosing to the 32nd Data Processing Unit 19-12 on the 7th and Darnell Army Hospital 8-4 on the 8th.
30 August In North Vietnam's capital of Hanoi, the government announces that Communist China will provide economic and technical assistance to North Vietnam.
1 September   The result of a prank gone wrong, SP/4 John Patterson age 20 of Bravo Company plead guilty to a charge of assault, and Daniel J. Doberg, Daniel T. Zupacik, PFC Douglass G. Carroll and David N. Reynolds (also of Bravo Company) plead not guilty and were released from further action of a Special Courts Marshal on Fort Hood. All five were charged with throwing a stink bomb into a crowd of five to eight people on 11 August in downtown Temple, Texas. SP/4 Patterson was reduced in rank to PVT E-2 and fined $30.00 per month for three months.

19, 22, 23 September   MAJ Max E. Newman of the 15th Support Battalion provided to battalion troops detailed instructional classes on the manufacture, recognition, handling and neutralization of enemy land mines, booby-traps and man-traps they would encounter in South Vietnam.

      Soon the comfortable familiarity of the friendly surroundings and routine MP duty at Fort Hood, Texas would change with the battalions deployment overseas. Feelings were mixed, some thought of it as a new adventure, some an unwanted annoyance, however, all were concerned with what awaited them in South Vietnam.

      A block leave was granted to all qualified battalion personnel, and upon their return unit formations were held during which their field equipment and personal items were inspected for pre-deployment packing and transport.

Personal Reflections    “I didn't become a member of 720th until after they all were on leave to go over and I wasn't about to just hang around until everyone got back form leave. It seemed only fair at the time. I was busted for being AWOL and fined $27.50 a month for three months. As I recall, I told TOP at the time that it was ok, I wasn't going to need the money where I was going and he made me work in the Galley on the USS Daniel L Sultan, the ship the took us over. As it turned out it was great duty, I got to sleep in the bay with the Philippine cooks and ate some very good chow.”    SP/4 Steven R. Walker, B Company, 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, and 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, Vietnam, 1966-1967.
Personal Reflections    “The Battalion conducted inspections of personnel and equipment in preparation for their deployment during the last weeks at Fort Hood, Texas. The barracks were emptied and all unit signs and identification of the Battalion were removed.”    SP/4 Charles R. Patrick, A Company.
Personal Reflections   “I was an enlistee and finished MP school training at Fort Gordon, Georgia in September. Along with a few others, I was assigned to A Company of the 720th and flew to Fort Hood. With our stateside orders in hand we thought that we had gotten lucky and avoided Vietnam. That turned out not to be the case. When we reported to Battalion Headquarters everyone was home on leave and the area was like a ghost town. We soon learned why, that they were shipping out to Vietnam in October. We all did the same, and went home on leave to say goodbye.

      When I returned back to Fort Hood we had no assigned duties, everyone just seemed to be hanging out, playing cards, etc. I would say that morale was good. We didn't know too much, or at least I didn't. I remember the troop train to Oakland, it was at night and I was in our sleeper compartment along with a couple of other guys. We were relaxing and watching the towns all lit up as we passed through when a porter came into the compartment. He immediately pulled the shade down on the large window and asked us if we were trying to get ourselves killed. I don't know if it was true or not, but he said that people opposed to the war had taken to shooting at the troop trains as they passed by at night. The shade never went up again.”    SP/4 Donald W. Parsells, A Company.

      By the time the battalion departed for Oakland, the anti-war movement was in full motion, and with the bombing of North Vietnam in February the anti-war groups from large-to-small targeted the Oakland Army Terminal with protest marches and attempts to disrupt bus and train troop movements to the facility. Thus the military tried to keep deployment schedules quiet to deny the groups the ability to stage any large-scale disruptions.
29 September   At 0900 hours Alfa Company and two Platoons of Charlie Company departed Fort Hood, Texas, by railway for Oakland Army Terminal, California.
Personal Reflections

     "When we left Fort Hood it was on an old fashion "troop train." The train accommodations were pretty good as we all had sleeper compartments. We were instructed to pull the window blinds down when going through a town. But I'm sure not many did as it was always fun to see if you could spot a good looking girl.
    It was interesting to stop in some towns and you'd see the porters running into the station, emerging a few minutes later with sacks of goods. The biggest items were pints of whiskey and candy bars. Seems to me it was $5 for a pint and 25 cents for a 10 cent candy bar. Cost increases dictated by supply and demand.

     It was a good trip through the Southwest to Oakland California. The train took us right up to the docks. Guess they didn't want anybody taking an unauthorized leave. So they herded us aboard the ship." SP/4 Gary C. Watts, A Company, 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas and 89th MP Group, 18th MP Brigade, Vietnam, October 1966 to October 1967.

1300 hours    HQ & HQ Detachment, Bravo and the remainder of Charlie Company departed Fort Hood by air and arrived at Oakland the same day.
30 September   0400 hours, Alfa Company and 2 Platoons of Charlie Company arrived at the Oakland Army Terminal, California.
January to September 1966 Miscellaneous Photographs Index
This Index contains miscellaneous photographs from January to September 1966 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.
Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment
Alfa Company
Bravo Company
Charlie Company
 PVT Ron Kidder in Khaki duty uniform.
 PVT's Richard Racca, Royce Eisenhower, James Beery, and Joseph LaRuffa, in the barracks.
 PVT's Cecil Rhodes and Ron Kidder outside their barracks.
 PVT's Cecil Rhodes and Elwood R. "Brother" Young.
 PVT's Dennis L. Byrd, Cecil Rhodes and Odie Fleeks, Jr. ready for drinks and dancing.
 PVT's Rich Racca, Cecil Rhodes and Donald MacConnell on grounds detail.
 1st Platoon, C Company.
G2263 ?
 PVT’s Donald MacConnell, Cecil Rhodes and two unidentified on grounds detail.
G2264 ?
 PVT Cecil Rhodes and unidentified friend on mess detail.
 PVT Chester Franasiakand his wife in front of the barracks.